The Unexpected Costs of Home Ownership

Sep 23, 2013

As we all know, buying a home is big decision. As a first-time home buyer, many of us don’t know the unexpected costs associated with this purchase. Here’s a checklist of items, along with their price ranges and frequency of replacement/cleaning, to think about when buying a home.

  • Professional Carpet Cleaning – Annually. If you have dogs or kids, you may argue twice per year. Cost: $150-$200

  • Air Duct Cleaning – Every 3-5 Years. When dust begins to accumulate faster, you’ll know. Cost: $450

  • New Furnace and Heat Pump – Every 15 Years. However, most first-time home buyers purchase older homes; so that 15 year cycle might be right around the corner. Cost: $8,000 w/installation

  • HVAC Check-Up – Twice per year. $100 per check-up

  • New Air-Conditioning Unit – Every 10-15 Years. Remember, when you buy an older home, your time frame may be less. Many times, you only need to fix a problem, not replace. If replacement is necessary…Cost: $2,000

  • Dehumidifiers - If you have a basement, it’s a must in Indiana. You may need 2-3 depending on your home’s layout. Cost: $200 per unit

  • New Roof – 15-20 Years. Hail damage can quickly cause wear and tear. The shingles may only last 5-10 years. Cost: $10,000

  • Deck Restain – Every 5 Years. You may need to restain more frequently if exposed directly to sunlight. Cost: $800-$1,000

  • New Wood Deck – Every 15 Years, depending on wear. Cost: $15,000

  • New Fence – Have a pet? Move into a house without a fence? Cost: $2,000-$8,000

  • Tree Removal – Every 5 Years. Weather is the cause for a lot of tree damage. Cost: $300-800 per tree, depending on size.

  • Lawn Service - A decent lawn mower will cost you $400 and you will need to change the oil annually. If you don’t want or have time to cut your own grass, a lawn service will cost around $40 per week. If you live in the Midwest, you need your lawn mowed 7 months out of the year. Cost: $1,160 per year

  • Lawn Treatment - Aeration and annual fertilizer treatment. Cost: $300

  • Snow Removal - If you do not shovel your own driveway, these costs can be very similar to a lawn service. Cost: $500-$800 depending on number of storms.

This list is not to scare, but to make aware. You must budget for these additional expenses. This information is for the moment when your banker tells you the size of loan you are "approved" for. Now you know, approved may not equal afford.

One popular rule of thumb says that 1% of the purchase price of your home should be set aside each year for ongoing maintenance. For example, if your home cost $300,000, you should budget $3,000 per year for maintenance. Now, that doesn’t mean you are going to spend exactly 1% per year, but over a span of 10 years, these costs should be expected.

Try to remember; if you buy a big home, you have to furnish a big house.

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