Buying a home? You know about (and expect to write) those monthly mortgage checks. These monthly payments cover your principal, interest, property taxes, and homeowners insurance, otherwise known as PITI. But what about those so-called hidden costs of homeownership?
It’s important for all first-time homebuyers to know that your homeownership costs do not end here! We always counsel our buyers to budget for the additional costs related to owning a home – the ones they don’t always think about when they fall in love with a home. These costs include both routine maintenance and unexpected repairs and replacements.
According to Zillow, the hidden costs of homeownership in the Washington, DC area is a whopping $11,342 per year.
While this number does take into account estimated taxes and insurance, it also includes utilities and some of the more common home maintenance costs such as carpet cleaning, yard work, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, and pressure washing.
Utilities You Have to Pay
While some of your utility costs may be included in your property taxes (such as trash collection) remember you’ll now have to pay for your:
- cable and internet costs (if you’re moving from a condo building, your cable and internet costs may have been included)
Utility costs can vary widely so do your research and plan accordingly.
Replacement Costs in the Home
Without a doubt, your home’s finishes and systems will need to be replaced over time. The National Association of Home Builders offers the following guidelines:
- A roof’s lifespan is between 20-30 years. Roofs should be inspected every three years.
- A water heater (gas or electric) typically lasts about 10 years.
- Aluminum gutters last about 20 years.
- Carpeting needs to be replaced every eight to ten years.
Consumer Reports estimates the following:
- HVAC systems last between 15-20 years
- Ranges and refrigerators last between 13-15 years
- Heavily used appliances, like dishwashers and washing machines, will last a decade or less.
Homeowners are wise to set aside some funds every year to replace their appliances on a regular basis.
The Hidden Costs
Other hidden costs of homeownership include the following, along with their estimated costs (costs provided by Angie’s List and homeadvisor.com):
- window cleaning ($266 for a full house window cleaning)
- window replacement (between $450 and $600 per new vinyl, double pane window)
- fireplace inspections and cleaning (between $125-$250)
- pest control ($40-45 per month for a 1,500 square foot home)
- sealing your driveway (national average of $400)
- sealing you and deck (national average of $800)
As you can see, you should plan to budget several hundred dollars (or more) each year for these sorts of maintenance projects.
The Bottom Line
It’s vitally important to keep these hidden costs of homeownership in mind when planning to buy a new home.
Include these numbers in your budget to see how much home you can truly afford.
Remember, the larger the home, the more it costs to maintain! We want our clients to fall in love with homes they can afford to buy — and maintain.
Want to talk it through and run the numbers? Let us know. We are always happy to help, even if you’re not quite ready to make a purchase.
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