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What It Costs to Own a Home

Isaac and Erin realized the American dream late last year when they closed on their first home. Before the first payment was due, they painted every room.

Now in 2015, the plumber has paid a visit to fix a sink, and the garage door opener needed work – before the second payment was due. The couple quickly learned that home maintenance costs are an unpredictable, yet necessary, budget item.

Are you planning to buy a home soon? Consider saving some cash in advance to cover repairs and the cost of making the house your home.

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Home upkeep is smart, not free

Standard expenses, of course, include the monthly mortgage payment, homeowners insurance and property taxes. Be prepared for a tax increase if you make significant home improvements, such as adding a deck. Does the location of your home require flood or hurricane insurance?

You may be accustomed to paying utilities, but expect higher costs for water, electricity, sewer, trash removal and so on.

Furniture and window treatments are a common purchase and not just for first-time home buyers. Even end tables and bookshelves can be expensive, so plan on furnishing your home over time.

Appliances may need to be replaced, if not immediately then within a few years.

You may need to purchase a lawn mower, grill, rakes, snow shovels and tools for basic home projects. Cleaning supplies and kitchen gadgets add up too.

Life insurance may be on your to-do list to ensure that loved ones can afford to stay in the house should the unthinkable happen. A survey by Life Insurance and Market Research Association revealed that 41% of respondents said an event such as home purchase motivated their decision to buy life insurance.

Homeowners association fees, pest control, lawn care and other expenses depend on where you live.

As Isaac and Erin learned, random repairs tend to come in spurts. Do-it-yourself projects seem easy when watching them play out on TV. The key is to know your skills or you may end up having to hire a professional to repair your efforts.