The hidden costs of owning a home
Owning a home goes beyond just paying a mortgage. Taxes, utility bills, insurance, cleaning and maintenance are all costs of home ownership. By some estimates, homeowners pay about $10,000 per year in hidden (and not so hidden) costs relating to owning and maintain a home.
Cosmetic updates like fresh paint, new flooring, a modern kitchen or even attention to landscaping should be done on a regular basis.
Other updates are more necessary for your safety and comfort and perhaps will save you money in the long run through new efficiencies. What this means is replacing old HVAC systems that are no longer efficient. It also means redoing the roof when it is at the end of its useful life. A new water heater, and new windows will also often increase the energy efficiency of your home.
It is important to note that although these are cash outlays when done, some or much of the money spent is returned to you when you sell.
In some cases, regular maintenance will prevent unforeseen maintenance. What I’m talking about is cleaning our your rain gutters to prevent water from getting into your home from under the roof or trimming branches from a tree near your home to prevent the damn thing falling on your house during an ice storm or something.
But some maintenance issues arise from pest intrusions or simply because of wear and tear due to age. For example a slow leak will over time damage something or cause mold or wood rot…
It is best of course to take care of unforeseen problems as soon as discovered. Putting off a small repair can often lead to a much larger repair a few years later.
Sometimes it is best to spend the money upfront anticipating problems and solving them before they occur. That means having your furnace maintained every year, inviting the tree trimers by every five years, installing leaf guards in your rain gutters…
Owning a house does not stop the day you get the keys —> that’s when it starts. Take care of your home and you will have many safe and happy years in it. Maybe you had a “house fund” when you were saving for a down payment. Continue that fund now for updating and maintaining your investment.