Becoming a homeowner is a major milestone in most people’s lives and can reveal itself to be a great investment when managed correctly. However, after taking account for things like homeowners’ insurance, utilities, and HOA fees, there are some things that many weren’t prepared for. These minor, and sometimes major costs can start adding up and make mortgage payments more difficult than expected. But when you’re prepared, you can come up with a plan of action to either mitigate them or at least plan for them. Here are some of the most common hidden costs of homeownership.
People often don’t take into account how the weather can affect how much you’ll have to pay to maintain your home. This is especially true for people who have to experience all four seasons. Asphalt runways wear out faster in colder climates because of things like contraction and expansion. Pouring salt also can cause accelerated damage to different types of driveways. This means you’ll have to cut some of the years off the average lifespan of a driveway if you want to plan for resurfacing or replacement.
Additionally, the weather can damage your pipes, both interior and exterior. For example, frost and cold weather can make pipes burst, causing a vast amount of damage to your home. This happens when water inside the pipes expands when it gets close to freezing, and the pressure becomes too much for the pipe to hold. If you are online searching for “plumbers in my area”, however, Porch can provide a list of reliable tradespeople who can assist you with any job you need completing, including fixing and maintaining pipes and water heaters.
A lot of people think that because they’re spending $1200 and more for the current place they’re renting, they can actually afford to pay a mortgage. But there are so many more fixed expenses you’ll have to account for.
One of them is property tax. Before you take the number you got from your mortgage calculator and run with it, make sure that you divide your property tax by twelve and add it to your monthly payments. Also, keep in mind that taxes only go up, so you’ll have to be prepared for a possible tax hike in the future.
Everybody has an idea of their dream house in their heads, but most of the time, this house may not even exist in the market they’re in. So, chances are compromises had to be made.
Maybe the basement isn’t really the rec room you had in mind, or you don’t really care for the pot garden in the backyard. Either way, you’ll probably get to working on some changes as soon as you get the house so you can make it feel more like home. Whether it’s adding pavers, exterior lighting, or stone veneers, prepare to spend quite a lot on making aesthetic changes in the first few years.
Your Front Lawn
If you think paying someone a few dollars a month to mow the lawn is enough maintenance, you’re in for a surprise. Maintaining a nice looking lawn can cost a lot of money. Especially if it’s covered by snow half of the year.
You might have to invest in some new sod, pay for things like fertilizer, pest control, and weed killer, maybe add some annuals here and there. Either way, expect to pay much more than the minimum if you want your lawn to look good all year.
Another thing you’ll have to consider is zoning rules around the area where you live. You just never know when someone could buy the home next to you just to tear it down and build a 5-story condo building. This could significantly reduce your home’s value. Likewise, if you decide to live near commercial property, you never know when the quaint little mom and pop strip mall could turn into a cineplex overnight and bring traffic up, bringing property values down in the process. Not only will knowing zoning laws give you some indication as to what to expect but will protect you from committing violations if you ever intend to get some work done yourself.
Homeownership is serious business, and you’ll need to have a solid plan and budget in place to make sure that it remains a good investment. Make sure that you look out for these hidden costs and that you’re ready to face some more unexpected expenses as well.