Owning your own home comes with many benefits. You no longer have to deal with a landlord, and you also have the freedom to do what you want in your own living spaces. As exciting as it is, many first-time buyers aren’t prepared for the costs of homeownership. Here is a look at some of the expenses to expect as a new homeowner.
Cost of Utilities
When moving from an apartment to your own home, the square footage of your living spaces is likely to increase, which translates to higher utility bills.
Some of the utilities a homeowner pays for include electricity, water and sewer, gas, and internet. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the average cost of electricity in America is $115.49 per month. The average fee for water and sewer is about $104 monthly.
Another report by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling estimates the average cost of gas to be around $55 per month. The average price of the internet for many households in America is $60 per month. These estimates help first-time buyers get a better idea of the utility costs of homeownership.
Outdoor Maintenance Costs
A lush lawn with shrubbery and flower beds improves a property’s curb appeal. However, designing your outdoor space isn’t cheap. It doesn’t matter if you take care of the yard on your own or hire a landscaper; the materials and equipment required are one of the unanticipated costs of homeownership.
Some things you will need to improve your lawn include a lawnmower, garden hose, shears, plants, and fertilizer. Yard maintenance costs are higher if you want to upgrade your outdoor space by adding a water feature and landscape lighting.
Costs of Homeownership: Boosting Security
When renting an apartment, security is often covered by the complex and factored into your monthly fees. However, as a new homeowner, you will pay directly for your home’s safety features.
Updating the security helps protect your home from threats like burglary. After buying a house, change the locks. You cannot be sure who has keys to the house. You might also choose to install an alarm system and add motion-sensor lights. Anticipate these costs of homeownership as safety improvements.
It’s essential to address a pest problem before it becomes a major infestation. Dealing with mice, termites, ants, and cockroaches is costly. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may need to pay for pest control and repairs. If termites are the issue, you may have to replace your floors, furniture, and structural components. Routine treatment may be recommended to prevent a future infestation.
Property Tax is One of Many Costs of Homeownership
One of the necessary costs of homeownership is property tax. Besides the principal mortgage payment, you have to pay tax on the home. This is generally included in your monthly mortgage payments.
Property taxes depend on where the house is located. When shopping for a home, review the property tax estimates on the real estate listing. Ask your realtor or visit the county government website to learn how much you should expect to spend.
Many new homeowners aren’t familiar with the expenses of owning a property. Preparing for these maintenance costs prevents surprises in the future and helps a first-time buyer budget accordingly.