Sticker Shock:Part 2

The 5 Hidden Costs of Home Owning

Surprises. Some of them tickle you, like your cat flicking its tail against the soles of your propped-up feet. Then the little sucker turns around and decides it wants to play with its claws instead. Surprise! It’s just Fluffy’s way of wishing you a nice day on that twelve-mile hike you signed up for tomorrow. Thanks, muffin.

We’ve already walked you through the 5 hidden fees of home buying. Maybe you made it through that maze of tricks, and you’re currently in the process of sucking in a deep sigh of relief that you made it out the other side unscathed. Getting ready to put your feet up, so to speak. Well, hold that breath, because – surprise! There are a few more hidden costs ferreted away in that house of yours, now that you own it.

Property taxes.  If you figured out your monthly housing budget based on your mortgage payments alone, you’re going to want to dig out that calculator again. That’s right, property taxes want a piece of you, and they could well go up year by year – even if your home loan is fixed. Generally they’re part of the escrow you pay into every month, and unfortunately we are talking more than spare change here. Set funding aside accordingly.  Estimated cost: 0.4%-2.5% of property value annually

Home insurance:  Not optional; you need this. Especially if you live in the land of tornados. Or earthquakes. Or hurricanes. Pretty much anywhere subject to the weather, actually. Be forewarned that policies for properties in tornado-earthquake-hurricane locales tend to cost more, and that your rates could rise over time depending on any number of sneaky factors.  Estimated cost: $900 year (national average)

HOAs.  Ah yes, the joy of buying in a community that happens to be managed by a homeowner association: HOA fees. Get used to ‘em, because they’re not going anywhere. HOA dues tend to be collected on a monthly or quarterly basis. HOAs have also been known to charge extra at random for things like road repairs. The dogs.  Estimated cost: $200-$800/month

Yard upkeep.  Yep, you get to take care of those strange little green leafy things now. That means either buying your own equipment or hiring a service, but either way it’s gonna cost you. (Pro tip: Hiring a service will save you in manicure costs, long term. Just saying.)  Estimated cost: $100-$200/month (gardening service)

Repairs, on the other hand, can really bite you sometimes.

Repairs and maintenance.  Maintenance on your house has the decency to be relatively predictable. Repairs, on the other hand, can really bite you sometimes: roof leakage, mold infestations, termites of doom – the list unfortunately goes on. Your best bet is to set some money aside to prepare for them in advance. Keep the piggy bank handy.  Estimated cost: 1%-2% of purchase price annually

The hidden costs of home ownership might sting a bit at first, but fear not: you’ll get used to them. Just stash away the necessary pennies for a rainy day. And, for your hiking career’s sake, put some socks on. You never can tell when the next surprise will spring itself at you. Furry little monsters.

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Kristine Serio
Kristine Serio is an editor and writer with Author Bridge Media. Her real estate roots stretch back to her grandfather, who launched a profitable second career as an investor during the 1950s. She is now passionate about empowering women through real estate writing. Her authors and entrepreneurs have been featured in The New York Times, O: the Oprah Magazine, and the San Diego Union Tribune.
20 of 22 in Finance

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