The Expensive Hidden Costs of Owning a Home

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Nobody ever said owning a home was going to be cheap. The median cost of a home is priced at around $226,800 and can vary between states and specific city locations. You also have the added costs of buying a home, paying your real estate agent, dealing with home improvement projects, and more.

And just when you think all you have to deal with are the monthly utility bills and other fees, you’re wrong. There are additional fees for owning a home, and here are the top four you should prepare for:

Property Taxes

First-time property owners might think that you only have to pay property taxes when you buy a home. This costs around 1.5 percent of the property’s value. But you might not realize that you’re required to pay for property taxes every year – on average, $2,375 for most homeowners, depending on several factors.

Luckily, there are legal tax planning strategies to help you reduce the amount of tax you have to pay. These are tax deductions and other household expenses that can save you plenty of dollars when it’s time to pay up. Be sure to see a professional CPA or tax preparer to know all your possible options.

Preventative Maintenance

Your pool and its equipment, your air conditioner, your heater, your bathroom fixtures, and plenty of other stuff, appliances, and accessories in your home will go through the natural wear and tear. Rather than letting them wear out and be replaced, doing preventative maintenance keeps them working properly and efficiently, thus increasing their lifespans over time.

If you’re thinking practically, maintenance is necessary even if it will cost you more in your monthly budget. If the national average cost of maintaining your pool of $122 seems like a lot, imagine paying thousands of dollars to replace basic pool equipment.

Landscaping

Unless you have a green thumb and a knack for landscaping, hiring landscaping services is going to be a high cost on your home. Aside from the fact that an ugly lawn can reduce your property value, you’re reducing your neighbor’s property value, too. And if you have HOA rules about keeping your garden well-maintained, you could run into conflict because of this.

Landscaping costs include the price of having your dead plants removed and replaced with new ones, lawns mowed, hedges trimmed. Your orange tree can be an aesthetic focal point during spring and provide your home with healthy orange juice with pulp, but it’s a hazard during the rainy season. Keeping its branches trimmed is necessary to prevent hitting your exposed windows and damaging your home.

HOA Dues

Homeowners association fees are already an expected cost if you know your property is in an area or building with an HOA. These can vary between the quality of the neighborhood, public amenities, and facilities available to every resident. However, what might be unexpected are the additional dues on top of these regular dues, so always have a budget ready for HOA dues increases or other assessments.

Some HOAs conduct periodic assessments in the community where they collect additional fees on top of your regular dues. This is to pay for improvements or additions to the community. This is generally decided by vote or council, so even if you don’t agree with the improvements or won’t directly benefit from it, you as a homeowner under the HOA still have to pay the additional assessment.

With these unexpected costs, the practical solution would be to set aside funds should the need to handle these expenses arise. As a homeowner, you are responsible for meeting all the costs associated with owning a home. These can vary by state or city, so be sure to check what else you might be missing or failing to plan for.

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