Eight Surprise Expenses for New Home Owners

Buying a new home is exciting – and likely the biggest purchase you will ever make.  But be sure to be aware of these extra expenses that most new homeowners probably aren’t thinking about when they sign the closing documents and get the keys to their new home.

1. Changing the locks.  There may have been several previous owners and even may have been a rental at one point.  That means that any number of people could possibly have a key to your new house.

2. Lawn and yard maintenance. One of the big selling points for many homes are the yards. It feels like a bit of country in the city.  Do you have a mower?  Will you hire a lawn/yard maintenance company?

3. Multiple appliance repairs and replacement. You know you are responsible for your own appliances, but what you may not be prepared for is how many repairs and replacements may be needed in the first year or so.  Garage door openers, kitchen appliances, furnaces, AC units, water heaters, etc.

4. Cosmetic upgrades.  We often think that cosmetic upgrades, like painting the bedrooms, would be quick and cheap. That is rarely the case.  Not just the cost of the paint, but the rollers, trays, gloves, brushes, drop cloths, painters tape, etc.  It adds up.  And if you’re not doing it yourself, add on the cost of hiring the labour.  It can turn out to be a lot more expensive than you originally thought.

5. Furnishing the house. Obviously, you don’t have to go crazy furnishing every inch of your house. But sometimes, things come up. For instance, when guests are planning to visit, you may need to think about guest bedroom furniture.  Guest towels, bath mats, etc.

6. Window treatments and replacements.  Often, when buying a new home, the window treatments aren’t in the best shape – or not what you want.  Blinds are expensive – as are replacing or adding new drapery – not to mention any windows you may want to replace to  make your home more energy efficient.

7. Rising property taxes. Property taxes aren’t a surprise, but these can go up significantly from one year to the next.

8. Tree trimming. As with lawn and yard maintenance, tree trimming can be a surprise – sure the trees look great, but they don’t stop growing from year to year.  And the costs here can add up as you usually need an arborist to come in and do it properly.

Covering those unexpected expenses

If you’re contemplating purchasing your first home, just be aware of these hidden costs.  These aren’t all of them, but at least give you a starting place to ensure you are prepared.  Save more than you think you need to, and don’t buy as much house as you can.

Excerpted from an article by April Dykman  June 3rd, 2014