My husband and I like to play a little game when we’re bored at night. We’ll head to a real estate website and look at dream homes. Then, we calculate how much we’ll need to save for a down payment. While that number is daunting enough, we also know it’s just the start. Buying a home comes with a lot of additional costs — including ongoing costs once you have it.
Since we’ve rented for our entire adult lives — living in an apartment with no utility fees, free WiFi, and on-call maintenance services — we know the switch to homeownership will be a shock. Here are the additional costs first-time homebuyers should budget.
FURNITURE & DECORATIONS
Pots Planters & More recently looked at Amazon’s home furnishing offerings, which include inexpensive options as well as high-end styles. They found the total cost of furnishing and decorating a home ranged from $3,045 to $225,735 (we have based our estimate on the low end, of course).
A fresh coat of paint may be the only sprucing your new home needs. Or, you could fall in love with an older home and discover a pink toilet in the powder room that has to go. In either instance, there’s a chance that you’re going to drop money on renovations at some point.
According to the 2019 Houzz & Home study, kitchens are the most popular area of a home to remodel. They’re also the most expensive – the median cost totals $14,000. The master bathroom was the second most popular area of the home to renovate and costs around $8,000. Other bathrooms throughout the house came in third, at $3,500.
One of the benefits of renting is that you don’t have to pay property taxes. Once you buy, that’s a different story. WalletHub found the average American Household spends $2,279 on property taxes each year, with lots of fluctuation depending on your location.
Homeowner’s insurance typically covers several things including damage to your home or the things you have in it and medical payments or costs incurred if someone injures themselves on your property.
Although the cost of homeowner's insurance varies based on location and the insurance company you work with, according to Zillow, you can expect to pay about $35 a month for every $100,000 of home value.
While homeowner's insurance will cover you if a hailstorm damages your roof, you’re going to have to replace your water heater when it breaks. That emergency fund you should already have is even more crucial when you buy a home. There are a number of rules of thumb here, but a popular one is to set a yearly budget of 1 percent of the value of your home. So, if you have a $250,000 house, budget $2,500 for yearly repairs.
HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION FEES
Homeowner associations (HOAs) have their pros and cons. The fees are the most notable con and one worth considering as the number of Americans living in homes with HOAs has grown from 1 percent in 1970 to 25 percent in recent years. HOA fees can cover common property maintenance expenses and repairs, and you’ll pay them either monthly or annually to the tune of $200 to $300 a month.
Add in monthly utility payments including water and sewer, heating and cooling, electricity and gas and internet and cable (all of which vary depending on where you live) and a savings cushion that extends well past the down-payment is more important than ever.