5 Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

There is nothing quite like owning your own home and financially there are huge benefits too. But when you’re looking to buy a property for the first time it’s easy to do it with blinkers on. You end up looking at all the positive bits – of which there are many – and you forget to allow for the downsides.

The big difference between buying a house and renting is that when you rent, your landlord pays the bill when things break, or go wrong. When you buy your own home, you start building equity rather than burning money on rent each month, but you also need to consider these hidden costs, because they can certainly add up.

Upkeep of the garden

Now you can do all this yourself. But you still have to shell out for a mower, a strimmer and all the bits and pieces that will help you keep your garden in shape. Over time this can really add up. When looking at houses you should consider any costs associated with garden maintenance and how you will handle the work (ie, do it yourself, or get a gardener?)

Maintaining or replacing the roof

Everyone has heard of disaster situations, but you may not realize that roof maintenance is something that needs doing semi regularly. Costs range from a little to a lot, but proper upkeep needs to be budgeted for. If you see a loose shingle, get it nailed back into place as soon as you can. This is not an area of your home you can get by on if it isn’t in good condition.

Every roof will need replacing eventually and this can cost thousands of dollars. Yet the alternative will be a lot of damage both internally and externally due to the consequences of leaks. Over the lifetime of home ownership you are likely to face this cost, so budget for it now.

Insurance costs

If you’ve been used to renting you’ll probably be familiar with the amount you pay on insurance each month. Be prepared for that amount to go up considerably once you buy your own home. The building itself is very valuable, and that means it is a big risk for the insurance company; insurance is essential, but not cheap.

Exterior doors

Again, one of those things that doesn’t need doing often, but can be surprisingly expensive when they do. You might only need to replace your garage door after 10 years or more, and same for your front door, but make sure you plan for the costs ahead of time.

Utility bills

Ok, we have to pay utility bills no matter where we live, so this probably is that well hidden, but it is essential to consider what your bills will look like in a new house – if you are moving somewhere bigger, be prepared to pay more for heating. In any case, make sure you factor these costs into your monthly spend.

Ongoing repairs

It doesn’t matter whether you buy a new home or one that is several decades old. Whatever property you move into, there will be regular repairs to do. This could be anything from replacing old and worn guttering to painting the exterior to help ward off the rain. You will probably need a new boiler sooner or later, a new shower or cooker etc… It all adds up.


It makes sense to allow a budget for repairs and additional home costs you can’t always foresee when you move into a property. Home ownership does indeed come with costs you may not know about to begin with. The more you can do to prepare for those costs, the better off you’ll be.


  1. Margarita says

    Mark, i like your post, because there are many expenses associated with owning a home and first tome home buyers are not aware of them. Together with the insurance property taxes can be included. But if in escrow, the owners may be not aware at all.
    You are talking about building an equity. In general, you are right. In this market many houses are upside down, meaning that the mortgages are higher than the Fair Market Value.
    One advantage of being an owner is that in case of financial difficulties there is a lot to be done to prevent the eviction: modification, refinancing, short sales, etc. In case of renting, the landlord can go through eviction very quickly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *