November 29

Gotcha Expenses New Home-Buyers Overlook


Buying a home is exciting, but it’s not something you can take lightly. While your home can act as a great long-term investment, this is only true if you properly care for the property. Owning a home is a costly task with many expenses new homeowners don’t think to expect. Following is a list of the 5 most substantial costs. Homeowners insurance, household utilities, maintenance and lawn care, appliance care and repair.

April Dykman at discusses some of the expenses that surprised her in her first year of home ownership. Here's an excerpt from her article.

1. Changing the locks. When I first moved in, my dad “reminded” me to call a locksmith and have the locks changed. Only, silly me, I had no idea that I should do that. Dad pointed out that my house had had several owners and was even a rental at one point. That means that any number of people could possibly have a key to my house.

Okay, so that’s three locks that needed to be changed. No big deal. Only the three estimates that I got came in at around $200 — much higher than I was expecting. Finally I found a special for $79 and got the locks rekeyed.

2. Lawn maintenance. One of the big selling points for our house was the half-acre yard. It feels like a bit of country in the city.

Well, the week we moved in, a neighbor asked us, “Do you guys have a riding lawnmower? ‘Cause you’re gonna need one!” The truth is that we hadn’t really thought about lawn care yet. We’d just bought the house, and we were 100 percent focused on some repairs and getting moved in. But our neighbor had a point — we’d either need a riding mower or a lawn service. And being the DIY-type, we wanted the mower.

Eventually the growing grass forced us to take the plunge.

3. Multiple appliance repairs and replacement. Okay, we knew we’d be responsible for our own appliances. But what I didn’t count on was so many of these repairs and replacements in the first year!

We had to replace a garage door opener, an AC motor (and it was an expensive one), and a water heater. Thankfully, our real estate agent negotiated a one-year home warranty, paid for by the seller. So these costs, which would have been well over $1,000, ended up costing only $180.

Each time I had to use the warranty, I emailed my agent to thank her for her foresight.

4. Cosmetic upgrades. I thought that cosmetic upgrades, like painting the bedrooms, would be quick and cheap. Well, they were neither quick nor cheap!”

You can read April's complete article at

There are a million unexpected maintenance costs like this. You’ve got to reseal the driveway, restain the deck, clean the gutters, repair and eventually replace the roof, repair any cracks in the siding, patch the front steps — and that’s just the outside! On the inside, you’ve got to repair the appliances, fix any plumbing leaks, replace filters, seal your doors and windows, drain the water heater and clean the chimney. Plus, patch the walls, replace the toilets, repaint, restain the floors or replace the carpet and regrout the bathroom.


new home owner, unexpected home costs

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