More than Maintenance: Five Hidden Costs of Owning a Home


You've successfully found your dream home, negotiated the purchase price and established an affordable mortgage rate. Now that you have your expenses in check, you can relax a bit, right?

Not exactly.

Owning a home requires planning for the unexpected. Here are five unexpected costs you need to be ready for after you buy your home.

  1. Homeowner's insurance

    Homeowner's insurance is not a one-time purchase. Be prepared to pay deductibles on each insurance claim. Make sure you have purchased adequate coverage with a deductible that fits your budget. That way when the time comes to repair your home from storm damage or age, you can do so in a timely manner.

  2. Standard maintenance fees

    You'll want your home's appearance and structural integrity to hold up. This can include everything from monthly lawn care and seasonal paint jobs to fireplace/chimney maintenance and power-washing services. If you are a part of a homeowner's association (HOA), there may be a written agreement regarding your home's outward appearance — and they can ask you to pay for upkeep they deem necessary. So make sure to read the fine print. (See 8 Surprising Costs of Buying a Home.)

  3. Unforeseen repairs

    It is wise to budget for repairs before you purchase your home. You'll likely rely on your savings to cover plumbing leaks, broken appliances and other malfunctions. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average lifespan for a roof is 25 years, while carpet may need to be replaced in eight years. Consider setting aside a little each month to an account you can use when those larger repairs are needed in the future.

  4. Property tax adjustments

    Property taxes often increase over the years. In fact, it is fairly rare for property taxes to decrease. Homeowners often jump through hoops by hiring an attorney, filing an appeal and conducting comparable real estate research to find discrepancies in the property record. This investment in time rarely results in substantial financial savings, but it can with the right information.

    And if you're thinking about a home renovation, remember that any structural or property changes will affect your property taxes as well.

  5. HOA dues and assessments

    It's critical to understand the importance of paying your HOA dues and special assessments. HOA fees pay for maintenance, repairs and upkeep for all collectively owned property. Even if you are current on your home mortgage payments, you can lose your house to foreclosure if you do not pay your HOA dues and special assessments.

To learn more about preparing for the unexpected, contact GuideStone® today. We can help you establish an emergency fund or investment account specifically dedicated to your home maintenance needs.

Retail products are made available through GuideStone Financial Services®, member FINRA. For more information about the firm, products and services, please review the GuideStone Affiliate Form CRS and visit FINRA's Broker Check.