Archive for July 31, 2012

Hidden Maintenance Costs When Owning A House

I couldn’t tell you if now is a good time to buy a house, actually nobody can, – if someone can really predict the housing market, he/she wouldn’t tell anyone about it. But before buying ahouse, you should make sure if you are ready or not. Most people will use a mortgage calculator to esmiate the monthly payment, and find their credit score for free in order to get the best loan. But if you are a first time home owner, there are many hidden costs you may not be aware of.

Home Insurance
Home insurance isn’t cheap, no insurance is cheap. It would cost $1000 to $2000 a year, depening on your coverage and value of your house. And the cost is increasing every year!

Real Estate Tax
Depending on the state and city you are living in, the tax is usually 1% to 2% of your house value every year. Yes, your Uncle Sam is making a lot of money out of you!

Water Bills
I had never worried about water bills when I lived in an apartment, which was only $10 to $20 a month. Now with watering your lawn every day in spring and summer, the water bill can come up to $100 to $200 a month.

I live in Texas, the electricity will cost me $300 to $400 every month, mostly for air conditioner.

Texas is also cold in winter, and snows sometimes. The heater is on all day and all night. My gas bill was less than $50 in summer, but in winter it could be more than $100 a month.

Mowing Lawn
You don’t want to expose yourself in the sun in summer of Texas. $30 a week, that is the lowest I could find.

Fertilizing Lawn
If you decided to do it yourself, that is minimum twice a year, and each time cost $30 to $50 depending on how big is your lawn. If you hire companies like Tru Greens or Scott to do the job for you, that is about $50 each time, and usually 8 to 12 times a year!

Do you like to plant some flowers in your garden? Well, it is costly too.

Trimming Shrub and Trees
You should at least trim your shrub once a quater, and your trees once a year. The costs vary depending on how many of them you have in your yard.

Repairing A/C
Air conditioner is as reliable as you expect. Every year I spent a few hundreds on them. It could be coolant refill, water leak, themostats, etc..

Faucet, showhead, toilet flush flapper, light bulbs, smoke detector, clogs remover… You will never know what is the next you’re going to need. And they all cost money!

Clean Carpet
I had it done once a year at cost of $30 per room.

TVs in Multiple Rooms
When you live in an apartment, you probably only need one TV in the living room. Now you want an extra one in your master bedroom, and maybe another one upstairs. Each additional TV set box could cost $10 to $15 every month.

Am I scaring you? Don’t be. But be prepared.