If you’re in the market for a new home, one of the first things you need to determine is how much of a monthly mortgage payment you can comfortably afford. A loan officer or mortgage broker can help you figure that out, based on your income, debts, and other information.
One thing they probably won’t include in the equation is the cost of home maintenance and other essential services, like garbage collection.
Ultimately, it’s up to the homeowner to build in enough “breathing room” in their budget to cover unexpected expenses. Although you can’t predict exactly what those expenses will be or how much they’ll cost, it’s virtually guaranteed that they’re going to occur. Whether you’re planning to buy a new house or a mid-century dwelling, here’s the short list of typical homeowner expenses that could crop up. While all these items may not apply directly to your situation, many of them eventually will.
- Plumbing repairs: Leaky pipes, clogged drains, and broken plumbing fixtures are common problems in most homes. You may also need a plumber to fix or install a garbage disposal, repair or replace a hot water heater, or hook up a new refrigerator to your water supply.
- HVAC services: When you combine the cost of semi-annual routine service calls and unexpected emergency repairs, the cost of maintaining your heating and cooling systems can really take a bite out of your household budget!
- Appliance repair: The typical family depends on at least a half a dozen major appliances to prepare meals and keep their clothes and dishes clean. When one or more of those appliances break down, chaos can ensue! In many cases, it’s more cost-effective and practical to call a repair service than buy a new appliance.
- Exterminator services: Regardless of whether you live in the city or the country, unexpected and unwelcome insects, rodents, and other miscellaneous varmints can show up in your home and yard. Sometimes it’s even necessary to call a wildlife control specialist to remove skunks, raccoons, and other intruders!
- Electrical repairs and upgrades: Although electrical repairs are occasionally needed for safety reasons, most calls to electricians are more routine in nature. However, when light switches, electrical outlets, and ceiling lights stop working, it can be a huge inconvenience for you and your family. In some cases, you might even be desperate enough to pay extra for emergency electrical service on weekends!
- Miscellaneous expenses: Garage door repairs, fireplace cleaning, swimming pool maintenance, deck repairs, rain gutter cleaning, professional carpet cleaning, landscaping, fence repair, home siding repair, and wet basement problems are a few of the many expenses that may require you to dip into your savings or household budget.
If you happen to be a first-time homeowner, you may also need to shell out hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for items like a lawn mower, yard maintenance tools, snow blower, vacuum cleaner, furniture, and interior painting supplies. While home ownership, decorating, and yard maintenance can give you a feeling of satisfaction and pride of ownership, it’s necessary to earmark a sufficient amount of money to pay for those sometimes unexpected costs!