Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

4 Hidden Homeowner Costs You Might Not Have Prepared For

Whether you’re a new homeowner or a renter preparing to launch your homebuying journey, make sure these hidden homeowner costs don’t derail your budget.

Homeownership comes with its share of surprises. Unfortunately unexpected costs are often one of them. Whether you’re a new homeowner or a renter preparing to launch your homebuying journey, here are some hidden homeowner costs you should be preparing for.

  • Higher utility bills. Sure, you know you will have to pay for electricity and water, but many homeowners are surprised by how much their utility bills may vary from when they were renting. For example, if you move from an apartment to a larger house, it will likely cost more to heat or cool your space. According to Zillow, homeowners spend, on average, between $2,300 and $4,600 per year on their utilities. To keep costs down, monitor your usage of electricity and water, and make sure your house is properly insulated.
  • Maintenance costs for heating and cooling systems. Not only could it cost thousands of dollars to replace a heating and cooling system that breaks down, but you have to figure in costs for maintenance and even filters that need to be changed on a regular basis. If you are a homebuyer, make sure you get a home inspection before closing on the deal to ensure that the house you buy has a system that is currently in working order. The last thing you want is to buy a house and then have to replace the heating system two months later.
  • Home furnishings for those extra rooms. When you move into your house, sure, you’ll likely have a couch, a bed and some other furniture from your days of renting. But chances are there will be other furnishings you need, particularly if you have multiple bedrooms or a basement. Whether it’s something small like a set of blinds for the guest room or something big like a washer and dryer, the costs can add up.
  • Money to keep the yard in top shape. A yard can be ideal for cookouts and letting the kids play outside. However, keeping your yard and lawn healthy can be costly. Whether you hire someone to cut your grass or do your weeding and planting yourself, lawn care can cost between $100 to $200 each month, according to HomeAdvisor.

While no homeowner can anticipate every cost that could arise, a Homeownership Advisor can help you create a budget that can withstand many surprises.