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The Hidden Costs of Owning a Home


From Homeowners Insurance to Periodic Maintenance, the Costs Never Let Up

© 2012 by Angela Prickette; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

A home and piggy bank, photo courtesy Angela Prickette


Financial experts explain that the hidden costs of owning a home range from initial decorating expenses to daily maintenance charges. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, home ownership delivers personal stability and many financial benefits.

Owning a house is a wonderful and enriching experience, but the following items are rarely-mentioned expenses.

Interior Design and Ambiance

New homes are empty, blank canvasses. It costs money to recreate Versailles castle or mimic an island retreat. Paint, drywall, furnishings, and textiles add up quickly when trying to create a personal paradise.

Landscaping

Homeownership means tackling outdoor greenery on a regular basis. Some people enjoy the thrill of mowing grass on the weekends, while others outsource the task to teens or professionals.

Purchasing and caring for equipment or writing out checks on a weekly basis starts to add up over time. If you would prefer to let a pro do the heavy lifting, see how to find the right landscaper.

Emergencies

Roofs leak, pipes burst, and other expensive calamities happen without warning. People who do not qualify for traditional loans find relief through alternative financing.

Payday loans are increasingly popular and terms vary between states. Searching in a particular locale, for example payday loan Texas, reveals applicable company listings and borrower prerequisites for each funding source.

Regular Upkeep and Home Maintenance

Every home eventually starts to show its age. Carpet wears thin, paint chips, and the driveway cracks. Owners need to freshen up their homes periodically to maintain curb appeal and reinstate the “wow” factor that made them initially fall in love with their domicile.

This is not merely for aesthetic reasons, of course. For most people the home is their biggest investment so it only makes sense to keep up with home equity.

Oh, Those Property Taxes

Purchasing a home offers tremendous tax benefits, but owners are responsible for property taxes. Unpaid taxes are a serious issue that normally results in stiff financial penalties or eviction.

Different states offer ways to minimize the financial burden, even if they are not well advertised. In Texas for instance, owners can file a homestead exemption.

According to the OLR Research Report, in many states, after a certain age (usually 65), owners can apply for a property tax freeze.

Insurance

There are two types of insurance associated with home ownership. Anyone putting down less than 20 percent of the total purchase price must have private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Everyone needs homeowners insurance that offers financial assistance in the event of a natural disaster or theft. Keep in mind that flood insurance is not included and must be purchased separately if you are located in the flood plain.

Property Improvements

Lifestyle changes prompt many property improvements including additional bedrooms or bigger kitchens. Construction projects can be incredibly expensive and it can be hard to estimate final costs.

Once again, businesses like Power Finance Arlington make it easier to obtain the funds necessary to finish that dream add-on.

Perhaps the biggest unforeseen expense of home ownership is personal time. Unless someone has the financial resources to hire outside help, they must handle every repair and mundane task.

Despite all the hidden costs, most would agree the positives outweigh any negative aspects. The icing on the cake is that at some time, the home will be paid off and living costs can drop off dramatically.

Renting vs Owning

Many people mistakenly believe that by renting they can avoid these expenses. Not true! They must be paid at some point by the owners and there is no free lunch—the cost is simply passed through to the end consumer.

Do you have any tips that would benefit our readers regarding this topic? Please share in the comment section below!

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