The Top Hidden Costs to Consider When Owning a Home

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Homeowners often have to deal with a flurry of costs associated with buying or maintaining a house. There are some costs and expenses that most can understand and predict when it comes to homeownership. However, there are some that can sneak up on first-time buyers, and here take a look at a few of those. 24/7 has also listed the top 10 markets that have the highest hidden costs associated with owning a home.

Property taxes ranked as perhaps the biggest home expense that people see after having a mortgage. Long-time homeowners may have gotten used to this, but those new to the game might be surprised at how much these taxes can run.

Home insurance makes the list as another top hidden cost associated with homeownership. For those that have taken out a mortgage, the lender requires the purchase of this insurance. Although this insurance may not do a lot for most, it is invaluable for some that lose everything in a flood or natural disaster.

Maintenance and remodeling are also major expenses to consider when owning a home. Some buy a home just to fix it up and then flip it for some extra cash. However, without experience in this field, remodeling could be a costly affair. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, American homeowners spent $361 billion on home improvements. That’s up 13.5% from the previous peak in 2007.

Utility bills are not necessarily a hidden cost, but they are often overlooked when shopping for a home. Some things to consider are that A/C or electric bills for those that live in the south generally ramp up in the summer, while heating or gas bills increase in winter for those in the north.

Domestic labor rounds out this list of hidden costs. Homeowners looking to maintain a clean cut yard or a clean house but don’t want to do it themselves (or don’t have the time) rely a lot on domestic labor. The average rate of a housekeeper is $12.50 an hour across the country, according to Care.com, an online marketplace for housekeepers and care providers. Hiring a housekeeper for three hours every month, that adds up to $450 a year.

Realtor.com’s Data Team ran the numbers to figure out the cities with the highest hidden costs of homeownership. The team reviewed the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States based on property tax rates, home insurance premiums, remodeling costs, maintenance and repair costs, hourly rate of house keepers and such, pest control costs, utilities and household goods.

In descending order, these markets had the highest costs of homeownership:

  • New York
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Boston
  • Cape Coral, Florida
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • Miami
  • New Orleans
  • Los Angeles
  • Honolulu
  • Houston