Trulia.com shares the hidden costs of owning a home to help you make a more educated decision.
1. Special assessments
Homeowner association dues to maintain the complex come as no surprise to condo owners. But unexpected (and unbudgeted) repairs to the roof, windows, boiler or even foundation can often catch unit owners by surprise. Even if your home doesn’t belong to a homeowner’s association, don’t be surprised to see special assessments tacked on top of your property tax bill. These assessments usually cover public services such as street lighting, tree trimming, pest control, libraries, and schools.
2. Utilities and services you didn’t need while renting
Unlike renters, homeowners must pay for things like gas, garbage collection, water and pest services. They must also take home maintenance into consideration (such as gutter cleaning/maintenance, snow removal, etc).
3. Private mortgage insurance
Today’s savvy homebuyers are aware that they’ll have to pony up for private mortgage insurance, or PMI, if they’re putting less than 20 percent down. But the cost of PMI has spiked over the last year, and the amount definitely catches buyers off guard.
4. Penalties and fines
Homeowner association rules that cover violations, like parking in the wrong spot, installing hardwood floors in an upstairs unit, or painting your home a forbidden hue can result in surprising fines. Even single-family homeowners can get ticketed and/or fined by their city or town for violations like having overgrown weeds or other building code violations.
5. Items you didn’t need while renting, but you do as a homeowner.
This includes things like landscaping equipment (lawn mower, snow/leaf blowers) and appliances.