When you buy a home, you’ve probably calculated your budget carefully. You have figured out your mortgage payment, gotten quotes on insurance, and estimated your costs on taxes and utilities. Once you close on the loan, you may think your budget is on track and ready to go, but you may have forgotten about home maintenance costs.
The upkeep of a home is just as important as purchasing and insuring it, but home maintenance costs often surprise first-time home buyers. Here are four things you should remember to build into your budget.
Home Maintenance Costs for Climate Control
Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature requires a heating and cooling system. Like many other home components, these systems are often taken for granted. We assume that when we turn on the heat, the house will soon reach the desired temperature.
However, heating and cooling systems are complicated. They have mechanical and electrical parts that need to be cleaned and maintained. They require regular servicing and occasional repairs. Because these systems are so complex, the repair costs can be substantial. Set aside money for bi-annual maintenance and surprise repairs, especially if the system is out of warranty. You’ll also need to purchase replacement air filters.
Most residential lots have a yard of some sort. It may be nothing more than grass, but it still needs attention. If you don’t upkeep the landscape, it will quickly get out of control.
Your home maintenance costs should include landscape upkeep. This may be an annual contract with a firm that does everything for you, or you could do the mowing yourself and just set aside some cash for the occasional big job. In that case, you’ll also still need to budget for a mower and gas.
Many homeowners skip this home maintenance cost, but anyone who’s ever had a termite infestation knows how important it is. Plan on getting regular pest inspections and treatments. The contractor will be able to identify risk factors, detect signs of an infestation, and take measures to keep termites and other wood-destroying organisms away.
Specialized Cleaning Home Maintenance Costs
Paying for cleaning services may seem unnecessary. After all, you dust, mop, and vacuum every week. Why should you pay somebody to do even more? Many parts of the home require occasional deep cleaning. No matter how thoroughly you clean during your regular routine, these extra jobs should be done occasionally.
Your home maintenance costs should include things like power washing the exterior, steam-cleaning carpets, and having HVAC ducts cleaned. These services improve the appearance and indoor air quality of your home.
Buying a home can be a great investment, but you should plan your home purchase very carefully. This includes budgeting not just for the mortgage, insurance, taxes, and utilities, but also for the home maintenance costs.