Cost of Home Ownership

10 Things Every Homeowner Needs to Budget For

Home ownership can be a rewarding experience – and if you’ve managed to save enough for your down payment, then congratulations – you are doing well! But if you really want to be ahead of the game, it is important that you also budget for some of the common costs that go along with owning a home.

This list will help you plan for your expenses as you develop your budget:

  1. New home owners in front of new homeProperty Tax – Your community includes parks, libraries, road maintenance and many other amenities that make it a more pleasant place to live. And these are paid for through property taxes. The amount of property tax that you will have to pay depends on the value of your home as well as the region where you live.
  2. Municipal Services – While some municipalities include services like garbage pick-up and water services in property taxes, others charge an additional fee which can run about $150-$235 per year.
  3. Home Insurance – A home is a big investment, so it is important to protect that investment through adequate insurance against fire, theft, vandalism etc. Talk to your insurance agent about how much coverage you should get. If you’d like to reduce your premiums, you can usually do so by getting a higher deductible or by bundling it with your auto insurance.
  4. Monitored security – For added peace of mind, you may also want to consider a home security system. This typically costs between $20 and $40 per month.
  5. Energy costs – Once you are a homeowner, utility costs such as gas and hydro will be your responsibility. When shopping for a home, you can have your real estate agent confirm past energy costs with the current seller.
  6. Phone, cable and internet – If you want to stay “connected” be sure to factor these costs into your budget as well. Most companies will offer deals when you purchase these services together.
  7. Fuel and transit costs – You may think you have found your ideal neighbourhood, but how close is it to your work? Longer commutes mean you will be spending more on fuel or transit – they can also lead to more stress.
  8. Home maintenance – No matter how great you think your home of choice is, it will eventually need some maintenance such as paint touch-ups, changing furnace filters, eavestrough cleaning etc. – budget at least $30 per month for these items.
  9. Property upkeep – Don’t forget the outside of your home! Patios, decks, fences, lawns and driveways will all need tending to at some point or another. You can save money by doing many of these jobs yourself but you’ll still have to make purchases such as landscaping tools, paint, driveway sealant, etc.
  10. Repairs – While you won’t (hopefully!) need to make repairs every month, these costs can be much higher – and a leaky roof or broken furnace never happen at a convenient time! Housing experts say that you should save between 1-3% of your home’s value each year and keep it for these major repairs and emergencies. In other words, set aside at least $1000 per year for every $100,000 that your home is worth.

Keeping these costs in mind when buying a home will reduce the number of surprises and improve your ownership experience down the road.