You're a new homeowner — congrats! The hardest part is over. But the all the expenses may not visible to you just yet. There are several often overlooked fees and expenses that new home owners might miss. We would like to list some of the expenses on the list of hidden housing costs to help you get prepared. It may be time to start financial planning for the costs that may have to be taken cared of down the road.
1. Moving Expenses
Your belongings have to get from A to B somehow, but have you considered the method?
If you plan to enlist the help of your friends, you'll save a huge chunk of change, but if you have more than a few truckloads, it's probably best to hire movers. Depending on how much stuff you have, how many flights of stairs the movers are going up and down, and the distance they need to travel to deliver it, the cost may vary.
2. Furnishing All the Rooms
Your eyes opened wide to the four-bed, three-bath colonial when you first saw it — all that space! But those rooms aren't going to furnish themselves. This is important to keep in mind if you're coming from a much smaller dwelling. You likely don't have enough furniture to outfit the entire new home, which means you'll have to buy new items to make it livable. Beds, dining tables, couches, sofas — any or all of these may be required.
3. Window Treatments
New homeowners are always shocked at the price of window treatments. The average cost of a very basic blind or shade for a medium-sized window is normally around $500. Most homeowners should budget around $1,000 per window as a good rule of thumb. However, the cost can increase significantly for very large or tall windows or windows with non-standard shapes like arches. If you are interested in using custom fabrics or other features such as motorized shades, expect much higher costs per window.
4. Utilities and Other Day-to-Day Usage Expenses
If you previously lived in an apartment where your utilities were included in the rent, it may come as a shock, your first few months of energy usage. Gas and electricity isn't cheap, and if you've been taking advantage of the built-in amenities that your rent covered, you better brace yourself. To make the transition smoother, ask the seller if you can see a copy of a recent utility bill so you can somewhat prepare. Tread lightly initially, too. Stay conscious of lights, heat and A/C running only when necessary to help slow down the speed at which you're accruing new bills.
5. HVAC Inspections and Upkeep
Heaters and air conditioners are crucial to climate-controlled living. Of course, it's wise to ward off major catastrophes with annual inspections — which will still cost you — but not nearly as much as early replacement of a furnace or A/C unit that's been neglected.
6. Termite and Pest Treatments
Before you move into your new home, you should get the all clear that it's termite-free. Your inspection will reveal the pests, and it should fall on the owner to address the problem. If not, you have the right to walk away. That's not always the case, however. The owner is not required to rid the house of pests, but only to disclose the existence of the pests. If you choose to move forward with the sale knowing there's an active pest problem, the problem is on you if it's not negotiated that it will be exterminated by the time you move in. You also want to check for roaches, ants, mice, rats and bedbugs. None of these critters are signs of good fortune.
7. Landscaping and Other Outdoor Maintenance
You can cut costs on having to pay for someone else to do it, if you do some of the work yourseld, but draw the line between mowing the lawn and other yard maintenance. It may be wise to bring in the big guns to do the dirty work, and it may cost about $800 a year. Other hidden costs to new homeowners can include, but aren't limited to: snow removal, roof maintenance (which can be a huge expenses if there's a serious problem),
Also, if you prefer to let someone else take care of your lawn, be sure to include that cost in your monthly housing budget. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind a well-landscaped lawn can easily boost the value of your home by 10% and a lousy looking lawn can cause you to lose money when you're ready to sell.
8. An Eventual Increase in Property Taxes
While you should be aware of your expected property taxes before you purchase the home, you may not expect the rate at which they will increase over the years. When you buy a home, most sales are reported to the taxing authority, which means your property taxes will be raised to the value — or the price you paid — for the house. For many buyers this can be a 20% to 30% increase in their property taxes.
9. Homeowner's Association Dues
If you're moving to a fancy neighborhood, you most probably will see that there's a homeowner's association that may require you to pay up to be part of the club.
There's no real way to prepare for things like this, but it's certainly something to consider before buying a house.