A House

What costs are involved in owning a house?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    You love your new home. You've painted the walls bright colours, planted a tree, and adopted a large dog.

    The kitchen faucet leaks, and you come home to a puddle. Your first instinct may be to call the landlord, but you're responsible for cleaning up.

    First-time homeowners quickly learn that home ownership costs go beyond the monthly mortgage. Predictable costs dominate. With research and planning, you can buy a home you can afford, even with extra costs.

    Low mortgage rates have renewed interest in homeownership, especially among young renters who like the idea of having equity in their home.

    A home can be a valuable asset and financial boon. First-time buyers may be surprised by the cost of homeownership. In addition to mortgage payments, home ownership has many hidden costs. The first three hidden costs are financial; the rest add the stress of home maintenance and repair. Here are the most common and how to handle them.

    Looking for the best home repairs services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.

    The Case for Buying Instead of Renting

    A House

    It's Yours

    Even though it is not a material advantage, having a sense of ownership is one of the most positive aspects associated with buying a home. Specifically, you are in charge, so you don't have to answer to a landlord who won't let you make changes to the space, such as painting the walls, installing a new refrigerator, or remodelling. When you own a home, you have complete autonomy over how you choose to use it and decorate it.

    Tax Benefits

    Saving money might be more exciting than paying taxes as a homeowner. Homeowners can deduct mortgage interest. Real estate taxes paid during the year are deductible.

    If your home appreciates and you sell it, you may qualify for a capital gains tax exemption. A single taxpayer can claim a $250,000 gain, and a married couple can claim $500,000. You must have lived in the home for two years before selling it.

    Potential Return on Investment

    Homeownership is no longer a surefire investment. Anyone who bought a home in the early 2000s and sold it at a loss or was foreclosed can attest to that.

    Renting has no investment potential. Despite the risk, ownership offers a return on investment.

    Taking advantage of historically low interest rates and buying in an up-and-coming location can help you recoup your investment. Buying a house you can afford is crucial.

    The "House-Poor" Trap

    Imagine granite countertops and claw-foot tubs. Depending on your life stage, the ideal home could be near a bar with great happy hour specials.

    Big closets, hardwood floors, and garage space are all great, but they're useless if you're broke every month. "House poor" people spend a disproportionately high percentage of their incomes on mortgage and house-related costs, leaving them with little discretionary income. Imagine eating ramen every night in your 3,000-square-foot home.

    People overreach when buying a home for many reasons, including watching too many "Real Housewives" episodes or trying to keep up with friends. Buying a house and buying your dream house are often confused. A first, second, or third home doesn't have to be perfect. Today, you need it.

    Real Costs of Purchasing a Home

    Many folks grossly underestimate the actual cost of purchasing a home. Here's a list of expenses to keep in mind.

    Down Payment

    A down payment equal to twenty percent of the purchase price is considered to be the industry standard. That means coming up with cash for an additional $50,000 on a home that costs $250,000.

    Before the economic downturn, many lenders would let you get away with a much smaller amount, or they would permit you to rope your down payment into your monthly mortgage payments. However, these options are much more limited now. If you make a down payment that is less than 20 percent of the home's purchase price, however, almost all lenders will require you to obtain private mortgage insurance (PMI), despite the fact that there are some exceptions to this rule.

    When purchasing a home, making a larger down payment is advantageous because it lowers the total amount of financing necessary to complete the transaction. This results in a lower total interest payment and an improved debt-to-income ratio.

    Closing Costs

    Hold your breath if you empty your bank account for a huge down payment. You'll need extra cash at closing to cover lender and other costs. "Closing costs" include title insurance, title search, appraisal, underwriting, survey, and loan origination.

    Closing costs are usually 2 to 5% of a home's price. That's $5,000 to $12,500 for a $250,000 house. Buyers can sometimes negotiate for sellers to cover these costs, but it's not guaranteed.

    Mortgage Payment

    Unless you managed to buy your house with cash, you've got to contend with a mortgage payment each month – and several factors contribute to the amount.

    • Principal. This is your home loan. If you put down $50,000 on a $250,000 house, you'd owe $200,000 in principal.
      Interest. In exchange for homeowner loans, lenders charge interest. Mortgage rates fluctuate, but at the time of this writing, a conventional 30-year fixed loan was around 3.7% with a 20% down payment.
    • Taxes. Your property taxes cover snow removal, street and tree maintenance, government administration, police, fire, and other city services. Taxes fund schools, libraries, and parks. Lenders require borrowers to pay taxes into an escrow account. Instead of paying your property tax bill all at once, it's rolled into your mortgage payment and deposited in a lender-maintained account. Your lender pays your property tax with those funds. Property tax is a percentage of your home's value, and rates vary. 1.2 percent is a common estimate (rounding up, it's $3,000 per year for our sample house), but you could pay as little as 0.18 percent in Louisiana and more than ten times that in Texas.
    • Insurance. Your mortgage payment may include homeowners insurance, which is also escrowed. Your lender can likely make payments on your homeowner's insurance policy. Lender policies vary, so make sure this applies. Homeowners' insurance often covers theft, vandalism, fire, and weather damage. Standard policies exclude floods and earthquakes. Annual homeowners insurance for a $250,000 house is $1,500.
    • Mortgage insurer (PMI). If you put down less than 20%, your bank may require private mortgage insurance. Private mortgage insurance protects the lender if you stop making payments or default. PMI is often rolled into mortgage payments, but some lenders allow a lump sum. PMI costs 0.5%-1.0% of the loan amount annually.

    To sum up, the following represents a monthly mortgage payment on the $250,000 sample house:

    • Principal and interest: $931.31
    • Property Tax: $250.00
    • Property Insurance: $125.00
    • Total: $1,306.91

    These figures assume that you've made a 20% down payment. If you haven't, PMI costs must be taken into account, which would be $1,250 to $2,500 per year in this scenario.

    30 years later, after you finally pay off your $200,000 loan, here’s what you’ll have spent in total:

    • Principal: $200,000
    • Interest: $135,489.29
    • Property Taxes: $90,000
    • Insurance: $45,000
    • Total: $470,489.29

    Add in your $50,000 down payment and closing costs, and you've spent significantly more than double your home's original purchase price – and that's only if you managed to lock in a good interest rate.

    Check out our Melbourne home repairs to help you to build your dream house.

    Costs of Owning a Home

    Of course, the actual purchase is just the beginning. Owning and maintaining a home brings plenty of expenses along with it.


    If you've ever rented, you're likely accustomed to utility bills. However, chances are some of them were built into your monthly rent. As a homeowner, you've got to pay for all the following:

    • Heat
    • Electricity
    • Gas
    • Sewer
    • Water
    • Trash and recycling
    • Electives such as cable and Internet

    The hidden cost of owning a home

    Once you have moved into a property, it isn't just the mortgage you have to worry about paying every month. There are all those other hidden costs of owning a home, including:

    • Large properties can pay several hundred pounds a month in water, gas, and electricity bills. They can't be avoided, but energy bills can be lowered (see How to lower water bills?). (How to cut gas bill)
    • Residents pay council tax. It can range from a few hundred pounds a year for a small property in cheap councils to several thousand for larger houses.
    • Buildings and contents insurance can cost a few hundred to thousands of pounds a year, depending on what you are insuring, how much your home is worth, when and from what material it was built, rebuilding costs, door locks, your job, etc. See Is my home insured?
    • If you live in a leasehold property, you may have to pay the freeholder annual ground rent and service charges. You may be responsible for special contributions to common areas or building structure (such as a new roof). What's the difference between leasehold and freehold?
    • If you live in a serviced apartment, you may have to pay service fees.
    • In many cities, residents must pay an annual fee to park on the street and buy visitor permits.
      Roof repairs, rewiring, and subsidence repairs are expensive. If the boiler starts, there's a leak, or the fridge breaks, you must pay. Hire a contractor.
    • TV, broadband, cable, and phone raise monthly bills. Best broadband providers guide.

    The True Cost of Owning a Property

    Purchase Price

    It's the most obvious investment cost. We think we've invested $100,000 if we buy a $100,000 home. We answer "How much did you pay?" with the above amount. As we'll see, the layman's view that $100,000 is the property's total cost is usually wrong.

    Purchases have transaction costs. The transaction costs include brokerage, bank processing fees for the mortgage loan, and legal fees to register the property in the new buyer's name. First-time buyers underestimate these costs. They can reach 3 to 5% of the property's value. Even if the list price is $100000, the buyer will pay at least $105,000!

    Interest Paid

    Most homes bought today are financed. Mortgages are now common. Today, cash buyers are rare. When there's a mortgage, including interest, there are mortgage payments.

    Any mortgage amortisation schedule collects interest first, then principal. In the first few months, if your monthly payment is $1000, $900 will go towards interest. During the first five years of a mortgage, borrowers pay only interest. This period reduces principal little. If these expenses are capitalised, or added to the property's value, then $100000 becomes much more.

    National Interest

    Real estate investing involves national interest in addition to buyer-paid interest. Most property purchases require a down payment. This is 10 to 15% of the property's value. A $100000 loan requires a $15000 down payment. This payment has a cost. If not used for a down payment, this money could be invested to earn interest. After the down payment, it earns no interest.

    Therefore the amount of notional interest lost should also be added to the property value, i.e. to the $100000 that the buyer initially considered was their total investment in the property.


    Most lenders require property insurance. Earthquakes and hurricanes can destroy property. The borrower will therefore stop making payments. Lenders require insurance to protect their interests.

    Many homeowners opt for contents insurance in addition to house insurance. This is because they spend a lot of money on interiors and want to protect their investment. This increases property costs.

    Property Taxes

    When we buy property, we agree to pay the government forever. Almost every government in the world collects property taxes. Again, these taxes increase homeownership costs. These costs are also adjusted over time. Inflation often raises these costs at the same rate. One must budget for property costs when buying.


    Worldwide, properties have amenities. Many gated communities have pools and jogging tracks. It's meant to be a lifestyle, not just a house. These amenities are high-maintenance. Gated communities need dozens of guards and cleaning equipment. These fees are billed monthly to homebuyers. This increases property investment costs. Unsuspecting buyers should be wary of these costs.

    We have an extensive range of home repairs Melbourne services at Hitch Property Constructions.

    Utilities and Furniture

    Transferring utilities and furnishing the house involve small costs. These costs add to homeownership costs.

    Homeownership has many costs. Hidden expenses must be carefully understood and budgeted for, as omitting them can significantly dent your budget.

    The mortgage payment is a fraction of homeownership costs. Before making a big move, consider all possible costs and budget carefully.

    FAQs About Property Maintenance

    Preventive maintenance emphasizes regularly scheduled maintenance tasks. The goal of preventive maintenance is to give an asset the care it requires while it's still running. This approach actively minimizes the chance of failure, costly repairs and unscheduled downtime.

    There are 4 key types of maintenance management strategies including run-to-failure maintenance, preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, and reliability-centered maintenance. These maintenance management strategies can be used together, or independently.

    A standard maintenance procedure is a detailed list of steps that describes how to perform a maintenance task and is also a documented standard to which the job or task should be performed.

    Preventive maintenance emphasizes regularly scheduled maintenance tasks. The goal of preventive maintenance is to give an asset the care it requires while it's still running. This approach actively minimizes the chance of failure, costly repairs and unscheduled downtime.

    Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

    • Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
    • Change the air-conditioner filter.
    • Clean window and door screens.
    • Polish wood furniture and dust light fixtures.
    • Refinish the deck.
    • Power-wash windows and siding.
    • Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
    Scroll to Top