Hidden Money Sinks for New Homeowners

Purchasing a home is an exciting process. While there are a lot of things you can budget for when buying a new house, you will definitely encounter a few hidden expenses along the way. From cleaning up the yard to keeping unwanted pests outside, here are nine hidden money sinks every new homeowner should consider.

1. Outside Repairs

A house painter standing on a roof painting shutters.

Whether it's repainting the garage, planting new hedges, or replacing those old shutters, there are small outside repairs you will likely undertake as soon as you purchase the home. After all, you don't want to have the worst looking house on your block. Unfortunately, these small repairs can add up and break your budget if you fail to take them into account.

2. Insurance

Buying a home is not cheap and you need a lot of insurance to protect your investment. This includes budgeting for homeowners insurance and property taxes. You also need to consider enrolling in supplemental insurance, such as a flood plan, if you live in a high risk area.

3. Lawn Care

Lawn fertilizer.

Lawn care costs are a monthly expense, even if you plan on doing the work yourself. If you hire someone to cut your lawn, plan on dishing out around $100 a month for mowing, weed eating, pruning, and fertilizer. Taking care of the grass yourself will also render a monthly bill. You will need to purchase a mower, weed eater, hose, rake, gloves, hedge trimmers, gasoline, oil, and sprays. You also need a place to store all of these items, such as an outdoor shed.

4. Appliances and Furniture

It's easy to underestimate how much appliances and furniture will cost when purchasing a new home. Sometimes your old fridge or washing machine will not fit in the new space or you discover that you do not have enough furniture to fill the house. Whatever the case, buying several appliances or large pieces of furniture can quickly break your budget. Avoid these costs by price checking everything you need and making sure the space can accommodate existing furniture.

5. Maintenance

Construction workers installing a new roof on a large house.

There are a lot of unexpected maintenance costs when purchasing a home. From resealing a driveway to repairing shingles on the roof, these projects could end up costing you a lot of money. Avoid any surprise maintenance costs by getting a full inspection of the house before you buy. An inspection will tell you exactly what needs to be repaired and a contractor can estimate how much the repairs will cost.

6. Cleaning

Cleaning the home is probably the first thing you will do before moving in—and it is not easy. In fact, cleaning will become a part of your weekly routine and you will need a good set of cleaning supplies to keep your home in top shape. Of course, you can always hire someone to do the cleaning for you, but this can add up fast.

7. HVAC System

An air conditioner against an exterior brick wall.

You should always find out the age of the furnace and air conditioning units when purchasing a home. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to get an average of 10 years out of your home’s HVAC system. If your furnace is over four years old, consider replacing it for a more energy efficient model instead of repairing it over an extended time.

8. Wiring Woes

Wiring problems can create a lot of headaches down the road, but many new homeowners do not realize that it's their responsibility to update the wires inside the house while the utility company handles everything outside the home.

9. Pests

An exterminator spraying around plants.

Unwanted pests and bugs are another hazard of owning a home. Unfortunately, dealing with mice, cockroaches, termites, and other pests can be time-consuming and expensive. Even worse, you may have to throw out pieces of furniture or replace flooring if the pest situation gets out of hand. It's always recommended that you have the home inspected for bugs and deal with them before moving in.