As I mentioned in a previous video, “Should You Rent or Buy?” owning a home can be a great investment if you are prepared for the extra costs that come along with it. Today, I am going to be teaching you what home upkeep costs you need to be saving for and what you need to be planning to spend when you own your own home.
In my area, we have to worry about plowing. (If you don't I'm very jealous!) If you need to have someone come plow your driveway, then you need to prepare for the cost. Weather is very unpredictable, but preparing for those costs doesn’t have to be! You don’t know when it is going to snow, but you do know how much it costs every time they come to plow your driveway. Look at the averages, what it cost last year, and how many times you had to have your driveway plowed. Also, pay attention to forecasts and whether or not it is going to be a mild or tough winter. Nowadays, that can be pretty helpful. Break down those costs so you know approximately how much it is going to be. Even if you use a snowblower and do it yourself make sure to be setting monies aside for gas and repairs for that piece of equipment.
The most common area of home upkeep is lawn care. Maybe you are doing this yourself and you have a lawn mower. Even still, you need to anticipate the cost of gas and repairs for those items. If you use a lawn service, average out the cost of having the lawn mowed, as well as the frequency, so you can budget for it! Often times, companies will charge you a set price for the year, so you will need to have a lump sum of money available to cover that cost. There are ways to save as well. Maybe consider cutting your mowing service from every week to every other week. You may not need to have it done as often as they are saying; but, either way, be prepared for the cost of mowing your lawn.
Often times, the companies that are assisting with your plowing and lawn services are also helping with your spring and fall clean-ups. If that is something you have them do, pay attention to those fees, which are usually in addition to your already existing contract. It may depend on the vendor. If you do those clean-ups yourself, be sure to have all of the supplies you need—bags for the leaves and any additional equipment.
Keeping with the nature theme, you may be doing some landscaping yourself or hiring a landscaper to do the work. If you are doing simple things like mulch or perennial flowers, you need to know how much a year you are spending on them and break down that cost. Think about it. If it costs you $200 a year, that is more than $16 a month and you need to prepare for that.
Maybe instead of a huge landscape job, or in addition to, you have a simple garden box. You will need to buy at least seeds and fertilizer. Factor those costs in because they are so seasonal that it is very easy to forget about them and the little things will add up.
Most of you have a boiler or furnace that will need to be serviced. Now, while some of you may take care of that through your heating company's protection plan on your bill, there may be additional costs that aren’t covered. Make sure you have a plan in place for your yearly or biyearly service/cleaning for that furnace or boiler.
You need to know what care is required to clean your chimney so that you have an idea when, inevitably, the chimney needs to be cleaned. Like the costs mentioned above, this is an item you do not want to overlook or not plan for. These last few home upkeep items may or may not apply to you. It depends where you live; however, if they do, they are important to consider.
Where do you live? The country, a suburb, or in the city? What kind of septic do you have? Even if you have city septic, you should have money put away no matter what your septic situation is. You’re probably going to have some need somewhere down the line, so think through that cost and put down those numbers. The last thing you want to happen is a tree root cuts through the pipe to your house, your septic gets backed up, or you have a leak somewhere and don’t have the money ready to pay the inevitable fee to fix it.
Maybe you don’t have one. Maybe you do. If you do, you need to winterize it. You may even need someone to come in who knows how to shut them all down and drain the water correctly. So, if you are charged for that, that is a cost that can add up. With that, we wrap the 9 major areas of home upkeep! Most folks, when they add all of these home upkeep costs together, average $183 to $200 a month. So, take all the math, break it down, and divide it monthly. Find that monthly amount and start saving for it. Don’t just take my word for it, actually do the calculations and figure out the numbers. Hopefully, this list is a beginning and will spark your attention to areas I may not have mentioned because when those lawn care and furnace services pop up, you want to be prepared in order to keep your wallet heavy and your heart light.
Question: What home ownership costs did you learn you were forgetting today? Share in the comments below!