Many local buyers share the dream of Pittsburgh homeownership. You found the perfect home and settled in comfortably. You may have been surprised by the expenses incurred in the buying process. Closing costs, down payment, and moving costs added up to more than you expected.
There is more to the cost of Pittsburgh homeownership than those initial costs incurred. Let’s take a look at some of the hidden costs of owning a home.
Home Maintenance and Repair
Depending on the age and condition of the home you purchased, you may encounter some significant expenses for home maintenance and necessary repairs. Some of these items could be:
- Lawn maintenance
- Gutter maintenance
- Pest prevention
- Exterior maintenance
- Roof maintenance
- HVAC maintenance
- Plumbing maintenance
- Emergency repairs
Home Owner’s Insurance
Home owner’s insurance is an expense you would expect during homeownership. Depending on the type of mortgage you obtained, your mortgage lender may require you to escrow for your insurance payments as part of your monthly payment. If so, you will not have to worry about making the insurance payment when it is due.
However, you must understand what your policy will cover, and your deductible amounts to utilize the policy.
It is also essential to determine if you would need any additional insurance. For example, you may want to consider a personal property rider or a sewer and water line rider. Again, consult with your insurance agent to determine if you have all the coverage you need.
It is a good practice to review your policy periodically throughout your homeownership to keep it up to date.
When you purchased your home, you were aware that you would be paying property taxes. However, you may not be ready for an increase in property taxes. If the tax rate increases or your property assessment changes, the amount of property tax you would owe would increase.
Total utility expenses can often be surprising to new homeowners. If you were renting before homeownership, you might not have paid for all your utilities yourself, and the cost may not be what you expected.
Costs can vary from season to season depending on the weather.
I recommend asking the homeowner about their utility expenses when considering your home purchase. Although your number of household members may be different, which would affect utility usage, you will have a good basis to budget your monthly expenses.
If you live in a community with a homeowner’s association, you most likely will be paying a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee to the association. These fees vary from community to community and are calculated based on what they cover.
You should investigate what is covered by your association before purchasing a home. I have seen homeowners assume something is covered only to discover when a repair is necessary that it is not and is the owner’s responsibility.
If you have more space in your new home, you most likely will want to furnish it. Purchasing new furnishings is where you can break your budget.
Create a plan and a budget. Make a list of the furnishing you need and a priority. Then you can estimate the cost for each. Try to avoid the urge to splurge when first moving into your home. After living in the space for a while, you may decide you need different items for the functionality of the rooms.
Understanding the hidden costs of homeownership and budgeting for them is vital to anyone considering Pittsburgh homeownership. Owning a home of your own is one of the best investments you can make. Proper planning will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.