Help Buyers Add up Extra Costs of Home Ownership

November 9, 2011

Home owners who plan to stay in their home long enough should be prepared for other costs of home ownership, besides mortgage payments and property taxes. For example, the hot water heater and furnace may eventually need to be replaced, and by budgeting for it from the beginning, they’ll be able to pay for it when it does need replaced. 

A recent article at The New York Times provided estimated costs of some of these extras that can come with home ownership (average costs listed are based on service providers in Chicago and Los Angeles areas; prices can fluctuate greatly from city to city).

Central air: Home owners should expect the main central air unit will need to be replaced every 12 years, but possibly even sooner for warmer climates. A replacement will cost around $3,000, but a lot more for a higher efficiency model. Home owners can start saving $21 per month over 12 years to afford it, The New York Times article notes. Tip: Have a yearly maintenance check of the system to extend the unit’s lifespan (expect to pay about $163 year for a maintenance check). 

Furnace: A furnace will last, on average, about 18 years before it will need to be replaced. Replacements will cost around $3,800, so home owners should start saving $18 per month for the future expense. 

Hot water heater: These can last about 12 years before needing replaced, which starting costs for a replacement will run around $1,200 (or $8 per month to your budget). Tankless water heaters can last a lot longer, possibly even up to 20 years as well as help lower energy costs, but they cost about $4,000 each, according to The New York Times article. 

Driveway: Some experts recommend sealing an asphalt driveway every three years, which will cost about $550 or about $15 per month. Plan on replacing an asphalt driveway every 15 years, which will cost about $6,000 or $33 per month. 

Trees: You likely will need a few trees trimmed every five years or so on your property, costing about $300 per tree. Home owners may want to budget $20 per month for this future expense. 

Roof: Roofs, on average, need replaced every 25 years or so, but it’ll greatly depend on weather elements. New roofs may cost about $7,500 for an average-size home so home owners might want to start saving $25 per month to their budget. 

Read about more household items to add to your budget at The New York Times.

Source: “Estimating Expenses Before Buying Your First Home,” The New York Times (Nov. 8, 2011)

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