The hidden costs of homeownership you should know about

You might end up paying $9,000 more than you budgeted for.

When you’re searching for a home, you know how important it is to set a budget—for your monthly mortgage payments, any renovations that might need to be done, and other miscellaneous needs. But once you’re settled in your new house, you might be surprised to find that there are some unexpected costs, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. Real estate site Zillow and home services site Thumbtack took a look at the hidden costs of homeownership around the United States and found that homeowners in the U.S. can expect to spend an average of $9,080 a year on things they didn’t account for while shopping for a home. This total includes an average of $6,059 on “unavoidable” costs like homeowners insurance, property taxes, and utilities, plus an average of $3,021 on maintenance costs like carpet cleaning, yard work, HVAC servicing, and more.

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Of course, these hidden costs vary by region. Homeowners in San Francisco paid the most in hidden costs, with the average cost totaling $16,290. Boston and San Diego rounded out the top three cities, averaging $14,377 and $13,488, respectively. On the other end of the scale, homeowners in Indianapolis and Charlotte, North Carolina, paid $7,123 and $7,401 in hidden costs, respectively.

“Determining how much a home will ultimately cost you each year and what you can afford is one of the most challenging aspects of home buying, especially for first-time buyers,” Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist, said in a press release. “Before starting a home search, take a good look at your finances to determine a monthly payment range you can comfortably afford. While that big back yard or larger home may be appealing, it is important to consider how much maintaining those spaces could cost you.”

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Take a look at the top 10 metro areas with the highest average total in hidden costs below:

  1. San Francisco, California: $16,290
  2. Boston, Massachusetts: $14,377
  3. San Diego, California: $13,488
  4. Seattle, Washington: $12,924
  5. Los Angeles, California: $12,556
  6. Portland, Oregon: $11,863
  7. Austin, Texas: $11,700
  8. Washington, DC: $11,342
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $10,925
  10. Chicago, Illinois: $10,423

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