First House – One Year In Expenses

by mythicaltimes

Hey everyone, it’s been a year since my wife and I moved into our first home and I wanted to post the numbers for what we incurred with expenses throughout the year in the hopes of giving others some insight into things to look out for when buying a house. Some of these expenses weren’t expected to happen so quickly but we were lucky enough to saved for a rainy day. This is our first home, and it was a foreclosure that we picked up from a bank that had been fixed up. The only thing we knew about the previous owners was that they liked a variety of drugs more than they liked their mortgage payment. The owners before that also had problems with drugs, our neighbors have been able to give us this information on the previous owners. That doesn’t mean much aside from knowing that they weren’t people who likely spent a lot of money/time keeping the house in good shape.

I rounded all of the expenses up/down to the nearest dollar. You’ll notice some things weren’t really necessary and were more geared towards things we wanted (looking at you Nest doorbell). I included them in the list to help others with the little things that come up along the way that might not be anticipated. These items are bold.

We were able to put 20% down and avoided PMI, the house was purchased for $115,000 with a 30 year fixed rate at 4%. We are in the process of refinancing to a 15 year at 2.5%; it is costing us $1,500 to do that refinance and isn’t included in these numbers.

Name Cost Notes
Roof $6,675.00 Our inspector told us the roof was fine when we closed on the house, our insurance provider said to get it replaced for them to cover the house
Air Conditioner $3,500.00 Central Air
Couch $1,780.00
Cement pathway between house and garage $1,500.00 Previously a decorative pathway that was in shambles
Fridge $1,000.00
New Side garage door + New screen door for side of house + installation $928.00
Cement $800.00 City required the sidewalk to be fixed before we could move in
Lights $740.00 The previous lights were moldy and had electrical issues from misuse
Stove $600.00
Air Ducts Cleaned $550.00 We heard this was a good idea prior to moving in
Plumber $550.00 Leaky pipe in the basement that led to the outdoor faucet
Lawn Mower $410.00
Toilet $361.00 Previous toilet was leaking
Dryer Hookup $350.00
Garage Door Motor $350.00 The garage door motor failed shortly after we moved in
Ceiling Fans $200.00
Safe $200.00
Fence Paint $200.00
Nest doorbell $200.00
Inside House paint $200.00
Office Chair $190.00
Tree Stump Removal $180.00 A tree was beside the house and it’s roots/branches were going to quickly become a problem
Vacuum $170.00
Thermostat $169.00
Mini fridge $160.00
Modem $160.00
Electrical Breaker $150.00
Spider Exterminator $150.00
Curtains $150.00
Camera for house $120.00
Leaf blower $99.00
Garden Soil $90.00
Trimmer $80.00
Wood for Fence $80.00
Electronic door lock $50.00
Plants $50.00
Garden Hose $50.00
Door Locks $40.00
Broken Window $40.00 This was required to be fixed by the city within 90 days of moving in
Vanity $40.00
Window Screen $35.00
Light bulbs $32.00
Misc Yard Supplies(weed killer/dirt, etc) $30.00
Top Soil $20.00
Garage Door opener/re-programmed $16.00
Gutter drains $16.00
Total $23,461.00

Edit, Location is Detroit, Michigan. 1,200 sqft.

Edit 2: This post has gotten a bit of exposure and I wanted to add some info to help clear things up for new home owners.

  • Plan for the bad things (e.g have an emergency fund)
  • Get a first/second/third quote on things to fix, especially large ticket items
  • Things like AC/central air aren’t needed for some people, in my case a window AC unit could have sufficed if I wanted it to
  • Knowledge of home maintenance can save thousands of dollars; not being good with plumbing, electrical work, pouring cement, etc cost me a lot
  • Foreclosures can cost more than a newer house, any house can have unforeseen issues, buy a house you can afford
  • If you have old stuff that works then keep and use it, new stuff always costs more than you might want to spend

This list is just a list of things that we purchased; it’s pretty easy to spot the things that could have been put off for a little bit (not everyone would need a couch that cost what we got). Also, I really am jealous of those people who have the skill-set and time to do things themselves or are in a situation to not worry about buying cheaper houses. A decade ago I was in financial trouble and felt like I would never find a way out. I’ve since made the decision to never be a slave to debt and outside of this house I pay for everything without financing. It’s been a struggle, there were times I thought about giving up and succumbing to the tougher lifestyle, but I didn’t. It’s possible to dig yourself out of those holes. I appreciate all of the thoughtful comments and for those that have asked the tough questions.