“Hidden” costs of buying a home and how to prepare for them.

by Niners13-3In18

I see a lot of people talking about the “hidden” expenses of buying a home. While many things in life are uncertain, you can still plan for the most common scenarios. I’ll be listing big ticket items below that a lot of people don’t budget for, the average cost, and the average life expectancy. A house is likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make so you want to do your research before hand. Two things to note before I begin:

  1. Unexpected things can happen no matter how well you plan. My 17 year old tree got knocked down during a windstorm 2 weeks after I bought my house. My fence was fairly new and should have had a decade left in it, but trees are bigger than fences. As Mr. Gump once said, “shit happens.”
  2. These prices ALL vary massively. I aggregated averages from various sites, but just because the median price is 7500 doesn’t mean you won’t be paying between 2k and 30k. I’ll explain what to look for cost wise for each item, but remember that every scenario is unique so you need to do research for your specific circumstance. Now let’s get started.

Roof

This is the most expensive one for most people. The average cost of a roof is $7500 dollars. The average life expectancy is 20 years. This varies greatly based on the material it is made out of, the size, and the climate you are in. The best way to get the most out of your roof is to keep it clean of things like moss build-up. I bought a 17 year old home. If the roof was the original I’d be looking at a huge cost in the not so distant future. Luckily mine was almost brand new, which is a sigh of relief for any homeowner.

Furnace

The average cost of a furnace is $3000 dollars. The average life expectancy is 18 years. This varies based on the brand you have and the climate you are in. The best way to get the most out of your furnace is to change filters on time and not use it when it’s not needed. Unlike my roof, my furnace was an original with the house. Knowing it was on it’s last years of life I upped my emergency fund by a few thousand dollars for when the sucker died. (RIP 2016, made it 21 years!)

Central Air

The average cost of a central air unit is $4000 dollars. The average life expectancy is 18 years. This varies based on the brand you have, the size, and the climate you are in. Someone buying a unit for a 1200sq foot home in Maine is naturally going to spend less than someone buying for a 2500 sq foot home in Arizona. (Assuming people in Maine even have them?) The best way to get the most out of your AC is to not use it when it’s not needed. I had same story with AC unit as Furnace. They died about 6 months apart, but since I’d been planning for that for a few years it wasn’t too devastating of a hit to me.

Wood Fence

The average cost of a wooden fence is $25 dollars per sq ft. The average life expectancy is 12 years. This quite a bit based on the material you use and the climate. Also if you don’t like wood the cost for other materials will change a lot. This is the first item on the list that I will say you can save money on by doing the labor yourself. Without expertise you don’t want to mess with building a roof or installing an AC or furnace. Fences aren’t that bad though if you’re relatively handy and you can cut the cost on half.

Washer/Dryer

The average cost of a Washers and Dryers is $500 dollars each. The average life expectancy is 10 years. This varies based on the brand and size. If you want a behemoth washer that is also basically a computer you’ll be paying a lot more than a normal sized with with 2 knobs on it for heat and time. Make sure to clear the damn lint trap for your dryer!

Fridge

The average cost of a refrigerator is $1100 dollars. The average life expectancy is 14 years. This varies based on the brand and size. Barring something obvious like leaving it open for 16 weeks in a row there isn’t really a way to keep it alive longer. Just make sure you go catch it if it’s running.

Deck Repair

The average cost of deck repair is $1500. The average life expectancy is 15 years. This varies based on the size of the deck and the extent of repairs needed. This is also one that you can save a lot of money if you do it yourself. As for a new deck… you’ll have to price that out yourself because it has a wider range than pretty much any of the other items based on size and materials.

Sprinkler System

The average cost of a new sprinkler system is $3000. The average life expectancy is 15 years if you don’t go cheapo. This varies based on the size of the yard, climate, and how many installations you want. Repairs to a system can be 100-1000 dollars based on what is damage and where.

Hot Water Heater

Last item! The average cost of a hot water heater is $1500 dollars. The average life expectancy is 10 years. This varies based on the brand and size. A good way to expand the life of a hot water heater is to not drive your car into it like my cousin once did. (He did it to his own, not mine thankfully.)

Conclusion

So, these are all the items my realtor ran through with me. Hope it helps at least someone out there!

In the 8 years I’ve been here I’ve had expected replacements to Hot Water, AC, furnace, Washer, and Dryer. I’ve had unexpected replacements to the fence. Everything else is still within it’s normal life span so this list has been great for me minus one stupid wind storm.

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