24 answers

Anyone Else Surprised by How Much Owning a Home Costs?

I guess this is more of a vent but is anyone else just shocked how much owning a home costs? Everyone wants to buy but renting seems easier and cheaper. There seems to always be something to fix or update etc. 2011 was a new roof, refinish the kitchen floor from water stains eating at it, lots of work on the master bath bc it was leaking down to the kitchen, the bathtub faucets broke-off etc. Now the upstair carpet is getting disgusting, the hot water heater seems to be going, some windows are so hard to open and shut, the garbage disposal already broke and had to be replaced, at some point we should actually buy bedframes, our dishwasher sucks etc. Anyone else have an idea what they spend on "maintenance, replacements" etc a year?

ETA: some people seem to be implying we didn't budget well when we bought the house. That's not the case at all. We actually paid cash for the house so no mortgage. We live well below our means. But doesn't mean I'm not still annoyed by all the expenses and do wonder how people fare who stretched some to buy their house. I agree with one post that home ownership is not a good investment unless you time it just right. I guess people do more work themselves than us and shop around but all that takes time that is valuable too when you have little kids. I think part of my post is a call out to people who are dying to buy. Renting doesn't seem all that bad! I'd like our house to look really nice but it seems like an uphill battle and a money pit.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I don't have a number for you, but is does seem like there's ALWAYS something that needs changed, fixed, updated or replaced, doesn't it? I think that's always a shock for home buyers.

For some people--renting IS the answer. In some cases, it just makes more sense. But overall, real estate is usually a good investment, especially if you are "in it" for the long haul.

I've always borrowed HALF of what the bank says I'm "approved" for and that definitely leaves wiggle room, so that has always helped us a great deal. So does enough of a down payment that PMI is not required. So does being otherwise debt free (no credit card debt, car payments, etc.
I just don't ever want to be a slave to a mortgage!

7 moms found this helpful

if it weren't for the fact that my husband is an absolute wizard with home repairs and renovations there's no way we could afford to live on this farm. there are always always always more things on the 'need to fix' list than he can keep up with.
khairete
S.

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I don't have a number for you, but is does seem like there's ALWAYS something that needs changed, fixed, updated or replaced, doesn't it? I think that's always a shock for home buyers.

For some people--renting IS the answer. In some cases, it just makes more sense. But overall, real estate is usually a good investment, especially if you are "in it" for the long haul.

I've always borrowed HALF of what the bank says I'm "approved" for and that definitely leaves wiggle room, so that has always helped us a great deal. So does enough of a down payment that PMI is not required. So does being otherwise debt free (no credit card debt, car payments, etc.
I just don't ever want to be a slave to a mortgage!

7 moms found this helpful

if it weren't for the fact that my husband is an absolute wizard with home repairs and renovations there's no way we could afford to live on this farm. there are always always always more things on the 'need to fix' list than he can keep up with.
khairete
S.

6 moms found this helpful

We factored home maintence into the cost of our house before we bought. The bank lender advisor we met with before we bought advised to plan for a minimum of $5,000 per year, more if we were buying a home over 15 years old, to plan for repairs and upkeep, so we just figured that into what we could spend. Then we opened up a specific savings account for that purpose. We "paid" that account like any other bill, $415/month. We were luck enough the first year not to have much beyond replacing the garbage disposal. The second year though we had to replace the furnace, which we were able to pay cash for because of that account.

6 moms found this helpful

OneandDone is wrong - I am a professional financial planner. Home ownership is NOT a good investment and never has been. Home ownership is a lifestyle choice. Historically, residential housing has returned just .4% annually from 1890 to 2004. I would love to see what the figure is these days (okay, I am in South FL and we are STILL in the toilet).

In addition to the above (and yes, even today you can do better with bonds!), there are other major problems with home ownership as an investment.
1. It is an illiquid investment - it is not easy to cash out and not normally quick.
2. High leverage - you normally borrow A LOT in order to purchase.
3. No diversification - just this market and this location. You can get wiped out by natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, etc.) or wiped out by your location becoming a disaster (can you say condos in Miami).

So choosing to own a home usually has to do with wanting the things that can come with it: stability (for better or for worse), being able to make modifications you wish, backyards, etc.

Cheers,
C.

5 moms found this helpful

it sucks when everything goes at once. But overall - I would choose home ownership over renting ANY DAY!!!

My neighbor is renting - her landlord has taken TWO YEARS to fix the floors from a leak. She's moving out at the end of this month as the landlord doesn't want to put money into the house.

Nothing in our home is "easy" - what some would say is a "five minute" project? Turns into an all day thing!! no kidding - the ceiling fan in the master bedroom? Supposed to take about 15 minutes according to the directions - and in someone else's home - yep! Ours? Nope!! All freaking day! Wires, etc. urgh!!

Windows? I would replace them with more energy efficient ones. Yes, it's a big cost, however, so worth it in the long run!!!

We've lived here for 16 years. We have replaced the roof ($5K), replaced the windows ($7,500), replaced the garbage disposal ($250), replaced the garage door ($1500), painted the house (outside) $3K, replaced the family room floor (got a total steal on this project!!) $2,300!!!! Replaced the water heater ($400 as my husband did it himself). This has been spread over time.

I could pull out our books on the house and tell you - but really - each home and location is different.

I would replace all carpeting with hardwood floors - that's me. Next up is the kitchen - hopefully this summer - replace the floor, new refrigerator, dishwasher and add a pantry, above stove microwave and granite counter tops).

5 moms found this helpful

On average, 750 a year. I have owned the house for 20 years and 16 of them nothing major has gone wrong.

I know renting is not cheaper it is just easier to budget. After all in 15 years I will have no house payments or rent, ya know?

We built which may be why there is a difference in numbers from most. This year is the roof but apparently that is storm damage so the insurance gets that one. :)

5 moms found this helpful

Prioritize the repairs.

Older homes have different issues than newer ones. We had to get our sewer main replaced, but we got $1K back and it's apparently "time" for the homes in our area. Plumbing companies were busy a few years back. We have an appliance warranty that has paid for things like repairs to the air conditioner, replacing the garbage disposal, and replacing a dryer, water heater and dishwasher. DH is our number cruncher and he says it's still in our favor and we're eyeballing an old furnace.

It can be a lot, but I try to keep the long view. When I rented, we paid nearly as much in rent, PLUS utilities, plus pet rent and that was 9 years ago. Friends renting a similar townhome currently are paying $2K a month, which is more than our mortgage.

4 moms found this helpful

I agree - it's a shock to go from renting and just calling the landlord to having to fix and pay for everything yourself! We've had to replace our heater which was extremely expensive. Then, just over a year later, had additional problems with the heating system that cost yet another arm and leg! OUr hot water heater was supposedly under warranty. The pilot light would not stay lit. We called the warranty repairman - said nothing was wrong but if we wanted him to clean it out, he would charge us $75. We said no thanks and vacuumed it out ourselves. Then we called a friend who is a plumber and he looked at the hot water heater and also said nothing wrong. After 2 years of constantly lighting the pilot light (about 2 - 3 times per day!) we were no longer able to get it lit and had to replace it! We had leaking plumbing that also had to be fixed.
Yes, it's cost us plenty but I still enjoy knowing that the house is ours and that we can't be summarily evicted and we do take pride in home ownership!

3 moms found this helpful

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