Home Ownership Expenses You Might Not Expect

I had the chance to participate in an interview by Tali Wee at Zillow. I was able to share our experience as a first time homebuyer. I was one of a few bloggers who shared their experience including bloggers from Financially Blonde, Stacking Benjamins, Student Debt Survivor, Save and Conquer, Retire by 40, Fitnancials, and Wise Dollar.

Check out the article….

Below is more Q&A that didn’t make it on the interview.

1.      Tell me about the homeownership expenses you planned for prior to purchase. What saving strategies did you use and have you used your budgets as expected?

We planned for a 20% downpayment, closing costs, and an initial fund to do some needed repairs. We were very aggressive with saving our money prior to buying our house. We were saving over 50% of our income. We didn’t go out very often and we tried to eat home.

2.       What are the most costly expenses you pay as a homeowner that you did not pay as a renter?

Maintenance has been the most costly expense. So far, we have had to call a plumber to fix a leak, the exterminator to exterminate, and now, our garbage disposal is broken. $100 here and there adds up.

3.       Is homeownership what you imagined it would be? Please elaborate.

Yes and no. I thought updating the house would be a lot more fun. It is! I love the end result, but it takes time and money. I love having our own place and being a little further away from neighbors.

4.       What advice do you have for a prospective homebuyer budgeting to purchase a home and become a homeowner?

Plan to have a 20% down payment saved up, additional savings for closing costs, and shop for your mortgage. I found out later Capital One would have given me a small refund on closing costs. Don’t be in a rush to buy furniture and update your house. Take your time and save your pennies!

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  • It’s really true that the little things add up! We were well prepared for our home purchase, and I’m pretty handy in the maintenance department, but even parts and supplies can be shockingly expensive. Especially if you go with long-lasting quality materials.

    Home Depot has showed up on our CC statement a lot more in the past two year! That’s for sure!

    • We’re learning to be handy. HAH! Or more like it doesn’t bug us our garbage disposal is broken. Just waiting for my dad to come fix it over the holidays.
      Sometimes I wonder if we should have bought newer, nicer, more expensive house. We have a fixer upper and the thoughts of the projects sometimes overwhelm me. But then I think about how we will own our house in 14.5 years. We could have probably spent close to $200K but we decided to only spend $140K. Time will tell I guess.

  • There was a period of time when I was all about purchasing a home vs. renting an apartment. The biggest reason was equity. However, over the past couple of years, I’ve come to the realization of how lazy I really am. I’m leaning towards living in a studio apartment for a good while, mainly because I don’t like spending time fixing stuff, and I don’t like having many material possessions. I get that having your own space away from others is nice, but I guess growing up in Japan has made my tolerance for living in small spaces a bit higher than the average American, and a whole lot higher than the average Texan lol.

  • I totally agree on all of these points! Home ownership is really rewarding, but not at all what I had anticipated. Maintenance and repairs, for example, you should expect to cost double what your estimate was, LOL. Also, while paint is relatively cheap, the act of painting takes waaaay longer than I ever thought it would!
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