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How Much Does it Cost to Keep a Home?

When it comes to setting aside money to maintain the home one buys, conventional wisdom suggests setting aside 1 percent of the homes total cost for annual routine maintenance expenses.

But a new study by Porch.com [1]found that conventional logic to be lacking in the face of actual costs to maintain a home. Nationally, according to the study, it costs on average just over $16,000 a year to maintain a home properly. That number gets higher in 19 states and Washington, D.C., though.

In particular, it's most expensive to maintain a home in the Northeast. In New Jersey and Washington, D.C., the average annual maintenance cost is above $18,000. In Connecticut and Maryland, it's above $17,000, the report stated.

The South, in general, is where it costs least to maintain the average home. Annual maintenance in Mississippi was just below $15,000. In West Virginia and Arkansas, annual costs averaged just above the $15,000 mark, the report found.

But even so, state averages take into account some large fluctuations at the ZIP code level. Take Illinois, where the state average for annual maintenance costs is about $16,300. But in Kenilworth, about 20 miles north of Chicago, the median cost to buy a home is nearly $1.5 million, and the average annual cost to maintain the median home is $27,661, according to Porch.

Meanwhile, Hutsonville, about 200 miles due south of Chicago, on the Indiana border, averaged roughly $12,600 in annual maintenance fees, the report found.

In some states, the difference between the most and least expensive properties to maintain (by ZIP code) can be enormous. In Illinois, the above example spells out a 120 percent differential. New York and California are close, with differentials of 117 and 114 percent, respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, Idaho, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Louisiana had the smallest percentages between cities with the most expensive cost of housing upkeep and the least expensive. The difference from most to least expensive in Louisiana is 42 percent; for the others, it's 35 to 36 percent.

Much of the expenses associated with annual maintenance come from amenities like pools, Porch reported.

“If you decide to buy a house with a pool, expect to pay for cleanings roughly every two months,” the report stated. “At an average of $105 per job, that's no small commitment.”

There's also replacing the pool filter once every couple years, typically at a cost around $1,800 a pop. Add this onto the cost of lawn maintenance and money set aside for renovations or one-off projects like plumbing or roof work, and the dollars add up, the report found.