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The Price Tag of Owning a Home

Buying a house is usually expensive, but the money doesn't stop flowing out once the deal is closed. Costs associated with caring for a property can run many homeowners as much as $9,390 every year, according to an analysis by Zillow and Thumbtack.

Property taxes, utilities, and homeowners insurance are necessary expenses tend to add up fast for homeowners.

“Nationally, these costs add up to $6,327 per year, but can be much higher in more expensive markets,” the report stated. “In San Jose, where the typical home is worth $1,287,600, these costs add up to $17,255 per year, the highest of any market analyzed. By contrast, these costs add up to $5,540 annually in Indianapolis, less than one-third of the San Jose total.”

Another cost homeowners often do not consider until it starts affecting their pocketbooks is professional services—house cleaning, lawn care, carpet cleaning, central air and heating system repairs, gutter cleaning, and pressure washing, among others.

According to the report, the average cost of these tasks nationally is $3,067 per year.

“Labor costs vary in different parts of the country,” the report stated, “so these jobs can be much more expensive depending on where someone lives.”

In Portland, for example, homeowners can expect to pay $3,810 per year for these projects, compared with the $2,570 owners in Miami can expect to spend, the report found.

"Ongoing maintenance costs and annual fees are some of the most common surprises for first-time home buyers after they finally become homeowners,” said Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas. “While they are shopping, buyers tend to focus on their monthly mortgage payments, but other needs quickly add up after move-in. The list price is just the beginning of understanding the costs that come with being a homeowner, and it's important to understand what other expenses you may have to account for when determining what you can afford."

Lucas Puente, the lead economist at Thumbtack, added that many basic maintenance costs “are often overlooked when calculating the cost of buying a home. It's imperative that those looking to buy a home do their homework to avoid any surprise charges."

About Author: Scott Morgan

Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He's been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing.

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