Annual Expenses of Homeownership

Which areas of your home need yearly maintenance? Here's the rundown.
Cleaning Gutters

Cleaning Gutters

man cleaning gutters while standing on a ladder.

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With a new home comes new expenses. By now, you should know that the cost of homeownership is more than just the monthly mortgage payment. You also have your property taxes, homeowner's insurance, HOA fees, utilities and maintenance costs, which can add up to thousands of extra dollars per year.

For home maintenance and repairs, most experts recommend setting aside 1 percent to 3 percent of the purchase price of your home each year. So what does this money cover?

Here are some items that need yearly maintenance:

  • Gutters and downspouts - Each fall, leaves and other debris need to be removed from your gutters and downspouts so water can flow freely through them away from your home.
  • Chimney - If you have a chimney, you should have it professionally cleaned each year to remove the build-up of creosote, a flammable substance that coats your chimney as wood burns.
  • Safety devices - Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors at least twice a year. Also, check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers and make sure they’re working properly.
  • Refrigerator - If you have a coil-back refrigerator, vacuum the coils at least twice a year to make it run more efficiently.
  • Heating system - Have your furnace professionally checked and cleaned each year before it comes time to heat your home.
  • Air conditioning - Have your air conditioning system checked each year as well, and clean or replace the filters monthly.

In addition to your yearly maintenance, other areas of your home will need occasional upkeep and repair.

Here are some areas to check on for signs of wear and tear:

  • Foundation - At least once a year, look for cracks in your home’s foundation. Small cracks are normal but can become problematic if they expand. If caught early, a minor crack can cost $400 to $800 to fix, but replacing an entire foundation can cost $10,000 or more.
  • Roof - Check for leaks around vents, skylights and chimneys. Look for loose shingles and reattach them before they let water leak into your home.
  • Basement - Check basement walls and floors for dampness. If you find moisture, have the area professionally inspected to find out if you have a leak.
  • Siding - Look for cracks, holes and peeling areas in your home’s siding or paint. Make touch-ups if necessary.
  • Doors and windows - Check windows and doors for leaks. If necessary, apply weather stripping to keep drafts out.
  • Caulking - Inspect caulking around tubs, showers and sinks. If the caulking has pulled away, scrape it out and recaulk it.
  • Faucets - Check all of your home’s faucets for leaks and repair as needed.
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