Buyers too often focus on a home’s list price or mortgage payment to determine what they can afford. However, the numerous less-obvious costs associated with homeownership can affect the monthly bottom line.
To help home buyers budget more accurately, Zillow and Thumbtack identified several common but often overlooked home expenses and calculated what homeowners around the country could expect to pay for them. The analysis also included utility cost estimates from UtilityScore.
While each extra expense might seem small, they cost U.S. homeowners, on average, $9,080 a year, according to the report.
Nationally, homeowners pay an average of $6,059 a year in unavoidable costs, which include homeowners insurance, property taxes and utilities. Since nearly half (47 percent) of home shoppers today are first-time buyers, many of these extra costs may come as a surprise.
San Francisco homeowners pay the most of the metros analyzed ($13,019 on average), primarily due to the market's high home values and property taxes. Indianapolis homeowners pay the least ($4,699).
Nearly all homeowners (96 percent) have made some kind of improvement to their homes, according to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. While many complete these projects themselves, those who pay professionals can expect to spend an average of $3,021 for the six most common hired home projects requested by Thumbtack users: carpet cleaning, yard work, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning and pressure washing.
Labor costs can vary significantly by region, with Seattle homeowners paying as much as $4,052 a year on average for those six projects, while San Antonio homeowners pay an average of $1,962.
More than a third of buyers go over budget on a home purchase. To help buyers better understand the total cost of homeownership, Zillow Group launched RealEstate.com, a website that allows people to search by the "All-In Monthly Price" of owning that home. In addition to the mortgage, the price includes estimated property taxes, insurance, PMI, utilities, taxes, HOA fees and closing costs.
Curious how much these hidden homeownership costs are in your area? Here's a breakdown of the metros analyzed in the report: