Biggest Cost Surprises to Homebuyers

By Kelly Leighton | March 27, 2023 | 2 min. read

Ninety percent of homeowners said the real costs of owning a property were more than they had expected.

A recent survey from Real Estate Witch found that property taxes were the biggest expense surprise to 33%, while renovations were more costly than expected for 27% and an additional 27% said utilities were costlier than they had planned for. Roof work, maintenance and homeowners insurance were also more expensive than anticipated to about a quarter of respondents. Not including mortgage payments, the report found that the average buyer spends an additional $17,459 on their home every year. This includes utilities, maintenance, home improvement projects, property taxes and homeowners insurance. Utilities took up the majority at $4,975 annually, but maintenance wasn’t far behind at $4,283, followed by renovations at $3,890.

Painting or staining was the most popular type of maintenance at 55%, followed by plumbing at 48% and replacing a major appliance at 42%. Homeowners reported spending 17.1 hours a month on maintenance and improvements, representing 205 hours a year. In addition to maintenance, home renovation projects are another costly expense, but many homeowners are planning to tackle them within the next five years. Kitchen remodels (34%), bathroom remodels (33%) and outdoor improvements (such as landscaping, fencing, etc.) (33%) are the most common projects planned.

However with recent inflation, it’s no surprise homeowners are feeling it too when it comes to keeping up their homes. Eighty-five percent said inflation has affected their cost of homeownership and 35% said it has impacted them majorly.

Despite challenges and surprises, 91% of homeowners said they feel proud about owning a home, while 81% said homeownership remains part of the American dream.

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