9 Homeowner Costs Beyond Your Mortgage

Quick Answer

In addition to making your monthly mortgage payment, be prepared to pay (or save) for property taxes, insurance, repairs, maintenance, HOA fees and maybe more.

A young couple chatting about home finances.

How much does your home cost? When you're trying to decide how much house you can afford or how to stretch your monthly budget to cover home expenses, there's more to consider than your monthly mortgage payment. Homeowners should prepare to pay for a variety of expenses beyond a mortgage, including taxes, insurance, utilities and repairs. Here's a quick tour of nine non-mortgage homeowner expenses to consider in your financial planning.

1. Property Taxes

Property taxes cover the costs of public services and infrastructure like schools and street maintenance. Although tax rates vary from one location to another, in general you'll pay a flat tax rate multiplied by your property's assessed value.

For example, if you buy a home for $400,000 and your local property tax rate is 1.5%, your annual property tax bill will be $6,000. You may pay this bill as a lump sum or (depending on policies in your area) you may be able to split it into payments. In some cases, your mortgage lender may collect 1/12 of your annual property tax bill along with your monthly mortgage payment and use it to pay your bill when it's due.

According to the nonprofit Tax Foundation, average effective property tax rates range from 0.32% in Hawaii to 2.23% in New Jersey. To learn more about property tax in your area, check with your local taxing authority.

2. Homeowners Insurance

In the past few years, homeowners insurance rates have been on the rise. According to insurance site Matic, the average homeowners insurance premium increased 8.6% to $1,700 for new policies in 2023. Comparing policies from multiple insurance companies can help ensure you're getting the best value on home insurance. You can use online search tools to compare quotes from multiple companies at once.

3. Private Mortgage Insurance

If you purchased your home with less than a 20% down payment, you may be required to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which protects the lender if you stop making loan payments. PMI may be paid upfront at the time of closing or as part of your monthly mortgage payment. Typical costs range from 0.5% of the total loan amount to more than 2% per year. Your exact mortgage insurance costs will be included in your closing documents when buying a home.

4. Utilities

Wherever you live, basic utilities such as electricity, gas, water, trash and internet will add to your monthly home expenses. Not-so-basic utilities like cable and streaming services or home security can add to the mix.

You can ask about utility bills when you're buying a home if you want to estimate your monthly costs ahead of time. You also may be able to save on utility costs by installing energy-saving appliances or cutting back on energy and water usage once you move in. If you'd like your eligible on-time utility bill payments to factor into credit scores based on your Experian credit report, consider signing up for Experian Boost®ø.

5. Homeowner Association Fees

Homeowner association (HOA) fees connected to your condo building, townhome or managed community will add to your monthly housing expense. These fees may go toward insurance and utility costs, or maintenance of common areas and amenities. Though HOA fees can range into the hundreds of dollars monthly, they may replace some common expenses like utility costs.

6. Routine Maintenance

Maintaining a home is a never-ending project. Routine maintenance might include house cleaning, HVAC service, pest control, roof replacement or plumbing repairs, to name just a few examples. Although you can try to economize on home maintenance, it usually isn't wise to skip it: You may end up paying more to repair poorly maintained home infrastructure later. Home services site Angi estimates the average homeowner spent $2,458, or just over $200 per month, on home maintenance in 2023.

7. Landscape and Pool Maintenance

Even if your outdoor living space is in decent shape, you'll need to budget for maintenance and repairs. According to Angi estimates, average costs for lawn mowing services range from $50 to $250 per mow; tree trimming averages $1,800. If you need to repair or replace a fence, retaining wall, deck or hardscape (or can see you'll need to do this in the future), consider setting aside money to cover the eventual expense.

Pools add an average of $230 to your monthly maintenance costs, according to Angi. Pool repairs average between $85 and $3,200.

8. Emergency Repairs

By their very nature, emergency repairs are unpredictable—and so are their costs. Consider that a typical roof replacement costs $9,267, while an average water heater replacement costs $1,303, not including any water damage or extra plumbing repairs that might go along with it.

Though it can be hard to budget precisely for emergency repairs, it's essential to create an emergency repair fund—or account for this potential in your general emergency fund. Some emergency repairs may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy, but even so, deductibles and non-covered expenses can add up.

9. Appliances

Appliances are considered durable goods, but that doesn't mean they'll function forever. According to estimates from the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, these common household appliances have a lifespan of five to 17 years:

Expected Lifespan of Household Appliances
Appliance Estimated Lifespan
Refrigerator Nine to 13 years
Washer Five to 15 years
Dryer 13 years
Dishwasher Nine years
Electric Range 13 to 15 years
Gas Range 15 to 17 years

Source: National Association of Certified Home Inspectors

HomeAdvisor estimates an average cost of $2,175 for each new appliance, which means costs can add up quickly. Take stock of your home's appliances and their condition, and start preparing for their inevitable replacement.

How to Save for Homeowners Expenses

Make room in your monthly budget for recurring home expenses such as mortgage payments, utilities and HOA fees. For planned and unplanned repair and maintenance expenses, you may want to implement a few different strategies to make sure you're covered.

  • Contribute to an emergency fund. Emergencies are going to happen. Most financial experts recommend keeping the equivalent of three to six months' worth of expenses in a high-yield savings or money market account to help cover the cost of unplanned expenses like emergency home repairs. If you need to tap your emergency fund for home repairs, don't forget to replenish it.
  • Add sinking funds for taxes, maintenance or renovations. Additionally, you may want to create sinking funds—or specially directed savings—to cover planned expenses such as property taxes, appliance replacement, repairs or renovations. Budgeting 1% to 4% of your home's value for an all-purpose maintenance fund is another way to approach funding. By building a healthy savings balance, you'll be prepared to tackle a variety of home repair, maintenance and improvement projects without sinking into debt.

The Bottom Line

A first step in managing the many costs of homeownership is recognizing what those costs will be. Knowing how to take taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs into account can help you set a realistic budget, create a savings plan and maybe even find room for extras like fresh paint, updated flooring or a bathroom remodel. Once you know, you know.