Here’s an eye-opener: American homeowners can expect to spend between $7,000 and $16,000 a year in hidden or unexpected costs related to owning and maintaining a home. From unexpected maintenance expenses to property taxes, utilities and insurance, that’s an average of $9,080 per year in extra costs.
To help with budgeting, Zillow and Thumbtack have identified several common but often overlooked home expenses and calculated what homeowners around the country could expect to pay for them in the Hidden Costs of Homeownership Report. The analysis looks at two of the largest unavoidable home costs: property taxes and homeowners insurance, as well as six common home maintenance projects: house cleaning, lawn care, carpet cleaning, gutter cleaning, pressure washing and HVAC maintenance.
Among the findings:
San Francisco homeowners have the highest hidden homeownership costs of all the metros analyzed, at nearly $16,300 a year. This is largely due to the area’s high home prices — both property taxes and homeowners insurance are determined as a percentage of a home’s value. Homeowners in Indianapolis pay the least at just $7,123 on average for the same eight costs.
For buyers relocating to a different area of the country, the difference in home prices and homeownership costs will vary depending on where they move. For example, median home values in Philadelphia and Nashville are comparable at $218,300 and $217,400, respectively. However, buyers in Philadelphia are likely to spend an additional $2,945 every year to cover the same unavoidable costs as a homeowner in Nashville, and an extra $811 a year on basic home maintenance costs.
Seattle homeowners pay $4,052 a year on average for the eight most common home maintenance projects identified in the analysis. Lawn care and carpet cleaning are particularly expensive in Seattle compared to other metros.
Top 10 Cities with the Highest Cost of Home Maintenance
The cities with the highest total cost of hidden homeownership costs (including carpet cleaning, yard care, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance and house cleaning) are:
- Seattle $4,052
- Portland $3,674
- Boston $3,570
- San Francisco $3,271
- Cincinnati $3,237
- San Diego $3,096
- Pittsburgh $3,079
- Los Angeles $2,934
- Philadelphia $2,808
- Minneapolis $2,650
The national average for home maintenance costs (minus unavoidable costs like property taxes, insurance and utilities) is $3,021.
Almost all of U.S. homeowners (96 percent) have made some improvement to their home, from painting and redecorating to a full kitchen overhaul. The most common maintenance-related projects where owners hire a professional include air conditioning maintenance, furnace/HVAC maintenance, chimney cleaning and pest control.
For more information, including median home values and the total cost of home ownership in the top cities in the country, check out the full Hidden Costs of Homeownership Report.