Homeowners can spend a lot on hidden costs

SEATTLE and SAN FRANCISCO — Nationally, U.S. homeowners can expect to spend $9,080 a year on average in hidden costs related to owning and maintaining a home, according to a new analysis from Zillow® and Thumbtacki. Since nearly half (47 percent) of home shoppers today are first-time buyers, many of these extra costs may come as a surpriseii.

To help with budgeting, Zillow and Thumbtack identified several common but often overlooked home expenses and calculated what homeowners could expect to pay for them around the country. The analysis also included utility cost estimates from UtilityScore.

Nationally, homeowners pay an average $6,059 per year in to cover homeowners insurance, property taxes and utilities, three common, but sometimes overlooked home expenses. San Francisco homeowners pay the most of the metros analyzed ($13,019 a year), primarily due to the market’s high home values and property taxes. Indianapolis homeowners pay the least at $4,699.

Most U.S. homeowners (96 percent) have made some kind of improvement to their homeiii. While many complete these projects themselves, those who hire a professional can expect to spend more than $3,021 a year on average for carpet cleaning, yard work, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning and pressure washing, the six most common hired home projects requested by homeowners on Thumbtack. Labor costs can vary significantly by region, with Seattle homeowners paying as much as $4,052 a year on average for those six projects, whereas in San Antonio they pay just $1,962 on average.

“Determining how much a home will ultimately cost you each year and what you can afford is one of the most challenging aspects of home buying, especially for first-time buyers,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist. “Before starting a home search, take a good look at your finances to determine a monthly payment range you can comfortably afford. While that big back yard or larger home may be appealing, it is important to consider how much maintaining those spaces could cost you.”

“While it may be tempting for homeowners to think they can cut costs by doing home maintenance projects themselves, hiring a trained professional to take them on can save them time, anxiety and most likely money in the long run,” said Lucas Puente, Thumbtack‘s Economist. “Across the U.S., buyers should be prepared to spend at least a few thousand a year in home maintenance costs.”

To help buyers better understand the total cost of homeownership, Zillow Group, Inc. launched RealEstate.com®, a website that allows people to search for homes by the “All-In Monthly Price” of owning that home, like utilities, taxes, HOA’s and closing costs. With more than a third of buyers going over budget, knowing all the extra or hidden costs associated with homeownership can help buyers set more realistic budgetiv. 

Metro Name Estimated Median Home Value Total Commonly Overlooked Costs (property taxes, insurance and utility estimates from UtilityScore) Total Home Maintenance Costs (carpet cleaning, yard care, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning) Total Hidden Costs of Homeownership (Overlooked costs + outsourced maintenance projects) 
United States $ 199,200 $ 6,059 $ 3,021 $ 9,080
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $ 606,500 $ 9,622 $ 2,934 $ 12,556
Chicago, IL $ 210,200 $ 7,833 $ 2,589 $ 10,423
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX $ 209,200 $ 7,629 $ 2,082 $ 9,711
Philadelphia, PA $ 218,300 $ 8,117 $ 2,808 $ 10,925
Houston, TX $ 175,800 $ 7,189 $ 2,610 $ 9,799
Washington, DC $ 383,200 $ 8,764 $ 2,579 $ 11,342
Atlanta, GA $ 178,700 $ 6,896 $ 2,487 $ 9,383
Boston, MA $ 425,500 $ 10,807 $ 3,570 $ 14,377
San Francisco, CA $ 851,900 $ 13,019 $ 3,271 $ 16,290
Detroit, MI $ 140,900 $ 5,660 $ 2,485 $ 8,145
Riverside, CA $ 326,800 $ 7,576 $ 2,633 $ 10,209
Phoenix, AZ $ 235,100 $ 5,912 $ 2,455 $ 8,366
Seattle, WA $ 440,100 $ 8,872 $ 4,052 $ 12,924
Minneapolis-St Paul, MN $ 247,100 $ 6,178 $ 2,650 $ 8,828
San Diego, CA $ 543,400 $ 10,392 $ 3,096 $ 13,488
St. Louis, MO $ 148,700 $ 5,499 $ 2,288 $ 7,787
Baltimore, MD $ 260,400 $ 7,000 $ 2,591 $ 9,592
Denver, CO $ 368,200 $ 6,134 $ 2,318 $ 8,451
Pittsburgh, PA $ 136,900 $ 5,593 $ 3,079 $ 8,671
Portland, OR $ 363,800 $ 8,189 $ 3,674 $ 11,863
Charlotte, NC $ 173,200 $ 4,986 $ 2,415 $ 7,401
Sacramento, CA $ 366,500 $ 7,663 $ 2,406 $ 10,069
San Antonio, TX $ 160,400 $ 6,170 $ 1,962 $ 8,131
Cincinnati, OH $ 151,600 $ 5,570 $ 3,237 $ 8,807
Cleveland, OH $ 134,000 $ 6,282 $ 2,471 $ 8,753
Kansas City, MO $ 158,200 $ 5,778 $ 2,486 $ 8,264
Columbus, OH $ 161,900 $ 5,828 $ 2,425 $ 8,252
Indianapolis, IN $ 137,700 $ 4,699 $ 2,424 $ 7,123
Austin, TX $ 271,000 $ 9,465 $ 2,235 $ 11,700
Virginia Beach, VA $ 222,200 $ 5,915 $ 2,337 $ 8,253
i Zillow and Thumbtack's Hidden Costs Homeownership report factored in three common, but sometimes overlooked monthly expenses (property taxes, homeowners insurance and utilities from Utility Score) as well as six basic home prep costs from Thumbtack. Thumbtack looked at tens of thousands of quotes from small business professionals around the country and determined the average cost for each expense within the selected metros. For the purposes of this analysis, carpet cleaning, yard work, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning and pressure washing were identified as six of the most popular home maintenance-related projects.  ii According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trendsiii According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trendsiv According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.

SOURCE Zillow