Homeownership Expenses That Your Clients May Overlook

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By the time buyers contact you for help in making a real estate purchase, they’ve likely considered their budget and determined how much they can afford to spend on a new home. They’ve probably considered a down payment, mortgage payments, closing costs, taxes, and insurance. Your buyers even may have obtained pre-approval from a lender. Even when they’ve been very thorough, buyers may overlook or underestimate some of these common homeownership expenses:

Lawn care

Caring for turf, gardens, shrubbery, and trees can add up, even for do-it-yourself homeowners and for those with smaller yards. Buyers will likely have expenses for gardening equipment, fertilizer, weed killer, mulch, plants, lawn and garden products, plus any professional care. If there are trees on the property, buyers will need to budget for regular trimming, fertilization, and removal of hanging tree limbs that can fall and damage roofs, windows, and other trees, shrubbery, and plants.

Snow removal

In some climates, homeowners will need to contract for snow removal from driveways, walkways, and the roof or budget for snow removal equipment to do the job themselves.

Chimney cleaning

If the home has a wood-burning fireplace, regular chimney maintenance is necessary for fire safety. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” The Chimney Safety Institute of America also recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be swept at 1/8″ of sooty buildup and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system.

General maintenance

Depending on the size and condition of the property, there can be a variety of seasonal and annual expenses associated with filter changes, roof repair, caulking, sealing, and other upkeep.

Termite and pest control

Protecting a home from termite and other pest infestations can vary according to region. Still most homes need some level of protection from termites as well as other common household nuisances, including rodents, ants, flies, roaches, bed bugs, and others.

Swimming pool/spa maintenance

If the property has a swimming pool and/or spa, there will be costs associated with cleaning, chemicals, filters, pump maintenance and repairs, and possibly winterization in some climates.

Automatic irrigation maintenance

Lawn sprinkler systems can be convenient but will require expenses for system inspections, winterization, replacement of sprinkler heads and lines as needed, plus water utility costs.

Repair or replacement costs

Home system and appliance component failures due to normal wear and tear are an inevitable part of homeownership. Per-trade estimated repair or replacement costs* that homeowners without home warranty coverage could experience include:

  • Plumbing up to $1,200
  • Appliances up to $1,500
  • Heating up to $3,625
  • Cooling up to $3,800
  • Pool and spa up to $600

An American Home Shield® home warranty offers your clients budget protection for covered home system component breakdowns at special Real Estate Edition prices. In addition to industry-leading home warranty coverage, your clients can choose from customizable plans specifically designed for the needs of home buyers and sellers.

Helping your clients consider basic home maintenance costs can help them with more than budgeting. When your clients have an accurate understanding of the expenses required in homeownership, they’re more likely to enjoy their new home and be happy with their real estate purchase.

*Based on the 2019 ClearVantage report “A Study of Homeowners’ Appliance and Home System Service Experiences.” The “up to” costs listed above are in the 80th percentile of repair or replacement of high cost items in each category.

To learn more about our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog.

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