From “Leave It to Beaver” to “Modern Family,” for decades Americans have seen an image of home ownership that typically consists of a yard, a white picket fence, and friendly neighbours.
What those shows leave out is the thousands of dollars in hidden costs that come with the neighbourhood potlucks.
According to a release from real-estate firm Zillow and Thumbtack, a service that helps consumers find maintenance professionals, the sticker price on a house in some of America’s major cities is only the start.
On average, American homeowners in 15 of the largest metro areas pay $US9,477 annually on “hidden” costs such as homeowners’ insurance, property taxes, and maintenance costs.
Zillow refers to these costs as hidden because many people purchasing a home budget for the down payment or monthly mortgage payments but don’t factor in the cost of maintaining a backyard.
The report breaks hidden costs into two categories: unavoidable and optional maintenance. Because of high property taxes and harsh weather, the Boston-metro area has the highest unavoidable costs and combined annual costs with $US9,413 and $US13,930 spent, respectively.
The Bay Area led optional maintenance costs with an average of $US4,653 annually.
The report notes that while home prices may be similar in different areas, the hidden costs can vary widely.
“For example, median home values in Phoenix and Philadelphia are fairly comparable at $US201,800 and $US200,500, respectively. However, buyers in Philadelphia could spend an additional $US3,648 every year to cover the same hidden, unavoidable costs as a homeowner in Phoenix, and an extra $US755 per year in maintenance costs,” the report said.
Thumbtack chief economist Jon Lieber said in the report that it is “imperative for buyers to consider these inherent maintenance costs when budgeting for their big purchase.”
We must have missed the episode of “The Brady Bunch” in which they paid homeowners’ insurance.
Here’s a breakdown of costs across the US: