There tend to be a few common costs that buyers overlook when they purchase their home. Today, I have a full list of these items that will help buyers avoid getting surprised by extra costs.

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When you buy a home, there are some hidden costs that you should be aware of.

While the home shopping process can be exciting, certain costs tend to sneak up on buyers. Here are some key tips to help you be fully informed when buying:

1. Property taxes. Of your monthly house payments, property taxes are the item that can fluctuate the most during the lifetime of your mortgage. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the assessed value of your home and the tax rates in the area you chose. If the seller you’re buying from did a great job with home renovations but they’re not reflected in the assessed value, be prepared for the potential of your property taxes jumping up in the next year or so.

2. Insurance costs. Many people have a general idea of homeowners insurance based on the value of the home they buy, but some special considerations can greatly affect the costs. For example, acreages that are long distances from a fire station can cause the cost to go up exponentially. Another would be having an in-ground swimming pool. If you have any special circumstances, be sure to check what your insurance agent’s rate is.


3. Utility bills. Here in Iowa when we go from five below to 105 degrees over the course of the year, we really use our heating and cooling systems. It’s important to get a sense of the cost of running and maintaining them, and it’s very easy for us to get a 12- to 24-month average from a provider. Having that knowledge up front really helps you prepare.

4. Maintenance costs. We all know there will be maintenance involved—it’s part of the fun of owning a new place. There are, however, some things people don’t think about as much. Older homes, for example, will have a great, mature landscape with lots of trees and plants, but it can be costly to maintain with watering and other maintenance costs. With newer homes, people often overlook things like the cost of window treatments, landscaping installation, and all the things you need to buy because no one has lived there before.

All these items are very easy to overcome; it’s all about having the knowledge up front instead of getting surprised down the road.

If you have any other questions about the costs of homeownership or you’re thinking about buying or selling a central Iowa home, just give me a call. I’d be happy to help you!