Homeowner Expenses Renters Don’t Have

Mike Capelle, Broker/OwnerMike Capelle, Broker/Owner

For many, buying a home represents a rite of passage in life. Most of us strive for it, and most American households do own their homes. However, today more people are choosing renting over buying, and the home ownership rate in the United States has actually fallen to the lowest in more than 19 years.

Owning a home is costlier than you might imagine — one reason that many hold off on the homeowner path. So before you meet with a real estate agent, consider these five homeowner expenses that renters don’t usually pay. They could make you question whether you’re really ready for homeownership.

Property taxes

The Median California property tax is $2839.00, with exact property tax rates varying by location and county. Do an Internet search for the property tax rate for your city or county. Multiple the rate times the potential cost of a home and divide by 12 to get an estimated monthly property tax expense.

Homeowners insurance

In very broad terms, expect to pay about $35 per month for every $100,000 of home value, though it depends on your city and state and even the area where you expect to buy. Talking to your renters insurance provider about homeowners insurance is a good place to start.

Maintenance repairs

The remodeled home of your dreams might pass your home inspection with flying colors, but that doesn’t mean those renovations will last forever. Conventional water heaters last about a decade, with a new one costing you between $500 to $1,500 on average. Air conditioning units don’t typically last much longer than 15 years, and an asphalt shingle roof won’t serve you too well after 20 years.

And don’t forget about those small repairs that you won’t be calling a landlord about anymore. Did your fridge water filter light come on? Notice a tear in your window screen? Can’t get your toilet to stop running? What about those burned out light bulbs in your hallway? You get the idea.

Owning a home means you (should have) planned beyond the down payment for typical ongoing and annual maintenance expenses, too. A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending at least 1 of a home’s value annually on maintenance and repairs. Of course, this amount increases as your home ages.

HOA fees

Sure, that monthly mortgage payment seems affordable, but don’t forget to take into account homeowners’ association (HOA) fees for perks like your fitness center, neighborhood landscaping, community pool, and other common areas. While renters’ garage, gym, and pool access are usually covered in their rent, when you own your home you’re paying for these amenities beyond your mortgage payment.


When you’re renting, it’s common for your apartment or landlord to cover some costs. When you own your home, you’re in charge of covering it all—water, electric, gas, Internet, and cable.

The cost of your utilities when living in an apartment is quite different than what you’ll pay if you own your home. Many factors play a role when estimating how much you’ll pay for utilities — like the size of your home and the climate you live in.

— Source: Zillow Blog

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