Average Expenses & Costs of Owning a Home for 2020

The dream of homeownership is one that many of our Addition Financial members share. That’s one of the reasons we love working with first-time homebuyers – to help them achieve their dream.

One of the things that a lot of homebuyers have in common is a fundamental misunderstanding of the costs of owning a home. It’s understandable that a first-time buyer wouldn’t have a firm grasp of what their expenses will be after they buy a house.

With that in mind, we decided to create a list that explains what expenses and costs you should expect to pay when you own a home, as well as how much they cost as of 2020. Here’s what you need to know.

Down Payment

The first big cost associated with owning a home is the down payment. Down payments are always calculated as a percentage of the home’s price and can range from 3% with certain FHA programs all the way up to 20% or more.

Calculating an average is tricky because there is a wide range of home prices. However, let’s take the median home price in Florida, which was $237,000 as of late 2019. Using that figure, your down payment could range from $7,110 at the low end to $47,400 at the high end.

Keep in mind that there are many down payment assistance programs and grants for first-time homebuyers, so you won’t necessarily need to save that much to be able to buy your first house.

Closing Costs

Closing costs can sometimes come as a surprise to first-time homebuyers. In Florida, the average closing costs are 1.98% of the purchase price of your home. That average includes many of the costs you might associate with a closing, including:

  • Attorney’s fees
  • Document preparation fees
  • Appraisal and inspection fees

What it doesn’t include is your property taxes, which we’ll talk about later, and something called the fee for documentary stamps. The fee is calculated at $0.70 per $100 of the purchase price. That means for a $200,000 mortgage, the documentary stamp fee would be $1,400.

Mortgage Payments

Mortgage payments are easily the best-known expenses associated with owning a home. Very few of us can afford to buy a home outright.

Mortgages are payable once a month. When you first buy your home, most of the money you pay will go toward the interest on your mortgage. As time goes on, you’ll pay more toward the principal.

According to the American Housing Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the median mortgage payment in the United States is $1,100 as of 2020. (They calculate the median because it gives a better picture of what people can expect than the average, which can be skewed by jumbo loans.)

The size of your mortgage payment will depend on various factors including:

  • The cost of your house
  • The size of your down payment
  • Your interest rate
  • The term of your mortgage

Buying a home in a major metropolitan area will always cost more than buying a home in a rural area.

New Homeowner Monthly Expense Worksheet

Insurance

You may have paid for some insurance as a renter, but as a homeowner, you’ll have additional policies that are necessary.

Mortgage Insurance

Let’s start with mortgage insurance. If you bought your home through the FHA, you will be required to buy mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in the event you default on your loan. The same is true with non-FHA loans if your down payment was less than 20% of the cost of your home.

Most mortgage insurance costs between 0.5% and 1% of the value of your loan on an annual basis. That means if you had a 1% premium and your mortgage was $200,000, you’d pay $2,000 per year. That’s $166.67 per month.

Homeowner’s Insurance

You’ll also need homeowner’s insurance. Again, the cost will depend upon the value of your home and where you live. Homeowner’s insurance will cover you if your home is damaged by weather – with some notable exceptions – or if you are robbed. Most policies also include personal liability coverage if someone is injured in your home.

The average annual premium for homeowner’s insurance in Florida is $1,993, which is significantly higher than the US national average of $1,173. Florida’s climate and worsening hurricane seasons account for the high premiums.

Car Insurance

We’re including car insurance on this list because your premiums may increase or decrease depending on where you were renting and where your house is located. For example, if you move from the inner city to a suburb, you will probably see a decrease in your premiums. If you buy in a high-crime area, you will most likely see an increase.

With any insurance, we recommend shopping around and getting quotes from at least five carriers before you buy a policy. You may be able to save money by bundling multiple policies with a single carrier.

Taxes

When you close on a new home, you’ll be required to make your first property tax payment. In Florida property taxes are billed annually and come due on March 31. (You will pay a prorated amount calculated from the date you take ownership of your house.)

Property taxes in Florida are among the lowest in the United States, coming in at an average of 0.98% of the home’s appraised value. That’s slightly lower than the United States average of 1.08%.

Some municipalities in Florida levy property taxes as well, and you should keep that in mind. Your property taxes must be paid every year and may change depending upon your home’s appraised value and amendments to existing laws.

Utilities

When you rent an apartment, you usually pay some utilities, including electricity, gas and cable/internet. However, homeowners are responsible for additional utilities, including:

  • Water usage
  • Sewer fees
  • Trash pickup fees
  • Recycling fees

The amount of your utility bills will vary depending on where you live and the size of your home. Here are some averages for homeowners:

  • Average electricity bill: $110
  • Average natural gas bill: $72
  • Average water bill: $70
  • Average trash/recycling bill: $14
  • Average cable bill: $85
  • Average internet bill: $60

The total average is $412 per month. These totals don’t include cell phone expenses, which will stay the same as when you were renting unless you switch carriers or change your plan.

Ongoing Maintenance and Repairs

The final category of expenses can also be the most difficult to define because there are many factors that contribute to it. When you’re a renter, ongoing maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of your landlord. When you own a home, they’re your responsibility.

Let’s look at some of the repair and maintenance costs that you may need to pay.

Security and Safety

Your family’s safety is a priority. When you move into a house, you’ll need to make sure that you have:

  • Working smoke detectors on every floor and inside every bedroom
  • Working carbon monoxide detectors on every floor
  • A sump pump to prevent flooding
  • New locks on the doors
  • A home security system (optional)

You should be prepared to change all the locks on your house when you move in since you can’t be sure who might have a key. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining your detectors and replacing the batteries every six months.

Internal Workings

The internal workings of your home are what will keep you and your family comfortable. Maintaining and repairing them is your job. Expenses may include:

  • Routine electrical maintenance and repair
  • Routine plumbing maintenance and repair
  • HVAC maintenance and repair
  • Maintenance and repairs for appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer and dishwasher

Some examples of routine maintenance in this area might be changing the washers on a faucet, fixing a faulty wire or replacing the filters in your air conditioners.

Landscaping and Exterior Maintenance

The exterior of your home is just as much your responsibility as the interior. When you were renting, you probably never thought about the landscaping of your apartment complex. Now, it’s another expense that falls to you as the homeowner.

Some of the chores and repairs that may arise include:

  • Mowing and trimming the lawn
  • Pulling weeds
  • Trimming trees
  • Cleaning the pool
  • Getting rid of pests

You may be able to do some of these things yourself, but even if you do, there are expenses associated with them. For example, you may need to buy a lawnmower and gas to fill it. You may decide to hire a pool maintenance company, but then that expense gets added to the other expenses on your list.

According to Home Advisor, the average homeowner in the United States paid $1,105 for home maintenance in 2019, with an additional $416 for emergency repairs. These expenses do not include home improvement, which we consider to be optional.

The costs of owning a home can take some first-time buyers by surprise. We hope that the information we’ve provided here will give you a realistic view of what it costs to own a home, so you’re prepared when the time comes.

Ready to buy your first home? Click here to learn about Addition Financial’s flexible mortgages.

The content provided here is not legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. Please consult with legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific needs or questions you may have. We do not make any guarantees as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not support any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability or legal obligations for your use of this information.

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Mortgages