<<< back to article list

Four hidden costs of home ownership

Blog by Kim Twohey | January 20th, 2016


In a perfect world, all your monthly expenses would be static and you would never be caught off guard by unexpected costs and bills.  Unfortunately, hidden costs and surprise out of pocket expenses are a reality for every single homeowner.  While it would be nearly impossible to list every potential cost associated with home ownership, I have put together a list of a few that you might not be aware of and some tips on how you can prepare for them.   

Community fees

Several communities across Calgary require residents to pay community fees.  This money is typically used to provide neighbourhood amenities, general maintenance and improvements in shared areas.  When you are buying your house, be sure to ask your Realtor if your community requires you to pay an annual fee and what the amount is.  Do not assume that you can get away with ignoring these fees.  Failure to pay can result in a lien on your home. 

Home insurance

Of course, savvy Buyers know that they will need to buy home insurance as a requirement of obtaining a mortgage.  But did you know that home insurance rates can increase annually even if you have never submitted a claim?  Due to extreme weather events in Calgary over the past few years, many homeowners are now paying significantly more for their home insurance.  While you cannot change this trend, you can talk to your insurance company and ask for a reduction in your premiums.  You can often save by bundling your home insurance with other products, such as auto insurance.  Shopping around is another way you can save some money.  Just be sure that if you obtain a new policy it continues to provide you with comparable or improved coverage.

Preventative maintenance

Think you only have to pay for costly repairs when something breaks?  Think again.  Preventative maintenance is an important part of homeownership.  Expect to have costs associated with maintaining appliances, plumbing, and heating systems.  You can offset some of these costs when you purchase new appliances for your home.  Find out if the brand offers maintenance incentives such as free maintenance or reduced costs on labour if the unit is serviced by a particular company.  Be sure to carefully check your warranty at the time of purchase as well.  Sometimes free repairs or replacements are dependent on whether or not you have followed the recommended care and maintenance guidelines. 

Property care

Property care is a year-round chore and every season brings its own set of expenses!  From snow removal to fixing ice dams, from landscaping to lawn maintenance to pest control, expect to spend money on a regular basis.  You can offset some of these costs by shopping sales for things that you need or by renting equipment that you might not use on a regular basis.

Were there any expenses that caught you off guard after you became a homeowner?  Share your experience with me on Twitter.