Buying your first home is a rewarding experience. You’ve budgeted for how much mortgage you can afford, your utilities, and what you’ll spend on homeowners insurance. However, it’s also important to plan for expenses related to the care and upkeep of your property. To help you prepare for unexpected home maintenance costs, here is a list of tasks and services that often surprise first-time homebuyers.
Be prepared to care for and maintain the trees on your property. You may have to cut down dead or dying trees, and you will eventually also need to prune branches. It’s important to remove dead and diseased limbs to prevent further injury to the tree and damage to your property. Keep trees trimmed back if they overhang the roof, your swimming pool, or the driveway.
Unexpected Home Maintenance Costs: Changing the Locks
When you purchase a house, make your first project changing the locks. Any door that requires a key to enter should be fitted with a brand new lock. While buying new locks can be expensive, it’s worth it to secure your home. The previous owners may have allowed the pet sitter, handyman, babysitter, or other friends and family to have keys to the home.
You can install new locks yourself or hire someone for the job. Changing locks is a fairly simple DIY project, but it does require the use of a few basic tools.
Unexpected Heating Maintenance Costs
No matter how you heat your home, it’s important to do so safely. Space heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces cause house fires each year. Budget for an HVAC inspection at least annually to make sure your system is in good shape. To keep the system running efficiently, replace HVAC filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
If you use a fireplace, plan on hiring a chimney sweep and schedule an annual chimney inspection. A cleaning will clear your chimney of creosote, which can build up inside and ignite, causing a fire. Your chimney inspector will identify any cracks, broken bricks, and other issues that need to be fixed so you can enjoy a fire safely.
If you rented before you purchased a home, you’ll soon realize that the problems you called the landlord about are now yours to handle. If your front porch becomes the site of a wasp nest or you find mice in your basement, you’ll have to take care of these pests yourself. One option is to invest in preventative pest control with scheduled treatments. Be sure to also seal any gaps and cracks that allow pests inside.