If you have been looking for an Austin house, you know how expensive houses have become. When buying a house, not only do you need a budget for the mortgage and property taxes, but you want to budget for home maintenance. If you don’t, you can experience giant money bites from your wallet.

How much the average Americans shells out keeping their home maintained varies state by state. A new survey by Porch, released recently, has found that while the average household spends just over $16,000 a year on a single-family home, the number can be as high as $18,151 in New Jersey or as low as $14,890 in Mississippi.

“If you’re not expecting it, some of the less frequent jobs you’ll need to do in order to maintain your home could come with some rather unsettling sticker shock,” the study reads. A new roof, for example, can easily run $5,000 or more.

 You Need a Budget

If the amount that the average homeowner spends on maintenance seems high, there’s another rule of thumb that says 1% of the purchase price of the house should be budgeted for maintenance. For example, the owners of a $300,000 home would budget $3,000 a year for maintenance. Another way at looking at is to use the rule that says maintenance will run about $1 per square foot. A 3,000 sq foot house would need $3,000 budgeted. A new house should be pretty much maintenance free for 5 to 10 years.

Other Factors to Consider

While rules of thumb can give you a ballpark estimate of annual maintenance costs, they don’t take into account the home itself or the climate it resides in. There are several additional factors that have an impact on the cost of maintenance and repairs for a specific house.

  • Age – The age of the property can play a huge role. A new home built within the last 5 to 10 years will need very little maintenance, while homes 10 to 20 years old will need slightly more. Once a home turns 20 or 30, there’s a good chance that major components, such as the roof, may need to be replaced.
  • Weather – Homes in areas affected by freezing temperatures, ice storms, or heavy snowfall are subject to more strain than homes in areas unaffected by cold weather. Similarly, homes in areas where termites, high winds, heavy rains, and other extreme weather conditions or pest infestations experience more wear and tear.

Additional Operating Costs

If you have been renting, you may experience additional costs as a homeowner, which are not bundled, for the most part, into a monthly rental amount. As a homeowner, you will need to budget for these additional costs.

  • Electricity: $1,368 per year/$114 per month
  • Gas: $984 per year/$82 per month
  • Water: $480–$780 per year/$40–$65 per month
  • Trash service: $240 per year/$20 per month
  • Sewer: $204 per year/$17 per month
  • Snow removal/Lawn care: $1,560 per year/$130 per month

In summary

you need a budget. Figure high, and you won’t be surprised. Figure low, and you could go lose your house.

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