When homebuyers are budgeting for a new house, it’s important to factor in home maintenance costs for upkeep and repairs. Things to consider are the age of the home and components and how well the last owner cared for the property. Make sure to set money aside to handle emergencies. Here are the top 5 home maintenance costs that often surprise the first-time homebuyer.

1. Home Maintenance Costs for Landscaping

First-time homebuyers may think that watering and mowing the lawn is all that is involved with maintaining the landscape. Other costs that add up are fertilizer, plants, and lawn equipment. If the property has in-ground sprinklers, the sprinkler heads might get damaged and need replacing, or the lines may spring a leak.

Lawn care is important throughout the year. This includes pruning trees and bushes to keep them safely away from your roof and siding. If you are doing the job yourself, you’ll need the proper equipment, like saws, ladders, hedge clippers, and a dump fee. Another option is to pay a professional.

These home maintenance costs should be part of your annual budget. You can also reduce landscaping costs by researching and designing a low maintenance lawn for your specific climate.

2. Chimney and Fireplace Care

Plan to clean the chimney and firebox in early fall. Both wood-burning and gas fireplaces need cleaning. To clean a gas one, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. While you can learn to clean out the firebox, it is a messy job. Protect the flooring and yourself before taking on this project.

Hire a chimney sweep to clean out the stack. A professional will also check the masonry and the chimney cap for damage. This home maintenance cost is well worth it because it helps prevent chimney fires.

3. Plumbing

Some minor plumbing issues like a dripping faucet can be tackled on the weekend, but sometimes, it is an emergency that only a plumber can handle. The best way to avoid this expense is to keep up on maintenance and small repairs.

Homebuyers can further protect themselves with a home warranty, and in some cases, homeowners insurance might help cover a catastrophic event. Consult your home insurance agent to see what types of plumbing accidents are covered by your policy.

4. Appliances

When a major appliance fails, it usually is at the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced. These are some home maintenance costs that you can plan for when you monitor the age of your systems.

To find out how long each appliance should last, check out our article about this topic. Your appliances will last longer when you keep them clean and only run full loads in washers. If you have a tank water heater, have it drained and flushed yearly.

5. Home Maintenance Costs for the HVAC

The heating and air conditioning unit is an expensive and significant component of the house, and first-time homeowners might be surprised about the costs involved to keep this system running efficiently. Maintaining these units will extend their lives and save you from making emergency repairs during summer or winter when you need AC or heat the most.

Change your filters regularly and consult your owner’s guide to see if the manufacturer recommends winterization. Changing the filter is a simple and straightforward process that most anyone can do, but a technician will include this task in HVAC servicing. Schedule the HVAC to be serviced before turning on the AC in the spring and before you use the heat each year.

St. James Home Services provides home inspections to homebuyers in Durham and the surrounding areas in North Carolina. Contact us to book an appointment.