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Unexpected Home Expenses

In the past 2 years I’ve witnessed a home buying frenzy. Many of my physician colleagues bought a home during this real estate bull market. It’s common for us to buy when the selling is strong – the herd mentality makes us feel more secure. It isn’t always bad to buy at the top of the market if there is a long-term plan in place.

Most physicians buy too much home which can hurt their financial independence and delay retirement. This can be offset by paying the mortgage off early and turning the home into an asset rather than a liability.

In this post I would like to focus on the unexpected home expenses that many homeowners encounter. These are the things you aren’t told about and don’t think of until they come up.

Even worse, these unexpected home expenses don’t register in our memories when recollecting home expenses. That’s why budgeting is so important. It can help us with forward-looking planning and it allow us to look back and see how much we’ve spent in a particular category.

My tiny ass condo in Portland, Oregon has cost me several thousand a year. I didn’t even have that many unexpected expenses. I can imagine that a larger home would have quite a few more expenses.


Unexpected Home Expenses

  • peeling deck paint
  • broken stairs
  • damaged stair tiles/trim
  • wood rot of a support post
  • window trim rot
  • roof edge rot
  • bathroom floor rot
  • termite damage
  • pest control inside the house (ants/roaches/mice/rats)
  • bees, wasps, gophers and other external pests
  • drywall damage
  • broken door handle
  • basement water leak
  • toilet leak
  • rusted iron pipes
  • cracked copper pipes
  • leaky faucet due to a gasket failure
  • leaky water valve
  • leaking sewage pipes
  • septic tank repair
  • root damage to sewer pipes
  • peeling silicone around the bathtub
  • cracked tiles around bathroom
  • peeling paint in the bathroom ceiling
  • toilet seat replacement
  • broken toilet flange bolt
  • mold repair behind the tub-surround
  • blocked sewage pipes in the toilet/tub
  • worn out carpets
  • wood floor damage and splinters
  • creaking wood floors needing repair
  • HOA special assessments
  • increase in property taxes
  • variable rate increase in mortgage interest rates
  • roof patching
  • roof replacement
  • cracked foundation needing sealing
  • driveway cracks needing patching to prevent water damage
  • storm damage of roof and siding
  • earthquake damage
  • rats in the attic chewing through wires
  • compressor repair on fridge
  • broken microwave
  • damaged oven coils
  • broken oven thermostat
  • broken belt on washer
  • clothes dryer motor replacement
  • dish washer backed up needing repair
  • furnace needing inducer motor replacement
  • furnace control panel replacement
  • thermostat replacement for A/C
  • weed killer
  • upgrading/repairing insulation
  • upgrading windows due to temp control problems
  • fixing broken window/door glass
  • repairing garage door
  • repair door seals
  • replacing broken door hinges
  • changing locks because of crazy ex’s
  • well pump failure
  • well water going dry
  • under slab repair of pipes
  • asbestos removal
  • lead removal
  • broken electrical outlets
  • irrigation system repair for garden
  • sudden increase in electricity rates
  • sudden increase in internet rates
  • replace railing due to rust
  • sealing pool
  • replacing/repairing pool filter/pump
  • cracked chimney repair
  • basement radon gas inspection/management
  • making upgrades due to fire marshal orders
  • fence repair
  • court battles with neighbors over shared fencing/trees


Expected Home Expenses

  • property taxes
  • mortgage interest rates
  • property insurance
  • lawn care/fertilizer
  • clearing brush
  • tree trimming
  • gutter cleaning
  • A/C maintenance
  • trash/sewer/electricity/gas/water
  • septic tank maintenance
  • pool maintenance
  • fresh coat of paint
  • chimney sweeping
  • home renovations


Owning a Home

The larger the home or the more complex, the more spending will be involved.

A tiny condo will be easier to maintain than a multistory townhouse. A bungalow home with a small backyard and no trees will be far cheaper to maintain than a home with a basement, an attic, trees, and a pool.

Consider your years in retirement and when you are financially independent. Will you want to spend that time maintaining a large property? Will you be okay spending a lot of money for the maintenance and repairs?

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