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The Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Jun 25, 2014

The cost of buying a home and the cost of the home itself are not the only things you pay for as a homeowner. When planning your budget, be sure to include incidental fees in addition to a buffer for unexpected outlays of cash.

The Fees Associated With Buying A Home:

  • If you involve a lawyer, there will be legal fees and expenses for their service.
  • Appraisal fees to check that the asking price is in line with the property value.
  • For older homes, it’s a good idea to have an expert perform a home inspection looking at the foundation, heating and cooling, electrical wiring, the condition of the roof, plumbing, and structural integrity.
  • Water inspection and property survey, which don’t apply to most homes around urban centres.
  • Adjustment costs to reimburse the owner for expenses paid in advance.
  • Provincial or state taxes on land transfers and GST on new or heavily renovated houses.
  • Title insurance for pre-owned homes.
  • Moving costs and service connection fees.
  • Appliances and furniture.

Yearly and Occasional Fees

Once you’re moved in, many of the initial costs don’t return until the next purchase of real estate. There will be ongoing fees.

Property Taxes

This expense is predictable in terms of timing and amount. Any changes to rates will be announced in advance, so it should give homeowners enough time to plan.

Home Insurance

Typically, your mortgage lender may require home insurance as part of the terms of the loan. Home insurance provides good value to the homeowner as well. In the case of damage or loss, you’re sharing the risk with the insurance provider. Given that the home is a large part of a person’s investments, insurance is well worth the cost.


If you own a condominium, maintenance fees are mandatory. Otherwise, the way upkeep is performed on a home is largely up to the homeowner. Fixes performed by the homeowner is limited by skill and time available. Some issues will be more costly than others and can’t always anticipated in advance. Utilities are an ongoing expense that can be managed to some degree.

Fees Levied By The City

Everyone enjoys the use of public goods, such as roads and sewage. Sometimes, the city is able to transfer the costs to homeowners, although it doesn’t happen too frequently. Still, once levied, there is a responsibility to pay the fees.

For more information see this article and this article.