As a first time home buyer, I'm making sure I have all of my expenses accounted for and I can afford everything I'm getting myself into.

I'm currently allocating money for:

  • Mortgage
  • Home Insurance
  • HOA
  • Taxes
  • Internet
  • Utilities
  • Car Insurnace
  • Phone expenses
  • Security system
  • School tuition (obtaining a master's degree while working full time)

My car is paid off so I don't have a car payment, with all of these expenses I should have enough for food and misc expenses each month.

Am I overlooking anything? I'd like an opinion from current home owners to see if they have insight on anything that a first time home buyer might not be considering.


Edit: The property is a newly constructed townhouse and I'd be the first to live in it. There are warranties on everything for a year, and then other pieces (windows, siding, HVAC, plumbing, etc) have warranties varying from 2 years to lifetime. So I'm hoping the time frame that I'm planning on owning this house (2-4 years) there hopefully won't be any major issues that require serious fixes.

As far as maintenance, the HOA fee covers everything outside (mowing, is really all there is) and the yard is only about as big as a slightly long double car drive way so there isn't a ton of room outside, but there is a privacy fence that each unit gets that blocks them off from their neighbors.

  • 2
    Are you saving money for a down payment? And I'm not sure why you're including internet, utilities, care payment, phone expenses, and tuition on that list - is this the first time you've lived on your own / paid your own expenses? If so, don't forget money for groceries, and take a look at other budgeting questions on this site. Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 15:53
  • Yes, I have some money saved for a down payment. And I lived away from home in college, but I was renting so all I had to pay for was rent, utilities and everything was included- This is the biggest reason that I'm asking this question. The money left over should be enough for food and groceries each month, and 6 months I'll not be paying for tuition so I'll have almost double the money left over during those times.
    – CS2020
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 15:56
  • 2
    Presumably, you will have to live somewhere, so to add to Grade'Eh'Bacon's point, it may be easier to consider expenses associated only with owning a home vs renting, and then all other expenses that you would have regardless of whether you buy or rent should be categorized separately.
    – TTT
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 15:58
  • 3
    Allocate money for repairs/maintenance, HVAC could bomb out on day 1, so some extra cash is handy in general, but you can also budget for some maintenance, and moving expenses. Depending on what HOA covers, you may need to purchase a number of lawn-care/home maintenance tools that you don't own. I didn't think of tree-trimming before I bought my current house, that's ~$600/year for me (I'm a DIY-type, but not climbing 40-feet up to trim trees). Can be lots of little expenses in first years of home ownership for sure.
    – Hart CO
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 16:18
  • Will your furniture stand up to the move (cheap bookshelves, are cheap for good reasons) or will you need to buy pieces that are currently furnished in the rental? Does your area typically convey appliances in home sales like dishwashers and washer/dryers or will you need to buy your own?
    – user662852
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 16:47

2 Answers 2


I see two important things missing from your ongoing costs: maintenance and equipment. I also don't see the one-time costs of buying and moving.

Maintenance involves doing some boring math like "roofs go every 20 years or so and a new roof would cost $20k, so I need $1000 a year in the roof fund. Furnaces go every 20 years and cost $5k, so I need $250 a year in the furnace fund." etc etc. Use your own local numbers for both how long things last and how much they cost to replace. One rule of thumb is a percentage of the house (not house and land) price each year keeping in mind that while roof, furnace, carpet, stove, toilets etc all need to get replaced eventually, not everything does - the walls for example cost a lot to build but don't wear out - and not all at a 20 year pace. Some is more often, some is less often. I've heard 5% but think that's too high. Try 3% maybe? So if you paid $200,000 for a $100,000 house sitting on $100,000 of land, you put $3000 a year or about $250 a month into a repair fund. Then ignore it until something needs to be repaired. When that happens, fund the repair from the savings. If you're lucky, there will always be enough in there. If the house is kind of old and on its last legs, you might need to start with a 10 or 20k infusion into that repair fund.

Equipment means a lawnmower and trimmer, a snow shovel, tools for fixing things (screwdriver, hammer, glue, pliers, that sort of thing.) Maybe tools for gardening or other hobbies that house-owners are likely to have. You might need to prune back some trees or bushes if nothing else. Eventually you get tools for your tools such as a doo-dad for sharpening your lawnmower. Well, lots of doo-dads for sharpening lots of things.

One time expenses include moving, new curtains, appliances if they don't come with the house, possibly new furniture if you would otherwise have a lot of empty rooms, paint and painting equipment, and your housewarming party. There are also closing costs associated with buying a house, and you might need to give deposits for some of your utilities, or pay to have something (eg internet) installed. Be sure to research these since you have to pay them right when you have the least money, as you move in.

  • This is great insight, one thing I think I didn't mention in my original post and have edited to reflect: The outside is taken care of by the HOA for any mowing or tree trimming, and the yards are only as big as about a 2 car driveway. As well as the construction being brand new and I'm the first to live in it so hopefully the warranties will give me some time to save up before things start going. As far as furniture, I'm ok with like the guest bedroom being empty for a while, as long as the kitchen, master, living room, and computer room have furniture. Great insight, thank you so much!
    – CS2020
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 1:55

Kate Gregory has already covered maintenance and tools.

As a one-off, there's furniture and soft furnishings for the home.

Cable/satellite TV if you want it.

You listed car insurance, but not fuel, servicing, repairs and depreciation/leasing (as applicable).

And, there's also food.

  • I have HBO through my phone plan (AT&T) and I only really watch Game of Thrones which has taken an extended break so I don't really care for TV otherwise. You do bring up a good point with car servicing, that's something I didn't think of. I drive ~70 miles/day for work so I have my car serviced pretty often. Thanks!
    – CS2020
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 1:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .