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The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

Posted by Johnine Larsen on September 24, 2018
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Owning a home costs more than the listing price. It even costs more than the listing price + inspection, insurance, taxes, etc. When we help you buy a house, we make sure you know the full story of what your home will cost. We don’t want you to over-stretch your finances any more than we want to put you in a house you don’t love. Our goal—always—is to help you make the best housing decision possible.

So what ARE these hidden costs of home ownership? Mostly, maintenance. Things break, and fixing them is both (1) necessary and (2) expensive. Here’s what to prepare for:



Roof replacements take a chuck out of your wallet, and it happens (or should happen) every 20 years or so. The exact lifespan of your roof depends on the material it’s made from, the size, and how well you keep it clear of moss and other debris. For all of these, keep in mind that it’s your home’s age, not how long you’ve owned it, that decides lifespan. If you buy a 15-year-old house, for example, you’re looking at a roof replacement in the near future.

Average cost: $7,500



A typical furnace lasts about 18 years. Brand and climate affect that life expectancy, as does proper maintenance. Only use the furnace when necessary—and change the filters on time!

Average cost: $3,000


Central Air

A central air unit also lasts about 18 years, depending on brand, size of your house, and climate. A central air unit in Seattle, fortunately, tends to last much longer than one in Atlanta.

Average cost: $4,000


Wood Fence

Your typical wooden fence last twelve years, but different materials can make the life expectancy and cost vary wildly. One way to reduce the cost of a new fence: DIY. With a few tools, some time, and YouTube how-to videos, you can do much of the labor yourself.

Average cost: $25/sq ft



An average washer and/or dryer costs about $500 and lasts about ten years. To prolong that, clean the lint trap regularly!

Average cost: $500 each



Most refrigerators last about 14 years, and there are a few things you can do to extend that. But a fridge is always running, so the best you can do is budget for its eventual replacement.

Average cost: $1,100


Deck Repair

Most decks last about 15 years, but you can save a lot of money on repairs and replacements by doing the labor yourself. Like a wooden fence, the stakes and expertise required to fix or build a deck aren’t nearly as high as, for instance, a roof repair.

Average repair: $1,500

New replacement: huge range


Sprinkler System

The average lifespan of a sprinkler system is 15 years. This gets a little more complicated than a wooden fence, but you can also do repairs yourself to save money—or even install the whole thing yourself if you’ve ambitious.

Average repair: $100–$1,000

Average replacement: $3,000


Hot Water Heater

A hot water heater lasts about 10 years, variable according to brand and size.

Average cost: $1,500


When buying a house, think of your future. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, and it’s easy to end up over-stretched, stuck in a mortgage you can’t afford, and miserable. But on the other side (here’s where we come in), buying a house can also be one the best investments of your life, a source of freedom and self-expression, and a huge source of relief. Talk to us. Let’s find a house that fits your finances and sets you up for a successful, satisfying future.

  • Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
    Brian Heagler
    Brian Heagler
    16:55 02 Jun 19
    I have worked with Johnine and her team for 19 years and have always received personal, knowledgeable and professional service and attention! There is never and pressure and they will guide you away from a property when appropriate, which is always appreciated when a market is hot and the tendency is to move quickly. I trust them and have never been let down!
    Anne Slater
    Anne Slater
    18:03 25 May 19
    Johnine Larsen is fabulous! She listened and came up with ways we could get what we wanted in a house and stay within our limited budget. When we found the house we wanted, she moved super fast to get the house inspected and implemented creative ideas to make our offer appealing. And out of 13 offers, we were selected and got our house. I recommend her to anyone buying a home.
    Amy Burdick
    Amy Burdick
    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
    Bill Hollman
    Bill Hollman
    22:21 19 May 19
    I'd give Real Estate Gals 6 stars if I could. We have used them multiple times, both in selling and buying homes in Seattle and the surrounding area. I can't say enough about the professionalism, knowledge, and patience they bring to the task of buying a new home, or selling your current residence. And they know the Seattle area so well, they'll offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of any location you may be to considering. Look no further, call Johnine at Real Estate Gals. You will be glad you did!
    Beth Guerra
    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
    Johnine was a breath of fresh air in the real estate market. She listened intently to our wishes and goals, and was tireless in her search for our perfect house. She is well versed in both Seattle and the surrounding areas. She made sure all the details were taken care of after the inspection, and made the closing process seamless. She even gifted us with a housewarming present. Nearly 7 years later, we still receive holiday cards and well wishes. I highly recommend Real Estate Gals and will look no further in the future.
    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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