The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

Home ownership is a very attractive state, which many of us long for. On the surface it seems far better than renting and pushing your money into other people’s pockets, but this is not entirely the case. There are numerous hidden costs of home ownership, which effectively mean taking money out of your pocket and putting it into someone else’s, just as when you are renting. Despite building assets, there are a number of costs which will be both unexpected and unwanted when you buy your first home. 

When you own a home there are some distinct differences from renting. The main key difference is liability. You are responsible for the home insurance, just as you are responsible for painting the front of your house. The second difference is that there are a greater number of bills which need to be paid when you own instead of rent. Here is a run-down of some of the unexpected elements of home ownership which can end up costing your dearly. 

The Roof

The roof is one element of a building that you are often not allowed to view before buying a house. The simple reason for this is that it is impractical to allow people onto the roof and ‘dangerous’ to allow them into the attic. The roof is a costly and essential part of your house, and one which cannot be neglected. Any leak can cause rotting in the roof beams and the walls, and any birds or rodents which find their way inside will cause a fire hazard with their nests. Roof maintenance is essential and costly so be prepared for this potentially huge bill. 

Air Con and Ventilation Maintenance

Air con and ventilation systems just work right? Wrong. Every year, air conditioners and vents are closed down for winter after having collected dust throughout the summer. Before utilising air conditioning again next year, it is very important to carry out routine maintenance. Fire hazards can easily be caused by the failure to do this. 

Fire Alarms

Fire alarms are not expensive, but they are important. Failure to install working alarms will negate your contents insurance and potentially lead to a stint in jail for manslaughter if a fire in your home causes a death. 


Termites affect a huge number of roofs in Australia and replacing the roof structure is a terribly expensive job. It is important to either constantly monitor the situation to avoid damage or to fork out large sums of money to termite-proof your roof. 


As all of the above costs demonstrate, the largest expenses of owning a home involve time. It takes a lot of time to maintain even the most central parts of a house and this article has not even considered smaller elements, such as mowing the lawn once a week and changing light bulbs on a regular basis. 

Heating and Electricity

If you are lucky enough to rent a property where heating and electricity are paid for, you will get a huge shock the first time you see your bills. The cost of electricity is increasing rapidly and this is unlikely to change at any time in the near future. Maintaining heat, water and light, will in itself be an expensive process and will greatly limit your financial freedom when you own a home. 


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