Buyers Reveal Their Most Unexpected Housing Costs

A man and a woman sit in a living room reviewing bills and other documents.

© Jose Luis Pelaez Inc - DigitalVision

As home buyers have stretched their budgets to buy, they have discovered more unexpected costs of homeownership. Forty-four percent of recent buyers surveyed said they already spent over their personal budget for the home, according to a new ConsumerAffairs survey of about 1,000 adults.

Home buyers said they spent an average of $10,334 more than they intended for their home, and younger adults—millennials—were the most likely to overspend. The survey found that a bidding war was usually the reason.

But once homeowners move in, they find additional costs that stretch their budgets further. The most unexpected cost for homeowners was property taxes.

Currently, the average property tax rate nationwide is 1.1% of a home’s assessed value. Even though they are based on assessed values, property taxes rise as the market rises. Homeowners also can be on the hook for homeowners association fees, which 7% of homeowners surveyed said are among the most expensive costs of owning a home.

A bar chart showing homeowners' top spending areas annually.

Still, while costs are rising for homeownership, Americans still want to buy, noting several financial and self-esteem rewards. Homeowners surveyed said that owning a home made them feel independent (67%), satisfied (64%), and proud (61%).