I’m Thinking of Buying a House How Much Does It Cost Per Month On Top of the Mortgage?

I read an interesting discussion recently about the costs of owning a home. A person was surprised that his friend had to pick up a second job to pay the bills after buying a house and wanted to know if the cost his friend quoted per month was normal. It led me to go back through our bills to find out how much we pay a month to run our house on top of the costs to pay off the mortgage.

How Much Do You Budget to Pay for Hydro, Natural Gas, Water, Property Taxes and Insurance per Month for a Detached House?

We live in a large city in Ontario but we don’t live in Toronto. Our house is detached, fairly old, but not particularly large.

The costs for things like electricity vary quite a bit from month to month, so I’ve taken our annual costs and divided them by 12, rather than report an actual month by month number. Most companies won’t annualize your costs, though, so be prepared to have some months where your bills are much higher than others.

In 2017, our home cost us

  • $124 Electricity / Hydro
  • $48 Water (including Storm Water and Waste Water charges)
  • $94 Natural Gas (including to burn for the water heater and for the pilot light in a seldom used fireplace insert)
  • $405 Property Taxes
  • $82 Home Insurance

How Much Should I Budget Per Month to Run Our House?

So our total costs for heat, hydro, water, property taxes and insurance add up to:
$ 753 per month.

Add in a typical cost for cable TV, internet, home phone and cell phones and you’re easily at almost $1000 per month. I didn’t include those because it would be easier to reduce or eliminate those costs than the ones I’ve included.

You can compare our costs to those reported by others for 2017 for homes around the GTA on this RedFlagDeals forum post.

What Else Do I Need to Budget For?

Other costs that might have been included in your rent are for:

  • Cable TV
  • Internet and Home Phone

Other common costs for home owners include:

  • Annual and perennial plants and shrubs
  • Landscaping consumables like wood chips, mulch, yard waste bags or bins, new soil, fertilizers, bird seed, insecticides for lawn grubs, ants or wasps
  • Gasoline or Transit, if you need to start commuting to work
  • Household Tools and Consumables, including snow shovels (which break and get stolen), yard work tools, building and repair tools, vacuum cleaners, ladders, lightbulbs, mops and brushes, buckets
  • Minor Decorating On-going Costs, including for re-painting, draperies or blinds, area rugs, furniture, art work
  • Big Ticket Maintenance, including a new roof, new windows or doors, a new furnace and air conditioner, new appliances
  • Big Ticket Renovations, including re-tiling and re-fitting bathrooms, the kitchen, new flooring (carpets, hard wood or tiles)

You need to estimate each of these costs, divide it by how many years you have to save up to pay it, and then include that amount of saving and spending in your monthly budget.

For example, you won’t necessarily have the $7000 for a new roof every 15 years if you haven’t saved the $40 a month for 15 years to pay for it.

What Other Home Expenses Do Some People Pay for?

  • Lawn and yard maintenance, including annual aerating, fertilizing
  • Snow removal
  • Gutter cleaning
  • Driveway sealing
  • Window washing

Can I Carry a Home For the Same as My Rent Payment?

Unless you are renting one seriously over-priced place, you probably can NOT expect to own a home for the same monthly cost as you pay for rent. I enjoy owning a home but I do not think it saved me any money!

Related Reading

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Do you know someone who bought a home without understanding the full costs of ownership? Please share your views with a comment.

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