Extra Costs of Owning a Home

Extra costs of owning a home


So, you decided to become a homeowner. Congratulations! But, many wonder, what are the extra costs of owning a home? These costs vary wildly and the upkeep can range from yard maintenance to roof replacement. It’s important to have an idea of what these items cost, especially if you’re buying a home with deferred maintenance. 


Extra Cost #1: Water Heater

We’ve seen water heaters from the mid-1990s that are still trucking along and working just fine. However, you have to plan for replacement because it won’t last forever. 

First things first: how large of a water heater do you need? A family of one to two people will only need a 30-gallon tank. But, a household with 2-3 people, plan on buying a 40-gallon water heater. 3-4 person households should get a 50-gallon tank. And houses with more than 4 people should invest in an 80-gallon tank. 

When pricing out a water heater for your home, you will find the ones with tanks will start around $400 and go up about $1200. These costs depend on tank size, whether it’s gas or electric, and energy efficiency. Installation for these units will also range in price. When you call a plumber to install your water heater, they will want to know if the unit is gas or electric, how many gallons, and where it is located. Most installations will run you around $900-$1100. 

While tankless water heaters typically start around $500, you should bank on spending around $1000-$1500 on one. The $500 ones are for much smaller spaces. (Think small condos)

The two items to keep in mind when shopping for these are flow rate and temperature rise. While they cost more, you don’t have the inconvenience of waiting for hot water. Noteworthy, these units aren’t great for large households. Tankless water heaters are better for people who only plan on doing one task at a time. (Don’t plan on taking a hot bath while running the dishwasher and running the washing machine!) The installation of these units averages about $2400. 


Extra Cost #2: New Roof or Roof Maintenance 

No one likes the thought of getting a new roof – but it’s a part of homeownership! First, you should consider getting a yearly home maintenance inspection. This way you can keep an eye on this big-ticket item.

Recently, one of our homeowners had a new roof installed on a 1500 square foot home for $6500. This is an architectural shingle, 30-year-roof. However, as your real estate agents, we need to prep you that roofs don’t typically last that long in our climate. A 30-year roof will last about 18 years on average in the New Orleans metro area.

Depending on many squares your roof needs, you can plan on spending $400-$500 per square. The national average for a roof replacement is $7000. 

If you want to check out the price of getting a metal roof, we need to prep you for the sticker shock. These types of roofs are much more costly. However, they last about 50 years. 

One of our pro-tips for keeping your roof in better shape is to always trim tree branches away from the roof. Tree branches can wear down the shingles and cause them to become loose. 

Other tips for roof maintenance: 

  • replace any missing shingles immediately
  • if you get a leak, get it repaired ASAP
  • make sure you have proper bracing for the roof
  • add additional ventilation, if it’s lacking


Extra costs of home buying: electrical


Extra Cost #3: Upgrading Electrical 

Living in New Orleans might find you falling in love with a home that still has knob and tube or cloth wiring. Aluminum wiring is pretty common across the city as well. 

While some of these houses have been functioning just fine for decades, you should consider upgrading the electrical components of the house for a few reasons. The main reasons for upgrading are for your homeowner’s insurance to be less expensive and for safety reasons. 

Re-wiring a home is not cheap. You should plan on spending $5.50 per square foot for all new electrical. 


Extra Cost #4: AC & Heat

We cannot stress the importance of keeping your HVAC and furnace clean and maintained. Surprisingly, we have seen HVAC units from the late ’90s that were still working like a charm due to regular maintenance. 

Our pro tip: Hire an AC and heating company to come out twice a year to clean and service your units. At a minimum, you should have them come out once a year. 

The cost: around $2000-$5000 per unit. This can always be cheaper if you get a contract with a local company. 




Extra Cost #5: Termite Contract

Living in New Orleans means you MUST have a termite contract. This contract does not mean you’re immune from getting termites, but it can greatly reduce your chances. 

Termite contract prices vary by company, size of your homes, and the method they use to deter these little buggers. The annual renewal is far cheaper once you pay the initial cost of treating your home. 

For a price example though, my 1000 square foot house (with exterior shed coverage) has bait traps. I paid $175 for my yearly renewal. 



Extra Cost #6: Flood Insurance 

If you live in an A or AE flood zone, your home loan will require carrying flood insurance. If you live in an X flood zone, you have to buy flood insurance separately. 

The average cost for flood insurance in flood zone X: $650. It’s worth every penny. 



Becoming a homeowner is something not everyone can say they’ve done. And while it’s an awesome accomplishment, you have to be prepared for the extra costs of maintaining your home. It’s a major investment and you want it to be in great shape when it’s time to sell



Need recommendations for someone to do work on your home? Text us! 


Our City, My Home: Stevie & John


Contact Team Be New Orleans