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Moving From Renting to Owning: The Hidden Costs

If you’ve been a renter for most of your adult life, dealing with maintenance issues is simply a matter of calling a building manager or landlord. And bonus: The landlord pays for the repair.

But once you purchase a home, suddenly, you are the landlord.

When most buyers search for a home, the typical affordability calculation compares monthly rent with mortgage payments. But forgetting the extra costs of owning a home is a common pitfall.

Significant expenses include:

  • Property maintenance (think roof, gutters, patios and decks)

  • Landscaping (lawn mowing, garden upkeep)

  • HVAC servicing (how old is the home’s furnace and AC system)

  • Appliance repairs (will you have the money if your hot water heater stops working?)

  • Utility bills can be higher than an apartment (and not included in your rent!)

Additionally, property taxes and insurance premiums can fluctuate over time, impacting the overall cost of owning a home.

Don’t forget, a home usually needs more furniture than an apartment.

If you stretch your budget for the mortgage and down payment, you may find yourself rattling around an empty house. If they are downsizing, some homeowners will sell you their existing furniture at a discount – doesn’t hurt to ask!

When you’re looking for a home to buy, make a list of every single home expense you can think of so you can ensure that you won’t be house poor.

The current housing market in Baltimore is pretty tight, especially for homes under $300,000. Don’t be tempted into a bidding war that will stretch your resources. Know when to cut your losses and wait for another opportunity.

ALWAYS work with a professional realtor who can guide you through the process. Whit Harvey works with buyers all the time to help them find the right home at the right price.


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