Finance · Homeowner

15 Years of Homeownership Expenses

I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since I bought my townhouse. More surprising is the fact that I’m still living here.  When I bought it, I figured this would be my starter home and I’d eventually upgrade to a nicer neighborhood. Luckily, the area has improved greatly during this time and I no longer have plans to move.

Think you can afford a house? Here’s how much my 950 sq ft house has cost over the last 15 years:

By far the most expensive cost is the mortgage principal. I bought my house for $87,500 and paid off the mortgage in December 2014. Second highest expense was the mortgage interest, totaling $59,650 – almost as much as the principal!  I also paid about $1,500 in PMI since I had an FHA loan when I bought my house. This was eliminated when I refinanced a few years later.

Third highest are my association fees at $28,100.  A new roof was installed in 2005, without an assessment, so there is definitely value to the fees besides the included insurance, lawn care, snow removal, and garbage. Through 2016, I’ve paid $12,937 in property taxes. This one is always a little confusing to me since I don’t have yard and don’t really own any land. Since I have a townhouse, I only need condo insurance. Over the years that’s cost about $3,750 total.

I’ve completed about $25,000 in renovations. Almost everything in my house has been replaced, with the only exception being the patio door and the door going into my garage from the house. Everything else is new: kitchen, bathroom, windows, carpet, doors, furnace & A/C, water heater, appliances, etc. Good thing I have a small house, otherwise the renovations would have been much more expensive. There’s something to be said about only having 6 windows in your entire house!

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few other small expenses (e.g. maintenance), but these cover the largest costs over the last 15 years.

Adding all these up, I’ve spent almost $220,000 as a homeowner (~$14,667/year or $1,222/month). The average monthly cost should decline greatly going forward, since the annual cost is now considerably less and I’m not planning any renovations in the near future. For 2016, the total of my association fees, condo insurance, and property taxes will be just over $3,000 for the entire year.

These totals are shocking to me. What has been surprising to you as a homeowner?

7 thoughts on “15 Years of Homeownership Expenses

  1. It is sooooooooooooooooo interesting to me to see what you’ve paid for the house, interest, renovations, etc. Thanks for sharing!

    I am a little flabbergasted by how much interest I have paid per month. Up until relatively recently I paid more in interest than principle per month.

    I kind of don’t get how banks can do that–at the same time, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to purchase a house before I had the full amount of money to buy it outright.

    1. The interest paid is always so much and realtors sell the idea that it’s ok by saying it’s tax deductible. The total interest paid doesn’t seem to be an issue to them. It’s crazy.

      I bought my house at 24 with no down payment and consider myself very fortunate that everything turned out ok!

  2. You shouldn’t count your principal payment as a cost, only the difference between the current house value and the total principal payments you’ve made (the “net worth” of your investment).

    1. I include it as cost because it’s hard to say what my house is worth, unless I try to sell it. It was appraised for $72k in late 2013 and, from what I can tell, the value hasn’t risen much if at all. Sad to think that after 15 years and many renovations, my house is still worth at least $10k less than the purchase price.

    1. Great idea to plan for future maintenance and renovations. My house is almost 100% remodeled so I only have a few things left that I’d like to do. So glad a majority of that stress and expense is behind me!

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