Buying a home? These are the hidden costs you can’t afford to overlook

There’s a lot more to owning a house than the monthly mortgage payment.

Here are six hidden costs that home owners should be prepared for, according to Hippo Insurance.

Property taxes

Many residents pay their annual property tax bill with an escrow account that is funded through their monthly mortgage payments. Even if your local governments don’t raise property tax rates, your taxes can increase dramatically as the taxable value of your house goes up — which (depending upon the value of your home) can raise your monthly mortgage payment by hundreds of dollars per month.

Homeowners association fees

Many Fort Worth-area residents live in neighborhoods with homeowner’s associations, which charge fees for services such as street landscaping, security patrols and sometimes water parks and community meeting rooms. Those amenities can be the difference between a good neighborhood and a great one — but they can also add $200, $300 or even more to your monthly house payment.

Insurance premiums

Insurance coverage is also typically part of your monthly mortgage payment, but it can spike from one year to another. In North Texas, residents sometimes experience higher insurance payments because insurance companies have to cover the costs of storm damage, mold, flooding and other risks. The average annual homeowners insurance premium is $1,120, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Repairs and maintenance costs

Don’t be caught off guard by the cost of replacing plumbing, roofing or furnaces and air conditioners. In North Texas, if your air conditioner suddenly goes out on a hot day, you could find yourself making a $10,000 to $20,000 investment in a new unit with very little warning. (The alternative is to flee your scorching home, and not return until November!) It’s imperative for Dallas-Fort Worth home owners to keep a rainy day fund for big-ticket repairs such as this.

Lake Como neighborhood 13
A new house listed for $174,900 on Blackmore Ave in the Lake Como neighborhood of Fort Worth. Max Faulkner

Costs associated with selling a home

When it comes time to sell a home, you may have to upgrade the roof, furnace, exterior and interior paint and flooring — or give the buyer a discount so he or she can perform these tasks later.

Pest control costs

Termites can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the wooden “bones” of your home. If you suspect you have a pest problem, it’s better to pay for an inspection and/or pest control treatment of your home right away than to wait until more damage is done.

Gordon Dickson joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997. He is passionate about hard news reporting, and his beats include transportation, growth, urban planning, aviation, real estate, jobs, business trends. He is originally from El Paso, and loves food, soccer and long drives.