Home maintenance and costs
Home maintenance can be a labour of love for first home buyers. But along with some tender loving care, there are also ongoing home maintenance costs to plan for.
Buying your first home is an important milestone – and your new place is more than just somewhere to live. It’s also a valuable asset. So it makes sense to keep your home in great shape with regular maintenance.
Home maintenance costs
Following a maintenance calendar can help you keep track of the chores that need to be done weekly, monthly, quarterly or even annually. Some jobs demand little more than your own elbow grease. But some tasks come with maintenance costs that you might want to slot into your home budget.
Keeping your home clean doesn’t just make it look nicer, it’s also important from a hygiene perspective. Without regular cleaning, unhealthy germs and parasites can easily build up.
Along with the obvious areas to clean like floors, the kitchen and bathroom, it’s worth cleaning appliances including air conditioning units so that they run efficiently, helping you save on energy costs.
Important tip – remember to replace cleaning cloths and sponges regularly, and use separate cloths for different areas to avoid spreading germs.
If you’d rather pay to have your home professionally cleaned, expect to pay around $20 per hour.
There can be something very rewarding about nurturing a garden that is all your own, and gardening is one area where regular maintenance can spare you a much bigger tidy up later on. Pruning, weeding, mowing lawns and fixing loose fence palings are all fairly straightforward tasks that won’t cost much if you have the basic equipment such as a mower and some gardening tools.
If you love the garden but don’t relish the idea of maintaining the yard, think about outsourcing the work – a gardener usually costs upwards of about $30 an hour.
A backyard pool is a lot of fun however it can also be a lot of work – even in winter when you’re not using it.
Running the filter regularly will help to keep the pool water clean but the pump can be your home’s single biggest user of power, accounting for about 16% of energy use. It could cost between $800 and $1,200 to run the pool pump each year –an expense you might want to budget for!
Pools also tend to be water guzzlers, and not just from splashing around. On hot days up to 300 litres of water could evaporate from your pool, and that’s going to add to your water bill. Investing in a pool cover can significantly reduce evaporation and help to keep your pool clean.
You’ll also need to allow for cost of chemicals needed to keep the pool water clear and healthy. If it all sounds like hard work, hire a pool guy to take care of the pool for you. A regular visit can cost upwards of $50 per hour.
As you settle into your new home, a range of bills may start to come your way that you don’t have much say in – like council rates, or strata levies and body corporate fees if you buy an apartment.
Your contract of sale or a statement by the vendor should outline these expenses, so you should know what to budget for.
Council rates are typically based on the value of your place multiplied by a rate set by the local council. The council will revalue your home from time to time, and so your rates can vary from one year to the next.
How much you’ll pay in water rates depends on the provider you have, but the cost is usually made up of a fixed charge plus extra for the water you’ve used. You could save on the variable component of your water rates by installing water-wise appliances like water-efficient showerheads, and by fixing leaks or dipping taps around the home.
Taking the time to plan your maintenance calendar and budget can help you enjoy a happy, healthy home!
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- Chapter One : Getting started
- Chapter Two : Your dream home
- Chapter Three : Money matters
- Chapter Four : Ways to purchase
- Chapter Five : Understanding interest rates
- Chapter Six : Understanding home loans
- Chapter Seven : Lending sources
- Chapter Eight : Getting your loan
- Chapter Nine : Choosing a home
- Chapter Ten : Steps to settlement