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Identifying Hidden Costs Of A Pre-Existing Home

Identifying Hidden Costs Of A Pre-Existing Home

Buying a home is an exciting time but if you're moving in to a pre-existing residence you'll need to consider and plan for any hidden costs. There may already be some expected costs due to items which were identified during the home inspection. Some of these items may already have been fixed by the existing home owner while others may have been left unattended as part of the negotiation process. There is also the general expense of being a home owner which requires periodic maintenance of certain areas and repairing or replacing items that break. Let's take a look at some of the hidden costs you're likely to incur when moving into a new or pre-existing home.


Exterior paint may have been identified during home inspection if the home is 10 years or older but interior wall coverings are a different issue altogether. Fortunately, homes have moved on from the time of wood wall paneling and dark interiors but that doesn't mean the walls won't need to be touched. The previous home owner may have installed wallpaper meaning this could be the first thing to go. Renting equipment to steam off the wallpaper and reach high places is only the first expense. Once the walls are prepared you will more than likely need to paint the existing surface which costs even more money.


An expected flooring cost would be ripping out and replacing old or worn carpeting which is likely to have been addressed during negotiations. Maybe there is a small reduction in the home price but regardless, putting in new carpet is something which should be budgeted for after purchasing the home. A more likely scenario is all the carpet is torn up only to be replaced with tile or wood flooring. This could be a hidden costs because the home buyer may have convinced themselves that the existing flooring was acceptable and would last a few years until replacement became necessary. Unfortunately, the necessary replacement time often occurs sooner than expected.


If you're moving from an apartment, you may have a general idea of what is involved when landscaping the front or backyard of a home. For most new home owners however, it isn't until after moving in that they realize landscaping is significantly more expensive than anticipated. It is rarely the case of buying a few plants and some ground cover to make a yard look nice. Simply laying sod can require proper preparation of the surface including grading and adding nutrients in addition to installing a sprinkler system with a timer. And that's just the lawn. It will probably take years to properly landscape the home due to the hidden costs.


Nothing is worse, at least when it comes to furnishing a home, than putting old furniture in a nice new space or not having enough furniture to begin with. Many new home owners underestimate their furnishing needs and living spaces feel cold and unwelcoming by being sparse. Many new home owners immediately drop thousands of dollars on a new living room or bedroom set because their existing furniture didn't satisfy their needs or look appropriate for the new place.


Most necessary repairs will have been taken care of immediately following the home inspection. Other repairs may have been identified but temporarily delayed by the new home owner since they may not be immediately necessary. Being a home owner will inevitably mean fixing things you didn't expect a break or buying replacements for appliances which should have lasted longer. This is especially true in pre-existing homes which have had normal wear and tear over the years.

Image by: Anthony Crider