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Total home expenses (first time buyer)?

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[OP]
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Dec 27, 2011
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Total home expenses (first time buyer)?

So due to a sudden situation arising, I’m likely going to buy a house really soon (immediately, but still debating whether to rent). I’ve never owned a home before and I wanted everyone’s wisdom here on how much ALL the expenses (aside from mortgage payments) associated with owning a home will be so I can make a proper budget. I plan on buying a small 2 or 3 bedroom house (either detached or semi-detached) in the 250k range (kitchener/waterloo area). I have laid out what I have so far below, but since I’ve never owned a home these numbers could be completely wrong so please let me know what should be more realistic numbers and add any expenses I’ve missed. Costs are per month. Thank you!

Utilities (hydro + gas + water) = $125: I know this cost depends on many variables (size and age of home, # of occupants, energy saving techniques, etc). The size of home will be small, 2-3 bedrooms (probably end up being 2) with 2 occupants. We will be VERY conservative in everything (not wasting water, turning lights off, don’t turn the heat high in winter or use AC much in winter, etc). I know $125 is low, but I feel it reflects the size of home and our conservative usage. Realistic?

Water Tank Rental = $30: Ideally the tank is owned and not rented, but I’m budgeting this in case it’s a rental. Should this be over or under $30?

Property Tax = $250: I’m not too sure how this is calculated but I figure it depends on the home’s assessed value…maybe multipled by a certain rate (e.g. 1% or 2%)? Anyone know if $250/month (or 3k per yr) is accurate for a small home, market value 250k in KW?

Home Insurance = $75: A small inexpensive home shouldn’t be as expensive to insure as a 3000+sq ft home.

Big Home Maintenance Items: No idea how much this would be. I realize things like the roof, windows, furnace, etc will need to be replaced eventually as they don’t last forever. At the same time I don’t really care about having the prettiest looking house or latest stuff so as long as the item is still functioning properly, I probably won’t upgrade them. Also, you never know how long you’ll stay at a home. If I end up owning the same home for the rest of my life then fantastic. But if I move away after 5 years and replaced the roof and windows the year prior, I’m not sure that would’ve been wise financially (unless those parts were definitely in need of replacing). Obviously it would help the value of the home when it comes time to selling, but would it really be a 1 to 1 value (e.g. spend 10k on an upgrade would also increase home value by 10k)? Probably not, but maybe I’m wrong. So I think for this category, I will upgrade items on an as needed basis (and I’ll be sure to have enough funds to do so).

Small Home Maintenance Items: Aside from the big items above, I’m sure there are smaller home maintenance items that will need to be done on a semi-regular basis. From people’s personal experiences, what would these be and how much?

Internet, Phone, Cable = $50: I would just get a cheap internet plan ($40), no home phone as I’ll use my cell, and I’ll get Netflix ($10).

So in total that’s $530 per month (not including any maintenance). Please correct any values you think may be wrong and add any expenses I have missed. I appreciate any responses :)
41 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 10, 2012
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Canada
utilities = 125??? wtf???

make that around ~$250-300 and you're more reasonable there
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Oct 6, 2010
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There a few threads on this and it varies.

But your calculations are way off IMO and I lived before moving to the city. Talk to your parents.

EDIT: ok, your HWT is probably close.
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Aug 22, 2011
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Center of Universe
Budget $100-$150/month each for electricity and gas (plus HWT rental).
For water/sewage, if it's a separate bill similar to that of Ottawa, around $50-$60 a month.

Everything else, is up to you in terms of tv, internet and home phone.
Jr. Member
Mar 9, 2013
175 posts
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Kitchener
Property tax can be found out from the city. For Waterloo, there is an online tool where you just need to give address. I often look up how much tax my neightbours are paying for giggles.

For big ticket maintenance,
Roof will probably be 3k to 5k
Windows go from 5k to 20k depending on how many
Furnace + AC should budget 5k
Driveway paving 10k for asphalt, more if using concrete

Hope this helps
Deal Addict
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Aug 14, 2006
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GTA
I don't know if a $40/month plan for Internet would be sufficient to support Netflix. You'd probably need a higher speed and a lot, if not unlimited, bandwidth.

And there are other things associated with living on your own from a budget perspective - groceries and other essentials (e.g. toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry stuff). As for maintenance, depends on what you mean, but if you can google and DIY, that doesn't have to cost much.

As someone else has mentioned, your utilities estimate is a bit low. Just hydro for me + hubby (and we're pretty conservative too), is about $100/month.

Either way, good luck, OP!
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2009
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Newmarket
RhetoricalQuestion wrote:
Driveway paving 10k for asphalt, more if using concrete
Asphalt driveway shouldn't cost that much unless it's a really big driveway, had my done last year for about 2K, about 45 feet long by 20 wide.
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2009
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Newmarket
crystallight wrote:
Utilities (hydro + gas + water) = $125: I know this cost depends on many variables (size and age of home, # of occupants, energy saving techniques, etc). The size of home will be small, 2-3 bedrooms (probably end up being 2) with 2 occupants. We will be VERY conservative in everything (not wasting water, turning lights off, don’t turn the heat high in winter or use AC much in winter, etc). I know $125 is low, but I feel it reflects the size of home and our conservative usage. Realistic?

:)
not realistic even if you never take a shower ;-) big chunk of the utility bill are set fees and charges which you will pay regadless of your usage, for a small house with conservative use you will at least need to double your estimate.
Jr. Member
Mar 9, 2013
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Kitchener
Homerhomer wrote: Asphalt driveway shouldn't cost that much unless it's a really big driveway, had my done last year for about 2K, about 45 feet long by 20 wide.
That's a valid point from Homerhomer, I should've made it clear on how extensive the repaving is.

If you only add another top coat (such as 1.5inch of HL3F) then cost will be small. My figure is more for a total redo - remove existing asphalt, regrade, base layer, then top layer. Of course the size of driveway is a big factor too.
[OP]
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Dec 27, 2011
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badsha wrote: utilities = 125??? wtf???

make that around ~$250-300 and you're more reasonable there
vkizzle wrote: Budget $100-$150/month each for electricity and gas (plus HWT rental).
For water/sewage, if it's a separate bill similar to that of Ottawa, around $50-$60 a month.
Homerhomer wrote: not realistic even if you never take a shower ;-) big chunk of the utility bill are set fees and charges which you will pay regadless of your usage, for a small house with conservative use you will at least need to double your estimate.
If $125 is unrealistic then is $300 total actually how high it would be? I want to stress that this would be a small house (think 1,000sq ft), with only 2 people, both of which are super active in terms of conserving water, gas and electricity.
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Oct 26, 2008
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Household of 2 in a detached here. Paid $1600 last year to Powerstream for hydro and water which works out to be $133 per month. Natural gas averaged out to be $79 per month. Gas range and gas dryer helped with lowering the hydro bill.

FYI, Rogers has a limited time special for internet/TV/home phone bundle for $99. The internet portion is Ignite 100 which gives you unlimited internet at 100 mbps.
Deal Addict
May 17, 2012
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ontario
crystallight wrote: If $125 is unrealistic then is $300 total actually how high it would be? I want to stress that this would be a small house (think 1,000sq ft), with only 2 people, both of which are super active in terms of conserving water, gas and electricity.
125 is defiantly unrealistic. Enbridge charges you 20 a month even if the meter doesn't move - call it the privilege of being their customer. Depending on how air tight the place is I'd bet on 225 to 275 if you truly are as coservative as you say. More if it's heated with hydro.
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Apr 24, 2007
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1072 sq foot home here. 2 adults. Hydro is $200 bi - monthly. Water is 60-70 monthly. Last year my gas bill was 86 monthly. Essentially 250 per per month. You are better off budgeting on the high end and having money in your pocket if it comes in lower.
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Nov 24, 2012
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Space
A little under 1200 sq ft here and gas is 45$ ( non winter months ) 80$ on average in the winter, water is 70$ month, hydro is 90$ a month. We are pretty conservative as well. Your 125$ estimate is way too low. I'd say budget at least 200$ to be safe.
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Nov 19, 2004
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Cambridge, ON
$125 for utilities is pushing it. Not impossible but I wouldn't budget that low. $150-200 if you are conservative. Electricity and water rates only rise.
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Aug 22, 2011
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Center of Universe
crystallight wrote: If $125 is unrealistic then is $300 total actually how high it would be? I want to stress that this would be a small house (think 1,000sq ft), with only 2 people, both of which are super active in terms of conserving water, gas and electricity.
Will buying this home max you out every month?
You need to sit down with your spouse and crunch the numbers and calculate everything on the higher side to see where you stand.
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2009
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Newmarket
RhetoricalQuestion wrote: That's a valid point from Homerhomer, I should've made it clear on how extensive the repaving is.

If you only add another top coat (such as 1.5inch of HL3F) then cost will be small. My figure is more for a total redo - remove existing asphalt, regrade, base layer, then top layer. Of course the size of driveway is a big factor too.
I paid 2K for total redo.location is a big factor, company did many driveways in the area.
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Apr 16, 2012
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London
All this talk of utilities, I own a 1000 sq ft house with my girlfriend, excluding the account setup fees/ deposits for utilities we spend approx 150-200 a month for electricity, water, natural gas. I have a spreadsheet I use to track our utilities usages so this isn't just a rough guess of our monthly costs
[OP]
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Dec 27, 2011
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RhetoricalQuestion wrote: Property tax can be found out from the city. For Waterloo, there is an online tool where you just need to give address. I often look up how much tax my neightbours are paying for giggles.
Thanks! Looks like 1.2% x the house's assessed value. So around 250k x 1.2% = $3,000.

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