While many things change in our fast-paced world, one fact always rings true: owning a home is still the American dream. While you may fantasize about what the dream home would look like, it can be easy to go a bit overboard and let your emotions override your logic. If you aren’t patient, it can be easy to act on these feelings and sign the dotted line for a luxury home without thinking about the myriad of underrated costs that will hit your bank account over time.
That is not to say that you shouldn’t shoot for your goal of owning a luxury home. You just need to take some time to think about what ownership of a larger or historical property may entail so you don’t feel buyer’s remorse once you are handed the keys. There are many considerations to keep in mind, including the landscaping, utilities, hidden maintenance costs, and more. If you have found the house of your dreams, think about these considerations first.
1. Cost to Maintain a Large Yard
In many cases, a big home is accompanied by a big yard, and while you may like the idea of enjoying the outdoors with your family, you need to consider the costs of maintaining the exterior’s dignified appearance. If you are planning on maintaining the yard on your own, you will likely need to purchase a lawnmower, weed wacker, leaf blower, and other electronic devices that will be necessary to clean up many acres of land. If you plan on hiring professionals to take care of it for you, that will cost more money as well, and the larger the yard, the higher the cost.
2. Cost to Fix an Existing Yard
While the idea of starting from scratch may be appealing, you may have to fork out significant cash to fix some of the landscaping mistakes created by the previous owner. This could include digging up and replacing dying plants, paying to repair damaged grass that was cut too short, fixing a neglected or non-working irrigation system, and more. If you want to correct these issues, it is going to cost money to do so.
3. Utility Costs in Rural Areas
Many luxury properties, including ranches and lakefront properties, will be in more rural areas that are a bit off of the beaten path, and while you may enjoy the privacy, you could have a rude awakening in the form of surprise utility costs. For instance, some properties away from the city limits may not have water provided. Instead, you may need to rely on well water. If a well is not already in place, you may have to add this expense to your budget. However, that well water may not be safe to drink, which may lead you to need to install a water softener or filter, which could cost upwards of $1,000 plus maintenance costs.
Electricity may also be less dependable in rural areas. To get the power you need to light and operate a large house, you may have to install solar panels. Depending on your square footage, a large solar setup could cost you over $20,000. Before you buy a large house in the country, talk to the utility companies in the area to get a realistic expectation of what you might pay.
4. Cleaning Costs Of A Large Property
As a homeowner, we groan at the cost of the larger cleaning tasks that typically require the assistance of a professional. Hiring professionals costs money, and for a larger home, it will cost even more. For example, when it comes to window washing, the average cost for a house of 3000 square feet is around $250. Now imagine adding at least another couple thousand square feet and many additional windows. The cost can skyrocket.
That is just one of many costs that could escalate for a large house. You may also have to power wash the decks, seal the driveway, and repaint the exterior walls. Think about how much space you have and how much this will cost and determine if you have the budget.
5. Maintenance Costs for Luxury Perks
In many cases, the draw of a luxury property is in the additional perks it provides, like having a swimming pool, your own private beach, or an outdoor spa. All of these luxuries will need to be regularly maintained, which can add a lot to your monthly bills. Just the regular maintenance on a pool alone can add up to upwards of $5000 a year, which includes the costs to keep it clean and operational, plus the purchase of additional insurance you should probably invest in to protect yourself if anyone gets hurt.
6. High-Value Home Insurance
With more property, there is more that can go wrong, so if your home costs over $750,000, you may want to pay for high-value home insurance. This coverage provides extra protection and expanded policy limits. Not only will it cover your home, but also additional structures on the property, expensive items inside like jewelry and art, and coverage for your landscaping. The cost for this extra protection could be over $1000 a year.
7. Cost of Security
Other than the costs, one big issue with owning a luxury home is the attention it will bring to potential thieves and criminals. To protect what is yours, you will need a vast security system, and the costs could quickly add up as you invest in security cameras, motion detectors, additional lighting, and potentially a gate or extra fencing. It is not fun to think about protecting what is rightfully yours, but it is one of the prices you pay for luxury.
While this list may be daunting, it should not scare you away from owning your dream home if you have gone through your budget and confirmed that you can afford it. If you see a house you like, consider these costs, and if it all adds up, take the plunge!