Maintaining a home

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Ongoing homeownership costs

Beyond the long list of costs related to buying a home, maintaining a home costs money, too. In this section, you’ll find information about the types of essential expenses you will need to budget for.

Mortgage payments

This will be one of your biggest ongoing expenses. Speak with your financial institution about automatically deducting your mortgage payments from your account on a schedule that works best for you.

Property taxes

As a homeowner, you’ll have to pay property taxes every year. The amount you pay will depend on the value of your home and where you live. For example, if your home is valued at $350,000 and your annual property tax rate is 1%, you’ll owe $3,500 each year.

Most municipalities offer a variety of options for paying your property taxes. Learn more about property taxes in your area by visiting your municipality’s website.

Some financial institutions will collect and pay your property taxes for you. This may also be a condition of financing. Speak with your financial institution for more information.

Utilities

Water, heating and electricity are all costs that you will have to cover as a homeowner. And services like cable, Internet and telephone can quickly add up.

The cost of utilities and telecommunications varies by region. To learn more about utilities in your area, visit your municipality’s website or consult individual company websites.

Condo fees

All condo owners in a building have to pay monthly condo fees, whether or not they use the services covered by the fees.

These fees can vary widely depending on:

  • the building
  • the services and amenities the building provides
  • the size of your condo

Condo fees typically cover:

  • general maintenance of the building’s common areas
  • utilities
  • insurance
  • additional services and amenities, such as a swimming pool, gym, security guard or concierge

A portion of your monthly condo fee also goes to a reserve fund to cover expected large expenses relating to building maintenance. Condo fees change from time to time to reflect increases in the costs of utilities and services and the status of the building’s reserve fund.

There may also be large one-off fees called special assessments. Condo owners must pay these fees when the regular condo fees and the reserve fund won’t cover an unexpected major repair.

Your building’s condominium association or board will tell you about the fees you can expect to pay and why.

Find out what’s involved with this Condominium Buyers Guide.

Repairs and home maintenance

Maintenance and repairs are a normal part of homeownership. To avoid an unexpected financial shock, it’s important to save for repairs and other unexpected expenses. Regularly set aside savings to pay for these ongoing costs. Speak with your financial institution about automatic deposits.

Home insurance

Home insurance can help protect your home and its contents in case of theft, loss or damage to the inside and outside of your home or property. It may also help you cover additional living expenses such as the cost of living in a hotel or renting a home if you are temporarily unable to live in your home.

Your household budget

To help you manage and track the costs of maintaining a home, keep an up-to-date household budget.

Use the Budget Calculator to make a household budget.

Saving for emergencies

Setting aside savings in an emergency fund can help you deal with unexpected events, including job loss, unexpected repairs to your home and serious illness.

As a general rule, try to maintain enough emergency savings to cover three months of household expenses.

To help you save, you can set up automatic payments to a savings account.

Tax credits and deductions for homeowners

There are tax credits and deductions available for homeowners.

Find out what homeowner income tax rebates you may qualify for.

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