(BPT) - Have you ever wished homeownership came with a user's manual? There's only so much you can prepare for, whether you're buying your starter home, forever home — or something in between. It's all too common to face unexpected expenses, including ongoing maintenance of your property with hidden added costs. In a new survey conducted in collaboration with OnePoll, TruGreen found that nearly half of homeowners (44%) invested more money in their home during the first year of homeownership than they expected.
To equip homeowners with more realistic expectations before purchasing a new home, TruGreen®, the nation’s leading lawn care provider, shares the top three lessons homeowners have learned.
1. Home maintenance is crucial — and will cost you
No matter what type of home you buy — from fixer-uppers to move-in ready — you should expect some repairs and replacements, plus routine maintenance. While this will vary depending on your home's age, size and condition, rest assured that most homes require regular care to help prevent long-term (and potentially expensive) damage.
So, how much maintenance is required when you purchase a home? In the survey, homeowners' top expenses during their first year as a homeowner were appliance replacements (56%), exterior repairs such as windows (53%) and major repairs like roofing (52%). Furthermore, when prioritizing maintenance, homeowners mainly focused on their home's exterior, such as patios (42%) and their yard or lawn (39%).
Ensuring you have the means to handle unanticipated repairs and routine maintenance before you buy will help prevent financial stress down the road.
2. Investing in your property to create a home
When you first move into your new house, don't get discouraged if you don't initially feel like you're really "home." The homeowners surveyed spent an average of two and a half years upgrading their homes before they were pleased with it. Despite the time and money they invested in the property — or perhaps because of it — nearly 71% of homeowners said they now feel like they've found their forever home.
Your house is more than just a place to call home, it's also an investment. And if it's managed properly, your home can also provide a great return on investment.
3. There will always be surprises — so don't be afraid to call a pro
Even the most prepared homebuyer will encounter surprise expenses after signing on the dotted line. According to the survey, the average homeowner has encountered about four surprises or unexpected costs within their first year of homeownership.
Beyond the surprise of unpredicted expenses, some of these tasks may be new and create challenges for homeowners to handle on their own. In fact, 62% would call a professional for a home improvement project, and nearly one-third of homeowners would hire a pro for home maintenance.
Handing maintenance or improvement projects to the pros can be a smart move to ensure the job will be done well. It can prevent future problems and save time you'd rather spend enjoying your home. For example, hiring a professional service to handle your lawn care can allow for more free time to actually enjoy your outdoor space, while giving you a sense of pride in how great it looks.
"Buying a new home is a tremendous milestone that brings much to celebrate, but the new responsibilities of homeownership can also be stressful," said Brian Feldman, senior director of technical operations at TruGreen. "As a new homeowner, there’s no need to waste time figuring out the best ways to maintain your home. To help tackle what can seem like an ongoing to-do list, you should consider partnering with the professionals."
If you're like the 75% of homeowners surveyed who believe it's important that their yard or home's exterior looks impeccable, consider partnering with an outdoor expert such as TruGreen to make your lawn look great.