Compass Greater NY, LLC
Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES, Compass Greater NY, LLCPhone: (917) 623-0624
Email: [email protected]

6 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home

by Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES 08/08/2021

Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

The cost of owning a home is much more than just your mortgage. There is a sizable list of additional costs prospective homeowners should plan for when thinking about buying a home. Here we will go over the primary additional costs of home ownership you might not have thought of.

Property Taxes

Property taxes are common enough in real estate conversation that you probably expect them. However, what you might not expect is just how much of an expense they can be. Property taxes differ from one area to the next but average out at around 1.1% of your home’s assessed value. While it doesn’t sound like much, property taxes can cost you up to $1000 per month in some states and municipalities.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners’ insurance is another expense you were likely prepared to deal with. However, because homeowners’ insurance does not cover absolutely everything, you might get stuck dealing with costly incidents on your own financial terms. Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and hurricanes usually require separate insurance policies and can vary in cost depending on where you live.

Electrical System

Issues with a home’s electrical wiring can come with both risk to your safety and your wallet. Electrical shorts are a common cause of fire that can damage or destroy your home depending on the severity. Even poorly installed outlets or switches can pose potential harm or be expensive to fix. You will need to hire licensed electricians to repair or inspect for problems with your electrical system to make sure everything works properly and up to local codes and safety standards.


Plumbing problems like clogged toilets or shower drains are fairly common household issues that you can usually handle on your own. A little basic plumbing knowledge and the right tools will help you fix the smaller problems, but sometimes your plumbing can work against you behind the scenes. If you have an older home, the pipes might have mineral buildup which can affect your water pressure, allow clogs more easily and in the worst cases weaken the pipes to the point of leakage. Pipes have to be replaced by a licensed plumber which can add up quickly—regardless of any potential water damage that may occur.


Termites can cause extremely expensive damage to your home. Termite damage, whether existing or ongoing, affects the structural integrity of your home and can lead to safety issues. Specialized termite damage inspectors can help you identify any risks or existing damage so you can avoid the much more expensive task of cleaning up the mess later.


For many, one joy of homeownership is having their own outdoor spaces. Unfortunately, the upkeep of your outdoor spaces can be more costly than many homeowners expect. Landscaping projects come with the obvious upfront costs of labor and materials, but there is also an ongoing cost to make sure everything stays alive and beautiful. There can also be unexpected landscaping expenses, like damage from roots or cleaning up fallen trees.

Many of these costs are potential rather than guaranteed. However, the more prepared you are for an expense, the easier it will be to handle the issue when the time comes. Keep these costs in mind when determining the cost of buying your own home.

About the Author

Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES

Ann Marie Damashek has always been a natural at helping people prepare their homes for sale. She started out with a successful business selling goods for people on eBay. "Nine times out of ten they were hiring me because they were down-sizing,” Ann Marie says. "So I decided to get my license. I said, ‘Might as well sell their house too.’” The transition was a smooth one and for nine years she’s had a thriving full-time real estate business that allows her to marry her entrepreneurial spirit with her passion for helping others. With an office in Larchmont, New York, she serves all of Lower Westchester County, with her primary market in the Sound Shore region. The majority of her business is "sphere of influence” with former clients referring her to friends and family. A gifted communicator, Ann Marie quickly builds trust and rapport with her clients by being both thoughtful and responsive; she understands that during the purchase or sale of a home, a quick response time is crucial. "I am very accessible,” Ann Marie says. "I always make time for my clients. They can call me, text me, email me up until 10 o’clock at night and I will respond. I’m available on weekends. I get back to people very promptly. I’m very customer service-oriented.” Her clients appreciate her professionalism, passion and enthusiasm and as a result her repeat and referral rate continues to grow each year. While selling real estate is serious business, Ann Marie knows that at times humor and a moment of levity can be a relief to clients. While she has a laidback and easygoing personality, she can be assertive when needed on her clients’ behalf. She loves being of service to them, and the continually changing nature of the work keeps her engaged and fulfilled. "It’s never boring,” Ann Marie enthuses. "Every day is different. That’s probably what I like most about it. But I also enjoy helping people sell or buy and educating them about the process. I love helping them achieve their goals.” This ethic of service has resulted in well-deserved recognition. Ann Marie has received the Westchester Magazine Five Star Real Estate Agent Rating four years running, in 2015 and 2016 she was the #1 agent in her office, and she’s a Zillow 5-Star Premier Agent. To keep in touch with former clients, Ann Marie sends cards to mark special occasions or reaches out via email. To market her listings, Ann Marie uses Multiple Listing Services (MLS), as well as, a service that allows both agents and their clients access to MLS data. She also uses a Facebook business page and ads to boost new listings or promote upcoming open houses. "That drives a tremendous amount of traffic,” Ann Marie says. She also uses the most popular real estate websites such as Zillow and Trulia. A strong believer in giving back, Ann Marie sits on the Board of Trustees of her church and is involved in a variety of social justice projects. She’s affiliated with Furniture Sharehouse, a furniture bank for Westchester County, which collects and distributes gently used furniture free of charge to those in need. "I love it on so many levels because as a realtor, it’s helps my sellers downsize through charitable donations. I like the environmental aspect of it as well. And it helps people who truly need things.” She’s also involved in Impact 100, a women’s philanthropic giving organization. In her free time, Ann Marie enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. For the future, Ann Marie wants to continue expanding her business and developing her brand, and she someday hopes to grow a strong team. But her main goal is to stay in the real estate business, helping her clients to achieve their dreams.