Buying your first home is thrilling, but don’t forget about ongoing maintenance costs. Touring potential houses and dreaming about your future in each one is exciting, but owning a home involves more than just making mortgage payments. As a prepared home buyer, you should budget for maintenance and home repairs.

Plan to spend at least 1% of the purchase price on the annual upkeep of your home. Repair and maintenance needs and costs vary by location, climate, home style, local prices and other factors. Review average costs by state to make an informed annual budget for where you live. 

Average Costs by State

Maintenance costs depend heavily on the location of your home.  A study by found the national average is around $16,000 yearly, with costs ranging from $14,000 to $18,000 depending on the state.

The highest average costs were in New Jersey ($18,151), Washington D.C. ($18,119), Connecticut ($17,782), and Maryland ($17,699). More affordable states included Arkansas ($15,115), West Virginia ($15,068), and Mississippi ($14,890).

Climate impacts costs. Cold climates deal with harsh winters that are tough on roofs, siding, and HVAC systems. Hot areas require constant AC maintenance and boost cooling bills. Home design also plays a role, with larger or more complex houses having greater needs.

Most and Least Expensive Cities

Drilling down, it’s evident that specific neighborhoods and ZIP codes within states can have much higher or lower maintenance costs than the state average. Luxury areas skew averages upwards.

For example, Kenilworth, Illinois, had the highest costs nationwide at $27,661 yearly. Median home values there are $1.6 million. Other expensive cities included Atherton, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Greenvale, NY, and Pound Ridge, NY.

More affordable areas were Marfa, TX ($12,607 average yearly maintenance) and Niceville, FL ($12,599). Local values significantly impact what homeowners spend on real estate upkeep.

Certain zip codes consistently fall below the national average when it comes to the expenses associated with maintaining a home. The chart above examines specific zip codes in each state where costs remain exceptionally affordable. This chart highlights the regional disparities in the cost of maintaining a home across the United States. 

The least expensive areas nationwide for home maintenance costs are:

  • Hutsonville, Illinois ($12,600)
  • Destin, Florida ($12,599)
  • Scooba, Mississippi ($12,579)
  • Sanderson, Texas ($12,581)
  • Thayne, Wyoming ($12,583)

Routine Maintenance Costs

From lawn care to appliance repair, regular responsibilities add up. To budget accurately, understand typical tasks and costs involved with home maintenance.

Lawn mowing typically costs $16 per session. Fertilizing runs $13 per application, while aerating costs $27. Pool owners pay $105 monthly for cleaning.

Inside, homeowners replace water filters ($600) and fix leaky faucets ($163) every three years or so. Annual furnace maintenance runs $75.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

Stay on top of routine tasks to prevent larger issues down the road. Review recommended schedules and cost ranges for your home’s systems to budget realistically.

Most and Least Expensive Projects

Certain infrequent repairs carry hefty price tags that strain budgets. Anticipate these larger homeownership expenses in long-term planning.

The Porch study found repairing a subfloor costs approximately $1,344 on average every eight years. Other expensive repairs are pool filter replacement ($772), fixing water damage ($681), and shower regrouting ($612).

Cheaper monthly tasks like garage door lubrication ($12) and AC filter changes ($15) still add up over time. Expect regular mini-expenses too.

Maintenance varies based on size, materials, and features. All homeowners deal with annual repairs, seasonal tasks, and occasional big fixes. 

Should You Budget for Maintenance?

Home maintenance often takes a back seat to more exciting parts of owning a home, like decorating or landscaping. Based on my experience working with home buyers and sellers over the past two decades, I recommend you budget for regular maintenance costs and unexpected repairs to prevent financial headaches.

While specific tasks and costs differ by climate and home features, ongoing maintenance is essential when owning property. Research average maintenance and repair costs in the area, plan accordingly and set up a maintenance expense savings account. 

Regular upkeep protects your investment in your home by preserving your home’s value. While proactive maintenance may not be the most exciting aspect of home ownership, budgeting sufficiently for it will give you peace of mind for as long as you own your home.

FAQs About Home Maintenance Costs

How is maintenance cost calculated?

Look at routine annual costs like HVAC filters and lawn care. Add average repair costs over time for appliances, roofs, and other home components. Total costs for a yearly figure.

Does 1% of home value cover maintenance?

It’s a good rule of thumb, but it may fall short on older and/or larger homes. Review potential tasks, aging mechanical systems, and local repair and replacement rates.

What are the largest maintenance costs?

The big-ticket home maintenance projects are replacing roofs, HVACs, and remodeling projects. Pool, lawn, and appliance maintenance may also be relevant for your home.

How often should maintenance be done?

It depends on the task. Lawn care is weekly/monthly. Gutter cleaning is annual. Appliance replacement varies by lifespan.

Should I DIY or hire contractors?

DIY can save money on simple tasks. Contractors have expertise with complex repairs. Realistically weigh your skills to determine if calling a professional makes the most sense.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Laurie Engle

Laurie Engle

Expert Writer & Reviewer

Laurie Engle is a freelance writer who provides insights to homeowners on topics such as the home warranty industry, relocation issues, and real estate trends. As a licensed Realtor since 2001 Laurie has acquired extensive expertise in dealing with home warranty companies and navigating the intricacies of the real estate market. In addition to her commitment to helping clients with their home buying and selling needs, she maintains a sharp awareness of market dynamics, including property values, interest rates, and local regulations.

Learn More

photo of Lee Ann Merrill

Lee Ann Merrill

Chicago-based Lee Ann Merrill has decades of experience writing and editing across a wide range of technical and scientific subjects. Her love of DIY, gardening, and making led her to the realm of creating and honing quality content for homeowners. When she's not working on her craft, you can find her exploring her city by bike and plotting international adventures.

Learn More