4 Home Maintenance Costs That Could Catch You by Surprise

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Don't let these unexpected expenses bust your budget.

Most of us, when we buy a home for the first time, know we're taking on new expenses beyond just a mortgage payment. After all, you no longer have a landlord to handle repairs. If the house needs renovations, a new roof, or replacement appliances, it has to come out of your pocket.

But beyond budgeting for the big stuff, there are a number of smaller maintenance expenses that could add up and drain your bank account. Here are four costs that could catch you by surprise. Be prepared, so you don't have to borrow to cover essential maintenance.

1. Fireplace cleaning

With a wood-burning fireplace, a chimney fire is a very real risk -- particularly if you don't have it properly cleaned on a regular basis. It's a good idea to call in a professional once every few years -- or even annually if you use your fireplace often. They can clean out creosote and buildup, and help ensure that your fireplace doesn't put your family at risk.

If you move into a new home and want to use a fireplace that you aren't certain has been used for a while, calling in a professional for an inspection and cleaning is a good idea. This way you can be certain it's safe before you start your first fire.

2. Pest control

Indoor and outdoor pests can make living in your home very unpleasant -- especially in some parts of the country. Using a pest control service regularly can help keep your home and yard free of creepy, crawly critters.

A monthly contract with a pest control company comes at a cost. It can still be cheaper to have a regular service than to deal with larger infestations, though -- especially if you have problem insects such as termites that could do serious damage to your property.

3. Tree trimming or removal

Overgrown or dead trees can be a real hazard, since branches or trees could fall on your home, vehicles, or guests. You may need professionals to help you maintain your trees to reduce the risk of such catastrophes.

4. Gutter cleaning

Gutters are essential for drainage, but they can quickly become clogged with dirt, debris, and fallen leaves.

Climbing up on the roof to clean the gutters is not a task most people want to put on the to-do list. That means budgeting for regular gutter cleanings is necessary. This task helps to avoid drainage problems that might damage your home's structural components, and ensures your gutters don't become so heavy that they pull away from the house.

While these four maintenance tasks may not be what you're thinking about before you become a homeowner, they are things most people with properties deal with at one point or another. Before you buy a house, make sure you can work these costs into your budget.

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