young girl taking out trash at home

10 Vital Responsibilities of Homeownership

There are many compelling reasons to buy a home, including building wealth and being able to customize your home to suit your lifestyle. But owning a home involves additional responsibilities, too. 

For example, your home is more likely to grow in value if it’s well-maintained and you’ve made wise property improvements.

So if you’re trying to decide if you’re ready to buy—or want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to love and care for your home—consider these 10 key aspects of owning a home.

1. Mortgage payments

For most buyers, a monthly mortgage payment represents the most significant financial obligation of homeownership. That payment may be higher than renting an apartment, but at least you can be confident it won’t increase—if you opted for a fixed-rate mortgage instead of an adjustable-rate loan.   

2. Homeowners insurance

Mortgage lenders require buyers to have a homeowners insurance policy that covers potential damage to the residence from catastrophic events. But even if you own your home outright and don’t HAVE to insure your property, it’s advisable to protect your investment with this type of policy. 

Lenders often prefer wrapping homeowners insurance into the monthly mortgage payments, which may make it easier to budget for this expense. On the other hand, you might enjoy a discount if you can pay the entire annual premium in a lump sum.  

3. Real estate taxes

Property taxes are another unavoidable cost of owning a home, and taxes tend to increase over time. Like homeowners insurance, you may want to pay your real estate taxes through your lender with monthly escrow payments. 

4. Utilities 

Some utility costs may be included with rent payments. But homeowners must shoulder all utility expenses, including electricity, water, sewer, natural gas, internet, cable TV, and phone. 

Interestingly, over a quarter of U.S. residences still use landlines in 2023, a figure that’s nearly equal in metropolitan (28.6%) and rural (29.7%) areas.

5. Trash and recycling

Everyone generates garbage, although homeowners’ obligations and expenses vary when disposing of it. For example, in some locations, people pay for curbside collection through property taxes or homeowners associations. Others pay private haulers for trash and recycling services. And some homeowners take their disposables to community collection centers. But regardless of method, the costs of trash removal are typically covered by owners, now renters.

6. Landscaping and yard maintenance

When you own a home, your duties (and opportunities to customize your property) extend to your yard. Trees, shrubs, and gardens are planted and maintained. Summer brings mowing, weeding, and watering chores. Grass clippings, branches, and weeds must be disposed of as yard waste or possibly in a compost pile. Snow may need to be removed from sidewalks and driveways in the winter.

7. Preventative maintenance

Appliances generally last longer if they’re well-maintained, so homeowners are typically more dedicated to jobs like changing the furnace filter or cleaning a dishwasher than renters. Additionally, costly repairs, potentially including structural damage, can be avoided by preventing water leaks, properly maintaining a deck, and staying on top of countless other household tasks.  

8. Seasonal maintenance

In most parts of the U.S., spring and fall are the busiest times for seasonal home maintenance. Leaves may drop along with fall temperatures, and pests like mice may seek shelter indoors. Spring’s arrival requires fresh mulch and washing away winter’s grime, possibly with a power washer. Furnaces and air conditioners benefit from seasonal tune-ups, too.

9. Repairs

Homes experience wear and tear, and occasional repairs are often unavoidable. A torn screen. A dripping pipe. A loose shutter. Homeowners quickly learn that it’s beneficial and rewarding to develop DIY skills to avoid the cost and delays of hiring professionals for simple repairs. 

10. Stay informed

Savvy buyers also want to keep current on various topics related to home ownership. For example, what are the current remodeling trends, and which projects will most likely boost your home’s resale value? Or, what decisions are being considered by your local government or your HOA that could impact your living costs or quality of life? 

Whether you’re interested in buying a home or want to stay abreast of local buying and selling trends, consider connecting with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) in your area. 

Agents who have earned the ABR® designation have gone the extra mile by completing specialized training in representing buyers. And their intimate knowledge of the local market also offers a valuable resource to current homeowners.