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The hidden costs of homeownership

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

The American dream of homeownership can quickly turn into a nightmare when you’re constantly being hit with unexpected expenses. Egypt Sherrod, HGTV host of “Property Virgins” and “Flipping Virgins,” shares her tips on how to prepare for some of the hidden costs.


Depending on where you live, landscaping can be a huge bill to consider. When Sherrod moved to Atlanta from New York City, she was billed $200 to get an acre of land mowed by a professional service. If you want extra curb appeal, add another $400 for seasonal flowers.

If that’s not in your budget, Sherrod recommends investing in a riding lawn mower. It will cost you about $2,000 to purchase but will pay for itself within a year — and you won’t have to rely on a service you can’t afford.

Gutter cleaning

Every six months you’ll need to clear your gutters of built-up debris like dirt and leaves. Failing to maintain the exterior of your house will result in costly and dangerous problems like mold. If you don’t plan on cleaning your gutters yourself, you can expect to pay $200 to $300 for the service.

A one-time installment of gutter guards can save you the hassle of dealing with this issue, says Sherrod. A gutter guard looks like a metal grate and shields your gutters. It can cost anywhere from a few hundred if you install them yourself to a few thousand if you get it done professionally. But once you set it, you can forget it.


Replacing or repairing a big-ticket item can set you back thousands — which is especially a risk if you’ve purchased an older home. Replacing a water heater can easily run you $600 to $2,000, and repairing an HVAC system can cost you another few thousand.

For $300 to $400 a year, a home warranty is probably your best bet, says Sherrod. Not to be confused with homeowners insurance, a home warranty provides repair and replacements on major systems within your house like plumbing, HVAC systems, and even your pool. Once you report your problem to the warranty company, they’ll send someone out to fix it. If they can’t fix it, they’ll replace it.

Flipping Virgins airs Tuesdays at 11pm ET/PT on HGTV.


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