While homeownership is often considered part of the American dream, it can also come with some unexpected pitfalls.
Take unavoidable or hidden costs, which can be a stressful part of homeownership, according to real-estate data site Zillow, which includes property taxes and insurance, as well as yard care and maintenance, as expenses that many homeowners aren't prepared for.
Nationally, homeowners are paying $9,477 annually in these hidden costs, although property owners in many cities are actually paying more than that. The larger hidden expenses are due to higher labor costs, which can add up when people hire contractors or landscape professionals, as well as higher property taxes. While budgeting for these costs is essential, it may be even more important for Americans relocating to more expensive parts of the country, Zillow said.
"Home buyers too often fixate on the sticker price or monthly mortgage payment on a house, and don't budget for the other expenses associated with ownership -- which can add up quickly," said Amy Bohutinsky, Zillow chief marketing officer, in a statement. "For example, new buyers can get really excited about having a backyard of their own for the first time, without budgeting for how they plan to maintain that space."
Some regions of the country have extraordinarily high hidden costs, which can even exceed $1,000 per month. While some consumers might think they can skip some of these costs, that's not always wise. Failing to repaint a house or maintain a property can lead to lower property values, for instance.
Read on to learn about the 11 cities with the highest hidden costs of homeownership.
11. Charlotte, N.C.
Homeowners in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area have total hidden costs of $8,865 annually, or just shy of the national average.
That means they have additional monthly expenses of about $739, on top of their mortgage bill.
About $5,649 of that are unavoidable hidden costs, which include utilities, property taxes and homeowners insurance. Property taxes in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill metropolitan area average about $1,346 annually, Zillow found.
Still, home values in this area are considerably lower than in other towns, which would make a monthly mortgage payment more affordable. The average home value in the Charlotte area is $159,200, or about 11 percent lower than the national average, according to Zillow.
10. Minneapolis-St. Paul
The Twin Cities frequently rank among the best places to live in America, but they're certainly not the cheapest for homeowners.
Property owners in Wisconsin's Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area have total hidden costs of $9,782 annually, slightly higher than the national average. The biggest chunk of that comes from unavoidable expenses such as property taxes, insurance and utilities, which amount to $6,446 annually.
The remainder -- $3,336 -- are home maintenance costs, such as lawn care and house cleaning.
Given that the average home price is $210,300, or about 18 percent higher than the national average, that means Minneapolis-St. Paul property owners are looking at higher-than-average mortgage payments on top of these hidden costs.
9. Orlando, Florida
Home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando is known as a fun destination for families. But homeowners might find the high costs of maintaining their homes less than enjoyable.
The total hidden costs of homeownership for people in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area is $10,100, or $842 per month. The bulk of that comes from unavoidable costs (such as property taxes), although homeowners also face $3,355 each year in maintenance costs, Zillow said.
One saving grace for homeowners in this area is that the average home value is $170,500, or slightly less than the national average, which should make mortgage payments more affordable.
8. San Diego
Homeowners in the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos metropolitan area face $10,647 in hidden costs, or about $887 per month, according to Zillow.
While that's higher than the national average, property owners in this area have a double-whammy: The average home value is $475,600, or more than double the national average.
That means people who are relocating or buying for the first time may face affordability issues.
Homeownership in San Diego is declining partly because of high housing costs, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, which noted that San Diego County is one of the country's least affordable housing markets. Investors are buying up more properties and renting them out, while developers aren't building as many new homes.
7. Portland, Oregon
Homeowners will have to pay up to secure a foothold in this hipster mecca.
Total hidden costs for homeowners are $10,672 annually, or $889 per month, Zillow said. Property taxes, insurance and utilities amount to $7,206 of that, with the remainder going to maintenance costs.
While the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metropolitan area has housing prices that are more reasonable than San Diego, it's still on the pricey side. The average home value is $282,900, or 58 percent higher than the national average.
With the cost of housing on the rise, Portland residents are having a hard time finding properties that they can afford, prompting calls for a higher minimum wage, the Oregonian newspaper noted this month.
6. Los Angeles
Homeowners in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area are facing hidden costs of $11,333, or $944 per month, according to Zillow.
About $7,025 stems from unavoidable hidden costs such as property taxes and insurance, with maintenance costs contributing to the remainder.
Aside from having high hidden costs, buyers in Los Angeles face extremely pricey property values. The average home value is $534,300, or almost triple the national average.
Homeowners in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan region face hidden costs of $11,549, or $962 per month, according to Zillow.
About $7,211 of those costs are related to unavoidable expenses such as property taxes and insurance, with the remainder due to maintenance costs, Zillow said.
Like many cities with high hidden costs of homeownership, the average home values in Seattle are also far above the national average. The average home value in the region is $348,700, or almost double the country's average of $178,400.
The City of Brotherly Love might not have much kindness in store for homeowners. The hidden costs of homeownership in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan area are $11,953 annually, or $996 per month.
Unavoidable costs such as property taxes and insurance make up $8,161 of the total, with maintenance costs contributing $3,792 per year.
The good news for home buyers is that prices are generally more affordable in Philadelphia than other big cities on this list. The average home value in the area is $200,500, or about 12 percent higher than the national average.
Homeowners in the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet region face annual hidden costs of $12,236, or about $1,019 per month.
About $9,096 of that is due to unavoidable costs such as property taxes and insurance, while homeowners can face an extra $3,140 in annual maintenance costs, Zillow said.
Property values are more affordable in the Chicago metropolitan area than other big U.S. cities, however. The average home value is $186,800, or about 5 percent higher than the national average.
2. San Francisco
Homeowners in the Golden Gate city might need some extra gold in their coffers to maintain their properties. The hidden costs of owning a home amount to $13,287 per year, or $1,107 per month.
That's not the only bad news for home buyers. The San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area has the highest average home value on Zillow's list, at $738,200, or more than four times the national average.
The costs of owning a home in the San Francisco area is prompting some to flee the area, according to online-real estate brokerage Redfin. The site noted that one in four people in the Bay Area searched its service for homes outside the region, mostly looking in more affordable towns such as Seattle and Portland.
Homeowners in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area face the highest hidden homeownership costs in the country, according to Zillow.
Their costs amount to $13,930 annually, or $1,160 per month. Most of that is due to property taxes, insurance and utilities, which amount to $9,413 per year, the report found. The remaining $4,517 is due to maintenance costs.
That comes on top of an already expensive housing market. The average home value in the Boston area is $364,900, or more than double the national average.
One issue facing home buyers is a lack of supply of available properties, which is driving prices higher, according to the Boston Globe. With fewer homes hitting the market, some properties are sparking bidding wars and spiking prices.