How Much Does My Vacant Property Cost Me?

Dallas Home

The downside to owning real estate is, it is an asset that has to be fed constantly. There are carrying costs associated with holding on to a vacant piece of property can not be avoided. On top of the costs listed below you may also still have a mortgage on the property that is due each month as well.

Those costs can include:

Property Taxes

This is usually the highest expense when holding on to a vacant property, that is assuming the property is free and clear and no longer has a mortgage. Property taxes in Texas are the seventh-highest in the U.S., as the average effective property tax rate in the Lone Star State is 1.69%. The taxes are not optional and if left unpaid can result in you losing the house. The taxing authority could sell your home, perhaps through a foreclosure process, to satisfy the debt. Or the taxing authority might sell the tax lien that it holds, and the purchaser might be able to foreclose.

Maintenance

You are still responsible for maintaining the property. Keep the grass mowed, maintain the exterior, repair broken windows, keep walkways clear, and remove any clutter. Not only does this help reduce the risk of vandalism, but it also keeps the city from writing you tickets or giving you fines.

Utilities

In areas where weather can be extreme in either direction it is best to have utilities on to prevent issues down the line.  If the temperature drops and there is no heat or hot water on the property, you could risk burst pipes, etc. As well many municipalities in the area charge a homeowner for water, trash and sewer, even if they aren’t using the services..

Insurance

A  home is more likely to be vandalized when it sits vacant. That’s why most insurance companies stop insuring your home after it has been vacant for 30 days. When that happens, you have to get vacant property insurance, which is a lot more expensive than homeowner or landlord’s insurance. If you don’t switch to a vacant policy, you take the risk of having an uncovered loss.