Home ownership is an integral part of the American culture, so much so that owning a home is often referred to as the American dream.  Every year millions of people make the move from renter to homeowner, and that transition can be a positive one.

If you are thinking about joining the ranks of the former renters, however, it is important to be prepared for unexpected expenses.  If you think the monthly mortgage check will be your only expense, you need to think again.  Here are 10 hidden costs of owning your first home.

  1. Home décor - You will want to decorate your new abode, and that can get expensive.  The high cost of home décor takes many renters by surprise.

  2. Furniture - It will be hard to make your apartment furnishings stretch in even a small home, so plan on buying some additional furniture.  You can save money by buying used and shopping at consignment shops, but the cost could still add up quickly.

  3. Commuting - If you are moving from the city to the suburbs, you could see your commuting costs skyrocket.  For some homeowners, the additional cost will be negligible, but for others it could be a financial game changer.

  4. Current repairs - At some point, something will go wrong in your new home, and you need to be prepared for the repair costs.  Even if you are an experienced handyman, you may not be able to handle all the repairs.

  5. Future upgrades - Whether it is a new kitchen or an updated bathroom, home upgrades can get pretty expensive.  If you fail to budget for these costs, you could end up with a lot of debt.

  6. Landscaping - Your landscaping is alive, and that means elements can die unexpectedly.  Replacing a bush or taking out an old tree could be expensive, and these costs could take you by surprise.

  7. Time - It is hard to put a value on your time, but think about how much you make at work, then calculate how many hours you spend on home repair and maintenance.  Your time has a value, and it can be a hidden cost of home ownership.

  8. Disaster recovery - Even if you have solid insurance in place, you could still face significant expenses in the wake of a storm or other disaster.  From deductibles to uncovered damages, these costs can really add up.

  9. Pest control services - Household pests can eat you out of house and home - literally.  From carpenter ants and termites feasting on your framing to mice building nests in your wiring, pests can really take a toll.  If you want to keep them at bay, you will need to budget for pest control services.

  10. Moving expenses - You will need to get from your old apartment to your new house, and that can be expensive.  Many former renters are surprised at just how costly moving day can be.

The move from renter to homeowner can be a positive one for your finances, but it is important to consider the short-term and long-term costs.  If you are prepared for these expenses, you can build them into your budget, so your first experience with home ownership can be a great one.