How Much Does it Cost to Buy a House?

published by:
ADAM BOSMA, MBA
August 13, 2020

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a House?

10 Hidden Costs

Buying a house is exciting - and stressful. When it comes to purchasing your new home, it's essential to be realistic about what you can expect to pay. Beyond mortgage and insurance, there are additional costs all new homeowners need to factor into their buying budget.

We've gathered up 10 hidden costs we believe every new homebuyer should be aware of when purchasing their next home.

Cost #1: Property Taxes

Some lenders may roll your property taxes in with your mortgage, meaning they can be easy to forget. But, you still need to account for them in your budget. Property taxes may be of little concern in some areas, and a considerable expense in others. Do some digging into what you can expect to pay when moving to a new area - as this could be a deciding factor when relocating.

In some cases, property owners may face a supplemental property tax bill at the end of their first year. Supplemental property tax happens if the county determines your house was undervalued at the time of sale. You're responsible for making up the tax difference in it's new appraised value.

Cost #2: Closing Costs

Closing costs include a wide range of fees paid at the end of a real estate transaction. While this isn't a comprehensive list, you can expect to pay expenses including:

  • Cost of inspection
  • Lawyer fees
  • Recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Document fees
  • Surveyance fee
  • Title cost 
  • Sales brokerage commission
  • Mortgage applications
  • Home warranty

Make sure to ask your realtor to go over what will be included in the closing costs to avoid unpleasant surprises. 

Cost #3: Earnest Money

Almost like a security deposit, earnest money is what you put down upfront before filling out paperwork - it's meant to prove your seriousness in purchasing the property. Like a security deposit, you will get your earnest money back if the transaction goes through. If you end up backing out of the deal, there's a chance you may not get that money back. This should be clear in any contract you sign.

Earnest money can run anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand or more.

Cost #4: Paying for the Escrow

It's common for buyers to pay for their escrow account upfront to cover expenses like property taxes and insurance. Some lenders will require that extra money remains in the account, making escrow an essential part of the homebuying budget.

Cost #5: Homeowner's Insurance

Similar to property taxes, homeowners insurance may be included in your monthly mortgage rate. And while they may lump homeowners insurance in with other expenses, it's important to remember it's there. There's also a possibility it could go up or down depending on your coverage needs.

Cost #6: School Taxes

School taxes will differ depending on the district. If you have school-age children, you may be happy to pay more in school taxes if it means a quality education for your child. If you do not have children in or heading to school, you may want to pay close attention to what school taxes the government expects you to pay. Depending on the area, it could vary quite a bit from district to district. This may be a factor in determining where you're willing to move.

Cost #7: Interest Rates

Interest rates are almost always unavoidable. But remember, having a good credit rating will likely result in a lower interest rate - which could save you big over time.

Cost #8: Moving Costs

Moving vans aren't cheap - not to mention the boxes, packing supplies, time off work, and labor (if hiring a company). 

Account for these expenses in your home buying costs, especially if you're making a long-distance move. Typically the farther away the move, the more costly it'll be.

Cost #9: Utilities

Remember to account for what utilities you'll be paying for, especially if you're moving into a bigger place:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Sewer
  • Water
  • Cable & internet

The installation of these services can start to add up. Make sure you're aware of the costs ahead of time. 

Cost #10: Home Maintenance and Repairs

Home repairs or renovations are almost inevitable, especially if you are purchasing an older home. If you know you'll want to get in there and start renovating as soon as you get the keys, you won't have much time to save after closing the deal. Remember to account for the cost of renovating your new home when building out your budget. If you aren't planning on doing repairs or renovations right away, start building up an emergency fund to prepare for any unexpected home repair costs later down the line.

It can be stressful adding up the hidden costs of buying a home. But facing the numbers head-on can help you, and your financial advisor better prepare for what's to come.

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