As a first-time homebuyer, you’re going to be shifting through and signing a mountain of paperwork like never before. Everything is standard and most of it is boilerplate but it is a lot to process. What also is a lot to process will be all the costs. You know the actual purchase price and you know there will be a commission but did you also know there are a bunch of “hidden costs” that seem to crop up at every turn? Here’s what you can except to add to your home buying budget:
This is a small amount paid to the homeowner to show how serious you are about buying their property. Obviously, you’re serious or you wouldn’t even know who the homeowner was. This earnest money can be $500 to $1,000. The good news is that it is an amount that can go towards the purchase price. However, if the deal falls through because you couldn’t get financing, then you can expect that earnest money to be gone for good.
You’ll hear a lot about closing costs the closer you get to your closing. It will be the summation of a lot of little fees like covering the recording of the deed or the home inspector. There is also title insurance, notary and surveys that might be part of the closing. It all adds up but you might not have to write a separate cost. All of the closing costs can be folded into your loan. Of course, if you want to pay up front you can. It just means less to spend on new furniture.
As you make the transition from apartment renter to homeowner, you’ll find yourself open to adjustments in your taxes. There are some breaks for homeowners but property tax isn’t one of them. This is something every homeowner pays. The amount varies depending on the value of your home and the community where it is located. You should have a rough estimate of how much the property taxes will be before you close and they won’t be due right away. However, it’s a good idea to have the amount set aside so you won’t be scrambling to come up with that extra expense.
The difference you might be saving in a mortgage payment versus rent could go right back out as homeowner’s insurance premium. You will be required to carry this type of insurance as long as you’re paying off a mortgage. If you live in a designated flood, fire or other disaster zone, then you could be paying higher premiums.
These hidden costs shouldn’t dissuade you from buying your home. You should just make sure you budget them all out so that you go into the process fully informed.