Home Ownership

The Hidden Costs of Buying a Home

First-time home buyers are often unprepared for the hidden costs of buying a home. After they have negotiated with the seller and agreed upon a purchase price, and have received verification from their lender for a mortgage, they are hit with a variety of other expenses that will likely increase their costs by an average of 3 to 6 percent of the home’s value.

For the uninitiated, here’s a list of some of the extra expenses you can expect when buying a home:

Points or Loan Origination Fees – These are upfront payments of the interest that you owe your lender for providing your mortgage. They can range up to 3 percent of the loan amount.

Broker Fees – If you acquired your mortgage through a broker, you will have to pay a fee for the service.

Home Inspection – It’s very risky to buy a home that hasn’t been professionally inspected for any potential problems or defects, and most lenders require an inspection. That cost accrues to you.

Appraisal – Your lender will typically expect you to have the home appraised to ensure that the property value and selling price are correct.

Survey – Many lenders will require you to pay for a survey to determine if there are any inconsistencies in the property’s boundaries.

Credit Report – You will have to pay for a credit report so that your lender can determine your credit worthiness, and to set the loan’s interest rate. You may want to have your credit card debt resolved at this time.

Title Search and Insurance – You will have to pay a title company to examine the ownership records of the property in order to discover any outstanding liens. You will also have to pay for a policy to ensure against errors in the title search.

Private Mortgage Insurance – If your down payment is less than 20 percent, you will have to pay private mortgage insurance as an added cost to your monthly mortgage payment.

Home Insurance – Your lender will require that you purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy that is sufficient to protect its investment in your property.

Document and Recording Fees – In order to properly record the transfer of real property, you will have to pay a variety of fees to local, county and/or state municipalities.

Escrow Fees – These fees are charged to process the paperwork and keep your money in a safe place while you and your seller negotiate final details of the sale.

Real Estate Taxes – You will be liable for taxes on your new home to be paid either yearly or as part of your monthly mortgage payment. You will also have to pay prorated taxes upfront before you can claim title.

Junk Fees – Don’t be surprised at a variety of “junk fees” that can show up on your closing statement. Courier service, wire transfers, credit insurance, inflated recording fees, underwriting and processing fees can all add hundreds of dollars to the cost of buying a home.

Move-In Costs – Don’t forget that you will also need to hire a moving company to move your belongings. You may also need to purchase new carpeting, furniture, appliances, etc.

While some fees can be waived or negotiated, others cannot. So before signing on the dotted line, make sure you understand all the hidden costs of buying your home.

Also, be prepared that you may have to return to your lender at some point in the near future, either to refinance your home or to modify your mortgage. And be sure to look into the hidden costs of those options, as well, before committing to them.

Comments (2)

  • Excellent list! I would add a home warranty. It covers all the mechanical things that can go wrong such as appliances, AC/heater, plumbing, electric etc. Many brokers have the seller pay for it and the buyer is covered for the first year.

    Reply
  • First time home buyer loans allow buyers to get into a house more easily. However, just because you’re a first time home buyer doesn’t mean you should use a first time home buyer loan. These programs have restrictions and strings attached. While they are a perfect fit for some, first time home buyer loans are the wrong choice for others.

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