Prepare for these 4 Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Published on 11/12/2021

Prepare for these 4 Hidden Costs of Homeownership

This fall leading into the start of winter is still a great time to buy a new home. There might be more people listing their homes for sale, easing the inventory crunch as well. So if you’re thinking of trying to buy this winter, now is the time. But if you’re a first time homebuyer, there is more that goes into the purchase than just mortgage payments and a down payment. Here are a few hidden costs of homeownership to be prepared for so you aren’t caught off guard.

1. Closing Costs

The fees associated with closing the deal on your new home purchase can add up. Closing costs typically vary from 2%-5% of the loan amount. It varies depending on geographic location. The best thing is to figure this percentage into your budget for buying. Included in closing costs are title policies, appraisals, settlement and recording fees, land surveys and transfer taxes. So it’s a lot of extra fees that come along with buying a home that some people are surprised by. 

2. Initial Extras

Along with the closing costs, you need to figure in the home inspection, moving costs, and title insurance. These three extras can also get pricy. You don’t want to forgo the home inspection, although sellers may want you to. But this protects you from purchasing a home only to find out there are huge structural or foundational issues already present. The last thing you want is to max out your budget on the purchase only to find out you have to shell out thousands of dollars for a foundation or roof issue. If you find out there are large issues during a home inspection, it doesn’t mean you can’t still move forward with the purchase of the home. But it will give you a great amount of leverage in negotiating aspects of the sale like a lower price or a specific closing day. 

And no matter how you go about it, moving is always a big expense. Besides the actual cost of a truck, fuel, and potentially movers, there are other costs such as packing supplies, time off work, childcare costs, hotels (if you’re moving far) and food while you’re moving and getting settled. Also, if you have more to move or farther to travel, you might consider hiring a moving company to make it easier on you and your family. This is a good thing to think about and add into the overall budget.

Similarly to a home inspection, the title review and insurance is a protection. This makes sure the person selling the home is legally able to. It ensures that there aren’t any liens or debts on the property. This is important because the new buyer could be forced to assume those debts once the sale goes through. And if you don’t know that ahead of time, it could come as a shock. 

3. Ongoing Bills

There are other ongoing bills such as property taxes, homeowners insurance and HOA fees that you might be required to pay monthly. Do the research before hand so you aren’t caught off guard with these expenses. 

4. Home Maintenance

Home maintenance is another aspect that we all know about but sometimes we are shocked by the extent of it. Again it’s not a bad thing, but just something that goes along with being a homeowner. And it’s a good idea to figure into your initial purchasing budget as well as for your monthly budget. Figure in initial renovation costs. Even if the home is mostly move-in ready, there may be small changes you want to make. Of course, if the home is older and there’s a lot you want to tackle, you may need to spread that out over time and prioritize what to get to first. 

Besides those initial renovations and fixes, budget monthly for normal maintenance. There are always things to fix in a home, whether it’s a leaky faucet, light bulbs, smoke detectors, loose doorknobs or squeaky doors. And budgeting a safe amount monthly will also set you up to save some for those larger maintenance tasks like appliances or the HVAC system.

Keep all these hidden costs in mind when deciding to become a homeowner and you’ll more prepared financially for all that it entails.