12 Extra Costs to be Aware of Before Buying a Home

“The last thing you need are un-budgeted financial obligations coming up hours before you take possession of your new home.”

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, or trading up to a larger one, there are many costs – on top of the purchase price – that you must figure into your calculation of affordability. These extra fees, such as taxes and other additional costs, could surprise you with an unwanted financial nightmare on closing day if you’re not informed and prepared.  Some of these costs are one-time fixed payments, while others represent an ongoing monthly or yearly commitment. Not all of these costs will apply in every situation, however it’s better to know about them ahead of time so you can budget properly.  Remember, buying a home is a major milestone. Whether it’s your first, second or tenth home, there are many important details to address, during the process. The last thing you need are unbudgeted financial obligations cropping up hours before you take possession of your new home.  Read through the following checklist to make sure you’re budgeting properly for your next move.

1. Appraisal Fee

Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property that would be your responsibility to pay for. Appraisals can vary in price from approximately $300-$450.

2.  Inspections

When you have found the home you are interested in purchasing, it is important to hire a certified home inspector to perform a thorough personal home inspection on the property for you.  This inspection will provide a piece of mind to you as a home buyer as to all major aspects of the house including but not limited to plumbing, roof, air condition, appliances, etc.  The cost for an inspection can vary between $250-$450 depending on the size of the property.

3.  Property Taxes

Depending on your down payment, your lending institution may decide to include your property taxes in your monthly mortgage payments. If your property taxes are not added to your monthly payments, your lending institution may require annual proof that your taxes have been paid.

4.  Survey Fee

When the home you purchase is a resale (versus a new home), your lending institution may ask for an updated property survey. The cost for this survey can vary between $700- $1,000.

5. Property Insurance

Home insurance covers the replacement value of your home (structure and contents). Your lending institution will request proof that you are insured as it protects their investment on the loan.  Depending on the year, location and protective attributes (shutters, impact windows/doors, security system, updated electrical and age of roof). 

5.  Service Charges

Any new utility that services your hook up, such as telephone or cable, may require an installation fee.

6. Legal Fees

Even the simplest of home purchases should have a lawyer involved to review all paperwork.  Shop around, as rates vary greatly depending on the complexity of the issues and the experience of the lawyer.

7.  Mortgage Loan Insurance Fee

Depending upon the equity in your home, some mortgages require mortgage loan insurance. This type of insurance will cost you between 0.5% – 3.5% of the total amount of the mortgage. Usually payments are made monthly in addition to your mortgage and tax payment.

8.  Mortgage Brokers Fee

A mortgage broker is entitled to charge you a fee in order to source a lender and organize the financing.  However, it pays to shop around because many mortgage brokers will provide their services free to you by having the lending institution absorb the cost.

9.  Moving Costs

The cost for a professional mover can cost you in the range of:

• $50-$100/hour for a van and 3 movers, and

• 10-20% higher during peak demand seasons.

10.  Maintenance Fees

Some condos, townhouses and single-family homes (located within a gated community) charge monthly fees for common area maintenance such as grounds keeping and carpet cleaning in hallways. This fee may also include external property insurance, ask your realtor verify fees and what they cover prior to signing a contract.  Fees may very depending on size and location of the property.

11.  Local Improvements

If the town you live in has made local improvements (such as the addition of sewers or sidewalks), this could impact a property’s taxes.

12.  Government recording and transfer charges

This tax is applied whenever property changes hands and the amount that is applied can vary.

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