Congratulations on your decision to purchase your first home. At this point in the process, you have a lender all set and your dream house is on the market. It’s within your price range, and you are happy about it. At some point the issue of money comes up, but did you consider everything you need to pay for?
You need to consider your down payment isn’t going to be 20%; you may need to pay additional fees and taxes. Did you consider the Home Owner’s Association fee every month? Questions like this are not thought about by first time home buyers. Here are the hidden costs and fees when buying a home.
Home Inspection: You have a new home picked out, but you should first get it inspected. Many lenders require an inspection, but it should be done regardless. It may cost you a few hundred dollars now, but it could save you several hundred thousand dollars later. Wouldn’t you want a mechanic to take a look at a used car before you bought it?
Survey Costs: It’s probably a good idea to find out exactly how much land you are buying. That’s a few hundred dollars, as well, but worth it in the long run.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): This cost only applies if you don’t have the 20% down payment. It protects your lender in case you default on your loan. It can cost between 0.3% and 1.5% of your mortgage, depending on your credit score and other factors.
Mortgage Interest: Depending on your credit score, down payment, income, and mortgage length, you could pay an additional 3.0% – 5.0% a year.
Home Owner’s Association (HOA) Dues: If you live in a condo, you can expect to pay this every month. The price goes toward covering the cost of maintaining the grounds, landscaping, and other upkeep expenses. If your townhouse has a co-op, you can expect to pay similar monthly fees. HOA fees can vary, but it’s around a few hundred dollars a month.
Closing Costs: Once you are about to close on a property, you have to pay roughly 2.5% of your mortgage to finalize ownership. The closing costs include fees such as lawyers, title transfer, property transfer taxes, and, in some cases, it covers the home inspection and appraisal fees.
Home Insurance: This can cost you around $1,000 a year, as is the national average. It can cost much more, depending on where you live. Homes that are more prone to natural disasters can expect to pay a steeper monthly rate.
Property Tax: This value depends on the value of your home. The average cost in the United States is roughly $2,216 a year.
Maintenance Fees: When you lived in an apartment, the owner of the property took care of that. Now that you are the owner, those fees and responsibilities fall on your shoulders. U.S. households pay an average of $3,435 a year.
Title Insurance: Even once you own the house or property, there could be a chance someone else could lay claim to it. That is where title insurance comes in. It protects the owner (and lender) in case someone else can claim property of the home.
None of these hidden costs should deter you from owning a property. It’s just nice to know what fees and taxes you can expect to pay up front.