4 Costs You Have Not Factored Into Your Home Buying Budget

Dated: 05/01/2019

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1. The inspection

Once you've made an offer on a property, you'll usually need to pay an inspector a few hundred bucks to give the home a once-over. If he finds any potential problems -- structural issues or asbestos, for example -- you may have to pay another specialist to come in and offer a professional assessment.

While it can be tempting to skip the inspection to save cash (or to make a more attractive offer to a seller), it's worth the outlay to get peace of mind that the home is in good condition -- or negotiating ammo to make sure the price reflects the necessary repairs. "It's money well spent," says Cindy Hamann, chair of the Houston Association of Realtors.


2. Bringing cash to the table

Homebuyers are also often surprised with the extra cash -- beyond closing costs -- that they need to spend at the closing table. Many lenders require you to pay a year's taxes and mortgage upfront. If the seller prepaid any taxes or homeowners association dues, you'll have to pay her the prorated amount for the rest of the year or quarter.

"Once you're done with all the fees and the deposits for reserves, you may end up bringing many more thousands of dollars than you thought to the closing," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.


3. The move

Once you've officially closed, you'll need to pay for the move itself. That cost will vary considerably depending on where you live, how far you're moving, and how much stuff you'll need to haul. In general, though, expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars for professional movers.

It's easy to overpay for movers, so get quotes from a few companies, and hire someone who's licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and has good reviews online (even better if you can get a referral from a friend).

4. Immediate costs

While you may be able to put off renovations or furniture purchases, there are some costs that new homeowners face right away. You'll likely want to hire a locksmith to change the locks, for example, and there could be deposits or setup fees for getting your utilities started.

As a new homeowner, you'll also now be on the hook for both routine, and unplanned maintenance costs on the home. Experienced realtors say you should expect something to break or need replacing within your first year.

Set up an emergency savings account with at least six months of expenses that you can tap if your roof springs a leak or the heater suddenly stops working. That way you won't have to turn to credit cards to cover the unexpected, and you can spend some time enjoying your experience as a new homeowner, rather than worrying about how you're going to pay for it.

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