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Expenses to Consider When Buying Your First House

By Bill Gassett | February 21, 2023

Are you planning on purchasing your first home?

As a first-time buyer, you might be surprised by some of the home buyer's costs you will regularly need to pay. While some monthly housing expenses, like your mortgage payments, are apparent, they aren't your only costs.

When buying, it's easy to overlook expenses for first-time buyers. We are providing this information so you can create a budgeting plan that will work.

Let's examine all the first-time home-buying expenses you'll need to know.

Closing Costs

The final stage when buying a home is closing, which includes paying costs. Closing costs can include:

  • Title insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Loan origination
  • Mortgage interest
  • Legal fees

These things can be included in closing costs, amounting to 3% or 4% of the purchase price.

First-time home buyer expenses
First-Time Home Buying Expenses

Property Taxes

Property taxes will be due every year on your home. The amount you have to pay depends on your location and is based on the value of your home.

You can appeal your tax assessment if you believe your property taxes are higher than they should be.

The taxes you pay are based on your assessed value which may be higher than expected. You must compare your assessment to similar properties to ensure you're fairly taxed.

Maintenance

Maintaining your home can include cleaning gutters and caring for your yard, to larger unexpected projects.

You should expect to budget for at least 1% of the home's value to cover these costs yearly.

It also helps to budget some of your yearly income into an emergency fund if a significant expense, like replacing the heating system, pops up.

Utilities

While you may not consider the cost of utilities, this could cost similar to property taxes. The costs of utilities can vary depending on your location, the size of the home, and the appliances you have.

Many home buyers will ask the seller for their yearly heat and electric bills before purchasing. They might not be identical to what you'll spend but will at least give you a ballpark to consider.

Your buyer's agent can do this for you. It is a common task they will ask the listing agent to find out.

Homeowners Insurance

When you use a mortgage to buy your home, the lender will require you to have insurance. But even if you are a cash buyer, getting insurance is a wise precaution.

Choose an insurance policy to give you the full cost of damaged or stolen items. Some insurance plans will only give you the depreciated value of any items you claim for.

It can help to reduce your home insurance bill by bundling it with your car insurance provider.

HVAC

If your home's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are constantly running, you can expect them to require repairs at some point.

With air conditioning running constantly, it will also increase your electricity use, increasing utility costs.

Maintenance of these systems can also be expensive. You could pay at least $150 per hour for a technician to look at your system.

Yard Maintenance

Most houses will need some money to maintain the yard. If the home is on a more considerable lot, this will require more of your time and money.

If the home has a large lawn, you will need a lawnmower or hire someone to take care of it. It will also mean trips to eliminate yard waste and other expenses.

The Roof

Your home inspection should give you an idea of the roof's age. But even a fairly new roof might need repairs, and older ones are more likely to leak.

Different roofing types will last longer than others. For example, an asphalt shingle roof might only last as little as 12 years and could cost more than $10,000.

You want to know the signs that your roof replacement may soon be necessary.

Homeowners Association

Don't forget their fees if you buy a home within a homeowners association. The HOA will look after the communal areas you share with your neighbors, and fees will be higher if the development boasts better amenities.

Find out what the HOA fees cover and make sure you budget for them.

Appliances

You should know what appliances the seller is going to leave so that you know what you need to replace. Typically, you can expect to need to buy a washer and dryer for your new home, as the seller generally removes these.

The contract with the seller will state the items included in the sale, which will usually include the stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator.

Regardless of what appliances will remain in the home, they do break. If you have many appliances, expect to need to replace one of them on average each year.

Moving Expenses

There are many things you need to do before moving. It is ironic because moving is one of the most significant expenses first-time buyers forget to account for.

Whether you are hiring a professional mover or making a DIY move, make sure you consider the moving expenses.

Credit

A less apparent potential cost, and not necessarily one that means less cash for you, is the change that buying the home will make to your credit score. This will negatively affect your credit score because of the inquiry made on your credit report.

Though this is only a temporary effect, it could make getting another loan right away a bit more challenging.

Final Thoughts on First-Time Home-Buying Expenses

When buying your home, you might already be stretching your finances. But there are many bills to pay to own a house you might not have considered. As well as having enough income to pay the mortgage, you need some left over to cover these other expenses.

Budgeting properly means you will not have to worry about all these first-time home buyer expenses.

Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate industry with 38 years of experience. Bill is well respected for his informative articles for buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame, Realty Biz News, and his own authoritative resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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