Buying a home is one of the most expensive transactions someone will ever make, and home shoppers can expect to spend $40,000 on average in one-time fees on the typical U.S. home, according to a new analysis from Zillow company RealEstate.com and Thumbtack, an online service that matches customers with local professionals.
For first-time buyers, understanding their home-buying budget can be a stressful process. It can be easy to focus on the listed price or monthly mortgage payments for a home, but there are several one-off costs that buyers also should be aware of. In addition to budgeting for the down payment, buyers should be prepared to pay for closing costs and move-in projects before they settle into a new home.
RealEstate.com and Thumbtack partnered to help homebuyers understand how much it costs to not only buy a house, but also to tackle those projects that make the house their home.
The down payment is the largest single cost that buyers will face during the purchase process. The typical first-time buyer puts down 15 percent as a down payment, according to the Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends 2018. That would be $32,700 for the typical U.S. home, worth $218,000 in July.
Closing costs add thousands more to the total amount buyers should be prepared to pay. These costs frequently include the origination fee, appraisal, transfer taxes, the first year of homeowners insurance, title insurance, and more. These add about $6,250 to buyers' expenses on the home purchase for the median home.
Preparing and moving into a new home can also be pricey for the new owners. Thumbtack data show that these projects – eight hours of local moving, installing new locks, mounting a TV and full interior and yard cleaning – cost $1,130 on average.
The one-time costs associated with buying a new home are highest in the San Francisco Bay Area, in large part due to the high overall costs of homes and labor there. It would cost buyers in San Jose nearly $203,000 on average in one-time payments alone, which is more than the median home value in 11 major markets.
"Buying a home, especially for the first time, is an exciting but stressful experience," said Justin LaJoie, RealEstate.com General Manager. "Some of that stress can be eased by making sure you know all of the costs that come with buying and owning a home, so you can budget appropriately and not get caught off guard well into the buying process."
"It's imperative first-time homebuyers do their research around unexpected homeownership costs, including projects that help them prepare for the big move," said Thumbtack Lead Economist Lucas Puente. "While there may be some initial sticker shock, these projects can help get a house move-in ready."