What You Might Need To Know About Hidden Costs When Buying A Home

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Caroline Soriano
January 26, 2024
7 minutes, 22 seconds
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Buying a home is typically the most costly investment a person makes in their lifetime. Some lenders require a 20% down payment to give better mortgage rates. In addition to your mortgage and down payment, hidden costs when buying a home sometimes surprise buyers, especially those already struggling. 

So what are the hidden costs of home buying? 

Closing costs, additional hidden costs when buying a home, and the requirements of mortgage lenders, to name some, can pile up for buyers, particularly for individuals with little to no real estate industry experience.

When preparing your budget for your upcoming home buying, you should look into the possible hidden costs associated with homeownership. 

Don't worry! Hidden costs won't startle you, and you can reduce unnecessary expenses.

What Are The Hidden Costs Of Home Buying?

1. The Process Costs

A typical period of 45 days is required to close a house. Throughout that approximately two-month interval, several costs accumulate, including the following:

  • The Earnest Money

A seller's insurance is earnest money if you withdraw from the agreement. It's usually 1-3% of the home's sale price and due three days after the seller accepts and signs your offer. If you cancel the house purchase, you lose your earnest money. You keep it if the vendor backs out. If the sale fails for a contingency, you save the money.

  • The Home Appraisal Fees

Your lender will verify that the seller's home value is accurate. Here, you pay for a home appraisal. This task cannot be price-shopped because an appraiser will be assigned by a designated appraisal management company (AMC).

The following variables will affect the overall cost of your appraisal:

    • The dimensions of the property, as well as its value
    • The type of mortgage for which you are considering applying
    • The location is everything where the property is place
  • The Home Inspection

Even though your lender doesn't require a home inspection, 85% of homebuyers seek one to avoid significant structural issues. Scheduling a home inspection costs money, but it saves on repairs over time. 

Home inspection costs depend on square footage, cost of living, and housing market conditions, just like appraisals. Prices average $300–$400; however, they vary based on where you reside and what you buy.

2. The Closing Costs

On your closing date, nothing compares to going down to take possession formally and then realizing you needed more time to be ready for the long list of closing expenses. The following costs need to be covered before you may become the owner of your home:

  • The Loan Origination Fee

Your lender charges a loan origination fee for reviewing, underwriting, and approving your mortgage. At closing, you'll owe $2,000–$4,000 on a $400,000 house due to loan origination fees of 0.5% to 1%. 

  • The Homeowner's Insurance

Your closing meeting requires proof of homeowners insurance to protect your investment. Before you can sign off on your mortgage, lenders usually want you to have paid for an entire year's worth of insurance. 

homeowner insurance

  • The Property Tax

You'll also pay your new home's property taxes at closing. The monthly payment is prorated based on how long you own the home this year. The valuation of your new house and the current tax rate will determine your property tax bill. Your tax rate is affected by the state, county, and city in which you reside. 

  • The Escrow Fees

Earnest money is held in escrow while parties negotiate the sale. Future lender uses of accounts will change. Monthly mortgage payments go into escrow and are operated to settle property taxes and homeowners insurance. 

Third-party escrow companies maintain and operate your account, which your lender draws from. Companies charge 1-2% of the sales price to put it up. Usually, the buyer and seller split this expense, but they might negotiate this in the original offer.

  1. The Situational Costs

Other factors affect your home buying cost, depending on where and how you buy. These charges don't apply to every transaction, so often surprise homeowners:

  • The Homeowners Association Fees

It takes more than joining the club and following the rules to buy a house in a homeowners association area as its benefits require HOA fees. 

Homebuyers often overlook the HOA transfer charge. This fee covers HOA administrative expenditures when a home changes ownership.

More buyers are covering this cost to make their offer more appealing. Remember this cost as a negotiation strategy in a hot market, and be prepared to pay it if it's part of your final offer.

  • The Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance mitigates lenders' risks when they allow no-down-payment purchases. Small down payments increase lender risk, but mortgage providers know that not everyone can afford one. Rather than refusing mortgages to applicants who lack the necessary funds, lenders impose a tiny cost on mortgage insurance.

PMI is frequently required on traditional mortgage loans with less than 20% down. It appears as a monthly mortgage fee until you've paid off 20% of your home's value. FHA loans without a 10% down payment require a mortgage insurance premium (MIP).

Looking for a new home in Indiana but don't know how to get started? Our team at RE/MAX Advanced Realty is more than happy to help!

From answering your inquiries, such as the hidden costs when buying a home and even after you buy the property, we're here to guide you!

Leave a comment or call us at 317-316-8224 to get started.

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