So, as you prepare to buy a home for the first time, you allot funds aside to pay the 20-percent down payment.
However, the down payment and monthly mortgage amount make up just one portion of the many costs associated with owning a home – which start, believe it or not, before you even move in. Before you find yourself financially short as you proceed toward owning your first property, take the following hidden costs into account:
Before Moving In
Before the mortgage is even closed, borrowers must have a home inspection and appraisal conducted. Although this might seem like an area where you could cut corners, consider this: Make sure you’re getting what you pay for before the mortgage becomes an obligation.
As well, be prepared for closing costs. While the amount varies by area, it generally falls around two to four percent of the outstanding mortgage balance.
Once you move into your new home, unhidden costs fall into the following four categories:
Property Taxes: While part of the escrow you pay into, property taxes remain long after you’ve paid off your loan. However, keep in mind that taxes don’t correlate with your monthly payment: Even if the monthly payment remains the same, taxes likely increase with time.
Insurance: Homeowner’s insurance is a given, but it’s likely not the only one you’ll be paying. Along with this, borrowers with government mortgages often have to pay PMI until a loan gets down to a certain amount. Residents in areas more prone to natural disasters, like flooding, tornadoes, or hurricanes, may have to further pay insurance to prepare for the extreme.
Fees: If you move into a condominium complex or a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association, monthly or quarterly fees amount from $40 into the hundreds. Projects, repairs, and assessments may raise these fees.
Maintenance: Consider how you’ll pay for any roof repairs, window replacements, or large-scale yard work, as well as smaller jobs you can do yourself. It is recommended homeowners save one percent of the purchase price per year to prepare for any interior and outside maintenance, window replacements, and new furnace and air conditioning systems.