“What are these home costs?!?” you scream to yourself as you start your life in your new home. You went through your budget with a fine tooth comb, making sure you could afford the mortgage payments. You negotiated the house price and got a good interest rate on the mortgage. You know what your local taxes will be and you home insurance costs. You thought you were set. Then the OTHER costs rear their heads. You quickly realize that owning a home isn’t all about being able to pay the mortgage.
There are a number of other costs you need to consider before you buy a house:
Your stuff doesn’t get to the new house on it’s own! Do you hire a moving company? Maybe you try moving yourself, you may still need rent a truck. And how about packing materials? There are ways to cut down on box costs, such as checking out supermarkets for boxes, but you may still end up buying some. And don’t forget a tape gun and tape! Moving costs can easily cost you a couple of thousand depending on your situation.
Spackling and Painting
If you are fortunate, your new place will be all done up and have all the picture holes spackled and the rooms freshly painted. But many homes will still have minor dings here and there that need repair and fresh paint doesn’t mean you like the color. We all know its easier to paint when there’s no furniture in the room. So do you repair and re-paint? Do you hire people or do it yourself? DIY will still cost you and depending on how much work needs to be done your costs can easily rise.
Carpeting – Clean or Buy New?
Your new home may have nice wall-to-wall carpeting but when was the last time it was cleaned? Perhaps its not quite the color you want or its showing some wear and tear. You can go cheap with carpeting but sometimes you get what you pay for and this is your home.
Wood floors look beautiful! Were yours re-finished recently? Or will you need to sand and re-finish some of them? Again, ore costs in hiring people or renting equipment to do it yourself.
You are going to want to hire a locksmith to change all of the locks in your new home. There’s no telling how many copies of keys are out there already!
Make sure you understand what the various energy costs are before you buy. Check with the local utility companies for estimated costs for both winter and summer.
Will you be getting an alarm? Will it be a monthly service? Here’s another cost that could be recurring monthly.
Gardening and Landscape Architecture
How much lawn do you have? How about shrubs and gardens? Can you handle the work? Will you need to buy or rent equipment, such as a mower? What does it cost to hire someone to handle the landscape? The previous owner may be able to give you an idea of the costs as well as refer you to the company they used. Find out if there are local ordinances about grass height and what you are allowed to grow as well as water usage for your lawn. [A recent realtor told me that young couples want more grass while older ones generally want more concrete. I can see why!]
Will these services cost more than where you previously lived? Will you need any new equipment? Will you have it in more rooms in the new home (such as more cable boxes)?
Odds are you are moving to a bigger home. Do you have the furniture you need (for example are you moving from and eat in kitchen to a home with a formal dining room)? You don’t have to buy this all at once but you may be tempted to fill in empty spaces.
Do you have all of the appliances you need? Perhaps some need upgrading?
Are you moving somewhere that you will need another car for? Is public transportation or walking out of the question now? Think about your location and your needs when you are looking to move and figure out if you will need another car. If you do, remember you will also need additional car insurance and you will have more maintenance costs as well.
I don’t mean to scare you with all of these items, but they do need to be considered before you buy a new house. These may not all apply to you but you can see how quickly costs can run up! When preparing your budget for a new home make sure you take into consideration all of the other costs you may incur.
Mike - Saving Money Today says
Great post! These are all expenses that many homebuyers do not consider. You should also remember Murphy’s Law and expect the unexpected. When we first moved into our home we did all the usual painting, new locks (I think most people can do that themselves without a locksmith), etc.
Those expenses were all planned for, but what I didn’t expect was the sewer line clogging up resulting in a $350 visit from the plumber. It turns out the previous owner used to wash his dog in the sink and let all the hair go down the drain. Of course it only caused a problem AFTER we moved in!
.-= Mike – Saving Money Today´s last blog ..Auto Insurance FAQs =-.
Oh man! At least it wasn’t too expensive. Proof that you need to have emergency money set aside at all times!
Mike - Saving Money Today says
Yea, it could have been a lot worse but the timing really sucked. You figure you’re strapped enough after the closing and moving expenses, the last thing you need is something unexpected like that. But of course that’s always when these things happen! 🙂
.-= Mike – Saving Money Today´s last blog ..35 Free MP3 Downloads No Strings Attached =-.
Of course! I just heard about someone whose sewage pipes got backed up 2 days before closing. That’s got to be a panic call to a plumber!
Even before moving in I remember looking at my preliminary closing costs and cursing loudly, that a ton (or at least felt like a ton) of money was going to fees (sewer, water, legal, etc.) and taxes (deed changing tax, etc.) BEFORE EVEN MOVING IN!
.-= Evan´s last blog ..What is Keyman Insurance? Is Your Business Protected From Death? =-.
Abolutely!! Its insane. I found out I’ll have to pre-pay 6 months of taxes. That’s a big chunk of change in the tri-state area.
Budgeting on the Fun Stuff says
I’m with Evan, closing costs really sucked.
Its all the little fees they seem to throw in there that gets me!
When you buy a new home you become the land lord so anything that breaks you have to pay for. So extra costs would be your water heater breaking or maybe the fridge. A lot of people don’t take extra expenses into account before they buy a house.
.-= Kevin´s last blog ..How I Make My Emergency Fund Grow Faster =-.
True. Emergency funds aren’t just for lost income. With a home you have to be prepared for anything.
This is a great post, especially for those trying to purchase that new home by the April 30th homebuyer tax credit deadline.
An existing home tip would be to have the seller cover the cost for a home warranty. I know someone who purchased a home and it seemed all of the appliances failed right after he closed. He never anticipated having to buy new appliances so soon.
My understanding is a home warranty is only for new homes. Usually appliances are as is.
There are so many costs associated with buying a home — thanks for highlighting the ones that come after your closing. I would also add that you should be prepared for your closing costs to be more than they were estimated — ours were $2,500 more, and our first month’s finances were TIGHT.
.-= RainyDaySaver´s last blog ..Your Financial Metamorphosis: Change Is Possible =-.
Yes. You really have to have a small stockpile of money handy in the beginning!
I have some friends that bought a house last year and it took all of their savings to make it into a liveable situation. The worst part is that the inspector didn’t catch a lot of things – I recommend getting more than one inspection to ensure that the inspector isn’t paid something under the table. There was water damage to a wall that should have been noted and also a rat infestation that should have been noticed.
Guy G. says
You’re so right.
My sister-in-law just bought a house and her fiance was telling me that you should figure almost double your mortgage payment. Also, he said not to go to Home Depot unless you plan on spending at least $100 🙂
Thanks for the tips on budgeting, as I haven’t purchased a home yet, so it’s an area where I’m still learning.
.-= Guy G.´s last blog ..Grocery Saving Tips – Tips on Budgeting =-.
I’m in the process of buying a home and yes it is freaking expensive. If you haven’t lived in a home before, don’t forget the costs of all the new things you are going to have to buy that you normally don’t have at an apartment.
1. Lawnmower and lawn care supplies
2. Pest control products
3. lightbulbs and other electrical DIY fixes
4. tools that you need now
5. getting the chimney cleaned ( you really should because you know nobody else has and that can lead to a nasty fire.)
Good ones! Here’s another I thought of – garbage cans!
I wanted to second getting a locksmith to work on the locks. We can save you a lot of time and headache. Also, moving in is the best time to consider UPGRADING the locks because you can get good discounts by working with the realtor (they usually have connections).
Upgraded, high security locks are difficult to pick and will easily deter many would-be thieves.
Susan@Palmdale Homes says
You named a lot of things that most buyers don’t consider when they think about the costs of buying a home. Hopefully most people are smart enough to save about $1,000 to cover all of the “surprises” or anything they’ve simply overlooked.
A lot of people are surprised by the additional costs of getting a mortgage as well. Unfortunately, the down payment isn’t the only thing you’ll need to pay for when buying a home. You’ll also need to cover closing costs, inspections, setting up your impound account (so your taxes and insurance are part of your payment), prepaid interest, etc. Closing costs often can be covered all or in part by the seller if you’re in more of a buyers market, but it still takes more than a down payment to get into a house.