Some surprises are great! Going to a surprise birthday party. Getting a surprise bonus on your check. Hitting a blind shot onto an elevated green when you were playing golf this weekend and finding your ball 6″ from the hole for your first birdie of the day. THOSE surprises are GREAT! If you’re anything like me, when making a big financial decision, like buying a home, surprises are probably one of the LAST things you want. I want to help you move smart and not be surprised by the costs of buying your next home. Today I’m going to share with you the three expenses of buying a home that most often catch buyers like you by surprise and teach you how to be a step ahead and save when you’re buying your home.
The first surprise expense of buying a home is the cost of inspections. When you agree to a contract with a seller to buy your new home from them, you have a period of time to perform any inspections to make sure the house is in good condition and there are no hidden issues you should know about. Home inspections, termite inspections and foundation inspections are all common for buyers to have performed. The cost of those inspections usually amount to $400 – $500 and, as the buyer, you have to pay for those out of your own pocket. A lot of buyers that I have talked with who are thinking about buying a home don’t anticipate this cost and it can throw them off. To move smart, you need to be prepared for the cost of inspections and have an inspector lined up to perform the right tests on your new home.
A second common surprise cost for home buyers is paying for a survey. What is a survey? A survey is a map of your new home that shows the boundaries of your property, any structures on your land and any important utility lines or other things on your property. Your lender will usually require you to have a survey for the property you are purchasing. Most of the time, the seller you are buying your home from already has a survey from when he bought the home, but sometimes that survey has been lost or too much has changed to the property since the last survey was completed and a new one has to be ordered. You will pay about $450 for a new survey. If that expense comes as a surprise to you when you are buying a home, it can feel like a gut punch – $450 is a lot of money, especially when you feel like these “surprise” costs are adding up. To move smart, before you submit an offer, find out if the seller has a good survey for you to use. If he doesn’t, have your agent negotiate on your behalf to have the seller pay for a new one.
One other surprise expense you need to know about is closing costs. Most buyers I work with have heard of closing costs but know very little about what to expect. They don’t understand what closing costs are, how much they are and what they can do to reduce their closing costs. As a result, they are caught off guard by the estimates their lender gives them or, worst yet, they are floored by the final closing statement they get right before closing! The simplest explanation for closing costs is that they are the lender fees, title fees and pre-paid taxes and insurance you pay at closing, in addition to any down payment you pay. Closing costs usually amount to 2-3% of the price of the home you are purchasing. So if you are purchasing a $300,000 home, closing costs can be as much as $6000 – $9000! That is a HUGE expense if you didn’t plan and prepare for it! To move smart, talk to a lender who can tell you exactly what to expect for closing costs depending on what type of loan you apply for so you can plan and save for that. You can save some on closing costs by working with your agent to negotiating for the seller to pay for some of your closing costs. There are some costs the seller usually expects to pay for but you can end up paying yourself if you don’t negotiate your contract the right way.
These costs are the three biggest surprises for home buyers. For a list of the costs you should expect when buying a home, sign up to receive my FREE Guide: Move Smart by Knowing Your Expenses. I hope this can help you Move Smart! If you are considering buying a home in the Austin area and want to make sure you move smart, contact me and I would be happy to help.