While many Americans have a good overall idea of what closing costs they can expect to pay*, plenty of first-time homebuyers seem to go into shock when they realize some home expenses they are responsible for after getting the keys to their new home.
As a first-time homebuyer, you might have a lot to learn and prepare for if you want your move to go smoothly.
The key to reducing some of that stress is planning and researching everything you can; knowledge is power, after all!
Learn about the mortgage process, learn about the neighborhood you’ll be moving to and look for a thorough first-time homebuyer’s checklist to help you make sure you haven’t missed anything important, like the five expenses that may shock first-time homebuyers.
Are You Prepared for These First Time Home Buyer Expenses?
1. Moving Expenses
Moving is an expense that simply cannot be avoided. Moving expenses will depend on how far you’re going, how much you’re moving and of course, the moving team you hire.
You may luck-out and bribe enough friends with pizza and drinks to help you move a few towns over, or you may find yourself comparing the cost of different moving companies that can transport your entire life across state lines, in which case you can expect to pay upwards of $5,000. While mapping out a moving plan in your budget, be sure to consider these additional moving costs you could find yourself paying, including:
- Packing Labor
- Packing Supplies
- Moving Insurance
- Furniture Assembly Fees
- Oversize Item Charges
- Long Carry Fees
- Storage Fees
- Travel Fees
2. Home Utilities
Moving into your new home might mean paying more for utilities than if you were renting. Depending on where you move to, the cost of electricity, water, gas, internet, cable and other home maintenance costs can come as quite a shock. Take the time to research average costs for utilities and other services in your area for a home your size to estimate how much you’ll need to budget each month.
Don’t forget about other costs such as yard cleaning, gutter or roof cleaning, pressure washing, mosquito control, pest control and alarm system services. You may not be planning on getting all of those services, but any you are thinking about should be added to your first-time home buyer expense checklist.
3. Property Taxes and Homeowners Insurance
Whoever said “hindsight is 20/20” must have been talking about property taxes and homeowners insurance! Why? Because many first-time homebuyers forget to consider the cost of taxes and insurance before putting in an offer.
Property taxes vary from town to town. They can be astronomical in one area, low in another or change. Either way, the cost makes a big impact on what you pay to own your property, especially if you are also paying private mortgage insurance.
There is a little more leeway with homeowners insurance and other required property insurance. You can shop around to find a different rates, “bundle” your auto and home insurance policies for a potentially lower rate through one company, or inquire about incentive programs you may qualify for.
4. Furnishing Your Home
If you are lucky enough to have a great deal of furniture that fits nicely into your new home, great! But if not, the cost of furnishing your home is something else you may want to add to your first-time homebuyer expense checklist. From stocking the pantry to getting furniture for extra bedrooms to a wide range of yard and garden equipment, you’ll likely find yourself looking for and buying things you didn’t think about beforehand.
5. Home Repairs
Whether you’re buying a new construction home or a 200-year-old colonial, eventually, your home will need repairs. While regular maintenance and upkeep may help keep some costly home repairs at bay, routine repairs are likely.
You can opt to purchase a home warranty, which is different from homeowners insurance. Many home warranty services cover the cost of repairs of many major appliances, plumbing and electrical, depending upon the level of service you request.
You’ll pay a monthly fee and sometimes a charge for a service call, but the home warranty company covers the remainder of the costs associated with the repair. Just be sure to do your research and read company reviews before deciding on one.
The Bottom Line
Between the mortgage payment, monthly expenses and other lesser-known costs of owning a home can seem like enough to make you want to run back to an apartment, but don’t!
Homeowners just like you have navigated these waters and came out the other end. Take the time to learn what expenses you will be responsible for and ask plenty of questions. It will all be worth it in the long run when you finally have a place you can call your own!
Compare today’s mortgage interest rates with other top lenders, and get ready to start your first-time home buying journey!
*Wyndham Capital Mortgage commissioned Atomik Research to run an online survey of 2,342 adults in the United States for their Mortgage 101 survey. The margin of error fell within +/- 2 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. The fieldwork took place between March 23rd and March 29th, 2021. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency.