When saving to buy a home, it helps to have a checklist of all of the upfront costs of buying a home to make sure you have enough set aside. There can be variation in how much you'll need depending on the area, type of loan or loan program, and the buying process in your state. For example, some states require a real estate attorney for the transaction while others require transactions be handled by the title company. Here is an overview of the upfront costs you'll want to plan for when buying your next home:
Earnest money is usually submitted with your offer, and demonstrates the buyer's sincere interest in buying the home. Earnest money is generally from 1-3% of the price in your offer. If the seller accepts your offer, your earnest money becomes part of your down payment.
Your down payment will be a percentage of the total purchase price, typically between 3% and 20%. Some lenders or special loan programs offer better terms for higher percentage down payments. For many buyers, the closer you can get to 20%, the better your chances of getting the best terms from your lender.
The buyer is required to pay for the inspection. The cost of an inspection can vary depending on area/location, size of home and property, and if you request special evaluations like a termite evaluation. The average cost of an inspection is from $300-$500. Your buyer's agent will be able to give you more exact information about the cost of inspections in your market.
Closing costs are due on the day of closing and generally include things like tax payments, title expenses, real estate attorney fees, mortgage processing fees, and handling or administration costs. The amount you'll need for closing costs varies by market/area and the price of the home. A general guideline is to plan for closing costs to be from 2-5% of the total purchase price.
Moving Fees & Pre-Move Remodeling
If you plan to do any remodeling that is easier before move-in, such as installing new flooring or repainting much of the interior, you'll want to add that to your up-front budget. Also, make sure to include costs of moving, whether you'll be doing the heavy lifting yourself or hiring movers.
Some lenders and types of loan programs may require buyers to have a certain amount of cash in reserve to approve a loan. When cash reserves are required for loan approval, the amount is usually between 2 to 6 months of mortgage payments.
Buying a home is an exciting milestone that can quickly become stressful if you haven't saved enough to cover upfront costs. Your buyer's agent can provide more exact advice for your market on how much you'll need. Planning appropriately for the upfront costs of buying a home helps you have a smoother buying experience.