Buying a home is (most likely) the largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s really important to know what to expect financially and to be ready for all the expenses that come along with home buying.
The first thing you need to consider is your budget. This may seem daunting, but there are plenty of online tools that can help you get a ballpark number. Here are a few of my favorites: nerdwallet.com, bankrate.com, and the google mortgage and home calculator. All of these calculate your income and expenses to help you determine the approximate loan amount and your monthly mortgage payments. Your bank should also have online tools as well as people you can talk to for help in this part of the process.
What are your next steps?
When you have a budget that you’re comfortable with, reach out to 2-3 lenders for a pre-approval letter. The pre-approval letter will be attached to any offers made to show that you are a qualified buyer. If you’re a first-time buyer, reach out to a trusted REALTOR® and they can help guide you through the process and share the preferred lender they use.
Save up your earnest money. Ideally, you’ll have been doing this for a while before you decide to buy. I recommend buyers offer between 1-2% down of the purchase price, and it is due within a few days of an offer being accepted. Remember, earnest money goes towards your down payment, provided that you don’t terminate a contract outside of due diligence or contingencies. In the event that happens, the seller gets to keep this money as collateral for having kept the property off the market for you, the buyer.
The last major expenses are the appraisal and inspection. Both of these are paid by the buyer and range from $400-$1,000 based on company and size of the home. Hopefully, that’s the end of it, but depending on the outcome of the inspections, there could be more specific/additional inspections needed. Sometimes an inspector finds an issue that needs to be addressed by an expert such as: pools, septic systems, foundation issues, etc.
While buying a home is a major expense and can be a stressful life event, it’s totally worth it! As long as you’re smart with your finances and you have saved, there should be nothing to worry about. Finding the right team (lender and REALTOR®) to help guide you through the process truly makes all the difference.
Did any expenses catch you off guard when you bought your home? Let me know and happy saving! Cheers!
*Note: Every home purchase/contract is different. What I outlined above is the standard home buying process and isn’t necessarily what your home buying journey will look like.