Don’t let your dream home turn into a nightmare. Be prepared for these often underestimated expenses.
According to Jean Chatzky, the financial editor for NBC’s Today show, the cost to close on your mortgage can be comprised of a long list of items such as lender application fees, mortgage taxes, attorney’s fees, title insurance–which is the insurance policy for the deed, fees to record the deed, and real estate tax reimbursements if the seller has paid them upfront. In total, buyers can expect to pay about 2 to 5 percent of the total cost of the home–and that figure can vary from state to state.
The Harvard University Joint Center on Housing Studies reports that every year, you should plan to pay 1 to 2 percent of the value of your home in maintenance and upkeep. That figure varies, though, since the upkeep on condos or attached townhomes tends to be lower than single family homes situated on their own land.
Not only do property taxes vary from state to state, they increase or decrease based on the city where you live, the ordinance, and even the specific house. To help anticipate your expenses, the Tax Foundation has a property tax data lookup tool where you can search by county to plan your expenses.
The national average for household utilities is $2,964 per year–sometimes as high as property taxes. To get a general sense of what you might need to budget for utilities in a community where you might purchase, you could ask someone in the neighborhood about the general cost of their utilities. Do consider the size of their home and family as compared to yours.
The average annual premium for homeowners insurance is $1,132, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, if you do some research and inquire about discounts for things like having a security system, bundling your home and auto insurance, or working from home, you could stand to save a good amount.