Hidden Costs That All US Homebuyers Should Be On The Look Out For This Year

According to market reports, almost half of all US homes on the market are currently selling within a week of being listed, and prices are continuing to climb in almost every part of the country. 

Many buyers, especially first-time buyers, need to be aware, however, of the multitude of costs that can build up during the final discussions of finalizing a home purchase. Experts claim that all prospective homebuyers should have a separate fund on hand specifically for closing costs. 

These costs typically include things like appraisal fees, property taxes, real estate agent commissions, homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, and more. Jessica Menton, a personal finance and markets reporter, recently discussed the best ways homeowners can plan for their future when it comes to looking for a home. 

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“Generally financial planners say that you should expect to pay somewhere between 3% and 5% of what your mortgage account is, give or take. So for a $300,000 mortgage that means setting aside $9000 to $15,000 for closing costs.”

Bill Gassett, a real estate agent in Massachusetts, stated that when you take out a mortgage, your lender will provide a document that details all of the closing costs involved in the property you’re interested in. Gassett recommends reading this document very carefully, because in some cases a buyer can ask the seller to cover some of the items listed. 

Menton claimed that usually most sellers will pay about 5% of the total sale price in real estate agent fees, commissions, and other expenses, and with most homes now selling well over their asking price, it’s likely more sellers will be less willing to budge on these listed fees. 

“I do sometimes recommend buyers hire an independent inspector, even though sellers will hire one to look for major issues, it can give buyers that extra security.” 

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“When making an offer, buyers typically submit 1% to 5% of the home’s value in earnest so the seller feels comfortable pulling the home off the market. That fee is usually held in escrow and applied to closing costs,” Menton says.

Gassett also warned that if you’re buying a home that’s a part of any sort of association, you need to get details in the beginning about special assessments that will appear down the line of owning the property. 

“Most people know that there’s a condo fee or an HOA fee, but they may not notice a special assessment coming up, where all of the sudden there’s a big extra expense. As part of closing, lenders get the home’s value appraised, because home prices are rising so fast, the difference between asking price and appraised value can now reach into the tens of thousands.That difference can put ardent buyers in a conundrum,” Gassett explained.

“The bank’s not going to do the loan unless the buyer puts more money down, so a lot of buyers are being forced to actually bring more money to the table than they thought they needed.”

Menton also suggests buyers hire a lawyer to get them through the closing period if they’re really nervous about additional costs. Don’t be afraid to pay an expert for their services so that you know the place you’re going to be living won’t end up costing thousands of more dollars than you expected.