3 Upfront Costs of Buying a Home

If you are thinking seriously about buying a home, you have probably heard that you are going to incur closing costs. These are costs you must pay when you close on your mortgage loan and take ownership of your home. They often add up to around 2% to 5% of your home’s value, so they can be quite significant. But while you may be preparing to come up with a lot of cash on the day you close, you may actually have to incur some costs even before that momentous event. In fact, there are three things you might have to pay for during the process of purchasing your home that could potentially cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

1. A home inspection

A home inspection is often one of the very first costs you will incur during the home-buying process. Usually, you’ll make your offer to buy a property contingent on a satisfactory inspection. And you may have a limited period of time after your offer is accepted, such as a week or 10 days, to get an inspector into the home. Inspectors aren’t going to wait until you close on your mortgage to get paid — which could happen weeks or even months after they check out the property if it happens at all. You’ll typically have to pay them upfront or shortly after they perform their services. And you’ll have to pay their fees even if you decide not to go through with the home purchase. An inspector usually costs a few hundred dollars. And if you decide to hire multiple inspectors, such as an expert in roofs or in pools, or pest infestations, you may have to pay several fees upfront.

2. A home appraisal

Home appraisals also occur early in the home-buying process. Your lender is typically going to require an appraisal from a professional that they work with regularly. You will be assigned the appraiser and will have to pay their fees when they come to look at the home. These fees also generally must be paid when the appraiser visits the property or slightly after, and they also must be paid even if you don’t move forward with buying the home. Appraisals can also cost a few hundred dollars, especially if you have a complicated property to find a valuation for.

3. A home survey

You may want a boundary survey, or your lender may require one when you buy a home. A survey identifies where the property lines are so you know what you are buying. It can also help you determine if there are any special issues with the land, such as being located in a conservation area or on wetlands.

Surveyors generally also expect to be paid when they perform their work rather than waiting until closing. Again, this can be a few hundred dollars or even a few thousand dollars if you have a large and difficult property to survey.

You’ll need to be prepared to cover all of these costs since they can happen early on. And you often won’t be able to move forward in the process of purchasing a home until you’ve had these services performed and paid for them.

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