It’s a good idea to plan on additional costs when buying a home. There always seems to be at least one surprise cost, and sometimes it’s a deal killer. Often times it sends the buyer scrambling to come up with some unexpected last minute cash!
It doesn’t matter if the home is in Santa Clarita, or anywhere else, buying a home can be full of surprises. See below a number of additional costs to consider when buying a home.
There are at least 13 additional costs that could occur and home buyers might not have expected or planned these costs in their home buying budget. Some costs might be geographic specific, so it’s recommended to check with your local real estate agent to verify before making a decision to move forward with a purchase.
While we can’t cover all possibilities for additional costs in this short post, we do provide the most common. Contact us directly with any questions, Matt & Meray Gregory, 661-713-4799.
Most Common Added Costs
We highly recommend our buyers pay for and obtain a home inspection. The reasons for this are many, but most real estate professionals agree, it’s great advice! The cost of the inspection varies depending on the location and size of the home and a few other factors.
Prorated Property Tax
Taxes are usually pro-rated during escrow and often result in an added out of pocket expense for the buyer. The final amount is unknown until the escrow company verifies property taxes paid, and when the next amount is due. Here’s an example of how it works in California. If the seller has already paid the property taxes for the next six months, and the home buyer takes occupancy at month two, the home buyer must reimburse the seller for those four months already paid. The arrangements are made by the escrow company, but for the home buyer, it’s sometimes a surprise and another unexpected additional expense. These property taxes could be a good chunk of cash!
Special Bond Assessments
Two other costs often come as a surprise. Verify with your realtor if the property you are considering purchasing comes with special bond assessments, a Mello Roos tax and/or Homeowner’s Association (HOA) Fees. These costs can be quite hefty and must be tacked on to the total monthly payment equation. If your agent isn’t warning to you of these potential additional costs, you may want to consider finding another that is also an Accredited Buyer’s Representative.
When calculating the cost of buying a new home there are almost always some surprises and many people forget to include some of the miscellaneous fees, taxes and insurance costs associated with owning property. All of these additional costs can deﬁnitely add up, and put what you thought was an aﬀordable home out of your ﬁnancial reach on closing day.
13 Additional Costs to Consider When Buying a Home
Here’s a list of 13 additional costs you may incur when you buy a new home. Budgeting in advance will help you turn what might be a ﬁnancial nightmare into a smooth transition as you move into your dream home.
- Appraisal Fees: The lending institution handling your mortgage may require an appraisal on the property before they proceed with the loan. The buyer is responsible for this cost, which may run up to around $500.
- Property Taxes: Your lending institution may opt to include the cost of your property taxes into your mortgage payment, depending upon the size of your down payment or other factors. If they choose not to do that, you will be responsible for the annual or bi-annual payments yourself, and you may need to provide annual proof to your lending institution that these taxes have been paid. Often buyers are surprised in the pro rated amounts they are responsible. Example: If seller has already paid through the end of the tax year and you buy the home three months prior to the end of the tax year, you must reimburse the seller for the three months already paid in advance!
- Property Survey: Your lending institution may require an updated property survey if you are not the ﬁrst owner or original owner of the property. Surveys can be moderately expensive, ranging from $700 to $1000 .
- Property Insurance: Your lender will require proof that you are carrying a homeowners insurance policy on your new house that will adequately cover the replacement value of your home, which is diﬀerent from the purchasing price. Also, be sure to ask your Realtor about any possible Mello Roos Taxes!
- Service Charges: Most utilities, such as water, power and cable, may require additional deposits or installation fees for a change of service.
- Legal Fees: You may elect to have a lawyer review all the paperwork for the purchase of a home before closing. Rates can vary greatly according to the expertise of the lawyer, and the size and complexity of the real estate transaction.
- Mortgage Broker Fees: Mortgage brokers can charge you a fee to secure your ﬁnancing with an appropriate lending institution, although many will try to get the lending institution to share or absorb these fees.
- Mortgage Loan Insurance Fees: This type of insurance, which can cost from 0.5 to 3.5% of the total mortgage, can usually be worked into the monthly mortgage and property tax payments. You may be able to avoid this type of insurance if the equity in your house is great enough.
- Moving Costs: The costs for a professional mover can be extremely expensive for a van and three movers. These prices can rise signiﬁcantly during peak seasons. Also, even if moving yourself, there are still costs involved, so be prepared.
- Homeowner’s Association Fees: Condominiums, townhouses, and single family homes in planned communities may also charge a monthly homeowners association fee for the maintenance of common grounds, recreational areas, and other amenities. In some neighborhoods, it’s surprising how expensive these monthly HOA fees can be!
- Water Quality Certiﬁcation: If the water supply for your new home is provided by a well, then you should have the quality checked by a local expert. These fees may or may not be the responsibility of the new owner, depending upon where you live.
- Local Improvements: Property taxes can be aﬀected dramatically if large municipal improvements, such as the addition of sidewalks, water treatment centers or sewage systems, have been made recently.
- Land Transfer Taxes: These taxes are generally assessed whenever a piece of property changes hands. The amount can vary greatly, especially if the value of the land has increased substantially since the last change of ownership.