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Cost of buying a house: 18 total costs of buying a house   

Before buying a house you may be asking yourself, just how much does a house cost? Below you can see estimates of the cost of buying a house broken down into all of the different components including some costs you may not have thought about. You can click on each house cost for more information and even to make purchases. You can also make a customized budget to see what your personal cost of buying a house would be. Also see our articles on the cost of buying a house.

Example*: 3 bedroom, 2 bath suburban single family in the midwest
 
Cost Name Description Frequency Typical Range Example Cost*
House Down Payment The residence itself is obviously the largest expense when purchasing a home. The price varies greatly depending on location, size, and amenities. This is usually paid in two pieces, as a down payment at closing and then in smaller monthly payments throughout the life of your mortgage. Your out of pocket expense is only the down payment (lender pays the balance) but do not forget that you are responsible for the entire purchase price, the lender must always be paid back. (More info on this House cost)

One Time Varies Greatly $60,000
Appraisal The Bank or Finance Company will most likely require an appraisal of the home, which is the written determination of the property's value. This is done by a professional appraiser and ensures that the home is worth at least the amount of your purchase price. The appraisal holds important information about the property and other properties in the neighborhood that are similar to make sure you don't overpay. (More info on this House cost)

One Time $300 - $1,000 $350
Inspection While not usually required, it is always a good idea to have a home inspection before you close on a new home. A professional will inspect the inside and outside of the property to determine any and all problems in design, safety and functioning of the home. This will give you a chance to back-out if something is seriously wrong or to get those issues corrected by the seller before you close. (More info on this House cost)

One Time $250 - $750 $350
Title Fees When you close on your new home you will usually do so at a title company's office. Besides facilitating the closing the title company also provides title insurance. This insurance protects you from any liabilities on your property associated with the previous owners. (More info on this House cost)

One Time $100 - $500 $300
Lender Fees The Bank or Finance Company usually charges an application fee to put you through their approval process. In some circumstances the lender may waive this fee to win your business. Please see the "interest" and "points" sections to see other ways the lender makes money. (More info on this House cost)

One Time $100 - $500 $250
Points When applying for mortgage financing, the bank or finance company will provide you with its market rate of interest. You can lower this percentage by purchasing points. Basically you are paying money upfront in order to lower your interest rate. (More info on this House cost)

One Time Varies with Size of Mortgage $0
Transfer Taxes Some cities will have transfer taxes payable at closing from both the buyer and seller. Your real estate agent can help you determine what these costs might be but they can be in the thousands of dollars. (More info on this House cost)

One Time Varies with Purchase Price $0
Interest This is how the bank or finance company makes its money. They will determine an interest rate for your loan based on the current market environment and on your credit profile. This rate will then be applied to your loan. Pay attention to the terms of your interest rate as some can reset or increase at later dates, such as with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). (More info on this House cost)

Monthly Varies with Size of Mortgage $1,000
Property Taxes The county assesses a tax on your property on a yearly basis based on the value of your house and the location. The tax is recurring yearly but is usually paid through an escrow account, meaning you pay monthly installments with your mortgage. In some cases you can pay this directly (instead of monthly) and it is usually due twice a year. (More info on this House cost)

Monthly Varies Greatly $450
Utility Bills Water, sewer, electricity, and natural gas all fall into this category. The expense will depend on the size of your home (heating and cooling) as well as the size of your family (how many people taking showers, flushing toilets, etc). This category does not include other common monthly items such as phone, cable, and internet as they are not specific to owning a home. (More info on this House cost)

Monthly $250 - $750 $350
Principal Payments When you make your monthly mortgage payment you pay the lender interest but also you are paying down some of the principal on your loan. The amount is based on your amortization schedule and typically you pay more interest and less principal earlier in the loan. As you make more payments more of each payment is weighted toward principal repayment. (More info on this House cost)

Monthly Varies with Size of Mortgage $300
Homeowner Insurance This insurance protects you in the case of something happening to your home such as a fire or theft. It usually covers the house itself, your belongings inside, and liability protection. Depending on where you live you may need supplemental insurance to cover flooding and other issues which is not included in the general insurance. Many times this insurance is paid monthly with your mortgage similar to property taxes. Otherwise you may be able to pay directly once a year. (More info on this House cost)

Monthly $20 - $200 $50
Mortgage Insurance Commonly referred to as PMI (private mortgage insurance), this is a form of insurance that is usually required by the lender when the buyer's down payment is relatively small (under 20%). It is added in to your monthly mortgage payments. (More info on this House cost)

Monthly Varies with Size of Mortgage $0
Appliances Appliances include: washer, dryer, air conditioner, furnace, water heater, refrigerator, microwave, oven/stove, and dishwasher. Sometimes they come with the house but other times you will need to purchase or replace these at your own cost. Prices on these items vary by quality and features. Stores now carry professional grade appliances for your home which can be extremely expensive ($5,000 - $10,000 for one item). (More info on this House cost)

Infrequently Recurring $2,500 - $10,000 $6,000
Furniture Most times the new home you purchase will not be furnished. If this is your first home there will be a lot of furniture to buy. Even if you have owned a house before, a new home may have additional rooms and spaces which need furnishing. (More info on this House cost)

Infrequently Recurring Varies Greatly $5,000
Remodeling Once you own a home there is no limit to the amount of remodeling you can do if you choose. Some projects can be simple and inexpensive, like repainting a room (under $50) whereas others can be complex and pricey (kitchen remodels can cost into the tens of thousands). (More info on this House cost)

Infrequently Recurring Varies by Project $4,000
Decorations Besides furniture and appliances, most people want to decorate their homes with pictures, art, window treatments, plants, etc. The price here depends not only on the amount of space you are decorating but also what you decorate with. Therefore the range of price can vary from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands. (More info on this House cost)

Infrequently Recurring Varies Greatly $1,200
Maintenance Maintenance encompasses everything from changing light bulbs to repairing leaks to changing air filters to putting on a new roof. Most items are relatively inexpensive and a few hundred dollars a year should keep you in good shape. You should always be prepared though for larger repairs like a roof or appliance which can cost thousands. (More info on this House cost)

Infrequently Recurring Varies by Issue $200
   
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