Buying a house is thrilling, overwhelming and downright frightening. But don’t let these emotions scare you. If you prepare and educate yourself, you will know what to expect and sail through the process without any setbacks. Like many potential buyers, you will need to gather your financial documents for the mortgage process, however, it isn’t enough to approach a lender with a top-notch credit score and proof of income. Buying a house can get expensive quick. And even if you’re mentally prepared to drain your savings account on the purchase, there are probably expenses that you haven’t included in your budget.
An online mortgage calculator is a free and convenient way to determine how much house you can afford. Simply insert the home price, mortgage term and interest rate and the calculator can estimate the monthly mortgage payment. But don’t get excited if you discover that a particular price point is within your budget. Mortgage calculators provide a rough estimate, and when calculating a house payment, many only factor in the sale price of the home, the down payment and the interest rate. But as every homeowner knows, the actual mortgage payment includes much more – taxes, homeowner’s insurance and, sometimes, private mortgage insurance. These extra expenses can potentially add hundreds of dollars to your monthly mortgage payment.
If you’re looking to buy a house, then you’re aware that most lenders require a down payment – anywhere from at least 5-20% of the sale price. But what you may not know is that many lenders also require buyers to cough up cash for closing costs, which can be another 2% to 5%. There are some lenders that are willing to cover a portion of closing costs, but this is more common with elite banking programs. There is also the option of including the closing costs in the mortgage loan, but not all lenders are open to this arrangement. Don’t forget you will still need cash on-hand for your earnest money deposit, home appraisal, home inspection and credit report/application fee.
Buying a house isn’t only about making the mortgage payment and paying your utilities each month. While your house isn’t likely to need maintenance or repairs every month, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t budget for these expenses. Regardless of whether the house is brand new, in good condition or recently passed a home inspection with flying colors, something will eventually break. And when it does- guess who’s responsible! The worst thing that you can do is wait until you need a repair to worry about money. Start now, build a rainy day fund and you won’t be caught completely off guard.
When it’s time to move, you can save money by simply knowing someone with a pickup truck and holding your friends “hostage” on a Saturday. But moving isn’t always as simple as loading boxes and driving to your new home. Maybe you’d rather sit back and let others do the hard work. In this case, a moving company can be your best friend, but this convenience isn’t cheap. If you decide to skip the professional movers and coordinate the move yourself, you’ll definitely save, however this approach isn’t exactly free. There’s the cost of boxes, perhaps a temporary storage unit and the truck rental – which might be higher than you realize after including the rental insurance, mileage fees and gas.
Unlike an apartment, there’s a chance that your new home won’t come with a refrigerator or washer/dryer – especially if the property was a foreclosure. And for appliances left behind by the previous owner, they might not be in the best condition. You can probably go a few weeks without a washing machine and dryer – not the case with a refrigerator. Unless you plan on eating out three times a day (which can also add up), you’ll need a working refrigerator as soon as you move into the house.