As a first-time home buyer, you’ve got a lot to learn and prepare for if you want your move to go as smoothly and stress-free as possible. The key to reducing some of that stress is to plan ahead and research everything. Learn about the mortgage process, learn about the neighborhood you’ll be moving to, and look for a thorough first time home buyer’s checklist to help you make sure you haven’t missed anything. But wait, there is something you missed, and it won’t be found in any of the above research—it’s the shock that comes along with discovering some of the high first time home buyer expenses.
Are You Prepared for First Time Home Buyer Expenses?
The first thing you will learn is that you will likely feel some stress no matter how calm a person you might be. Buying a home for the first time is a big decision after all, and it’s normal to feel a little bit of worry and anxiety during the process.
Towards the beginning of the mortgage process you will already be aware of the closing costs and the amount of the down payment. Those expenses, while often quite high, are not a surprise. No, it’s the things you didn’t expect that will suddenly shock you when you see the bill. And at the very top of the first time home buyer expense checklist is moving expenses.
1. The High Cost of Moving Expenses
Moving is an expense that simply cannot be avoided. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a great group of friends that will help you move, there is still the cost of renting trucks and other moving equipment, and that stuff isn’t cheap. And if you’re going to need a professional moving company, expect to pay a pretty penny, especially if you’ve got a lot to move, and especially if the move is long distance.
- And while you might get an estimate that you find favorable, be prepared to pay much more than that. There are a lot of hidden and additional costs associated with moving that you might not be aware of, including:
- Packing Labor
- Packing Supplies
- Moving Insurance
- Furniture Assembly Fees
- Oversize Item Charges
- Long Carry Fees
- Storage Fees
- Travel Fees
All of the above and more can really add up to a pretty penny that you weren’t expecting.
Related: 10 Tips for Buying Your First House
2. First Time Home Buyer Monthly Expenses
Moving into your new home means you may be paying much more for utilities than you were before. Depending on where you move to, the cost of electricity, water, gas, Internet and cable, and other home maintenance costs can come as quite a shock. You should take the time to research average costs for utilities and other services in your area for a home your size, and you will be better prepared for how much you’ll need to budget each month.
Don’t forget about other costs such as yard cleaning, gutter or roof cleaning, pressure washing, mosquito control, pest control, and alarm system services. You may not be planning on getting all of those services, but any that you are thinking about should be added to your first time home buyer expense checklist.
And lastly, keep in mind that new utilities often have an initial startup cost too.
3. Property Taxes and Homeowners Insurance
When you first get the number from your mortgage lender as to what your monthly mortgage might be, it may sound pretty good. But then when you add property taxes and homeowners insurance the numbers don’t sound so good anymore. These costs can vary widely from state to state, but if you are in one of the more expensive states, the amount you have to pay in property taxes could deliver quite a shock!
As far as homeowners insurance goes, you could actually shop around to find a good deal. You can get discounts for things like a security system and bundling your coverage with your auto insurance policies.
4. Stocking Your Home
If you are lucky enough to already have a great deal of furniture that fits nicely into your new home, great! But if not, the cost of getting furniture and household items is something else you need to add to your first time home buyer expense checklist. From stocking the pantry to getting furniture for extra bedrooms to a wide range of yard and garden equipment, you’ll likely find yourself looking for and buying things you didn’t think about beforehand.
5. Annual Home Repairs
If your home is just recently built, chances are there is still plenty under warranty. But if not, you can count on something breaking eventually, and you’ll need to pay for those repairs. Ovens, the washer or dryer, air conditioning, leaks, plumbing problems, electrical problems, and all that fun stuff that comes with owning a home is now your responsibility.
You can opt to purchase a home warranty, which is different than homeowners insurance. A home warranty service covers the cost of repairs of many major appliances, plumbing and electrical, depending upon the level of service you wish to pay for. You’ll pay a monthly fee, and usually a charge for a service call, but the home warranty company covers the remainder of the costs associated with the repair. Just be sure to do your research and read company reviews before deciding on one.
The first time home buyer monthly expenses and other costs associated with owning a home can seem like enough to make you want to run back to an apartment. But they can be easily handled if you take the time to budget your finances properly.
Purchasing a new home is still a much better investment than renting, and as long as you buy a home within your means, you’ll be able to better enjoy it. Compare today's mortgage interest rates with other top lenders, and get ready to start your first-time home buying journey.