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So you’ve saved a robust down payment and think you’re ready to make the leap from renter to homeowner. You’ve met with a real estate agent, found a lender and are ready to find the perfect house and make an offer. But have you considered the following costs into your homebuying budget?
Make sure to include these easily forgotten line items in your planning to ensure you can afford to buy a new home and still pay for groceries:
Prospective homeowners should budget 2-5 percent of the price of their prospective home for closing costs. These costs include the home inspection, appraisal, title company fees, property mortgage insurance (if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the price of the home), closing fees and other fees depending on the home, your loan and other factors. It’s possible to negotiate to have some of these fees paid by the seller, but it’s always wise to factor them into a homebuying budget.
Regardless of whether a home is new or old, chances are it may require some immediate repairs or updates before move-in day. A home inspector may identify a list of recommended repairs or updates, anything from a simple plumbing repair to a new roof. A budget should have some wiggle room to allow for any of these necessary repairs, some of which may require the added cost of hiring a technician or professional.
Furniture, decor and home goods
A house isn’t much of a home without anything in it. A budget should factor in the necessities like furniture. Don’t forget the cost of decorations and home goods to fill empty walls and cupboards, or plan to go without for a time while replenishing savings. Consider using KSL Classifieds to find great new and used furniture and home goods, or to sell your old things to make a little cash.
Landscaping and garden equipment
A home often means a yard, which means lawn care, gardening and general maintenance. If homebuyers dream of a beautiful flower garden, vegetable garden, fruit orchard or smooth, weedless lawn, these things not only take time and work but money as well. Plants, trees, soil, mulch, bark, rock, fertilizer, weed killer, hoses, a lawn mower and trimmer and other landscaping items can add up quickly.
Buying a home means no more calling the landlord when something stops working or needs repairs. New homeowners often find themselves purchasing or borrowing tools right away that they don’t own already — everything from a hammer, power drill or ladder.
If only furniture, boxes, stuff and appliances could be moved with a magic wand in an instant. Instead, moving tends to be stressful, timely and potentially costly. If a homebuyer is moving a long distance, wants to hire professional movers or needs to rent a moving truck, they should carefully examine moving costs to include in their homebuying budget.
Potential homebuyers should be aware that appliances are not always included in the price of a new home. They should carefully investigate (and potentially negotiate with the seller) which appliances will remain with an existing home, and then plan if they’ll need to buy a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc., to be ready for move-in.
Re-keying or changing locks
It is recommended that new homeowners change or re-key locks upon move-in. While not the most expensive cost in the homebuying process, re-keying can cost anywhere from $50-$200.
When a person buys a new home, utilities must be registered in the new homeowner's name, and yes, unfortunately, there are often set-up fees. This includes cable or internet costs, including new equipment like a modem or router. Not only does this require money, but valuable time for set-up or to schedule an appointment with an installer as well.
Depending on the condition of the home and the cleanliness of the prior occupants, a new home may require deep cleaning. If homebuyers don’t have the time, this may require professional cleaners, including general house cleaning or carpet cleaning. If the carpet is smelly, stained or stretched beyond repair, it might be time to consider installing new carpet. It’s no fun living in a new house with someone else’s (or their pet's) stains or odors. Visit one of several Giant Carpet One locations throughout Utah for the best options in carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile, vinyl and more.