First-time home buyers easily underestimate the amount of work that goes into searching, negotiating, and purchasing a home. They can also overlook a variety of extra costs when budgeting.
You’ve put aside some money for a down payment and figured out what you can spend on a mortgage. But there are other payments to make.
To help you understand how to plan ahead, here’s a list of the many other costs that come with home ownership.
1. Appraisal and survey fees
Lenders want a guarantee that you are using the money they give you on the real estate for sale. To help them figure out how much money you actually need, they can demand you perform an appraisal of the property. Not all appraisers charge the same, but you can expect to pay at least $300.
If the home is a resale, then the lender may also ask for a new survey of the property. This can cost an additional $1000.
The appraisal mainly looks at the house itself, its condition, amenities, and features. A survey, on the other hand, takes into account the history of the home and associated legal documents, as well as the physical boundaries of the home. Improvements may be recommended, and a survey will determine what features are shared responsibilities with neighbors - fences, for example.
There are two main kinds of taxes associated with home ownership: Property Tax and Land Transfer Tax. These will be affected by the size of the property and its location, as well as local Improvements.
Property tax is typically paid directly to your local tax authority, but some lenders will include the property tax in your monthly mortgage fee. Toronto.ca is the best resource for checking current tax rates in the GTA.
Land Transfer Tax
This tax is a one-time payment as a premium on the transfer of property. Similar to the taxes you pay when selling your car, this transfer tax is based on the value of the sale. Higher value sales also have a higher tax rate, but the numbers are usually below 2% of the sale. To see the rates in your state, try this tax rate calculator from Avalara.
In all cases, Home Insurance is a must. In most cases, your mortgage provider will need you to pay a Private Mortgage Insurance fee. There’s also the purely optional Mortgage Protection Insurance.
No reputable lender will approve a loan without proof of insurance. In Canada, homeowners pay an average of more than $1200/yr in home insurance costs.
4. Professional Service Fees
With real estate for sale, there are many professionals involved. Your agent’s fee will most likely be factored in as part of the purchase price, but there other people to pay as well.
You may have relatively little interaction with your mortgage broker, but they’re putting in some work for you too. More importantly, they have the know how and connections to help you get the best financing option available when buying your new house. Brokers typically charge between 1 and 2% of the loan amount.
Every property deal must have input from a competent lawyer. They handle critical paperwork required by law. A good option for avoiding the hourly rate is to only deal lawyers who charge a flat fee for property transactions. 1000-2000 dollars is reasonable for an ordinary home purchase.
With excitement building as you come closer to finalizing the purchase of real estate for sale, you’ll come face to face with the most tedious and physically exhausting part of the process: moving house.
Movers will get the job done quickly and safely. There’s a price to be paid for that, of course. Most movers charge an hourly rate per moving person, so the cost will depend on how much you have to move. There are a lot of companies to research, but you can get a sense of regular rates with some quick internet browsing.
Bear in mind that moving costs can go up by as much as 20% between May and September during peak moving season
To truly make a new house your home, some personalization is in order. If you’ve watched your budget and have something left over, splurge on a brand new sunroom, landscaping, new light fixtures, or a jacuzzi. Maybe knock out some walls for open concept living. If you’ve got kids, finish the basement and make it a paradise.
Of course, you’ll need to decorate, paint, and get some new furniture.
An Investment in Real Estate for Sale
Recent studies show that homes still outperform other investments. Instead of paying monthly rental payments into the void, mortgage payments build up equity. Every month, you’re a step closer to never having to pay again.
If you’re ready and prepared to budget for all the expenses, owning your very own home is an investment you don’t want to pass up.