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Military Finances 101: 8 Often Over-Looked Costs of Buying a Home


Buying a house is exciting - and stressful. When it comes to purchasing your new home, it’s important to be realistic about what you can expect to pay. Beyond mortgage and insurance, there are additional costs all new homeowners need to factor into their buying budget.

We’ve gathered up 8 hidden costs we believe every new home buyer should be aware of when it comes to purchasing their next home.

Cost #1: Property Taxes

Some lenders may roll your property taxes in with your mortgage, meaning they can be easy to forget about. But, you still need to account for them in your budget. Property taxes may be of little concern in some areas, and a huge expense in others. Do some digging into what you can expect to pay when moving to a new area - as this could be a deciding factor when relocating.

In some cases, property owners may be hit with a supplemental property tax bill at the end of their first year of ownership. This would happen if the county determines your house was undervalued at the time of sale and you’re responsible for making up the tax difference in it’s new appraised value.

Cost #2: Closing Costs

Closing costs includes a wide range of fees that are paid at the end of a real estate transaction. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, you can expect to pay fees including:

  • Cost of inspection
  • Lawyer fees
  • Recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Document fees
  • Surveyance fee
  • Title cost 
  • Sales brokerage commission
  • Mortgage applications

Make sure to ask your realtor to go over what will be included in the closing costs to avoid any unpleasant surprises. 

Cost #3: Earnest Money

Almost like a security deposit, earnest money is what you put down upfront before even filling out paperwork - it's meant to prove your seriousness in purchasing the property. If the house closes your earnest money will be used towards closing costs and/or your down payment. If you end up backing out of the deal, there’s a chance you may not get that money back. This should be clear in any contract you sign.

Earnest money can run anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousands.

Cost #4: Paying for the Escrow

It’s common that buyers will be asked to pay for their escrow account upfront to cover expenses like property taxes and insurance. Some lenders will require that extra money remains in the account, making escrow an important part of the home buying budget.

Cost #5: Homeowner’s Insurance

Similar to property taxes, homeowners insurance may be included in your monthly mortgage payment. And while they may be lumped in with other expenses, it’s important to remember it’s there - and that there’s a possibility it could go up or down depending on your coverage needs.

Cost #6: VA Funding Fees

If you finance your house through the VA, you'll pay a funding fee (unless you're a disabled veteran). The funding fee can be significant. It ranges from around 2% - 3%. On the high end, that would equate to $3,000 per $100,000 financed. You might be able to include this amount in the amount you borrow.

Cost #7: Utilities

Remember to account for what utilities you’ll be paying for, especially if you’re moving into a bigger place:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Sewer
  • Water
  • Cable & internet

The installation of these services can start to really add up. Make sure you’re aware of the costs ahead of time. 

Cost #8: Home Maintenance and Repairs

Home repairs or renovations are almost inevitable, especially if you are purchasing an older home. If you know you’ll want to get in there and start renovating as soon as you get the keys, you won’t have much time to save after closing the deal. Remember to account for the cost of renovating your new home when building out your budget. If you aren’t planning on doing repairs or renovations right away, start building up an emergency fund to prepare for any unexpected home repair costs later down the line.

It can be stressful adding up the costs of buying a home. But facing the numbers head-on can help you and your financial advisor better prepare for what’s to come.


If you found this article useful, you might like the following blog posts:

Military Finances 101: 8 Real Estate Books to Read Before Buying Your First Home


4 Common Mistakes Made by First Time Homebuyers


Military Tax Break: Sale of Primary Residence





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