The Hidden Costs of Buying a House

In honor of finding (and making an offer on) my house one year ago, I wanted to share an inside look at what the home buying process looks like, because buying a house is no joke! You know you’ll be draining your bank account quite a bit, but do you know exactly what kinds of things you’ll need to shell money out for? Let’s take a look at the hidden costs of buying a house!

The Hidden Costs of Buying a House

Down Payment

Ok so this first one isn’t really hidden, but it’s still something that should be taken into consideration. The down payment amount depends on the cost of the home you’re purchasing and the loan type you choose. Great news for first-time homebuyers though – you can purchase your first house with as little as 3% (of the purchase price) down!

Home Inspection

This is the most important money you’ll spend pre-home purchase! While it’s technically optional, it’s definitely something you should do. Once you’ve made an offer on a house and its been accepted (yay!), you want to make sure that everything is as it appears and that there aren’t any big hidden issues that will come back to haunt you post-purchase. A home inspector checks every nook and cranny in the house both inside and out, including the roof!

The home inspection will run you about $300 (on average). There will always be a list of things that “need fixing,” but most of them should be minor. If there are larger concerns, the inspector will raise and discuss them with you so you can decide if you still want to proceed with buying.

Also in this category? A pest inspection! It’s worth having someone come out to scope out your property to see if there are any termites, rotting wood, etc.! Those are definitely things you don’t want to have to deal with!

With my house, there was a patch of stucco (what the house is made of) that needed to be replaced and a couple other things that the inspector recommended get checked out further (think of inspectors as generalists – for specific issues you need to hire a specialist). Since a house is an incredibly big investment, I opted to pay for an electrician and plumber to come out and diagnose, and everything turned out to be ok. Had it not, I would’ve needed to rethink the purchase.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are going to be where the bulk of your money (a few thousand dollars at least) is spent. There are literally a million things rolled into this! The biggest piece is your down payment (mentioned above), but you’ll also be responsible for the behind-the-scenes stuff, like your application, appraisal, credit report, closing, homeowners insurance, title, and underwriting fees…. to name a few. Just a liiiiiiiitle intimidating. The good news is, there are no surprises! You’ll receive an estimate early in the process of what it’ll be and if you’re lucky (like I was), it’ll be significantly less when you receive the final cost a few days before closing.

Moving Costs

While the bulk of your costs are going to be related to buying your house, you can’t forget about the costs of moving all of your things from your current apartment/house. If you’re moving from a 1-2 bedroom place in the same town, you can count on paying about $400 (at least)! If you’re moving out of state or a farther distance, the cost will be much higher.

Maintenance + Repair Costs

Does the house you’re purchasing need some work done? If it’s a fixer-upper, you already know you’ll need to invest a little extra, but sometimes other things pop up too. I knew I had a stucco repair done to a part of the house. Fortunately the sellers agreed to pay for the repair in the closing costs (meaning I had to pay less the day at closing), but nonetheless, it was still an expense I knew I’d need to take care of fairly soon after moving in. Not to mention researching companies to come do the repair!

Another thing to keep in mind? Maintenance costs! These can be ongoing (optional services like lawn care, pest control) or one-time services (assembly, installation), but nonetheless still add up as time goes on!

 

Are you a homeowner? Thinking about buying? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the hidden costs of buying a house!

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103 Comments

  1. January 22, 2018 / 4:17 PM

    This is such a helpful post!! thanks for sharing

    • January 24, 2018 / 10:12 PM

      Thanks for reading, Bella!

  2. Courtney Heathcock
    January 22, 2018 / 4:48 PM

    We bought our house last May and I had NO idea all that went into buying a house. And if I’m being honest, I still don’t because my husband dealt with most of it lol. Thanks for sharing!

    • January 24, 2018 / 10:12 PM

      Right?! It’s insane how much goes on behind the scenes! I thought I had a good grasp on it but all of the things that went into closing costs really blew my mind!

  3. Jamie Stauffer
    January 22, 2018 / 4:49 PM

    Alas! I’ve finally found a blog after my own heart! I love your name and header image. I am a small town girl with big city dreams and I love everything about houses. I’m so glad I found this article!

    • February 4, 2018 / 12:52 PM

      Thanks so much girl! Glad you found your way here too :)

  4. Diana Lindsay
    January 22, 2018 / 4:50 PM

    We’re house hunting now – great info!!

    • January 24, 2018 / 10:12 PM

      Ahh how exciting! I hope you find the perfect house!

  5. January 22, 2018 / 7:33 PM

    After buying my house, I’m so thankful we did all the research beforehand so we could go into the process with an open mind of what we could truly afford including all these additional costs! We actually found our perfect home way under our budget, so that helped us a lot as well!

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:04 PM

      So glad to hear it! There’s so much that goes into it – not researching and planning ahead would be a total shock!

  6. January 22, 2018 / 8:03 PM

    I’ve owned three houses as an adult. I think a home inspection is crucial, then again, I prefer older homes! Even when you know what to expect, there are always things that pop up or you just can’t tolerate for another week once you move in. It is a great idea to try and budget for that if possible.

    • February 4, 2018 / 12:53 PM

      Absolutely! Budgeting is SO important when it comes to buying houses!

    • January 24, 2018 / 10:13 PM

      Thanks, Emelia! I couldn’t agree more! It’s the best money you can spend when you’re looking to buy a house!

    • January 24, 2018 / 10:13 PM

      So true! I knew there’d be a lot to it but seeing the breakdown when I went through the process was such an eye opening process!

  7. January 22, 2018 / 9:46 PM

    Having bought and sold four homes in my life, I can attest to everything you are saying. I will say that the most hidden costs we incurred was when we built our first home as there are so many expenses beyond what you mentioned here.

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:12 PM

      Oh man I can’t even imagine going through the building process (although how fun to pick all the things you want)! It’s a learning process for sure!

  8. January 22, 2018 / 10:03 PM

    When watching House Hunters (or any reno shows) the buyers are always surprised about what the inspection finds and how much it is! I’m always shouting at the TV haha.

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:05 PM

      It’s SO crazy! I can’t imagine how terrible things could be if the inspections weren’t done though!

  9. January 22, 2018 / 10:08 PM

    This is such an informative post! It’s important to remember these things when budgeting! I still rent, but am filing this post away for when I buy a home.

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:11 PM

      For sure! There’s so much to think about + budget for but totally worth it in the end!

  10. January 22, 2018 / 11:48 PM

    We got an inspection done on the house we were going to buy last year and found out there was 10k worth of electrical things that would’ve needed to be fixed so we had to back out. It was so frustrating so note to anyone buying a home, get an inspection. It will save you thousands potentially haha.

    • February 4, 2018 / 12:52 PM

      Ahh that’s crazy! Definitely goes to show why inspections are so important to have done! Can you imagine if you found out AFTER you moved in?!

  11. January 23, 2018 / 1:48 AM

    Buying a house was one of the most expensive, and most stressful things I’ve ever done in my life… I need a bigger house now, I bought this 1.5 bedroom house when it was just me, then I got a dog… And it was perfect for us two… then I met a guy and he has two kids, and now we have a third kid together so it’s just too small… i’m just dreading doing this again.

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:06 PM

      Totally agree! And wow! Definitely time for a house upgrade, haha. Hopefully it’s smoother the second time around with someone else in it with you!

  12. January 23, 2018 / 7:49 AM

    Ahh so many things! We don’t own a homey yet but it’s great to keep all of these in mind!

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:10 PM

      There really are! Definitely important things to think about when you’re ready to start the process!

  13. January 23, 2018 / 8:38 AM

    Thankfully when we bought our house we didn’t have a down payment, closing costs, or moving costs (which is good because we decided to redo all the floors in the house before moving in) but I wasn’t prepared for the home inspection cost (we also had a termite inspection cost as well) lol!

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:09 PM

      No way! What a dream situation – I wish I didn’t have to pay for all the things, haha. Hopefully the inspections didn’t report back a lot for you to fix!

      • February 5, 2018 / 6:53 AM

        Thankfully there was nothing other than our water pressure is higher than recommended lol, but that is a city issue not a house issue. We are military so military paid to move us and we used a VA loan (hence the no down payment) and the seller agreed to pay closing cost =)

  14. January 23, 2018 / 10:20 AM

    So so many things. My best friend is in the process of buying a home and it baffles me how many little costs pop up

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:08 PM

      It really is crazy! I’m glad I had such a great team (mortgage lender lead + realtor) who answered my million Qs + kept the process easy and smooth!

  15. Elyse George
    January 23, 2018 / 10:23 AM

    Thank you for this! We are hoping to buy a house soon and I appreciate you breaking down the costs!

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:07 PM

      You got it! I hope the process goes smoothly for you! Let me know if you have any other Qs – happy to expand more on it!

  16. Nichole
    January 23, 2018 / 11:09 AM

    Thanks for sharing this! I think it will be awhile until we buy our first home, but I love to hear other people’s experiences to learn what we should take into consideration. Buying a home is a big deal!

    • January 28, 2018 / 10:45 PM

      You got it girl! I think education is the most important thing when it comes to buying a house (that + having the funds to do it, lol). It’s a big life step + has lots of layers!

  17. January 23, 2018 / 11:54 AM

    All of the costs associated with buying a house terrify me. My boyfriend and I looked into buying a house last year at this time but eventually decided to wait because the market where we live is INSANE and we don’t want to leave the city. I do know that maintenance costs and a down payment NEED to be taken into account, but moving costs are important too!

    • February 5, 2018 / 11:41 AM

      It can be incredibly overwhelming, so knowing what to expect/being prepared is key! Houses in/near big cities are even crazier! I hope you’re able to find the right place and price someday soon!

  18. Valerie Silhy
    January 23, 2018 / 12:09 PM

    This is what scares me about buying a house… specially in california! The prices are insane to begin with.. and then! All these hidden costs such as “closing costs” are too much! And then if its a fixer upper, you need to invest a lot ! Thanks for sharing this! Valuable information

    • February 5, 2018 / 11:41 AM

      So glad to hear it, Valerie! The hidden costs are the worst!

  19. Sara Montague Miller
    January 23, 2018 / 12:25 PM

    So true! We just bought a new house this week! Another cost is the days you need to take off work for closing, moving, and getting everything set up!

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:04 PM

      Congrats on your new house! And YES! That’s definitely another thing to factor in! I hope your move goes well :)

  20. Miss ALK
    January 23, 2018 / 2:25 PM

    Eeeek to all of this! You pretty much just listed out many of the reasons as to why I’m pro renting instead of buying- haha!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    • January 27, 2018 / 12:03 PM

      It’s definitely something you need to be mentally AND financially prepared for, haha!

  21. Harri
    January 23, 2018 / 2:36 PM

    buuuuttttt at least you can stop throwing money down the toilet now! this is all i think about when i pay rent every month & wish i could at least be paying towards owning my own property!

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:07 PM

      Such a good point! That was one of the big reasons I decided to buy! The apartment rent just kept going up and up every year and I thought well if I’m spending all of this I may as well pay a little extra and make it count! I hope you’re able to buy a place someday soon!

  22. January 23, 2018 / 2:42 PM

    Maintenance costs especially in the beginning really add up!

    • January 25, 2018 / 8:11 PM

      They certainly do! It’s such an important thing to budget for!

  23. January 23, 2018 / 3:40 PM

    Yes, there are so many costs you have to anticipate! We were lucky that we actually got a house with a 0% down payment with a USDA loan. But there were still plenty of things to pay for! Even without the down payment I think our closing costs were at least $10k.

    • February 5, 2018 / 11:42 AM

      That’s amazing that you didn’t have a down payment! But ugh, those closing costs! So glad to be done with that too, haha.

  24. January 23, 2018 / 3:47 PM

    This is great to know! I’m pinning this so I know what to expect when I buy a house! :]

    • January 24, 2018 / 10:19 PM

      Glad to hear it! I hope the process goes well for you when the time comes!

  25. Chandler Larsen
    January 23, 2018 / 3:58 PM

    Such a helpful article! So many people don’t think about those little things that add up quickly. And they almost never think about moving costs and having pizza every night for a couple weeks haha

    • January 26, 2018 / 12:34 PM

      Thanks, Chandler! SO true – it’s such a crazy process!

  26. January 23, 2018 / 4:39 PM

    These are all so true and they add up really fast. We just bought out first home at the end of last year and it was so crazy. So glad we were prepared!

    • January 27, 2018 / 10:09 PM

      Congrats on buying your house! Preparation is key – it really is such a crazy process!

  27. January 23, 2018 / 5:33 PM

    Such a great post. WHere we live we also have to pay a welcome tax which is in the neighborhood of 4k .

    • January 25, 2018 / 8:24 PM

      Thanks, Jenny! A $4k welcome tax?! That’s crazy! It better be a good welcome, haha. Where do you live?

  28. Kind Of Domestic
    January 23, 2018 / 6:07 PM

    What a great post! Those costs really add up, and if your not prepared for it it’s a budget killer! Don’t forget about earnest money as well.

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:50 PM

      Thanks so much! It’s SO SO important to do your research ahead of time so you won’t have lots of crazy surprises along the way!

  29. January 23, 2018 / 6:43 PM

    I love reading posts like this!! I don’t have a home yet or any immediate plans to buy one but it is definitely on my radar for the future. I’m saving aggressively for it to hopefully not be so surprised when the time comes.

    • January 28, 2018 / 10:45 PM

      So glad to hear it! Even though you’re not ready to buy, it’s still great to start educating yourself so you know how to budget + what to expect!

  30. Rosemary Christine
    January 23, 2018 / 6:53 PM

    Moving costs can be crazy! Even if you do it yourself with a rented truck!

    • January 25, 2018 / 8:23 PM

      So true! That was probably the most shocking to me in the whole thing, haha.

  31. January 23, 2018 / 7:20 PM

    Wow, I did not know there was so many hidden costs when purchasing a home. There seems to be so many more closing costs than I expected like appraisals and your title. This is such an informative posts for people like me who never knew this information. Thanks for sharing

    • February 5, 2018 / 11:43 AM

      So glad to hear you learned some new things about the process, Danielle! Keep this info in your back pocket for when the time comes for you to buy a house!

  32. January 23, 2018 / 9:57 PM

    We were just pitched to buy a particular house as a flip house. H It is 49 years old and we ran the other way. I can only imagine all of the hidden scary costs of this particular house.

    • January 27, 2018 / 12:05 PM

      Oh wow! Do you think you’re going to do it or pass? Flipping houses always sounds like so much fun but I bet the amount of work (time + money) that goes into it is pretty crazy/scary!

  33. Morgan Michelle
    January 24, 2018 / 8:20 AM

    This was great information! My husband and I are trying to buy a house this year and we are a little intimidated but being prepared by knowing costs like these will help I hope!

    • February 2, 2018 / 2:38 PM

      So exciting! Preparation is key when it comes to buying a house. I hope the process goes well for you guys!

  34. January 24, 2018 / 9:30 AM

    This is so useful! Maintenance and repair costs will never end, no matter if you live in a rental or your very own place.

    I’m still not sure if I want to own a house yet. I think it pins you in a single place and this is something I’m really looking forward to.

    Cristina | *janded

  35. Parul G
    January 24, 2018 / 11:59 AM

    This post is super useful! We’ve been thinking of buying our first house in the US but it gives us jitters thinking about all the extra expenses that will come with it. I agree that it’s an investment after all but somehow we aren’t ready to commit to that big an investment. Renting seems more easy…at least for now. :)

    Cheers!
    Parul | http://girlinchief.com

  36. January 24, 2018 / 1:29 PM

    I remember freaking out when we were buying our house…. I knew it was a good idea, but laying out all the immediate expenses of inspections, closing costs, and yes, the down payment, was so overwhelming… I won’t even talk about the renovation except to say never again. lol

  37. January 24, 2018 / 2:00 PM

    Closing costs is always something you don’t think about ahead of time! They really can add up though – such a great post!

    • January 28, 2018 / 10:46 PM

      Thanks, Adriana! I was so amazed at all of the line items that make up closing costs!

  38. January 24, 2018 / 4:26 PM

    I haven’t tried to buy a house yet but I have heard to be careful about all of these things!

    • January 28, 2018 / 10:47 PM

      Things to look forward to doing one day for sure :)

  39. January 24, 2018 / 4:34 PM

    This was so helpful and informative– my bf and I are planning to buy soon and it’s good to know all the costs that we’ll be expected to pay up front. I also like your tip on having a plumber and electrician inspect the house as well– it would be horrible to purchase a home that has those types of problems– those costs can add up extremely quickly! Thanks for sharing :)

    • February 5, 2018 / 11:47 AM

      So glad to hear it, Amanda! There’s so much that goes into buying a house that you never really hear about so I thought it’d be good to share :) I hope the process goes smoothly for you guys – keep me posted!

  40. Azanique
    January 24, 2018 / 4:59 PM

    I have never thought about all this but need to keep these in mind for the next few years. I am planning to buy a house when I turn 25!

    -xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com

    • February 2, 2018 / 2:34 PM

      It’s a huge life step but such an exciting one! Definitely start educating yourself now!

  41. thesophiadiaries
    January 24, 2018 / 5:20 PM

    wow, thank you so much for sharing this! i definitely need to come back to this post when i get to that point in my life haha but just hearing the title makes it sound so scary!!!

    • February 5, 2018 / 11:46 AM

      Haha it is kind of intimidating but also really exciting! As long as you’re prepared it’ll be ok!

  42. January 24, 2018 / 5:46 PM

    YAS! Before going through our closing process, I had no idea that you had to shell out extra money on things like the inspection!

    • January 28, 2018 / 10:47 PM

      Neither did I! Buying a house is a HUGE learning process but so worth it!

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:49 PM

      It really is! So great that you have your boyfriend to walk you guys through it all!

  43. January 25, 2018 / 12:45 AM

    These were so great to share! My Mom used to work in mortgage banking so thankfully she had taught us about this :)!

    Kristin
    The Blush Blonde

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:49 PM

      Thanks, Kristin! So awesome that you were able to get all of the scoop from your mom. It helps SO much to have someone who has been through the process and/or really gets it!

  44. January 25, 2018 / 8:22 AM

    I have no experience when it comes to house buying so this was so helpful.

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:05 PM

      Thanks, Sarah! You’ll have to refer back to this when you’re ready to start thinking about buying one!

  45. Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew
    January 26, 2018 / 4:29 PM

    Oh girl! These are SO TRUE! It’s a lot more than just the initial price when buying a home!

    • January 27, 2018 / 4:05 PM

      For sure! It’s crazy how much goes into it all – literally and financially!

  46. January 27, 2018 / 7:14 AM

    Thank you so much for this as I am looking to own a home in the near future and I have always been sceptical about the process and this was very insightful in layman’s terms and very helpful.

    Delaine | http://delainemyles.com

    • February 5, 2018 / 11:44 AM

      You got it girl! So glad to be of help! If you have any Qs along the way, feel free to reach out. Happy to help if I can!

  47. Sami Mast
    January 29, 2018 / 6:00 PM

    I never even thought about adding the moving costs into purchasing a home, but it totally makes sense! Thank you for breaking this all down!

    xo
    Sami
    The Classic Brunette

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:48 PM

      You got it girl! It’s definitely an important one to factor in – it’s one of the pricier upfront costs once you close!

  48. January 30, 2018 / 10:38 AM

    We bought a house last year but my hubby is an agent so we were able to get through all these costs seamlessly and account for them.

    • February 2, 2018 / 2:34 PM

      That’s awesome – congrats!

  49. Tori Dunlap
    January 31, 2018 / 12:17 AM

    I was going to buy a house at 21, and it’s so important to fully research everything before you make a big decision!
    Tori || Victori Media
    https://www.victorimedia.com

    • February 4, 2018 / 1:48 PM

      It definitely is! Then there are no/less surprises, you feel much more confident, and you can set goals for yourself!

  50. February 4, 2018 / 12:51 PM

    The “free” maintenance with renting is definitely a great thing to have – I can’t blame you there!