Upfront Costs of Home Purchase and Why You Need Significant Savings to Buy

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by seacaptain200

I often see posts from people who are tired of “throwing money away on rent” and want to buy a home because “the mortgage would be less than rent.” Rarely, if ever, do people take into account how much cash on hand they will need upfront between going under contract and making it to the closing table.

As my spouse and I are under contract now on our first home together, I kept a tally of our expenses for the 30 days between going under contract and closing, and wanted to share so people can see how expensive buying a home is.

  • Inspection: $650
  • Septic Inspection: $200
  • Mold Test: $150
  • Water Test (well water): $275
  • Appraisal: $550
  • Survey: $500
  • Elevation Survey: $225
  • Closing Costs: $14,000
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This is $16,550 total we have spent in 30 days to purchase this house and ZERO of this is going towards the down payment or principal. If the deal had fallen through for whatever reason, we would have been out the $2,550 (everything but closing costs) with nothing to show for it.

There are so many expenses that come with buying a home other than the down payment and the monthly PITI. For some people, buying a home is still the best choice and does make sense in the long run. Obviously we think this is the best financial strategy for us as we are buying the home. This post is simply a reminder to people that buying a home isn’t cheap. You need to have significant savings, and you can’t just compare monthly rent to monthly mortgage.

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Edit: The purchase price on this home is in the $600,000-$700,000 range. Your closing costs will likely be lower (if you purchase a less expensive home), or higher (if you purchase a more expensive home). Our closing costs are roughly 2% of the purchase price.

Edit 2: The mold test and water test were optional. We wanted them for health reasons. The survey and elevation survey were required for the mortgage and flood insurance, respectively.

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