The Cost of Homebuying

Welcome, future homeowners and seasoned property enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into the often underestimated topic of home buying costs that stealthily emerge just when you thought you had it all figured out. Yes, we’re talking about those expenses that don’t quite make it onto the closing cost sheet but can pack a surprising punch to your wallet. So, grab your favorite mug of coffee or tea, settle into your comfiest chair, and let’s explore the hidden expenses of the home buying journey.

**The Traveling House Hunter**

For those embarking on a home search from afar, the costs extend beyond the contract itself. Factor in travel expenses – flights, accommodation, and meals – for those house-hunting trips. It might feel like a mini-vacation, but it’s crucial to budget for these costs to make your home buying journey as smooth as possible.

Sidenote: if you’re working with a knowledgeable Realtor, they may have systems in place to preview homes digitally which can reduce the traveling expenses and time. I’m very accustomed to showing a property through videos or FaceTime, especially to help nonlocal investors and members of our armed forces.

2. **Earnest Money: Putting Skin in the Game**

Consider earnest money as your way of saying, “I’m serious about this.” This upfront deposit, often 1-3% of the home’s purchase price, demonstrates your commitment to the deal. The good news? This money typically goes towards your down payment or closing costs. Just be prepared to open your wallet shortly after your offer is accepted. Earnest money cannot be cash or money order if you’re acquiring a mortgage for the property- these funds must be legal and traceable.

 3. **Inspection Insights: Peeling Back the Layers (Approx. $300-$500)**

You’ve found ‘the one,’ and excitement is high. But before you start mentally arranging furniture, there’s the crucial step of the home inspection. While the cost can vary depending on your location and the property’s size, budgeting around $300 to $500 is a safe bet. Think of it as an investment in peace of mind – uncovering potential issues before they become unpleasant surprises.

4. **Septic and Well Inspection: Checking the Hidden Essentials**

For homes equipped with a septic system or well, don’t forget to budget for specialized inspections. Ensuring the health and functionality of these critical components can save you from future headaches. While costs vary, these inspections are a vital step in guaranteeing the long-term well-being of your new home.

5. **Specialized Contractors: Delving Deeper into Property Health**

Your standard inspection might not cover every nook and cranny. For potential red flags or specialized assessments (think mold or foundation issues), be prepared to bring in the experts. While their fees can vary, having a specialist on hand can prevent major headaches down the road.

6. **Appraisal Fees: Valuing the Investment (Approx. $500-$800 in Middle GA)**

An appraisal is like a second opinion for your home’s worth. While it’s a necessary step in the mortgage process, the cost (typically between $500 and $800 in Middle Georgia) is an out-of-pocket expense up front when your lender orders it. However, it’s money well spent (and required) to ensure you’re not overpaying for your dream home.

In the world of home buying, knowledge is your ally. While these upfront costs might seem like an unexpected detour, understanding and budgeting for them can turn your journey into a smoother, more enjoyable experience. Remember, each expense is an investment in the long-term happiness and stability of your new home.

So, as you sip your coffee and envision your future abode, know that being prepared for these costs is a key step in turning that dream home into a reality. Happy house hunting!

If you’re new here, hi! I’m Hope, I am a Georgia native and live in Houston County, GA with my husband, 2 kids, and 3 dogs. I offer over a decade of experience in listing, selling, renting, and investing, and I strive to protect all my clients (including tenants) from predatory practices in real estate. When I’m not selling homes, you’ll find me spending time with my family, reading, listening to music, or playing with the dogs.

I’m a Realtor, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, and a Military Relocation Professional. I love learning and problem solving… it’s why I love what I do! I inform my clients so that they’re able to make well-informed decisions with fewer regrets.  I’ve worked in real estate full time since 2012 and was raised in a construction family, so it’s what I know best. If you have any questions about real estate in general or about buying, renting, or selling a property, let’s chat!

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