When you prepare to buy an Arlington home, you are probably concerned with two major expenses: the down payment and the mortgage. You’ve saved for years for the down payment and made comparisons between your monthly mortgage payments and your current monthly rent payments.
Once you have these two massive expenses down, you probably consider yourself done with the major costs of home buying. Unfortunately, that belief is far from the truth. There are plenty of hidden costs associated when it comes time to buy an Arlington home, and it’s important that you consider these costs in your budget as well.
Before your fall in love with a house you can’t afford, check out these hidden costs to buy an Arlington home.
Closing Costs and Other Fees
Your Arlington house has to be appraised in order to find its fair market value, the property records need to checked to ensure the seller has the full rights to sell you the house, your real estate agent needs to be paid for her work all of which adds up to a pretty long list of costs. The seller may pick up some of these costs, but you will have to shoulder some as well. It’s important to know that these fees aren’t nominal – they can add up to several thousand dollars. Additionally, closing costs run anywhere from two to five percent of your Arlington home’s value. Your mortgage lender is responsible for explaining all of the fees to you, so if you ever need more information or clarification, ask your lender.
Don’t ever skip a home inspection; this process can save you tons of money and stress in the future. A home inspection lasts several hours and typically costs around $500, but the cost is well worth it to avoid buying a home with serious structure damage.
If you are purchasing an older Arlington home in which the appliances are no longer covered by warranty, it’s a good idea to consider a home warranty. Generally, home warranties cost a few hundred dollars annually and protect things such as kitchen appliances, plumbing, the furnace, the sump pump and ceiling and exhaust fans. Eventually, you will encounter some serious repairs to your home, so consider buying a home warranty to protect yourself.
Homeowners Association and Condo Fees
If you are buying a condo or a home that is part of a community with a homeowners association, you will be required to pay a monthly fee towards maintenance of community features. The more amenities your community or condo has, the higher your monthly fee will be. If you are thinking about buying a condo, be sure to ask for information on the HOAs budget and cash reserves because if a decision to make a repair to a building that isn’t in annual budget, you and your fellow homeowners could face special assessment fees (which can add up to thousands) to raise money for the project.
Maintenance, Repairs, Renovations and Redecorating
Maintaining your Arlington home – chores like cleaning your windows and gutters, landscaping and making small updates and renovations – generally cost around one percent of your home’s value annually, and that’s without any large unexpected repairs. The costs don’t stop at maintenance though. New homeowners always buy new furniture when they move, which can be really expensive. If you plan to renovate immediately after moving in, then be sure to take that into account when looking at home and deciding on what price point you can afford.
While you’re probably used to paying utilities from living in an apartment, the first few utility bills in your home may be quite a bit larger than expected. Firstly, many renters don’t pay for items like water, trash and sewer and because your home is larger than your apartment, the electricity and gas may be significantly larger.
If your commute changes as a result of your move, you may have to buy a new car, or pay more in order to maintain – and fuel – the one you already own. Commuting doesn’t just cost you money, but it will also cut into your free time. You’d be surprised at how much “just another 10 minutes” affects you.
Preparing to buy an Arlington home is an exciting, and often overwhelming, experience. The down payment and mortgage are two major costs, but they aren’t the only ones involved in the process. Be sure that you budget for these hidden costs to avoid financial surprise or hardship once you’ve purchased your home.