When you go into buying a house, you usually consult someone who has gone through the process: family members, friends, shoot, even your real estate agent is a great place to start. Nevertheless, it doesn't matter whom you speak with, they all will inevitably warn you about the dreaded "hidden costs" of home buying... And yet, somehow Nick (the hubs extraordinaire) and I still didn't understand the real hidden costs of home buying, which is why I'm going to list what we had to deal with, along with the prices, just to hopefully help future first-time #homebuyers out there.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is our adorable house the first day we saw it, almost three years ago.
Isn't it precious (minus the dead grass patch)?
Anyway, we always knew we wanted an older home (well Nick wasn't originally on-board for an older home, but he came around) because I wanted something that had charm and character that we could make our own... Plus, when problems came about with the house, I knew it would be a lot easier to mentally grasp by saying "We knew this would happen with an older home", rather than the natural problems of a house happening with a newer home.
So lets talk about the stats of our house:
- Built in 1977
- Building square footage: 2,429
- Lot square footage: 8,400
- 4 bedrooms
- 2.5 bathrooms
- Game room upstairs
- 2-car detached garage
- A sweet pool in the backyard (Nick was insistent on that)
Word of Advice: If it's the house of your dreams, come in at asking price.
We lost two houses because we didn't come in at asking price - and obviously it worked out for us in the long run, because we found this gem (also, sidebar, when people tell you “it was meant to be” after losing what you thought was your dream home, I promise, they’re right) - but I literally cried when we lost our first "perfect" house. It was heartbreaking. Truly. However, understand that the right house will come along, one, and two? If you lose a house, it's not the end of the world; your perfect house is still out there. Something will come along. Promise.
So we obviously came in at asking price with this beauty, and locked into a contract within a week of it going on the market. The next step? Inspections... HELLLLLLLLO first #HiddenCosts.
I went into inspections thinking you hire one guy, he does the inspection, tells you what’s wrong with your house, you negotiate after that, and then boom, you own a house. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG!
... Okay, maybe not that wrong, because you do have one guy who comes in and checks out everything, but here's the extra hidden costs we didn't know - nor did we really think about:
- In order for you to have your house inspected, you have to put down an option money (usually $100 for a 5-10 day option period). During that option period, you must hire an inspector(s) to come to the property and inspect everything you could possibly be worried about to decide if you want to back out of the contract, without any penalties. Total: $100
- Next, you must put earnest money down. However, the nice part about earnest money is that it goes towards your down payment. Total: $1,000
- Since we had a pool, we had to get the pool inspected. Total: $185
- Our home inspection itself. Total: $350
- Our house at the time didn't have an alarm system, and since I refuse to move in to a place without an alarm system, we got one immediately. Total: $417
- Usually the seller pays for the appraisal, which we didn't know. Total: $395
- Then here was a super unexpected cost (but after we found out we had to do it, it made sense), of a giant pine tree we had in our backyard that we needed to have inspected to see if it was ruining our foundation, which – spoiler alert – it was. Arbor inspection: $135.31 Tree inspection: $75
Another cost I would tell yall to look into, if your house predates 1978 and has popcorn ceilings, is to have the ceilings tested for asbestos during that Option Period. I say this, because we didn’t even think about that, and our home was full of popcorn ceilings. Literally every room and the hallways. And we did not get it tested, so asbestos or not, the house was ours.
I’ll periodically update this post with some other hidden costs as they come up and could’ve been avoided if we had known to do them during our Option Period.
Also, I'm blessed enough to have one of my best friend, Samantha, who is a real estate agent, and she's agreed to be a guest writer about giving first-time home owners other useful tips when purchasing a home, from a real estate agents point of view *yay*.
Next up, how to caulk trim and baseboards (and what not to do), but until then...