2021 Pandemic Expenses You Can Expect When Buying a Home

13 Oct

Last week we looked at what it costs to build a home, this week we thought we would look at some of the expenses you can expect when purchasing an existing home. 

If you are in the market for a new home, you may be wondering, how much house can I actually afford? This question is more important than ever as a tight 2021 housing market pushes prices ever higher. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home hit $356,700 which is a shocking 14.9% increase from August 2020.

Rising prices have left many first-time homebuyers out in the cold as they are no longer able to afford a home in this market. In most years, first time homebuyers make up almost 40 percent of homebuyers while this year they are only 29 percent of all sales. 

Unfortunately, some desperate homebuyers are spending more than they budgeted for a home purchase, which can lead to financial issues down the road. According to Zillow, a whopping 28% of shoppers purchased homes above their initial budget in 2021.

Buying a home can be complicated and you should put together a budget before you enter the market to make sure you can afford not just the mortgage but other expenses that come with a home purchase. Here are a few expenses to consider when shopping for a home:

Down payment

If possible, a down payment of 20 percent of the cost of the home is always recommended by industry experts. A 20 percent down payment will ensure that you get the most favorable interest rate (assuming your credit score is solid) and will allow you to avoid paying for primary mortgage insurance or PMI.

Click to Calculate Your 30 yr. or 15 yr. Mortgage & PMI Monthly Payment

PMI typically costs between $30 to $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed and can be dropped after you reach 20 percent equity in the home.

However, not everyone can afford a 20 percent down payment, according to the National Association of Realtors, the average first time homebuyer only puts down 7 percent. 

Many loans will allow you to only put down 3 to 5 percent but be aware that you will have to pay PMI and your interest rate may be higher than buyers who can afford to put down 20 percent.

Monthly payments

While you may be approved for a specific mortgage amount, you need to confirm that you can actually afford the monthly payments that come with it. Add up your other monthly expenses which can include things such as car loans, cell phones, daycare as well as other utility bills. Once you have added up your monthly expenses you should have a good idea of what you can afford to spend on a mortgage monthly. 

In addition to your monthly utility bills and home insurance costs, don’t forget to add in property taxes that will usually be tacked onto your monthly mortgage payment. Insurance costs can also be significant depending on where your home is located but plan to spend close to a $1,000 a year on homeoweners coverage, more if your home is located on the coast or in an area prone to severe weather. 

Other unexpected expenses

Home ownership comes with unexpected expenses, and you should be prepared to cover them if one pops up. As an example, a HVAC or water heater repair or replacement can get very expensive and if you are not prepared, one unexpected expense can cause trouble with your budget and finances. 

Most experts recommend having a few months’ worth of mortgage premiums in the bank before purchasing a house as a safety net in case you are hit with unexpected expenses after moving into your new home. 

Closing costs

Closing costs consists of a variety of fees related to the home buying process. Typical closing costs can include fees such as:

  • Application fee
  • Bank appraisal of the home’s value
  • Attorney fee
  • Escrow fee
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Title insurance
  • Credit report
  • Loan origination fee
  • Transfer taxes
  • Title search fee
  • Recording fee

Closing costs can add up to 2% to 5% of the home price and must be paid when you close on the home.

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