Money Talks, So Should You

Q&A: What costs should I consider when buying a home?

Leisa Brown Aiken
by Leisa Brown Aiken, The Garrett Network

Great question. Property taxes and insurance are seldom overlooked because lenders typically require them to be paid through an escrow account as part of the mortgage payment.

Work with your mortgage professional or lender to understand what to expect and your options for paying closing costs.

Don’t forget the cost of movers if you’re past the stage of life where your friends show up and make it a party.

READ: Advice for first-time home buyers

New homeowners can be surprised by ongoing costs. Condominium or association dues are obvious. Heating and cooling costs vary. Local water service, garbage and lawn waste collection fees, municipal vehicle taxes are small costs that can add up. Consider whether your commuting costs will increase.

Homes require maintenance and repairs. One-year seller’s warranties are pretty common in this buyer’s market. If a big-ticket item is near the end of its expected life, consider negotiating a lower price with the seller.

The oft-cited rule of thumb for annual maintenance budgeting is a wide range – two to four percent of the homes’ value. Consider monthly additions to your emergency fund for major repairs or replacements as a cost of living in your new home. Sooner or later, you’ll be glad you did.


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Leisa Brown Aiken, CFP®, CPA is the founder of Veo Financial Counsel, LLC, a Fee-Only financial planning firm in Chicago, Illinois in order to provide Fee-Only, hourly as-needed services to a broad range of clients.