Sticker Shock:Part 1

The 5 Hidden Fees of Home Buying

Surprises. Sometimes they’re a good thing. Your hubby of twenty years actually remembers to buy you flowers on Valentine’s Day. You find twenty bucks lying on the ground. You know, the warm-and-fuzzies of life.

Then there are the dark sides of surprises. The aforementioned hubby forgot that you are deathly allergic to orange carnations. A feral shriek pierces the air as you get mugged by a passing heroin addict for that twenty bucks you just found. You know, the oh-sh*t-what-nows of life.

The hidden fees of home buying definitely fall into the latter category.

But all is not lost. Luck favors the prepared, and preparation is at hand. Read on to add the knowledge of the top 5 hidden fees of buying a home to your bank-account-buffer arsenal.

Upgrades. When it comes to touring houses, you don’t always get what you see — at least not without shelling out some extra cash for it. The model home might be great for showcasing a place’s potential, but beware: there’s a good chance that it’s also the poster child for way-over-base-price upgrades. Keep tabs on what’s included and what’s extra, or risk watching your budget get blown to smithereens before your eyes.  Estimated cost: $1,000-$50,000+

Home appraisal and inspection(s). There is no escaping a home appraisal before you buy. Or a home inspection. In fact, you might even end up needing more than one of the latter if there are problems with pests, mold, radon, or what have you. Regardless, there’s going to be some red tape to cut through, and it can add up to a pretty penny before the day is out.  Estimated cost:  Appraisal: $200-$600, Inspection(s): $99-$1,000

When it comes to touring houses, you don’t always get what you see.

Closing costs. Yes, your poor, beleaguered real estate agent needs to eat, too. (Especially since you’ve had him on the run from sunup to sundown every day for the better part of six months by now. Heck, the guy could probably start his own exercise and weight-loss program at this point.) Sometimes you can negotiate for the seller to cover the closing costs of the transaction, but not always. Be prepared to foot the bill if you have to.  Estimated cost: 2%-4% of purchase price

Title insurance.  Ah, title insurance. That thing that protects you (and your lender) from taking a financial hit in case some long-lost third cousin twice removed turns up and challenges you for the keys to the castle. A likely scenario? Not really. Do you have to pay for it anyway? Yup.  Estimated cost: around 0.035% of purchase price

Processing fees.  Processing a loan application is a long and treacherous undertaking involving government satellites, fierce Amazonian piranhas, and a full team of Navy SEALS. Okay, not really. But for how much it costs, it really should be that impressive. Don’t look at us like that. We know you secretly agree.  Estimated cost: up to $1,000

Like most surprises, home-buying fees don’t pack quite as big of a punch when you see them coming. So plan ahead before you purchase.

And keep your ears peeled for feral shrieks. Just in case.

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Kristine Serio
Kristine Serio is an editor and writer with Author Bridge Media. Her real estate roots stretch back to her grandfather, who launched a profitable second career as an investor during the 1950s. She is now passionate about empowering women through real estate writing. Her authors and entrepreneurs have been featured in The New York Times, O: the Oprah Magazine, and the San Diego Union Tribune.
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