For most first-time homebuyers, understanding the true cost of homeownership isn’t easy. There’s the down payment, of course. But there are many other costs that you may have never heard of and probably wouldn’t expect.
Figuring out how much cash you need can be especially difficult when home prices and interest rates are rising. But there are ways to reduce the amount of cash you need at closing, even if you don’t have a lot of money stashed away.
Breaking Things Down
Most first-time buyers need to finance homeownership with a mortgage loan, which involves many different costs. For example, you’ll have to pay an origination fee, which covers the cost of processing your loan, which can cost between .5 and 1% of the total loan amount.
You may also need to pay an application fee, a credit report fee, title and escrow fees, a notary fee, and other fees. Altogether, these can total as much as 2% to 5% of your loan on average.
In addition, you’ll need to get a home appraisal to verify your home’s value, which can generally cost between $300 and $500. Most homebuyers are also often required to or opt to get a home inspection in order to determine if the home has any potential defects, hazards, or safety issues. This can cost another $300 or $500 generally.
Your lender will also require you to buy title insurance, which protects you and the lender from any liens or encumbrances against the property. Title insurance can generally cost between .5 and 1% of your home’s purchase price. Plus, you’ll need homeowner’s insurance, which protects your home from damage and losses. A homeowner’s policy is also part of the cost you’ll incur, and you will usually need to pay the annual premium up front.
Then there are many costs apart from your loan, too, such as moving costs. Even if you don’t hire professional movers and do it yourself, renting a truck and paying for boxes and packing materials can easily cost $1,000. And you’ll need money on hand to make deposits for utilities and cable services.
Of all the various costs involved with buying a home, the largest, typically, is the down payment, which is the difference between the purchase price of your home and your loan amount. In many cases, a first-time homebuyer needs a down payment of at least 3% or 3.5%, depending on their loan type and credit score. For a $300,000 home, for example, a down payment of 3.5% is $10,500.
All fees and costs quoted are estimates. Your actual costs could be higher. Get an official Loan Estimate before choosing a loan.
Reducing Cash to Close
Feeling dizzy yet? Fear not—there are ways to reduce the amount of cash you need to buy a home.
Seller Paid Closing Costs.
In some cases, and in certain states, you can negotiate with the home seller to get them to pay some of your closing costs. However, that means you might not get a lower offer accepted as the seller factors those costs into their proceeds. Plus, if it is a seller’s market, when there are more homebuyers than home sellers, this can be difficult.
Raise Credit Qualifications.
Yet another option is to improve your credit score, since your credit score plays a pivotal role in the type of loan and rate you’re offered as well as the amount of cash you need to bring to the closing table. However, it takes time to improve your credit score, even if you pay all your bills on time and pay down debt.
Timing of Closing.
In some cases, closing at the end of the month will reduce the amount of prepaid interest collected. But this also means the number of days from the closing until your first payment will be fewer.
If you’re fortunate, you may have a family member who is willing to provide financial support by gifting you the down payment. Another option is to ask family and friends for down payment contributions instead of gifts for events like birthdays, anniversaries, or weddings. (By the way, skipping a big wedding ceremony could leave more available for a down payment.)
Ask Your Loan Originator.
Often, your loan originator will be aware of local programs, procedures and resources that might help you in your journey to becoming a homeowner. Ask them about opportunities for you.
Down Payment Assistance.
For most first-time homebuyers, one way to reduce the amount of cash you need to buy a home is by getting down payment assistance. Down payment assistance programs are available to those that qualify for some or all the down payment costs.
There are several reasons why the last option, down payment assistance, is so helpful. First, it enables qualified applicants to buy a home even if they don’t have much savings. Second, it allows qualified applicants to hold on to more of the savings they do have to handle closing and moving costs as well as unexpected expenses, which are not uncommon when buying a new home. You don’t need perfect credit to get assistance, either. Generally, you need to show that you’re capable of handling your debts and making your mortgage payments.
At CBC Mortgage Agency, we partner with lenders nationwide to help borrowers access down payment assistance to reduce the cash they need to buy a home. Unlike many state-run programs, our program, the Chenoa Fund, does not have a first-time homebuyer requirement and does not have income restrictions, which means anyone may qualify. Many state-run programs are also limited to funding availability. Our program does not have this limitation. We also offer pre-purchase and post-closing counseling to set our clients up for successful long-term homeownership. With down payment assistance through the Chenoa Fund down payment assistance program, qualified applicants can get 3.5% or 5% assistance with their home’s purchase price. There are repayable and forgivable loan options – plus, it’s available to borrowers almost everywhere in the country (excluding New York).
Looking to make your homeownership dreams a reality, and concerned about how much cash you need? To find out how we can help, just give us a call at 866-563-3507 or drop us a note at email@example.com.
CBC Mortgage Agency – NMLS 1186381
For licensing information, go to www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org.
Illinois Residential Mortgage License #MB.6761292. Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking, 100 West Randolph, 9th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601 – 1-888-473-4858. This information is provided by CBC Mortgage Agency and intended for real estate and mortgage professionals only. It is not intended for public use or distribution. Terms and conditions of programs and guidelines are subject to change at any time without notice. This is not a commitment to lend. Equal housing opportunity.« Digging Deeper to Find Homebuyer Prospects