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House budget: What’s included in the cost?

When you buy a house, you should think about more than just how much you’ll pay each month for the loan, especially when you’re trying to figure out your house-buying budget and how much you can afford. There are other costs you might need to consider before making your home purchase. 

Homeowner budget: expenses beyond your monthly mortgage

New homeowners are often surprised by the unexpected costs that come up in the first few months after buying a home. Think about these expenses when deciding how much house you can afford. These can include: 
  • Lawncare. Upkeep on homes with gardens or larger lawns can take a lot of time or money. 
  • Homeowner’s associations (HOA) fees and membership dues.  Some neighborhoods have additional monthly or annual costs. 
  • Parking costs. If you’re thinking of living in the city, parking may become a regular expense in your budget. 
  • Utilities. Costs like electricity and heat could increase depending on the size of your new home compared to your previous house, apartment, or townhouse. 
  • Regular maintenance. As a homeowner, you’re responsible for replacing appliances and repairs around the house. Remember to plan for the unexpected and normal wear on items over time.  

Up-front costs of buying a home

Buying a home comes with many additional expenses leading up to your closing date. Being prepared for these expenses can help you feel more ready for homeownership. These costs can include: 
  • Down payment. The amount you can contribute as a down payment affects not only your monthly mortgage but also the type of mortgage you might qualify for. It can also affect whether you’re required to pay extra each month for private mortgage insurance (PMI). 
  • Appraisal. During the buying process, you’ll need this to verify that the home is worth the price. 
  • Closing costs. Fees due at the close can be as much as several thousand dollars.  
  • Home inspection. It’s normal to inspect a home for any major issues before buying it, and it can help bring you peace of mind.  

How much house can you afford?

Use this calculator to help estimate your budget.

More to explore

Should you buy a home or keep renting?

Buying a home is an enormous decision, with big potential consequences for both your finances and happiness. Thinking through these 5 key questions can help you decide if it's the right move for you.

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.

Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.