How Much Money Do I Need In Order to Buy?

Buying a House After Foreclosure or Short SaleOne of the most common questions that we are asked concerns how much money a prospective home buyer needs to have on-hand before purchasing a home.  The actual down payment can vary anywhere from 3% down up to 20% or more depending on what program a buyer decides to go with.

Here we take a closer look at what you as a buyer should expect when you go through the process of buying a home.  These are the typical types of fees to expect at closing.  Below is a breakdown of a sample set of closing costs; we will also look at each item individually.

Sample Closing Cost

Purchase Home $400,000

Mortgage Amount $320,000

Lender Fee: $          500 Prepaids
Appraisal: $          350 Interest Credit: $ 700
Misc.: Credit Report, Flood Cert.: $            20 Tax 4 Months: $1,400
Home Inspection $          450 Insurance 1 Year:  $1,000
Attorney:, Closing, Title Exam,Municipal Lien Cert, Wire Fee, FedEx: $          900 $1,000
(Purchase & Sale) $          250
Title Insurance: Buyer: $          975
Title Insurance: Lender: $          800
Recording Fee: $          365

Average Cost Lender & Attorney:               $       4,610                          Average Prepaids:     $       3,100

Average Total Closing Cost For $400,000 Property:       $    7,710

*Note: these costs are estimates only and will vary by town, lender, property, and other factors

Lender & Attorney Costs:

Lender Fee:

The first item on this list is the Lender Fee.  These are fees that lenders charge you for doing the work that they do in terms of the processing and approving the loan.

Appraisal Cost:

This is a professional examination of your home done by a licensed appraiser who specializes in examining homes and determining a value.

Home Inspection:

This is a fee paid to a licensed home inspector to come in and evaluate the property for potential problems with such things as building codes, along with other issues the property may have in terms of needed repairs.  It is important to get this done so that you are not surprised by costly repairs later on, and your lender will want to make sure there are no safety hazards which could result in a lawsuit if someone falls or gets hurt on your property.

Attorney Fee:

As Anthony Lamacchia describes in this video, it is very important to have a good real estate attorney when buying a home.  Buying a home is usually the biggest financial purchase of one’s life, so spending an extra $700 to $1,500 is money very well spent.  A good attorney will make sure that all of the legal documentation is clear and correct, and that all of the bases have been covered, and things which can help protect you are in place.  Their work includes making sure that the title to your home is clear. The attorney will also handle negotiating the Purchase & Sale agreement that outlines exactly what is being bought and sold and has clauses that protect you as the buyer.

Title Insurance:

If you obtain a mortgage you will be required to purchase Title Insurance for the bank.  This will protect you if something comes up later on which was not, for whatever reason, found during the attorney’s title examination.  This can happen because of a problem with the records which are held at the Registry of Deeds or similar office in your area, or because something comes up which was not previously known about.  While rare, this can and has happened, so it is very important to make sure that the money you put into your house is not jeopardized.  There is a reason why the mortgage lender will most likely require it, after all, because they understand just how critical protecting their investment is as well.  As a buyer you will also have the option to purchase owners title insurance as well which protects you from the same potential issues. We strongly suggest you consider this, it is in your best interest.

Recording Fee:

The Registry of Deeds will charge a recording fee. This fee is simply the cost you pay to have your new deed, mortgage and all associated paperwork, officially entered into the permanent records of the city, town, and/or county in which you live, so that you are the legal owner of record of the property.

Prepaid Costs:

All prepaid costs can vary depending on when you close in the month for the mortgage interest and when you close in a quarter for the real estate taxes.

Pre-Paid Interest:

When a buyer buys a home the mortgage company requires them to pay the interest from the day of closing to the end of the current month.  Then interest is paid in arrears thereafter.  For example, if someone closes on February 15th they would have to pay the interest on the loan until February 28th, and then their first mortgage payment will be April 1st.

Pre-Paid Real Estate taxes:

Taxes are paid in a similar fashion to the pre-paid interest except they are paid quarterly. So if a buyer closes on February 15th they would typically have to pay the taxes until March 31st which is the end of the first quarter.

Homeowners Insurance:

Finally, the last item is the Homeowners insurance for the property, which covers major losses and other specific damage cases as outlined by the policy which you choose. Lenders will require this to protect their investment in the form of the loan they made to you for the mortgage, but it’s really in your best interests to have for obvious reasons as well.  In most cases the insurance company requires up-front payment for the first year, and it is typically paid prior to closing.

As you can see there are many costs to factor in when buying a home, and knowing how much cash you will need to have on hand when it comes time to actually close the deal is critical.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of our Buyer’s Agents at 855-510-SOLD (7653), email us at, or fill out the form below to have someone contact you today.

Get Your Free Home Buying Consultation Now: