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Hidden Fees to Watch Out for When Purchasing a House

by Carolin P
Hidden Fees to Watch Out for When Purchasing a House

.While the prospect of purchasing a house may be exciting, the reality is rarely so bright. The mere process of finding a suitable house is challenging, the procedure of acquiring a home loan is even more complex, and the sheer amount of paperwork you have to navigate can be exhausting on its own. However, that’s rarely all there is to it. In fact, buying a house comes with a number of expenses that you may not expect, but are an unavoidable part of the process. With that in mind, here are some hidden fees you should watch out for when purchasing a home:

Home inspections

In many countries around the world, home inspections are required by law or lenders. They are used for verifying that the house you want to buy is structurally sound and actually habitable, and often come with a home inspection fee as well. These inspections typically cost around a few hundred dollars, although the exact sum may vary based on where you live and the house in question. More often than not, you will have the freedom to select a home inspector yourself, paying them the agreed-upon sum once they complete their job.

Appraisal fees

Before you can receive a mortgage, you will likely need an appraisal. This represents the estimated value of the home you are looking to purchase, and is used by lenders to calculate loan-to-value ratios. An unbiased third party has to perform the appraisal, coming with a specific fee that often isn’t negotiable. The appraisal fee can vary dramatically based on your location and the size and type of the home. However, the average you can expect to pay tends to move between a couple of hundred and a couple of thousand dollars.

Credit reports

To decide your creditworthiness, lenders often look at your credit history and relevant reports before using unique risk-analysis processes. Credit scores affect both the loan amounts and the interest rates. In many cases and countries across the globe, pulling credit reports is a free and seamless process for banks and other lenders. But in certain instances, hard inquiries may need to be performed on your credit. This could potentially affect your credit score, and it will likely come with a fee. Fortunately, this fee is relatively small and might even be covered by some lenders.

Document preparation

Keep in mind that providing loan estimates costs lenders time and money. For that reason, many lenders decide to charge a document preparation fee that covers the administrative expenses for the loan. These fees generally range from $50 to $100, but could depend on the lender. However, what may be even more important are loan origination fees. This represents the main way lenders earn money, which is why it’s among the largest expenses you will incur throughout this process. Typically, 1% of the complete loan amount is charged for the origination fee, meaning it could potentially reach tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more high-end homes.

Insurance costs

When taking out a home loan, it’s common for lenders to require homeowner’s insurance as well. And while that might be a regular part of the process, always remember to read any documentation carefully before signing. Many lenders have been known to sell worthless and unnecessary insurance products to consumers along with home loans.  These products are known as ‘junk insurance’ and can end up being quite a high expense. If you’ve already purchased junk insurance unknowingly, you can get an insurance refund in many cases. Just make sure to work with experienced specialists who can help with your claim.

Title transfer fees

During the process of purchasing a house, the title will likely have to be transferred from the person selling to the one buying. This can also result in a number of fees. For instance, you might have to hire a company to search the property’s records and ensure nobody can claim the property, thus paying a title search fee. Similarly, local recording offices may need to be paid to officially record your house purchase, or a lender might ask you to buy lender’s or owner’s title insurance. These slightly smaller fees can quickly add up to a large expense.

Closing the deal

Closing a property purchase is another process that requires plenty of paperwork. The list of final costs for closing could include aspects like escrow fees. Those are charged for holding payments, or even special “closing fees” that pay closing agents for their work. These closing costs can quickly add up, so pay attention to your income, first-time buyer status, or any other factor that can qualify you for potential closing costs assistance. Your local housing finance agency can be a great place to look for these and similar programs.


Every purchase comes with a tax, and buying a house is no different. The exact amount you will have to pay will depend on your location. In certain areas, property taxes need to be covered in advance, prompting buyers to reimburse sellers. Some regions also impose a transfer tax on the transfer of title to the property. Visit your local government’s website or consult a legal professional to learn more about the mandatory taxes and the specific amounts you are required to pay.

Property taxes

Taxation doesn’t stop at the purchase. In fact, most countries require their residents to pay property taxes regularly on any real estate they own. Typically, these taxes are determined on a local level and are due annually, although some areas could also divide this sum into monthly or quarterly payments during the year. The location, size, and overall value of the home are often the determining factors for property taxes. Before you invest in real estate, it’s recommended to check how much you will be required to pay in property taxes to ensure you can actually afford them.

Ongoing interest

Interest fees represent the amount you have to pay for the service of borrowing from a lender. These loans can easily add up over the lifespan of the loan, surpassing the loan’s original value by thousands. That is why it’s crucial to understand interest rates well. This can be quite an individual aspect of each loan, so read the documents carefully before signing them. You should also consider hiring a third-party expert to explain interest fees to you in greater detail.

HOA fees

In some areas around the globe, particularly those with townhouses and apartments, you will also need to join a local homeowners’ association (HOA). These organizations often endeavor to keep the community up to local standards. They could even help in paying for the upkeep of buildings and any common areas.

If you are required by law to join an HOA, homeownership will also come with monthly membership fees for this organization. In certain cases, the HOA fees could be listed in the loan estimate as well.

Purchasing a home can come with many hidden and potentially detrimental fees. Carefully consider these necessary expenses. Before you begin shopping for houses,  ensure your budget is sizable enough to cover all the mandatory costs.

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