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First-Time Home Buyers: Closing Costs 101 (Part 3 of 3)

Over the last two weeks, we've been looking at the various closing costs that first-time home buyers face in addition to the down payment. Part 1 discussed mandatory costs. Part 2 outlined costs that are not legislated, but practically unavoidable. This week, we conclude our series with costs that lie mostly within the control of the buyer.

  • Home Inspection - Getting one isn't required by law, nor is it an ironclad guarantee against problems. But for a few hundred dollars, a home inspection is a reasonable hedge against the risk of hidden problems surfacing later in a property's major systems, such as plumbing and electrical. Just be sure to hire a qualified professional to do the job.
  • Moving Costs - Buyers who travel light and have a network of hefty friends might easily haul their belongings into a new home at little more than the cost of a thank-you pizza and beer. Those with more worldly goods often need to factor in the cost of hiring professional movers or the cost of a rental truck. If there's time in between leaving the old home and occupying the new one, temporary storage may be an added expense.
  • Utilities - Once the seller has vacated, the new owner may be charged fees to hook up gas, water, hydro or telecom.
  • Renovations - If the home is a fixer-upper, it may need some major work before it's fully functional or up to personal standards. On top of materials and labour, reno projects often require budgeting for take-out meals and overnight stays during the time that the home may be uninhabitable.
  • Upgrades And Deco - This is the fun stuff where an owner can spruce up the new home with new appliances, updated furniture, and the latest in wall and window treatments, colours and decor items.

Being a new home owner is exciting stuff, but as our last three posts have shown, a down payment is only the start. Factor in your closing costs, have an organized plan of action, get help to put all legal details in order and enjoy the rite of passage into the homeowners club.

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