What Does It Really Cost to Buy a House?

by Rick Sprince 02/13/2020

The cost of buying a house extends beyond a seller's initial asking price. In fact, there are many "hidden" costs that buyers need to consider as they decide whether to purchase a house, such as:

1. Closing Costs

There are various closing costs that a buyer may encounter before he or she finalizes a house purchase, including survey, appraisal and wire transfer fees. As such, it generally is a good idea to prepare for these costs prior to launching a house search. Because if you prepare for closing costs, you can ensure that you have the finances available to cover these expenses when you are ready to complete a house purchase.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions prior to starting a home search. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and teach you about home closing costs. Best of all, after you get a mortgage, you can start your home search with the financing you need to secure your ideal residence.

2. Property Taxes

Property taxes usually are assessed twice a year, and they vary based on state and county. However, if you learn about property taxes, you can map out your homebuying budget accordingly.

Real estate property tax information is part of the public record. Thus, you can access information about property taxes related to a particular home before you purchase it. And once you have this information at your disposal, you can use it to determine whether to move forward with a house purchase or continue your search for your dream home.

3. Utilities

Utility bills vary based on the size of a home, its location and other factors. If you devote time and resources to estimate your utility expenses, you may be better equipped than ever before to make an informed home purchase.

To assess your potential utility costs, you may want to consult with a seller's agent. This professional may be able to provide you with insights into the current homeowner's utility expenses to help you budget appropriately.

It never hurts to hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the homebuying journey, too. A real estate agent can offer expert insights into closing costs, property taxes and other homebuying fees, as well as help you quickly discover your dream residence.

Let's not forget about the comprehensive homebuying guidance that a real estate agent can provide, either. For instance, if you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and tips to help you make the best-possible decision. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

For those who want to buy a house, it helps to learn about all of the potential costs associated with a home purchase. If you start budgeting for a home purchase today, you could accelerate your quest to find and buy your ideal residence.

About the Author

Rick Sprince


As a Southport, NC neighbor since 2006 and a long time real estate broker, I am pleased to share some personal thoughts with you.  

As the son of a Naval Academy graduate, I lived in a number of states from California to Massachusetts before settling in the Washington, DC area. After graduating from Virginia Tech, I had a career in sales that ultimately focused on satellite sales with companies including Comsat, Lockheed Martin, Intelsat and British Telecom.  This afforded me the opportunity to travel to allover the US, Europe, South Africa and South America.  While traveling home from a family reunion in South Carolina, my wife and I stopped in Southport to check out the area.  We fell in love with it so much so that we purchased our home during that visit.   Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina and my love of golf, sailing and the ocean made it the perfect place to relocate.  

After purchasing our home, I initially obtained both my NC Appraiser's license and real estate license but ultimately decided to focus on real estate because I love working with people.   Finding one's ideal property can be a challenging process that includes geographic preferences, business and pleasure requirements as well as individual and family life priorities. My focus is on understanding your unique set of circumstances so that I can advise you and your friends on the properties that best meet your goals. Selling and buying are two different processes but successful outcomes for both require good communication and negotiation skills. Any real estate transaction can be very stressful which is why my clients appreciate that I am patient, genuine and committed to their success.  If you are thinking of selling your home, have friends or family who may be interested in this area, or if you are just curious about the current market, I would love to talk to you.  

I encourage you to read my customer reviews on Zillow to get an idea of how hard I will work for you, your family and your friends.  http://www.zillow.com/profile/ricksprince/#reviews