5 things that surprise first-time homebuyers


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The path to homeownership goes more smoothly when you know what to expect.

Buying your first home means learning a lot. Sometimes, the lessons take homebuyers by surprise. Here are five things to help you be better prepared.

The price of the home is more than the contract price

Closing costs that may tally 2-5% of the purchase price are the buyer’s responsibility. Other things like improvements that need to be made before moving will impact your budget. Learn more about what a new home really costs. 

Upkeep is a continual process
As a renter, you didn’t have to be mindful of all the things the property owners looked after. Routine things like lawncare, trash removal, exterior cleaning and snowplowing are things you now need to do or hire out.

Your emergency fund may get tapped more often

Eventually, big-ticket items like appliances and roofs fail. Repairs and replacements are much easier to manage when you have a healthy balance in your emergency fund. Just remember to replenish the fund as soon as possible whenever you have to tap it.

Buying new doesn’t mean you get a perfect home

A new home is no guarantee that everything is built perfectly or systems won’t fail; that’s why builders offer warranties.

If you’re having a house built, inspect the home several times as work progresses. Some defects will only be visible before the finishes are put in. If you don’t know what to look for, enlist a knowledgeable friend or hire an inspector.

HOAs can ask for more

In general, homeowners association (HOA) dues are predictable. In some cases, the governing documents even limit increases to a percentage or dollar amount. However, if dues do not keep up with planned expenses, or the HOA faces a large unexpected cost, the HOA can levy an assessment which members are required to pay.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, we’re here to help! Our mortgage loan officers can answer your questions and help along every step of the way—from application to closing paperwork.

Consumers helps more than 2,000 members finance land, first and second homes, and home improvement projects each year. We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit; contact us online or call us at 800-991-2221.

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Consumers home loans

We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit.

Learn more

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