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The Costs Associated With a New Home Surprise Buyers

New Homeowners Pay $40,000 on Average to Buy and Move into a New Home

The one-time costs of moving into a new home add up quickly and can come as a surprise to first-time buyers.

Buying a home is one of the most expensive transactions someone will ever make, and home shoppers can expect to spend $40,000 on average in one-time fees on the typical U.S. home, according to a new analysis from RealEstate.com, a Zillow® Group brand, and Thumbtack.

For first-time buyers, understanding their home-buying budget can be a stressful process. It can be easy to focus on the listed price or monthly mortgage payments for a home, but there are several one-off costs that buyers also should be aware of. In addition to budgeting for the down payment, buyers should be prepared to pay for closing costs and move-in projects before they settle into a new home.

new home

RealEstate.com and Thumbtack partnered to help homebuyers understand how much it costs to not only buy a house, but also to tackle those projects that make the house their home.

The down payment is the largest single cost that buyers will face during the purchase process. The typical first-time buyer puts down 15 percent as a down payment, according to the Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends 2018. That would be $32,700 for the typical U.S. home, worth $218,000 in July.

Closing costs add thousands more to the total amount buyers should be prepared to pay. These costs frequently include the origination fee, appraisal, transfer taxes, the first year of homeowners insurance, title insurance, and more. These add about $6,250 to buyers’ expenses on the home purchase for the median home.

Preparing and moving into a new home can also be pricey for the new owners. Thumbtack data show that these projects – eight hours of local moving, installing new locks, mounting a TV and full interior and yard cleaning – cost $1,130 on average.

The one-time costs associated with buying a new home are highest in the San Francisco Bay Area, in large part due to the high overall costs of homes and labor there. It would cost buyers in San Jose nearly $203,000on average in one-time payments alone, which is more than the median home value in 11 major markets.

“Buying a home, especially for the first time, is an exciting but stressful experience,” said Justin LaJoie, RealEstate.com General Manager. “Some of that stress can be eased by making sure you know all of the costs that come with buying and owning a home, so you can budget appropriately and not get caught off guard well into the buying process.”

“It’s imperative first-time homebuyers do their research around unexpected homeownership costs, including projects that help them prepare for the big move,” said Thumbtack Lead Economist Lucas Puente. “While there may be some initial sticker shock, these projects can help get a house move-in ready.”

After buying a home, homeowners can pay thousands in recurring annual costs on top of their monthly mortgage payments. To help buyers better understand the overall costs of owning a home, the RealEstate.com All-In Monthly Price search includes mortgage payments, property taxes and utility costs.  Similarly, Thumbtack offers a series of interactive price calculators that homebuyers can use to estimate the approximate costs of different projects involved with the moving process in their area.

Metropolitan Area Median Home
Value (July 2018)
15% Down
Total Closing
Total Average
Costs of
Total Average
Costs of Buying
a Home
United States $218,000 $32,700 $6,246 $1,134 $40,080
New York, NY $429,700 $64,455 $11,232 $1,160 $76,847
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $643,300 $96,495 $7,674 $1,090 $105,259
Chicago, IL $219,800 $32,970 $7,322 $1,170 $41,462
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX $231,100 $34,665 $6,352 $1,040 $42,057
Philadelphia, PA $228,400 $34,260 $6,701 $1,130 $42,091
Houston, TX $199,300 $29,895 $6,352 $1,100 $37,347
Washington, DC $397,500 $59,625 $8,201 $1,120 $68,946
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL $275,700 $41,355 $7,398 $1,100 $49,853
Atlanta, GA $206,300 $30,945 $4,877 $1,280 $37,102
Boston, MA $456,400 $68,460 $8,410 $1,220 $78,090
San Francisco, CA $954,100 $143,115 $7,674 $1,270 $152,059
Detroit, MI $156,100 $23,415 $4,366 $1,140 $28,921
Riverside, CA $358,600 $53,790 $7,674 $1,160 $62,624
Phoenix, AZ $256,000 $38,400 $4,849 $1,020 $44,269
Seattle, WA $487,600 $73,140 $5,741 $1,210 $80,091
Minneapolis-St Paul, MN $261,300 $39,195 $5,271 $1,320 $45,786
San Diego, CA $584,100 $87,615 $7,674 $1,150 $96,439
St. Louis, MO $161,800 $24,270 $5,705 $1,110 $31,085
Tampa, FL $205,900 $30,885 $7,398 $1,080 $39,363
Baltimore, MD $264,700 $39,705 $8,196 $1,140 $49,041
Denver, CO $397,800 $59,670 $5,962 $1,080 $66,712
Portland, OR $391,800 $58,770 $5,403 $1,310 $65,483
Charlotte, NC $196,800 $29,520 $4,411 $1,220 $35,151
Sacramento, CA $400,800 $60,120 $7,674 $1,260 $69,054
San Antonio, TX $185,900 $27,885 $6,352 $1,090 $35,327
Orlando, FL $228,700 $34,305 $7,398 $1,000 $42,703
Cincinnati, OH $162,000 $24,300 $4,259 $1,130 $29,689
Cleveland, OH $141,500 $21,225 $4,286 $1,130 $26,641
Kansas City, MO $182,600 $27,390 $5,012 $1,110 $33,512
Las Vegas, NV $266,200 $39,930 $5,559 $890 $46,379
Columbus, OH $182,600 $27,390 $4,286 $1,060 $32,736
San Jose, CA $1,292,600 $193,890 $7,674 $1,270 $202,834
Austin, TX $298,000 $44,700 $6,352 $1,090 $52,142

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