How Much Should You Budget for Expenses After Closing?
Buying a house is a significant financial investment. After saving for a down payment and closing costs, you’ll also need to be ready for several other major expenditures once you’ve received the keys to your new home.
The cost of these expenses can vary dramatically, so it’s a good idea to plan and shop around. Here are a few things to consider and rough estimates.
Moving expenses vary widely, depending on how much stuff you have, how far you are moving, and how much you want to DIY. If you need to rent temporary storage during the process, be sure to include this in your budget.
To illustrate the broad range of potential costs, consider these estimates from MoveBuddha.com:
Professional Movers - If you hire the pros, moving the contents of a one-bedroom home less than 50 miles averages $300 to $650, whereas moving a 4–5 bedroom house over 2,500 miles can cost over $8,500.
Do-It-Yourself Move - The cost for a local moving truck runs between $30–$500. That cost is $200–$4,000 for longer distance one-way rentals. Be sure to calculate the price of gas, boxes, and packing material—all of which will be impacted by the number of things you are moving and their weight.
Budget Tip: Get estimates from three or more moving companies and comparison shop for the best deal. If you can plan your move for the middle of the week and in the middle of the month, prices should be lower since demand is higher for weekend moves and beginning- and end-of-the-month moves.
According to Move.org, the average cost for monthly services across all 50 states $398.24. That includes electricity, natural gas, water, cable, internet, trash, and recycling.
Of course, your actual monthly utility bills will depend on where you’re moving, the size of your home, the number of occupants, and whether you need each of these services.
Contact your service providers at least two weeks before your move-in date to get estimates, including any hook-up fees, and to provide deposits and run credit checks, if necessary.
Some of the items from your old home, like garbage cans and hampers, may not fit in the desired locations of your new home and will need to be replaced. The cost of various household items like new welcome mats, shower curtains, and lightbulbs can add up!
If you had hardwood floors in your old home, you might need to buy a different vacuum cleaner for the carpet in your new home.
Additionally, many people don’t bother moving items that they regularly replace, like brooms, mops, or open cleaning supplies.
Budget Tip: Moving is a great time to simplify your inventory of cleaning supplies and tools. Try to buy what you need, as you need it, instead of stockpiling items. For example, you may not need a broom if your vacuum has a setting or attachment for hardwood floors.
Curtains, blinds, shades, and shutters provide privacy and can reduce your heating and cooling bills. But if your new home doesn’t already have window treatments (or they don’t match your style), you’ll need to budget for replacements.
According to HomeAdvisor.com, the national average cost of window treatments is $557, typically ranging between $115 and $1,028. Prices vary depending on the size of the windows, the quality of the materials, and whether you need or want professional installation.
Budget Tip: There are many ways to save money on window coverings. You may be able to skip window treatments in some rooms, so the expense doesn’t hit all at once. Begin with bathrooms and bedrooms for privacy, and work on adding window treatments to the living areas as your budget allows.
In general, it’s best to reduce the amount of food stored in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before your move, which will reduce the cost of moving these items.
Plus, if you can eat more meals at home before you move (instead of eating out), the money saved can go toward restocking your kitchen after the move.
You can restock a little each week, but beware of the downside of eating out because you don’t have a fully functioning kitchen. It’s tempting to eat out while unpacking and getting things settled, but the cost adds up quickly.
Budget Tip: Make a list of the items you need to restock, in priority order, and assign an extra $20–30 dollars per grocery trip to purchase them. This can help prevent a big hit to your wallet as soon as you move in.
Other Major Expenses
According to a report by the National Association of Home Builders, homebuyers face three significant types of expenses during their first year of ownership totaling $10,000 to $12,000, including:
Appliances - On average, homebuyers spend between $2,008 and $3,037 on appliances in the first year of ownership, with higher amounts for those purchasing new construction versus previously-owned homes.
Furnishings - Buyers of newly constructed homes also tend to spend more on furniture ($4,245) in the first year compared to buyers of existing homes ($2,811).
Property Repairs and Alterations – In this case, existing home buyers are more likely to spend more in the first year ($6,103) versus new home buyers ($4,740).
Budget Tip: Don’t feel pressured to make big purchases or renovations as soon as you move. Often, living in a space for a while helps prevent costly mistakes. Also, consider purchasing gently used appliances and furniture.