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Key takeaway

Budget for a few things that you’ll need to pay for between the time you place your offer on a home and your closing date. These things include the following: an earnest deposit, a home inspection, an appraisal, and homeowners insurance. Cost of these services may vary.

Making an offer on a home is an exciting part of the homebuying process. It means you’ve found a home that may fit your needs and budget. There are a few financial items you’ll want to prepare for as you make that offer that may help you in the long run.

1. When your offer is accepted: Make an earnest money deposit

When a seller accepts your offer, you’ll need to provide earnest money, which is a deposit you make that represents your intent to buy the home. Earnest money deposits are typically about 1% to 2% of the home’s sale price and are typically paid by personal check, certified check, or wire transfer. If the home sale is finalized, the earnest money typically can be applied to closing costs or the down payment. If you don’t end up purchasing the home for a permissible reason, you may be able to get this money back. If you decide not to purchase the home for a reason that’s not covered in the contract, you may have to forfeit this deposit.

2. As soon as the offer is accepted: Schedule a home inspection

An inspection reveals valuable information about your home’s condition and can help you spot issues that need to be fixed, from worn-out roofing to heating and air conditioning systems in need of replacement.

Based on the inspector’s report, you can decide to negotiate repairs into the contract with the home seller (meaning the seller agrees to make repairs or reduces the sale price to compensate), to make the repairs yourself, or to back out of the purchase of the home altogether if there are serious problems with the home.

Expect to pay between $300 and $500 for an inspection, depending on location and the size of the home.

3. After the inspection is done: Schedule an appraisal

An appraisal determines the property’s fair market value. Lenders require an appraisal to confirm the home is worth the amount you want to borrow. In most cases, the appraisal is delivered to the mortgage lender in about a week. It’s a cost you must pay up front before closing. Prices typically range from $300 to $400.

4. Before you go to closing: Secure homeowners insurance

Homeowners insurance rates vary by state and region. The average annual cost of homeowners insurance in the U.S. is about $950. Your lender will want to know that you have homeowners insurance secured before the closing, and you typically have the option to pay your first year’s premium prior to closing or to have it included in your mortgage.

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