Are you looking to buy a home in Sebring, Lake Placid or Avon Park, keep in mind there are more expenses involved in home buying than just the cost of the home. And those additional costs, if you don’t factor them in, can be high enough to derail your purchase. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Buying Costs

You’ve got your mortgage pre-approved, and now you are ready to calculate all the services that need paying:

  • Your buyer’s agent fee (Negotiate for seller to pay closing costs)
  • An appraisal to confirm a reasonable market price for the property (Required by bank if financing)
  • Inspections of structural, mechanical, pest or other potential issues (A bad inspection can give you a chance to buy the home for less)
  • A real estate attorney to review all contracts (depending on the state, optional)

Property taxes vary widely, up to 4.2% of a home’s value in some states, according to a CNN map published in 2013. Depending on when you buy, you may owe the previous owners for property taxes they have already paid (This can be part of the closing cost pro rated). You may also need to pay fees to a local association, such as a condo homeowner’s association. Your buyer’s agent should be able to give you all this information on the property you select.

Moving Costs

Moving into a home can involve major expenses for packing, storing and transporting your possessions and yourself. If you are moving across the country, the costs could be significant. Even moving across town can cost more than you planned for truck rental, movers and equipment.


Setting up your telephone, electricity, gas and water—did you budget for these deposit expenses? They could cost more at your new place, especially if you’re moving to a larger home or from a rental.

New Stuff

You may need to purchase appliances or furniture for your new home. Some items, like your old particle board bookshelves, may not be worth the cost of moving. Again, if you are sizing up, you face the potentially fun, but possibly financially draining, challenge of filling the new place.

Maintenance and Renovations

Trees fall on roofs. Gutters need cleaning. Driveways need repair…. A standard rule of thumb is to budget at least 1% of your home’s purchase price each year for home maintenance costs. Maintenance can include things such as painting, replacing roof shingles, fixing or upgrading plumbing and wiring. The amount you will need to pay for maintenance can depend on the age of the home, the previous owners’ upkeep and the climate.

Homeowner’s Insurance

You won’t be able to obtain a mortgage without homeowner’s insurance covering both the property and its contents. However, the standard insurance may not cover natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. Depending on where you live, you may want to consider additional insurance to cover such risks. Highlands County has some of the lowest rates in the country making Sebring Homes ideal for retirement folks on a fixed income.

Private Mortgage Insurance and Title Insurance

If the down payment on your home was less than 20% of the purchase price, you will have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects your lender in case you default. It’s standard, and fees vary. The rules are complicated, but usually once you have paid down the mortgage so you owe less than 78% of the purchase price, you can drop the PMI payments.

Title insurance offers protection for you (and your lender) if you later discover that someone else could lay claim to the title, and therefore ownership, of the house.

For more information or to search for a property in Highlands county direct from the MLS, find a foreclosure or a lakefront home or a private gated community go to or call Cheryl Oxsalida of Heartland Real Estate at 863-214-3663.