How Much Does It Cost to Buy a House?

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By Clever Real Estate Updated April 11, 2024


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The cost to buy a typically priced house in the U.S. ranges from $28,053 to $99,099, depending on down payment size and location.

That said, home-buying expenses vary a lot depending on the price and condition of the home. You also have to consider any improvements you'll want to do to the home after closing. And don't forget there are ongoing homeownership expenses as well.

While there are some costs you can't avoid, the good news is that Clever Real Estate can help offset a portion of what it costs to buy a house. After closing, eligible home buyers could get Clever Cash Back.

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How much money do I need to buy a house?

To give you an idea of how much you need to save, the chart below shows estimates of all the fees associated with buying a median-priced home.

Ultimately, if you're wondering how much you should save before buying a house, it depends largely on the purchase price and the size of your down payment.

For example, if you're putting the traditional 20% down, you'll need to have around $99,099 of the sale price saved up, but with 3.5% down, you'd need $28,053.

Cost to buy a house calculator

To figure out how much it will cost for you to buy your house, use our calculator below.

We pre-filled average costs of each item based on a median-priced home. For any item you aren't sure about for your specific home, these averages will give you an idea of what you might pay.

» MORE: Step-by-step guide of how to buy a house

Upfront costs to buy a house

Earnest money

Buyers generally include an earnest money deposit as part of their offer on a home. This is voluntary but it shows the seller you're serious about buying their property. Typically, buyers offer 1-3% of the home price as earnest money.

The money will be held in an escrow account and is applied toward your closing costs when the sale is closed. If the sale falls through for reasons that aren't your fault, the earnest money will be returned to you.

Think of it like a security deposit. It's money you'll have to come up with, but it's not necessarily an expense because it gets applied to the other expenses mentioned above.

Down payment

The average down payment on a house is 12%.[1] For a $354,179 home — which is the national median value — that comes to $42,501. In most cases, the down payment is the largest expense when buying a home.

Down payments are the initial payments made toward a home that establish your stake in the house — also known as equity. They reduce the amount of your home mortgage loan and protect your lender from losing money if you default.

The size of a down payment can vary quite a bit depending on the buyer and their lender, if they use one.

Here's a look at some of the most common down payment amounts on a range of home prices:

Home price 3.5% down payment 10% down payment 20% down payment
$100,000 $3,500 $10,000 $20,000
$250,000 $8,750 $25,000 $50,000
$500,000 $17,500 $50,000 $100,000
$750,000 $26,250 $75,000 $150,000
Show more

Traditionally, a 20% down payment was the standard amount required by lenders for a conventional loan. However, now lenders may let you pay as little as 3% down.

If you're looking for a low down payment option, consider government-backed loans as well. First-time home buyer loans through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have a minimum down payment of just 3.5%, and Veterans Affairs (VA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans have 0% down payment options.

What's the catch? Well, you may have higher interest rates — which would increase your long-term costs — and there may be additional fees associated with the loan. There may also be more restrictive eligibility requirements.

Reserve funds

Lenders generally require 2–3 months' reserves to close on a home. This means you have enough money in the bank after closing to pay for your bills, including your new mortgage, for 2–3 months.

This isn't technically an expense, because you don't have to spend the money, but it is something you'll need to account for when financially planning to buy a home.

✍ Editor's note

Sometimes lenders will consider cash equivalent funds that aren't in a checking account when verifying that you have the necessary reserves to afford a house. These could include investment accounts, CDs, money markets, or savings accounts.

We encourage you to proceed with caution if you count investment accounts as reserve funds. The lender may think this money is there for emergencies, but you probably want that money to stay put rather than use it for a mortgage payment.

Try to have enough emergency funds to cover a few months of bills in a savings or checking account when you buy your house.

Closing costs

Closing costs are the fees required to complete the sale of a home. The average home buyer pays $6,616 — or 1.87% of the sale price — in closing costs.

The title company in charge of your closing paperwork will provide a breakdown of all the costs and credits that go into your home purchase. These fees are notoriously difficult to figure out, so it's important to know what to expect.

Here are some estimates of common closing costs you can expect to pay for a median-priced home.

» LEARN: The different types of buyer closing costs

Many of these closing costs are relatively small expenses — usually in the low hundreds. Still, don't forget you can negotiate for the seller to contribute to your closing costs. This tactic might not work in hot seller's markets, but in softer markets, sellers will be more motivated to work with you.

The amount sellers can contribute depends on the terms of your financing.

Below are the seller contribution limits toward closing costs (also called concessions).

With so many expenses involved in closing on a home, having a great agent that can help you negotiate is the best way to save money.

Contact us at Clever for top agent recommendations.


The average home inspection costs about $249, and you pay it when the work is completed. When you get an inspection, a certified inspector will check the home for major issues like a cracked foundation or a leaky roof.

To make sure you're protected if the inspector finds issues, we recommend all home buyers include a home inspection contingency in their purchase offers.

If you have an inspection contingency, depending on what the inspector finds, you can ask the seller to lower the sale price or fix the damage before closing. If they won't agree to new terms or cover the repairs, you can walk away from the sale without penalty.


An appraisal is performed by a qualified professional who looks at your house to take notes on square footage, number of rooms and bathrooms, and amenities. Then, they compare your home with recently sold homes in your area of comparable size and condition to estimate your home's worth.

A home appraisal usually costs around $233. Your lender orders it to make sure your home is worth the amount of your loan.

We recommend including an appraisal contingency in your offer as well. It'll protect you in case the appraisal amount comes in lower than your offer.

With a contingency, if the appraisal is low, you can renegotiate the sale or back out of the deal completely. Without the contingency, you might be on the hook for the difference or lose your earnest money deposit if you walk away.


Moving won't take place until after closing, so it's not technically a house-buying expense — but it's still something you need to plan for.

The cost to move depends on if you hire professional movers, how much stuff you have, and how far you have to go. That said, the average home buyer spends $1,250 to move locally or $4,890 to move 1,000 miles or more.[2]

Don't forget you may have to pay for storage costs if there's a gap between when you move out of your old home and into your new one.


Furnishing your new home isn't a required expense, and it isn't urgent — but for many people, buying a home means buying new things to fill it with.

Home buyers could spend thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars furnishing their new home — or they could spend nothing at all. The amount you spend furnishing a home varies widely depending on your taste and how much you buy for your new home.

If you're refurnishing entire areas of the house, you might find deals online through popular retailers like Modern Bathroom or Whirlpool. For example, Whirlpool offers a 10% discount on the purchase of two or more appliances.

Ongoing costs of homeownership

After you buy your home, the one-time expenses are over, but the regular costs of owning a home have just begun.

The average homeowner spends between $1,423 and $1,790 on monthly house expenses. This varies a lot depending on the size, sale price, location, and condition of your home.

Here's a breakdown of the common expenses you should budget for with homeownership:

Some homes belong to a homeowner's association, or HOA, which charge a monthly fee as well. The national average for HOA fees is $250 per month, but there are many homes where this doesn't apply.

If your down payment is less than 20%, your lender might also require you to pay for Private mortgage insurance (PMI). This will be added to your monthly mortgage payment and typically costs $154 to $522 per month.

» MORE: The true cost of home ownership

Cost of building a house vs. buying

When buyers realize how much it costs to buy a house, they may wonder if it makes more sense to build a house. There are some reasons why the answer may be no. For example, building a house generally costs more than buying a house that is comparable in size, location, and quality.

Also, loans for building a house — also known as construction loans — are a bit more strict since there is no collateral to back the loan until the house is built. They may also require larger down payments.

That said, new homes require no immediate repairs or replacements and maximize the time until something needs to be repaired. New homes are also customized to your preferences, so the decision really depends on what's important to you.

» MORE: 5 things to know about building a house while selling yours

How to save money when buying a house

If you want to save money when buying a house, you need to decide if you're more concerned with one-time, upfront costs or with long-term, recurring costs.

Get a home buyer rebate

Our top recommendation for saving money on the purchase of your home is to work with Clever Real Estate. You may be eligible for hundreds of dollars when you close through our Clever Cash Back program.

Similarly, some buyer's agents or brokerages offer home buyer rebate after your sale closes, so while you can't use it on closing costs, you can put it toward your ongoing homeownership costs.

Find your agent through Clever, qualify for cash back!

Clever matches you with top local agents so you can compare options and choose the best fit. And eligible buyers can get cash back after closing.

Fill out the form below and get started now. Clever's service is 100% free with no obligation.

Participate in special home buyer programs

A good way to save money up front is to research home buyer programs in your state.

Many states have programs for low-income borrowers, first-time home buyers, veterans, people with disabilities, or in service professions. Participating in these programs may get you a lower interest rate, a down payment grant, or allow for a lower down payment.

» MORE: First-time home buyer programs everyone should know about

Get better financing for your loan

Your mortgage is the major recurring cost that determines how expensive it is to own your home. Shopping around for lenders who offer great rates and low closing fees is a good way to save money, both up front and in the long term.

You should also try to boost your credit score as much as possible before applying for a loan. You can do this by paying off debts, checking for outstanding issues on your credit report, and increasing your available credit.

Increasing your credit score can help you get a lower interest rate on your home loan, saving you hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands on payments over the life of the loan.

You can also lower your interest rate by paying for discount points during closing. This will cost you more money up front but could save you money in the long run by getting you a lower interest rate.

Are discount points a good idea?

Paying for discount points involves paying more cash at closing in exchange for a lower interest rate on your loan. To decide if this is right for you, ask your lender for estimates on how much you would save on interest payments and how much the points cost.

If you divide the amount you spent on points by the monthly interest savings, it will tell you how long this takes to pay off. For example, if you save $50 per month on interest and the points cost $1,500, it will take 30 months to break even. If you plan to live there longer than 30 months, this is a good idea.

⚠️ BEWARE: Lenders will often tell you how much your total payment decreases by paying points, but that includes a lower interest payment AND a lower principle payment. Be sure to find out how much you save on interest alone, since that is the only money you actually save by paying points.

Use no-closing cost financing

"No-closing cost financing" is actually a misleading term. Sometimes lenders will allow you to lump the closing costs into the balance of the loan, meaning that you end up paying for these over the life of the loan rather than all at once up front.

This could end up costing you more money in the long run, but it could be an option for bringing down the up-=front cost of buying a house — this is most important for buyers who are a little tight on funds to get started.

Buy a turnkey house

The term turnkey basically means a house is ready to go "as is" and doesn't need any work. This is an underappreciated way to save, because people don't often account for the money they spend on improvements shortly after closing on a house.

» MORE: What is a turnkey home?

Painting a new color, replacing floors, and doing some landscaping are all wonderful ways to make a home your own, but they also cost money. Buying a home that doesn't require much work will keep your immediate costs down and potentially save you money down the road.

If you want to do some work to the house, you can also save money by shopping around for top local professionals. HomeAdvisor lets you compare rates from contractors in your area so you can find someone that fits your budget.

Work with a top agent

Working with someone who has local expertise and knows how to negotiate the best deal possible for you is another great way to avoid spending more than necessary.

Clever connects you with agents that know the areas you’re interested in and can provide hyper-local insights. We can help you get a competitive edge in a tight market, negotiate on your behalf to reduce closing costs, and even help you earn cash back after closing. Find a Clever agent today!


How much does it cost to buy a house?

Home buyers should expect to spend between $28,053 and $99,099 to buy an average house in the U.S. The range varies drastically depending on the size of your down payment and your purchase price. Use a home buyer calculator to get more precise estimates for your own home purchase.

Is it cheaper to buy a house or build one?

Generally speaking, it is cheaper to buy a house than to build one — at least as far as the sale price is concerned. Construction loans for newly built homes usually require down payments in the 20-30% range, so it may be closer to the cost of buying if you intend to put more toward a larger down payment.

What is the monthly cost of owning a home?

The average cost to own a home is between $1,423 and $1,790 per month, though this varies widely depending on the size and location of your house. Since your mortgage is likely to be your largest monthly expense, it is also very important what your loan balance and interest rate are.

Article Sources

[1] – "Average down payment for a home". Updated April 26, 2022. Accessed Sept 12, 2022.
[2] Moving Cost Calculator – "Moving Cost Calculator for Moving Estimates". Accessed Sept 12, 2022.

Authors & Editorial History

Our experts continually research, evaluate, and monitor real estate companies and industry trends. We update our articles when new information becomes available.

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