Understanding and planning for the costs of owning a home can be a challenge. We’re here to help. We’ll walk you through steps you can take and the information you need to be a cost-conscious homebuyer. We can also connect you to a housing counselor who can guide you through the process.

Making sense of the full cost of homeownership

New homebuyers should determine how much savings they can dedicate to upfront costs — this can include a down payment, closing costs, urgent repair needs, and moving expenses. If you don’t have adequate savings yet, make a goal and a plan to reach it. You can use information in this guide and our affordability calculator to determine how much savings you may need depending on the property you buy. You can also use our savings goal worksheet to make a plan to achieve your savings goal.

Prospective buyers should also determine how much they can spend on a monthly basis to cover ongoing costs, such as mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, condo or coop fees, and repair or maintenance costs. We recommend a payment that is comfortable, and wouldn’t be a stretch during months that your income may dip or when other expenses may be high. You can use our income and expenses tool to determine how much you can spend on ongoing costs each month. See the repair section for guidance on anticipating and planning for repair costs.

Determining your home purchase price sweet spot

Once you know how much you can contribute to upfront costs and how much you can afford for monthly housing payments, use our affordability calculator to determine the purchase price for your budget and preferred housing type. You can also use the calculator to figure out the down payment and monthly payment costs required for homes at different purchase prices.

If you need to work on improving your credit score and need to save substantially over time for a down payment, you can work with a financial counselor to figure out the best way to achieve these goals. You can get help finding one from our Homeowner Hub.