When purchasing a home, when should I expect to be writing checks?

There are several stages in the home buying process where you will need to be writing checks. The first comes when you write an earnest money check. The second is when you hire inspectors to inspect a house. The third is the appraisal process. And the final is the down payment which is usually done at closing.

Earnest Money

The earnest money is a check that is written to show the seller that you have sincere interest in buying their home. It usually in the amount of 1-2% of the purchase price. This money will end up going towards your down payment or your closing costs.


After you have an accepted purchase agreement, you will have a period of time to perform any or all the inspections you would like to do (if your purchase is contingent on an inspection). Inspectors vary in price, but the general inspection runs $400-450, and sewer line inspections run about $175, radon about $175, chimney about $250. These are the basic inspections, and there are others. Each individual needs to be comfortable with what they are purchasing, so it's up to you to figure out how much you are comfortable spending.


Some lenders require appraisals to be paid up front, just after the inspection period. Others will wrap it into the closing costs. This runs about $450-500.

Closing costs / down payment

At the closing, you will need to bring a certified check for the closing costs. Closing costs is everything else that is required for closing a purchase which includes things like title Insurance, pro-rated taxes,

Additional Resources

Earnest Money

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