States With the Steepest ‘Hidden Fees’ for Home Buyers

Make sure your home shoppers don’t get blindsided by the extra costs of homeownership.
Woman reviewing contract looking concerned

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The down payment is only one cost of homeownership, but amid rising home insurance costs and property taxes, buyers may need to set aside much more to afford homeownership—particularly in certain states. Frontdoor, a home repair and maintenance app, ranked U.S. states based on where home buyers pay the highest “hidden fees” in real estate transactions.

These “hidden fees” consisted of the 20 most common additional charges that home buyers encounter, like mortgage origination charges, owner title insurance, appraisal fees, a home inspection, prepaids, initial escrow payments, taxes, insurance, lawyer fees and more. “These fees vary around the U.S. depending on local laws and customs and also in proportion to average property prices,” the study’s researchers note. But knowing about the costs upfront can help buyers better prepare for homeownership.

The study finds that Hawaii home buyers tend to pay the most, an average of nearly $18,000, in unexpected fees. But the study finds that when factoring the fees as a percentage of the total property price, buyers in Hawaii pay the ninth cheapest, at 2.16% of the total price. Delaware then has the highest percentage in the U.S., at 3.75%.

On the other hand, West Virginia and Arkansas home buyers tend to pay the least in “hidden fees” in a real estate transaction, the study finds. Home buyers paid an average of about $5,000 on a median-priced home in both states—the smallest amounts in unexpected fees in the U.S. But it’s Colorado that offers the cheapest home buyer fees based on percentages, at an average of 1.95% of the average local property price.

The Top 10 States With the Highest Fees

The following are the 10 states that pay the highest “hidden fees,” according to Frontdoor:

  • Hawaii: $17,966
  • California: $14,964
  • Maryland: $14,614
  • Delaware: $13,935
  • Vermont: $13,720
  • New Hampshire: $13,481
  • Massachusetts: $12,536
  • New Jersey: $12,363
  • New York: $12,304
  • Washington: $11,401
Unexpected costs of purchasing a property organized by state