FTHBs Should Consider These Unexpected Expenses: The Budget Checklist

[This 5-part series features a deep dive into each of Enact’s FTHB Kit topics. We will also go in-depth into other relevant topics on first-time homebuyers like questions to ask a real estate agent, understanding credit, using a house hunting checklist, and more.]

No matter how much you may advise borrowers to set aside a budget to cover the costs costs of homeownership post-close, nothing can prepare them fully.  That’s why we’ve created a “Budget Checklist” to help your potential FTHBs have a leg up on the unpredictability of the costs of homeownership. The checklist automatically calculates the difference between the “Monthly Budget Amount” and the “Monthly Actual Amount” based on the values they input so homeowners can better stay on track — even after they close.

Help your FTHBs to consider the many elements we’re listing on this interactive budget worksheet to help reduce their budget anxieties.

We’ve outlined some main categories of income + expenses for FTHBs to consider when buying a home:

Be sure to download the “Budget Checklist” and follow along below.


Here are the three main categories FTHBs should consider when thinking about the money that is coming in – and yes, other income counts!

  • Salary/Wages (after taxes)
  • Alimony, Child Support, VA Benefits
  • Other Income

Total monthly income is calculated here based on the total monthly budget amount and total monthly actual amount for this section.



Expenses are calculated based on the following categories, and known examples of each type are provided within each section. This is not an exhaustive list of possible expenses that a FTHB may face, but this is a great start to helping your borrowers consider their various expenses.


    • Current Rent
    • Current Renters Insurance
    • Electricity/Gas/Oil
    • Water/Sewer/Garbage
    • Cable/Internet
    • Telephone (Land Line, Cell)

Savings & Investments

    • Savings + Investments


    • Groceries
    • Dining Out

Family Obligations

    • Childcare
    • Child Support/Alimony

Heath & Medical

    • Insurance (medical, life, long term care)
    • Unreimbursed Medical Expenses, Copays


    • Gas/Maintenance/Repairs/Insurance
    • Other Transportation

Debt Payments

    • Credit Cards
    • Student Loans
    • Car Loan
    • Other Loans

Other Expenses

    • Clothing
    • Church/Charity
    • Education
    • Hobbies/Subscriptions/Dues
    • Recreation/Vacation/Entertainment
    • Pets

Total monthly expenses is determined based on the total monthly budget amount and total monthly actual amount for this portion of the worksheet.


Once all the income and expenses sections are filled out, the number at the bottom right of the worksheet is displayed with either the Savings or the Shortage that is calculated. Your prospective customers will have more clarity regarding whether they’re on track with their budget or if they will have to work on tactics to save more effectively in the future. Budgeting is likely not fun or easy for most people buying a home for the first time, but it’s an important piece to consider to make this process more affordable and less stressful.

Your customers can ultimately benefit the most from being as proactive as possible for the expenses they might not think they’d need to worry about. Also, people don’t budget for unexpected damages during the move, small renovations (like door handles or light fixtures) that will add up quickly, a gutter getting damaged shortly after moving in, etc. Their laundry list will only continue to grow after they move in, so prioritizing those items when the time comes can more easily be aided by proper and forward-thinking budgeting.

Download our “Budget Worksheet” below – it’s a great resource to share with your borrowers and can help you supplement any of the resources you may already have. Now available in Spanish!

Enact's First-Time Homebuyer Budget Worksheet


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