Will you be able to comfortably keep up with your mortgage in the first few months after purchase? Some lenders require additional cash reserves to prove that you're able to make payments, Derus says. But even if it's not required, it's smart to know that you're set.
"What's to say that a week after closing, the company you work for goes bankrupt and you lose your job, or something like that?" Derus says. "You want to make sure that you have additional money set aside, just in case something happens."
You should include taxes and insurance payments in this category as well.
Repairs and maintenance
Chances are, your house won't be perfect on move-in day. Whether it's adding a fence or getting rid of that garish yellow paint in the living room, you'll want to have cash ready for repairs and maintenance.
Going forward, homeowners should expect to pay 10-to-20 percent of the price of the home each year, according to Derus. That covers expected costs, such as mortgage payments, insurance, utility bills and taxes, and also maintenance costs.
Plan to have a savings cushion for irregular expenses, too, such as replacing a leaky roof or installing a security system.
Buying a home typically signifies that you've reached a major savings goal, so it's normal to see your accounts drain. But you should still have a separate emergency fund stocked with three to six months' worth of living expenses.
If closing on your house means emptying out your entire savings account, you might want to rethink whether you can truly afford a home right now.