WHAT ARE CLOSING COSTS?
Many people, particularly first-time home buyers, are unclear about what closing costs are. This is not surprising, as this is a topic that can be confusing and can vary from transaction to transaction. In this article, we will attempt to bring some clarity to the matter and give some tips for how you can try to keep these costs in check.
Please keep in mind that these are guidelines and closing costs and amounts are not the same for everyone. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please reach out to us and we’d be happy to help you.
WHAT ARE THEY?
Simply put, closing costs are the expenses you incur upon finalizing a real estate transaction, such as the purchase of a condo, for example. These costs may be footed by either the condo buyer or the seller when the title or lease trades hands. Closing costs are in no way fixed or absolute. In most cases, they are determined by the following underlying factors of the property being sold:
- Property’s location
- Home loan issued
- Type of property purchased
WHAT CAN CLOSING COSTS INCLUDE?
- Appraisal fee: Money paid for the lender to order an assessment of the fair market value of the home in question, which is done by an unbiased licensed professional
- Mortgage application fee: This amount varies by lender and it is the fee they charge to start the application process with you
- Escrow fee or closing fee: Paid to the title-holding company or it can be deposited directly to the property’s escrow account
- Home Owners Association fees: Paid by the seller upon successful transfer of the property. The buyer receives documents indicating the financial statements of the property
- Owner’s policy title fees: These are funds set aside to cater to the legal costs arising from the property being disputed or contested in the future
Other potential fees:
- Pet inspection fees
- Private mortgage insurance fee
- Property tax
- Pest inspection
- Survey fees
- Transfer taxes
- VA home loans funding fee
- Underwriting fees
- Title search or exam fee
- Origination fees
LOWERING CLOSING COSTS
As you can see, there are a lot of potential fees when you’re getting ready to buy a home. Some of these costs are inevitable and cover services that are for your benefit or protection. However, some others you might be able to use as negotiation tools or shop around for the best deal. Here are some things that you might be able to do to lower closing costs:
- Shop around for a lender that offers the lowest closing costs or ask them to match the low cost of another lender
- Get multiple quotes for services such as home inspections, pest inspections, survey fee, title search, and more
- Make sure to obtain and evaluate your Loan Estimate
- Ask the seller to lower the sale price to offset high closing costs
- Minimize pre-paid daily insurance charges by closing at the end of the month
WHAT’S THE BEST STRATEGY TO MANAGE CLOSING COST?
We understand that all of this information can be overwhelming when you’re in the process of buying a home, which usually means that there are other things going on in your life that also require your attention.
Because of this, we truly believe that the best strategy to navigate through this transaction is to have a real estate team that will walk you through each step, answer your questions, and negotiate fiercely on your behalf—which is what you get when you work with us.
If you have any questions or are looking to get started with a home purchase or listing, give us a call or send us a message! We’d love to help you and make your real estate transaction an easy and enjoyable experience.