Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Home Buyer Tips: What are closing costs?

Closing costs are the charges associated with obtaining a mortgage and transferring ownership of real estate.  These are above the purchase price of the property.

In general closing costs include items mostly related to the buyer's loan.  While not all lenders charge these fees these charges are not standardized so expect them to vary.

Some of these charges may include loan application fee, loan origination points, underwriting, tax service, processing and others.  Your lender should provide a good faith estimate of closing costs within three days of loan application which will provide general information about terms of the loan applied for and estimated borrower costs.

In addition to the above lender charges some other closing costs may include the appraisal, settlement costs (or attorney fees), credit reports, inspections and surveys.

Some of these charges (for example inspections or a survey) may be paid in advance at the time of service and will be reflected on closing documents as POC (paid outside of closing).

Another potential closing cost is the escrow requirements for insurance and taxes.  In addition to paying the premium for a year in advance there will likely be additional funds charged at closing to be placed in escrow for payment of insurance renewal and taxes when due.  In Florida, real estate taxes are paid at the end of the year instead of in advance so most mortgage companies collect 1/12th each month so that can pay when due (more information on Brevard County, Florida real estate taxes).

A couple of other key points:
  • In most places cash buyers will have minimal charges.  
  • What can be charged to buyers will vary by loan type (i.e. VA borrower).
  • Buyers can try to negotiate with seller to pay some of the closing costs.
  • Some charges like the owner's Title Insurance policy is typically paid by the seller in Brevard County, Florida.
  • Average fl closing costs
When it comes to closing costs remember, its real estate...almost everything is negotiable.