Types of Closing Costs
- Mortgage Application Fee: This fee varies from lender to lender but usually is $200-$400. You don’t have to pay this fee when you’re shopping around for a mortgage, but you’ll probably pay it when your chosen lender is processing your application. Sometimes this fee is due ahead of closing.
- Appraisal Fee: This fee can sometimes be paid by the seller but is normally paid by the buyer. Basically, the fee goes to a professional appraiser who will ensure that the bank isn’t lending you more money than a property is worth. It’ll cost $100-$400.
- Building Inspection: If you need to hire a home, pest or other specialized inspector, you’ll have to pay the fee. Some lenders will require an inspection to make sure the property is in good condition. This fee runs $150-$400 on average.
- Survey: This is a fee you’re likely to skip, though it’s required by commercial lenders. It is for a surveyor to check out the lot and the structures on it to ensure the boundaries are properly noted. It can cost $300-$450.
- Legal Fees: Although attorney fees will add extra to your bill, you may want to pay a professional to ensure that all the documentation for your home is in order. Some lenders will bring along their own attorney, but yours will ensure that your personal interests are protected. Legal fees can run $300-$600, depending on your attorney and what you’re requiring of him or her.
- Title Search and Insurance: A title insurance company will ensure that the title to the home is free and clear — that no one else will have claims on it. Sometimes a title search is separate from title insurance and will cost $150-$200. Title insurance varies but is usually about 1 percent of the home price.
- Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): If you put less than 20 percent down on your home, you’ll likely have to pay PMI. The average PMI premium is 2.5 percent of the mortgage, though your premium will vary depending on the value of your home, your credit score and your down payment. If you need PMI, you’ll likely have to pay a portion of the premium at closing. (Note: If you’re getting an FHA, VA or RHS government-backed loan, you’ll pay something like PMI, but it will be paid to the guarantor.)
- Homeowners Insurance: All lenders will require that you carry homeowners insurance on a property as long as it’s mortgaged. Typically, you’ll have to pay the first year’s property insurance premium in advance. Sometimes you’ll pay the insurer directly, but other times you’ll pay at closing.
- Prepaid Interest: This one can get a little complicated. Let’s say your mortgage payment is due on the 1st of every month, but you close on your new home on the 15th. If this is the case, the lender will calculate the interest you owe for those 15-16 days remaining in the month, and that interest payment will be due at closing. Sometimes the seller reimburses these costs, since it’s often in his or her best interest to close as soon as possible — before your first mortgage payment is due. These costs will depend on your mortgage amount, interest rate and the time between closing and your first payment coming due.
- Points: Points are another form of prepaid interest, but they’re generally not required. You can pay, usually, from 0-4 points on your mortgage. One point equals 1 percent of the total mortgage principal. (If you’re taking out a $100,000 loan, a point is $1,000, for instance.) One point usually reduces your interest rate by 1/8 percent. If you choose to pay points (rather than increasing your down payment), you’ll do so at closing.
- Escrow Fees: The majority of homeowners use an escrow system for paying real estate taxes, fire and flood insurance, homeowners insurance and PMI. The escrow account is held either by a third party or by your lender, depending on your circumstances, and it’s used to pay all of the annual or monthly premiums for these important homeownership-related items. When you close on your home, you’ll generally need to put around three months’ worth of escrowed fees in the account.
- Realty Transfer Tax: The taxes you pay on transferring a property are similar to the taxes you pay when you buy a new (or new-to-you) vehicle. Taxes vary by your state and municipality.
- Recording Fees: Your local government will have to record the purchase transaction of your new home, which will cost $40-$60, on average.
- Prorated Expenses: Some of the lump-sum costs associated with your home — water bills, homeowner association fees, condominium fees, etc. — could be split between you and the seller during your transaction. If you buy a home midway through the year, for instance, you may need to pay 50 percent of these fees. These expenses will depend on when you buy your home and are often negotiable with the seller
Ways to Pay Closing Costs
Good Faith Estimate
Pay in cash
Roll it into the mortgage
Ask the seller to pay some costs
Ask the lender to pay closing costs
Borrow for your closing costs
Find Out How Much to Expect in Closing Costs
- SmartClosing Calculator – This calculator from Zillow will calculate costs based on where you’re buying a home, so taxes and government fees will be added in. The calculator will also show you the total amount you can expect to pay in mortgage payments, including real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance.
- Federal Reserve Settlement Costs Worksheet – This worksheet is good for comparing potential mortgage. It lets you compare the closing costs for two loans.
- How do closing costs impact my interest rate? – This calculator from Yahoo! Homes will show you how financing closing costs, as opposed to paying them in cash, will affect your mortgage’s interest rate.
- Mortgage closing costs up 6% this year (localnews8.com)
- Can You Afford to Buy a House? (houseofbrokersrealty.wordpress.com)
- Ohio among most expensive for mortgage closing costs (bizjournals.com)
- Survey: Michigan’s mortgage closing costs among lowest in nation (mlive.com)
- Sealing the deal for a house costs more in Florida (bizjournals.com)
- D.C. home closing costs among nation’s highest (bizjournals.com)
- Mortgage closing costs up 6% this year (money.cnn.com)
- What are closing costs? (crystalbrownrealty.wordpress.com)
Mortgage Loan Officer