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Unveiling the Mystery: What Are Closing Costs and Can You Get the Seller to Pay Them?

December 22, 2023
Written by Brandon Crysler
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Congratulations on taking the plunge into homeownership! You’ve found your dream house, navigated the offer process, and secured a mortgage pre-approval. But before popping the champagne, there’s one more hurdle to conquer: closing costs. These often-opaque fees can feel like a hidden dragon guarding the keys to your new abode. Fear not, intrepid homebuyer! This blog is your comprehensive guide to understanding closing costs, their sneaky components, and even some savvy negotiation tactics to potentially convince the seller to foot the bill (or at least share the burden).

First things first: What exactly are closing costs?

Closing costs are a collection of fees associated with finalizing your home purchase and officially transferring ownership. Think of them as the not-so-sexy behind-the-scenes paperwork and legwork that makes the dream of homeownership a reality. These fees can vary depending on several factors, including the loan type, property location, and even your credit score. But generally, they fall into three main categories:

  1. Lender Fees:
    • Origination Fee: This is the lender’s fee for processing your loan application and underwriting the mortgage. It’s typically a percentage of the loan amount, ranging from 0.5% to 1%.
    • Discount Points: These are optional upfront payments you can make to reduce your interest rate. Each point typically lowers the rate by 0.25%.
    • Processing Fee: This covers the administrative costs of processing your loan paperwork.
    • Appraisal Fee: An independent appraiser will assess the property’s value to ensure it meets the loan amount. Price Range from $450 to $700
  2. Third-Party Fees:
    • Title Insurance: This protects you from any legal claims against the property’s ownership.
    • Escrow Fees: A neutral third party holds onto funds and documents until closing, ensuring a smooth transaction.
    • Credit Report Fee: The lender pulls your credit report to assess your creditworthiness, and you’ll likely be charged a fee for this.
    • Flood Certification Fee: If your property is in a flood zone, you’ll need a flood certificate, which comes with a fee.
  3. Government Fees:
    • Recording Fee: This fee covers the cost of registering the deed with the local government.
    • Transfer Tax: Some states and localities impose a tax on the sale of real estate. This cost is a percentage of the purchase price or loan amount.

Whew, that’s a lot! Can I make the seller pay my closing costs?

Absolutely! While traditionally buyers shoulder the closing costs burden, in a competitive market, you can negotiate with the seller to contribute. Here are some tips to sweeten the deal:

  • Offer a higher purchase price: This might seem counterintuitive, but if the seller is eager to offload the property quickly, they might be willing to absorb some closing costs in exchange for a higher selling price.
  • Negotiate credits: Instead of outright asking the seller to pay closing costs, negotiate for credits towards specific fees, like the origination fee or title insurance.
  • Highlight your offer’s strengths: If you’re offering a pre-approved loan, a quick closing date, or waiving contingencies, emphasize these advantages to incentivize the seller to contribute to closing costs. Check out Luminate Home Loans Power Buyer program. 
  • Work with a skilled real estate agent: An experienced agent can navigate the negotiation process and advocate for your best interests.

Remember, negotiation is a two-way street. Be prepared to compromise and be flexible. Research the average closing costs in your area to have a realistic understanding of what’s negotiable.

Closing costs can feel daunting, but with knowledge and a little negotiation savvy, you can conquer this final hurdle and unlock the door to your dream home!

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