Our Real Estate Blog
The process of closing on a home can seem lengthy and complex if it’s your first time buying or selling a house. There are several costs and fees required to close on a home, and while it’s up to the individuals to decide who covers what costs, there are some conventions to follow.
In this article, we’re going to talk about closing costs for selling a house and signing on a mortgage. We’ll discuss who pays what, and whether there is room for negotiation within the various fees and expenses.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about what closing costs are and what to expect when you start the process of buying or selling a home.
Closing costs, simplified
If you’re just now entering the real estate market, the good news is you can often estimate your closing costs based on the value of the property in question. You can ask your real estate agent relatively early on in the process for a ballpark figure of your costs.
Closing costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your sale and the area you live in. In some cases, closing costs can be bundled into your mortgage, such as in “No Closing Cost Mortgages.” However, avoiding having to deal with closing costs often comes at the expense of a slightly higher interest rate.
If you are planning to buy a house and have recently applied for a mortgage, laws require that your lender sends you an estimate of your closing costs within a few days of your application.
Now that we know how closing costs work, let’s take a look at who plays what.
Buyer closing costs
In terms of the sheer number of closing costs, buyers tend to have the most to deal with. Fortunately, your real estate agent will help you navigate these costs and simplify the process.
They can range from two to five percent of the cost of the sale price of the home. However, be sure to check with your lender for the closest estimate of your closing costs. It’s a good idea to shop around for mortgage lenders based on interest rates as well as closing costs charged by the lender.
Here are some of the costs you might be asked to pay as a home buyer:
Prepaid interest or discount points
Home inspection fee
Insurance and Escrow deposits
Seller Closing Costs
While the seller pays a larger amount of closing costs, sellers still have obligations at closing that can be just as expensive. The biggest expense for sellers is to pay the real estate commission. Commission usually falls in the vicinity of 6% of the sale price of the home. This covers the commission of both the seller’s and the buyer’s real estate agents.
The main takeaway? Buyers and sellers both share the burden of closing costs. While the buyer has more expenses to take care of, the seller pays for the largest costs.
The cost of buying a house extends beyond a seller's initial asking price. In fact, there are many "hidden" costs that buyers need to consider as they decide whether to purchase a house, such as:
1. Closing Costs
There are various closing costs that a buyer may encounter before he or she finalizes a house purchase, including survey, appraisal and wire transfer fees. As such, it generally is a good idea to prepare for these costs prior to launching a house search. Because if you prepare for closing costs, you can ensure that you have the finances available to cover these expenses when you are ready to complete a house purchase.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions prior to starting a home search. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and teach you about home closing costs. Best of all, after you get a mortgage, you can start your home search with the financing you need to secure your ideal residence.
2. Property Taxes
Property taxes usually are assessed twice a year, and they vary based on state and county. However, if you learn about property taxes, you can map out your homebuying budget accordingly.
Real estate property tax information is part of the public record. Thus, you can access information about property taxes related to a particular home before you purchase it. And once you have this information at your disposal, you can use it to determine whether to move forward with a house purchase or continue your search for your dream home.
Utility bills vary based on the size of a home, its location and other factors. If you devote time and resources to estimate your utility expenses, you may be better equipped than ever before to make an informed home purchase.
To assess your potential utility costs, you may want to consult with a seller's agent. This professional may be able to provide you with insights into the current homeowner's utility expenses to help you budget appropriately.
It never hurts to hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the homebuying journey, too. A real estate agent can offer expert insights into closing costs, property taxes and other homebuying fees, as well as help you quickly discover your dream residence.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive homebuying guidance that a real estate agent can provide, either. For instance, if you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and tips to help you make the best-possible decision. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
For those who want to buy a house, it helps to learn about all of the potential costs associated with a home purchase. If you start budgeting for a home purchase today, you could accelerate your quest to find and buy your ideal residence.
Looking to put together an offer on a house? Ultimately, you'll want to submit a competitive first offer. By doing so, you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.
When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, however, it is important to understand what differentiates a "fair" proposal from a subpar one.
To better understand how to submit a competitive proposal, let's take a look at three best practices that every homebuyer needs to consider before making an offer on a house.
1. Evaluate the Housing Market
If you plan to buy a house, you'll want to examine the real estate market closely. That way, you can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.
For example, if you find there is an abundance of high-quality houses available, you may be entering a buyer's market. In this market, there likely is a shortage of homebuyers, which means a competitive offer at or near a home seller's asking price is sure to grab this individual's attention.
On the other hand, if you notice that homes are selling quickly in a city or town, you may need to prepare for a seller's market. If you pursue houses in a seller's market, you may need to act quickly due to the sheer volume of buyers competing for the same residences.
Clearly, a comprehensive housing market analysis can make a world of difference for homebuyers. With in-depth housing market insights at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to submit a competitive first offer on any residence, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
What good is a competitive home offer if you cannot afford to buy a residence? If you secure a home loan, you can narrow your home search to properties that you can afford. Then, you'll be able to submit a competitive offer that ensures you won't have to break your budget to purchase your dream residence.
Also, if you're unsure about how your financial situation will impact your ability to buy a house, you should consult with banks and credit unions in your area. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a home loan, establish a homebuying budget and much more.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, it pays to receive expert homebuying support. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you put together a competitive home offer.
A real estate agent can provide housing market data that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, this housing market professional can offer unbiased home offer recommendations to ensure you can get an instant "Yes" from a home seller.
Collaborating with a real estate agent is a great option for homebuyers in all cities and towns. Reach out to local real estate agents today, and you can get the help you need to submit a competitive offer on any residence.
If you plan to pursue a home in the near future, there is no need to wait to get a mortgage. Because if you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house. As a result, you'll be able to map out your home search based on your property buying budget.
There are many things you can do to ensure you can get a great mortgage prior to launching a house search. These include:
1. Learn About Your Mortgage Options
Banks and credit unions offers a wide range of mortgage options. If you meet with these financial institutions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal.
As you assess your mortgage options, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each option. That way, you can make an informed decision about a mortgage and decide which option will serve you well in the years to come.
2. Ask Mortgage Questions
If you are uncertain about what differentiates one mortgage option from another, it is important to remember you are not alone. Fortunately, you can ask mortgage questions to home financing professionals to determine which mortgage option is right for you.
Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are ready to respond to your mortgage queries. Thus, if you discuss your mortgage concerns with home financing specialists, you can get the guidance you need to choose the best mortgage based on your individual needs.
3. Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score may have far-flung effects on your ability to get pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you analyze your credit score, you can determine if you need to take steps to improve this score before you apply for a mortgage.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can analyze your credit score at your convenience.
If you have outstanding debt on your credit report, you may want to pay this off as soon as possible. Remember, the sooner you pay off outstanding debt, the sooner you can bolster your credit score.
In addition, if you identify any errors on your credit report, notify the agency that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any credit report mistakes before you submit a mortgage application.
As you get set to apply for a mortgage and conduct a home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. A real estate agent can provide expert guidance as you pursue your dream residence. He or she will help you find a house that matches your budget, attend home showings and much more.
Ready to launch a comprehensive home search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can take the first step to establish a budget for the homebuying journey.
Before you even set out to buy a home, you may think that you need to look at a magic number of homes in order to find the house that’s right for you. There’s always a fear among buyers that they didn’t look at enough homes before settling on one. The number of homes that you look at is up to you. There is no magic number that will dictate finding the perfect home. The most important thing is to trust your own intuition. In A seller’s market, you also may not have much choice. When inventory is low, if you find a home you love, you’ll need to move to make an offer on it!
The Average Buyer
People looking at condos take between 1 and 3 months to find the property that’s right for them. Those looking for single family homes tend to take a bit longer- between 3 and 6 months to find a home. Buying a traditional house seems to spark more questions and more uncertainty, which leads buyers to take their time to find what they’re looking for.
Know Where You Want To Live
Before you start your home search, you should have a good idea of where you want to live. Have a list of cities, towns, and neighborhoods narrowed down to make your search a bit easier from the start. Take a ride around potential neighborhoods and get a feel for them. See the stores, restaurants, and nearby parks to really understand the area.
Match Your Lifestyles
Where you choose to live has a lot to do with your lifestyle. Think of the following:
- Where your friends live
- Where your family lives
- Where you work
- What you do for fun
Whatever you love and whatever you love to do should be a factor in your home search. If you love the beach, you don’t want to be a three hour drive away if you can help it. You also don’t want a 2-hour commute to work. Find the balance to make your life happier in the new space you choose.
Make A List
It sounds simple, but making a list of what you must have, what you’d like, and what would be a bonus can really help you in your home search. This holds true whether you look at 2 homes or 50 homes. The number of homes that you look at isn’t as important as your needs and wants. Buying a home is a huge investment and you need to be happy with your decision. While it’s not completely advisable to buy the first house that you see, if you have a good idea of what you want in a tough market, it’s best to put an offer in.