What are closing costs?

Greg Armbruster
Published on May 7, 2019

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are fees associated with your home purchase that are paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. Closing is the point in time when the title of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.

What fees can you expect at closing?

Closing costs vary widely based on where you live, the property you buy, and the type of loan you choose. Here is a list of fees that may be included in closing.  The list may not be all inclusive.

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  • Application Fee: This fee covers the cost for the lender to process your application. Before submitting an application, ask your lender what this fee covers. It can often include things like a credit check for your credit score or appraisal as well. Not all lenders charge an application fee.
  • Appraisal: This is paid to the appraisal company to confirm the fair market value of the home.
  • Closing Fee or Escrow Fee: This is paid to the title company, escrow company or attorney for conducting the closing. The title company or escrow oversees the closing as an independent party in your home purchase.
  • Courier Fee: This covers the cost of transporting documents to complete the loan transaction as quickly as possible.
  • Credit Report: A Tri-merge credit report is pulled to get your credit history and score.
  • Escrow Deposit for Property Taxes Homeowners’ Insurance: Often you are asked to put in escrow at closing two months of each of these.
  • FHA Up-Front Mortgage Insurance Premium (UPMIP): If you have an FHA loan, you’ll be required to pay the UPMIP of 1.75%(subject to change) of the base loan amount. You are also able to roll this into the cost of the loan if you prefer.
  • Flood Determination: This is paid to a third party to determine if the property is located in a flood zone. If the property is found to be located within a flood zone, you will need to buy flood insurance. The insurance, of course, is paid separately.
  • Home Inspection: You will likely get your own home inspection to verify the condition of a property and to check for home repairs that may be needed before closing.
  • Homeowners’ Insurance: This covers possible damages to your home. Your first year’s insurance is often paid at closing.
  • Lender’s Policy Title Insurance: This is insurance to assure the lender that you own the home and the lender’s mortgage is a valid lien, and it protects the lender if there is a problem with the title. Similar to the title search, but always a separate line item.
  • Owner’s Policy Title Insurance: This is an insurance policy that protects you in the event someone challenges your ownership of the home. It is usually optional.
  • Origination Fee: This covers the lender’s administrative costs. It’s usually about 1 percent of the total loan but you can sometimes find mortgages with no origination fee.

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  • Pest Inspection: This fee covers the cost to inspect for termites or dry rot, which is required in some states and required for government loans.  Repairs can get expensive if evidence of termites, dry rot or other wood damage is found.
  • Prepaid Interest: Most lenders will ask you to prepay any interest that will accrue between closing and the date of your first mortgage payment.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): If you’re making a down payment that’s less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, chances are you’ll be required to pay PMI. If so, you may need to pay the first month’s PMI payment at closing.
  • Property Tax: Typically, lenders will want any taxes due within 60 days of purchase by the loan servicer to be paid at closing.
  • Recording Fees: A fee charged by your local recording office, usually city or county, for the recording of public land records.
  • Transfer Taxes: This is the tax paid when the title passes from seller to buyer.
  • Underwriting Fee: This also goes to your lender, covering the cost of researching whether or not to approve you for the loan.
  • FHA Up-Front Mortgage Insurance Premium (UPMIP): If you have an FHA loan, you’ll be required to pay the UPMIP of 1.75%(subject to change) of the base loan amount. You are also able to roll this into the cost of the loan if you prefer.
  • VA Funding Fee: If you have a VA loan, you may be required to pay a VA funding fee at closing (or you can roll this fee into the cost of the loan if you prefer). This is a percentage of the loan amount that the VA assesses to fund the VA home loan program.

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