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You're almost there: the last phase of the journey to owning your new home. Last destination—closing costs.


In addition to paying the purchase price on your new home, as a home buyer you'll also be responsible for the closing costs required to complete the final transaction. Don't let these costs sneak up on you — be prepared to have access to the necessary funds while searching for your new home.


Your lender will provide you with a loan estimate of your fees prior to settlement to help prepare you for your closing costs. As an estimate, these fees typically run up to 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.  Your closing agent or attorney will most likely ask you to bring a cashier's check representing the balance needed to cover the down payment and closing costs.


Once you’ve signed all the papers and presented your check, the keys to your new home will be yours. The journey to home ownership is an exciting experience. For now, breathe a sigh of relief, celebrate your achievement and enjoy making your new home a reality.


What Are They?

Closing costs are costs not reflected in the actual price of the property. They are fees and expenses that are paid when property ownership is transferred.


While every home-buying experience is different, here is a list of the most common fees and expenses required for closing your mortgage transaction:


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.


Attorney Fee: This pays for an attorney to review the closing documents on behalf of the buyer or the lender. This is not required in all states.


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. Some states require a real estate attorney be present at every closing.


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. Your credit score plays a big role in determining the interest rate you’ll get on your loan.


Escrow Deposit for Property Taxes & Mortgage Insurance: Often you are asked to put down two months of property tax and mortgage insurance payments at closing.


Flood Determination or Life of Loan Coverage: 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.


Home Owners Association Transfer Fees: The Seller will pay for this transfer which will show that the dues are paid current, what the dues are, a copy of the association financial statements, minutes and notices.  The buyer should review these documents to determine if the Association has enough reserves in place to avert future special assessments, check to see if there are special assessments, legal action, or any other items that might be of concern.  Also included will be Association by-laws, rules and regulations and CC & Rs.


Homeowners’ Insurance: This covers possible damages to your home. Your first year’s insurance is to be paid prior to 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.


Lead-Based Paint Inspection: Covers the cost of evaluating lead-based paint risk.


Loan Discount Points: “Points” are prepaid interest. One point is one percent of your loan amount. This is a lump sum payment that lowers your monthly payment for the life of your loan.


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.


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.


Processing Fee: This also goes to your lender, covering the cost of researching whether or not to approve you for the loan.


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.


Survey Fee: This fee goes to a survey company to verify all property lines and things like shared fences on the property.  This is not required in all states.


Title Company Title Search or Exam Fee: This fee is paid to the title company for doing a thorough search of the property’s records. The title company researches the deed to your new home, ensuring that no one else has a claim to the property.


Transfer Taxes: This is the tax paid when the title passes from seller to buyer.



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