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Does the Buyer or the Seller Pay Closing Costs?
Closing costs are paid according to the terms of the purchase contract made between the buyer and seller. Usually the buyer pays for most of the closing costs, but there are instances when the seller may have to pay some fees at closing too. We understand it can be confusing to those that have never been through the process before, so we’ve put together a review to help clear things up and get you feeling confident about the home-buying process.
What Are Closing Costs?
Buyer and seller closing costs are the monies due at closing, usually ranging from 3 percent to 5 percent of the total purchase price, comprised of fees and taxes. Although buyer vs. seller closing costs vary, they’re usually predictable. Sometimes, the seller can be asked to pay for some closing costs instead of the buyer, but it’s important to keep in mind that they’re already paying around 6 percent of the total sale in agent fees and commissions. Buyers may not have much luck asking the seller to absorb additional fees, but occasionally it’s a tactic that does pay off.
From the prepayment of taxes to required fees payable to county and local authorities, closing costs are made up of payments to many entities. These fees can be reduced by the lending company — sometimes they’ll give the buyer a break and discount their service fees — as an incentive for doing business. When diving into the question of who usually pays closing costs, buyer or seller can be held responsible for paying. Both buyer and seller need to be aware of how these expenses will be paid before it’s time to sign on the dotted line.
Who Pays Escrow Fees?
Typically, escrow fees are split 50/50 between both parties. Escrow is another name for a protected savings account. In the real estate world, escrow accounts are overseen by a third party that holds the buyer’s and seller’s money until the property changes ownership at closing, where it’s then paid out to the appropriate party or held for later use. Escrows help to safeguard the money in a neutral bank account for the period of time it takes to close on the purchase. So, who pays escrow fees — buyer or seller? Again, it all boils down to the purchase agreement and the language in your contract.
The escrow fee can be in the form of a flat rate, usually around $500 to $2,000, or can cost as much as 1 percent of the total purchase price. Escrow fees cover the cost of transferring or wiring the money to and from an account, notary charges and the costs related to copying and administration of account documents.
And there you have it! You have a better picture of what closing costs are and how to navigate the home purchasing process. Because it’s so important to understand those hidden costs when buying a home, be sure to get financial updates from your lender frequently. While you're reviewing how you want to manage the purchase expenses for your new home, remember to make time to find the best homeowners insurance coverage before closing day. Use our instant home quote tool today to build a policy customized to your unique needs.