Closing Costs Explained

Solutions for your Success

Innovation | Motivation | Education
Closing your home should be exciting, and once you understand the process and how it works, it can be.

Here you will find a list of costs commonly associated with closing on a home. Fees may vary depending on where you live, so be sure to talk to your lender, real estate agent, and settlement company for more specific information.

All closing costs must be listed on your HUD-1 settlement form, a document that is required to be filled out prior to finalizing the purchase of your home.

What are My Closing Costs?

In addition to the sales price of the home, there is a variety of costs associated with finalizing the transaction. Click on any of these links below for more information on these costs:

These fees cover the administrative costs of a title search, title examination, issuance of the title commitment/binder and final title insurance policy(ies.) Also included would be charges for conducting the closing/settlement/escrow. You are free to select the company to conduct your closing/settlement/escrow, and to shop for the best pricing. Be sure to visit the Shopping for Title Insurance section of this site.

  • Settlement/Closing Fee -A fee must be paid to a settlement agent who has prepared documents, calculated figures, and oversees proper execution of closing documents. This fee is often split between buyer and seller but can be negotiated as part of the sales contract.
  • Abstract of Title, Search, Title Examination, Title Insurance Commitment or Binder – In order to ensure that there are no pre-existing problems with your property, a title insurance professional must perform a title search and produce documentation on the home’s title. In some places, one or more of these charges will appear separately on the HUD-1 and in other places they may be included within the title insurance premium. When a mortgage loan is involved, there may also be added charges for special endorsements that will accompany the lender’s title policy.
  • Document Preparation – As a title company, we are not lawyers and cannot prepare legal documents but we do work with several experiended real estate attorneys who can get the documents prepared efficiently and at reasonable rates.
  • Notary Fee – Because there are legal documents involved, a licensed notary is required to acknowledge the fact that the proper people signed these official documents in their presence. Notaries often charge a fee for their services.
  • Attorney fees – Both the homebuyer and the seller might have their own legal representation to prepare and record legal documents. Frequently, however, where an attorney is acting as a settlement agent, there may only be one involved in the closing. Who pays for those services is a matter of contract negotiation but is often handled like fees paid to any other settlement agent/title agent.
  • Title Insurance – There are two kinds of title insurance policies: Loan and Owner’s policies. The cost for the Loan Policy is based on the loan amount and the cost for the Owner’s Policy is based on the sales price of the home. Who pays these one-time fees at closing varies from state to state. Ask your settlement agent how it is handled in your area. In some circumstances, discounts may be available (such as a “reissue rate” or “reissue credit”) when the property has recently been insured by a title insurer. Be sure to ask if you are entitled to any discounts.You also have the option of purchasing a policy with expanded coverage. It’s called the Homeowner’s Policy and it covers more things than the Owner’s Policy. Ask your local title company for an explanation of the expanded Homeowner’s Policy so you can decide which policy is the best one for you.
Buying a home is not only a big investment, it is also a matter of public record. The property information and the loan information are required to be filed at the county courthouse or other local government recording office.

  • Recording Fees – The recording fee is paid to a government body which enters an official record of the change of ownership.
  • Transfer Taxes, Document or Transaction Stamps – These are government charges based on the amount of the mortgage and, often, also on the purchase price. Depending on your location, there could be a city, county or state tax involved, or some combination.
  • Survey Fee – Lenders and title insurers often require a surveyor to conduct a survey of your property to define the property size and boundaries and to see if any part of the building or other improvements are “encroaching” on a neighbor’s yard — or the other way around. They are also looking to see if there are any setback violations or other material matters that are considered problematic.
  • Inspection Fees – When homes are sold an inspection is often recommended and in some cases the contract may even be contingent upon an acceptable inspection report. This fee covers the cost of an inspector to check the dwelling for any structural problems or issues. Frequently, this is a sales contract term imposed by the homebuyer to obtain an accurate assessment of the condition of the property. The work is done prior to closing but the fee is often collected at closing. There are several inspections that a future homeowner might want to request and a lender might require. These could include pest inspections (termites and other wood-destroying organisms), lead paint inspections (for structures built before 1978), roof inspections, water/well certifications, structural or mechanical inspections, or additional specific inspections based on the property type and location.