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9. Mortgage Basics - Don't Forget Closing Costs

Don't Forget Closing Costs:

In addition to the down payment, monthly payment, real estate tax, home owners insurance, and possible PMI, there are also one-time closing costs that can add up to a considerable amount by the time you finish negotiating your mortgage deal. That translates to between $3,000 and $6,000 on a $100,000 home. Sometimes you can get these costs waived or reduced, but expect to pay a higher interest rate for a mortgage with little or no closing costs. Be sure to have enough to cover these additional costs, which typically amount to between 2 and 5 percent of the home's purchase price.

Good Faith Estimate:
The closing costs are outlined in a good faith estimate. By law, lenders are required to give you an estimate of these costs within three business days of your application. It will list expenses related to inspections, taxes, title insurance and a host of other charges (outlined above). In addition, you should also receive an information booklet, "Settlement Costs - a HUD Guide". Obtain a good faith estimate from each lender to save time and to use as a comparison when shopping between different lenders.

Here is a list of some major closing costs:
  •     Loan-application fees and credit report
  •     Escrow fees
  •     Property appraisal
  •     Title insurance
  •     Property taxes
  •     Attorney fees
  •     Survey
  •     Points and Origination Fees
  •     Prepaid loan interest
  •     Recording fees
  •     Transfer taxes
  •     Recording fees
  •     Mailing/courier/notary fees

Title Insurance:
Title insurance protects you and the lender against the risk that the house you are purchasing is not legally owned by the seller. It checks for any defects, liens or encumbrances in the property title that may affect the rights of ownership, possession or use of the property. Separate title insurances must be issued for both the lender and yourself. Owner's title insurance is optional, but lender title insurance is included in the closing costs. Depending on your home's purchase price, this insurance can cost between several hundred and several thousand dollars.

Escrow fees: These costs cover the additional costs associated with buying a home, such as private mortgage insurance (PMI), homeowner's insurance and property taxes. This insures that taxes and insurance fees are paid on time. Escrow fees can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the purchase price of the home. Some lenders may be willing to waive escrow fees in exchange for charging you a higher interest rate or more points. Beware of additional charges that may not seem familiar.

Cost-Saving Tips:
  • Negotiate with the seller of the property to help pay for some of the closing costs or other fees.
  • A real estate attorney is required to represent you with the seller. An attorney is also required to close the mortgage when dealing with the lender. By choosing one attorney that can perform both duties, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars.
  • Additionally, you may also be able to save money if you try to close on or near the end of the month. Because all mortgage loans are due on the first of the month, you pay interest from the day you close until the end of the month. By closing at the end of the month, you can reduce the amount of interest you have to pay.

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