Q: My wife and I sold our house and are living in an apartment while our new home is being built. We are under contract in a wonderful neighborhood, and we’re excited to move in.
The construction is just underway, and the house will be ready in early February. Our builder will pay $3,000 toward closing costs if we use the lender that they select. We thought that sounded great, so we applied for, and been approved for, a loan with this lender.
And guess what? Now, we’ve been told that the closing costs will be $8,000, so we’ll still be responsible for $5,000 in closing costs. The loan amount is $220,000 and we’re putting $15,000 down for our home.
Should we shop around for another lender? Isn’t $8,000 a little steep for closing costs for a home in this price range?
A: Typically, builders work with mortgage lenders to provide loan programs at decent rates for buyers who purchase in their subdivision. It’s in the builder’s best interest to do this because then they know you have your financing and you aren’t going anywhere.
That said, the going cost is about 1 percent for lender fees. And that’s what you need to find out about this loan.
Depending on where you live, title charges could be $2,000, the lender fees could be $1,500, and your property tax and insurance escrow could be another $2,000, or more. Add in transfer taxes, and other odds and ends, and you’re already at more than $6,000. Assuming there is some prepaid interest, the $8,000 charge might be slightly high but could certainly be within the ballpark.
I suggest that you shop around and see what you can get. Until you do, you won’t know if the builder’s lender is offering you a decent deal or trying to take advantage of the situation.