When it comes to closing costs, home sellers usually get stuck. If home buyers choose a no-point, no-fee loan, they can eliminate most of their closing costs. On the other hand, sellers typically start by paying a broker’s commission, and by the time they’re done calculating the costs and fees, can see as much as 8 percent of their sales price slide away.
Real estate attorneys say that a list of the usual fees and costs can include up to twenty items, no matter which side of the deal you’re on. And, if you’re selling and buying, you’ll get hit twice.
Here’s a quick look at some of the closing costs seller’s often face when going through the settlement. Remember, not every fee will apply to your sale, and the actual fee may be higher or lower depending on your specific situation:
Cost of the survey — varies by area, usually $150 to $300.
Title insurance — depends on the sales price of the home, usually $150 to $500 plus.
Recorded release of mortgage, which verifies that your mortgage has been completely paid off by the sales proceeds — the fee for this usually $20 to $45.
Broker’s commission — a full-service firm will cost between 5 to 7 percent. If you’ve used a discount broker, or are selling yourself to a buyer represented by a buyer broker, your cost could be a couple of hundred dollars to 3 percent of the sales price.
Local city, town, or village property transfer tax; country transfer tax; state transfer tax; state capital gains tax — the charges that you’ll pay for the privilege of selling your home. The costs range from nothing to $10 per $1,000 of the sales price or more for each transfer tax.
Credit to the buyer of unpaid real estate taxes for the prior or current year — variable. Depends on when you close and when your taxes are due.
Attorney’s fee — if you use an attorney, expect to pay a flat fee of $250 to $1,000, depending on the complexity of the deal, or an hourly rate beginning at $100.
FHA fees and costs — all fees are now negotiable between an FHA buyer and seller.
Condo/co-op move-out fee — a building charge that can range from nothing to more than $400.
Association transfer fees — often required for condominium and town house buyers; sellers have occasionally been stuck paying these as well.
Paid utility bills — in many areas, the local city or village officials will not let you close until you’ve proven that you are current on your utility bills. They may charge you anywhere from $10 to $25 for each copy of a paid bill, including water, sewer, garbage or electricity.
Certificate of compliance with building codes — your local municipality may not charge for inspecting such items as your fire extinguisher and smoke detectors, or you may be charged a small fee, usually around $10.
Home inspections — in some areas, local custom dictates that the seller pay for pest, radon and other inspections, which can range from $25 to $125.
Correcting problems noticed during the home inspection — if the buyer sends through a home inspector who finds numerous problems, you will be asked to pick up some, or all, of those costs. Whether or not you choose to do so depends on your negotiating skills and how quickly you want to close and move.
Association reserves — in some areas, the reserves held by condominium and homeowners associations are credited to the seller on the basis of the seller’s percentage of ownership in the association.
If you prepare ahead of time for these costs, you won’t be surprised by the somewhat smaller check you receive at the closing.