1) Your down payment is not the same as your closing costs.
2) Generally, when buying, you can figure roughly 3-5% of sales price for closings costs. (selling is 10%)
3) Costs associated with a home purchase that are paid before closing are; inspection ($350 plus), lender application fee (generally pays for your appraisal – $400), option fee (credited at closing), earnest money (credited at closing).
4) If one spouse is unavailable for the closing, we need to know that in advance so the documents can be drawn up accordingly. Also, the non-present spouse will have to be in contact with the title company on the day of closing so the title company can verify they are of sound mind.
5) Money you bring to closing (down payment and closing costs) must be ‘good funds’, i.e. a bank check made out to the title company handling the transaction.
6) The title company functions like a clearinghouse for each transaction… they coordinate all the paperwork that comes from the REALTORs, the lender, the government, survey, etc. They also handle all the money.
7) If buying new construction, you will pay for the title policy ($1000+), survey, etc. When purchasing resale, generally the buyer only pays for the survey IF a new one is needed.
8) It is a good idea to drive the route from your prospective new home to your place of work during rush hour prior to writing a contract just to get an idea of how long it will take each day. Sometimes that distance can be misleading after looking at several homes.
9) To avoid ‘connection fees’, it is better to ‘transfer’ utilities rather than start new. The seller’s disclosure lists the home’s current service providers. These transfers need to be setup at least 3 days prior to closing.
10) The appraised value of your home according to the tax district is not the sameas the market value. In some cases, the tax appraised value is outdated, and therefore way below market value (shhh! keep it a secret!). In other cases, the appraised value is higher than the market value, and in that case, it is important to appeal the tax value your first year of living in your new home using your HUD-1 closing statement. You can also hire someone to do the appeal process for you. This costs nothing unless they are able to save you money.
11) How does Courtney get paid? Typically when someone makes the decision to list their home for sale, they sign an agreement with an agent/broker that includes the commission percentage. The listing agent then splits half the commission with the agent who brings the buyer. So, as a buyer, this costs you nothing. While all things are negotiable, in our area, total commission is generally 6% of the sales price.
12) It is your responsibility to file 2 pieces of paper with the county tax office after closing. One is the change of owner name form. This one can be sent in immediately. The other is the Homestead Exemption Form. You will receive the previous owner’s Homestead Exemption for the the year in which you purchase the home. However, at the beginning of the next year (Jan.-Mar.) you must file the Homestead Exemption form for the exemption to continue in your name. Both forms are typically provided by the title company at closing, but can also be found on-line.