Understanding Who Pays Closing Costs in a Real Estate Transactions

Understanding Who Pays Closing Costs in a Real Estate Transactions

In real estate transactions, closing costs are an important consideration. These expenses, typically a few percentage points of the purchase price, can affect both buyers and sellers. But who pays these costs? Let's take a closer look.

What Are Closing Costs?

Closing costs are additional expenses that buyers and sellers must pay to finalize a real estate transaction, beyond the property's purchase price. These costs can encompass loan origination fees, discount points, appraisal fees, title searches, title insurance, surveys, taxes, deed recording fees, and credit report charges. Legally, lenders must provide buyers with a closing disclosure three business days before the scheduled closing or settlement date.

  • Appraisal Fees: Covers the expense of hiring a professional appraiser to evaluate a home and determine its market value.

  • Title Insurance: Is a policy designed to safeguard home buyers and mortgage lenders against damages or financial losses resulting from title defects.

  • Attorney Fees: Sometimes, you need a lawyer to help with the legal paperwork involved in the home-buying process.

  • Property Taxes: These are taxes you need to pay based on the value of the property. They help fund local services like schools and roads.

  • Transfer Taxes: These are taxes you pay when the property ownership gets transferred from the seller to you.


Who Pays For Closing Costs?

Both the seller and the buyer are responsible for certain closing costs, though who pays for what can vary based on the terms of the deal and the property's location. Traditionally, the buyer covers application fees, underwriting fees, and lender's title insurance, while the seller typically handles real estate agent commissions, transfer fees, and seller concession

Allocation of Closing Costs:

Buyer's Responsibilities:

  • Application fees

  • Underwriting fees

  • Lender's title insurance

  • Home inspection fees

  • Escrow fees

  • Recording fees

  • Loan origination fees

Seller's Responsibilities:

  • Real estate agent commissions

  • Transfer taxes

  • Seller concessions

  • Title transfer fees

  • Attorney fees (if applicable)

  • Home warranty fees (if negotiated)

Factors Influencing Closing Costs:

Type of Loan:

Different loan programs come with their own set of closing cost requirements. For example:

  • FHA loans may entail upfront mortgage insurance premiums and FHA funding fees.

  • VA loans may include VA funding fees.

  • Conventional loans may have fewer upfront fees but higher interest rates.

Property Purchase Price:

Closing costs are often calculated as a percentage of the home's purchase price. Higher-priced properties typically incur higher closing costs.

Geographic Location:

Local property taxes, transfer taxes, and regulatory fees can vary significantly from one region to another, impacting the overall closing cost burden.


Buyers and sellers have the opportunity to negotiate who pays for certain closing costs as part of the real estate transaction. In a competitive market, sellers may be more inclined to offer concessions to attract buyers.

Strategies to Save Money on Closing Costs:

Seeking Seller Concessions: Buyers can negotiate with sellers to cover a portion of the closing costs as part of the purchase agreement.

Exploring No-Closing-Cost Options: Some mortgage lenders offer no-closing-cost mortgages, where the borrower pays a higher interest rate in exchange for the lender covering closing costs.


Working closely with a knowledgeable real estate agent and mortgage lender can also provide invaluable guidance in navigating the complexities of closing costs. Ultimately, clarity on this topic empowers all parties involved to make informed decisions and achieve successful real estate deals.

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