Understanding Mortgage Closing Costs

February 13, 2024

Aside from the down payment, other fees may be due at the closing of your new home.

Closing costs are the various charges associated with the mortgage transaction that are above and beyond the purchase price of the property or loan amount. Sellers have to pay some closing costs too – they usually pay a commission to the real estate agent, which is a percentage of the total sale price. Buyers’ closing costs, on the other hand, can involve a variety of different fees.

Types of Closing Costs

Title Work 

A title company will do a bit of research on the title – making sure there are no liens, claims, etc. Once the title company confirms there are no encumbrances, they will issue a title policy.

Appraisal Fees

An appraisal is a written estimate of a property’s market value. This is based upon what other properties are selling for in an area, the property’s condition, and features such as the size, number of rooms, and architectural features.

Home Inspections 

A home inspector visually inspects a home for immediate or potential problems. The inspector will provide a report detailing any issues with the property and recommendations for further evaluation.

Credit Report Fees

A credit report is a detailed report of an individual’s credit history.

Recording Fees 

Recording fees are charged by a government agency for recording or registering a real estate transaction, so the sell/purchase becomes a matter of public record.

Origination Fees and Points 

As a mortgage lender, we charge a fee to cover the cost of processing the loan.

Title Insurance 

There are two types of title insurance policies – owner and lender. Just as lenders require fire insurance and other types of insurance to protect their investments, nearly all institutional lenders also require title insurance to protect their interests.

Reserves For Taxes and Homeowners Insurance 

Reserves are extra money lenders require a homebuyer to have in the bank at closing. For example, if a lender says a buyer needs three months’ reserves, they are usually saying they need three months of mortgage payments in the bank. This will help cover things like property taxes and homeowners insurance.

How Much Will I Have to Pay in Closing Costs?

The total closing costs for your home loan will vary depending on your situation and your location. You won’t know exactly what these costs will be right away, but within three business days of application you’ll receive a Loan Estimate, which includes an estimated amount of closing costs.

The total amount of closing costs will be provided by your lender at least three business days before your closing. This information will be included in your Closing Disclosure, which is similar to the Loan Estimate but contains additional details on the costs associated with your mortgage.

During this three-day window before your closing, you’ll have time to ask your lender any questions you may have about your mortgage and closing costs. Typically, a buyer pays all of the closing costs associated with a transaction. Depending on your state laws, however, the seller may end up paying a portion of the buyer’s closing costs.

How Can I Save on Closing Costs?

If you are looking to save on closing costs, or don’t want to pay closing costs out of pocket, you may have other options.

Closing Cost Credits

You could negotiate a “credit” with the seller, stipulating the seller pay some of the buyer’s closing costs.

Additionally, you may qualify for a credit through the lender. In this case, the lender will help cover your closing costs, but this may result in a higher interest rate.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may be eligible for a first-time homebuyer credit.

Down Payment Assistance

You may qualify for down payment assistance (DPA), which is a down payment and closing cost assistance program that helps qualified homebuyers close on their mortgage loans. Both the buyer and home being purchased must be eligible.

Mortgage Credit Certificate

You may be able to utilize a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC), which is designed to help first-time homebuyers offset a portion of their mortgage interest on a new mortgage. As a tax credit, not a tax deduction, a MCC helps you reduce your annual taxes dollar for dollar.

The mortgage credit allowed varies depending on the state or local government issuing the certificates, but is capped at a maximum of $2,000 per year by the IRS. MCCs can often be used alongside another down payment program.


So, long story short, you can either pay the closing costs up front, or pay them as part of your mortgage. In many cases, it’s best to speak to a loan professional to discover which option is best for your unique situation and loan type.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind you will need to pay closing costs when refinancing your mortgage. Many homeowners overlook this cost when planning for their refinance.

In total, your closing costs typically range from 2 to 4% of your mortgage loan amount. While closing costs are a necessary step to achieving homeownership, you can rest assured your money will be invested wisely – because you will begin building equity that will benefit you and your family in the future.