Closing Costs Explained
Here is an overview of the types of closing costs you may incur on your loan when purchasing a home in Birmingham AL. Some are one-time fees, while others reoccur over the life of the loan. When you apply for your loan, you will receive a Good Faith Estimate of Settlement Charges, and a booklet that will explain these costs in detail. In fact, the Good Faith Estimate has become more detailed and provides home buyers more detailed information about their closing costs earlier in the home buying process.
Loan Origination Fee: This fee covers the lender's administrative costs in processing the loan. It is a one-time fee, often expressed as a percentage of the loan. The origination fee is typically 1% of the loan, but remember, you can obtain a loan with no origination fee and a slightly higher interest rate.
Loan Discount: Often called "points", a loan discount is a one-time charge used to adjust the yield on the loan to what market conditions demand. One point is equal to 1% of the loan amount. This fee is rare when interest rates are low.
Appraisal Fee: This is a one-time fee that pays for an appraisal, which is a statement of property value viewed by the lender. The appraisal is made by an independent fee appraiser and can cost a standard $350 to $450, or much more, depending on the home's size and location.
Credit Report Fee: This one-time fee covers the cost of the credit report that is run by an independent credit reporting agency and is usually about $60-$75.
Title Insurance Fee: There are two title policies: a lender's title policy (which protects the lender against loss due to defects on title) and an Owners (buyer's) title policy (which protects you). The total cost of these two policies for the Buyer is approximately Purchase Price x .00355 / 2
Miscellaneous Title Charges: The title company may charge fees for a title search, title examination, document preparation, notary fees, recording fees, and a settlement or closing fee. These are all one-time charges and can add up to about $200.
Document Prep Fee: There may be a separate, one-time fee that covers preparation of the final legal papers, including the note and deed of trust. These legal documents run about $150.
Lender Fees: Other lender fees include an underwriting fee, a flood certification fee, an amortization schedule fee, and other miscellaneous fees that should be disclosed by your mortgage lender at loan application. These fees vary dramatically from about $450 to $900.
Prepaid Interest: Depending on the time of month your loan closes, this charge may vary from a full month's interest to just a few days' interest. If your loan closes at the beginning of the month, you will probably have to pay the maximum amount. If your loan closes at the end of the month, you will only have to pay a few days' interest.
PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) Premium: Depending on the amount of your down payment, you may have to pay an up-front fee for mortgage insurance (which protects the lender against loss due to foreclosure). You may also be required to put a certain amount into a special reserve account (an impound account) held by the lender for PMI.
Opening of the Escrow Account: Your lender will typically have an account where your property taxes and property insurance will be held. This account will be started with taxes approximately equal to two months in excess of the number of months that have elapsed this year. (i.e. If 6 months have passed, they will collect 8 months of taxes.) Your property insurance will be collected one year in advance, plus two months that will be kept in your escrow account.
Earnest Money Deposit: It is important to have an understanding of the earnest money deposit, so you will not be placed in an uncomfortable position when you purchase a property. At the time a written offer is initiated, you will be required by the seller to include a personal check, cashier's check, or cash. The amount is normally deposited (cashed) into the designated title company's escrow account upon the offer's acceptance, and will remain in escrow until the time of closing. This amount is credited to you as a partial down payment and represents your intent to purchase the property. If the offer is not accepted, this amount is returned to you promptly. Depending on the price of the property, you should anticipate a minimum of a $500 to $1,000 earnest money deposit. Also, in the event that you do not qualify with a lender for a new loan, the earnest money is refunded to you, provided the sellers are given written notice regarding the lender's disapproval, and provided you have supplied the lender with all documentation they have requested. You will also need both parties to sign a Mutual Release for the listing broker to release the earnest money if the home has not closed.
Wood Infestation Report: As a Buyer, you should make sure and get an Alabama Wood Infestation Report from a licensed Pest Control Contractor. This report is issued by a licensed pest control company, stating that the accessible areas of the property were properly inspected and showed no evidence of any active or previous signs of subterranean or dry wood termites, powder post or wood boring beetles or wood decaying fungus. This report costs between $100 and $200. Note that this report is NOT a termite bond, which must be inspected and purchased separately.
Reminder: For the closing, you must bring a driver's license and a cashier's check for the remainder of your down payment, made out to the title company. At the closing, you may sign the cashier's check over to the title company. If the closing does not occur, you can deposit the cashier's check back into your own account.
If you already own Birmingham real estate, and you need to refinance your mortgage, some but not all of these costs will be a part of your refinance. There's certainly a lot to know!
Contact our team for more information on mortgage closing costs.