Monday, March 16, 2015

Why Should I Pay the Home Buyer's Closing Cost?

Why Should I Pay the Home Buyer's Closing Cost?

Question: I received an offer on my home that I have for sale, and in the purchase contract the buyer is asking me to pay for his closing costs. I don't think I should have to pay any of the buyer's costs. When I purchased this home the previous owner didn't pay any of my costs. Why should I pay this buyer's cost?

Answer: It is very typical these days for a buyer to ask a seller to pay for closing costs. In fact, probably around 30% of  buyers will include it in their offers. It's usually worded in the Purchase Contract similar to this: "Seller to pay for Buyer's closing costs, points and/or prepaid expenses" 

Let's first explain what these items are. Closing costs include the attorney fees, title insurance, bank fees, etc. Points are funds that the buyer pays at closing to get a better interest rate. Prepaid expenses include insurance, taxes and interest. The total amount of the cost varies with the purchase price, down payments, loan program and the day of the month that the property closes, but typically run 2% to 5% of the mortgage amount.

Now that we know what closing costs are, why should you, the seller, be responsible for paying them? What we really want to look at is how much will you be actually receiving after paying the closing costs. For example, if someone offers you $300,000 but they want you to pay $5,000 in closing costs, you are actually going to receive $295,000 at the closing table ($300,000-$5,000=$295,000). If you are happy with receiving $295,000 then what's the problem with paying it to make the deal work? If you're not happy with the bottom line you can always give a counter offer. Just don't take away the buyer's closing costs. So say, if you really looking for $310,000, then counter at $315,000 and say you'll pay the $5,000 towards closing costs (for a net of $310,000).

A home buyer has to come up with the down payment, plus additional expenses once he moves in. Not to mention moving costs. It's in the buyer's best interest to try to keep as much cash in the bank as possible to cover these and any unforeseen expenses. Really, what the buyer is actually doing is financing his closing costs, because you would have accepted $310,000... and he is buying it for $315,000. So, even though it says in the contract that the seller is paying the closing costs, in reality the buyer is paying for them himself (over the life of the 30 year mortgage).

So, don't get hung up on paying a buyer's closing cost. If you can come to an agreed upon price, concentrate on doing what you can to get the buyer to the closing table. Paying for closing costs is a no brainer that doesn't affect you as long as you look at the bottom line.

Jim Armstrong
Armstrong Field Real Estate

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