When selling a home, it’s essential to understand the financial aspects involved, including the fees and costs you may encounter during the closing process. The closing statement, also known as the settlement statement or seller’s statement, provides a breakdown of these expenses. 

Let’s break down the fees sellers typically encounter on a closing statement. Our goal is to assist you in preparing for a successful and financially sound home sale.

 

Understanding the Seller’s Closing Statement

The seller’s closing statement is a document that itemizes all the financial transactions related to the sale of a property. It provides transparency and accountability in the real estate transaction, ensuring the seller and buyer understand their financial responsibilities. 

Here are the typical fees and expenses you can expect to see on a seller’s closing statement:

 

1. Real Estate Commission

The most substantial fee that sellers typically encounter is the real estate commission. This fee is paid to the listing agent and the buyer’s agent and is typically a percentage of the final sale price. The commission covers the real estate agent’s services, including marketing, negotiations, and transaction facilitation.

2. Transfer Taxes

Transfer taxes are fees imposed by state or local governments on the transfer of property ownership. The amount of transfer tax can vary widely depending on your location. Some areas may require the seller to cover this expense, while others may split it with the buyer.  This is determined on the purchase agreement documentation.

 

3. Abstracting Update

In Iowa, the seller is typically responsible for bringing the abstract up to date and giving it to the buyer’s attorney for review.  Fees for the abstract update vary per abstractor, but range from $250 up to thousands of dollars.

 

4. Outstanding Mortgage Balances

The outstanding balance will be paid off at closing if you have an existing mortgage on the property. This includes the principal amount of the loan and any accrued interest up to the closing date. Additionally, any prepayment penalties or early termination fees should be factored in.

5. Prorated Property Taxes

Property taxes are typically paid pro-rata, which means they are divided between the buyer and the seller based on the portion of the year each party owns the property. The seller is responsible for paying property taxes up to the closing date.

6. Homeowners Association (HOA) Dues and Assessments

If the property is part of an HOA, the seller may be required to pay any outstanding dues, assessments, or fees associated with the HOA. This ensures the buyer assumes a property free of unpaid HOA obligations.

7. Recording Fees

Recording fees are charges for filing the necessary documents with the county or local government to complete the sale.  These fees are determined by the type of document being recorded and the number of pages of said document.

 

8. Attorney Fees

In some states, it’s customary for sellers to have an attorney represent them during the closing process. Attorney fees can vary based on the complexity of the transaction and the attorney’s rates.

 

9. Home Warranty Costs

Sometimes, sellers may offer the buyer a home warranty as part of the sale. The seller typically pays the cost of the home warranty.

 

10. Repairs and Credits

Suppose the buyer’s inspection reveals necessary repairs or issues with the property. In that case, the seller may agree to make repairs or provide a credit at closing to cover the cost of addressing these issues.

 

11. Miscellaneous Expenses

Depending on the specifics of your transaction, there may be other miscellaneous expenses, such as survey costs or pest inspection fees, that the seller is responsible for covering.

 

Is There Room for Negotiation?

In some cases, sellers may have the opportunity to negotiate certain fees or expenses with the buyer. For example, negotiate who pays for the transfer taxes or whether you’ll cover some of the buyer’s closing costs to sweeten the deal.

A seller’s closing statement contains several fees that can impact the success and financial soundness of his or her sale. Knowing what fees are commonly associated with house sales can help you plan and budget accordingly. Negotiate whenever possible and coordinate closely with your real estate agent to ensure a smooth sale. Additionally, understanding the tax implications of your home sale can help you plan and budget accordingly and set a realistic sales price.