Buying a Home? Here Are Costs You Can Expect

Congratulations, you are ready to buy a home! The purchase price is easy to find, but there are other costs associated with a home purchase, especially if you are financing the transaction. These are some of the most common costs in a purchase transaction.

Lender Fees. These fees are paid directly to the lender at closing. Many of them will include origination charges (processing, underwriting and cost for the rate). Government loan programs also have additional fees, such as upfront mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans and funding fees for VA loans.

Third-Party Fees. The fees are paid to nonaffiliated vendors in the transaction, and some, such as the appraisal fees, must be paid up front at the beginning of the transaction. Title and escrow companies also charge fees for their services.

Attorney Fees. These are also an associated cost in states that require attorneys to be present and review documents at closing.

Home Inspection Fees. These are often not mandatory but should be strongly considered for such a large investment. Paying for a home inspection will give you a much better idea of the condition of your home, such as the plumbing, foundation and sewage system.

Reserve Requirement. Reserve requirements are not fees but are still costs in the home-buying process. If you are impounding (escrow) your taxes and insurance, there has to be enough in the account to pay your tax and insurance bills when they are due. Depending on the time of year your loan closes, this could be a significant cost. Your mortgage payment will take smaller portions monthly that will later be applied to your taxes and insurance, but you will still need to pay money at closing to ensure adequate funds.

To learn more about the specifics of these costs, call or email me, and I will go over the details.

Prepayment Penalties: Should You Be Concerned?

A prepayment penalty is a clause in a mortgage contract stating that a penalty will be applied if the borrower pays off or significantly pays down the mortgage before term, usually within the first three years of committing to the loan. Sometimes the penalty is a certain number of months’ worth of interest. Sometimes it is based on a percentage of the remaining mortgage.

Prepayment penalties were originally designed to protect the lender from people refinancing repeatedly when rates fluctuate. It is costly for lenders if you pay off or significantly reduce your mortgage balance. The income the lender makes is generally a payment stream over time, so if the loan is paid off early or reduced, this limits their income. This is especially true if the lender is also the servicer of the loan (who you make the payments to). In order to incur a penalty, buyers would usually have to pay off a significant portion of the loan very quickly.

A typical example is to pay 20 percent of the loan in one year. On a $100,000 loan, this would require paying down $20,000 in 12 months. A homeowner paying even $1,000 per month extra on the principal would fall well short of reaching that point.

Does your mortgage have a prepayment penalty? Most likely, it does not. After the mortgage reform bill (Dodd-Frank) in 2010, the penalties became illegal on most residential mortgages. Chances are if you started your loan after July 2010, you are most likely free of any worries about prepayment penalties. However, certain types of mortgages may still have them.

If you are worried that your mortgage might have one, a quick call to me is all it takes to find out. I am always here to help.