Who Pays Closing Costs When Buying or Selling a Home?

by Erin Fernschild 06/20/2019

The process of closing on a home can seem lengthy and complex if it’s your first time buying or selling a house. There are several costs and fees required to close on a home, and while it’s up to the individuals to decide who covers what costs, there are some conventions to follow.

In this article, we’re going to talk about closing costs for selling a house and signing on a mortgage. We’ll discuss who pays what, and whether there is room for negotiation within the various fees and expenses.

But first, let’s talk a little bit about what closing costs are and what to expect when you start the process of buying or selling a home.

Closing costs, simplified

If you’re just now entering the real estate market, the good news is you can often estimate your closing costs based on the value of the property in question. You can ask your real estate agent relatively early on in the process for a ballpark figure of your costs.

Closing costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your sale and the area you live in. In some cases, closing costs can be bundled into your mortgage, such as in “No Closing Cost Mortgages.” However, avoiding having to deal with closing costs often comes at the expense of a slightly higher interest rate.

If you are planning to buy a house and have recently applied for a mortgage, laws require that your lender sends you an estimate of your closing costs within a few days of your application.

Now that we know how closing costs work, let’s take a look at who plays what.

Buyer closing costs

In terms of the sheer number of closing costs, buyers tend to have the most to deal with. Fortunately, your real estate agent will help you navigate these costs and simplify the process.

They can range from two to five percent of the cost of the sale price of the home. However, be sure to check with your lender for the closest estimate of your closing costs. It’s a good idea to shop around for mortgage lenders based on interest rates as well as closing costs charged by the lender.

Here are some of the costs you might be asked to pay as a home buyer:

  • Appraisal fees

  • Attorney fees

  • Origination fees

  • Prepaid interest or discount points

  • Home inspection fee

  • Insurance and Escrow deposits

  • Recording fees

  • Underwriting fees

Seller Closing Costs

While the seller pays a larger amount of closing costs, sellers still have obligations at closing that can be just as expensive. The biggest expense for sellers is to pay the real estate commission. Commission usually falls in the vicinity of 6% of the sale price of the home. This covers the commission of both the seller’s and the buyer’s real estate agents. 


The main takeaway? Buyers and sellers both share the burden of closing costs. While the buyer has more expenses to take care of, the seller pays for the largest costs.

About the Author
Author

Erin Fernschild

I believe that when it comes to Real Estate sales and service, you can have it all and that is my professional goal. Erin Fernschild has lived in Stratford, CT since moving from New York City in 2005. First living in the direct waterfront community of Breakwater Key and then moving to Lordship in 2012. Her interests in Real Estate expanded while she was searching for a home that would meet her lifestyle and growing family needs. Commuting to Wall Street in NYC on the train gave her ample time to find the perfect location for all of her requirements, even though she was told by many “you can’t have it all”. Erin attended William Patterson University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and International Marketing. Throughout her career, she has worked for several Investment Banking Firms in NYC including First Boston, Bear Stearns, and Deutsche Bank. In 2016, Erin obtained her real estate license and joined RealtyQuest. Erin’s passion for service and understanding of what it takes to complete any transaction with the least amount of difficulties stems from her role at Deutsche Bank where she co-­founded its Relationship Management team which is accountable for the Bank’s overall commercial relationships. Erin worked face-to-face on a daily basis with large hedge funds, asset managers, and high net worth individuals, listening to their needs, communicating effectively and often acting as a mediator to resolve issues. Her friendly style, tenacity, and technological ability provide her clients with a competitive edge in challenging markets. She is a natural people person who will work tirelessly on her client’s behalf. She truly enjoys assisting others to Buy, Sell and Invest in Real Estate and understands the amount of time, dedication, and thoughtfulness that goes into finding the right property, at the right price, that meets all of her client’s needs.