Slide 1

Serving South Florida

Slide 2
For over 30 years

Posts Tagged ‘closing costs’

Mortgage Rates and The Fed

The Federal Reserve kept the benchmark rate unchanged on September 21st, in a divided vote that alludes to the possibility of a hike before the end of the year.

“The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives,” the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released in statement. “The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.”

“Our decision does not reflect a lack of confidence in the economy,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference, later adding, “We’re generally pleased with how the U.S. economy is doing.”Today’s action was largely expected by analysts as policymakers stood fast this summer, despite initially forecasting four hikes this year. The federal funds rate informs the trajectory of mortgage rates, which remain at historic lows.

Perhaps no sector has benefited more from ultra-low rates than housing, which was devastated by the real estate crash. Home sales are expected to total about 5.7 million this year, up from 5.4 million in 2014 and 4.6 million in 2011. The recovery can at least partly be traced to 30-year fixed mortgage rates that remain below 4%, down from about 6% in 2008, keeping borrowing costs low for buyers.

But today’s housing market is supported by far more than low mortgage rates — namely steady job and economic growth. What’s more, 30-year mortgages are priced off 10-year Treasury note yields, which do rise as short-term rates climb, but not as steeply.

Doug Duncan, chief economist of Fannie Mae, the giant government-sponsored funder of mortgages, expects this week’s Fed hike of a quarter of a percentage point to have virtually no immediate impact on Treasury or mortgage rates, noting markets already have priced in the move. Assuming the Fed raises its rate by a percentage point over the next year, Duncan expects 30-year mortgage rates to drift from 3.9% to 4.1% during the period. That would boost the monthly cost of a typical $225,000 mortgage by $26 to $1,454 — not enough to deter most buyers.

Adjustable-rate mortgages, many of which are modified annually, could increase about twice as rapidly, by about a half a percentage point. Yet as long as job growth and aggregate U.S. incomes increase proportionally, Duncan expects any market impact to be modest. A far bigger restraint on home sales, he says, is a limited supply that should push up prices by nearly 5% both this year and in 2016. As a result, Duncan expects home sales to increase 4% in 2016, down from 8% this year, with higher rates holding back 1% to 2% of deals.

“As long as the rate rise is gradual, I don’t see it as a hugely important factor,” he says.

Common Fees When Buying A Home

When buying a home, most people focus on how much the home costs and what interest rate they can get on the loan. While understanding the lending process is very important, the other fees that home buyers overlook when it comes to their home purchase.

There are some fees that will require up-front payment. Other fees may be rolled into the loan for your home. It’s important to understand the difference and know what you’ll be expected to pay.

Earnest Money Deposit

To prove you’re “earnest” in your purchase commitment, a buyer can expect to deposit to a trust account 1% to 2% of the total purchase price as an earnest money deposit within days of entering into a contract.This amount can change depending on market factors. If demand in your area is high, a seller could expect a larger deposit. If the market is cold, a seller could be happy with less than 1%.

Other governing factors like state limitations and rules can cap how much earnest money a seller can ask for.

Escrow account

An escrow account is basically a way for your mortgage company to make sure you have enough money to cover related taxes, insurance and possibly mortgage insurance. The amount you need to pay varies by location, lender, and loan type. It could cover costs for a few months to a year.

If you only provide a small down payment, you may be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Private mortgage insurance, commonly referred to as PMI, is typically provided by a private mortgage insurance company to protect lenders against loss if a borrower defaults.

Sometimes this means you are required to pay a full year’s worth at time of purchase, or it will be rolled into your monthly payment.

Escrow accounts are common for loans with less than a 20% down payment and mandatory for FHA loans, but it’s not required for VA loans.

Origination Fees & Points

The origination fee is the price you pay the loan officer or broker for completing the loan, and it includes underwriting, originating, and processing costs.

The origination fee is a small percentage of the total loan. A typical origination fee is about 1%, but it can vary. You should shop lenders for more than interest rate, but all of the fees associated with the loan.

Inspections

You want to be assured your new home is structurally sound and free of defects before you complete the purchase. Those assurances come with a price.

  • Home inspection: This is critical for homebuyers. A good inspector will be able to notify you of structural problems, defective applianes, leaks, and other potentially serious problems. Expect to pay $300 to $800 for a home inspection, although cost varies by location and the size of the home and how many stories it is.
  • Radon inspection: An EPA-recommended step, this inspection will determine whether your prospective home has elevated levels of the cancer-causing agent radon. A professional radon inspection can cost several hundred dollars.
  • Pest inspections: Roaches are one thing. Termites or wood fungus are a whole different story. Expect to pay up to $150 for a Wood Destroying Organism inspection.

Attorney

Some states, such as North Carolina, require an attorney to be present at closing. In other states, such as Florida, this is optional. If you use a lawyer, expect to cover the costs, which vary by area and lawyer and what the attorney is being asked to do.

Credit check

Just because you can get your credit report for free doesn’t mean your lender can (and they will actually pull all three). You have to reimburse the lender, usually around for these reports that usually run about $30.

Insurance

If you live in a hazard-prone area, you might need to purchase extra insurance in addition to homeowners insurance, these can include wind and flood. Lenders will require that you purchase the required insurance to protect their investment. If you are a cash buyer, you have the option of buying insurance or self-insuring. Make sure you understand the risks.

Appraisal

Your lender will not approve a loan for a home without knowing what its fair market value is. They will determine this value based on an appraisal.  Appraisal costs vary by market area and the size and complexity of the property. An appraisal will typically cost $250 to $1000.

 

Title Insurance

Title insurance covers you in the unlikely case that the person who sold you the house didn’t actually own it or if information on the title was false. Typically this is verified before the purchase of your home, but this insurance protects the lender or the buyer against loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property.

The lender will require you to have title insurance for the value of the loan. You are also required to have title insurance on the value of the property. Whether the buyer or seller pays for this is area specific and is a protocol not a mandate and can be negotiated as a condition of the contract.

Survey

A survey is not required in all instances, but your lender may require a professional surveyor to determine exactly where your property lines are drawn. Your attorney will also review the survey to ensure that there are no encroachments. Prices vary widely, but expect to pay at least $100.

Document preparation fees:

The lender, broker, Title Company or closing attorney will usually have a fee to cover the preparation of the required documents for the loan and closing paperwork. These fees are typically rolled in closing costs for the home and may be covered by either the homebuyer or seller.

 

State Recording Fees:

Depending on where you live, there may be a fee required for recording and holding the information regarding the sale.

Ensure A Smooth Mortgage Application Process

What to do before closing:

  • You can still be denied for a mortgage loan, even after you’ve been pre-approved by the lender. The pre-approval is not a commitment or guarantee. You’ve been conditionally qualified for loan. But you need to stay qualified all the way up to the closing. The less your financial situation changes, the better.
  • If you withdraw or transfer funds for any reason before closing, your lender will probably ask for a written explanation. They will also want to see a record of the transaction, such as your bank statements.
  • Make sure you have a home owners insurance policy in place. Your lender will require this. They might even require you to pay the first year’s premium in advance, by setting up an escrow account. The lender may contact your insurance agent before closing day, to verify the policy and coverage amount.
  • If you make any large deposits into your account, tell your lender about it. It will only help your cause, as far as mortgage approval goes. Provide any documents you have relating to the deposit.

 

What to avoid before closing day:

  • Don’t spend a lot of money. Implement a self-imposed “spending freeze,” as much as possible. You obviously have to buy groceries, gas for your car, and other necessities. But don’t spend anything beyond that. Keep things as stable as possible until after you close on the home.
  • It’s best to avoid any major purchases during this period. Your lender might have certain cash-reserve requirements for the loan. So a major reduction in assets could hurt your chances of getting the final approval.
  • Don’t open any new credit lines, such as credit cards. The same goes for buying a car, applying for a store credit card, etc. These things will change your debt ratio, which could cause problems with your final approval. Mortgage lenders hate surprises.
  • Don’t switch jobs before closing, unless it’s completely unavoidable. A new job usually brings a change in income, as well. If your income goes down, it will alter your debt-to-income ratio in a bad way. A change in employment will also require a lot of paperwork changes. Some lenders will verify your employment again, just before closing day.

 

Typical Closing Cost: Who Pays What?

Closings-Costs-Chart

This chart is a representation of the standard real estate closings.  Different rules may apply by State or county within a State.

Residential Real Estate Closing Costs and Fees

In addition to a down payment, you will also have to have sufficient cash on hand to pay for closing costs. The person purchasing the home pays usually closing costs, but with some mortgages (VA for example) the seller can pay closing costs. A little-known fact is that a big part of costs and fees actually go to third parties who process the mortgage, as well as local governments as taxes.

The average closing costs percentage is usually about 2-5% of the purchase price. But all cash buyers may end of paying less and high risk buyers getting a loan may end of paying more.

As an informed mortgage customer, you should make your mortgage banker walk you through each cost, and explain in detail what you are paying.   Lenders are required to give you a Good Faith Estimate.

It is advisable that you fully understand the total cost of purchasing a home in advance of finalizing a contract. State laws and fees will vary depending on the practice and real estate law within the state. Here’s a breakdown of the most common closing costs and fees with a rough estimate of average cost:

 

Appraisal :($200-$600) – This is paid to the appraisal company to confirm the fair market value of the home.

         Buyer’s Attorney Fee: (not required in all states – $400 and up)

Lender’s Attorney Fee: (not required in all states – $150 and up)

Escrow Deposit for Property Taxes & Mortgage Insurance: (varies widely) – Often you are asked to put down two months of property tax and mortgage insurance payments at closing as a requirement by the lender.

Credit Report: (up to $50) – A Tri-merge credit report is pulled to get your credit history and score.  You cannot supply your consumer pulled report and the scores pulled form the internet from any place other than myfico.com are not real scores nor are they accurate.

Closing Fee or Escrow Fee :(generally calculated a $2.00 per thousand of purchase price plus $250 – $500) – This is paid to the title company, escrow company or attorney for conducting the closing. The Title Company or escrow oversees the closing as an independent party in your home purchase. Some states require a real estate attorney be present at every closing.

         Home Owners Association Transfer Fees – The Seller will pay for this transfer which will show that the dues are paid current, what the dues are, a copy of the association financial statements, minutes and notices.  The buyer should review these documents to determine if the Association has enough reserves in place to avert future special assessments, check to see if there are special assessments, legal action, or any other items that might be of concern.  Also included will be Association by-laws, rules and regulations and CC & Rs.  The fee for the transfer varies per association, but generally around $200-$300.

Title Company Title Search or Exam Fee (varies greatly) – This fee is paid to the title company for doing a thorough search of the property’s records. The title company researches the deed to your new home, ensuring that no one else has a claim to the property.

Survey Fee (varies greatly) – This fee goes to a survey company to verify all property lines and things like shared fences on the property.  This is not required in all states but will be required if you are getting a loan. The cost will depend on if an existing survey exists, if there have been additions or deletions to the property since it was last surveyed, the size and complexity of the property, et. al.

Courier Fee (up to $50) – This covers the cost of transporting documents to complete the loan transaction as quickly as possible.

Lender’s Policy Title Insurance: (Calculated from the purchase price off a rate table. Varies by company) – This is insurance to assure the lender that you own the home and the lender’s mortgage is a valid lien. Similar to the title search, but sometimes a separate line item.

         Loan Application Fee: (Varies by lender) A fee charged to process an application for a loan, such as a home mortgage from a lender or mortgage broker.

Owner’s Policy Title Insurance: (Calculated from the purchase        price off a rate table. Varies by company) – This is an insurance policy protecting you in the event someone challenges your ownership of the home.

Transfer Taxes :(varies widely by state & municipality) – This is the tax paid when the title passes from seller to buyer.

Recording Fees: (varies widely depending on municipality) – A fee charged by your local recording office, usually city or county, for the recording of public land records.

Processing or Loan Origination Fee :(varies by lender) – This goes to your lender. It reimburses the cost to process the information on your loan application.

Underwriting Fee: (varies by lender) – This also goes to your lender, covering the cost of researching whether or not to approve you for the loan.

Loan Discount Points: (often zero to two percent of loan amount) – “Points” are prepaid interest. One point is one percent of your loan amount. This is a lump sum payment that lowers your monthly payment for the life of your loan.

Pre-Paid Interest :(varies depending on loan amount, interest rate and time of month you close on your loan) – This is money you pay at closing in order to get the interest paid up through the first of the month.

    Private Mortgage Insurance: If your down payment is less than 20%, the lender may require that you purchase this insurance to protect them from repossessing and selling the home for less than the loan value.

Property Taxes: proration depending on what has been already paid or is owed by the Seller:

Wood Destroying Pest Inspection and Allocation of Costs: – If required by the lender or buyer, the inspection generally runs up to $125.00

Last, but not least, you probably will get your own home inspection to verify the condition of a property and to check for home repairs that may be needed before closing.  These inspections can include general inspection, RADON testing, seawall, pool and roof inspections, Chinese drywall, mold and more.

Closing costs and fees are part of a mortgage, and knowing what they are and how much they should be is a good idea. This will put you in a position to challenge a cost or fee that seems exorbitant. Even if everything is correct, you have the right to ask, and your mortgage company has the duty to explain — in detail — each and every closing cost and fee.