Settlement services includes “any service provided in connection with a real estate settlement including, but not limited to, the following: title searches, title examinations, the provision of title certificates, title insurance, services rendered by an attorney, the preparation of documents, property surveys, the rendering of credit reports or appraisals, pest and fungus inspections, services rendered by a real estate agent or broker, the origination of a federally related mortgage loan (including, but not limited to, the taking of loan applications, loan processing, and the underwriting and funding of loans), and the handling of the processing, and closing of settlement.
Title search: This is done to make sure that there are no unpaid mortgages or tax liens on the property. In most states it can be done by a title insurance company. But a few states require an attorney to conduct the search. Fees vary but expect to pay $200 to $400.
Title insurance fees: This protects you by guaranteeing that the title to the property is clear. There may be a second fee listed on the closing document to cover a separate policy that protects the lender. Cost for this averages 0.5 percent of the purchase price but could go as high as one percent of the purchase price.
Notary fees: A licensed notary public serves as witness that the documents were signed by you. If you’re closing at the title or escrow office, fees for notarization may be waived. Fees are set by each state.
Attorney fees: Some states require an attorney to oversee the closing. In most states, it’s up to you whether to hire your own lawyer. Real estate attorney fees vary. Some charge by the hour with rates ranging from $150 to $350 per hour, while others offer a fixed rate to conduct a real estate closing. Expect to pay $500 to as much as $1,500 if you hire an attorney.
There are great differences in the practices of state and local governments. Who pays which of these fees also varies according to the terms negotiated in the sales contact.
Recording fees: It costs at average of $100 to get the sale recorded in the public record.
Transfer taxes: These vary by jurisdiction, but can be significant where they are collected. Some governments also require the purchase of tax stamps.
These may or may not be be collected depending on the terms of your contract.
Survey: If your lender requires a survey to establish property lines, expect to pay about $1,000.
Courier fee: Charged if a courier picks up and delivers documents.
Lead-based paint inspection: Covers the cost of evaluating lead-based paint risk.
Pest inspection: Depending on location, a termite or other pest inspection may be required. The seller usually pays for this.
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