Closing Costs To Consider When Buying A Home in Farmington Hills MI

Closing Costs To Consider When Buying A Home in Farmington Hills MI

Closing Costs To Consider When Buying A Home in Farmington Hills MI

Buying a home in Farmington Hills MI involves more money out-of-pocket than just the down payment. There are also closing costs to consider. Closing costs refer to the charges and fees that are paid when a house purchase is finalized.

Typically, the buyer’s closing costs include mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance, appraisal fees, property taxes, reserves to set up escrow, and various fees that lenders typically charge, among others – while the seller covers ownership transfer fees and pays a commission to their real estate agent.

Farmington Hills MI Homes for Sale

The total cost can often come as a shock to first-time homebuyers who may only be looking at coming up with the amount of their down payment. Understanding what closing costs cover and budgeting for them will smooth out the final stretch of the home buying process. Lender fees can be the most significant of all closing costs.

How much can a buyer expect to pay?

Average closing costs for the buyer will typically run between 2% and 5% of the loan amount.  On a $300,000 home purchase, for example, you could expect to pay from $6,000 to $15,000 In closing costs. Much depends on the points and origination fees a lender charges to make the loan. The points, together with any origination fee will be included in the Origination Charges section of your Loan Estimate.

The government requires lenders to list closing costs and the amount of cash you’ll need to have on hand at the time of settlement on every mortgage applicant’s Loan Estimate. The lender should provide the loan estimate to potential borrowers within three days of submitting an application. The Loan Estimate details the terms of your loan, including:

  • Expenses, with clear “yes” or “no” answers to important questions, such as whether each amount can increase after closing, whether your loan includes a prepayment penalty or a balloon payment, and which expenses are included in your escrow account 
  • The projected monthly mortgage payment, including taxes, insurance, and other assessments 
  • Estimated closing costs and the amount of cash you’ll need to have on hand at the time of settlement 
  • Information on services you can, and cannot, shop for — such as pest inspections, survey fees, and the home appraisal 

The Closing Disclosure provides the same information as the Loan Estimate but in final form. This means that it contains the locked-in costs of your loan and the specific amount you’ll need to pay at closing. You’ll receive this document three days before your scheduled loan closing.

Non-recurring and recurring closing costs 

There are over 35 closing cost items that you may be required to pay, which can be separated into two categories: non-recurring and recurring:

Non-recurring closing costs are paid once at closing and never again. Non-recurring closing costs are the fees that most mortgage borrowers are familiar with and may include the following items: 

  • Title policy
  • Escrow or closing
  • Appraisal
  • Credit report
  • Notary
  • Wire fees
  • Courier and delivery
  • Attorney fees
  • Endorsements
  • Recording
  • Jurisdictional transfer taxes
  • Home protection plan
  • Natural hazard disclosure
  • Home inspection
  • Fees paid to the lender in conjunction with the loan 

Although non-recurring closing costs are set by the specific service provider, you may be able to comparison shop and negotiate some of the fees to lower your closing costs.   

Recurring closing costs are those charges that you will pay again and again. They are paid either monthly or yearly as time goes on. Recurring closing costs include items such as:  

  • Fire insurance premium
  • Flood insurance (if required in your area)
  • Property taxes
  • Mutual or private mortgage insurance premiums
  • Prepaid interest
  • HOA fees

You will be required to pay a portion of these ongoing expenses when the loan closes. Additionally, depending on the time of year your loan closes and your local property tax rate, the amount of property tax you are required to pay at closing can be significant, especially if your loan closes earlier in the year and you’re required to pay several months of property taxes in advance.

If you are required to use an impound or escrow account after your loan closes for your mortgage payment, property tax, homeowners insurance, and other expenses, you may also be required to pre-pay certain expenses. These additional recurring closing costs are due at closing.   

Seller Credit  

Buyers with limited funds can utilize a Seller Credit to help significantly reduce their out-of-pocket costs and enable them to purchase a property they would be unable to buy otherwise. A seller credit also referred to as: sales concessions, seller paid costs, or seller contributions –  is money the seller gives the buyer to pay for closing costs. Some or all of the closing costs, including your property taxes and personal hazard/fire insurance, may be paid for by the seller. 

If the seller pays all your closing costs, you will only pay your down payment. By law, the seller cannot pay for any portion of your down payment. Also, homebuyers cannot receive cash from the seller – not even one dollar.

In order to get a seller credit, you must have it included in your Purchase and Sale Agreement.  The lender doesn’t handle the negotiation of a seller credit. Ask your Farmington Hills MI REALTORⓇ to negotiate it for you (it’s part of the price negotiation of the home).  

A seller credit allows the buyer to finance his closing costs into the new loan amount. The lender must approve the credit and the home’s value must merit the increase in the sale price as determined by an appraisal. Be sure to always check with your lender before you negotiate an offer that involves a seller credit because the lender might not allow it.

Lenders limit what the buyer and a seller credit can pay for. For example, the lender might limit your credit to 3% of the purchase price if you’re financing 100% of the purchase price. Or, depending on your FICO score and the amount of your down payment, the lender might allow a seller to credit you as much as 6% of the purchase price. 

Help with closing costs 

There are also grants and loans available to help with closing costs. If you qualify, you could receive thousands of dollars to help with your mortgage costs. Oftentimes, closing cost assistance is offered by a HUD-approved local or state housing commission, or a mortgage lender. These agencies set aside a certain amount of funds for closing cost grants for low-to-moderate-income borrowers.

Check out the resources below to locate and learn about programs you may qualify for:

Requirements to qualify for closing cost assistance vary by program, and income caps and maximum loan amounts are common. You don’t always have to be a first-time homebuyer to get financial aid.

Many programs are available to repeat buyers or former homeowners who haven’t owned property in the last 3 years. 

Partner with Highly-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR -Tom Gilliam

With over 20 years of real estate experience, Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted Farmington Hills MI REALTORⓇ – offering his guidance and expertise to area home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that buying or selling a home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust.

Farmington Hills MI Homes for Sale

You can be assured that Tom will protect your best interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and guide you towards the best results possible. Get the process started today by contacting Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him by email.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @
License #314578 

Farmington Hills MI


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A Successful First-Home Purchase in Oakland County MI

A Successful First-Home Purchase in Oakland County MI

Think You’re Ready To Make A Successful First-Home Purchase in Oakland County MI? 

It’s very exciting — and perhaps a bit overwhelming — given the expense, time and the number of steps it takes to make a successful first-home purchase in Oakland County MI today. You’ll certainly face many decisions along the way, and there’s plenty to doA Successful First-Home Purchase in Oakland County MI before you achieve your goal of your beautiful first home in Oakland County MI. Relax! It may take a few weeks to get it all together, but buying your first home in Oakland County doesn’t have to be a difficult process if you take it step by step — and have me along as your guide.

Here’s an easy-to-follow summary of the process you’ll go through in buying your first home in Oakland County Mi. Keep it handy as you proceed, and be sure to ask me any questions you have along the way.

  1. Select An Experienced Oakland County Mi Real Estate Professional As Your Buyer’s Agent
    A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional that is contracted to look out for the interests of the buyer rather than the seller. Signing me as your buyer’s representative means I can not only help you find your first home, but I can help negotiate price and contract terms on your behalf and provide information about a home, the sellers, and even previous offers and counteroffers, among other services. In most situations, buyer’s agents are paid from the sales commissions offered by sellers.
  2. Check Your Credit 
    Be sure to check your credit before applying for a mortgage. You’ll want to ensure all the information in your report is accurate — and correct any information that isn’t — to get the credit score you’ll need to qualify for a mortgage at the best interest rates available today. -By law, credit reporting agencies must provide you with a free copy of your report once every year — if you ask for it. To request reports from the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion:

    • By phone, call toll free (877) 322-8228.
    • Online, visit
    • By mail, write to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

    TIP: Credit reports do not include your credit score. Although you can obtain a free copy of each credit report annually, finding out about your credit score will cost you a few dollars.

  3. Investigate Mortgage Programs
    There are lots of mortgage options available, all with different down-payment requirements, interest rates, terms and conditions. I will be happy to help you sort through your choices to find the best fit based on your financial situation and goals.
  4. Interview Reputable Lenders
    Once you’ve decided on the loan options you’re considering, contact several lenders in Oakland County Mi to find out what they can do for you. You’ll want to know about their interest rates, loan costs, terms, etc. I will be happy to provide you with a list of lenders who have helped our clients in the past.
  5. Get Pre-Approved For A Loan, Not Just A Pre-Approval Letter
    Pre-approval means the lender has reviewed your income/debt ratio, assets and credit profile and determined the amount of money they would be willing to lend you providing various conditions are satisfied by the particular home you decide to purchase — such as a supporting appraisal, clear title, etc.Here’s how loan pre-approval can help you:

    • Knowing exactly how much money you can qualify to borrow will ensure you don’t waste your time looking at homes you can’t afford.
    • Based on your loan pre-approval, you’ll know in advance what contract terms you’ll want to negotiate with sellers — for example, seller-paid points, closing costs, inspections, etc.
    • If you find a particularly good deal on a home, you’ll be able to jump on it, without worrying about whether you’ll get the financing you need.
    • Your pre-approved loan gives sellers confidence that their contract with you is more likely to go to settlement/closing –and get there more quickly — than would contracts from competing buyers who have yet to secure financing approval.
  6. Develop A “Needs And Wants” List
    Include the type of home — single-family, townhome, condo, etc. — number of rooms, size, location in Oakland County Mi and any other amenities that are important to you in your first home. Be sure to distinguish between minimum requirements (“needs”) and items you could do without (“wants”), if need be. Remember, you may not be able to afford your dream home as your first home, but making a smart choice will allow you to live in it comfortably and sell it when you’re ready.
  7. Search Available Properties
    I can pull all the homes on the multiple listing service (MLS) in Oakland County MI that match your needs and budget. Of course, you can view many properties online to sort out those that look like what you hope to find.
  8. Tour Homes
    This is where the real home shopping takes place — in person with your agent. Your personal visits to homes in Oakland County MI gives you a clear sense of their location, condition, amenities and overall “feeling,” none of which comes across accurately online. Be sure to drive and walk the neighborhood surrounding your top choices.
  9. Pare Down Your Choices Using Your “Needs And Wants” List
    It’s useful to go back to your original wish list to help you focus on selecting that one property in Oakland County MI that’s just the right combination of amenities to be your first home.
  10. Write A Purchase Offer For The Home Of Your Choice
    I will help you design a purchase offer to get you the best deal on the home you want in Oakland County Mi- and consider contingencies to protect your interests. I will submit your offer with your deposit (earnest money) to the seller or seller’s agent.-An earnest money deposit shows the seller that a buyer is serious about purchasing a property. When the transaction is finalized, the funds are put toward the buyer’s down payment. If the deal falls through, the buyer may not be able to reclaim the deposit.
  11. Negotiate The Contract
    Faced with an offer, sellers have several options — rejecting it or letting it lapse, accepting it as is, or making a counteroffer. Most contracts go through several rounds of back-and-forth negotiations (counteroffers) before both parties agree to the sales contract. I will put my many years of proven negotiating experience to work for you, so you’ll feel like a winner when you sign the bottom line of the contract to buy your first home in Oakland County MI.
  12. Submit Your Contract To Your Lender
    Your lender will need some more information and documents than were required for loan pre-approval. Staying in touch with your loan officer and responding to requests quickly will help keep your financing on track and on time.
  13.  Purchase A Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
    Your lender will require proof that you’ve purchased homeowners insurance (also “hazard insurance”) — shop various insurers to find the best deal.
  14. Schedule And Attend Home Inspections
    Hiring a professional home inspector is a smart move in Oakland County MI, especially when buying your first home. The inspector will provide you with a full report on the condition of the home’s systems, appliances and structure — and even more information if you’re available when the inspection is conducted (old clothes are recommended). You may also want to order specialty inspections to check for problems such as pests, radon gas, mold, etc.
  15. Negotiate Defects Found During The Home Inspection
    With a home-inspection contingency in your contract, you’ll be able to back away from the deal if the inspector finds problems the seller is unwilling to fix and you’re unwilling to buy. Ideally, though, you’ll negotiate with the seller to resolve problems so your home purchase can go forward.
  16. Prepare For The Move To Oakland County MI
    At this stage, you’ll be wrapping up things at your old home and getting ready to move into your new one — disconnecting utilities and services, setting up accounts for your new home, getting rid of items you’d rather not move, hiring movers or lining up boxes and friends, etc.
  17. Conduct A Final Walk-Through Of The Home
    Shortly before closing/settlement, you’ll conduct a walk-through inspection of the home to ensure that the property’s condition hasn’t changed and meets your contract’s requirements.
  18. Attend Closing/Settlement
    With your agent’s help, you’ll check all final documents for accuracy, sign the necessary documents, pay the buyer-assigned closing costs and pick up the keys to your first home. Just one step left — move in and celebrate!


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