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How Home Closing Costs Can Add Up

How Home Closing Costs Can Add Up
By Rob Engen
www.moneyville.ca

Home buyers are often advised to set aside one-to-three per cent of the purchase price of their house for closing costs.  These fees are explained during the home buying process, but it is helpful to ask questions so you fully understand how these costs can affect  your budget.

Legal fees: On average you should budget $600 to $900 for legal fees and an additional $200 to $400 for disbursements, which includes registering the mortgage, completing a tax certificate, and doing a title search on the property.  On top of that you may pay administrative fees for postage, faxing and photocopying.

Shop around. Some law offices specialize in handling mortgage disbursements and offer cheaper rates.  Ask your bank or mortgage broker which law firm they recommend and then call at least 3 other lawyers for quotes.  A few phone calls can save you hundreds of dollars.  I paid $810 for legal fees and disbursements - the next best quote was over $1,000.

Property tax adjustment: If you buy an existing home, the previous owners have paidproperty taxes to the City.  On closing, you will be required to reimburse them for the taxes they have prepaid for the year. 

For example if the previous owners paid $2,000 in property taxes for the year and you took possession of their home on June 30, you will be required to pay the owner half the pre-paid taxes, or $1,000.

Interest adjustment Date: Depending on the date chosen by your lender as the interest adjustment (the date the mortgage starts) you may be required to pay interest from the closing date until your interest adjustment date.  The maximum amount would be one month’s interest at the rate of your mortgage.

For example, our mortgage was advanced when we took possession of our home on August 15.  We owed an interest-only payment from the advance date until September 1, which was our interest adjustment date.  Our first full mortgage payment came out on October 1. 

While it may sound like you get some reprieve by skipping a monthly mortgage payment, most people want to start eliminating this debt as quickly as possible.

Hidden costs can make it difficult to stick to a budget, especially for a first time home buyer.  Be sure to ask your lender in advance for a detailed description of all your closing costs so they are factored into your overall budget.