Buyer Closing Costs

When considering how much money you have to use toward a home purchase, it is important to have an accurate assessment of the closing costs associated with your transaction. Most closing costs increase as the purchase price increases. Below is a list of costs that buyers typically pay.


Escrow Fees

These are fees paid to the escrow company to manage your transaction as a neutral 3rd party. In SF, Sonoma and Napa Counties the buyer customarily pays the entire escrow fee. 

Title Insurance

This optional insurance policy protects you from any defects in the chain of title or any future claims made by people on the title of your new property. If you borrow a loan as part of your purchase you will need to buy 2 policies - one for you and one for your lender. Buyers in SF, Sonoma, and Napa customarily pay for their own title insurance.

Inspection Fees 

If the seller has not ordered inspections on the property in advance, you’ll need to conduct your own investigations into the condition of the home and its systems. These can include inspections for general systems in the home (aka contractor’s inspection), pests/fungus, sewer/septic, well/water quality, or engineering. Additional inspections may be required depending upon the specifics of your purchase.


Lender Fees

These are determined by your individual lender and can include origination fees, loan points, appraisal, flood certification, and a credit report. Also, a prorated mortgage payment will be collected at the close of escrow. Be sure to ask your lender for a schedule of their costs early in your process.

Home Insurance

Often your lender will require you to prepay one year of your homeowner’s insurance policy at the close of escrow. If you are purchasing a condo, you will likely need an HO6 policy (aka “contents policy”) which covers just the installations inside of your unit.


Property Taxes

Property taxes are paid two times per year and will be prorated in escrow between you and the seller. Depending upon the time of year you buy, you may owe the seller money for the period of your ownership for which they have already paid, or you may receive a credit from them to help you pay the full bill when the time comes.

Condo Fees

For condo buyers, these include prepaid HOA dues and sometimes can include a move-in fee and/or move-in deposit.

Buyer Agent Commission

In most cases, the buyer agent commission is paid by the seller and is deducted from the seller’s closing statement. However, in some rare cases, such as a non-listed property or an off-market property, the seller may not offer a commission to the buyer’s agent. In this situation, we would inform you immediately, and you would pay this fee yourself if you chose to write an offer. Often when this occurs, the property will receive very little attention and the buyer will be able to negotiate a far better purchase price than would be possible if it were listed publicly. So it is often worth pursuing!


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RealWise is a group of veteran, top-producing real estate agents specializing in San Francisco and Wine Country property sales.