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Paying a Buyer’s Closing Costs

In a traditional market of buying and selling homes, the buyer is generally responsible for paying their own closing costs. But, for the last decade we haven’t really experienced a traditional market, and rules have changed. These days, it might make sense – and sellers might net more money in the long run – if they offer to pay the buyer’s closing costs.

Markets and Buyers

If you live in a bustling seller’s market, and you get two identical offers – except one requests closing costs and one doesn’t – that’s a no brainer. However, if you are in a strong buyers’ market, where all the other sellers are offering to cover closing costs, you must offer closing costs to remain competitive. Take a close look at your area market, and listen to your real estate agent if they recommend that you offer to cover closing costs.

Sometimes the issue is buyer-specific. Even buyers for whom extra cash is not a problem put a high premium on having their closing costs covered. Again, it’s not a big percentage of the transaction – typically around 2 percent of the price of the home. But it’s like your friend who doesn't like ATM fees. People who refuse to pay a convenience fee might spend as much in gas as the ATM fee by driving to their own bank where no fee is required. If you get a full-price offer from a buyer like this, take the offer and pay their closing costs.

First-time Buyers and Maximizing Your Net

Also, consider this scenario. The most likely buyer to need help with closing costs is a younger and/or first-time buyer. Gathering a down payment is daunting enough, and closing costs always seem like “just one more added expense.”

So, if you are “moving up” and selling your starter home, you might significantly increase your number of lookers if you offer to pay for closing costs up-front. More lookers mean more potential buyers, and sooner rather than later. You may net a little less from your sales price, but your home could definitely move faster. Money in your pocket sooner is always better.

Remember that there are few rules in home real estate and new traditions are made all the time. That’s why it’s so important to remember to consider options that will net you the most money in the shortest amount of time!

First-Time Buyers and Maximizing Your Net

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