Common Expenses Associated With Buying a Home

November 4, 2023

Discover key insights into home buying closing costs, including what they are, how to budget for them, and ways to potentially reduce them.

Buying a home in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle is an exciting milestone, but it's crucial to understand the various closing costs that come with the process. As a first-time homebuyer, navigating these expenses can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge and guidance, you can confidently tackle the home-buying journey. In this article, we'll explore the most common closing costs you'll encounter when purchasing a home in the Raleigh-Durham area, providing valuable insights to help you make informed decisions.

The Importance of Home Inspections

Before finalizing your home purchase, it's essential to ensure that your dream home is in good condition. A thorough home inspection conducted by a professional will assess the property's structural integrity, safety, and potential issues such as faulty wiring, HVAC problems, or plumbing concerns. This critical step allows you to make an informed decision about proceeding with the purchase and can help you negotiate repairs or price adjustments if necessary. Home inspection costs in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle typically range from $300 to $600, depending on factors like location and property size. Partnering with a knowledgeable real estate agent can help you navigate the inspection process and protect your interests as a buyer.

Appraisal Fees: Determining Your Home's Value

When securing a mortgage loan, most lenders require a home appraisal to determine the property's true worth and ensure it serves as sufficient collateral. The appraisal process considers various factors, including the property's location, condition, and local market trends. Appraisal fees in the Raleigh-Durham area usually range from $300 to $500, depending on the property type and size. Investing in a proper appraisal helps you avoid overpaying for a home and ensures you secure a mortgage with a fair interest rate. Understanding your home's value from both your perspective and your lender's is crucial for making sound financial decisions.

Earnest Money, Due Diligence Fees, and Builder Deposits

When submitting an offer on a property in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle, you'll likely encounter earnest money deposits, due diligence fees, and builder deposits. Earnest money, typically 1% to 3% of the purchase price, demonstrates your commitment to buying the home and is applied towards your down payment or closing costs. Due diligence fees, paid directly to the seller, grant you a specified period to conduct inspections and research the property. These fees are non-refundable and can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the property's value and the length of the due diligence period.

If you're purchasing a new construction home, you may be required to pay a builder deposit instead of earnest money and due diligence fees. This deposit, determined by the builder, is applied towards your closing costs or upgrades and varies between construction companies.

Protecting Your Investment with Title Search and Insurance

To ensure a clear title and protect yourself from potential legal issues, it's crucial to conduct a title search before purchasing a property. Title search costs in the Raleigh-Durham area range from $300 to $1,000, depending on the property's purchase price. Once the search is complete, consider obtaining title insurance to safeguard against any legal problems that may arise after the purchase. Title insurance premiums are typically a one-time payment, ranging from 0.5% to 1% of the property's value. While buyers usually cover these costs, title insurance also protects lenders in case of legal claims or issues.

Understanding Loan Origination Fees

When taking out a mortgage loan, lenders charge an origination fee to cover expenses associated with processing your application. This fee, usually 0.5% to 1% of the total loan amount, can range from several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Lenders use origination fees to pay for tasks such as credit checks, property appraisals, processing, underwriting, and administrative expenses. It's essential to understand how these fees impact your total borrowing amount and consider negotiating with lenders or seeking out those with lower fees.

Budgeting for Property Taxes and Insurance

As a homeowner in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle, you'll be responsible for paying property taxes and insuring your property. Property taxes vary based on the location and value of your home, with higher-valued properties incurring higher taxes. These taxes, recalculated and payable annually, can be paid yearly or rolled into your mortgage payment. Homeowners insurance, another essential expense, typically costs around $1,000 per year in the Raleigh-Durham area. Insurance premiums vary based on factors such as property value, location, and coverage type. When budgeting for your new home, it's crucial to account for these additional expenses alongside your monthly mortgage payments.

The Role of Attorneys in the Closing Process

Attorneys play a vital role in facilitating the transfer of ownership and ensuring legal compliance during the closing process. They review and prepare legal documents, verify accuracy, and help you understand the transaction's legal implications. Attorneys also review contracts, address outstanding issues, confirm deal terms, and manage fund transfers. In Raleigh, North Carolina, attorney fees for a closing typically range from $500 to $1,500. As a buyer, having an attorney on your side ensures your transaction complies with state and federal laws while protecting your best interests. Discuss attorney fees upfront with your real estate agent or attorney to avoid surprises and receive recommendations for experienced professionals in your area.

Buying a home in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle is a significant investment, and understanding the common closing costs associated with the process is essential for a smooth and successful transaction. By familiarizing yourself with expenses such as home inspections, appraisal fees, earnest money deposits, title search and insurance, loan origination fees, property taxes, insurance, and attorney fees, you can confidently navigate the home-buying process and make informed decisions. Partnering with a knowledgeable local real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance and support, helping you achieve your homeownership dreams while protecting your interests every step of the way.

Final Thought From Tim

As a real estate expert, I understand that closing costs can be overwhelming. But with the right team by your side, they don't have to be. By working with our highly experienced team, you can ensure that you're prepared for the closing costs that come with purchasing a home. At the Tim M. Clarke Team, we believe that transparency and communication are the keys to success in the real estate business. From title search and insurance to appraisal and loan origination fees, we will help you understand all aspects of the closing process and ensure that you're prepared to make informed decisions that maximize your investment. We take pride in offering personalized service tailored to meet your individual needs and preferences. By partnering with us, you can rest assured that you're in good hands and that our team will go above and beyond to help you achieve your dream of homeownership. If you're ready to take the next step in your home buying journey, don't wait to contact us. We'll provide you with the proper information and strategies to navigate through the closing costs process and make it a stress-free experience. Let us help you land your dream home, today!


What are closing costs for buyers?

Closing costs are the fees and expenses that you need to pay at the end of a real estate transaction. They typically include items like loan origination fees, title insurance, and property taxes.

What are the typical closing costs for buying a house?

Typical closing costs for buying a house can range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price of the home. They can include fees for loan origination, appraisal, title search, title insurance, surveys, taxes, and credit report processing.

Do closing costs include down payment and escrow payments?

No, closing costs are separate from the down payment and escrow payments. While the down payment is the upfront amount you pay towards the purchase price, closing costs cover the fees and expenses related to the transaction process.

What closing costs can I expect when buying a home?

When buying a home, you can expect closing costs such as loan origination fees, appraisal fees, title search fees, title insurance, surveys, taxes, and credit report processing fees.

How much should I budget for closing costs when buying a house?

It's generally recommended to budget between 2% to 5% of the purchase price of the home for closing costs.

Can closing costs be negotiated when buying a home?

Yes, some closing costs can be negotiated. For instance, you can negotiate with the seller to pay some or all of the closing costs.

What closing costs are pre-paids vs fees at closing?

Pre-paids are expenses that are paid in advance at closing, like homeowners insurance and property taxes. Fees at closing typically include loan origination fees, title insurance, and appraisal fees.

How can I estimate my closing costs before making an offer?

You can ask your lender for a Loan Estimate, which is a document that provides an estimate of your closing costs. This can be done before making an offer on a home.

Are closing costs tax deductible for home buyers?

Some closing costs may be tax-deductible, such as mortgage interest and real estate taxes. It's best to consult with a tax advisor to understand what applies to your situation.

How can I reduce my closing costs when purchasing a home?

You can potentially reduce your closing costs by negotiating with the seller to pay some or all of the costs, shopping around for the best rates for services like home inspections and title searches, and asking your lender about no-closing-cost mortgages.

Tim M. Clarke

About the author

17 years as a Realtor in the Research Triangle, Tim seeks to transform the Raleigh-Durham real estate scene through a progressive, people-centered approach prioritizing trust & transparency.

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