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Is it better to have the seller pay closing costs?

Shouldn't we ask the seller to pay our closing costs? It is a very common question these days and Tammy answers the question very, very well.

It is certainly an option, but think before you ask. Because the seller is thinking very, very carefully about it.

"I want the seller to pay the closing costs, don't I?"  That is a question I get from both first time and experienced buyers.  And my advise to them may not be the same as other agents, but after you read what my advise is and the WHY behind it, perhaps you will change your mind about it too. 

With it being the rare exception buyers and lenders are the only ones who come to the closing table with money.  In my 20 years in this business I can count the time seller brought funds to the table on one hand.  So lets talk frankly about the sellers paying your closing costs.

When a contract says sellers will contribute $X for purchaser closing costs then the seller looks at your offer and if it works into the net he is willing to accept he generally agrees.  But you can bet your sweet bippy that if you offered that same $X less for a purchase price with the seller paying no closing costs he'd still take your offer. 

Buyers and lenders fund closings.  So if you have the savings to pay the down payment and closing costs, that's your best bet.  If you fall short of having enough funds to pay the down payment and your closing costs is the only time you should ask for seller assistance.  Because I'll say it again buyers and lenders fund closings.  So if you pay more for the house in order for the seller to "pay" some of your closing costs it's really like financing your closing costs for the life of the loan.  That's right, you heard me, you're not only still paying them yourself, but you are borrowing the money from the bank to give to the seller first before he gives it back to you to pay the closing costs. 

Now does that make any sense to you at all?  So again, it's ALWAYS my advice if you have the funds to make a down payment and pay the closing costs that you do not ask for seller contributions.   Because the buyer comes to closing with a check, the lender sends funds and the sellers leave with a *check. 

*Short Sales are not included in this scenario, those sellers do not leave closing with a check.

So what are your thoughts of buyers asking sellers to pay closing costs?


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Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner


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Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


 Search homes for sale in Litchfield County, CT.


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776


© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

Comment balloon 5 commentsAndrea Swiedler • May 30 2012 05:45PM


All you are saying is true and that paying closing cost is not what the seller wants to do.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) over 6 years ago

Andrea - in Florida, if it is a cash purchase, the Buyer may only need to pay $18.50 for recording the Deed. The rest of it would be on the Seller. Doc Stamps, Title Insurance, Title search, Title examination... I even thought that this is the same in other areas

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 6 years ago

We see some seller paid closing costs here, but your explanation; 

So if you pay more for the house in order for the seller to "pay" some of your closing costs it's really like financing your closing costs for the life of the loan.


Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 6 years ago

If it means you pay MORE sales price, here in California it also means that you will pay MORE PROPERTY taxes since it is about 1% of the sales price.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 6 years ago

Andrea - I totally agree with you. However, you gave me an idea on how to promote a sale... it might help to sell a home if we advertise that sellers will offset X amount of closing costs... it could bring someone through the door.

Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) over 6 years ago