Northern Virginia Seller Closing Cost
Closing Cost for Sellers:
Did you know that the most significant chunk of money a homeowner pays at a real estate closing is the loan payoff? Whether it’s your 1sttime selling a home or you don’t recall what happened during your last home sale, this page is for you.
What Seller Paid closing cost do homeowner incur when selling a property and how much can I expect to pay when selling my home?
Here are the sections in this article that will answer both of those questions:
- 1. Calculate Your Homes Value
- 2. Northern Virginia Closing Cost for Sellers
- 3. Northern Virginia Closing Cost: Math Breakdown
- 4. Expected Northern Virginia Closing Costs
- 5. Calculate Your Own Seller Closing Cost
- 6. Find A Northern Virginia Title Company Near You
- 7. What Are The Steps to Selling A Home?
- 8.How Can We Help You Sell Your Home?
After reading this article, you won’t be shocked at the closing table.
Let’s start by figuring out your home’s value.
1. Calculate Your Homes Value
It’s essential to look at selling a home differently than buying a home. Most home buyers start their process with a quick visit to the bank to assess how much home they can afford.
You’ll start your home selling process by confirming your home’s value.
YOUR HOME = BANK
Your home’s value plays a vital role in determining your closing costs because the most substantial expenses to selling a home are based off a percentage of our homes sales price.
Before we go any further, fill out the following form to request your home evaluation report. The home evaluation will give you a comparable market analysis of what you can expect to sell your home in today’s market. Enter your address and email address below to receive your home valuation report.
Real estate commissions are one of the three expense categories that require the value of your home to be established first before you calculate the expense. Are you wondering how much your home may be worth? Enter your address below to receive your home valuation report by email.
2. Northern Virginia
Closing Cost for Sellers
Before we discuss the remaining closing costs, let’s introduce the company responsible for completing your real estate closing. If you’re selling your house in Northern Virginia, you’ll be using a licensed company known as a Real Estate Settlement Agent (RESA). Despite the technical term RESA, you’ll hear people refer to them these type of companies by several names:
- Closing Company
- Title Company
- Settlement Company
- Title Attorney
- Settlement Agent
Regardless of the name, this company has one job and one job only. Make sure you get your money from the buyer
In addition to handling the transfer of funds from the buyer to seller, the RESA also collects money and pays expenses that are related to transferring your house to the buyer. The next section will help you understand the cost associated with the transfer along with a summary of the main charges and expenses you’ll pay when selling your home.
While this is an exhaustive list, your closing can include other items that did not make this list.
Payoff of Mortgages
Since you live in Northern Virginia, you understand that most homes that are purchased in our area use a 30-year mortgage from a lender. With the average person moving every 7 – 10 year, most homes are sold with a balance on their original mortgage.
Your mortgage balance is paid off with the proceeds from the sale at the time of closing. The mortgage balance is the most significant expense.
Payoff of Home Equity Line of Credit
A home equity line of credit, also known as a HELOC, is a line of credit secured by your home. Your home secures this line of credit and usually tied to your equity.
Home equity line of credit will be satisfied or paid off after the home sale process.
One question I have received and want to answer here is:
Do I have to pay off my Home Equity Line of Credit to sell my home?
In most scenarios, the answer is YES you will have to pay off your HELOC to sell your home. If you were told something different or have a special arrangement with your lender, check with them in advance before placing your home on the market.
Real Estate Commission
Broker and Agent Commissions
Next, to seller contributions, Broker & Agent Commissions represent one of the most substantial expenses to selling your home. Agent commission averages around 5%.
The real estate agents will share the total commission between the agent that represents the buyer (selling agent) and your listing agent. The final commission you pay will depend on who you hire.
There’s no set commission rate because real estate commissions are negotiable. Real estate is like most service-related industries, paying the cheapest rate means that the agent you’re using to sell your home will have less money to invest in marketing your property.
I don’t recommend using the real estate commission paid as the only method for choosing an agent. My endorsement is to interview three agents from three different companies that service your area.
Please pay attention to the services they offer for the commission that they are charging. The difference in service may lead to a higher sales price and more money in your pocket.
Title Charges | Settlement Charges
Title Charges are total fees you pay to the Real Estate Settlement Agent (RESA) for completing the transfer process. The charges that will show up on your Closing Document can vary in name and price from company to company.
In researching for this article, and, especially this section, I’ve reviewed and consolidated the 10 title charges that are bound to show up from five of Northern Virginia’s Top Settlement Companies. Here are the settlement companies used in this section:
|1. Universal Title - Kingstowne||5971 Kingstowne Village Pkwy Suite 120||Alexandria||(877) 645-8319|
|2. Monarch Title||6800 Backlick Rd Suite 303||Springfield||(703) 852-7710|
|3. Highland Title||44095 Pipeline Plaza #100||Ashburn||(703) 723-3300|
|4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge||4545 Daisy Reid Ave||Lake Ridge||(703) 497-3556|
|5. RGS Title||526 King St Suite 311||Alexandria||(703) 519-7600|
Now, let’s discuss the fees:
Deed Preparation Fee
This fee is the cost associated with writing the real estate deed to transfer ownership to the current home buyer. 4 of the 5 title companies charged this fee.
This fee is the cost of an attorney preparing the deed for the sale and legal transfer of the property from the seller/grantor to the buyer/grantee. Of the 5 title companies, RGS is the only title company that did not charge this fee as a line item.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne $175 2. Monarch Title $195 3. Highland Title $150 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge $195 5. RGS Title n/a
Settlement Fee | Closing Fee | Processing Fee
This fee is to complete the closing/settlement by the RESA. It is the highest charge in the Title Section because it is the bulk of the work done during the transaction by the title company.
The title company acts as a middleman to ensure you successfully transfer marketable title to the buyer while the seller gets released from the lien and receives any funds after the sale. To get to a completed closing, the title company will interact with some of the following parties:
- Seller Agent (Listing Agent)
- Buyer Agent
- Land Records
- Inspectors (Home, Termite, Pest, Radon, etc)
- Seller’s Lender (existing mortgage)
- Buyer’s Lender (new mortgage)
- Title Company
- Taxing Authority
- Land Records
- Homeowner’s Association (HOA)
- Condominium Association
- Utility Company
With the number of parties listed above, you can see why making sure that everyone gets paid no easy task. Hopefully, you know why it’s imperative to pick a competent title company to help you get what you want promptly.
Every RESA charge this fee. Comparing Title Companies based on these individual fees is challenging because every title company can be creative with how fees are categorized. It’s always best to look at the total charge comparing Title Company Fees.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne $600 2. Monarch Title $575 3. Highland Title $339 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge $600 5. RGS Title $725
This fee covers the cost of preparing all the documents associated with the real estate transfer process. Here’s a complete list of the documents related to the sale that pertain to the seller:
- Closing Disclosures Buyer and Seller
- Payoff release
- Lien Release
- 1099s – How the proceeds of the transaction are reported to the IRS.
- Nonforeign citizen certificate – affidavit that says for purposes of US taxes you are a US taxpayer
Power of Attorneys was not included in the above list because they require an additional fee. In Virginia, the seller pays for the deed preparation, and buyers pay deed recording.
RGS Title was the only company out of the five companies to charge this fee because other companies include this fee in the settlement fee. They are also the most expensive title service of the five companies used in this analysis.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne n/a 2. Monarch Title n/a 3. Highland Title n/a 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge n/a 5. RGS Title $250
Title Release Tracking
This fee is to pay the expense of managing the lien release process. The Title Company will track the lien until it is released.
Assuming you took out a loan to purchase your home, your lender placed a lien on the property to protect their interest in the property. The name of the legal document to put the lien on the property is called “Deed of Trust.”
The Deed of Trust is recorded with Land Records at your local county office. It will show up when a title search is performed on your property.
If you still have a balance on your loan, the Deed of Trust is still recorded and attached to your property. After you complete the sale of your property, the lender mentioned above SHOULD be paid from the proceeds of the sale and release the Deed of Trust from the property.
In other words, you and the property free from the lien from the lender.
It’s not uncommon to find that a lender hasn’t removed their Deed of Trust promptly (or ever). Title Release Tracking will ensure that the lien release process is successfully taken care of on your behalf by your title company.
Another reason to be mindful about what Title Company you choose when completing the settlement process.
My analysis showed that 3 of the 5 title companies charge this fee under this category. Ekko Title includes this fee in their Release Processing Fee, and Highland Title includes this fee in their Disbursement and Release Certification Fee.
**Each additional Deed of Trust on your property will incur a Title Release Tracking fee. If you have a 2nd mortgage, you’ll pay twice as much. The same goes for Home Equity Lines of Credit.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne $35 2. Monarch Title $35 3. Highland Title n/a 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge n/a 5. RGS Title $45
Wire Fee | Distribution Fee
This fee covers postage and any wires performed by the Title Company. Any fees incurred on behalf of the transaction for receiving wires or sending wires are in this section.
In Northern Virginia, RESA’s are required to record the deed before disbursing funds. This process can take two to three business days to complete.
After the deed is successfully recorded in the courthouse, all funds will be disbursed. In the event you have a balance from the sale of your home, I recommend that you request a paper check versus wiring the funds to your account.
If you choose to have the title company wire the funds to your bank account, make sure you provide the company with your banking information and wiring instructions. Due to the amount of fraud in real estate transactions around wires, it is crucial to ensure you’re communicating to the right party.
Always, always, always, verify that you’re talking or speaking with a representative from the title company before giving out any financial information.
Of the five closings used in this article, only 2 of my clients choose to receive their proceeds through a wire transfer. Universal Title Kingstowne had the highest fee for this service.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne $35 2. Monarch Title $35 3. Highland Title n/a 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge n/a 5. RGS Title $45
Electronic Storage and Access Fee | Digital Archive Fee
This is money you pay to gain electronic access to your documents. This fee is not a standard feature offered by all the RESA’s used in this article. Monarch Title is the only company that offered this service for $25.00.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne n/a 2. Monarch Title $25 3. Highland Title n/a 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge n/a 5. RGS Title n/a
Disbursement and Release Certification
This fee covers two expenses that are previously mentioned. The Wire Fee | Disbursement Fee and Title Release Tracking Fee. Ekko Title is the only RESA charges this fee.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne n/a 2. Monarch Title n/a 3. Highland Title n/a 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge $135 5. RGS Title n/a
Seller Delivery Fee | Processing Fee
This is money you pay for the courier service that delivers the deed and lien release to the courthouse or land records. Ekko Title is the only company that charges this fee and based on the prices offered by other RESA’s; they include this charge in their Deed Preparation fee.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne n/a 2. Monarch Title n/a 3. Highland Title n/a 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge $78 5. RGS Title n/a
Digital Archive Fee
While Ekko Title is the only company that charges this fee, they are also the only company that itemizes most of their fees to make it easier to compare their services and offerings to other title companies in the area. This fee will pay for the Ekoo Title to maintain a digital copy of your records. Most RESA’s include this charge in their Deed Preparation fee.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne n/a 2. Monarch Title n/a 3. Highland Title n/a 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge $35 5. RGS Title n/a
Release Processing Fee
Ekko Title is the only company that charges this fee. This fee does the same thing as the Title Release Tracking mentioned earlier in this article. Ekko Title tracks the lien process in house versus using a 3rdparty vendor.
Despite this fee costing almost twice as much as other RESA’s, Ekko Title total price for Title Charges is 2ndlowest out of the five companies.
Name Amount 1. Universal Title - Kingstowne n/a 2. Monarch Title n/a 3. Highland Title n/a 4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge $95 5. RGS Title n/a
How much will you pay in Title Charges?
Title Companies are also known as Real Estate Settlement Agents have one of the essential jobs in the real estate transaction. From my analysis of past closings from 5 of Northern Virginia’s Top Title Companies, you can expect to pay from the mid $600’s to as high as $1,000.
Highland Title offered the least expensive fees at $649 while RGS Title was the highest at $1,020. Here’s a breakdown of the total fees charged by each title company used in this section:
|1. Universal Title - Kingstowne||$860|
|2. Monarch Title||$830|
|3. Highland Title||$649|
|4. Ekko Title - Woodbridge||$700|
|5. RGS Title||$1020|
Government Recording | Transfer Charges
The government gets you going and coming when it comes to owning real estate. You pay recording and transfer taxes to purchase a home, and now you have the privilege of paying similar government taxes to sell your home.
There are two taxes you’ll pay to complete the sale of your property. Let’s discuss what they are and how to calculate the tax.
Grantor’s tax | Transfer tax
This is a tax you pay to transfer your property in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The grantor’s tax provides revenue to fund transportation projects across the Commonwealth.
To calculate your expected Grantor’s tax multiple the expected sales price by 0.10%. You will pay $1 per $1,000 per thousand. Your tax will be $500 when selling a house for $500,000.
WMATA Capital Fee (formerly known as Congestion Relief)
WMATA stands for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The state’s website describes the fee as a transportation network that’s vital to the economic growth of Northern Virginia and the Commonwealth.
To calculate your expected WMATA Capital fee multiple the expected sales price by 0.15%. You will pay $1.50 per $1,000 or $750 when selling a home for $500,000.
Congestion Relief (for info only)
Effective July 1, 2018, the Congestion Relief tax was renamed “WMATA Capital Fee.” You can find out more information on why the name was changed by visiting http://virginiageneralassembly.gov website and search for Senate Bill 856 for the 2018 Session.
Deposits, Credits, and Debits
Prepaid taxes, Home Owner Association (HOA) dues, and condo dues will show up as a credit on your settlement statement. You’re only responsible for these expenses while you’re the owner of the property.
For example, assume you pay your HOA every month. You sell your house to a new homeowner who takes possession on the 15thday of a 30-day month. You will receive a credit at the closing for the unused portion of the HOA dues because the new owner takes over those responsibilities.
This dollar amount will show up as a reduction to your bottom line on your Closing Document because you are contributing money to the buyer from your net proceeds. Seller contribution benefits you because it allows buyers to purchase houses with less cash on hand.
Seller contribution limits are predetermined by the type of loan the buyer uses. Here are some of the seller contribution limits for the more popular loan products:
- Conventional financing – 2% to 9% of the sales price (depends on the intended use of the property and down payment amount).
- FHA – up to 6% of the sales price on owner-occupied homes.
- VA – up to 4% of the sales price on owner-occupied homes.
- VHDA – this isn’t a mortgage instrument and thus do not have down payment restrictions. Whatever the underlining mortgage product being on used on the property will determine the down payment assistance limit.
- USDA – up to 6% of the sales price on owner-occupied homes.
In a buyer markets (when houses take six months or longer to sell) seller’s may offer seller contribution as an incentive to purchase their home over others on the market.
During the home inspection, HOA Inspection or Condo Inspection, deficiencies may be found that require repairs that the buyers request you to remedy. Instead of making the requested repairs, sellers have the option of reducing the sales price or offer a seller contribution.
Unless the buyers are paying cash for your property, it’s more advantageous for them to accept seller contribution.
Miscellaneous Settlement Charges
You’ll want to pay extra attention to this section of your closing fees because these charges are usually at the very bottom of all closing documents. The items contained in this section are here because they are infrequent to most real estate transactions.
Due to the small-dollar figures and rarity of occurrence, the next section will contain a brief overview of the fees from my research with a highlight or two of the areas you may want to pay attention to or ask questions. Most of the fees fall into two groups, HOA Fee | Condo Fee, and, Fee or Charges Paid at Closing.
HOA Fees | Condo Fees
Selling a home located in an HOA or Condominium means that you agreed to abide by the rules of the development when you purchased your property. You are guaranteed to see a closing fee associated with your home sale because of the additional work of the Association or Development to process your property transfer.
The name of the fees varies between the different associations. The most common fees the association will charge you include the preparation of the association documents. The buyer of your property will review these document during the home sale contract period.
Some associations will also include a charge for an exterior inspection of your property. This inspection will ensure your property is not violating any terms or laws set forth by the association.
Here are just a few of the names used in the Closing Document:
- HOA Transfer Fee
- Discovery Fee
- Move In Fee
- Move Out Fee
- HOA Resale Document Fee
- HOA Resale Disclosure Fee
- HOA Processing Fee
- HOA Resale Package Fee
The fee your association charges for the above services is located in the association package you received when you bought your property. To get the most current fees, we will contact your association before placing your home on the market to get an idea of what’s required to complete the transfer process.
Fees or Charges Paid At Closing
Some services or charges required to sell your home occur after the house is under contract. One of the most common costs you can anticipate paying is the Termite Inspection Fee when the buyer is using a VA loan to purchase your home.
Here’s a list of other Fees or Charges that paid at the closing:
- Termite Inspection
- Termite Treatment
- Home Warranty
- Real Estate Agent Flat Fee*
3. Northern Virginia Closing Cost: Math Breakdown
Now that we know the names and description of the closing costs that are available, let’s walk through an example and break down the math:
4. Expected Northern Virginia Closing Costs
The following closing cost estimate is based on a Fairfax County, single family home with a sales price of $500,000. This example will make the following assumptions:
- 6% real estate sales commission
- $5,000 seller contribution
- Property is in an HOA that charges $250 for an HOA Resale Package
The following example is only meant to show you what to expect at closing. For a more accurate estimate, please send me an email with your address to Abraham@AskAWalker.com.
Here’s the seller closing cost example:
|1st Mortgage Payoff Amount||$350,000|
|Real Estate Commissions|
|Real Estate Commission||$30,000 (6% max)|
|Title Release Tracking||$35|
|Government Recording & Transfer Charges|
|Grantor's Tax County||$250|
|Grantor's Tax State||$250|
|WMATA Capital Fee||$750|
|Additional Settlement Charges|
|HOA Resale Document||$264|
|Estimate Closing Costs / Charges = $383,072||Net Proceeds = $116,928|
5. How much money will I make from selling my home?
If you’ve made this far in the article, you’re ready to use our Net Proceeds Calculator. With this calculator, you will determine if you will put money in your pocket or bring a check to the closing table when you sell your home.
It’s imperative to complete this Step in Selling your home because it helps you plan your life after the home sale.
6. Find a Northern Virginia Title Company Near You
Our last step to reduce your closing cost is choosing the title company you want to use to complete your transaction. The buyer will indeed have the option of selecting the title company on the contract; this doesn’t stop you from choosing a different title company to complete your side of the transaction, which will allow you to control your closing cost expense.
The process of selecting a separate closing company for the seller side of the real estate transaction is called “split settlement.” Split Settlements are unique to Northern Virginia.
Minimizing your closing cost isn’t the only reason to request a split settlement. The location of the buyer selected title company also plays into the selection process of choosing a title company.
It isn’t uncommon to sell your home in Fairfax County to a buyer from Woodbridge who selects a title company in Woodbridge. No one wants to travel South on 95 at any time of the day. It’s too risky.
The following list of settlement agents near your home location will assist you in selecting a company that’s convenient to the home you’re selling and reasonably priced to put the most amount of money in your pocket. Select the area closest to your home address to find a list of title companies in your area.
7. What are the Steps to Selling A House?
Beginning with the end in mind is always the first step in selling your property in Northern Virginia. Now that you know and understand the cost associated with selling your home, now you can focus on the remaining 25 steps of the process.
Twenty-five may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that we’ve taken the stress out of no knowing what to do next with our library of articles covering each step to selling your home. Feel free to move to the next step in the process.
Are you ready to sell your home? Give me a call at (703)539-2053 or send me an email to Abraham@AskAWalker.com to set up a phone or in-person consultation.
8. How Can We Help You Sell Your Home?
We understand that knowing your home’s value is the 1ststep to calculating your closing cost and offer a home valuation with a closing cost estimate. Our home valuation is not automated or quick because a licensed agent individually prepares them. We research the Northern Virginia market for homes that compare to your home.
You’ll receive your valuation within one business day. Your home valuation will also contain an estimate of closing cost.
The home valuation you receive within one business day is perfect for homeowners that aren’t interesting in selling their home in the immediate future because it doesn’t take the homes interior or personal upgrades. We recommend an in-person assessment of your property for anyone ready to sell their home in the next 30 – 60 days. The in-person valuation process takes one hour and can be scheduled through email or on the phone.
Our three seller valuation products:
These are provided at NO COST to you. This service will ensure that you’re worry-free and knowledgeable about how much money you expect to make from selling your home.
If you’re planning on selling your home in Northern Virginia, we hope this article was helpful. Feel free to reach out to Abraham Walker with any questions about the Northern Virginia closing cost, or our home selling process. Don’t hesitate to give me a call.
Are you thinking about selling your home? Feel free to give me a call atAbraham@AskAWalker.com to start the home sale process. or email