What is Escrow? What are Closing Costs?

Real Esate Closing Costs

Part III of a series on the escrow process. Thank you to Kartikay Escrow for contributing portions of this blog.

Closing Costs

So, your escrow agent has helped you clear up the red flags. Now, it’s time to figure out closing costs. This list will give you an idea of what items are typically included in closing costs (not the specific amounts, as fees can vary). The buyer and seller may negotiate “who pays what,” but once the contract is signed, instructions cannot be changed unless mutually agreed upon by all parties in writing.

Real Estate Commission

If the property is listed or sold by an agent, there will be commission(s) to calculate.


The seller is required to pay the property taxes through the last day of ownership.

Homeowner Insurance

The buyer will purchase a fire and hazard insurance policy. Frequently, the lender requires the first year’s insurance premium to be paid at close of escrow.

Assessments and Liens

Assessments and liens against individuals and/or the property must be paid off before the close of escrow. The title company will normally show much of this information in the Preliminary Report/Title Commitment, and the escrow officer will work with the appropriate parties to clear up any problems so that the escrow my close.

Escrow Fees and Title Insurance

Depending upon the customs of the area, the seller or the buyer can pay the title insurance fee that is referred to as the owner’s (or homeowner’s) policy. The owner’s policy covers the new owner’s interest and title to the new property. The buyer typically pays for the “lender policy” that will cover the new lender’s interest in the title to the property. “Who pays” the escrow fee is frequently dictated by county or regional custom, but it is generally split between the buyer and the seller except on certain types of government loans.

Inspections and Other Fees

  • Attorney’s Fees
  • Document preparation fees
  • Loan fees
  • Notary fees
  • Pest inspection
  • Tax service fee
  • Deed recording charges
  • Home warranty
  • Natural hazard disclosure report
  • Pest correction costs
  • Special courier or delivery fees
  • Transfer Tax

Next blog will be on escrow and Who Pays What.

If you are ready to jump into escrow on a property, don’t forget to contact me. I will work with escrow to make the process as smooth as possible for you.