Today we are going to cover two terms we often hear used in the home buying process that are sometimes used interchangeably but there are some differences. So we will review “closing costs” and “prepaid” and what makes them different.
The Basics of Prepaids in Home Buying
Prepaids are the advance payments a homebuyer makes to cover specific future expenses before they come due. Typical examples include homeowners insurance premiums and property taxes.
While they are paid at closing, they don’t go directly to the vendor or provider. Instead, your lender will keep these funds in an escrow account. Over time, the lender will distribute payments from this account as required.
Here’s a closer look at standard prepaid:
Mortgage Interest: This is applicable when you close on any day other than the first of the month. The prepaid interest covers the days from close to the end of that month and is held in escrow for your first mortgage payment. A savvy tip? Closing near the end of the month might save you some money.
Homeowners Insurance: Lenders usually require six to 12 months of homeowners insurance premiums at closing. The lender will then disburse this to your insurance provider monthly.
Property Taxes: Lenders estimate the property taxes you’ll owe and generally request two months of these taxes upfront. From your escrow, they will then forward these payments to your local government.
Initial Escrow Deposit: This deposit often includes two months of homeowners insurance and property taxes. It ensures your escrow account has a healthy buffer for future bills.
For clarity, these prepaid are detailed in the closing disclosure document provided by your lender, typically three days before closing. You’ll find them on Page 2, Section F.
Deciphering Closing Costs
Closing costs, on the other hand, are the one-time fees paid directly to various parties involved in processing your mortgage. These can be to your lender (like application fees) or third parties (like home inspection fees).
Often, sellers might cover some of these costs as a gesture or part of the sale agreement. These are called seller concessions. However, it’s essential to remember that the buyer always foots the bill for prepaid.
Here’s a snapshot of frequent closing costs:
- Loan-related fees: For processing and originating the mortgage.
- Appraisal and Inspection fees: To assess the value and condition of the property.
- Title-related fees: To ensure the property title is clean and transferable.
- Attorney fees: For legal oversight and ensuring all documentation is in order.
Prepaids vs. Closing Costs: The Breakdown
In conclusion, while both prepaid and closing costs are payable at the purchase’s closure, they serve different purposes. Closing costs are direct payments for services rendered, whereas prepaid are essentially a buffer for future homeownership expenses, managed by your lender. Of course, we will guide you through all this when you are getting ready for closing. If you are looking to purchase now and want to review your options go to our website and complete our 60-second purchase analysis.