If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might be wondering what all of the expenses you can expect to have when it comes time to close on your home.

Ideally, you’ll want to understand all of the closing costs months in advance so that you can plan accordingly. However, even if you’re close to purchasing your first home, it’s still useful to get to know closing costs better.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover the closing costs that are typically the buyer’s responsibility.

Buyer’s closing costs

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to closing costs for buyers. The bad news is that buyers are typically on the hook for the majority of the closing costs associated with a real estate transaction. The good news, however, is that many of these fees will be grouped together as part of your mortgage, meaning you won’t have to devote much time or thought to them individually.

That being said, to ensure that you know where your money is going, here’s a breakdown of the main closing costs that you’ll likely be responsible for as a buyer:

1. Attorney fees

Real estate attorneys research the ownership of the home, ensuring that the seller actually has the right to sell you the property. Though this is usually a formality, it is an important one.

Attorneys can either charge a flat fee or hourly rate.

2. Origination fees

The origination fee is paid upfront to the lender. It’s the fee that they charge for processing your mortgage application and getting you approved as a borrower.

3. Prepaid interest

Many buyers pay their first month’s interest in advance. This is the amount of interest that will accrue from the time you purchase the home until your first mortgage payment is due (a month later).

4. Home inspection

Inspections are one of the closing costs that can save you a ton of money in the long run if they find anything during their visit to the home. Inspectors should be licensed in your state, and you should choose your own inspector based on ratings and reviews (not at the recommendation of someone who is incentivized to sell you the home such).

5. Escrow deposits

Escrow deposits are typically shared between the buyer and seller and it is the fee that escrow agents charge for their services. You can think of an escrow as a neutral third party that keeps your money safe while purchasing a home.

6. Recording fees

All real estate purchases have to be recorded by the local government. Typically, this is performed by the county or town hall. Recording fees are charged whenever a real estate transaction occurs.

7. Underwriting fees

Mortgages are all about determining risk. A lender wants to know whether they will see a return on their investment by lending to you. To do so, they research your credit and income history. The fee the charge for this work is called the underwriting fee.

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Buying your first home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life. But, it does come with its advantages. Among them are tax breaks and deductions that you can take advantage of to save money if you play your cards right.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover some of the tax breaks and deductions that first-time homeowners should seek out this tax season to help them lower their tax bill.

Mortgage points

While earning points is a good thing on the basketball court, it can be a financial drain on a mortgage. Mortgage points are what buyers pay to the lender to secure their loan. They’re usually given as percentage points of the total loan amount.

If you pay these points with your closing costs, then they are deductible. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their IRS Form 1040 can typically deduct all of the points they paid in a year, with the exception of some high-income taxpayers whose itemized deductions are limited.

PMI costs

If you’re one of the many people who made a down payment of less than 20% on your home, odds are that you’re going to be stuck with PMI, or private mortgage insurance, until you pay off at least 20% of the loan balance.

The good news is that homebuyers who purchased their home in the year 2007 and after can deduct their PMI premiums. However, the state on premium insurance deductibles is something that frequently comes up in Congress, so homeowners should ensure that these deductions are still valid when filing their taxes.

Mortgage interest

Mortgage interest accounts for the biggest deduction for the average homeowner. When you receive your Form 1098 from your lender, you can deduct the total amount of interest you’ve paid during the year.

Property taxes

Another deductible that shouldn’t be overlooked by first-time buyers is local property taxes. Save the records for any property taxes you pay so that you can deduct them during tax season.

Home energy tax credits

Some states are offering generous tax credits for homeowners who make home improvements that save energy. There are a number of improvements you might qualify for, including things like insulation and roofs, as well as photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

IRA Withdrawals

Many first-time buyers withdraw from an IRA account to be able to make a larger down payment on their home or to pay for closing costs. In most other cases, withdrawing from an IRA will count as taxable income. However, if your IRA withdrawal is used toward a down payment or closing costs, the tax penalty is waived.

Keep these tax breaks and deductions in mind this tax season to help you save money and get a larger refund.

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