Closing costs vary by location

Whether buying or selling, be prepared for surprises

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Closing costs, the costs associated with buying or selling a home, can add up. It's wise to get an estimate of how much you're likely to pay in closing costs before you make an offer to buy a home or accept an offer to sell. Closing costs reduce the amount the seller nets from the sale. Buyers need to know in advance of entering into a home-purchase contract that they have enough cash to cover both the downpayment and closing costs. Closing costs vary with location. Often who pays what fees -- buyer or seller -- is dictated by local custom. For instance, in Northern California, buyers usually pay the title insurance premium, while sellers usually pay the premium in Southern California. HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Some real estate agents use 1 percent of the expected selling price to estimate a seller's closing cost. This might be close to accurate in some cases. But, there are so many variables that can affect the closing costs in any given sale transaction that it's preferable to ha...