By Kay Wilson-Bolton
February 27, 2008
A tradition that developed during the last price “increasion” became its own phenomenon. It has to do with sellers paying buyers closing costs.
Not long ago, sellers had the luxury of adding 3% to their home sale price which is equivalent to the amount most lenders will allow sellers to pay for buyer’s closing costs.
The practice was unique to some buyer groups, and not all. I believe that this factor was one of the single most significant contributors to home price increases.
Your home sold for $500,000. My home is just like yours, but it has a pool. So, mine must be worth $530,000. My buyer has no money for closing costs and has asked me to pay them so I will just add it to the price. My sale price is now $545,000.
That is how the climb to Mt. Price began. The practice of sellers paying closing costs continues today, but not in all buyer pools.
Just today, a lender told a buyer that if their agent had just asked, the bank would have paid 3% of their closing costs. Imagine the conversation that followed that bit of information.
Not all agents think sellers are willing to pay costs and not all buyers need them. However, if some are, let’s get on board and the rules apply to everyone so there is equivalent benefit.
It appears now that if real estate agents don’t make buyers aware that they can ask for closing costs, they might be depriving their buyers of a financial benefit.
If lenders are telling buyers to ask for costs, agents and REALTORS® need to be aware of that and write the offer correctly the first time.
Will it increase the cost of housing? Eventually.
Will it increase buyer investment and commitment in home ownership? No.
Will it make it easier for buyer to purchase homes? Yes.
What is the goal? Is it home ownership? Is it investment opportunity? Just be sure that if you are a seller and you are asked to pay closing costs, you can say, “no”.
But then you could increase the price of your home to cover the costs. And, here we go again.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and CENTURY 21 Ability. She brings a regional perspective to local issues. She can be reached at 805.340.5025. Her web address is www.readysetkay.com