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Buying a house requires a lot of money –you may have to save for several years to be able to afford the down payment and other expenses that come along with buying a property. Proper financial planning and good negotiating skills can help you save some dollars during this process.

Did you know that there are several ways to cut your closing costs? Closing costs are what you pay to close the home purchase, and they usually include title insurance, the appraisal fee, an inspection fee, points on the mortgage, a credit report, attorney’s fees, taxes and more. Now the question is, how do you bring the closing costs down? Here are some handy tips:

1. First, analyse the market. Sellers are more open to negotiation and are more likely to agree to taking on certain closing costs when home sales are down. When it’s a buyer’s market, sellers compete with each other so you have more leverage in the negotiations. It’s the opposite scenario when it’s a seller’s market.

2. Know which costs are negotiable. There are costs that are fixed and there are those that are not. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) listing all the possible costs during closing. It is important that you know each and every item listed. If you’re unsure of any of the costs, ask your lender or broker to explain. So how can you save on closing costs through your GFE? There are often junk items on the GFE that you can negotiate with your lender. These usually include commitment fees, application fees, miscellaneous fees, courier and mail fees. Ask your lender about which of these items you can lower the cost of or do away with altogether.

3. Ask. If you don’t know something, ask. If you are confused with an explanation, ask. If you have a question, ask. The process can be overwhelming, confusing and even intimidating, but you are the customer and you have every right to know what you are getting into.

4. Compare. You can ask around for quotes from other lenders to see which deal can give you the most savings. Don’t be hasty in agreeing to something just because you are pressured to accept. However, do not focus solely on the closing cost when deciding to choose a lender. It is but one of the many factors you have to consider when applying for a mortgage.