5 Ways to Get Lower Closing Costs on Your FHA Loan

lower your mortgage closing costs

In the market to purchase a new home?

Then you a probably wondering about closing costs.

How much are closing costs? Who pays them? What are is included?

In this article we’re going to be exploring closing costs, more specifically FHA closing costs.

How much the seller can pay and how to get lower closing cost rates.

Check Today’s Mortgage Rates

What are Closing Costs?

Closing costs are fees charged by lenders, mortgage brokers and originators.

The collection of many different charges from the appraisal to pulling your credit report.

Closing costs on an FHA loan range between 2%-5%.

One of the main factors in the amount of closing costs you’ll pay is your credit score. If you have a low credit score, you have few other options.

If you have a good credit score you can go to any bank and get a loan. Lenders will have to compete for your business so the lender fee is usually much lower.

In this article we’re going to take a look at closing costs, what they are and how to negotiate the lowest closing costs for your mortgage.

See if you qualify for an FHA loan and compare rates

Average Closing Costs in 2017

closing costs charts

5 Ways to Get Lower Closing Costs on Your FHA Loan

There are several different factors that come into play when lenders determine the fees they charge borrowers.

Your credit score will pay one of the biggest factors in how much closing costs you pay.

The lower a borrower’s credit score the higher risk they present so lenders will charge higher fees to offset that risk.

See if you qualify for an FHA loan and compare rates

1. Increase your credit score

By increasing your credit score you can open up your options. More lenders will be able to help you and you will have more negotiating power. First pull your report and scores from Credit Sesame or Credit Karma. Checking your credit score will not hurt your credit.

Pay down the balances on your credit cards. If you are carrying high balances you score will suffer significantly.

Get added as an authorized user. If you have a friend or family member with a credit card account in good standing.

You can ask them to add you onto the account as an authorized user. When they do, the account and all of it’s history will appear on your credit report and will increase your score.

Check out this article for more tips on how to increase your credit score.

2. Shop Multiple Lenders

If you only got a good faith estimate from one or two lenders, you need to shop around. You can have your credit pulled by multiple lenders within a 30 day period and it will not hurt your score.

This is called “rate shopping” where you are given a grace period to have multiple lenders pull your credit and it will just count as a single inquiry. Take the lender quotes back to each lender and ask them to beat it.

3. Negotiate with Your Lender

Closing costs are not set in stone, like most things they can be negotiated. Using loan estimates from other lenders is a good way to start negotiating lower closing costs on your FHA mortgage. Keep on asking for credits and a reduction in fees until they can’t do it anymore.

4. Check for Random Fees

The loan estimate you get from your lender will breakdown every fee they’re charging. Courier fees, a fee to pull your credit report, fees for mailing documents, etc. These are random fees some lenders charge to try to get the most out of a borrower.

If you notice any of these charges simply tell your loan officer you’re not paying those fees. In all likelihood they will waive the fees to keep you as a customer.

5. Search for Settlement and Title Companies

Not all title companies will charge the same rate. You can take initiate and contact other companies to find the one that offers the best deal.

How much are closing costs?

Average closing costs on a mortgage loan is between 2%-5%. On a home with a purchase price of $200,000 the typical costs will be between $3,000-$5,000.

These costs will vary depending on the lender you use.

Closing costs are made up of several different fees charged by your lender.

These fees include credit report, loan origination fee, survey, etc. The loan-to-value ratio also affects these costs.

A lower loan-to-value ratio means a less risky mortgage loan and will you be able to get lower closing fees. Your credit score also has a big impact on the closing fees you’ll pay.

Who pays closing costs?

The buyer is responsible for paying the closing costs, however the seller can pay closing costs for the buyer.

Sellers may contribute up to 6% of the property’s sales price toward the buyer’s closing costs. Your real estate agent will need to work seller paid costs into the contract.

Your credit score affects your closing costs

If you have poor credit then a lender will charge more closing costs because of the increased risk of the mortgage.

You will want to improve your credit score as much as possible to get the lowest closing fees possible.

There is a wide range of credit scores borrowers have when applying for FHA loans. FHA requires a low credit score of just 500-579 with a 10% downpayment.

However, it is quite difficult to get approved for a mortgage with a score in this range. It is recommended you take some time to work on fixing your credit score before applying.

Here are typical closing costs percentage ranges based on credit scores

  • 500 – 579 credit score – 4%-6% closing costs
  • 580 – 619 credit score – 2.5%-4% closing costs
  • 620 – 699 credit score – 2%-3% closing costs
  • 700+ credit score – 1%-2% closing costs

What’s included in FHA closing costs?

  • Loan Origination fee 
    A percentage of the loan amount the mortgage lender charges.
  • Discount points
    1 point is equal to 1 percent.
  • Appraisal Fee
    The fee paid to have the home appraised by a 3rd party appraiser.
  • Credit report
    Lenders will charge you for pulling your credit report.
  • Tax service
    Lenders hire 3rd party companies to ensure there are no liens or taxes owed on the home.
  • Owner Title Policy
    Fee charged for delivery of the title and any escrow fees.
  • Title insurance Insurance that covers any legal damages in the event a seller cannot legally transfer the title. This policy protects the borrower and the mortgage lender.
  • Attorney witness for the closing
    Fee the attorney charges for witnessing the transaction at the title company.
  • Underwriting fee – Fee lenders charge to underwrite the mortgage loan.
  • Documents
    Lenders will charge a fee for having all the documents ready for closing.
  • Pre-paid property tax – You will be charged the remaining annual property tax on the home. If the taxes have been paid by the seller for the full year, you will reimburse the seller for your portion of the taxes.
  • Home Inspection
    Covers the cost of having the home inspected by a certified home inspector.
  • Courier 
    Fees for using courier and postal services to deliver all mortgage related documents to the parties involved.
  • Survey
    Fee to get accurate property and boundary measurements by a licensed surveyor.
  • Wire transfer
    Fee for using a wire transfer to send funds to the lender.

Other fees required for a mortgage

There are more fees than just what are included in closing costs. Such as an inspection fee.

While a home inspection is not required most of the time it’s a great idea to get one to make sure there are no underlying issues in the home.

Some first-time homebuyers choose to save money and not have an inspection performed on the property.

However, this is a huge mistake, learn from other first-time buyers mistakes and spend the $300-$00 to have the home inspected.

Hazard insurance and home insurance premium is put into an escrow account monthly and paid by the mortgage lenders.

FHA up-front mortgage insurance premiums are 1.75% of the loan amount and is often including into the closing fees.

FHA Closing costs are separate from your down paymentFHA closing costs

The FHA rules state that the closing cost fees can never be included in your down payment, these are completely separate fees.

Get a Good-Faith Estimate

After you are pre-approved for a mortgage, your lender must provide you with a GFE (good-faith estimate) within 3 days. A GFE is a form that provides you with basic information about the terms of  the loan, and estimated costs to you in acquiring the loan.

If you feel that the closing costs are high, you can shop other lenders to either get a better deal, or help you negotiate your closing costs with your current lender.

FHA Closing Costs FAQ

Are closing costs included in an FHA loan?

Closing costs are a fee charged for various items the lender charges. These fees are an additional cost that is added onto the amount of the loan. FHA does allow closing costs to be paid by the seller. A friend or relative can also gift the closing cost amount to the borrower.

Can you roll in closing costs on a FHA loan?

Yes. Typically the closing costs are rolled into the loan. You will not have to pay cash out of pocket for the closing costs.

Can the seller pay the closing costs for me?

Yes. FHA closing costs can be paid by the seller.

How much can a seller contribute to closing costs on an FHA loan?

FHA allows the seller to pay up to 6%

See if you qualify for an FHA loan and compare rates