Georgia Sellers: Here’s a Round Up of Your Closing CostsKristine HansenHomeLight Blog

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March 31, 2021

Whether you’re selling a modern condo in Atlanta’s Midtown or a century-old property in Savannah’s Historic District, you need to know the closing costs sellers are responsible for in Georgia. The last thing you want is sticker shock when you review these subtractions in your seller’s settlement statement.

The Georgia Association of Realtors reports that closing costs in Georgia typically range 5% to 10% of the home’s sale price. For example, closing costs for a $200,000 home run between $10,000 to $20,000, depending on your location and arrangement with the buyer.

For a deep dive on Georgia closing costs, we partnered with top Brunswick listing agent Valerie Burnett, who sells 45% more homes than the average local agent. We’ll break down customary sellers’ closing costs, plus some additional costs that are negotiable.

The average cost to sell a home in Atlanta is $28,558

HomeLight’s recent study analyzing closing costs for 30 metro areas across the U.S. reveals that it costs $28,558 on average to sell a median-priced home at $350,000 in Atlanta. This total cost includes:

  • Prep costs: $5,238 for pre-listing home improvements such as lawn care, painting, staging, and more
  • Commission: $20,300 for the listing agent and buyer’s agent’s commission
  • Taxes and fees: $3,325 for the transfer, tax, title fees, and escrow fees which we’ll detail below

Not in Atlanta? You can estimate your home sale takeaways after closing costs with HomeLight’s Net Proceeds Calculator for whatever city you live in.

Dollars that represent seller closing costs in Georgia.
Source: (Live Richer / Unsplash)

Seller’s closing costs in Georgia

Although many closing costs are negotiable, sellers in Georgia are traditionally on the hook for the following:

1. Loan payoff amount

You must pay off your mortgage before you transfer the title to your house. Loan payoff includes the remaining principal and interest owed up until closing.

2. Property taxes

In Georgia, homeowners pay property taxes in arrears; property-tax bills are due December 20 in most counties. The Department of Revenue states that “if you owned property on January 1, you are responsible for the ad valorem tax for the entire year even if you sell the property on January 2. Georgia law does not allow a refund for partial-year residents.”

It’s customary for the buyer to pay the property taxes for the entire year in which they purchased the home, even if the seller’s name is still on the bill. However, sellers credit the buyer with prorated property taxes for the months they owned the property. At the end of the year, the buyer pays the county the entire year’s property taxes, subsidizing the bill with the seller’s credit.

“[The buyers] will have to catch up from the previous year. If you sell in June, they’re going to take your taxes up to that point. The day that you close will be included in that,” Burnett clarifies.

She warns sellers to watch out for a savvy buyer who tries to lower the selling price if they notice the tax bill went up during annual property tax-rate increases. “We often encourage [sellers] to keep an eye on that. It’s rare but can happen,” she says.

3. Loan reconveyance fee

Once you’ve paid the mortgage balance, you’ll receive a reconveyance deed as proof. The seller is responsible for paying the fees for the new deed to the mortgage company; on average, reconveyance fees run between $50 to $65.

4. Reconveyance recording fee

You also need to file the reconveyance deed with the county recording office. In Georgia, the seller will sometimes cover this fee. Counties typically charge $10.00 for the first page, plus $2.00 for each additional page.

5. Title search fee

After you accept the buyer’s offer, an attorney performs a title search to ensure the property is free and clear of liens or other conflicts of ownership. On average, title search fees run between $100 to $200.  Who covers this fee is up for negotiation.

6. Title insurance

Title insurance protects the buyer against any future claims of ownership; the title company that runs the search issues both the buyer and the buyer’s lender title insurance policies.

Title insurance costs vary depending on the value of the home, amount of coverage, and the upfront services performed. On average, title insurance costs between 0.5% and 1% of the purchase price, accounting for both the lender’s and owner’s policies.

In Georgia, it’s customary for the buyer to cover the lender’s policy. Who pays for the owner’s policy, on the other hand, is up for negotiation.

7. Transfer tax

Georgia requires sellers to pay a transfer tax before they record the deed. The state transfer tax rate amounts to $1 per $1,000 and 10 cents per additional $100 of the sale price. For example, the transfer tax for a home that sold for $550,000 would be $550.

8. Agent commission

According to HomeLight’s Agent Commission Calculator, the national average real estate commission is 5.8%; the commission is split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. It’s customary for the seller to pay for both commissions, although keep in mind that it’s the buyer who is bringing the money to the table.

9. Unpaid homeowner’s association and condominium dues

The seller must pay all outstanding HOA or condo dues. If fees are annual, Burnett shares that some sellers prorate the fee according to the time of the sale, while others cover the fee for the buyer as a concession or deal sweetener.

10. Seller concessions

Speaking of concessions, it’s common for the seller to owe money at closing for financing items they agreed to pay for during the negotiation process in order to close the sale. Examples of concessions include cash to cover closing costs, necessary repairs, and home warranties. Burnett shares that it’s particularly common for Georgia sellers to offer these region-specific concessions:

Termite bonds

Since termite issues are common in Georgia, some sellers offer to pay for a termite bond, which works sort of like a maintenance contract with a termite company. The bond covers the cost of inspections, treatments, and repairs for the length of the contract, typically one to two years.

The average cost for a termite bond falls between $500 and $2,000. Because termite inspections typically cost between $100 and $350, and removal fees range from $200 to $3,000, many Georgia homeowners don’t think twice about purchasing a bond.

Flooding insurance

In Georgia, flood insurance is common for homeowners to purchase although it’s not required.  The average cost for a flood insurance policy is $700 per year, though prices range depending on your flood risk. Some sellers opt to pay for the policy’s first year to seal the deal.

A chalkboard used to tally seller closing costs in Georgia.
Source: (Tim Mossholder / Unsplash)

You’ll review the final tally at closing

If you’re feeling overwhelmed keeping track of these closing costs, relax. You’ll receive an itemized list of all fees and credits in the seller’s settlement statement at closing. This document will also detail your net profit and summarize the agreement of the sale.

DISCLAIMER: This article provides an estimate of a seller’s closing costs that is meant for educational and research purposes only; our calculation is not a guarantee. 

Header Image Source: (ibuki Tsubo / Unsplash)

If you’re selling a home in Georgia, you need to know these typical closing costs that sellers customarily pay.HomeLight Blog

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