Closing Costs, Broken Appliances, Paying Taxes
Sauteeing vegetables on a stove


Estimating closing costs; appliances breaking down; tax bills

Dear David,
How do I estimate closing costs? – Budget Minded

Dear Budget: As a general rule, the closing costs of your real estate purchase will likely fall in the range of 1.5 to 2 percent of the selling price. This will include the home inspection, land transfer tax and title insurance, along with your legal fees & disbursements. There may be possible deposits for utilities, depending on the city and whether or not you have existing utility accounts. If the previous owner pre-paid property taxes or utility bills to cover a period when the home is in your possession, they will need to be reimbursed. And of course, you’ll need to set some funds aside for moving expenses.

Dear David,
The front burner on the stove stopped working yesterday, and we just moved in last month. Do we have any recourse? – Feeling Burned

Dear Feeling: Most sale agreements, when properly written, will ensure that items included in the sale are in good working order, up to and including the day of closing. The final walk through is the time to clear up concerns in this regard and after that, issues are generally up to the buyer to resolve.

Keep your eye on the big picture: appliances are usually a very minor part of a real estate purchase. I would hate to see a $75 burner element lessen your delight in a $400,000 home. That said, if the stove appears to be fairly new, you could ask your agent to follow up and see if there might be a warranty or extended warranty that could be transferred to you as the buyer. Remember, at the end of the day it’s best to pick your battles. You may need to look to the sellers for assistance in the future and they are more likely to accommodate your needs if the relationship has been win-win.

Dear David,
We are closing in a few weeks, should we pay our tax bill? – Conscientious

Dear Conscientious: Yes and no, it doesn’t really matter. As part of the closing process, your real estate lawyer will perform a Property Tax Adjustment, which ensures you do not over or under-pay. As part of the adjustment, the amount of property tax that the seller owes will be calculated to the exact day of closing. If the seller has pre-paid their taxes beyond the closing date, they will be given a credit upon closing. If the taxes are in arrears, the buyer will receive a credit for that amount upon closing.