All of the buyers closing cost can be negotiated for the seller to pay...it is very common in this market. Let me know if I can help further.
There are various closing costs involved with a real estate transaction, and, depending upon your local customs, those costs are the responsiblity of both parties.
Here is a break down of typical costs and who is TYPICALLY responsible. All of this is negotiable, but customarily....
Title Search / Title work: Seller
Title insurance Policy: Seller (typically a percentage of sale price)
Lender Policy: Buyer (typically a flat rate)
Recording Fees: Either party, usually seller
Transfer taxes: Depending on your area, some responsiblity falls on the seller, some the buyer
Broker Commission: Seller
Points: Buyer or Lender
Home Owner's Insurance Policy: Buyer
Pro-rated property taxes: Seller credits buyer the portion of taxes accumulated during the seller's possession of the property. This is based on 100-110% of the last tax bill.
Attorney: Buyer and Seller each pay for their own
In a real estate transaction everything is negotiable. The costs can be paid by either party. At the end of the day the seller is looking at their net so if it makes financial sense for them to do it then a lot of times they will.
With that said, everything is negotiable in real estate. You can ask for the seller to contribute towards your closing costs and prepaid items. This is very common in Atlanta, particularly on homes priced below $500,000.
From a seller's perspective, they will focus on the net number that is being offered. So an offer of $200,000 and $5,000 in closing cost contribution to the buyer is the same as an offer of $195,000 and no closing cost contribution.
For the buyer, it can be important to have the closing cost contribution. If you need X dollars to put towards a downpayment and then another X dollars for closing costs, you may not be able to buy the home. For a buyer, it's basically taking the money and putting it into different buckets that best meets your financial needs for the transaction. For the seller, it's a net number and typically doesn't matter to them.
The closing attorney represents your lender. They explain each document. You are entitled to received the documents upfront for a full read and you can highlight the items that you would like explained by the closing attorney. They can explain; however, they cannot provide you with legal advise because they represent the lender. The closing attorney is also there to ensure that you are the person that applied for the loan, that the terms of the contract are what is reflected in the closing documents, and that the transaction is not one of mortgage fraud. The closing attorney does all the background check on the property you are purchasing such as a title search to check for liens. The closing attorney does everything to ensure that good and marketable title is being conveyed (or the title requred to be conveyed within the contract).
It is important to understand that the loan documents are pre-printed loan documents that have blanks that are completed by your lenders company with your interest rate, term, loan type etc. The pre-printed portion of the documents is non-negotiable... the fill in the blanks outline your loan and can be changed if wrong. In Georgia, we are a non-judicial state which means that a lender does not have to sue you to foreclose upon you. If you pay you get to stay and if you don't you won't. They do have to send a series of notifications informing you of their intent to foreclose giving you the opportunity to bring the mortgage current or make arrangements. It is always good to understand what you are signing. This is easily accomplished by you reading the document and asking for explanations.
A consumer always has the right to hire an attorney to review documents and explain the documents. A consumer can have an attorney present at closing to represent them. I have never attended a closing in Georgia where a buyer or a seller hired an attorney. There is no right or wrong way. If you want an attorney then the Legal Club may be the way to go for you. If you are comfortable with your reading ability and an attorney explaining the documents then you may feel that you wasted money.
As a Realtor and property investor, I know there are many states that require an attorney in a real estate transaction. California, does not require an attorney for real estate transactions.
I also subscribe to Prepaid Legal (I am assuming that is who you are referring to as a 'Legal Club') and they provide home buyers an attorney to help review loan documents. Loan documents can be scary and it can help to have a qualified attorney explain what each items means. As a real estate professions, we can help explain the basics of each document but any good Realtor will refer you to an attorney if you have specific legal questions about your loan documents. Since most Realtors are not an attorney, we are strictly prohibited from giving out legal advise.
I believe I know what you are talking about - and that they are referring to providing you with pre-printed contracts to buy or sell a house. This will do you little to no good ultimately.
If you are a buyer, with nothing to sell, it is extremely likely that you will not pay anything for using a Realtor to do this for you.
And contrary to popular thought - a Realtor's job is SO much more that finding a house and writing an offer. It is about representing your interests and ensuring you are well informed of the process and everything goes according to schedule. Filling out contracts is easy - searching for houses online is easy - It's often the stuff that you don't see us do that is worth "all the money" we make!
AND to clarify some previous posts, legal fees can be paid by either party - generally the party being represented (there's a check box in the contracts!) - BUT the attorney really represents the mortgage company if you are using a loan. The easiest way to understand is that you wouldn't have most of the closing costs if you were not getting a loan - so these are charges to the buyer, but often the seller will pay some or all of them as allowed by law - often up to 3% of the loan amount.
I know it's sounds like we are a bunch of Realtors promoting ourselves here, but everyone has given you pretty accurate answers. I would also remind you that you can contact as many of us as you like and choose the person who you feel best suits your needs! Too few people actually shop around when it comes to such an important decision.
Best of luck to you guys!
I'd be leary of any legal club claiming to help out with the paperwork as it's common knowledge that in Georgia, Realtors typically take care of this.
In other states, it probably is a valuable resource.
I would get something in writing describing what this service provides especially if you are going to have to pay for it. I would be interested to know more about this program if it's not a relocation package.
Your best bet is to get a good buyer's agent to negotiate these fees for you. From what you have described it sounds like most of the fees we are discussing would be incorporated into the seller paid closing costs. Any fees above and beyond what the seller has agreed to pay will be the buyer's responsibility.
Many lenders estimate closing costs by using 3%-4% of the purchase price of the home. This estimate is usually high since it's better to guess higher than lower.
If you would like some assistance purchasing your new home I would be glad to help. In addition my wife is a real estate attorney here in Georgia and is a great resource for my clients and myself.
(spammy personal plug goes here) As a REALTOR and a Loan Officer, I would be happy to assist you.