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Whether you are buying a home or selling one, the process can be more complex and costly than you anticipate. A real estate transaction involves more than just the home’s sale price: You also have to factor in closing costs, which are the various fees, taxes and expenses that both buyers and sellers have to pay before the deal can be completed.
The good news about Arizona is that closing costs here are cheaper than in many other states across the country. Among all 50 states and Washington, D.C., the Grand Canyon State sits in the middle of the pack, with closing costs averaging around 1.2 percent of a home’s sale price, according to data from CoreLogic’s ClosingCorp. Here’s everything to know about closing costs in Arizona.
How much are closing costs in Arizona?
While the annual number of sunny days in Arizona is high, the closing costs you’ll pay are low compared to many other states. ClosingCorp’s most recent info shows that Arizona residents pay about $4,700 in closing costs, not including Realtor commissions. That’s based on real estate transactions in 2021, with an average home price of $409,930 — but it’s not far off from today’s median sale price in the state, which as of March 2023 was $416,600, according to Redfin.
Many states charge a real estate transfer tax, but Arizona is one of several states that does not have transfer taxes. Other items commonly included in a transaction’s total closing costs include fees for title insurance, escrow, recording and mortgage origination. However, note that the final bill for closing costs can differ significantly based on your location and sale price. For example, the median sale price in Sedona is $927,972, per Redfin, whereas in Phoenix, it’s just $410,000. Based on a 1.2 percent closing cost average rate, that makes a difference of $11,135 versus $4,920, respectively.
The percentage may be higher than 1.2, as well. “In my experience, on average, sellers in Arizona in 2023 can expect to pay 3 percent of their home’s final sale price in closing costs,” says Kristi Smith, executive vice president of Landmark Title Assurance Agency in Phoenix. “Buyers can expect to pay a minimum of 2 percent in closing costs in today’s market.”
Who pays closing costs in Arizona: buyers or sellers?
At least some closing costs are paid by both the buyer and seller in a property transaction (in any state, not just Arizona). Sellers are on the hook for most of these costs, but buyers must pay their fair share, too. If you opt to hire a real estate attorney, their fees will be an additional expense. Here’s a breakdown of what each party is usually responsible for covering in Arizona, per Smith.
Closing costs for buyers
Arizona homebuyers should expect their closing costs to include the following:
- Origination fee: Most lenders charge this fee for setting up your loan.
- Application fee: Some may also charge a processing fee for your application.
- Credit fee: The cost to check your credit is minimal, usually around $25.
- Mortgage points: If you chose to pay points on your mortgage, that expense will be paid at closing.
- Appraisal and inspection fees: Lenders require an appraisal to ensure the home’s value matches the loan amount, and this fee typically costs $300 to $400. A home inspection will cost around the same amount.
- Title fees: A title search is performed to confirm the property is free of liens or other issues, while title insurance can protect against any future claims on the title.
- Recording fees: The city or county where the property is located typically charges a fee to record the transaction. These can cost around $60, per Smith.
- Property taxes: Buyers may be required to prepay property taxes for a certain period, typically six months to a year.
Closing costs for sellers
When selling a home in Arizona, closing costs will likely include:
- Realtor commissions: Sellers are usually responsible for paying commissions to both their own agent and the buyer’s agent. This is typically the largest expense for sellers and can range from 5 to 6 percent of the sale price. For a median-priced $416,600 home, this could run up to $25,000.
- Owner’s title insurance: This protects against any issues with the property title and can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to nearly $2,000, depending on the policy.
- Property taxes: Sellers may have to pay any outstanding property taxes at closing.
- Homeowners association fees: If the property is part of an HOA, the seller may have to pay prorated fees at closing.
- Wire transfer fees: If funds need to be transferred to pay off the mortgage balance, the bank may charge a nominal wire transfer fee.
- Recording fees: Sellers may also be charged a recording fee.
Lowering your closing costs in Arizona
Many aspects of a real estate transaction are negotiable, including closing costs. It is possible for the buyer and seller to negotiate who pays for which closing costs. For example, says Smith, “In some transactions, the seller will agree to pay for a percentage of the sale price toward closing costs to secure the deal.”
However, the bargaining power either party has can vary depending on factors such as the level of interest in the property. Case in point: If a property has been on the market for a while, the buyer may have more leverage to negotiate lower costs than the seller does.
For sellers, agent commission fees are often negotiable, which can result in significant savings, particularly for high-priced homes. And for eligible buyers — particularly first-time homebuyers — government-sponsored assistance programs may be available to help cover some or all of their closing costs. Some mortgage lenders offer rebate programs as well, so ask around when you’re comparing local lenders.
“Arizona has various programs that assist with closing costs, including the Home Plus Program, which will potentially cover your entire down payment and closing costs in the form of a silent second mortgage,” says Smith. She notes that discounts are sometimes available for other fees as well: “Escrow and title fees in Arizona are filed with the state. However, you may qualify for a discount, such as an investor or first responder rate. Ask your escrow officer if you qualify for any discounted rates.”
Find a local real estate agent
Finding a great real estate agent to partner with can be invaluable for both buyers and sellers. One of the best ways to begin your search is by asking family and friends for recommendations. Another helpful step is to research an agent online and read reviews from previous clients. Additionally, take the time to visit neighborhoods you’re interested in and make note of agents listed on “for sale” or “sold” signs. By doing your due diligence, you can increase your chances of finding an agent who will help you navigate the complexities of the Arizona real estate market with ease.
Closing costs are dependent on many factors, including your specific lender, the home’s location and the final sale price. ClosingCorp data shows that these costs in Arizona usually come to around 1.2 percent of the home’s sale price, not including Realtor commission fees — though Kristi Smith, executive vice president of Landmark Title Assurance Agency in Phoenix, notes that they can be more.
Yes, sellers pay their share of closing costs in Arizona (and in all states). In fact, sellers typically pay much more than buyers, because sellers are responsible for paying the real estate agents’ commission fees. These typically total between 5 and 6 percent of the home’s sale price.