Closing Expenses:  Am I Responsible for Paying Them?

Closing expenses, or closings costs, are part of the process of finalizing the sale of a house. In some cases, the closing costs might be paid by the seller, and in other cases by the buyer. It will depend on the nature of the fees, and how good a deal the parties negotiate with one another.

Seller Closing Costs

If you have used a realtor, one of your biggest expenses will be the commission on the final price of the property. This will usually be 5% or more of the value of the home. The other fees vary depending on where you live, but anticipate 6% to 10% of additional costs.

Other charges will be itemized on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, for both sellers and buyers.

These fees will not have to be paid in cash, but rather, out of the price of the house. However, it is important to factor them in from the outset so you donít end up with a much smaller profit on the sale of your house than you had hoped for.

The most common costs in addition to commission are:

Loan payoff fees

Your mortgage loan payoff will usually be somewhat higher than the actual remaining balance on your mortgage because of early repayment penalties. These can vary depending on how long you have held the mortgage. If you have a home equity loan or line of credit, you must also pay this off in full, and there may be some fees involved.

Transfer taxes and recording fees

State or local governments will usually charge a tax and fee in order to transfer the title for the property from one owner to another.

Title insurance fees

Title insurance protects the owner of property and the mortgage lender against future claims for any unknown issues with the title to the property at the time of sale. Issues may include fraud, forgery, unpaid property taxes, judgments, liens, or other encumbrances that were not discovered during a search of the propertyís title history, which should have been conducted thoroughly before the sale. 

Sellers typically pay the owner's title insurance premium, as an undertaking that they have been honest in all their dealings with regard to the sale. The fees vary from state to state, but the Title Insurance Rate Service Association makes broad recommendations as to costs.

Legal fees

If you have an attorney represent you at the settlement, you will need to pay them. Fees vary depending on the number of services. In some cases, one attorney might be used for both sides, in which case the parties could split the costs.

Additional closing costs for sellers

Additional closing costs for sellers can include outstanding matters related to the property, such as:

* Tax liens or judgments against the property
* Unpaid homeowner association dues
* Pro-rated property taxes up to the date of the sale
* Back taxes

Some closing costs may be related to essentials that need to be cured before sale can go through, such as certain repairs, termite issues, and so on.

©2019 Lon Levin Real Estate  All rights reserved   

Natural Landscaping: Plants That Require Little Maintenance

The best part of natural landscaping is that it requires little maintenance. Mother Nature knew exactly what she was doing when she created natural landscaping. There are many benefits to natural landscaping such as being cost-effective, being chemical free, and having aesthetic beauty.

Add being maintenance free into that equation to make it even sweeter. Here are some plants that require little maintenance in the natural landscaping category.

Natural landscaping, of course, includes plants and brush that are typically found in the surrounding environment.

Returning Perennials

A perennial is a plant or bush that comes back every year. These plants have the ability to spread and grow in optimal conditions according to their species. 

* The bleeding heart is one such plant that grows and thrives well in a woodland setting. It produces approximately 3-foot-tall stems that arch with brightly colored heart-shaped blooms. This plant loves the shade shade and grows well.

* The black-eyed Susan grows a gold and yellow petal with a deep black circular center. This flower resembles a daisy and reaches around 25 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Black-eyed Susans grow well in sunny conditions. 

North American Ferns

* North American ferns are one of the favorites amongst native plants. They give off a plush ambience for any yard, whether front or back. The fern consists of a spreading, tiny, green leaf with a black stem. It loves to drink up wet soil and can reach up to two feet tall as well as wide. 

Native Annual Wildflowers 

* Everyone loves native annual wildflowers such as the coreopsis. They pop up in open fields year after year, spreading their beauty and natural elegance like a carpet full of color. They can grow up to approximately four feet tall and spread close to two feet wide. This sun-loving annual attracts birds and butterflies to the yard. Having wildflowers grow along a border or out in an open space is an easy way to achieve that peaceful feeling of being in a field of beauty.

North American Shrubs

* North American shrubs are a favorite amongst wildlife as it offers them natural vegetation for that ecosystem. It also provides homes for birdlife. ìBelle Etoileî has an absolutely wonderful smell and is grown in the typically sunnier sites. This shrub can grow almost to seven feet tall and has tons of tiny white blossoms spreading throughout.

These plants and shrubs are wonderful additions to any garden, as they are low maintenance and beautiful as well.


From Ponds to Vegetable Gardens: Natural Landscaping at Its Most Creative

Natural landscaping does not just involve plants, ferns, trees, and shrubs. Natural landscaping incorporates ponds, streams, and even gardens of various types - both fruit and vegetable.

Different Bodies of Water

If you ask anyone about creating an oasis in their backyard, chances are great that they will incorporate the vision of a pond or waterfall into their design. The fact is that most individuals will always desire a body of water in their backyard design as it provides soothing tranquility and peace of mind.


Ponds are an excellent way to incorporate natural landscaping into your backyard or even your front yard. A pond that is properly executed will allow nature to take its course and let the fish, plants, and water live harmoniously together.

Typically some gravel and a pump and filter are all that is required for a properly run pond. Fish, plants, and bacteria can all co-exist in order to maintain healthy relationships amongst themselves.

Adults and children of all ages just adore a well-done fishpond on their property.


In addition, who does not love a waterfall - no matter how big or small. Waterfalls are attractive everywhere from restaurants and hotels and incorporated right into your own backyard pool. 

Not only do waterfalls provide beauty for the eyes, they are soothing and pleasing to listen to as well. There is nothing more relaxing than the sound of a waterfall running through, in or around another body of water or just by itself. 


Imagine walking into your backyard and hearing the sounds of a stream as it runs on by towards its goal. Streams are part of natural landscaping as well, and are loved by many homeowners.

You can incorporate a stream running through your natural landscape of plants and vegetation to complete the picture.

Vegetable Gardens

The latest in natural landscaping is the raised bed vegetable garden. Excellent drainage, healthy soil, and proper nutrients are just a few of the benefits of a raised vegetable bed garden. 

Eating organic food right from your backyard speaks for itself. Not only will you help Mother Nature by planting, you will also save money, time, and eat healthier than ever with these types of vegetable gardens.

Depending on what your likes, needs, and desires are, you can create the most beautiful yard customized to your taste.

©2019 Lon Levin Real Estate  All rights reserved