California Customary Closing Costs

Buying a home is not as simple as negotiating a price with the seller. There are many other costs, including those associated with the loans, appraisals, and insurance. Some are one-time fees, while others recur over the life of the loan and it’s important to understand why.

Depending on where you live, there are customary practices for who pays what.

The SELLER can generally be expected to pay for:  

  • Real estate commission  
  • Owner’s title insurance policy**  
  • Escrow fee**   
  • Document preparation fee for deed(s)   
  • Notary fees   
  • Document transfer tax   
  • County transfer tax**   
  • City transfer tax** 
  • Liens and encumbrances (if applicable)   
  • Any judgments, tax liens, etc. (if applicable)   
  • Recording charges to clear all documents of record (if applicable)  
  • Delinquent property taxes (if applicable)   
  • Tax prorations (for any taxes unpaid at the time of transfer of title)  
  • Unpaid Homeowners Association dues 
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) proration   

The BUYER can generally be expected to pay for: 

  • Lender title insurance premiums** 
  • Escrow fee** 
  • Document preparation (if applicable) 
  • All new loan charges (except those the Lender requires the seller to pay) 
  • Notary fees 
  • Recording charges for all documents in buyers’ names 
  • Interest on new loan from date of funding to 30 days prior to first payment date 
  • Tax prorations (from date of acquisition) 
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) proration 
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) transfer fees* 
  • Inspection fees* (roof, geological, pest, property inspection, etc.) 
  • Fire insurance premium for first year 

These items are most often negotiated with each purchase contract  

  • Any city transfer or conveyance tax 
  • Home warranty 
  • Any bonds or assessments 

*These items depend on individual contract negotiations  

**Varies county by county 

This article is part of the Home Buyer Guide.