When a buyer purchases a home with a mortgage, they are required to pay a certain amount of closing costs on top of the actual purchase price of the home. Some buyers discover during their home hunt that they have enough money saved for a down payment, but not for the closing costs. Rather than wait to save more money to purchase a home, they’ll request the seller to pay these closing costs. This monetary contribution is called a seller concession or seller contribution and is only applied to closing costs.
Why would a seller agree to pay concessions? It’s really an accounting game as no cash actually exchanges hands. The concession is added onto the purchase price of the home. If the home costs $200,000 and the closing costs are $8,000, the purchase price becomes $208,000. Then, the $8,000 concession is deducted from the seller net proceeds on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and given back to the buyer. But the seller concessions must be agreed upon at the time the contract is signed, because adding them in later can be a hassle.
Why wouldn’t the seller agree to pay concessions? The appraisal may not compensate for the extra money. Without the concessions, the home would have to appraise at $200,000. With the concessions, it would have to appraise at $208,000. If it doesn’t appraise that high, the deal falls apart. The lender will not loan for more than the home is appraised at. That’s why it’s important to not ask for seller concessions unless you are sure it has a chance of appraising at the elevated contract price.
It’s also important to note that some loan programs have limits on the amount of concessions a seller can pay. Currently, FHA will allow the seller to contribute up to 6% of the price, VA will allow up to 4% of the price, and conventional will allow up to 3%. USDA has no cap. But this may change. Always verify with your mortgage consultant how much the seller can contribute before finalizing an offer.
If you have any questions about seller concessions, ask your Sea Coast agent. Don’t have an agent, find one today.