Finance Blog

Stay financially savvy with the Equifax Advisor.

Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter


Thank you for signing up for the FREE Equifax monthly newsletter

In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.

Understand your credit. Help protect your identity.

Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Know What May Influence Your Credit Score and Be Alerted of Changes
    Credit score monitoring with custom alerts
    Important Disclosure: The Equifax credit score and 3-Bureau credit scores are based on an Equifax credit score model and are not the same scores used by 3rd parties to assess your creditworthiness.¹
  • Help Protect Your Identity
    Automatic fraud alerts encourages lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity²
  • Lock Your Credit
    The ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report³
Save 75% your first 30 days with the purchase of Equifax Complete™ Premier

$4.95 for the first 30 days, then $19.95 per month thereafter. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.4

¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.

³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.

4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.

Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.

Buying a Home? Know What It Really Costs

Written by Steve Cook on July 17, 2014 in Real Estate  |   No comments

You’ve done all the right prep work to buy a home. You saved for a down payment, cleaned up your credit, and got pre-approved for a mortgage. You found a home that you can afford, and now the days are ticking down to closing—and everything…

buying-a-home-know-what-it-really-costsYou’ve done all the right prep work to buy a home. You saved for a down payment, cleaned up your credit, and got pre-approved for a mortgage. You found a home that you can afford, and now the days are ticking down to closing—and everything seems too good to be true.

Unfortunately, it could be. Unless you are prepared for some serious expenses, you may not make it across the threshold and into the home of your dreams.

The real costs of buying a home

If you’re buying a home, be prepared to write some really big checks. In addition to your down payment—which, for buyers with average credit, could be 20 percent or more of the sale price of the home—you’ll need to pay some other hefty expenses, including:

Closing costs. Many real estate agents tell their clients that they should expect to pay closing costs equivalent to 5 percent of the cost of the home, which is a good ballpark number. However, closing costs can vary greatly depending on where you live. They tend to be higher in states like Hawaii, California, and New York, and they are usually lower in Midwestern and Southern states.

Your lender will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) when you are approved for a loan. This document estimates what you can expect to pay at closing, including lender costs, such as administrative fees; costs for services like title insurers and inspectors; and taxes and fees required by the government.

For certain line items, such as title insurance and home inspection, you have the option of shopping around for cheaper vendors instead of using the lender’s recommendations.

(Read more: How to Read a Good Faith Estimate)

Origination costs. According to a Bankrate survey of closing costs released in August 2013, which surveyed 10 lenders in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, homebuyers taking out a $200,000 loan can expect to pay an average of about $2,400 in origination costs. That’s a 6 percent jump compared to 2012, when the same fees averaged about $2,264.

The survey did not cover some of the most expensive services—including title insurance, title search, taxes, property insurance, association fees, interest, and other prepaid items—so $2,400 is only a starting point. For example, in New York City, title insurance on a $500,000 home with a $400,000 mortgage would be an additional $2,666.

Taxes. When home prices soared ten years ago, state and local governments were quick to raise transfer and property tax rates. (Of course, they did not remember to lower them when prices plummeted in 2007.)

Transfer taxes are a one-time charge for “transferring” ownership from one party to another, and they are expressed in units of several hundred dollars. For example, if the rate is $2 for each $500, on a $200,000 you would pay $800 in transfer taxes ($200,000/$500=400, and 400 x $2=$800).

Property taxes, on the other hand, are paid as long as you own the property. They are usually paid twice a year, and they are paid in advance. At closing, you may be required to reimburse the sellers for the taxes they have already paid. Depending on the assessed value of the home, tax rates, and the date on which you close, you could face a tax bill of $1,000 or more on a $200,000 home.

One consolation: You can deduct all taxes paid at closing when you file your next federal tax return.

You may face additional costs, including special inspections—such as those for pests or radon, or inspections of a septic system—and you may want to have your own home inspection to ensure the property does not have a major issue that you might consider a deal breaker.

Keep in mind that unlike your down payment, you can borrow money from family or friends to pay your closing costs. Even so, it’s a good idea to save as much money as you can before buying a home so that you have enough cash to handle not just your down payment but also closing costs, moving costs, and any renovations or decorating you will want to do in your hew home.

Steve Cook is executive vice president of Reecon Advisors and covers government and industry news for the Reecon Advisory Report. He is a member of the National Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America, and the National Association of Real Estate Editors, where he served as second vice president. Twice he has been named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. In addition to serving as managing editor of the Report, Cook provides public relations consulting services to real estate companies, financial services companies, and trade associations, including some of the leading companies in online residential real estate.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.

No comments yet

Comments are closed.

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Real Estate Archive