County ranks 26th in real estate closing costs

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, July 3, 2019

According to a recent study, Covington County ranks 26 in the state for its closing cost, but Landmark Settlement and Title title and escrow officer Martin Clifton doesn’t agree that the numbers add up correctly.

The study, done by financial technology company SmartAsset, based the closing costs on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage on each county’s median home value and a 20-percent down payment. They also considered all applicable closing costs, which include the mortgage tax, transfer tax and both fixed and variable fees. Once they calculated the typical closing costs in each county, they divided that figure by the county’s median home value.

Covington County’s closing cost as percentage of home value was 2.8 percent with the average closing cost being $2,553 and the median home value being $96,200.

“When I plug in the numbers that they are putting in, I get that we are making $1,300, roughly, on a file,” Clifton said. “So, I don’t understand where they are getting that, because what they think we are making on a file is way more.”

Clifton said that if they used the numbers that he pulled up then it would put Covington County above Shelby County, which is in first place.

“If you walked in my door today and wanted to buy a house that was $100,000, borrowed $80,000 for the property and you brought in a $20,000 down payment, then you would be looking at the closing cost being $1,300,” Clifton said. “Now if you take that $1,300 and divide it by the median home value, we would be sitting at a 1.3 percent, which is lower than Shelby County’s 1.7 percent.”

He does believe that they did get the median home value right.

“I think they did a good job estimating the home value,” Clifton said. “But I think they are almost doubling what it will take a resident of Covington County to do a real estate closing with any of us here in the county. Honestly, I think we are closer to the top. Not 26.”

Other Alabama counties that ranked in the top 10 for lowest closing costs are Baldwin, Madison, Tuscaloosa, Lee, Elmore, Coffee, Limestone and Autauga, respectively.

Across the nation, Teton, Wyo., had the lowest closing costs, according to the study.