If you’re a first time buyer or seller, you may not be aware of the fees, aka “closing costs,” associated with the sale of a home in San Francisco. Closing costs are the fees connected to the final step of a real estate transaction — the transfer of real property — and can contain many different components and vary from city to city, state to state, and county to county.

Many of the closing costs for home buyers and sellers in San Francisco prorate based on the sales price and timing of the sale. There are customary practices as to who pays what (buyer or seller) though in theory, everything is negotiable. Having an experienced San Francisco real estate agent at your side who understands the process is important.

Standard Closing Costs in San Francisco for Home Buyers

For buyers, some of the common fees you can expect to pay for during the escrow or at the closing are:

  • Fees associated with your loan which vary by lender but are somewhat consistent with the major players
  • Credit report
  • Loan points or origination fee, if any
  • Appraisal
  • Proration of mortgage payment based on the closing date
  • Any inspections you order
  • Attorney fees (not particularly common in a standard SF home purchase)
  • Proration of property tax based on the closing date
  • Fees associated with the escrow process
  • Document preparation
  • Escrow fee
  • Notary and courier fees
  • Home owner’s insurance
  • Move-in fee (for some larger condo buildings)
  • Home owner’s association fees, if any, prorated on the closing date

FUN FACT: The cost of having a top San Francisco real estate agent working as your fiduciary representative is one of the seller’s closing costs. In other words, you do not pay for a buyer’s agent to help you find and negotiate your home. The commission is paid by the seller. Of course, we appreciate referrals and a positive recommendation on a job well done! 🙂

In San Francisco, it is standard for a buyer to pay between 1 to 2 percent of the loan amount of the home in closing fees though this can be lower or higher depending on your individual situation. Here is our list of SFhotlist recommended home loan lenders with the best fees and interest rates.

There are a few things you can do as a home buyer to prepare for the fees associated with closing costs. For example, lenders are required by law to provide a loan estimate that includes the closing costs of the home so it’s important to get your full loan pre-approval up-front so you have a truly accurate sense of your budget.

Standard Closing Costs in San Francisco for Home Sellers

For home sellers, some of the common fees you can expect to pay for during the escrow or at the closing are:

  • San Francisco city and county transfer tax (Learn how to calculate your SF transfer tax here.)
  • Real estate broker commission
  • Pre-sale inspections
  • Compliance with any California and San Francisco required ordinances such as energy and water conservation
  • Pre-sale enhancements such as painting, minor repairs, floor refinishing, garden clean-up, cleaning, etc. A skilled San Francisco listing agent (ahem, like Danielle Lazier) will advise on the most crucial fix-ups to bring you a substantial return on investment (ROI).
  • Professional home staging, when appropriate
  • Property taxes prorated on the closing date
  • Home owner’s association fees, if any, prorated on the closing date
  • Loan pay-offs, i.e. your proceeds will be used to pay off your current loan

The biggest expense for a home seller is typically the sales commission to the real estate agent. In an expensive real estate market like San Francisco, where the difference between a top-producing and highly skilled real estate agent working on your behalf to recommend the correct marketing of your property and negotiate on your behalf with buyers and a less experienced or committed Realtor can be tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of dollars, choosing the right real estate agent and recognizing that “you get what you pay for” is crucial. Do your research and we hope you’ll give us a call.


Are you a home buyer or home seller in San Francisco? We’ve got a team with a great track record for negotiating so that everyone comes out as a winner. Contact Danielle and Keller Williams San Francisco and let us know how we can help!

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