Whether you’re a buyer looking for your first home or a seller preparing to list your property for sale, you’ve probably heard the term “concessions” in real estate. But what exactly does that refer to?
Seller concessions, which are also called seller assist or seller contributions, are the costs a seller agrees to pay to help the buyer when closing on the home. It’s essentially a gift that a seller can offer to reduce the amount future homeowners have to pay out of pocket.
While both the buyer and seller have closing costs they’re responsible for, a buyer’s closing costs are usually 3% to 6% of the home’s purchase price. This is aside from the down payment, which means buyers need to have a good amount of money saved up just to get the keys to their dream home.
To sweeten the deal and close quickly, sellers can either pay a flat percentage of the buyer’s closing costs, or buyers can ask them to cover a specific expense, such as the home inspection or home appraisal. Either way, seller concessions are typically negotiated as part of the buyer’s offer on the home purchase. But while they’re relatively common in real estate transactions, they’re far more likely to occur in a buyer’s market. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 20 percent of sellers offered incentives to attract buyers.
Seller concessions can be received on all types of home loans, including conventional, FHA, VA, or USDA loans. However, some rules set limits on the maximum amount that a seller can hand over, depending on the loan type. We’ll discuss more about this later on.
For home buyers, your closing costs will vary depending on your situation. In general, however, you should expect to pay 3% to 6% of the home’s value in closing costs, aside from your down payment. This means you need to have a good amount of money saved up just to get the keys to your dream home. Here are some examples of closing costs and fees that a seller might be willing to cover:
Mortgage origination fees
Real estate tax service fees
Mortgage discount points
Homeowners association fees
Purchase of a home warranty for the buyer
Likewise, a seller concession does not always have to be monetary. It can be other things connected to a home that a buyer may put value into, or anything that can sweeten the deal for the buyer. For instance, a buyer may ask for any existing furniture, appliances, or other loose home items, and the seller agrees to leave them even though they’re not initially included in the sale.