Sadly, yes – some closing attorneys do add what we would consider “junk fees” to the costs of closing a real estate loan.

We worked with a client who was the seller in the transaction and used the closing attorney the buyer had stipulated in the sales contract. That attorney added a $250 charge to get tax liens released. While it’s true that occasionally the tax commissioner fails to release a lien when it’s been paid in full, all that’s required is a faxed-in request for release, and we take care of that as a part of our standard closing fee, at no extra charge.

Common “junk fees” you might see on the closing disclosure are wire fees, post-closing fees, document-handling or document-prep fees. Origin Title & Escrow performs all those tasks, but it’s included in the $450 settlement fee. Our total fee for title search and settlement is $750 for a refinance and $850 for a purchase. The only additional charge would be for title insurance.

The buyer picks the closing attorney and is typically the one who pays the closing costs. Real estate agents who work mostly with buyers – especially first-time buyers – will enjoy working with a closing attorney with a simple and transparent fee structure.