title company for buying new construction

ALT works with with local lenders and real estate professionals to turn home buyers into homeowners.

On a mission to make buying a home more affordable, what we started 20 years ago is now the industry standard. Buying a home doesn't have to deplete your savings account. It's time to put aside any outdated misconceptions you have about buying a house. We're going to share with you the same real estate tips we give our own friends and family. It's the right way - the smart way - to buy a house.


5 Strategies for eliminating out-of-pocket closing costs...in any market.

Here's the to eliminate out-of-pocket closing costs when buying a home.

1. Ask your lender for a Closing Cost Credit.

With a lender credit towards closing costs, you could possibly offset thousands of dollars in fees.

Lender credits towards allowable closing costs are common and can significantly reduce the cash needed to make settlement. Depending on your situation, that could be just as important when shopping around as the interest rate. The loan's interest rate is key, but you should also take into account the lender's fees and the total cost over the life of the loan. The best deal may come with a slightly higher interest rate and credit towards closing costs.

It’s a good idea to talk to a few different lenders or mortgage brokers during the pre-approval process. Ask each lender for a preliminary mortgage rate and corresponding closing cost estimate so that you can weigh your options.

If you're interested in a lender credit, be sure to mention it upfront. You'll want to know if they have experience with credits and structuring a transaction to get the maximum allowable credit. (Read #6 learn how maximum allowable credits work.)

2. Choose your own Title Insurance/Settlement Company.

By shopping around for title insurance and settlement services, you can save up to $700 or more by eliminating unnecessary administration fees.

The old way… real estate brokers, agents and mortgage lenders enter into profit sharing arrangements with title insurance companies to enhance their bottom line, while their customers are stuck paying inflated and unnecessary fees for settlement services.

Real estate done right… real estate brokers, agents and mortgage lenders actually promote home ownership by eliminating confusing business relationships that increase the cost of buying a home. By introducing homebuyers to service providers who are committed to putting the customer's financial interests first, more transactions make it to settlement.

It’s just not possible to offer the customer the best deal when multiple parties are sharing in the profits.

Tip: As the buyer, you have the right to shop around and choose which settlement company/title insurance company you want to use. It's federal law. You're not obligated to go with your lender's recommendation or use your real estate agent's in-house title company.

And although title insurance rates are approved by and filed with the PA Department of Insurance, settlement service fees vary greatly from one company to another.  See sample quote.

3. Consider asking your Real Estate Broker for a Commission Rebate.

A real estate commission rebate can save you $1,000 or more at settlement.

Commission rebates have become very popular over the last ten years or so, thanks to rising home prices and inflating closing costs.

Savvy real estate agents and brokers realize that by rebating a portion of their commission to their buyer they’ll potentially do more business, either by making it possible for someone to afford a house a little sooner than they anticipated, or through additional referrals from satisfied customers.

If you make your lender aware of the rebate, often times they’ll permit crediting the rebate towards your allowable closing costs at settlement, thus reducing the amount of money you’ll need to bring to settlement. However, if the rebate exceeds the amount of your allowable closing costs due to either an agreed upon seller or lender credit, don’t sweat it. Another option would be to have your real estate broker issue the rebate by check directly to you once the transaction has closed.

To avoid any surprises and make sure that you and the agent that you hire to represent you have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations, we suggest that you both discuss and agree upon the terms of any commission rebates prior to signing a buyer’s broker agreement.

commission rebate chart
Commission rebates can be redeemed in one of two ways.

  1. As a credit towards allowable closing costs at final settlement.
  2. A check directly to the buyer from their real estate broker post closing.

Before deciding how to redeem their credit, the buyer should consider their total allowable closing costs, as credits given at settlement cannot exceed this figure. Learn more in #6.

Remember, it's just business!

Savvy real estate agents and brokers realize that by rebating a portion of their commission to their buyer they’ll potentially do more business, either by making it possible for someone to afford a house a little sooner than they anticipated, or through additional referrals from satisfied customers.

Request a Lender or Real Estate Agent Referral

ALT Title has participated in over 18,000 real estate transactions over the last twenty plus years. Needless to say, we've met a few lenders and real estate agents along the way. We're happy to introduce you to the local mortgage lenders and real estate professionals that we use personally and refer our family, friends and customers to as well.

4. Ask your Real Estate Broker to waive their Admin Fee

Save from $395 to $795 by eliminating this fee.

Real estate administration fees are also negotiable. Ask any attorney and they’ll tell you that their clients are always asking for discounts for their professional services. Same with your doctor. Although in most cases your insurance company already handled that negotiation for you.

If your real estate agent/broker typically charges the buyer an administrative fee (also referred to as a broker service fee or conveyancing fee) to manage the transaction, ask them to waive it. Eliminating this fee alone can save you an additional $395 to $795.

These administration fees became popular a few decades ago as an additional stream of revenue over & above the sales commission typically paid by the seller. Today, this fee seems to be a little outdated and many agents/brokers either don’t charge the fee or will waive it to give them a competitive advantage in an ever changing market.

Tip: When you hire ALT to provide title insurance and settlement services, we don’t charge the buyer any administration fees to process the transaction. The list of services that we perform on your behalf far exceeds the conveyancing services offered by most real estate brokers and It’s all included in the one-time title insurance premium that you’ll pay at closing.

Sample Conveyancing Addendum

alt vs broker admin fee

Don't Sign These Forms...not yet anyway.

Accidentally waiving your right to shop around for real estate services might cost you up to $1,000 or more in unnecessary fees.

Private Transactions

In today's market, transactions come in all shapes and sizes. If you're buying a For Sale by Owner listing, or if you're purchasing a home from a family member, ALT Title can conduct the legal transfer of ownership. We provide the Agreement of Sale, the conveyancing and settlement services, and we have a real estate attorney on staff should complicated matters arise.

See how both buyer and seller can save money with our settlement services for a private transaction.

5. Credits, Rebates & Gift Funds

Depending on your loan program, allowable credits and rebates will vary.

As we transition into a new real estate market, it’s becoming a little easier for buyers to ask the seller for assistance with covering some or even all of the buyer's allowable closing costs. If you’re going to have a mortgage, there are limitations to the amount that the seller can contribute towards your closing costs based upon your loan program. Working with an experienced lender will be essential to structuring the transaction to maximize the amount of seller credit allowable.

Another option for reducing the amount of personal cash you’ll need to buy a new home is receiving gift funds from a family member. Unlike seller credits, lender credits and/or commission rebates, there are no limits to the amount of gift funds that you can receive towards the purchase of your new home. Gift funds can be used towards both closing costs and your down payment.

credits and rebates

Learn more about this chart.

Estimate your monthly payment for any house in PA.

The Ultimate DIY Calculator

Enter any address in PA, your estimated settlement date and a few details, and we'll show you how much it will cost to buy the property, the monthly mortgage payment, and highlight areas where you can save from $3,000 to $5,000 on your closing costs. Save, share and edit estimates for multiple properties.

Get an instant online printable quote.

Save up to at the settlement table.

No closing fee and we attend settlement
No doc prep fees
Real estate attorney on staff
No miscellaneous title fees
No processing fees*
We respond to inquiries 7 days a week

*Rather than pay a real estate broker service / administrative fee, which averages $350-700, let ALT process your transaction at no additional charge.

Common Questions About Title Insurance

with clear answers from the experts at ALT Title

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