Can I Buy a House With a Personal Check? A Helpful Guide
There are many steps to buying a home and there are also many expenses you’ll have to pay throughout the home-buying process. While some of these items can be paid with a personal check others cannot. Let’s take a look at what expenses can be paid with a personal check.
Types of Payments Made Before Closing
Before you even get to the closing table you will be spending money out of pocket. While some of these expenses can be paid at closing others cannot. Let’s explore what type of payments you’ll be making prior to closing and the type of payments that are customarily accepted.
One of the very first expenses you will have is putting down your escrow deposit, also commonly referred to as an earnest money deposit. While some buyers will make one large escrow deposit others will split the escrow deposit into two payments. If two separate payments are made, the first is usually collected when the offer is made or a few days after acceptance. While the second deposit is then collected 7-15 days later. The amount put in escrow will vary but in a highly competitive real estate market putting 3%-20% into escrow is the minimum.
Most title or closing companies will allow you to write a personal check for your escrow deposit(s). A cashier’s check, money order, and wire transfer are generally accepted as well.
The next expense you’ll most likely pay for is a home inspection and any additional inspections associated with buying a home, such as a termite inspection, wind mitigation inspection, 4-point inspection, and mold testing.
The type of payment a home inspector accepts will vary. If they are an independent contractor they may accept a quick and simple payment from Zelle or Cash App. However, if they work for an inspection company they’ll probably require a personal check, cashier’s check, money order, or credit card payment.
Prior to scheduling a home inspection, you’ll want to find out what home inspections they’ll be doing, the cost of those inspections, and the types of payments accepted. This way when you arrive at the home inspection you’ll be able to pay the inspector upon completion.
If you are obtaining a mortgage a home appraisal will probably be required, which is usually paid for prior to closing. In fact, some lenders won’t even order the home appraisal until they receive your payment. In order to expedite this process most lenders will only accept a credit card payment. However, you may have other options, which you’d have to discuss with your lender.
Property surveys are generally optional if you are paying cash for a home. However, if you are obtaining a mortgage it is usually required. Sometimes you’ll be required to pay for this service prior to closing, which if that’s the case it’s usually by credit card. With that being said some title companies will allow you to roll this payment into your closing costs.
Homeowners insurance is really a must, regardless if you are obtaining financing or paying cash for your new home. Just like a property survey when the payment is due will vary. Sometimes the payment will be due prior to closing and other times the bill can be paid at closing. If you’re required to pay for your homeowner’s insurance policy upfront insurance companies generally accept a credit card payment and sometimes a personal check.
Can I Buy a House With a Personal Check?
Now for the main question, can you buy a house with a personal check? While there are several items you can pay for prior to closing with a personal check, such as a home inspection you cannot buy a home with a personal check at closing.
Due to the amount of fraud most title and closing companies will only accept wired funds for your balance due at closing. While some may accept a cashier’s check as an alternative option many have stopped accepting those as well.
Now, if you know the balance of your closing costs due weeks in advance of your actual closing date you might be able to write a personal check as long as there is enough time for the check to clear. However, most home buyers don’t know what their final closing figure is until a few days prior to closing.
Money Tips When Buying a Home
Prior to starting your home search make sure all of your funds are readily available. Don’t wait until you go under contract or get to the closing table to start moving funds around. One, moving funds around could be an issue for your lender. Two, the funds may not arrive as quickly as you anticipated.
If you are being gifted funds you’ll want to discuss with your lender the best way to receive those funds. Should the gifter pay the escrow deposit? Should the gifter give you the money prior to closing? Should the gifter wire funds to the title company at closing?
It’s also important to ask yourself how reliable the gifter is. What happens if they have a life-changing event are they still going to gift you funds? If not do you have the funds? The last thing you want is to be short funds at closing because your gifter changed their mind and you don’t have the funds. Not only could you lose the house you could also be sued for performance.
Always verify the types of payments contractors and companies accept upfront. Never assume you’ll be able to pay for things with a credit card. I know firsthand some buyers are so tight on funds they count on being able to pay for things with their credit cards and that may not be the case.
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About the Author
Top Wellington Realtor, Michelle Gibson, wrote: “Can I Buy a House With a Personal Check? A Helpful Guide”
Michelle has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent she will guide you through the entire real estate transaction. If you’re ready to put Michelle’s knowledge and expertise to work for you call or e-mail her today.
Areas of service include Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres, and more.
Can I Buy a House With a Personal Check? A Helpful Guide