As a buyer you will have certain cost and fees even if the sale does not close. I thought you might like to see those fees.

Escrow and option funds

In most cases you will have to write two checks when you submit your offer. The escrow check is typically one percent (1%) of the sales price. This is not written in stone, but is what is customary in Austin. If the home is getting several offers, the sellers may ask for more earnest money. The escrow money is the money deposited to show the seller you are a serious buyer.

The second check you will submit will be the option check. The option money, is the NONREFUNDABLE money the seller receives for taking the home off the market. He receives this because we are taking his home off the market for a period of time to do our inspections. If you close this may be credited at closing. This amount varies, but is usually several hundred dollars, & may go up as the price goes up. This amount is negotiable between buyer and seller.

The option money is nonrefundable, the earnest money is refundable if you decline to go thru with the purchase during your “option period.” After the option period is over the earnest may or may not be returnable depending on the circumstances.


The appraisal fee is what the lender charges to determine a current value on the home. And how much money they should loan on the home. The appraisal fee will run around $400. Be aware appraisers are very tight on appraisal value currently.


Is this a mandatory fee? No. Are you crazy to not get an inspection to try and save a few hundred dollars? Yes, in my opinion.

The only time I would not care if you did not do an inspection, is when the home is in such poor condition that we are going to totally redo it. And even then it is a good idea to have one.

If I was buying the home you are making an offer on, I would have it inspected. And I have looked at literally thousands of homes in my career.

The cost of the inspections is based on a number of things. And if it has any of the following features.

Size…it takes longer to look at a 3500 square foot home than a 2000 square foot home

Age…the older a home, the more that can be wrong with it.


Sprinkler System

Multiple heating/ac units

Septic System…(I recommend a separate inspector if this is needed costs vary depending on the type of system)

Outbuildings/additional structures

The cost for a home inspection is usually about $350-400 for a smaller home. And goes up with the size and above features.

Termite inspection…runs about $50-$75, I always get one. Termite damage can be very costly in addition to the treatment to get rid of them. Termite inspection is mandatory on VA loans.


You can run into other situations where additional inspections are necessary or wise to consider. If we see evidence of slab problems or if the home inspector indicated a problem, we may want to have structural engineer inspect the home.

Other situations might be, if the home inspection found a problem, in a particular system.