In many states, real estate agents who represent sellers are required to give their clients an estimate of closing costs and net sale proceeds.
This must be done at the same time the offer is communicated by the agent to the seller. Even in states with that requirement, though, the agent does not always do a good job of estimating the costs.
For best results, I like to estimate the total closing costs myself. Any closing company can help educate you on how to do this. I then make my offer a little lower than it would otherwise be because I also offer to pay all closing costs. That way, the seller knows that the offer is the amount he or she will put in his or her pocket, except for easy-to-calculate real estate commissions.
Speaking of real estate commissions, you should also address this subject in your offer if the seller is represented by a broker. In all likelihood, the seller signed a contract agreeing to pay the broker a certain percentage of the sale price, usually 6%. But, the broker usually has to split that with whatever broker brings the buyer to the closing table. In reality, the listing broker expected to earn only 3% on his or her listing agreement. If you are not working with a broker or agent, you can specify in your offer that the seller will pay a 3% commission to his or her agent.
If the seller’s agent agrees to the reduced commission amount, you can usually make a deal on that basis. If you offered $156,640 for a home, the seller would have to pay the agent $9,398.40 at a 6% commission. But, with only 3% in commissions, the seller saves $4,699.20. That could be the difference between accepting your offer and rejecting your offer.