What is a seller credit in real estate?

What is a seller credit in real estate?


In the world of real estate, there are various terms and concepts that can be confusing for both buyers and sellers. One such term is “seller credit.” If you’re new to the real estate market or are considering buying or selling a property, it’s important to understand what a seller credit is and how it can impact a transaction. In this article, we will dive deeper into the topic of seller credits in real estate, explaining what they are, how they work, and their potential benefits and drawbacks.

What is a Seller Credit?

A seller credit, also known as a seller concession, is an arrangement in a real estate transaction where the seller agrees to contribute a certain amount of money towards the buyer’s closing costs or other expenses. These credits are typically negotiated as part of the purchase agreement and can be used to cover a wide range of costs, including loan origination fees, appraisal fees, title insurance, and even repairs or upgrades to the property.

How Does a Seller Credit Work?

When a seller agrees to provide a credit, it is usually expressed as a percentage of the purchase price or as a specific dollar amount. For example, a seller may offer a credit of 3% of the purchase price or $5,000 towards the buyer’s closing costs. This credit is then subtracted from the total amount the buyer needs to bring to the closing table, effectively reducing their out-of-pocket expenses.

It’s important to note that seller credits are typically limited to a certain percentage of the purchase price. The exact limit can vary depending on the type of loan the buyer is obtaining and the specific guidelines set by the lender. For conventional loans, the limit is often around 3% to 6% of the purchase price, while government-backed loans like FHA and VA loans may allow for higher credits, up to 9% or more.

The Benefits of Seller Credits

Seller credits can offer several benefits for both buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction. For buyers, a seller credit can help reduce their upfront costs, making homeownership more affordable. This can be especially beneficial for first-time homebuyers or those with limited funds for closing costs. By reducing the amount of cash needed at closing, buyers can potentially increase their purchasing power or allocate their savings towards other expenses.

For sellers, offering a credit can make their property more attractive to potential buyers. In a competitive market, a seller credit can give their listing an edge over similar properties by effectively lowering the overall cost for the buyer. This can help generate more interest and potentially lead to a quicker sale. Additionally, a seller credit can also be used as a negotiation tool, allowing sellers to offset any repairs or issues identified during the inspection process.

The Drawbacks of Seller Credits

While seller credits can be advantageous, there are also some drawbacks to consider. For sellers, offering a credit means reducing their net proceeds from the sale. This can impact their bottom line and potentially limit their ability to negotiate on other terms of the transaction. Additionally, if the seller’s property is already priced competitively, offering a credit may not provide much additional benefit and could result in a financial loss.

Buyers should also be cautious when accepting a seller credit. While it can help reduce upfront costs, it effectively increases the amount borrowed, which can result in higher monthly mortgage payments over the life of the loan. Buyers should carefully consider the long-term financial implications and evaluate whether the benefits of the credit outweigh the potential increase in mortgage expenses.


In conclusion, a seller credit in real estate is an arrangement where the seller agrees to contribute a certain amount of money towards the buyer’s closing costs or other expenses. These credits can provide benefits for both buyers and sellers, such as reducing upfront costs for buyers and making a property more attractive to potential buyers for sellers. However, it’s important to carefully consider the potential drawbacks and evaluate the overall impact on the transaction. Understanding seller credits can help buyers and sellers navigate the real estate market more effectively.


– National Association of Realtors: www.nar.realtor
– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com
– Zillow: www.zillow.com