Fees don't have to stop you from buying a home

Posted at 6:31 PM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-09 21:31:01-05

As home prices in San Diego County continue to grow, so do the fees, and certain fees can catch potential homebuyers off-guard.

These fees can grow to thousands of dollars, pushing up a monthly mortgage payment. Those fees surprised Navy Petty Officer Felix Espino.

"I figured I'd seen the price, that's it," Espino said.

Espino and his wife Carolina will pay $390,000 for a house in Chula Vista, where they plan to raise their two young daughters.

"It's a big step for us," Espino said.

Espino knew he wouldn't have to make a down payment because he would be getting a VA loan.

What he didn't know was that $20,000 in funding fees and closing costs were still going to be his responsibility. It would add about $80 to his monthly payment.

"We were just overwhelmed from initially hearing that we did have other expenses that we did have to worry about," Espino said.

It turns out they won't have to worry at all.

Espino will receive a $10,000 grant from the Asian Real Estate Association of America through the group's "Welcome Home Heroes Housing Assistance" program. The grant will cover his funding fees, while the closing costs are taken care of through a seller's credit.

Robert Calloway of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals said the fees could sometimes make the difference between someone buying the home they want or looking for a more affordable one.

"You get that close, it's up to that individual; do they want to stretch themselves that far?" Calloway said.

Calloway said there are about 340,000 county residents eligible for those zero-down payment VA loans. The state's Department of Veterans Affairs has more information on services for those with VA loans at

As a rescue swimmer in the Navy, Espino stretches his hand to people struggling in the water.

Now, he said he's grateful other people are doing the same for him on land.