Closing procedures differ by state, but in general, a home sales transaction starts with a signed sales contract and ends when the escrow or settlement agent hosts a closing at which the seller signs the deed and closing affidavit and the buyer signs the new note and mortgage, if there is one. Many real estate brokerages, to help offset costs associated with processing paperwork and meeting regulatory requirements, charge a transaction or administrative fee. Amounts vary, but $175 was typical in 2016. The fee is applied in addition to the commission. It’s important that brokers tie the fees to actual services rendered and costs incurred, and to disclose that to sellers and buyers.