Field Guide to Private Transfer Fees
(Updated September 2014)
Private transfer fees are the latest money-making tool for developers. Also known as reconveyance fees, recovery fees, capital recovery fees, or resale fees, a private transfer fee is a charge that is required to be paid to a developer, HOA or individual at closing each time a property is sold. The transfer fee is attached to the property as a covenant and usually runs for a set period, often 20 or 99 years. While developers say it is a way to spread improvement costs over a longer period, opponents believe private transfer fees decrease affordability, increase potential liability, and provide no benefit to property purchasers of the community in which the property is located. In 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a rule prohibiting the fees on mortgages handled by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. As of 2014, 43 states explicitly prohibit private transfer fees in most situations.
This updated field guide provides background information on the fees, their impact, as well as details on where to turn for the most current info. (D. Shumaker, Senior Library Information Specialist)
E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.
State Issue Tracker
REALTORS® can keep up with the latest state legislative activity surrounding private transfer fees by accessing NAR's State Issue Tracker. This online database is available free to members and tracks legislative and regulatory actions at the state level on several issue of importance to REALTORS® and the real estate industry. Private transfer fees are tracked on an annual basis with monthly updates as warranted.
Private Transfer Fees Affect Home Pricing and Marketability, (HouseLogic.com, Nov. 2, 2010).
Resale Fees, (Realty Times, Oct. 6, 2010).
Battle Over Home Resale Fees Heads to Congress, (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 1, 2010).
Resale Fees That Only Developers Could Love, (New York Times, Sept. 11, 2010).
Home-Resale Fees Under Attack, (Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2010)
A new real estate cost to watch for: Developer's private transfer fee, (Washington Post, Mar. 6, 2010).
White Paper Report: Private Transfer Fees—Potential For Trouble, Problems for the Future?, (National Association of REALTORS®, May 2008)—Member login required.
Fannie Mae Issues Guidance on Private Transfer Fee Covenants, (REALTOR®.org, June 22, 2012).
Ban on Private Transfer Fees a Big Win for Buyers, (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 16, 2012).
FHFA Publishes Final Rule on Private Transfer Fees, (Fed. Housing Finance Agency, Mar. 15, 2012).
Coalition to Stop Wall Street Home Resale Fees—Organized "to fight the dangerous financial scheme of private transfer fee covenants and to protect homeowners across the country. Together, we are fighting to ensure that homeowners keep full equity in their home, and have the freedom to buy or sell their home without paying-off an unaffiliated third party."
Have an Idea for a New Field Guide?
Click here to send us your suggestions.
The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.