# Blog

## Real Estate Math Formulas: Calculating Transfer Taxes

The math portion of your real estate licensing exam may ask you to calculate the transfer taxes for a sale.  In almost all real estate transactions, buyers and sellers must pay taxes to their local counties for every property sale.  For buyers, this is often called the recordation tax.  For sellers, this is often called a grantor’s tax.  In most cases, the amount of taxes is based on the sales price of the property.

## Real Estate Math Formulas: Calculating Transfer Taxes

In order to calculate the transfer taxes, you first need to know what the transfer tax rate will be.  This is often expressed as something like \$0.50 per \$500.  This means that a buyer or seller would have to pay 50 cents for every \$500 increment of the sales price.  So, for a \$200,000 property, a person would need to pay (\$0.50 / \$500)* \$200,000 = \$200 in transfer taxes.

## Real Estate Math Practice Problem: Calculating Transfer Taxes for a \$320,000 Property

The real estate math licensing exam may have the following problem:

Example.  Sally plans to purchase Bob’s home for \$320,000 in Sweetwater County.  The County charges a recordation tax of \$0.15 per \$100 to buyers and a grantor’s tax of \$1.25 per \$100 to sellers.  Calculate the transfer taxes for Sally and Bob.

Solution. To solve this problem, we can first convert each rate to a decimal.

Recordation Tax Rate = \$.15/\$100 = 0.0015

Grantor’s Tax Rate = \$1.25/\$100 = 0.0125

Then, we multiply these numbers by the sales price:

Recordation Tax = \$320,000 x 0.0015 = \$480

Grantor’s Tax = \$320,000 x 0.0125 = \$4,000

Therefore, Sally pays \$480 in taxes and Bob pays \$4,000 in taxes.

## BONUS: Real Life Real Estate

In real life the title company will be calculating the transfer taxes for you and you’ll be able to see them laid out on the settlement statement.  As a real estate agent, it is important for you to review the settlement statement prior to closing to ensure your numbers are correct and to explain these numbers to your client.

## Need more real estate math practice?

For more real estate math formulas and practice, get our 125 Real Estate Math Problems Solved Book.  It covers 9 real estate math topics with full solutions and video explanations!

## Real Estate Math Formulas: Understanding Amortization Factors

One of the main topics on the real estate math licensing exam is understanding amortization factors.  Because the actual monthly mortgage payment calculation is very complicated, amortization factors are a quick and easy way to estimate the monthly mortgage payment a buyer will need to make.  In many states, the testing center will have an amortization factor table for you to reference during the exam, so don’t worry about memorizing the amortization factor table!

## Real Estate Math Formulas: Solving Amortization Factor Problems

The easiest way to solve an amortization factor real estate math problem is to write down all of your “knowns” and use the amortization table to figure out your unknown.  There are only 3 parts to the amortization table: the length of the loan across the top, the interest rate on the vertical axis, and then the amortization factor.  Most real estate math problems will ask you to find the missing number.

## Real Estate Math Practice Problem: Estimating Mortgage Payments Using Amortization Factors

The real estate math licensing exam may have the following problems:

Example 1.  What is the monthly mortgage payment (PI) for a \$250,000, 30-year loan at 8.5%?

Solution 1. To solve this problem, we first look at the amortization table to find that the amortization factor of a 30 year loan at 8.5% is 7.69.

Then, the estimated mortgage payment is the amortization factor x loan amount / \$1000 = 7.69 * 250 = \$1,922.50

Example 2. Johns’s mortgage payment (PI) is \$1,591.5. If his \$150,000 loan is for 10 years, calculate his interest rate.

Solution 2. To solve this problem, we first work backwards to find the amortization factor, which is: Amortization Factor = Est Payment / (Loan Amount / \$1000) = 10.61

Then, we look at the amortization table to see that the closest interest rate that has an amortization factor of 10.61 and 10 years is 5%.  So John’s interest rate is 5%.

## BONUS: Real Estate Math Licensing Exam Study Tip

Amortization factor problems are one of the more challenging math problems to solve.  If you are getting stressed out or spending a lot of time on one problem, mark the question number and come back.  You do not have to get 100% to get your real estate license, so it is best to spend your time taking a first pass and answering all the questions you know.  Then go back, if you have time, and spend time on the more difficult questions.  This ensures you don’t waste 20 minutes on one problem and then can’t finish the rest of the exam.

In your everyday life as a real estate agent, you probably won’t be using the amortization factor table that much.  Most often you’ll probably be working with a real estate lender or mortgage professional who will be providing these loan terms and estimated mortgage payments to your buyer clients.  They are the professional that keep up with various loan programs (e.g., VA, FHA, Conventional, Physician Loans, etc.) and each programs requirements.  Therefore, it is important to meet good real estate lenders to be part of your real estate team.

## Need more real estate math practice?

For more real estate math formulas and practice, get our 125 Real Estate Math Problems Solved Book.  It covers 9 real estate math topics with full solutions and video explanations!

## Real Estate Math Formulas: T-Method

Out of all of the real estate math formulas you need to know, the most basic one is the T-Method.  Once you understand the T-method real estate math formula, you’ll find that many real estate math problems are just another version of the T-Method.  In this post, I’ll first explain the T method and then we will go through some real estate math practice problems using the T-Method.

## Real Estate Math Formulas: The T-Method

The T-Method essential shows the relationship between Total, Part, and Rate and is visualized by drawing a T.

The top of the T indicates we need to divide and the vertical line of the T shows that we need to multiply. So we can get the following formulas based on the T-Method.

```Part / Total = Rate

Part / Rate = Total

Total x Rate = Part```

Once you memorize this real estate math formula, you’ll be able to do about 75% of the real estate math licensing exam problems!

## Real Estate Math Practice Problem: Calculating Sales Price, Commission Rate, and Commission

Let’s look at three different examples of a house for sale.

Example 1.  A house sells for \$100,000 and the commission rate is 6%.  What is the commission amount?

In this example the total is \$100,000 and the rate is 6%.  So we can use T-method to see that the actual commission is calculated by \$100,000 x 0.06 = \$6,000.

Example 2. A house sells for \$100,000 and ABC Brokerage receives \$5,000 in commission.  What is the commission rate?

In this example, the total is \$100,000 and the part (actual commission) is \$5,000.  So we use the T-method to see that the commission rate is calculated by \$5,000 divided by \$100,000 = 0.05 or 5%.

Example 3. ABC Brokerage receives \$10,000 in commission and the commission rate was 10%.  What was the sale price of the house?

In this example, the part (actual commission) is \$10,000 and the rate is 10%.  By using the T-method, we see that the total sales price is calculated by dividing the \$10,000 by 0.10 = \$100,000.

## BONUS: Real Estate Math Licensing Exam Study Tip

When you are taking the real estate licensing exam and come across a real estate math question, first write down all of the known variables that they give you in the problem.  Often times, they will give you two of the pieces of the T-method and it will be your job to figure out the third piece.  So when you solve a real estate math problem, first figure out if you know the total, part, or rate and then figure out which piece is missing.

## Need more real estate math practice?

For more real estate math formulas and practice, get our 125 Real Estate Math Problems Solved Book.  It covers 9 real estate math topics with full solutions and video explanations!

## Real Estate Math Formulas: Calculating Commission

One common real estate math formula you will need to pass your real estate licensing exam is to know how to calculate commission.  Of course, you will want to know how to calculate this anyways since it is how you get paid!

Each brokerage sets its own agent compensation plan, so it is important to understand how you get paid before you select a brokerage. The most common way real estate agents get paid is a combination of a percentage of the sales price and then a split with the real estate brokerage.

## Real Estate Math Practice Problem: Calculating Commission

In this real estate math example, let’s say Agent Emily sells a house for \$100,000.  Her listing agreement says she will be paid 6% of the sales price and she is supposed to pay the buyer’s agent half of that (i.e., 3% of the sales price).  She has an agreement with her brokerage to a 75/25 split.  How much does Emily get paid in commission?

To make this example a real estate math practice problem, stop here and try to figure it out yourself.  Then read on for the answer.

Answer:  Agent Emily gets \$2,250 in commission from the sale.

Explanation:

Step 1.  Calculate the total commission, which is 6% of \$100,000 = \$6,000.

Step 2. Calculate Agent Emily’s total brokerage commission, which is half of the total commission.  \$6,000 *.5 = \$3,000.  The buyer agent’s brokerage receives the other \$3,000.

Step 3. Calculate Agent Emily’s portion of the commission.  Since she has a 75 / 25 split with her broker, she would receive \$3,000 *.75 = \$2,250 in commission.

By understanding the real estate math formulas on how real estate commission is calculated, you will be able to know how much you get paid when a sale closes so you can make sure you are being paid the correct amount (title companies can make mistakes, too!).

For more real estate math formulas and practice, get our 125 Real Estate Math Problems Solved Book.  It covers 9 real estate math topics with full solutions and video explanations!

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• Legal Descriptions of Land
• Appraisal Methods
• Closing Statements

100+ Real Estate Math Practice Problems will Full Solutions

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## What happens if my property doesn’t appraise?

As a real estate agent you may have problems with your property not appraising, especially if it is a hot market.  Prices may be rising, but appraisers may only go on previous (lower) sales.  So what does this mean for your buyers?  Let’s take a look at the real estate math behind your appraisal options.

## Real Estate Math Example

For this discussion, let’s say that your buyer, Joe White, is enters into a contract to buy a property for \$100,000.  He is planning to do a 20% down conventional loan, meaning he needs a \$20,000 downpayment and he will borrow \$80,000 from the bank.  The bank will loan Joe up-to 80% of the Loan-To-Value (LTV) of the property.

### Now what happens if your real estate appraisal comes in at \$90,000 instead?

Joe has a couple options:

1) Buy the property anyways and pay a higher downpayment.  Since the property only appraised at \$90,000, Joe can only borrow a maximum of \$72,000 from the bank.  That means Joe needs to put down \$28,000 (instead of \$20,000) as the downpayment for the house.  The purchase price is still \$100,000.

2) Agree to split the cost with the seller.  You could negotiate with the seller to ask them to reduce the price by some (or all) of the difference.  Let’s say the seller agrees to lower the price to \$95,000.  The bank will still only loan up to \$72,000, but Joe only needs to put down \$23,000 as the downpayment for the house.

3) If Joe has an appraisal contingency as part of his contract, he could choose not to buy the property because it did not appraise.

The appraisal should be reviewed carefully to make sure the appraiser took an accurate assessment of the property.  Perhaps you (or the seller) knows more information about the neighborhood or upcoming closings that the appraiser isn’t aware of.  This new information for the appraiser could help to adjust the price higher.

### Interested in more real estate math problems?

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## Real Estate Math – Calculating Additional Grantor’s Tax Increases

As of July 1, 2013, parts of Virginia began to require an additional “Regional Congestion Relief Fee” as part of the Grantor’s Tax.  Grantor’s Tax is the seller paid taxes to the County when transferring a property.  This amount is shown on the HUD-1 on the seller side of the transaction.

Here is the language of the new increase (taken from http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=ChangesandUpdatesFAQ):

The Regional Congestion Relief Fee will be imposed on conveyances of real estate in the Northern Virginia region, beginning July 1, 2013.  The fee is imposed on the consideration or value in addition to any other required recordation taxes and fees at the rate of \$0.15 per \$100 or fraction thereof.  The fee will be paid by the grantor at the time the deed is recorded in the local Circuit Court.

Localities in the Northern Virginia region are the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park, and the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William.

In order to keep your seller’s informed, you will need to know how to calculate the increase in taxes.  In fact, many sellers tried to get buyers to close the last week of June in order to avoid this additional fee!

You’ll need to know a few things in order to solve this real estate math problem:

1. The rate of the fee – in this case \$0.15 per \$100
2. The sales price of the property

### Let’s take an example of this real estate math problem:

Mr. Calderone sells his townhouse for \$200,000 in Fairfax County.  How much will he have to pay towards the Regional Congestion Relief Fee?

### Solution:

The solution to this real estate math problem is:

Since the rate is \$0.15 per \$100, this translates to 0.0015 x the Sales Price = 0.0015 x \$200,000 = \$300.  Another way to calculate this is to first divide \$200,000 by \$100 and then multiple by \$0.15 = \$2,000 x \$0.15 = \$300.  Mr. Calderone must pay \$300 for the Regional Congestion Relief Fee.

### Want more practice?

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

## Real Estate Math – Calculating Interest

Calculating interest is an essential real estate math question that you may encounter on your real estate licensing exam.  Forbes magazine recently indicated that the interest rate is around 3.87 percent.  As a real estate agent, it is important to know general trends of the rates (are they rising, falling, or staying the same?).  It just takes a quick phone call to your local lender to give you the latest information.  Let’s look at an example of how much interest a buyer will pay through the life of their loan.

You’ll need to know a few things in order to solve this real estate math problem:

1. The loan amount
2. The number of years of the loan
3. The interest rate

### Let’s take an example of the real estate math problem:

If John gets a 30-year fixed \$200,000 loan from ABC Mortgage for 3.87% interest, calculate the total amount of interest John will pay over the entire life of the loan.

### Solution:

The solution to this real estate math problem is:

Interest = Loan Amount x Number of Years x Interest Rate

\$200,000 x 30 years x 0.0387 = \$232,200

### Want more practice?

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

## Real Estate Math – Calculating Property Taxes

Calculating property taxes is an essential real estate math question that you may encounter on your real estate licensing exam.  Each county or jurisdiction will calculate property tax based on the assessed value of the property.

You’ll need to know a few things in order to solve this real estate math problem:

1. The tax rate for your particular jurisdiction – this is usually described per \$1000 of the assessed value of the property.  For example, a county may calculate taxes as \$1.50 per \$100 of the assessed value.
2. You should use the T-method to solve these types of problems since these types of problems highlight the relationship between your assessed value (Total), the tax rate (Rate), and your taxes (Part).

### Let’s take an example of the real estate math problem:

If the annual tax rate for a property is \$2.10 per \$100 of assessed value, what are the annual taxes for a property assessed at \$345,000.

### Solution:

The solution to this real estate math problem is:

Taxes = Assessed Value x Tax Rate

\$345,000 x \$2.10 / \$100 = \$7,245

### Want more practice?

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

## Real Estate Math Understanding Market Statistics

Today, the Tulsa World published an article about the Tulsa real estate marketing is heating up.  In that article, they reference several common real estate math terms to describe what is happening in the real estate market.  As a future real estate agent, you will need to be familiar with these terms and statistics in your area.  In this post, we will focus on the real estate math term “absorption rate”.

The article says:

Prices are up significantly to an average of \$163,368, the inventory of homes on the market has shrunk to 10.2 months, and contracts to sell continue to remain high month after month.

When we talk about the inventory of homes, we are really talking about absorption rate.  The absorption rate is calculated by a two-step process.  First, we determine the average number of sales per month.  Essentially, this is the number of homes “being absorbed” each month.  Second, we determine how many active listings there are currently on the market.  This is the number of homes that “need to be absorbed.”  By dividing the number of homes that need to be absorbed (i.e., active listings by the number of homes being absorbed (i.e., monthly sales), we can get the absorption rate.

Check out our latest Real Estate Math in a Minute on this topic:

The other real estate terms that you should be familiar with include:  monthly sales, new listings, YoY (Year over Year) statistics, and MoM (Month over Month) statistics.  Thankfully, you probably will not have to calculate these yourself (although you should know the real estate math behind these calculations!).  Most MLS providers also have services that will aggregate and calculate these statistics for you.

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net