Reporter and web editor

Buying a home can be a daunting process. From picking a real estate agent you trust, to finding the home that meets your criteria, to obtaining approval for a loan, it can feel as though you are running the 400-meter hurdles. Just as you clear one obstacle, another looms. The final hurdle is the federal HUD-1 form, which itemizes all the charges a buyer must pay in a real estate transaction, also known as settlement costs. Unprepared buyers can be overwhelmed by the jumble of numbers on the sheet, especially when most receive it only a day before their closing.

A D.C. title company has come up with an app that takes the guesswork out of closing on a local home. Buyers can use Close It! by Federal Title and Escrow to input the purchase price and jurisdiction, and the app will predict how much money they will need for closing and what their monthly payment will be.

Although the app initially calculates these numbers using the standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 20 percent down payment, those categories can be customized. Close It! can also show you the difference between closing on the first of the month vs. the end of the month, and compare the costs of buying a home in different jurisdictions.

The app will prorate condo fees depending on closing date, allow you to designate the house as a primary residence or a vacation home, and let you differentiate among FHA and VA loans and cash purchases. Informational buttons next to each line item give a quick summary and can lead you to a more detailed explanation.

Federal Title says it tested its app against past HUD-1 documents and keeps it up to date with the changes in the tax rates for local jurisdictions; anecdotally, real estate agents told me they are pleased with the accuracy of Close It! When I used the app to predict the closing costs for a $609,900 house in Bethesda with a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4 percent, it calculated that a buyer would need to pay $138,571.95. I then tried three national calculators. One was nearly $800 higher; the other two fell way below, one by about $13,000.

(Courtesy of CloseIt!)

The app isn’t only for buyers. Sellers can use it to predict how much cash they’ll walk away with from the transaction. Another nice perk is that it’s completely anonymous; the app doesn’t ask for even an e-mail address.

Because taxes and fees vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, creating an app this accurate on a national level is nearly impossible. But Close It! can help buyers clear that last hurdle to home ownership in the District, Maryland, Virginia — and Florida.

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NAME: Close It!

COST: Free

OPERATING SYSTEM: iOS (Web versions also available)

CREATOR: Federal Title and Escrow

USER RATINGS: (11 ratings)

BOTTOM LINE:Whether you want something quick, easy and accurate to estimate closing costs and monthly mortgage payments, or you want to drill down into the numbers, this app takes the mystery out of closing.

Next review: Glympse