Oakland City Transfer Taxes: An In-Depth Guide (2024 Update)

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By Jon Stubbs Updated March 21, 2024

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How much are transfer taxes? | Who pays transfer taxes? | When are transfer taxes paid? | Methodology

The current transfer tax rate across California is $1.10 per $1,000, which is paid to the county. So, for a house worth $765,197 — the median home price in the state — the transfer tax due to the county will be $842.

In Oakland, you'll owe a separate transfer tax to the city, which varies from $1.00 to $2.50 per $1,000, depending on the sale price of the home.

What are transfer taxes?

Transfer tax is money collected by your local county or city authorities to transfer the title of a property. These are known by various names in different parts of the country, including conveyance tax, documentary transfer tax, and deed transfer tax.

The transfer tax owed by parties involved in a real estate transaction is calculated based on the fair market value (FMV) of a house. That is the price at which a seller agrees to transfer a property to a buyer.

Apart from the value of the house, transfer tax also depends on where you’re located. Each city and state has its own rules about how much money needs to be paid to change ownership of a property. Similarly, the terms to qualify for a transfer tax exemption vary from region to region.

It is advisable for buyers and sellers to get the help of a real estate agent while calculating or filing transfer taxes. This is especially true if you’re a first-time buyer or engaging in a real estate transaction in a city that you’re new to.

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Who pays transfer taxes in Oakland: The buyer or the seller?

There are two levels of transfer taxes that are levied on real estate transactions in Oakland.

One is the transfer tax that is owed to Alameda County. This tax is paid by anyone living in a city that falls under Alameda County’s jurisdiction. The county-level tax is usually paid by the seller.

Then there’s a city-level tax that applies for those who live in Oakland City. This amount is split equally between the buyer and the seller.

How much are transfer taxes in Oakland?

The real estate transfer tax in California is $1.10 for every $1,000 of the selling price of a house. So if you sell a house for $600,000, you would pay Alameda County $660 in transfer taxes.

Then there’s also the tax that needs to be paid to the city of Oakland. Depending on the value of your home, this would be as follows:

Home ValueTax RateFirst Time Buyer Rate
$300,000 or less1.0%0.5%
$300,001 - $2,000,0001.5%1.0%
$2,000,000 - $5,000,0001.75%Unchanged
$5,000,000 or more2.50%Unchanged
Source: City of Oakland

For a $600,000 home, that’s an additional $15 per $1,000 of the selling price of a house. That comes out to $9,000 in transfer taxes for a house that sells at $600,000. This amount is split equally between the buyer and the seller, so each party would pay $4,500 in transfer tax.

Can You Deduct Transfer Taxes?

Transfer taxes are not deductible in any state in the United States. What you can do, however, is use transfer taxes to reduce tax exposure when it comes time to sell your home.

The reason that’s possible is that home sellers are allowed to add the transfer taxes they’ve paid to the original cost of the home. This becomes important when it comes time to pay your capital gains tax.

Let’s say you bought a home for $600,000 and its current value is $700,000. That means you would have to pay capital gains tax on $100,000.

Now let’s say you paid $5,000 in transfer taxes while purchasing your home. That amount can be added to the original cost of the property. So now you pay capital gains tax on $95,000 as opposed to $100,000.

When do you pay transfer taxes in Oakland?

Transfer taxes are paid at the closing of a deal, and in most cases are paid by the seller. So, when you're filing your taxes, sellers should be sure to deduct the transfer tax from their capital gain.

This is especially important because capital gains tax is paid to the federal government and the transfer tax is paid to the state government. So, chances are, you'll be paying both these taxes separately, and at different times.

Other Considerations

Transfer taxes are considered a closing cost, which means that they are usually paid when finalizing the purchase of a home. If you have any doubts about how much you need to pay in transfer tax, you can check your HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

Transfer tax is often one of the largest up-front costs that come with purchasing a home. Generally, only the down payment exceeds the transfer tax in terms of up-front costs.

Home buyers should ensure that they take transfer tax into consideration when budgeting their up-front expenses. If you aren’t completely familiar with the real estate tax structures in your city or county, get help from a local real estate agent.

Clever Partner Agents are real estate agents sourced from some of the top brokerages in the United States. Each one of our agents understands tax laws in their respective cities. You can trust our Partner Agent to let you know exactly how much you can expect to pay in transfer tax.

We’ll partner you with a local real estate agent who knows how to deal with the state’s tax and helps negotiate a deal in your favor. What’s more, our agents charge only a 1.5% listing fee compared to the state average of 2.69%! The money you'll save can more than offset the cost of the transfer taxes.

» SAVE: Learn more about how a Clever agent can help you navigate California transfer taxes

Methodology

  • Transfer tax amounts are based on government website information as of February 2024.
  • We gathered our listing commission rate data from a December 2023 survey of 630 of our partner agents.
  • Home values, list prices, and sale prices are based on Zillow data as of January 2024.

Authors & Editorial History

Our experts continually research, evaluate, and monitor real estate companies and industry trends. We update our articles when new information becomes available.

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