Pennsylvania Real Estate Transfer Taxes: An In-Depth Guide (2024 Update)

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By Jon Stubbs Updated March 20, 2024


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

Pennsylvania's current transfer tax rate is usually $2.00 per $100. So, for a house worth $255,570 — the median home price in the state — the transfer tax due will be $2,556.

The state of Pennsylvania charges 1% of the home's sale price. The locality charges a second fee usually totaling about 1% (but sometimes more), which is split between the municipality and school district.

The specifics on who pays the transfer tax in Pennsylvania are sometimes up for negotiation, but usually the buyer and seller split the cost.

Clever Real Estate can help you cut costs here — our concierge team will partner you with an experienced agent who can help you negotiate a good deal with your buyer on transfer taxes. You'll save big by paying only 1.5% in commission, which is much less than the Pennsylvania average of 2.81%.

💰 Find an agent who can negotiate your transfer taxes

You can't change transfer tax rates. But, an experienced Clever Real Estate agent can help you win the negotiation battle so you aren't stuck paying all of the transfer taxes on your own.

When you choose Clever, you'll work with a full-service realtor with transfer tax expertise in your local market.

Clever's service is totally free, with zero obligation — you can walk away at any time.

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

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, both the seller and buyer are held jointly liable for the payment of transfer tax. What that means is that the two parties often split the cost equally between themselves.

In reality, however, the payment of transfer tax is often a matter of negotiation between the buyer and seller. In a seller's market, the seller may be able to get the buyer to pay the transfer tax in its entirety. Quite simply, it comes down to who has the leverage in that particular market.

A majority of the amount you pay in transfer tax as a buyer or seller in Pennsylvania is directed to the state's General Fund. Another 15% of the collections are contributed to the Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund. This is a fund dedicated to the creation and preservation of green spaces and recreational areas across the state of Pennsylvania.

When do you pay transfer taxes in Pennsylvania?

Transfer taxes are due when the property deed is recorded, most likely at closing.

How much are transfer taxes in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, transfer tax is split between the state, local municipality, and school district.

The tax percentage owed to the state is the same across Pennsylvania. One percent of the selling price of a home is directed to the state's Department of Revenue.

The tax imposed by the local government and school district varies from place to place. In Philadelphia, for example, 3.278% is paid to the city along with the 1% paid to the Commonwealth. Bellevue, in Allegheny County, charges 1.5% in transfer taxes.

The exact amount that you'll pay in transfer tax will depend on the county or city in which you're located. Unfortunately, regardless of where you are, you can’t lower or negotiate the total amount owed at closing.

However, if you want to save some money to offset the overall cost of the transfer tax, then Clever has a solution for you. We’ll partner you with a local agent that can negotiate a great deal with the other party.

On top of that, selling with a Clever agent only costs 1.5% in listing fees (compared to the average of 3% nationwide), and buying with one will get you cash back. If you add all the savings up, you’re bound to recoup the cost of the transfer taxes.

Save money, pay your taxes, win big

Transfer taxes are a necessary evil when selling a home. But the good news is there are ways to save on home selling costs that can lessen the blow.

When you find your agent through Clever's free matching service, you get a pre-negotiated 1.5% listing fee — half the usual rate.

Clever's service is free with no obligation. Try Clever today!

Learn More About How to Save With Clever

Can you deduct transfer taxes?

The IRS makes it clear that transfer taxes cannot be deducted from your tax returns. What they can do, however, is to reduce your tax exposure when capital gains are calculated.

Let's say you pay a transfer tax when buying a home in Pennsylvania. When you sell that same home, you will have to pay a capital gains tax. That is tax paid on the amount by which the value of your home has appreciated.

Your capital gain is the difference between the selling price of the home and its cost basis. When determining the cost basis of your home, you can add your transfer tax to it. In that way, the transfer tax reduces the amount you will have to pay in capital gains tax while selling a home.

The same idea applies if you paid a transfer tax while selling your home. The amount that you paid can be deducted from the selling price, thus reducing your capital gains tax.

PA transfer tax exemptions

In Pennsylvania, there are a few different kinds of real estate transactions that are exempt from transfer taxes. Certain sales made to or by government organizations, between religious entities, and involving a nonprofit development agency don't require the payment of a transfer tax. You can also qualify for an exemption if you're inheriting property through intestate or testate succession.

Pennsylvania transfer tax summary

Pennsylvania transfer tax can be a bit complicated to pin down, which is why it’s important to have a local expert guide you through it.

Working with a real estate agent can help you figure out exactly what taxes you need to pay and how much. They can also be a valuable resource when negotiating with the other party, as they can shift the tax burden in your favor.

If you're looking for an experienced real estate agent near you, Clever can help. Clever Partner Agents are sourced from the country's top brokerages and have years of experience helping clients navigate the home buying process — including real estate tax laws.

What’s more, our agents charge only a 1.5% listing fee compared to the state average of 2.81%! 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 Pennsylvania transfer taxes


  • 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 February 2024.

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