On average, sellers in California can expect to pay 2.71% of their home's final sale price in closing costs. For a $775,876 home — the median home value in California — you'd pay around $21,044.
Realtor commission fees are also paid at closing and are usually the biggest expense for sellers in California. However, this is also the one fee that you can easily save on. By using an agent-matching service like Clever Real Estate, you can reduce your listing agent commission by thousands.
Clever pre-negotiates low listing fees with experienced agents from top brokerages so you can keep more money in your pocket after closing.
Keep reading to find out which closing costs sellers typically cover in California and how much you can expect to pay for each of them.
Need estimates for your sale? You'll also find our California seller closing costs calculator!
How much are seller closing costs in California?
Seller closing costs are fees and taxes you pay when you finalize the sale of your home in California. These include the costs of verifying and transferring ownership to the buyer, so most are unavoidable.
California seller closing costs
Typically paid by buyer
*Based on a sale price of $775,876, the typical home value in California (Zillow August 31, 2022)
Keep in mind that closing costs in California do not include realtor fees. These are an extra 4.91% on average — and they're nearly always paid by the seller.
These closing costs are only an estimate. While closing costs will always have to be paid, your real estate agent can often negotiate who pays them — you or the buyer.
If you want to get the most out of negotiations, you'll need an experienced agent who has your best interests in mind. Clever can help by matching you with a top agent in your area who can score you a great deal.
Title service fees: 0.32%
Title fees cover the costs of the title search and title transfer.
When you sell your home, you have to transfer legal ownership of the property to the buyer. To ensure there are no claims or liens on your home, your settlement agent will complete a title search.
In California, buyers and sellers usually pay for their own title company or closing agent, but don't expect this for every sale. Ask your realtor if you're not sure.
Owner's title insurance: 0.17%
Owner's title insurance protects the buyer if there's a problem with the property title. It will pay for any legal fees if mistakes are found — or potentially even reimburse the value of the home.
In California, it's more common for the seller to pay for owner's title insurance.
If you do pay part of the bill, owner's title insurance usually costs around 0.17% of a California home's final sale price — or $1,338 for a $775,876 home. However, title companies in California often use tiered pricing to determine how much you'll pay for a policy based on your home's value.
Lender's title insurance: N/A
Just like owner's title insurance protects the buyer, lender's title insurance protects the bank or financial institution that issued the buyer a mortgage.
In California, the buyer usually pays for lender's title insurance, so you're off the hook. Still, it's always possible the buyer will try to get you to pay for this in negotiations, so make sure you have a quality real estate agent looking out for your best interests.
Transfer tax: 0.11%
California charges you about 0.11% of your home's sale price to transfer the title to the new owner. If you sell for California's median home value — $775,876 — you'd pay $853.
Some cities and counties also charge their own transfer tax. Check with your realtor and title company to see what taxes you'll owe in your area.
California recording fees: 0.03%
Your city or county will charge a fee to legally record your property's deed and mortgage information. The exact amount will vary based on your location, but you can expect to pay around $244 in California — although you might be able to negotiate for the buyer to cover this cost.
Buyer incentives: 2%
Buyer incentives can help you secure a sale in tough markets by making it easier or more appealing for a buyer to purchase your property. You can pay some of the buyer's closing costs, offer repair credits, or include valuable items in the sale of the home.
The average amount sellers spend on buyer incentives in California comes to about $15,518.
Other California closing costs for sellers
Every California home sale is unique, and many come with a few surprise fees. Here are a few of the most common additional costs you may face selling your California home:
- Homeowners Association (HOA) fees
- Mortgage payoff and/or prepayment penalties
- Property appraisal fees (averages $281)
- Attorney fees (optional in California, averages $300)
» LEARN: The total cost of selling a house
Your realtor will have a better idea of the closing costs you can expect to pay, depending on the California neighborhood you're selling in and other factors.
An experienced agent can do a lot more than market your property and negotiate with buyers. Top realtors — like the ones Clever partners with — will have the local knowledge necessary to maximize your profits and understand what buyers in the area are looking for in a new home.
California closing costs calculator
How to save on California closing costs
While closing costs aren't usually the biggest expense for sellers in California, there are a few ways to reduce these fees.
Negotiate for the buyer to pay
If you're selling in the middle of a hot seller's market with low housing inventory, you could ask the buyer to cover some of your closing costs.
Competition among buyers is fierce in these market conditions, so they're typically more willing to make concessions so you'll accept their offer on your California home.
When you're selling in a buyer's market, however, they'll likely ask you to make more concessions since you won't be getting as many offers.
Shop around for better prices
It might be possible to save some money by shopping around for cheaper rates on services like title insurance and closing fees.
However, these costs are relatively low and tend to be fairly consistent among different companies. When you're already navigating inspections, repair requests, and appraisals, calling several different companies to find a $50 discount probably isn't worth the hassle!
Save on realtor fees
The best way to reduce your selling costs is to find a realtor who charges lower listing fees. In California, real estate commission costs an average of $38,096 — that's usually more expensive than the rest of your closing costs combined!
Thankfully, there's a way to save big by selling with Clever. With listing fees of just $3,000 or 1%, you'll save an average of $11,638 on a median-priced home in California.
Frequently asked questions
In California, expect to pay about 2.71% of your home's sale price in closing costs — not including realtor fees. At the median home value of $775,876, this equates to around $21,044 at closing. Learn more about what makes up seller closing costs in California.
Buyers and sellers each pay for different closing costs to finalize a sale. In California, sellers typically pay for title fees, documentary stamp taxes, owner's title insurance expenses, and recording fees at closing. Learn more about who pays closing costs in California.
California closing costs are usually taken right out of your sale profits at closing. The only time you'd have to pay out of pocket is in rare instances where your takeaway won't completely cover closing costs. If you're worried about these, check out our tips on how to save money on closing costs.