How much does it really cost to sell a house in Alabama?

By 

Jamie Ayers

Updated 

January 12th, 2021

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Selling a house in Alabama can be expensive. Between repairs, realtor commissions, closing costs, moving, and more, your total expenses can easily eat up 10% or more of your home’s final sale price.

In this guide, we’ll cover some of the most common expenses for Alabama home sellers. We’ll also offer up some tips and tricks that will help you save on home selling costs without sacrificing your final sale price!

What’s Clever? We’re a free resource dedicated to helping you make smart decisions and save money when you sell your home. In fact, our free service helps home sellers save an average of $9,000 — check us out here.

Average cost to sell a house in Alabama

If you sell your home for $157,000 (the average home value in Alabama), you could end up paying upwards of $27,000 to make it happen.

While your actual out-of-pocket total will vary based on your situation, expect to pay 10% or more of your home’s final sale price — that is, if you opt to do a standard listing with a traditional, full-service realtor.

» LEARN: about alternative, low-cost home selling options

The chart below breaks down some of the most common expenses for home sellers in Alabama, helping identify the most (and least) costly aspects of the home selling process.

Common expenses for home sellers in Alabama
Typical % of sale price
Estimated cost*
Preparing your home for sale
2-3%
$3,000 to $5,000
Realtor commission fees
5-6%
$8,000 to $9,000
Buyer incentives
1-3%
$2,000 to $5,000
Closing costs
1-3%
$2,000 to $5,000
Relocation expenses
1-2%
$2,000 to $3,000
Total
10-17%
$16,000 to $27,000
*Based on a $157,000 home — a typical home value in Alabama, (Zillow Research data, October 2020)

Keep in mind these costs are highly variable — particularly the home prep and relocation expenses categories. Talk to your realtor for a more accurate and tailored estimate of your costs versus final sale price.

Home sale calculator: How much will I make selling my Alabama house?

How much you walk away with at the end of your sale will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • How you choose to go about selling your home (e.g., realtor, cash buyer, for sale by owner, etc.)
  • Which repairs, improvements, and listing preparations you choose to invest in
  • Whether you make any concessions or offer incentives to buyers
  • State and/or regional closing and tax-related expenses

Below is a quick overview of how these costs could break down for a $157,000 home (the average home value in Alabama), accounting for some variation in a few of the factors mentioned at the beginning of this section.

Type of expense
Estimated cost*
% of home value
Staging
$2,000
1%
Improvements and renovations
$5,000
3%
Realtor commission
$9,000
5.5%
Seller concessions
$2,000
1.5%
Closing costs
$4,000
2.5%
Relocation
$3,000
2%
Total
$24,000
15.5%
Total Proceeds
$133,000
84.5%
*Based on a $157,000 home — a typical home value in Alabama, (Zillow Research data, October 2020)

Quick Tip: Ask an agent to prepare a net sheet — here’s how to get one for free

A net sheet is an itemized outline of the costs you’ll likely incur selling your home — and how much you can expect to walk away with after closing. 

Enter your info below to set up a no-obligation consultation with a top-rated agent near you. They’ll prepare a net sheet and a comparative market analysis (CMA) for free, which will give you a more accurate estimate of your expenses and net profits on your sale.

If you owned 100% of your home, you’d be left with approximately $133,000 after closing; however, most people will have some of their mortgage left to pay off.

Ideally, your proceeds will cover your remaining balance, but if that balance doesn’t include prorated interest — or your loan has a prepayment penalty for paying it off early — they may not be enough. In cases like these, you may have to write your lender a check.

Be sure to talk to your lender and look into the terms of your original loan before you sell your home to avoid any nasty surprises.

Home selling costs: an in-depth breakdown

Preparing your home for sale: 2-3%

Common pre-listing expenses
Typical % of sale price
Estimated cost*
Home Improvements/Cleaning
Variable — expect min. of ~1%
~$2,000
Landscaping
~1% of sale price
~$2,000
Staging
~0.3% of sale price
~$470
Total
2-3% 
$3,000 to $5,000
 *Based on a $157,000 home — a typical home value in Alabama, (Zillow Research data, October 2020)

Unless you’re planning to sell your Alabama house “as-is” or to a cash buyer, you’ll need to spend some money to get your home market-ready to attract qualified buyers.

These costs will vary considerably depending on factors like:

  • The age and condition of your home
  • Your home’s size and layout
  • The level of demand or competition for homes in your neighborhood
  • Your yard’s size and layout
  • Which repairs/improvements your realtor thinks matter most to local buyers

At minimum, you’ll want to invest in some basic pre-listing improvements — e.g., interior repainting; carpet cleaning/replacement; professional cleaning service; a handyman to make minor repairs; etc. Refer to the table below for rough cost estimates for a few of the most common pre-listing expenses.

Type of expense
Average project cost (national)*
Home staging
$1,251
Cleaning service
$168
Carpet cleaning
$177
Handyman
$386
Interior repaint
$1,813
Landscaping (installing)
$3,316
*National averages from HomeAdvisor’s TrueCost Guide 2020

If you’re considering any bigger projects, it’s best to discuss with your realtor before pulling the trigger. Unless you fully understand the cost versus resale value of each project you take on, you could easily end up in the red.

For example, it’s well-known that kitchens are top considerations for most home buyers. According to Remodeling’s 2020 Cost vs Value Report, in Alabama, a minor kitchen remodel costs $21,800 on average, but the resale value is only $16,966 — meaning you only stand to recoup about 78% of your initial investment. Depending on your situation, it may make more sense to leave your kitchen as it is and let the buyer handle the updating, if they feel so inclined.

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Realtor commission fees in Alabama: 5-6%

Breakdown of realtor commission fees in Alabama
Typical % of sale price
Estimated cost*
Listing fee
2.5-3%
$4,000 to $5,000
Buyer’s agent fee
2.5-3%
$4,000 to $5,000
Total
5-6% 
$8,000 to $9,000
*Based on a $157,000 home — a typical home value in Alabama, (Zillow Research data, October 2020)

In a standard real estate transaction — one involving traditional, full-service listing and buyer’s agents — you (the seller) will likely be on the hook for the full commission fee. The average real estate commission in Alabama is between 5-6% of the home’s final selling price and is typically split between the two agents handling the sale.

Based on the median home value in Alabama, that comes to roughly $9,000 — potentially more than half of your total home selling expenses!

Never pay a commission over 5%. No matter where you live.

Yes, the average total real estate commission nationwide is between 5 and 6%. But we'd never recommend paying full commission. Clever can connect you with local top-rated, full-service realtors across the country who offer lower commission rates — as low as 3.5% total commission. 

How? We bring them more business with zero upfront costs on their end — like marketing themselves meet new customers, which is up to 70% of their expenses — then they pass part of that savings along to you. Try Clever for yourself. It's free!

Negotiations and buyer incentives: ~1-3%

Common buyer incentives
Typical % of sale price
Estimated cost*
Seller concessions
~1.5-2%
$2,000 to $3,000
Paying for buyer’s home warranty
<1%
$300 to $600
Total
1.5-3%
$2,000 to $5,000 
*Based on a $157,000 home — a typical home value in Alabama, (Zillow Research data, October 2020)

Once you’ve listed your Alabama home and accepted an offer, it’s time to start negotiating. Depending on your property and demand in your area, you may choose to offer incentives or make concessions to keep the buyer motivated and ensure the deal goes through.

When a seller makes a concession, that means they’ve agreed to pay specific costs — e.g., help with inspection fees, certain closing costs, repair credits, etc. — on the buyer’s behalf to sweeten the deal. It’s worth noting that buyers will likely have limits on how much they can request based on their loan type. On average, seller concessions range between 1.5-2%, but some loan types allow for up to 9%.

Another commonly offered (but totally optional) incentive is paying for a buyer’s home warranty. Unlike homeowner’s insurance, these policies cover repair or replacement if a major appliance or home system (electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) breaks within the first 1-2 years following the sale. Home warranties typically cost between $300 and $600.

Closing costs: ~1-3%

Common closing costs for sellers in Alabama
Typical % of sale price
Estimated cost*
Title insurance
~0.5%
$790
Loan payoff (and early payoff fee, if applicable)
Variable
Variable
Outstanding bills, taxes, fees
Variable
Variable
Transfer taxes (learn more)
Typically paid by the buyer
N/A
Recording fee
No recording fee in Alabama
N/A
Attorney fee (required in Alabama)
<1%
$150 to $500
Total
~1-3%
~$2,000 to $5,000
*Based on a $157,000 home — a typical home value in Alabama, (Zillow Research data, October 2020)

Closing costs are a blanket term for the various fees and expenses (not including realtor commission) paid by both parties at the close of a real estate transaction.

While the buyers will typically be responsible for the lion’s share, sellers should expect to pay between 1-3% of the home’s final sale price at closing. Based on the average home value in Alabama of $157,000, that roughly translates to $2,000 to $5,000.

The above list represents common closing costs that are typically the seller’s responsibility; however, in a real estate transaction, the question of “who pays what” is up for negotiation and will depend on the circumstances of the sale. Talk to your realtor at the outset to get a sense of how much you should expect to pay come closing time.

» READ: the in-depth guide to closing costs here!

Moving expenses: ~1-2%

Common moving expenses
Typical cost* — local move
Typical cost* — long-distance move (over 1,000 miles)
Packing supplies
$500-630
$500 to $630
Moving
$1,250
$4,890
Overlap and carrying costs
Variable (~1%)
Variable (~1%)
Total
$1,750+
$5,390+
*2-3 bedroom move of approximately 7,500 lbs (Moving.com, 2020)

Many people forget to factor in moving costs when calculating their home sale profits. But depending on factors like the distance of your move, the extent of your DIY ethos, and how much stuff you have, these expenses can really add up.

Moreover, don’t forget to account for potential overlap periods. If there’s a gap between when you move out of your current home and close on your new one, you may need to pay for a storage space and/or temporary housing. Or you may have to pay carrying costs (e.g., utilities, HOA fees, property taxes, etc.) on two properties at once in the reverse scenario.

Quick Tip: Get a home buyer rebate to help cover your moving costs

If you're planning to buy another home, Clever offers a home buyer rebate in 40 of 50 states.

That could put up to 1% of your new home's purchase price back in your pocket after closing. For a $500,000 home, that's an extra $5,000 you can use to buy points on your mortgage or cover closing costs, moving expenses, and more.

Get in touch to find out if you qualify for a home buyer rebate — and how much you could get back.

3 tips to maximize profits on the sale of your Alabama home

1. Time your sale to get top dollar for your Alabama home

The single fact of when you list your home can have an impact on the sale price. It’s harder to sell homes during the winter, especially around the holidays. Buyers are busy doing other things and few of them are on the hunt for a home.

Summer tends to be a good time as many folks are on the prowl and want to move while their kids are out of school. For example, according to Redfin, the median sale price of homes during the summer in Alabama is $193,000, while homes that sold during the winter had a median price of only $174,333.

The current state of the market also has a big impact. Right now, the market is hot in Alabama — so it’s a good time to sell. In a cool market, waiting may be a better option if you can afford to.

» LEARN: when is the best time to sell a house in Alabama?

2. Negotiate like a pro

Knowing how to negotiate has a huge effect on your profits. You have to keep the endgame in mind at all times or you could end up agreeing to something that cuts too much into your profits.

This is where having a real estate agent comes in handy. If you try to go up against a professional (the buyer’s agent) on your own, you’ll make mistakes. Your agent, however, will skillfully ensure that you get the better end of the deal.

3. List with a low-commission real estate agent

Realtor commission fees are a huge expense for Alabama home sellers, often making up 50% or more of their total home selling costs. In other words, finding a way to save on commission is one of the best ways to increase your profit margins.

You can negotiate commission rates on your own, but the easiest option by far is to find a low-commission real estate agent through Clever. These are full-service, local realtors who usually charge full commission, but we send them a high volume of new business in exchange for pre-negotiated, discounted rates.

The result? You could save up to 33% on realtor fees, leaving thousands of dollars in your pocket after closing.

» LEARN: about Clever's free service and read reviews from real home sellers!

Cost-saving home selling options in Alabama

Additional resources for Alabama home sellers