House for sale sign. Here's how to sell your house when you aren't getting any offers.

Home Selling

What Does It Cost to Sell a House?

December 23, 2018 | by Andrew Schmeerbauch

At A Glance

Selling your house comes with many expenses before you get your (hopefully large) equity check. Most sellers find they pay about 10% of the sales price of their home in taxes and fees. There are ways to reduce these fees, from avoiding taxes to using a flat fee real estate agent—knowing your options could end up saving you thousands.

House for sale sign. Here's how to sell your house when you aren't getting any offers.

Selling your home is an exciting journey. Once you settle, you can buy a new property and even have wiggle room in your budget for a vacation! But before you start to book tickets to Boca Raton, consider the costs that come with selling a house.

The sale price of your home will not be the amount that you deposit into your account at the end of the day. Total costs will vary based on state and local requirements, as well as negotiations with the buyer and your real estate agent.

When you set the price of the home and start to make a budget for after settlement, consider all the costs required to sell a house.

Total: What does it cost to sell a house?

When you consider all these fees and costs, sellers will have to shell out up to 10% of the home’s sale price. The median home price right now is around $217,000; the median costs to sell a home right now is around $22,000.

Let’s break these costs down.

  • Home cleaning
  • Home staging
  • Home repairs
  • Home vacation
  • Agent commission
  • Closing costs
  • Mortgage payments
  • Capital gains tax
  • Costs of buying a new home

Home Cleaning

Before you let potential buyers see your home, consider cleaning the place up first. Clean your home of dust, stains, and odors to give buyers the impression that the house is in working condition and was well cared for during your ownership. A fresh coat of paint will also help each room shine. Don’t just worry about the inside of the house – clean up the landscape and boost your home’s curb appeal.

Home Staging

Open houses give buyers the chance to picture themselves in their new home – not your current home. Home staging is a worthy investment. For a fee, professionals come in with furniture and decorative elements that show off the home’s best features. Buyers prefer a home staged by professionals over one that is simply cleaned and loosely organized by sellers.

Home Repairs

Buyers may require a home inspection before they settle on your house. Home inspections may reveal several necessary repairs that will take extra money out of your pocket. Home repairs can also help the home sell faster before you even put it on the market. A real estate agent can help you determine what repairs will add the most value to your home.

Home Vacation

Cleaners, stagers, and repairmen have a lot of work to do before your house is sale-ready. Once the house is sold, you will have to head out and make room for the new owners. Consider the costs of staying in a hotel or temporary housing during the selling process. You may also have to shell out some cash for moving costs (unless you have nice friends and family who can move your stuff for free.)

Agent Commissions

Speaking of real estate agents, let’s talk about the costs of hiring a listing agent. Sellers may have to shell out up to 6% of the home sale price in real estate commissions to buyer’s agent and listing agent.

It is possible to list your home for free on Zillow, but you will gain more exposure by going through a local MLS or putting your house in the hands of a broker or real estate agent.

Closing Costs

Buyers are not the only party that pay closing costs. The seller pays around 2% of the home’s sale price for closing costs, which may include:

  • Transfer taxes
  • HOA fees
  • Title insurance
  • Escrow fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Property taxes

Mortgage Payments

Look at your mortgage before you sell. If you have an outstanding balance, you will have to pay off that balance and maybe some prepayment penalties.

Capital Gains Tax

If you really want to be ahead of the game and budget out the true cost of selling your home, think about tax time. Sellers who have occupied their home for at least two years will probably get a tax break, but if you have stayed in the house for a shorter period (or are making a big profit on your home,) reach out to a financial advisor to calculate capital gains tax.

Costs of Buying a New Home

If you are selling your current home to buy a new home, consider all the costs that come with buying. Buyers must pay more closing costs than sellers, and you may see an increase in HOA fees or property taxes.

There are many ways to lower the cost of selling a home.

Do not be intimidated by the laundry list of closing costs and other costs of selling a home. Sellers have options for taking on the work of professionals at many stages of the selling process. Moving costs and cleaning costs may not make a big dent in your pocket if you can get your house sale-ready on your own.

A discount broker can also save you the costs of hiring a listing agent. Sellers can pay a flat fee and avoid the high costs of agent commissions while still getting the best price on your home. Reach out to a Clever partner agent for more information on how you can save on agent commission costs.

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