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What Fees to Expect When Selling a House: an In-Depth Guide

People often make the mistake of assuming that the only costs associated with the sale of a home are real estate commission fees. While agent fees have a direct impact on the amount of equity you walk away with, there is also a range of other potential costs that you need to consider.
People often make the mistake of assuming that the only costs associated with the sale of a home are real estate commission fees. While agent fees have a direct impact on the amount of equity you walk away with, there is also a range of other potential costs that you need to consider.

There can be no denying that selling a property can be a stressful process. Not only do you need to go through the rigmarole of putting your house on the market, and contending with offers of various sizes, but you also need to consider the financial costs too.

While real agent commission fees come to mind, there is potentially a range of hidden costs that you also need to consider. Whether it’s obtaining an appraisal, paying for repairs and renovations or capital gains taxes, it is crucial to have a full understanding of what the end-to-end selling process is going to cost you.

In this brief article, we'll breakdown what some of these key costs are, and how much you’ll likely need to pay.


Before you even get to the stage of putting your house up for sale, it is highly advisable to obtain an appraisal on your property. For those unaware, this is where an independent appraiser performs an in-depth analysis of your home, with the view of ascertaining how much your property is worth and thus, what the property's optimal listing price is.

The costs associated with an appraisal will vary from provider-to-provider, although this is likely to cost in the region of $300-$500.

Here’s more information on what an appraisal is and what costs you’ll likely to incur.

Repairs and Renovations

When potential buyers come to view your property, it is important to remember that they are ideally looking for a home that is ready to move-in. In other words, if your home is in a state whereby it requires further work — such as a leaking tap, worn-out carpets, or a cracked driveway, then it might put buyers off from making an offer.

As such, before you put your home up for sale, it is crucial that you make any required improvements to ensure that you do not hinder your chances of receiving notable offers.

Such improvements do not always yield a return in the form of your home's resale value. For example, it is estimated that while the costs associated with replacing a roof average $20,142, sellers only recoup $14,446 of this in resale value.

However, it is also worth noting that there is also a number of meaning repairs and renovations that you can make without breaking the bank. Check out our 6 low-cost, high-value renovations and repairs that you can make to get to get your home ready for listing.

Below-Value Equity

On the most under-discussed costs associated with selling a house is with respect to the amount of equity you’re able to walk away with. For example, if either your CMA or appraisal resulted in a fair-value estimation that is higher than what you have been offered, the equity that you receive from the deal is essentially lower than what the property is worth.

You have to remember that the sale of your home is eventually going to result in cash and thus, receiving anything less than what you should be getting is effectively an indirect cost.

This particular scenario often occurs when sellers utilize the services of "iBuyers." These are unconventional agents that promise an ultra-fast sale for instant cash. Although these promises are often met, this usually comes at a cost of a below-value offer.

Real Estate Agent Commissions

Real estate agent commissions are probably the most important costs that you need to consider. Ultimately, utilizing the services of unconventional agents such as “iBuyers” or “We Buy Houses for Cash” entities is likely to add significant financial strains on the amount of cash you end up getting.

Traditional real estate agents will usually charge in the region of 6% to sell your home, which usually covers the costs attributable to the buyer too. However, if you use a local real estate agent that is partnered with Clever, you’ll be able to reduce these costs down to a flat fee of just $3,000, or 1% of the sale price if your property closes at $350,000 or more.

You can find out more about finding an established real estate agent that can help you sell your home at discounted commission fees here.

Capital Gains Tax

The U.S. real estate arena has seen median home values increase by more than 53% over the past decade. While median values were at approximately $150,000 in February 2009, at the time of writing in April 2019 this stands at just over $230,000. What this means for you as a homeowner is that you’re potentially sitting on substantial capital gains.

In layman terms, if you’re selling your house for more than what you paid for it, then you’ve made capital gains that might be attributable to tax.

The amount that you’ll need to pay — if at all, will ultimately depend on a range of contributing factors. As such, it might be worth reading our guide on how to calculate property taxes.


Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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