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What Are The Costs Of Selling A House?

Victoria Araj7-minute read

March 29, 2022

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When you’ve lived in your current house long enough and decide it’s time to sell your house, it’s important to be able to anticipate the expenses that go along with it. The big picture is that you can expect to spend around 15% of your home’s sale price. Thankfully, you may find a way to cut that percentage down.

The truth is that many expenses are necessary if you want to get a fair price for your home. Most of the costs we’ll be outlining in this article, you’ll simply want to incorporate into your budget. However, some expenses are more optional, and the amount you spend may vary depending on whether you’re currently in a seller’s market. We’ll help you sort out which are which.

What Goes Into The Costs Of Selling A Home?

You’ll likely be spending a bit of cash when it comes to the preparations for selling your house. The expenses associated with preparing your home for sale are more varied and flexible. Let’s take a look at some of these expenses.

Real Estate Agent Commission

Hiring a REALTOR® or real estate agent will probably be your first expense at 5 – 6% of the home’s sale price. Most real estate experts recommend hiring a listing agent to help sell your house even if you have to pay agent or REALTOR® fees. Although it may seem tempting to sell your house yourself, there are several reasons that it’s a good idea to hire a REALTOR®, including the following:

  • Sometimes, a buyer’s agent won’t show houses that don’t have a selling agent.
  • Selling a for sale by owner (FSBO) home can cost you more money in the long run.
  • Real estate agents can help negotiate on your behalf and make sure you get a fair price.
  • Real estate agents provide useful guidance when it comes to what you’ll need to do to get your house market-ready.

Our verdict: Although you can sell without a real estate agent, be prepared to handle all negotiation, home valuation and paperwork on your own. Many homeowners aren’t equipped for this.

Pre-Inspections

Pre-inspections typically cost around $300 – $500. Although a pre-inspection may seem like an unnecessary expense, it may be a worthwhile investment. Unexpected problems revealed later on in an appraisal or home inspection are a common reason for potential home buyers to back out, and delays in selling can be very costly, not to mention frustrating.

Additionally, seller concessions are extremely common. Although there are official limits on the percentage of a home’s appraisal value or purchase price that can be offered as a seller concession, these limits won’t keep you from shelling out a considerable amount. With a down payment of more than 25%, the seller can still contribute up to 9% when they mortgage is a conforming loan for a primary residence.

You’ll be in a much stronger bargaining position if you’re aware of any potential issues that could be revealed through a home inspection and if you’ve already factored them into your home repair budget or the terms you’re prepared to offer.

Our verdict: This expenditure is highly recommended.

Professional Cleaning

It typically costs $200 – $400 for a professional deep clean. Numbers will depend on the square footage of the home. This is probably something you could tackle yourself. However, it’s a matter of deciding whether you want to invest the energy during a stressful home sale.

Our verdict: This expenditure is recommended for busy and overwhelmed home sellers.

Home Repairs And Improvements

Many home improvements can be easy ways to increase your home’s value for a sale. However, not all improvements are created equal. Kitchen updates can easily pay for themselves in improvements to your home’s resale value, while windows tend to be a money sink. If you spend around $4,000, you’ll be within the average, and it’s likely that this will be an investment that will pay off.

Our verdict: This expenditure is recommended.

Landscaping

On average, sellers spend only $145 on landscaping. You’ll have to decide whether a little can go a long way to enhance your home’s curb appeal or whether it makes sense for you to leave your house as-is.

Our verdict: This expenditure is recommended for some.

Home Staging

Staging is a way to set your home apart and make sure the buyer gets that “love at first sight” feeling.

Many find it difficult to stage their home effectively without professionals, simply due to the logistics of keeping furniture in the house they’re planning to vacate. It also does require significant effort and know-how to make a home appealing to a wide range of viewers. Keep in mind that a fast sale can end up saving you an incredible amount.

Staging a home can, however, be done by oneself with effort and preparation. The cost is generally around $2,000 a month, assuming it’s only for 1 month, and taking into account the fees for furniture rental. If you just want the stager to declutter and rearrange, the cost is usually around $800.

Our verdict: This expenditure is recommended for all but the most ambitious DIY homeowners.

Professional Photography

Posting attractive, professional pictures of your home is crucial to selling. Professional photography will generally cost about $200. Although this may not be money you want to spend, it’s critical for your home to look its absolute best in photos that are shown to buyers.

Our verdict: This expense is highly recommended.

Home Warranty

To help make your house as attractive as possible to prospective buyers, you may consider purchasing a warranty. The last thing a new owner wants to do is fix the furnace or purchase a new refrigerator so having a home warranty can give them peace of mind when completing the real estate transaction. A one-year buyer’s home warranty costs between $350 and $600 depending on your location and service provider.

Our verdict: This cost is recommended to sellers with older homes.

Capital Gains Tax

Fortunately, in most situations, the capital gains tax will not apply. You should research your own situation, however, to make sure. If you’ve lived in your home for a very short time, are selling a vacation home or rental property, or live in a property that has increased in value by more than $250,000 ($500,000 if married, filing jointly), you may need to pay this tax.

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Final Costs For The Seller

Closing Costs

It isn’t just buyers who have to contend with closing costs. You may have to pay a transfer tax and a prorated property tax. This amount varies by location, so check out the regulations for your area.

As a seller, you may end up paying for the title search to make sure your claim to the property you’re selling is undisputed. Although the buyer sometimes pays, this is a common seller concession. It’s typically only $200 – $400. It’s also common for the seller to pay for title insurance for the buyer in order to provide assurance that the title is clear.

You may even be charged escrow fees, a brokerage fee or a courier fee, depending on the lender and the terms of purchase agreement.

Moving Costs

Many individuals who are moving decide to pack up their own belongings, rent a truck and do all the driving themselves. There are others who decide to hire a moving company so they can focus on other tasks during the home selling process. If you decide to hire a moving company, you’re looking at about $2,300 for a local move and $4,300 for a move over 100 miles.

The cost of moving also depends on what you need done. It will cost more for a full-service move than if you were to pack the boxes yourself and just rent a truck. Although that may seem like a lot of cash just for moving costs, it might help to lower your stress during the process.

Mortgage Balance

If you happen to have a mortgage on your home, like most people do, you’ll have to pay off the remaining mortgage loan balance. In most cases, you’ll be able to pay the mortgage balance off from the sale of the house and hopefully use any extra cash for a down payment on your new home. On the other hand, if you don’t sell your house for the price you were anticipating, you might have to dip into your savings for the mortgage payoff.

You might also have a prepayment penalty for paying off your mortgage early. Reach out to your mortgage lender to see if there is a fee you’ll need to include along with your loan balance. Rocket Mortgage® doesn’t charge prepayment penalties.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell A House?

Let’s take a look at an example of how much it would cost to sell your home if the house were valued at $250,000, based on numbers listed earlier in the article. It’s important to note that this is an example and may not include all the fees and costs of selling a home.

Calculating Total Costs To Sell A House

Cost of selling a house:

Seller’s costs:

Agent commission fees

$12,500

Inspection

$400

Cleaning

$200

Repairs and improvements

$4,000

Landscaping

$145

Staging

$2,500

Photography

$200

Closing costs

$7,500

Moving costs

$3,000

Home warranty

$450

Total cost:

$30,895

 

The cost to sell a $250,000 home might cost as much as $30,895 by this estimate. Of course, the seller could forgo some of the above expenses to try and reduce their selling costs. This is why it’s an excellent idea to create a budget for how much you want to spend on the property before beginning the selling process and calculating the desired listing price.

The Bottom Line: Know The Costs Before Putting Your Home On The Market

It’s easy to feel frustrated by all of the potential costs of selling a house. That being said, you should remember that many of these costs will actually improve the resale value of your property and help you sell your home faster. A faster sale doesn’t just save stress. It can also save you money by reducing the time that you own two properties.

The bottom line is that most of the costs of selling your home are, like homeownership itself, often a wise investment. If you’re unsure about the costs that go with putting your home on the market, do your research and take a look at some of our tips on how to get your house ready to sell.

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Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.