How Much Does it Cost to Sell a House

Choosing to sell your home can be a difficult decision to make. While there are many factors that must be taken into account before you even think about listing your home for sale, among the most importance factors involves the costs of selling a home. From cleaning and home preparation costs to closing costs and moving expenses, there are many different fees and expenses that can add to the amount you end up paying before and after your home has been sold. The following details the cost to sell your home regardless of what your property is valued at.

What to Expect from Real Estate Commissions

Of the many house-selling costs you'll be required to pay, the highest is the real estate commission, which is usually around 5-6% of the total sale price. If you end up selling your home for $400,000, you may pay upwards of $24,000 in commissions. This fee is split almost evenly between the buyer's agent and the listing agent. It is the norm for the seller to pay both the buyers agent and seller agent fee. However, you can attempt to reduce the commission amount in negotiations, especially if you are taking less than you anticipated.

You can avoid these expenses altogether by selling your home with the help of a flat fee broker. If you want to sell your house on your own, consider listing your home with ByOwner. Instead of paying 5-6% of the sale price in commissions, you can get your home on a multiple listing service (MLS) with a small flat fee. Selling with a flat fee broker like ByOwner allows you to benefit from an MLS without needing to spend thousands in commissions.

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Primary Costs Associated with Selling a Home

The many costs of selling a home include everything from cleaning and staging to landscaping.

Cleaning and Staging

Before you schedule a showing or open house, you might want to hire a professional cleaner to perform a deep clean in your home. Consider enhancing these services by obtaining professional carpet cleaning and window washing services.

As for staging, this is among the most important elements when it comes to selling a home. In fact, a Zillow study shows that nearly 50% of buyers believe that home staging is either very important or extremely important. Staging can involve decluttering, getting rid of personal belongings, and adding a new doormat to the entryway.

Home Improvements

There are two primary components of home improvements that can be done before you list your property, which include replacing or repairing older systems. If any system or appliance in your home is old and is beginning to show signs of wear and tear, replacing these systems can help you obtain a better sale price. The most common systems to repair or replace include windows, roofs, and HVAC systems. If you've hired an agent, they should be able to provide you with recommendations on what types of home improvements you should make.


All landscaping costs should be taken into account. Your home's curb appeal is the first impression that you'll make to potential buyers, which is why the exterior of your home should look great. Make sure that your lawn is mowed, leaves are raked, and walkways are lit. You could also add some beautiful plants to the front yard.

Photography and Marketing

Nearly 70% of all home buyers find that professional photography is at least somewhat important. Hiring a professional photographer usually costs around $150-$200. Your listing agent might cover these costs.

Marketing costs can also be covered by your listing agent. If you're selling your property on your own, a free listing can be made with Zillow. In this situation, you'll need to spend a small sum of money to print signs, open house materials, and flyers, all of which serve to market your home to potential buyers.

Possible Pre-inspection

Pre-inspections are entirely optional but can help you identify problems that should be addressed before listing the property. Keep in mind that inspections cost anywhere from $250-$750 depending on the total size of your home. With this information in hand, it will be easier to identify a reasonable price point and perform future negotiations.

Moving and Housing Costs

There are many moving and housing costs that you might want to consider when calculating the costs associated with selling a home. For instance, you may need temporary housing. If you're thinking of selling your home and eventually buying another, timing these transactions perfectly is exceedingly difficult and somewhat unlikely. If you're set on moving before your home is closed on, try to determine what your alternative housing costs will be.

The majority of sellers will leave utilities on as the home is listed, which is useful for open houses and private showings. If you want to keep utility costs down, all utilities should be shut off once the property is sold and you have vacated your home. You should also make sure that all utility bills are prorated with the day of the sale.

If your home is vacant for a set amount of time before the buyer moves in, keep in mind that your homeowners insurance policy likely doesn't provide coverage if you aren't in your home. However, your insurance provider may allow you to attach a rider that covers this period of time.

It's highly recommended that you calculate your moving costs when trying to determine the average cost to sell a house. There are numerous factors that can play a part in what your moving costs will be. The number of belongings you have, size of your home, and distance that you're moving are aspects to consider when making these calculations. If you want to reduce moving costs, rent a moving truck.

Potential Concessions and Costs of Selling a Home

When selling a home, there's always a possibility that you will need to make some concessions to the buyer, which can add to your costs. The most common concession involves making post-inspection repairs. Inspection reports rarely come back without finding an issue in the quality of the home. When issues are detected, the buyer may ask that you make repairs or reduce the sale price before they will accept your offer. This type of concession will add to your costs.

Many homeowners choose to provide potential buyers with a home warranty to enhance the deal and make their home more appealing. A one-year warranty usually costs around $300-$600. Another possible concession involves making credits towards the closing costs that the buyer is expected to pay. By covering part or all of the buyer's closing costs, this individual won't need to bring as much money to the closing.

How Closing Costs are Calculated

When selling a home of any size, there are many different closing costs that you will be expected to pay. When put together, these costs usually amount to 5-6% of the sale price. However, closing costs are calculated based on many different fees. Along with the base agent commission, you will be expected to pay a title fee or transfer tax. The exact rate of this tax depends on the state you live in.

It's also usually required for sellers to purchase title insurance for the buyer, which means that the interest the buyer has in the home is protected in the event of an outstanding lien or disputed title. This type of insurance costs anywhere from $1,000-$4,000 and will be taken from your net profits.

Make sure that you take escrow fees into account as well. These fees are usually split between the buyer and seller. In this situation, a third-party will handle the final disbursement of funds that occurs after closing. Hiring a third-party escrow company can cost $500-$2,500.

If you currently live in a neighborhood or community that has a homeowner association, you must pay any dues that you owe, which are prorated until the closing date. An ownership transfer fee may also be required. Some states require the closing transaction to be overseen by an attorney, which the seller must pay for. Attorneys often necessary during closing in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.

Real Estate Fees for Seller

There are several additional costs that you'll likely need to pay after closing costs, which involve real estate fees. If you still owe a certain amount on your mortgage, this amount will be paid at the time of closing. You might also need to pay a capital gains tax, which many sellers overlook.

If you live in a home for two or more of the previous five years, a tax break is available that allows you to avoid paying taxes on profit of as much as $250,000 when filing as an individual and $500,000 when filing jointly. Any profits above this amount will be assessed a capital gains tax.

Average Cost to Sell a House

Let's say that you're selling a home for $365,000 that you previously purchased for $300,000. The average fees you will pay include:

Commission fees at 6% $21,900 (or much less if you use a Flat Fee broker)
Title insurance $3,650 at 1% of sale price
Attorney fees $400-$800
Escrow fee $1,825 at 0.5% of sale price
Utilities $300
Repairs $3,000 but can vary substantially
Moving costs $1,400, which matches national average
Mortgage payoff (Varies by Seller)

Although the process is time-consuming and stressful, selling your home can make for a thrilling adventure. However, this comes with a cost. Calculating potential profits before your home has been sold will allow you to make more informed decisions throughout the entire home-selling process. Knowing what fees you will be expected to pay should give you a better understanding of the amount of money you can make. Contact us today to create a listing for your property.