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How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House?

Selling a house could cost more than $20,000, depending on the home price. Before you get your net proceeds from a home sale, there are several expenses and fees you’ll pay at closing.

How much does it cost to sell a house?

The national median home price is $286,800, according to the latest existing-home sales data from the National Association of Realtors. The average cost to sell a house based on the median home price is about $21,000, or nearly 7.5%.

Let’s break down the common costs of selling a home.

Average closing costs for the seller

Closing costs, which are the fees paid to finalize a home purchase, range from 2% to 6% of the loan amount, depending on the size of the mortgage.

The typical closing costs when selling a house include:

Real estate attorney fees

Some states require that you have a closing attorney, but it’s optional in other states. The cost can vary, depending on your location and the transaction, but the attorney may have an hourly rate range of $150 to $350.

Real estate taxes

A real estate transfer tax is a cost you pay to transfer ownership of a home from one person to another, and can be paid by the seller or buyer. The transfer tax percentage and how the payment is handled are location-dependent, but may be calculated as a set rate per every $500 or $1,000 of the home’s value. In some areas, you pay both state and local taxes. You may also have prorated property taxes to cover.

Real estate agent commissions

In a home purchase transaction, sellers typically pay commissions for both the listing real estate agent who represents you, and the buyer’s agent. This selling cost can account for a large chunk of what you pay, typically averaging 5% to 6% of the sales price. The commission for selling a house is split evenly between the agents.

Mortgage payoff

If you have an outstanding mortgage balance when you’re selling a house, a portion of your proceeds will pay it off. Check your closing disclosure or promissory note to verify you won’t face a prepayment penalty fee if you fully repay the mortgage balance within a specific time frame. Prepayment penalties can cost up to 2% of the remaining loan balance.

Other fees for selling a home

You’ll likely have other costs associated with selling a home that aren’t included in the typical closing costs for a seller. Expect to cover at least some of the following expenses:

Utilities

If you’re current on your utility bills, there’s less of a worry about coughing up hundreds to pay them off when selling your home. Utility payoffs can cause a larger problem if you have delinquent bills. Companies may put a lien against your property due to unpaid bills, which can jeopardize your deal.

Home staging

The cost of staging your home professionally can range from $505 to $1,864, according to HomeAdvisor, but that ultimately depends on your home’s current condition and whether it’s vacant. Staging a vacant home could cost an additional 1% to 3% of the home’s price, since you’re starting from scratch.

Presale home inspection

While a home inspection isn’t a mandatory selling cost, it could save you a few headaches later. This is especially important if the home purchase contract includes a home inspection contingency on the buyer’s side. Paying for a presale inspection helps you identify any issues ahead of time. Home inspection costs range from $300 to $500.

Home repairs

Home repair costs vary and depend on the level of work needed. Ideally, you’ll want to make as many repairs as possible before your home is listed to avoid issues during the inspection process. If your home is in great shape, you may only need to make a few cosmetic fixes. If you have an older home that requires more of a face-lift, you may need to pay tens of thousands of dollars, or set a lower asking price.

Moving costs

You may need to hire a moving company to get your belongings out of your home and into your next place. Moving costs could range from a total of $627 to $1,721 if you’re relocating to an area that is less than 100 miles away, according to HomeAdvisor. The price can jump to a range between $2,240 and $5,963 for a long-distance move out of the state.

Capital gains taxes

There will be capital gains taxes to pay — depending on how much of a profit you make from your home sale. The IRS lets single home sellers exclude up to $250,000 in capital gains. Married couples filing jointly can exclude up to $500,000.

How to lower the cost of selling your home

1. Negotiate your agent commission feesAsk your listing agent to reduce the commission fee. If you sell your home for $300,000, a 6% commission fee is $18,000. Negotiating the fee down to 4% would lower the cost to $12,000, saving you $6,000. You could also try negotiating who pays the commission. If several buyers are competing for your home, one might be willing to cover some of the commission for selling a house to win a bidding war.

2. DIY where you can Touch up the paint, replace outdated fixtures and take care of the landscaping on your own. Tapping into your handyman skills will help reduce the cost of selling your home.

3. Pay down your mortgage Your loan balance will cut into your home sale proceeds. Before putting your home on the market, try aggressively paying down your mortgage if you have room in your budget in order to boost your equity — and the profit you’ll receive after closing.

 

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