Selling a house does cost money. Between real estate commission, insurance policies, mortgage payoff and post-inspection improvements, you’ll need to be aware that you won’t be banking the full sale value of your home or putting all the money toward your new home.
To help you understand the full expense of a home sale, we'll break down each cost to help you prepare.
How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House? Total Cost Breakdown
Expenses for selling a home
are both large and small. Real estate broker
commission is the largest expense category, while insurance and inspections are often the least expensive aspects of the transaction. Here’s a full cost breakdown to help you prepare.
1. Real Estate Broker Commission – 6% of Home Value
Listing your home with a broker costs approximately 6 percent, depending on the contract you sign and the rates you negotiate. That's split between the broker who handles selling your home and the broker who helps the new buyers purchase the home.
Traditionally, sellers bear this cost, though some negotiate to share the expense with the buyer.
While you could list your home for sale by owner, you’ll need to be ready to invest the time in executing the sale. You’ll also need to hire your own photographer, lawyer to draw up the contracts, and be prepared to handle any negotiations required for the sale. It can be a time-consuming process and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could commit to terms that are not favorable.
Each year, the percent of for sale by owner sales decreases with just 8 percent of home sellers using this option in 2020
. Additionally, these homes often sell for less, meaning using an agent can actually offset your expenses.
2. Home Repairs and Upgrades – Variable
To get the best price for your home and ensure it sells quickly, you’ll want to consider what cosmetic repairs and upgrades it needs. Additionally, you might need to complete repairs that the inspector catches as being concerning for the new owner to have to deal with.
Consider paint touchups or full new coats on rooms with knicks, chips and scrapes. Fix that leaky faucet you’ve been meaning to get around to and add knobs to the kitchen cabinets to give them greater appeal.
The goal is to eliminate any eyesores in the home and make it inviting for potential buyers. This might be a two-phase approach where you do cosmetic updates and then complete necessary repairs after the home buyer hires a home inspector. Working with a real estate professional who can assist you on which upgrades provide the most value is a great resource to any real estate transaction.
3. Pre-sale Inspection – $400+ Often Covered by the Buyer
The pre-sale inspection is negotiable as to who pays this expense. It generally costs between $400 and $600 depending upon the size of your home. Most buyers take on this expense because it gives them the power to choose their inspector and ensure the inspector is impartial.
But you could hire an inspector before listing your home. That way you know what the home needs and can make those repairs immediately to speed up the home sale process and decrease the likelihood of buyers falling through due to contingencies on the state of the home.
If you find issues with the home during an inspection and you elect not to make those repairs, you must disclose those defects to home buyers. Talk to your real estate agent about laws and what defects these apply to.
4. Home Staging – Optional but Preferable if the Home is Empty
If you choose to move out of your home before selling it, you might consider staging the home. This can speed up the sales process and ensure you sell the home for top dollar.
The cost of staging a home will vary based on how large it is and how many rooms you need to be staged.
Homeowners who are still living in their homes might need to rearrange some things or put certain items in storage during showings. Your agent will advise you on how well your home is set up and whether you need to consider staging.
The total cost will likely be a per-month fee and averages about $2,000 a month
. However, ask your home stager about contract minimums before calculating the total cost of staging. Then weigh the cost with the possible benefits your agent foresees.
5. Mortgage Payoff – Outstanding Taxes and Insurance
As you evaluate how much cash you’ll need to sell your home, talk to your mortgage provider about a payoff estimate. The total outstanding balance on the loan is not the only thing you need to pay. You’ll also need to ensure your escrow is up to date, which often means making additional payments on your outstanding taxes and insurance.
This amount will fluctuate month-to-month as the amount in escrow for your taxes and insurance changes as you near payment deadlines for these items.
6. Closing Costs and Fees – Can Negotiate that the Buyer Pays These Fees
Many home sale contracts today outline that the buyer pays the closing costs. However, sellers still have some minor closing expenses as well. You might need to budget for paying these fees:
- HOA fees
- Property tax payoff
- Attorney fees
- Transfer taxes
- Title insurance
- Escrow fee
- Brokerage fee
- Courier fee
Many of these expense areas are negotiable, so be sure to talk to your agent about whether you’re willing to pay these fees or want to negotiate which party pays for them.
In some instances where you’ve lived in a home for a short time, you might also need to budget for capital gains taxes. These apply when you have sold a home within the last two years or when the value exceeds $250,000 for individual tax filers or $500,000 for married couples filing jointly.
Looking for a specific calculation for how much it will cost to sell your house? Contact The Robertson Team
for information about home sales in Charleston
, South Carolina, and other nearby neighborhoods.