As a home seller, profit will most likely be your main focus. After all, purchasing a house and paying the mortgage each month is expensive—attempting to get as much of a return on that investment is wise when you move out.
Additionally, many people need funds for their next home purchase, so making money from the home’s sale price is essential.
However, it is essential to remember that not all of the difference between your original purchase price and what another person pays for your home will end up in your pocket. There are many sizable costs associated with selling a house which can significantly reduce the amount you make from this investment.
Maximize your profits by understanding the fees associated with selling a home. To provide clarity, we gathered insights from banks, mortgage lenders, and real estate experts to uncover the common costs you can expect during the selling process. With this knowledge, you’ll be better informed and ready to make sound financial decisions.
House Selling Costs
This section will discuss the costs associated before you sell the home. This includes repairs, staging, and home inspection.
Repairs may cost about $1 per square foot of your home, so a 2,000 sq. ft. home would cost $2,000 to repair.
When you are selling your home, there is no shortage of repair strategies to consider:
- ensuring all problems are addressed
- focusing on the major fixes
- simply rectifying visible issues
- addressing only the items that a future buyer wants after their inspection.
Whatever path you choose, know that it will help ensure your property sells quickly and smoothly.
Deciding which path to take largely depends on the current state of your home. Although you can sell a property that requires extensive repairs, it’s not as simple; these repair costs will likely be deducted from the total purchase price.
Prioritize solving any potential issues you think may show up in the home inspection before selling your property. However, if you want to quickly make it visually appealing, prioritize landscaping and other exterior renovations, paint corrections, and cabinet repairs – all of which will help enhance its presentation.
Staging costs between $1,600 and $2,400 per month.
When selling a home, decorating and staging can be even more significant than repairs. After all, first impressions go a long way! A disorganized or outdated space may drive away potential buyers before them visiting your property. By making small changes that will brighten up the area, you’ll create an inviting atmosphere for viewers – increasing the likelihood of attaining higher offers from interested parties.
A home inspection costs between $200 and $500.
A pre-sale home inspection may seem unnecessary, but tackling the repairs in advance could pay off. This cost can be worth the investment, potentially resulting in a higher sale price.
Costs to Sell a House
The costs in the section cover the fees and expenses you may encounter as you progress through the transaction. They include mortgage payoff, home equity loans, title insurance, real estate commission, tax, and HOA fees.
The average mortgage debt in the United States is $231,464.
When selling a home with an existing mortgage loan, the payoff of that loan is among the expenses associated with its sale. Paying off the remaining principal and interest on a mortgage balance is called a mortgage payoff. The proceeds from your house’s sale will go directly to your lender via a title company – thus finalizing this part of the transaction.
When all the closing costs have been settled, any additional sales proceeds will be returned to the seller. The amount of funds necessary for a mortgage payoff is based on how much has been mortgaged at closing time. Beware of prepayment penalties when paying off your mortgage.
Home equity loans
Before you finish the home sale, any Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) taken out during residency must first be repaid.
HELOC loans generally have a 20-year repayment period, assuming you stay in the same property for that duration. As soon as ownership transfers to another party, however, your lien on the property ends – meaning if you aren’t still living there when it comes time to pay off the loan, repayment is mandatory before the closing date.
Title insurance ranges from $1,372 to $2,745, depending on the home value.
Title insurance protects you in case of any title disputes on your property. Although not always necessary, getting a policy could be wise if you are anxious about ownership issues or want an extra layer of security. While typically, the buyer pays for it, there may be other arrangements too.
Before any property transaction, valid proof of title must be presented for the real estate transaction to move forward. This is a title search.
This action ensures the seller legally owns and has a right to benefit from selling their home – if there is an argument concerning your title at closing time, you could become involved in a costly lawsuit. By procuring a reliable title insurance policy, you can rest assured that all legal costs incurred as part of this disagreement are covered.
Real estate agent commission
For a median-priced $454,900 home, the real estate commission would be between $22,745 and $27,294.
Real estate agents are paid through commission fees. Rather than charging a flat rate for their services, a listing agent will receive a set amount of the sale price – usually between 5-6% for both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent.
Property taxes average $2,471.
When selling a home, the seller is not exempt from property taxes – they must pay their share of what’s owed for the year. Generally, this will include prorated tax payments from when the year began until closing day; in some cases, they may be liable to cover all of it.
Capital gains tax
Capital gains taxes might apply when you’re selling your home — but not always. Generally, if the house is sold for a gain within one year of ownership, then short-term capital gains tax applies, which may reach up to 37% and must be paid to IRS.
Annual average HOA fees are between $200 and $300.
Homeowners associations (HOA) are common in many communities and often charge transfer fees to cover the costs associated with transferring home ownership records. Though the buyer can pay for these fees, it’s usually expected that sellers will do so at closing.
Types of House Selling Costs and Fees
Costs that you may incur before the home sale include the following :
- Painting. If you already have some unique or bold colors, it might be a good idea to use more neutral colors. Home stagers can help you figure out what will look best. It usually costs $3 per square foot of paint to paint the inside and outside of a house.
- Home repair. Some repairs, like replacing a broken window or a discolored carpet, must be done before you sell your house. But other repairs and renovations can be left for the new owner to do. It is up to you to decide what needs to be fixed before you sell. However, even small repairs can make your house look better and more cared for.
- Home staging. Home staging and decluttering is the key to capturing potential buyers’ attention and increasing your selling price.
- Landscaping. In today’s market, prospective buyers pay extra attention to a home’s curb appeal. If your yard is not landscaped, you will need to invest some energy into keeping it tidy by raking and pruning any overgrowth.
Costs that you may incur as you sell the house and at closing:
- Real estate agent commissions. If you opt to select a real estate agent rather than selling your home by owner, the entire 5-6% commission will likely be paid by you and split between both agents – yours and that of the buyer.
- Miscellaneous closing costs. Whether through local customs or a negotiated agreement, you could have agreed to cover particular customary costs related to the closing of the deal. These might include fees for escrow companies; mortgage and house appraisal payments; registration and transfer of property ownership; title insurance coverage, among other expenses.
- Property tax. If your state collects property tax, and you have not yet paid them for the year, then you might be liable to pay a proportional percentage of what the buyer will ultimately owe.
- Transfer tax. Depending on your location, you could be liable to pay transfer taxes – a small percentage of the sale price – as mandated by state or city legislation.
- Capital gains tax. If you and your spouse made less than $500,000 in capital gains on the sale of your home—or $250,000 if filing singly—you have nothing to worry about because no taxes are owed. However, if more is earned from the transaction after subtracting out expenses related to its preparation for sales such as closing costs or realtor fees, it’s possible that no tax will be due at all!
Average Cost to Sell a House
Here is a list of types of house-selling costs and fees you’ll typically encounter.
- Repairs: $2,000
- Staging: $1,600-$2,400
- Home inspection: $200-$500
- Mortgage payoff: $231,464
- Title insurance: $1,372-$2,745
- Real estate commission: $22,745-$27,294
- Property tax: $2,471
- HOA: $200-$300
- Escrow and recording fees: $2,000-$4,000
- Transfer tax: $2,000-$4,000
- Total: $266,052-$277,174
How to Reduce Costs When Selling a House
When it comes time to sell your home, the financial implications can be quite daunting. Fortunately, numerous strategies are available to save money and reduce hefty closing fees in any housing market.
Do necessary home improvements
It’s easy to get carried away with repairs when selling your house. However, it’s wise to focus on the improvements that will generate a positive return in terms of increasing the value or speeding up the sale of your property. Investing smartly can lead to greater success down the line.
If you’re trying to save money, consider repairing yourself. Tasks that don’t require too much expertise, such as painting or gardening, are great for DIY projects and can help reduce the cost of labor which is often the most expensive part when getting something fixed. Taking matters into your own hands will certainly make a difference in saving those extra bucks.
Do targeted repairs post inspection
If your home inspection reveals repairs to be made, you can either pay for a repairman, complete the tasks before closing day or provide a credit for when the buyer makes them later. The most cost-efficient solution relies heavily on what type of fixes are needed; however, if it is something you may do without any issues or dangers, this could be your best option.
Tips for Managing Costs When Selling a House
Sell to a cash buyer
When selling a house, the real estate agent’s commission is one of the biggest costs. When you sell to a cash buyer, you can avoid paying this and other closing costs (depending on the company you work with).
Don’t fear negotiations
Negotiating all fees may not be possible, but your real estate commission can often be subject to negotiation. Even if you cannot lower the fees you pay as the seller, it’s still worth trying to persuade buyers into covering some or even all of the seller’s closing costs in a hot market. Although this isn’t always achievable, it is worth attempting and could help alleviate your financial stress.
Be mindful of closing dates
To avoid feeling the pinch of paying for two homes at once, coordinate your closing date on the old home and move-in date to your new one as closely together as possible. It’s easy to forget moving costs when buying or selling a house; however, these tend to add up quickly.
For example, if you’re living in your newly purchased property two months before handing over the keys to your previous residence, you’ll be responsible for double charges: both on homeowner’s insurance premiums, taxes, and utility payments. Avoid this by making sure that all dates line up properly.
Be tactical with seller concessions
When listing your home, potential buyers may inquire if you can assist with their closing costs through seller concessions. In buyer’s markets, sellers may provide perks such as a pre-paid home warranty or an inspection contingency to make their properties more desirable. Conversely, in seller’s markets, these extras tend not to be necessary due to the high demand for homes.
Sell a furnished home
Offer to add furniture and appliances into the deal, especially if you’re downsizing from a move. This is an excellent way to eliminate those items without spending more money. Furthermore, it can be highly advantageous for first-time homebuyers who may not yet have enough funds to purchase all necessary furnishings in their new home.
For those looking to save cash on repairs, you can consider selling your home as-is, — meaning no renovations will be done even if the buyer requests them after inspection. This may help avoid needing a personal loan for repair costs and is effective in seller’s markets.
Selling your home can often be stressful and expensive; however, it doesn’t have to be. You can save money by leveraging the tips above while still ensuring your residence is attractive to potential buyers.
From DIY projects, targeted repairs, and closing dates to cash offers, negotiations, and being tactical with seller concessions, there are multiple ways to increase your returns when selling a house. All it takes is a bit of strategy and planning, and you’ll be well on achieving a profitable sale.