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If you're selling a home, you'll want to know how much it's going to cost to close the deal. That way, you can make a plan for buying your next house.
In addition to what's needed to pay off your mortgage, it’s common to spend about 10% to 15% of the home price in selling costs. But some things are optional.
Cost of selling a house: Most common expenses
Here are some of the typical expenses you can expect to pay when selling a house.
Real estate agent commissions
The seller typically pays a commission of 5% to 6% of the home purchase price when the deal closes. This is split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents typically don’t charge a fee to their clients.
The commission is likely the biggest expense you’ll pay, so when interviewing listing agents, ask specifically what they charge. Some are willing to negotiate their rates. Make sure you agree on commission terms in writing.
Taxes and neighborhood fees
Taxes vary widely by area. Ask your real estate agent what to budget for your situation.
Property tax: You’ll likely owe a prorated share of property taxes when you sell your home. The amount could be close to zero if you’ve recently paid taxes, or several thousand dollars if the due date is around the corner.
Real estate transfer tax: Some states or local jurisdictions have a transfer tax, which is charged when the property changes ownership. (This is different from a title filing fee, which is a separate administrative fee.) The amount depends on your location and the property value, and depending on local laws, it could be paid by the buyer, seller or both.
Capital gains taxes: You may also face capital gains taxes if the profit you make from selling your home is more than $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples on joint tax returns).
HOA fees: If your neighborhood has a homeowners association, expect to pay prorated membership fees. You may also need to pay an HOA transfer fee.
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Title insurance for the buyer
Title insurance protects the buyer in case there’s an issue with the home’s ownership history.
Buyers also purchase a title policy if they apply for a mortgage, but that policy protects only the lender. In some areas, the seller pays for a separate policy for the new homeowner. The average cost is about $1,000, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The title company will run a title search on the property during the sale process. If the search reveals a lien on your home, you’ll need to settle it before you can sell the house.
Your current mortgage payoff
It’s no surprise you’ll need to pay off your mortgage when you sell your home. But the payoff amount is probably different from the balance due listed on your last mortgage statement, because of interest charges. You’ll want to know the payoff amount.
If your mortgage has a prepayment penalty, that will be added to the amount due. The money from the sale will apply toward the remaining balance on your mortgage. If the selling price of your house isn’t enough to cover the full balance, you’ll have to pay the difference.
The buyer will probably order a home inspection before closing. If the report reveals problems, you may be asked to pay for repairs.
Whether you buy boxes, pack and move them yourself or hire a company, you’ll want to budget money for the move.
Optional costs to sell a house
Depending on how competitive your local market is, it can be smart to pay for extra services to attract potential buyers. They’re not always necessary, but they could help your home stand out.
To ease potential worries about buying an older home, sellers can offer a home warranty that would cover most of the repair costs if a major system broke soon after the home was sold. One year of coverage often costs between a few hundred and $1,000, although some plans can cost more depending on the coverage offered.
It’s wise to remove clutter and give your home a good cleaning before you put it on the market. But your agent may suggest going a step further and hiring a home stager to make your home more visually appealing.
Stagers may rearrange furniture, change the interior design and even rent furniture to display while your house is for sale. The median cost to hire a professional home staging service is $1,500, according to 2021 data from the National Association of Realtors.
Portion of buyer’s closing costs
Buyers are usually responsible for mortgage fees, home inspections and appraisal expenses, which can add up to about 2% to 6% of the selling price. If you’re in a slow market, offering to pay some of those closing costs for the buyer could help seal the deal.
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