How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House?

Plan to spend about 10% of the home price in selling costs, in addition to what you need to pay off your mortgage.
Barbara Marquand
Margarette Burnette
By Margarette Burnette and  Barbara Marquand 

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If you're selling a home, you'll want to know how much it's going to cost you 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 smart to plan to spend about 10% 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’s agent usually charges 5% to 6% of the home purchase price when the deal closes. This is likely the biggest expense you’ll pay, so when shopping for an agent, ask specifically about the commission fee. Some agents are willing to negotiate their rates. Make sure you agree on commission terms in writing.

Seller’s agents usually split commissions with buyer’s agents, who generally don’t charge their clients.

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Taxes and neighborhood fees

You’ll 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.

In some states, you may also be charged a local transfer tax, which the seller pays in order to change the title from one person to another. Depending on location, the tax is generally 0.01% to 2% of the sales price. 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).

Common costs include agent commissions, taxes, title insurance, moving and your mortgage.

If your neighborhood has a homeowners association, expect to pay prorated membership fees. You or the buyer may also need to pay an HOA transfer fee.

Title insurance for the buyer

This 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 a lien on your home is revealed, you’ll also 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.

Home repairs

The buyer will probably order a home inspection before closing. If the report reveals problems, you may be asked to pay for repairs.

Moving costs

Whether you buy boxes, pack and move them yourself or hire a company, you’ll want to budget money for the actual move.

So what’s your home really worth?
NerdWallet can show you what your home is worth and update you on changes over time.

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 in a sluggish market they could help your home stand out.

Home warranty

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. A one-year warranty costs $350 to $600, on average, according to ImproveNet, an online marketplace for finding home improvement contractors.

Home staging

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 typical cost ranges from about $500 to $2,000, according to HomeAdvisor.

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 5% 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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