You’re in a seller’s market; you want to know how much does it cost to sell a house. And where is that money exactly going? You can check out the cost of selling a house calculator. Find an average cost to sell a house in this article. How much does it cost to sell a house with a Realtor? By owner? Are you getting the best representation for how much this is really going to cost you? So today, we’re going to list out six closing costs for a seller. As well, we’ll give you a general frame of reference. When selling a house, who pays for what? These are common questions first time home sellers need to know. And if it’s not your first time, you may need a brush up!
The first seller closing cost comes as no surprise; it’s your Realtor commission. Most sellers don’t actually what percent they pay to whom though. Your commission payout is usually around 6%. Of course this varies but let’s make it easy and say 6% for now. That percentage is typically split in half. Your agent will get 3% and the buyer’s agent will get 3%. Each agent will have to take their percentage and make a payout as well. They each pay their brokerage fees and taxes on the earnings. Everybody’s got to pay someone right? A lot of sellers wonder how they can get their costs down. The commission you pay your agent will depend on what’s negotiated. Obviously you want to pay the least amount possible so you can get the most amount possible.
It’s worth it to pay a decent commission. Besides, this isn’t money you’re spending out of pocket. It’s coming from the amount you sell the home for, after it sells. You could hire an agent willing to do it for a smaller commission but you’ll be getting less from them. Minimum wage equals minimum effort. You can’t expect someone to do a great job if you’re not willing to pay for their time and effort. So, how much does it cost to sell a house with a Realtor? About 6-10% of your sale price.
Another thing you’ll have to think about is actually home repairs. So with home repairs, it’s important to get these completed before your home goes on the market. Seasonal home maintenance should be done. You don’t know how long it will take to sell your home. If the rainy season is coming in a few months, you do not want a leaky roof during a showing. Or you might have projects that are left unattended in the house. And you know the ones I’m talking about… Those ones that you started and then you just didn’t get around to finishing. We’re not talking about a whole house renovation here. But if some paint is scratched up, touch it up. Sometimes a listing agent will suggest big time changes to pull in a buyer quickly. This will cost you money and may not work. Ask yourself if changes are easy and necessary. Is that cost worth it?
Because big things do pop up on home inspections so you have to be ready. It’s usually something you knew about and didn’t address or something you had no clue about. You can either sell the home as is and discount the price or pay for the repairs. I like the idea of paying for the repairs. Why? Because you can choose your contractor and negotiate the price. You will also be able to better market your home and get a better selling price. If you can advertise a brand new roof a buyer will know they don’t have to worry about it. If you leave a leaky roof as is a buyer will have to get their own estimates. Maybe they take the highest one and ask for a discount based off that. It makes sense and you know it. And you also know that they’re probably not going to use the highest bidding contractor but that makes no difference. You didn’t correct the problem and it can become even more of a problem.
Well, let me share a little real world thing with you what happens in practice. When someone says “as is” it scares the buyer. Even if you disclose the issue, a lot of people don’t want to deal with it. So chat with your listing agent and discuss a strategy that works for you. Get the pros and cons in your particular situation and go from there. If you don’t care as much about the money and just want to get the house sold, go for it. It’s just important to know the facts.
That brings us into the third point, which is staging and marketing. Now staging and marketing is really important. After we sign a listing agreement and disclosures, we’ll look at the house for changes to be made in appearance. If it’s all cleared out, great. If not, go through the house room by room with a notepad and start looking at what needs to be decluttered. You basically want it depersonalized; as if you don’t live there. Potential buyers should be able to imagine themselves in this space. You don’t want them thinking of it as yours. So, the best thing to do at this point is simply make the home look really good. You can leave it cleared out, style your own things, stage your home, or do virtual staging.
What to do?
Leaving your home cleared out or styling your own things is the cheapest option: Free. Virtual staging is very affordable and usually starts around $30 per image. You would hand over the images of your home to a virtual staging provider and they add in furniture and accessories. It’s great for pictures but potential buyers will end up walking in to an empty house. Actual staging can cost upwards of $500 each month. The furniture and accessories stay in the house of course. Typically, it goes buy rooms staged so the more space you want filled, the more you’ll pay. I’ve seen people pay more for staging than their mortgage!
Don’t forget about the expense of utilities… You have your electricity, gas, water, sewer, garbage services, etc. All of that stuff is going to be prorated at closing so expect a final bill. Some people think they’ll just have all that turned off before they have a buyer. But, what if there’s a potential buyer that can only view the home at night? Electricity is needed. Potential buyers and their agents may need to use the restroom. Water and sewer are needed. Garbage may not be 100% necessary but you should have something available to walk throughs. So be prepared to at least ay a prorated amount for these bills after closing.
The next cost is actually your mortgage payoff. That varies per person, obviously, based on the amount you owe. A mortgage does not carry over to the buyer. This seems like a simple concept but not everyone knows that. Your mortgage payoff is the amount you owe plus any applicable interest on your loan. Some contracts even have early payoff penalties so be sure you know. Just contact your loan provider for details so you know before you sell. This will help keep your finances in order with no surprises.
The final thing is closing costs, additional fees and negotiations of buyers closing costs. There’s no way we can give you a definite amount you will pay in total. It’s likely somewhere between 8 and 10% of your estimated home value. This is an average cost to sell a home so take it in as a guesstimate. So, if your house is valued at $300k, you’ll likely be paying about $30k to actually sell it. This seems like a lot of money, and it is. But most tend to think of it as coming off the amount they’re getting from the sale. Before your home is sold it might seem like you’re hemorrhaging money. The sale will make it worth it though – always remember that!
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