The Average Cost to Sell a House: A Complete Guide


Real estate experts predict that while the demand for housing may not grow substantially in 2021, we’ll continue to experience a seller’s market.

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As a result, a lot of current homeowners will probably want to jump on the opportunity to sell. After all, why wouldn’t you want to sell your house when property values are high and seller competition is low?

The truth is that anyone looking to sell needs to take into consideration the cost to sell a house. Even when you can fight for a higher asking price, you will still face a myriad of costs that you should prepare for in advance.

The question is, how much does it cost to sell a house? What kinds of fees and expenses should you expect to pay? Read on to find out.

What Pre-Listing Factors Impact the Cost to Sell a House?

The cost to sell a house starts to build before you’ve even put the house on the market. Not everyone will accrue these costs, but paying for these services can better your chances of a quick and lucrative sale. Let’s take a look at a breakdown of what these costs are.

Cleaning and Staging

Many sellers opt for professional cleaning and staging services to ensure that their home looks listing-ready. A typical one-time house cleaning package costs $160. A staging package can cost up to $1,600 depending on the size of your property.

Home Improvements

Unless you’re selling as-is, you’ll probably want to invest in home improvements. On the lighter end of the scale, you may be looking at the cost of a few gallons of paint, some drop cloths, and some brushes. However, something as seemingly simple as carpet replacement and professional painting can add up to more than $3,000.

Pre-Inspection

A pre-inspection is not necessary but it can save you the headache of losing an interested buyer after they complete their own inspection. Getting a pre-inspection can cost anywhere between $200-$800.

Marketing 

Marketing costs are hard to calculate, as they often fall under your real estate agent’s commission fees. Marketing costs usually cover things like online listings, marketing materials such as flyers and print ads, professional photography services, and open houses. 

What Closing Costs Should You Expect

Even if you avoid every pre-listing cost we’ve just discussed, there are some costs that are simply unavoidable when selling your home on the traditional market. In fact, these closing costs–which do typically come out of the sale–can amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Let’s look at what they are.

Seller Concessions

Seller concessions entail that you are lowering your asking price in order to meet the buyer’s negotiations. Common seller concessions include home-improvement credits, repairs, and the buyer’s home warranty. In the end, almost every seller has to make concessions to the buyer in order to close the sale–otherwise, the buyer will likely walk.

Agent Commission

When you work with a real estate agent, you are expected to pay them commission once the sale is complete. It is also traditional for the seller to cover the commission of the buyer’s agent, as well. 

On average, most agents expect a 3% commission. That means that you can expect to dole out about 6% of the money you made from the sale to both real estate agents.

Taxes and Title Insurance

There are a number of taxes that can come up when you’re selling a home, including transfer tax (which varies from state to state) and prorated property tax. In addition, sellers are expected to cover the cost of the buyer’s title insurance, which protects their investment in the home should anything go awry. This title insurance can cost as much as $4,000.

Escrow Fees

Once you’re in escrow, you will need to hire a third party who then takes on the task of handling all funds associated with the sale. This is one of the few costs that are usually split by the seller and buyer. Escrow fees can run between $500 and $,2000.

Other Potential Fees

Other fees may crop up depending on where you live. For example, several states require the presence of an attorney during the closing process, and the attorney will charge a fee. If you live in a community with an HOA, you may also need to pay a prorated HOA fee even if you have already vacated the premises. 

How Can You Keep Your Overall Selling Cost Low?

As you can see, selling a home doesn’t mean that you stand to make a few hundred thousand dollars without accruing any costs. In fact, selling a house can require massive investments. Is there a way to keep things simple and keep seller costs low?

If you’re looking for a quick, cost-free way to sell your house, what you need is a company whose motto is, “We buy houses.” That way, you can sell your house as-is in as little as seven days and walk away with cash in full. Better still, you won’t need to pay for any of the pre-listing costs or closing costs that we’ve discussed.

Selling a Home Can Cost Money Even In a Seller’s Market

Sometimes, we hear terms like “seller’s market” and start seeing dollar signs right away. The problem is that no matter how much the real estate market tips in your favor, there’s still a hefty cost to sell a house. The best way to avoid those costs is to skip the traditional market altogether.

Looking for ways that you can tackle home improvement without spending a ton of money? Take a look at our home improvement section for the best DIY tips and guides on the internet.