“How much will it cost to sell my home?” said Mr. Scott. “My daughter recently sold her house and said there were so many costs!” If you are considering selling this is probably on the top of your list of questions to ask your Realtor.
Let us help demystify what you can expect, and in fact, if you start planning ahead it may be possible to cut some costs.
Before the sale, what to expect.
Here are some typical upfront expenses. Some are a matter of choice, others are a matter of necessity. You will want to work with your Realtor to identify which ones you should consider. Your Realtor can also help you get competitive bids.
- Inspections. Set aside about $1100 for pre-marketing inspections, including a home, pest and sewer inspection.
- Painting. A fresh paint job, inside and out, is the best way to maximize your return. If you have recently painted then you might be ok with a quick touch up, but if the colors are bold or unique you may want to consider changing them. If you have hired a Stager they can work with you and your Realtor to come up with the best color palette for the house. Full interior paint jobs range from $6000 – $13,000; exterior paint jobs range from $8000 – $18,000. Costs vary based on size and the amount of prep needed.
- House Fix Ups. This is going to vary significantly from house to house. There are certain things that must be done, like properly strapping a water heater, installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and others that would be good to do. If you are not doing a home inspection be sure to walk around with your Realtor and look for any health and safety items and be sure to get those fixed. In our experience most Sellers spend $2000 – $5000 on fix ups.
- Window Washing. Buyers will always notice dirty windows, but they generally don’t notice clean ones. This cost will vary based on the number windows and number of stories in the house. Expect the cost to run $300 – $800.
- Staging. It has been proven time and time again that Staging will pay itself back multiple times over. In our market it is expected that the house will be staged. Staging helps to show the size of a room and gives Buyers the illusion of how to use the space. If you have great furniture it may be possible to have the stager supplement. Costs vary between $2800 and $8000, depending on the size of the house.
- Landscaping. Don’t forget the garden! In the Bay Area the yard is often an extension of the home so do not overlook this. Walk around with your Realtor and then make a plan. Expect to spend about $500 – $3000.
- Updates. Are you planning for updates, like lighting? Light fixtures run approximately $100 – $300 each; faucets about $100 – $800. Refinishing hardwood floors or replacing carpet? Plan for $2000 – $5000. Get bids!
During the closing, what to expect.
Fortunately most of the costs pertaining to the closing will come out of the proceeds from the sale. Some costs are negotiable between the buyer and the seller so be sure to double check the contract to see what the buyer is asking you to cover.
- Real Estate Commission. Real estate commissions are negotiable and typically range from 5% – 6% of the final sales price when you list with a full service brokerage. A portion of the commission, usually half, will be paid to the seller’s broker with the remaining amount paid to the buyer’s broker.
- Buyer Credits. If there are any agreed-upon credits for the buyer they will be paid at the closing.
- Transfer Taxes. Both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties impose a county transfer tax of $1.10 / $1000 in sales price; many cities also impose a city transfer tax ranging from $6.00 – $15.00 / $1000 in sales price.
- Home Warranty. If the buyer has requested that you purchase a home warranty expect it to cost between $300 and $500.
- Escrow Fees. Escrow and title fees are typically paid for by the buyer. You should expect to cover your own notary fees, which range between $200 – $300.
- Loan Repayment. If you have an outstanding balance on your loan it will be paid off from your proceeds. During the escrow period the title company will contact your bank to get the full payoff amount.
- Property Taxes and Liens. Depending on where you are in the property tax year you might be required to pay the balance of the property tax bill. Click here to see more information. Additionally if there are any liens, such as garbage liens, you will pay them off with your proceeds. A Preliminary Title Report will identify all liens that have been recorded against the property.
- Moving Costs. Don’t forget the movers! These costs vary greatly based on how much you have to move, whether you need help packing and unpacking, and where you will go. We have seen estimates from $1500 – $10000. Staying local? Rent a Uhaul and offer your friends some beer + pizza to help. That will cost you a few hundred.
For a detailed look at what you can expect we are happy to meet. These are all estimates and averages and will vary.