How Much Does It Cost to Sell a Home?

April 1, 2024 - 8 min read

Whether you’re selling your home because you’re upsizing, downsizing, or relocating for work, the process of selling your home can create a mix of excitement, stress, and the potential for making a substantial profit.

It’s important to understand that the cost to sell a home can vary and significantly impact your bottom line. In fact, homeowners, on average, spend roughly 10% of the sales price when selling their home.

Understanding your selling costs, as well as keeping them under control, can help you maximize your profits.

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Preparing your home for sale

The cost to sell your home will depend on several factors. Your home’s sale price, where you’re located, and what you’re able to negotiate with the buyer are just a few of these factors.

Expenses may include charges from real estate agents and attorneys, title-related fees, and various administrative costs for finalizing the transaction. Depending on the state, additional transfer taxes may apply, and if you’re paying off a mortgage, your lender might impose additional charges.

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Here are some of the typical selling costs to expect as you’re estimating your net profit.

Home staging costs

Prior to listing your home, it’s wise to declutter and thoroughly clean it to boost its presentation. Additionally, your real estate agent may advise taking further measures, such as enlisting the services of a professional home stager. Staging your home can elevate its visual appeal, resulting in added value.

Home stagers have the expertise to reconfigure furniture, revamp interior design elements, and even lease furniture to showcase while your property is on the market. The average cost to engage a professional home staging service is between $787 and $2,837, with an average cost of $1,793.

Potential home repairs and renovations

Most prospective homebuyers opt for a home inspection to assess a home’s condition. Should the inspection report reveal any deficiencies, the buyer may request that these issues be addressed before moving forward.

The home repair costs can vary depending on the current state of your home. And while it’s possible to forego some or all repairs, doing so could jeopardize the transaction.

Conducting your own thorough inspection of your home prior to listing it for sale is wise. Take note of any damages, malfunctioning appliances, and areas in need of cleaning or improvement. While you may be capable of handling certain tasks yourself, it’s wise to enlist the expertise of professionals where necessary to avoid potential DIY errors.

Professional photography and virtual tours

According to Dan Smigrod, founder of We Get Around Network, a resource focused on helping real estate professionals with 3D and 360 platforms, virtual tours are a must-have in today’s housing market to help differentiate a real estate agent from competitors. According to Smigrod, more than 50% of all real estate agents outsource real estate photography and virtual tours to professional real estate photographers.

Companies charge based on various packages offered. Hiring a professional to create a standalone 360-degree tour will typically cost around $200. The 360-degree tour service is often sold either as part of a marketing package or as a package add on.

Packages that include photos, a virtual tour and a floor plan are often priced between $340 and $475. Most quoted a turnaround time between 24 and 48 hours.

What are the real estate agent commission fees when selling a house?

When it comes to the cost to sell a home, real estate agent commission fees are often the biggest fee a home seller pays.

Historically, agent fees ranged between 5 and 6 percent of your home’s sales price. However, a recent NAR lawsuit ruling is about to change the future of commission costs, especially when it comes to sellers compensating the buyer’s agent.

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But for the time being, let’s stick to the commission model that’s still in place today. If you sell your home for $400,000, you could typically expect to pay up to $24,000 in commissions.

Commissions are usually split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. Buyer agent fees are typically covered by the seller, as opposed to the buyer. However, you may be able to negotiate a lower commission, especially if the sales price is relatively high.

How much should sellers expect to pay in closing costs?

While buyers typically shoulder most closing costs in a real estate transaction, sellers also incur certain expenses.

The closing expenses for sellers in real estate transactions fluctuate depending on geographical location. Typically, sellers can expect to pay roughly 1% - 3% of the home’s sales price towards closing costs during settlement.

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These costs aren’t typically paid out of pocket by the seller; instead, they are deducted from the proceeds of the home sale—unless the seller has minimal equity on their mortgage. In such instances, sellers may need to contribute some cash to fulfill their lender’s requirements.

Real estate agent commission

When it comes to the cost to sell a home, most agents don’t receive a salary. They receive a commission percentage based on the home’s sales price.

Their fee pays for the time spent marketing your home. It also includes costs like photographs and signage, as well as the cost to list it on the multiple listings service. If your house doesn’t sell, the agent doesn’t get reimbursed for those costs—or paid for their time.

Loan payoff costs

Should there be an outstanding balance on your mortgage when selling your home, it must be paid off. The funds from selling your home can be used to pay off the mortgage. If there’s a deficit between what you owe vs your net proceeds, you may be required to cover the difference.

Your loan servicer can provide the payoff amount, including any possible prepayment penalties for paying off the loan early. This figure is important to remember, even more so when simultaneously buying and selling.

Transfer taxes and recording fees

Transfer taxes, recording fees, and property taxes are significant elements of a seller’s closing expenses. Transfer taxes refer to levies imposed by state or local governments for transferring property title from the seller to the buyer.

In addition to transfer taxes and fees, sellers must ensure their property taxes are current before transferring ownership to the buyer.

Attorney fees

Some homeowners opt to have their own personal attorney oversee their real estate closing. The seller may incur attorney fees as part of the closing expenses.

Real estate markets in different areas vary. In some areas, both buyers and sellers retain their respective attorneys, while in others, a single settlement attorney manages the entire real estate transaction.

Attorney fee responsibilities also vary by region, with buyers covering all of the costs in some areas and sellers assuming the expense in others.

Ways to reduce seller closing costs

Fortunately for sellers, closing costs usually come out of the proceeds they receive from the sale of their home. You probably won’t have to come up with any of these expenses out-of-pocket.

These costs can add up, however. There are a few ways you may be able to lower your costs.

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Although real estate commissions technically aren’t “closing costs”, they still add up to a significant amount of money that will reduce your net proceeds. Some agents may consider reducing their commissions, so it can be worthwhile to try to negotiate a lower commission.

Other third-party providers, such as attorneys, title companies, and appraisers, may also consider better terms to win your business. Try negotiating better terms with service providers. It never hurts to ask.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties are homes listed by homeowners without enlisting a real estate professional. Selling the home “by owner” means you could avoid paying listing agent commissions. If you pursue this route, be sure to do your research, as this can be a lot of work.

Another way to reduce your seller closing costs is by selling your home to a cash buyer or an iBuyer company. In these cases, there’s typically no fees or Realtor commissions. Be aware, however, that iBuyer companies usually offer significantly less for your home as compared to a traditional home sale.

How do I calculate net sale proceeds from my home?

Determining the total cost of selling a house can be challenging due to numerous factors, but a basic understanding of how to calculate estimated selling costs can help.

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Let’s look at an example. If we use the existing median home price in 2023, you would’ve sold your home for roughly $387,000. Assuming an average selling cost of 10%, you may be looking at approximately $38,000 in expenses, leaving you with around $349,000 in proceeds.

This estimate, though, does not account for agent commissions, potential repairs conducted prior to the sale, nor does it include carrying costs, losses, existing liens (including your mortgage) and debts, or any potential penalties for early mortgage payoff.

The bottom line: The cost to sell a home

It’s important to understand all the expenses related to selling your home. This will give you a clearer understanding of the potential profit from the sale, which can then be allocated to the purchase of your new home.

If you’re considering selling your home this year, the best resource is a knowledgeable real estate agent in your area. They can help guide you through the process and costs to expect when you sell a home.


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How much are real estate agent commissions when selling a home?

Real estate commissions can vary depending on the agent and the location. As it stands today, typical real estate commissions fall within the range of 5% to 6% of the home’s sale price. In many regions, the buyer’s agent typically earns between 2.5% and 3% in commission, while the seller’s agent also earns between 2.5% and 3%.

Can I negotiate the fees with my real estate agent when selling a home?

Although not easy and not always possible, you may be able to negotiate real estate agent commissions. Discussing rates can be a delicate matter, though. Timing and presentation are key. Have an open mind and be ready to find a middle ground. While you may not get everything you ask for, a willingness to compromise can lead to a win-win for both parties.

Are there any upfront costs to consider when selling a home?

Generally, the majority of expenses associated with the cost to sell your home will be deducted from the proceeds of the sale during settlement. There is the potential for upfront costs should you decide to stage your home or make any necessary repairs prior to the sale.

Do I have to pay for marketing and advertising when selling my home?

If you use a real estate agent to help you sell your home, marketing and advertising fees are usually included as part of the buyer agent’s commission.

What should I budget for closing costs when selling a home?

Closing costs for sellers of real estate vary according to your location. As a seller, you can expect to pay anywhere from 1% to 3% of the home’s sales price in closing costs at settlement.

Are there any tax implications for the money I make from selling my home?

There may be capital gains tax implications you’ll encounter depending on whether your home was your primary residence, how long you occupied your home, as well as other factors. Always consult a certified tax professional for tax advice.

Should I consider offering buyer incentives to help sell my home?

Sellers can greatly boost the attractiveness and perceived value of their property by tactfully incorporating buyer incentives. It’s important to understand current market trends, buyer behavior and any applicable legal and ethical considerations when offering incentives. Real estate agents can be a great asset in this area.

How can I calculate the net proceeds from selling my home?

Knowing all the costs associated with selling your home is the key to knowing the amount of your net proceeds. Expenses such as mortgage payoff, prep costs, agent commission, closing costs, and other applicable fees must be subtracted from the sale price to get an accurate net proceeds number.

Craig Berry
Authored By: Craig Berry
The Mortgage Reports contributor
With over 20 years in mortgage banking, Craig Berry has helped thousands achieve their homeownership goals.
Aleksandra Kadzielawski
Reviewed By: Aleksandra Kadzielawski
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Aleksandra is the Senior Editor at The Mortgage Reports, where she brings 10 years of experience in mortgage and real estate to help consumers discover the right path to homeownership. Aleksandra received a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. She is also a licensed real estate agent and a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).