Key Costs to Sell A House You Need to Know About

Selling your house can seem like a promising endeavor, especially in a seller’s market. However, it’s important not to be blindsided by the hidden costs often accompanying this process. From real estate agent commissions to home improvements and closing costs, the financial elements of selling a property can quickly add up. In this guide, we will discuss the major expenses that you’ll encounter when selling your home. Understanding these costs in advance will help you budget effectively and expedite the selling process. Selling your house fast doesn’t have to come at the expense of your financial security. Let’s delve into the key expenses homeowners selling should be prepared for.

Costs to Sell a House

When preparing to sell your home, it’s essential to be cognizant of the various costs involved. On average, sellers can anticipate spending between 6% to 10% of the home’s sale price in closing costs. This means that if you’re selling your house for $250,000, you can expect to pay between $15,000 to $25,000 in closing costs alone. However, this is just an estimate; the actual cost can vary based on various factors such as the location of your property, the real estate market condition, and the specifics of the home itself. 

Beyond this, there are additional expenses to account for, including real estate agent commissions, home improvements, concessions to buyers, and relocation costs. Let’s explore these costs in detail to help you formulate a well-informed selling strategy that maximizes your profit and minimizes unexpected financial surprises.

Types of Costs When Selling a House

Once you have a clear understanding of the basic costs involved in selling a home, it’s crucial to delve deeper into each type. From mandatory expenses like closing costs and real estate commissions to optional ones such as staging and marketing, every cost impacts your final takeaway. Knowing what these costs entail, why they are necessary, and how they vary can help you strategize effectively and save money where possible. In the coming sections, we’ll discuss these types of costs in detail, providing insights and handy tips to equip you with the knowledge you need to navigate the home selling process with ease and confidence.

Agent Fees

One of the most significant expenses you’ll incur when selling your house is the real estate agent’s commission. Typically, this fee is around 5% to 6% of the home’s selling price. If you’re selling your home for $250,000, this means you could be paying anywhere from $12,500 to $15,000 to your listing agent and the buyer’s agent. This cost is usually split equally between the selling and buying agents.

Real estate agents offer valuable assistance in the selling process, supporting you at every step, from pricing your home and listing it on the market to negotiating with buyers and managing the closing process. Although the commission might seem steep, the expertise, housing market knowledge, and service level provided by real estate agents can be invaluable, especially if you’re keen on selling your house fast.

However, if the cost of agent fees is a concern, you may explore other options such as selling the house yourself (for sale by owner – FSBO) or using a discount real estate broker who charges lower fees. Remember, while these methods may save on upfront costs, they might require more time and effort from your end, which can potentially delay the selling process.

If hiring an agent and/or selling by owner isn’t an option, you can sell to a local ‘we buy houses in Virginia‘ home buyer. These are real estate investment companies that purchase homes as-is for cash, eliminating the need for repairs and staging. They also don’t charge agent fees and may even help pay closing costs. While they may offer a lower price compared to the market value of your home, selling to a home buyer can alleviate the stress of traditional selling methods and potentially save you money in the long run.

Closing Costs

Closing costs refer to expenses associated with finalizing the sale of your house, such as title search fees (to check for liens), remaining property taxes, HOA fees, appraisal fees, and attorney fees. These costs are typically paid by both the buyer and seller and can vary depending on your location and specific home details. In general, sellers can expect to pay between 1% to 3% of the home’s selling price in closing costs. This means that on a $250,000 sale, you could end up paying anywhere between $2,500 to $7,500 in closing costs.

While these costs may seem burdensome, it’s important to note that some of them are tax-deductible. Consult with your real estate agent or tax advisor to determine which ones apply to your situation and can help reduce the financial impact.

Capital Gains Tax

Another critical financial consideration for sellers is capital gains tax. This tax applies to the profit made from selling your home, i.e., the difference between the selling price and what you originally paid for the property. As of current tax laws in the United States, if you’ve lived in your house for at least two of the last five years, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income (or $500,000 if you’re married filing jointly). However, if you’ve owned the home for less time, or the profit is more than the allowable exclusion, you’ll have to pay capital gains tax, which can range from 0% to 20%, depending on your income. It’s important to consult a tax advisor or a real estate professional to understand how this tax could affect your specific situation and to plan your selling strategy accordingly.

Seller Costs

Unfortunately, as the seller, there are several extra expenses you’ll want to keep in mind. You’ll want to consider these costs when selling your home:

  • Seller Concessions– Seller concessions or seller-paid closing costs can be a useful tool to expedite the selling process. It’s a practice where the seller agrees to pay a portion or all of the buyer’s closing costs. This can be a deciding factor for potential buyers who are struggling with their own budget. The concessions can include costs related to home inspections, appraisals, a home warranty, or loan processing fees. While this might seem like an extra burden, it can often result in a quicker, smoother transaction and potentially a higher selling price.
  • Home Improvements and Repairs– Before listing the house on the market, home sellers often need to invest in home improvements and repairs to make the property more attractive to potential buyers. These could range from minor cosmetic upgrades like painting and landscaping to larger projects like fixing a damaged roof or updating an outdated kitchen. The key is to focus on improvements that will give you a good return on investment by improving the perceived home’s value.
  • Relocation Costs– An often overlooked cost when selling your house is the cost of relocating to your new residence. Whether you’re moving across town or the country, relocation costs can add up quickly. These can include moving company fees, transportation costs, temporary housing, storage fees, and other incidental costs related to the move. It’s essential to factor these costs into your overall budget when planning your home sale.
  • Staging and Marketing Costs– To sell your home quickly and for the best price, you may need to stage your home professionally and invest in high-quality marketing. Home staging involves making your home more appealing and adding some curb appeal to appeal to a wide range of potential buyers. This could include hiring a professional staging company, renting furniture, or paying for professional cleaning services. You can do this as a DIY, but it can be time-consuming. Marketing costs can comprise professional photography, video walkthroughs, and online advertising. While these costs can be optional, they can greatly enhance your property’s visibility and appeal, potentially leading to a quicker sale and a higher selling price.

By understanding these seller costs and planning for them ahead of time, you can avoid financial surprises and ensure a smooth and profitable home selling process. And remember, while selling your home can entail considerable costs, the potential financial return can be well worth the investment.

Marketing Costs (for FSBO)

When selling your home by owner, also known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), marketing costs are an essential consideration. Without the presence of a real estate agent, the responsibility of advertising and promoting the property falls entirely on your shoulders. This could involve several elements, such as professional photography to showcase your home in the best light, which could cost between $100 to $300 depending on the size of your home and your location. Additionally, you might consider creating a virtual tour, which can cost around $300 to $700, to give prospective buyers the chance to explore your property from the comfort of their own home.

You’ll also need to list your property on online real estate marketplaces, some of which charge a fee. For instance, listing your property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a database used by real estate brokers to list and browse properties, usually requires a flat fee of around $300 to $400.

Physical marketing materials, such as yard signs, flyers, or brochures, can also add to your costs. A professional yard sign can run around $30 to $200 while printing flyers or brochures could cost you $100 to $200, depending on the quantity and quality.

Keep in mind, while marketing your property as an FSBO might seem cost-effective initially, the time, effort, and potentially higher marketing costs could outweigh the commission you’d pay to a real estate agent. As such, it’s crucial to weigh your options and carefully consider if going FSBO is the right choice for your situation.

Types of Costs When Selling a House

How to Calculate Home Selling Costs

Calculating the total costs of selling your home can be a complex process due to the range of factors involved. Here are some key steps to help you estimate your home selling costs:

  1. Agent Commissions – This is typically the largest expense in selling a home. Real estate agents usually charge a commission based on the sale price of your home, often 5-6%. You can calculate this cost by multiplying your home’s estimated sale price by the commission rate. For instance, if your home sells for $300,000 and the realtor’s commission is 6%, you’d pay $18,000 in commissions.
  2. Closing Costs – These costs are typically 1-3% of the sale price. They include title insurance, escrow fees, and local transfer taxes. To calculate these, multiply your home’s expected sale price by this percentage range.
  3. Home Improvements and Repairs – The cost of any renovations or home repairs you’ve made to sell your home may also factor into your total costs. Add up all the receipts from your home improvement projects. The average cost of renovations is around $46,000, but this can vary significantly based on the type and quality of upgrades.
  4. Staging and Marketing – If you’ve staged your home or paid for professional photography or advertising, make sure to include these costs. The average cost of staging and marketing is around $5,000, but this can also vary based on location and the extent of your marketing efforts.
  5. Relocation Costs – Don’t forget to factor in the cost of moving to your new home. Get quotes from moving companies, calculate the costs of a rental van if you plan to move by yourself, and consider any storage unit costs or temporary housing costs. The average relocation cost is around $1,200, but this can also vary.
  6. Seller Concessions – If you’ve agreed to cover some of the buyer’s closing costs (known as seller concessions), add these to your total. The average cost of seller concessions is around 1-3% of the home’s sale price, depending on the market.
  7. Additional Costs for FSBO Sellers – If you’re selling your home by yourself, add up the costs of any additional advertising or listing services you’ve used. The average cost for FSBO sellers is around $500 to $1,000, but this can vary depending on your marketing efforts.

By adding up these estimated costs, you can get a rough idea of your total home-selling expenses. The average cost to sell a house is around 8-10% of the home’s sale price. However, keep in mind that this can vary depending on your location and specific circumstances.

How to Reduce Home Selling Costs

There are several strategies to reduce the costs associated with selling your home, and one of the most effective is to work with a home-buying company, like the reputable Coastline Homebuyers.

  1. Price Your Home Correctly: The first step to reducing unnecessary costs is to price your home accurately. Overpricing can lead to your house staying on the market longer, which can incur additional costs. It’s essential to get a professional appraisal or use online real estate valuation tools to understand your home’s worth.
  2. Work with a Home Buying Company: Virginia Beach home buyers like Coastline Homebuyers are known for offering a fast and fair cash offer for your house, regardless of its condition. They eliminate the need for costly repairs, open houses, staging, and marketing expenses. Most importantly, they typically cover all closing costs, reducing the financial burden on the seller.
  3. Minimize Home Improvement Costs: While it’s necessary to make your home appealing to potential buyers, not all improvements add value. Focus on cost-effective updates that can yield a higher return on investment, such as painting, deep cleaning, and minor kitchen or bathroom updates.
  4. Negotiate Agent Commissions: If you decide to work with a real estate agent, remember that their commission is negotiable. While it’s standard to give a 5-6% commission, you might be able to negotiate a lower rate with your agent, especially if your home is in a high-demand market.
  5. Sell At the Right Time: The real estate market fluctuates yearly. Generally, spring and summer are considered the best times to sell because buyers are more active. Selling during a seller’s market can help you get a better price for your home and reduce holding costs.

By implementing these strategies, you can significantly reduce the overall expense involved in selling your home, making the process more profitable and less stressful.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell House?


In conclusion, selling a home involves various costs that can significantly impact your net profit. From agent commissions and closing costs to staging and marketing expenses, these seemingly hidden costs could surprise you if not thoroughly calculated and planned for. However, there are practical strategies to mitigate these costs, such as working with a home-buying company. Companies like Coastline Homebuyers offer an efficient, hassle-free selling experience by providing fair cash offers, absorbing closing costs, and removing the need for home improvements. By understanding the expenses associated with selling your home and exploring cost-effective alternatives, you can navigate the home-selling journey with confidence and ease.

If you need to sell your home in Virginia, we can help! We buy houses in Hampton, Virginia Beach. Norfolk and many other nearby cities in Virginia. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you sell your house fast!

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