Home Selling

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House?

By Lauren Caggiano on June, 1 2022
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Lauren Caggiano

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based copywriter and editor with a nerdy passion for AP Style. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, thrift shopping, fitness and travel. Learn more on her website: www.lovewriteon.com.

Planning to list your home while the market is still hot? Sellers may have a considerable advantage in today’s robust real estate market, but that doesn’t mean that transactions come without a cost. Some expenses are negotiable, but sellers should expect to budget for some fees.

Generally speaking, real estate commissions and other fees can amount to up to 10 percent of the sale price of a home. Here’s a breakdown of the costs sellers should prepare for:


What fees do sellers pay when selling a house?


Real estate commission

Unless you sell your home by owner, you’re going to be responsible for paying a real estate commission. This is often the most substantial fee a seller pays — 5 percent to 6 percent of the sale price. That means if you sell your house for $150,000 you could end up paying $900 in commissions.


The commission is split between the seller’s real estate agent and the buyer’s agent. In most cases, the seller is responsible for this cost. However, you may be able to reach an agreement and pay a lower fee. Real estate agents are more likely to make a deal when the home is expected to sell quickly, the local market is strong or the home price is relatively high.


Home repairs

If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, it’s likely there are some things you could do in the way of home improvement. If you’ve been putting off some aesthetic or minor repairs, this is the time to invest in hiring a contractor or doing it yourself. Sometimes a new kitchen and bathroom can raise the value a significant amount, meaning you’ll get that money back when you sell the property.


Also, if a home inspection reveals problem areas, such as a damaged roof or bad electrical work, you might have to pay to fix those issues for the sale to close. Major repairs can come with a large bill, so be prepared for them before you list the home, especially if you know there are some areas you might have neglected.


Pre-sale home inspection

A pre-sale home inspection is not required. Should you go this route, expect to pay $400 or more. Some sellers opt to go this route because they want to learn about any structural or mechanical problems associated with the property before a potential buyer comes in with his or her home inspector.


Another perk is that getting a pre-sale inspection allows you to make major repairs in advance, removing any possibility of a buyer demanding them later as a condition of the sale.


If you’re on the fence, discuss with your real estate agent whether a pre-sale home inspection is necessary. Know that if your inspection reveals material defects with your home, you must make the buyer aware, depending on your state’s laws for disclosure requirements.


Home staging

You want your home to be as appealing to potential buyers as possible. Home staging is one trick of the trade. Nearly 30% of seller’s agents said they staged their homes before listing, per NAR. While you might be able to do a few things in the way of enhancing your property, hiring a professional to stage it can pay off. That’s because stagers are adept at maximizing a home’s best features while minimizing its worst attributes. They rearrange furniture and accessories and declutter — ultimately depersonalizing the home. After all, the goal is for the buyer to see themselves in your home.


The cost of this service varies according to the size of the home, the extent of the work, the length of time the house is on the market, and other factors. Expect to shell out several hundred dollars, at minimum.



If you plan to move out before the property changes hands, you’ll want to continue to pay for water and electricity. A home without basic utilities can be difficult to show to buyers. Your current bills will give you an idea of how much it will cost each month to leave the lights on (among other things), until the transition.


Mortgage payoff

The proceeds of your home sale will be used to pay off your mortgage. However, it’s likely that the payoff amount on your mortgage statement is a little less than what you actually owe. That’s because of the prorated interest you’ve accrued. Additionally, you might be hit with a fee if there’s a prepayment penalty associated with your mortgage. Check your loan documents or contact your current lender to determine if this applies to your situation.


Closing costs and additional fees

Many closing costs are the buyer’s responsibility, but there are closing costs for sellers, as well.


These expenses might include homeowners association fees, property taxes, attorney fees, transfer taxes, and title insurance. Expenses like an escrow fee, a brokerage fee, and a courier fee are not out of the question either. A title policy can be another expense in the mix. It’s usually included in the closing costs, but you may be able to negotiate who pays it. That said, many of these fees are negotiable, and it’s unlikely that a seller will shoulder the burden for all of them. Still, it helps to be prepared.


Capital gains tax

The Tax Man cometh! When you sell a home for more than you paid for it, that counts as a capital gain and might need to be indicated on your federal tax return.


The silver lining is that many homeowners are eligible to exclude up to $250,000 of profit ($500,000 for married couples filing jointly) from their main home from tax, with a caveat. They couldn’t have used the tax break on another home sale within the past two years. The tax break applies if it was your primary home for at least two out of the previous five years.


Property tax

Property taxes are another wildcard. The seller should pay the prorated share of property tax up to the closing date, with the money placed in escrow.


However, if the seller has already paid taxes for the year, they may actually get a rebate at closing. In this case, the buyer will reimburse the seller for the portion of taxes already paid that apply after the closing date.


If you still have questions after reading this, know that your real estate agent is the best resource and can help you gain clarity in the selling process. He or she will help guide and advocate for you so you can be in the best position as a seller.