How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House? The Ultimate Guide

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House? The Ultimate Guide

Did you know that in 2020, existing home sales reached a 14-year high in the month of August?

This, of course, has to do with the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether you’ve been thinking about selling your house for a while or recent events have led you to consider the possibility, it’s important to factor in all the costs associated with selling a house.

How much does it cost to sell a house? Let’s take a look.

Realtor’s Commission Fees

One of the biggest fees you’ll pay when selling your house is the real estate commission. This is usually 5 or 6% of the sale price. This means that if you sell a house for $300,000, your commission fees could end up being a whopping $18,000.

The seller almost always bears the cost of the commission, which is typically split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent.

It’s possible to negotiate a lower commission. Agents are usually more willing to do this if the local market is strong, the listing price of the home is high, or if the house is otherwise expected to sell quickly.

If you forgo having a real estate agent in order to avoid these fees, you will have a lot more duties than you will with an agent.

Major and Minor Home Repairs

There are likely a number of projects you’ve been putting off that could enhance the value of your property. This can mean anything as small as fixing a leaky faucet up to redoing the kitchen or bathroom.

Home Pre-Inspection

Having your home inspected before selling it is completely optional. This might cost roughly $400 or even more.

Some sellers decide that this cost is worth it because it gives them time to know what issues might come up for potential buyers. This means that they can go ahead and fix things before putting the house on the market.

You should know, though, that if a pre-inspection brings up material defects of your property, it’s your responsibility to disclose these issues to buyers.

Home Staging

Lots of people will repaint the interior and exterior of their homes before selling. They also might do things like putting in new flooring. On top of this, it’s become increasingly popular to stage homes.

The median amount spent on home staging, according to a 2019 report, was $400. The cost can vary widely depending on whether or not you hire a professional, how big the home is, how long the house is on the market, and several other factors.

This is a particularly good idea if your house is vacant. Having staging furniture and decor can help potential buyers envision themselves living in your home.


People like to spruce up the outside of their house before listing as well. If your landscaping is leaving a lot to be desired, it could be harming the curb appeal of your home. This can mean anything from adding some flowering plants to installing a walkway.

Whether or not you hire professional landscapers will have a big impact on the cost. Either way, you want your lawn to be well-manicured and well-taken care of.


Before you start having showings or open houses, you’ll want to make sure your house is sparkling clean. This might mean hiring a professional cleaning service. If there are any carpets in the house you’ll want to get them steam cleaned by a professional and the windows washed as well.

Professional Photographs

The photographs of your home is one of the things that draws people out to check out your place. This means that getting a professional real estate photographer to take and edit the pictures is often a very good idea.

This is one of the costs associated with selling a home where the investment is small but the payoff can be huge. The cost of hiring a professional photographer will vary depending on your local market and the size of your property. Typically, though, it costs between $150 and $200.

The cost of paying a professional photographer is sometimes covered by a full-service listing agent.

Marketing Costs

If you hire a real estate agent, this will typically be covered by them. If you’re selling your house FSBO, though, you’ll have to do all the marketing yourself.

Have you made it this far into the list and are realizing just how many fees there are when it’s time to sell your house? You can avoid a lot of these by choosing to sell your house fast.

Mortgage Payoff

When you sell your home, the money will first go to pay off your outstanding mortgage. There will be a payoff amount listed on your mortgage statement, which tends to be slightly less than you owe.

Sometimes there is a prepayment penalty attached to mortgages, so that’s something to look into. There will also likely be prorated interest that will be added to the balance.

Closing Costs and Other Fees

Normally, the buyer takes care of the closing costs. However, if you’re in a buyer’s market, don’t be too surprised if they ask you to cover these fees.

These costs could include attorney fees, property taxes, homeowners association fees, title insurance, and transfer taxes. It’s possible that you’ll be asked to pay a courier fee, an escrow fee, and a brokerage fee in addition.

Closing costs typically end up being between 2 and 4% of the amount the house sold for.

Capital Gains Tax

Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind is taxes. If you are able to sell your home for more than you bought it for, it’s considered aย capital gain,ย and you might have to report it as a part of your federal taxes.

Luckily, though, lots of homeowners are eligible for a tax break. Up to $250,000 of the profit can be excluded for single people and $500,000 for married couples filing jointly of their primary residence from their taxes. The catch is that you can’t have used the same tax break within the last two years.

You can only utilize this tax break if the house you profited off of was your primary residence for at least two of the last five years.

Property Tax

Property taxes are often paid in advance. Up until the closing date, you should pay the prorated amount of the tax if you’re selling a house. This money should be placed in escrow.

It’s possible that you’ll actually get a rebate at closing if you already paid your property taxes for the year.

Home Warranty For Buyer

When sellers want to make a deal more appealing to a buyer, sometimes they pay for a home warranty. The cost of this depends on the coverage but can cost somewhere around $300 to $500.

Relocating Costs

There are a number of costs associated with relocating when you’re selling your house. You’ll have to factor this in when you’re asking the question: how much is it to sell a house?

Temporary Housing

It is nearly impossible to get the timing perfectly right when selling a house. You can either buy a new home and cover two mortgages for a while, or live in temporary housing between closings.


If you aren’t living in your home but showing it on the market, you’ll also have to cover utility costs. Once the house is sold and you’ve totally vacated, make sure to turn off the utilities so you’re not paying more than you have to.

Moving Costs

How much it costs to move can vary widely. It depends on whether or not you hire pros, how big your house is, how much stuff you have, and the distance between your old home and your new one. Even if you do it yourself, though, it’s important to understand that there are always costs associated with moving no matter how frugal you try to be.

Homeowners Insurance For Vacant Property

If you’re moving out of your home before it has sold, it’s important to know that your current homeowner’s policy might not cover the property if it’s vacant. Talk to your agent if you’re going to be leaving your house empty.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House? The Short Answer: It Depends

How much does it cost to sell a house? This has to do with a number of different factors, but it isn’t necessarily cheap. While some of the costs come out of what the buyer is paying you, other costs will need to be made before the house is on the market.

Did you find this article about the cost of selling a house useful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative articles!


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