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The Fees For Selling a House

person calculating fees for home sale

Are you looking to sell your house?

Like late fees on a loan or fees to take cash out of the ATM, there are fees associated with selling your home. The biggest fees come in the form of paying the people who help you, like your real estate agent. And these fees can be hard to swallow when you see how much you owe. Especially if you don’t know what these fees are in advance.

Don’t worry, we can help shed some light! Keep reading for our guide on the fees for selling a house so you know what to expect.

What Are the Fees For Selling a House?

The fees when selling a house can come as a surprise at each stage of the selling journey. They’re not small either, and selling could end up costing you a fortune. Here are the most common fees you need to watch for, so you can prepare yourself in advance.


Home staging is where you hire a company to bring furniture into your home and arrange it. It creates a luxury homey feel which is neutral enough that buyers can picture living there.

Rooms seem larger and have a defined purpose, so buyers can see how the home functions. This is a method that’s proven to help homes sell faster, closer to their asking prices.

But it isn’t a free service, and you’re looking at an average cost of $1,500 – $2,000 though this increases with square footage. For some larger homes, you’re looking at $6,000 or more.

Interior Painting

You might love your bright red and purple walls but chances are buyers won’t. Dirty walls and unique, bright, colors are major no-nos for buyers.

It’s best to spruce up your tired paintwork with a neutral cream or warm gray color. This gives the impression that you’ve cared for your home and increases its value in buyers’ eyes.

To update your interior paintwork, you’re looking at around $1,000-$1,500 on average. This will depend on the number of rooms and work that needs doing.

It also increases if you need to call in professional painters. If you think you’ll get the asking price without doing it, think again. It’s one of the home improvements your agent will suggest to you first.

Carpet Cleaning

Another of the most common fees for selling a house is cleaning your carpets. This could set you back as little as $100 – $200 if you’re steam cleaning them yourself. If you need to replace the carpet completely, you could be looking at $3.50 – $11 per square foot. The average room costs $1,600 to fit out with a new carpet.

It’s another home improvement you can’t ignore in conventional sales. Dirty carpets scream to a buyer that they need taking up and replacing. Most won’t bother cleaning them themselves and immediately think of replacing them. This is extra money for them, and stress the buyer won’t want to have on their shoulders.

As such, you might find them adding up the cost of a new carpet (at the higher end) and detracting that in their offer. Cleaning your carpets is much cheaper than accepting replacements reduced from the sale price. Even if you need to replace them, it may still end up cheaper than what a buyer would choose.

If you’re calling in professional cleaners, be aware they usually charge by the room. In larger properties, that soon adds up. But you can save money if you do it yourself. Visit places like Home Depot who will rent you a steam cleaner for around $50.

Cleaning the House

Again, if you want to attract buyers and give the impression of a well-loved home it needs to be clean. This is another of the fees when selling a house if you’re not going to do the cleaning yourself.

You’ll need to deep clean, which can be overwhelming for one or two people. If you’re calling in the professionals, the average cost will set you back around $150.

Again, this varies depending on the number of rooms that need cleaning and how much cleaning there is to do. Most cleaners will charge by the hour.

If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you can save yourself most of this cost though. You only need to pay for the cleaning products, not the labor costs.

Lawn Care & Landscaping

The appearance of your property’s exterior is as important as the interior. It’s the first impression. A well-mowed lawn and pruned trees and bushes give the impression of care and effort.

If your home looks unkempt when buyers first pull up, it could turn them off completely. They’ll question your level of care and wonder what else is wrong with the place deeper down.

Improving the curb appeal will set vary in costs, depending on what needs doing. But, having your lawn mowed to a professional standard will be around $100-$200. But you can save money by doing this yourself.

General Repairs

If you want to get the most money for your home, then general repairs need doing. These include all the little jobs you’ve put off, like loose door handles and dripping washers.

Making the little repairs will go a long way towards making your home seem more desirable to buyers. They can also add value to your home if you do them right. On this note, there are inspection repairs to consider too. When a buyer has a home inspection, issues can crop up.

Either you will need to have those repairs done before closing, or negotiate the cost of them off the sale price. Remember, the average buyer isn’t looking for a project. They want a home they can move right into and put their mark on over time.

Closing Costs

Homebuyers can expect to pay between 2% – 5% of the sale price in closing costs. But sellers have to pay closing costs too. Any money that goes into escrow has a fee that the buyer and seller split.

On top of this, you may have pro-rated property taxes and HOA fees too. Most mortgages let the seller pay the closing fees for their buyer too. But, especially in a seller’s market, most don’t agree with this.

In a buyer’s market though, when sales are slow, you might have to sweeten the deal by paying their closing fees too. Your real estate agent will help guide you on if that’s a necessity or not.

Transfer Tax

In the US, the average cost of the transfer tax is around $750 and it covers transferring the name on the property. Not all counties and cities charge it though, so you need to check with your local authority or estate agent.

Usually, the transfer fee is set as a percentage of the sales price, that’s why it can vary. The more expensive your home, if the fees apply, the larger you can expect the sum to be.

Lawyer Fees

Both you and the buyers will need lawyers to help complete the legalities of the process. You’ll need to hire the expertise of a real estate attorney for this. If you have a specialist property, it should be one that has experience in that niche or similar niches.

The fees you’re looking at are around an average of $1,000 for a smooth sale. These fees can range from a few hundred dollars up to a couple of thousand though. This will depend on how much work needs doing and how simple or complex the sale is.

Real Estate Agent Commission

Usually, the agent fees for selling a house sit at around 3% – 6% of the Sale Price. Some specialist realtor fees for selling a house though can sit closer to 10%. The seller’s agent will then split this commission with the agent acting for the buyer.

There are some cases where you could negotiate this commission percentage. Some agents will offer lower commissions but will do less of the work or not offer the full sales package. But, for the most part, experienced realtors won’t negotiate on the commission rates.

The agent puts a lot of work into selling your home. They need to:

  • Take pictures
  • Write descriptions
  • Market it
  • Hold the open houses and viewings
  • Take calls and reply to email inquiries

And more. Given the amount of work they do, a 3% – 5% commission is fair but that will eat into your profits from the sale. For example, say you have $300,000 on your mortgage balance, and your home sells for $450,000.

You have to pay off that mortgage debt, which leaves you with $150,000. If the real estate commission rate is 5%, that’s a cut of $22, 500, leaving you with a profit of $127,500. That’s a massive dent in your profits at the end of the day, and only from one source of fees.

Title Insurance on Behalf of the Buyer

Sometimes, unbeknownst to you, there can be issues that crop up with the title to your home. Title insurance is there to protect the buyer against these issues or any liens that there could be.

The buyer pays the costs for the lender title insurance for their mortgage company. As the seller, you’re responsible for covering the costs of the buyer’s title insurance.

Costs will vary depending on the sale price of your home but you should expect to pay in the region of $750 – $1,000. This is a fee you won’t be able to get out of or negotiate either, as it’s your obligation to pay for it.

Paying Off the Outstanding Mortgage

As mentioned above, another massive chunk of money goes on paying off your mortgage. You will need to pay off your existing mortgage loan with the money you’ll collect from selling the home.

Once all the costs and fees come off this, you then get what’s left. Even then, that whole profit isn’t yours. You’ll need to pay all the other fees left outstanding from that amount too.

This massive payoff, coupled with the smaller fees soon stack up and you could see very little profit at all. In most cases, when buying another home, you’ll still have to take out a mortgage too

You won’t make enough profit to go mortgage-free unless you’re able to downsize to a cheaper area. Even then, there is no guarantee. No matter how you sell your home, that mortgage needs paying off, so you can’t get around this fee.

Existing Utilities

After you move out of the home there will be a final utility bill that’s due. It will cover the last period of time the house was in your ownership.

If you sell mid-way through the billing period, you can negotiate with the buyers to only pay the amount you used. Most of the time though this gets complicated and can be a hassle to arrange and settle.

You should also note that even if you move out before you sell, you still need to pay for utilities on it. A home that doesn’t have gas, water, and electricity will be a major turn-off for buyers.

They don’t want the hassle of having to reinstate the utilities before they move in. They want to be comfortable right from the start, and look for as little stress and work as possible. So you might find your home becoming tough to sell, stagnating on the market.

This in turn has its own problems as people start to wonder why it’s not selling. Assumptions could get made about the state of repair, or if there are larger issues at play. All in all, this leads to more time on the market, and the possibility it won’t sell at all.

Fees for Selling a House: A Break Down

So, there you have it! Now you know what the common fees for selling a house are you know what to expect going forward.

Between prepping the house for sale and closing, these costs soon add up. Some you can’t get out of, but others you can cut completely by doing the work yourself.

Or, even better, why not consider selling your home as is to a cash iBuyer. The process is quick, easy, and only needs a few details on your home to get a fair, market-based quote. The best part is there’s full transparency at every stage with regard to the fees you pay. It’s a stress-free, easy-to-navigate option to consider especially when you need to sell fast.

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