You’ve made a big decision to sell your home in California. You’re likely wondering how much you might make on the sale, but also anxious about how much it will cost to make it happen.
In this post, we’ve researched the expenses you can expect and gathered expert insights to help you get a better idea of the average cost to sell a house in California.
Housing trends in California
Days on the market or DOM is the number of days a property has been on the market from the time it’s listed for sale until the house is taken off the market with a signed contract. It is an important data point for buyers. It provides a snapshot of the relative demand for a home in a particular region, state, or city.
In California, the average DOM is 8 days. While the market in California is still hot for sellers, there has been a decrease in the number of homes sold. In general, home prices are rising, and the available inventory is stable for the first time in 24 months.
It’s usually easier to sell a home when you partner with a reliable agent. A top real estate agent from California, Robert Lopez, who’s an agent with Team Z, explains the value a real estate agent brings to your home sale, “Your agent takes on photography and marketing. That means an agent covers your drone, listing, signage, and boosts your property on social media.”
Start with a home value estimate
Step one in estimating the cost to sell a house in California is getting a preliminary home value estimate.
Home values across the United States recently increased 19% in a single year. With home values and markets changing dramatically, now is an excellent time to check what your house might be worth.
You can request a quick online value estimate using HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator to get an initial idea. This free automated valuation model (AVM) tool will use recent sales transactions, local market trends, and your home’s latest selling price to provide a ballpark value range for your property in under two minutes. Just enter your address to get started.
How much does it cost to sell a house in California?
The cost to sell a house depends on several factors. Your specific situation may cost more or less. Typically, the cost to sell a house in California is about 11% of the home’s final sale price.
If you sell your home for the median price of $849,080, the total cost to sell your house in California is about $93,399.
Your estimated out-of-pocket costs will depend on your unique situation and several variable factors. Below is a guide to the most common factors that influence the cost to sell a house in California.
What are common expenses for home sellers in California?
The total cost to sell a house in California depends on your specific situation. You can probably expect to run into these common expenses for home sellers in California:
- Prepping your house for sale
- Realtor® fees
- Seller concessions
- Closing costs
- Attorney fees
Prepping your house for sale
Many factors influence the cost of prepping your home for sale. Those factors include the home’s size, age, and level of wear and tear. The following prices are a guide to assist you in preparing to sell your home.
- Home repairs (1%-3%): $12,736 (1.5%)
- Staging the house: $2,200
- Professional cleaning services (deep cleaning): $400
- Paint for interior spaces: $2,000
- Landscaping work: $3,000-$15,000
- Pre-listing inspection: $279-$400, if desired or needed
We estimate that the average total cost for you to prepare your home for sale in California can range from $16,370-$28,491. That’s about 2%-3% of your home’s sale price.
It’s probably a good idea to make some repairs so that you can make your home attractive to buyers. “Buyers in this price range — especially with the rates going up you know, from what we’re seeing in the market — they want more of a finished product. We have to identify what costs we are willing to take on in order to make that happen and achieve the overall goal of that price that we had discussed,” Lopez says.
The potential cost is why it’s vital that before undertaking any large renovation projects or repairs, consult with your Realtor®. An experienced real estate agent will know how to advise you on what to fix and what you can skip to sell your house faster and for more money.
Realtor® fees in California
Agent commissions are one of the higher costs in a real estate transaction. In California, Realtor® fees are around 5%. Based on the median home value of $849,080 in California, you can expect to pay $42,454 in real estate agent commissions.
Lopez says the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent typically split the commission like this:
- Listing agent fee $23,350 (2.75%)
- Buyer’s agent fee $19,104 (2.25%)
The fee may seem like a lot, but partnering with a proven professional can make a huge difference in your final net proceeds. Our data shows that the top 5% of agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent.
For illustration, let’s again use the California median home price of $849,080. If you use a top agent, you may sell your home for as much as $84,908 above the asking price, and you may get $33,964 in additional profit.
In that case, a 10% higher selling price can make the Realtor® fee a profitable investment, and the journey is so much easier with a professional guiding your every step.
See how commissions impact total selling costs in our overview example chart later in this story. Try HomeLight’s Agent Commissions Calculator to see how much you might pay in Realtor® fees in California.
Or try out HomeLight’s free Agent Match platform, which can connect you with a top real estate agent in your market.
Seller concessions might be a cost to sell a house in California. Seller concessions are indirect costs that you may offer to the buyer to make your home more attractive. California’s market probably does not require you to concede any seller concessions. Still, paying for a home inspection might be a good practice. Your potential buyers will appreciate that small convenience.
You may not have to make concessions to make the sale. Still, knowledge is power, and an awareness of standard seller concessions or buyer incentives will make you a more savvy seller.
The following list is how the most common seller concessions can contribute to the cost to sell a house in California:
- Home inspection fees: $350–$500
- Buyer’s home warranty: $432-$900
- Covering buyer’s closing costs: $12,336 (approximately)
- Repair credit: varies (which reduces your net proceeds)
- Earthquake insurance $1,337
Closing costs and additional fees
So what closing costs do sellers pay in California? It depends, but the total seller costs can be somewhat expensive.
Closing costs are fees associated with a home purchase that buyers and sellers pay at the close of a real estate transaction.
Using the median home sold price of $849,080, here are examples of some of the most common closing cost averages for California home sellers:
- Property tax (0.73% of purchase price): $6,198
- Reconveyance recording fees: $150
- California documentary transfer tax: $1,274
- City transfer tax: $1,274 (variable)
- Escrow fee: $1,698 ($2 per $1000 of sale price)
- Title insurance premiums: $4,757
- Title search fee: $250
- Homeowner’s association dues: $300
- Mortgage loan payoff: $371,981
- Mortgage loan 1% early pay off fee: $8,491, if applicable
At-a-glance home selling cost example for California
This at-glance analysis comes from California’s median home price of $849,080. These estimated average figures can be a helpful planning tool for you as you prepare to sell your home.
|Selling expense||Example cost||% of home sale price|
|Prepping your home for sale||$16,370||2%|
|Realtor® fees (commissions)||$42,454||5%|
|Seller concessions||$425 (inspection)||0.07%|
|Closing costs, taxes, fees (includes tax proration credit)||$22,694||2.6%|
|Total selling cost example||$453,924||53.46%|
*Base on California median home price of $849,080
In the example scenario above if you successfully sold your home for $849,080, you could potentially profit $395,156. That’s a nice infusion of cash in hand.
Don’t forget relocation costs. Are you leaving Cali for a new state, or are you getting closer to the beach?
The cost of moving depends on where you are going and whether you want movers to pack up your belongings for you. Here is the general cost to move after you sell your home:
How can I reduce my seller costs in California?
There are several ways to reduce the cost to sell a house in California. Some strategies are more effective than others. One possible strategy is instead of focusing on how to reduce your costs, it might be better to focus on attracting quality buyers and increasing your sale price.
“So number one is always pay your current tax bill. Another thing you can do to attract the best possible buyers is a power wash and fresh paint. The outside property needs to be nice and bright and fresh with green grass. There shouldn’t be any weeds. That first impression really matters most,” Lopez says.
Some additional things that you can do to reduce seller costs include:
- Make DIY repairs where possible
- Negotiate a lower commission with your real estate agent
- Use a discount-commission agent or brokerage
- Put your home up for sale by owner (FSBO)
- Do not offer seller concessions or buyer incentives
- If you agree to pay closing costs or offer a repair credit, raise your home’s purchase price
- Avoid the urge to over-improve or make unnecessary fixes
- Sell your house off-market
- Time your home sale using HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator
- Use a top-performing agent with a proven list-to-sell ratio
There are risks associated with doing FSBO or hiring a discount broker. “You know you always get what you pay for. In this market especially the way that we’re headed you’re going to need someone that’s going to be boots on the ground and knows how to actively search for buyers because the time you know putting in for sale signs and having twenty offers is going to be gone here pretty soon,” Lopez says.
The level of service you receive can vary depending on the agent’s experience and what’s happening in your market.
How much will I make selling my California home?
As illustrated in our example chart above, preparation and closing costs vary. In our scenario using estimated average California selling costs, if you successfully sold your home for $849,080, you could potentially profit $395,156.
Several factors play a role in the net proceeds you’ll make on your home sale, including:
- Method of selling (Agent, for sale by owner, cash buyer, or iBuyer)
- Cost of repairs and improvements
- Total concessions or buyer incentives
- Closing costs, including state, county, and local taxes
- Mortgage balance payoff amount
The mortgage payoff is typically the most significant determining factor for calculating your net proceeds. The average California homeowner has a remaining mortgage balance of $371,981, so that total will figure mightily in your overall profit.
You can calculate your profits by taking the sale price minus selling costs if you’ve paid off your mortgage before selling your home. Ask your agent for a net sheet to be sure of your calculations.
When you sell your home can also be a determining factor in how much you will make. You want to strike when the iron is hot, and for most people, that means listing your house in spring and selling by the early summer. Typically, families want to be in their new home before the next school year.
Use HomeLight’s Best time to Sell Calculator to decide when to sell for the most money or the fastest closing.
As you look ahead to your next home purchase, try these other free HomeLight tools for buyers:
Know what to expect, plan, and partner with a top agent
The first step in determining the cost to sell a house in California is getting a home value estimate.
Then it would be best if you made a plan to maximize your home sale price. Our data shows that the top 5% of agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent.
Typically, the cost to sell a house in California is 10% or more of your home’s final sale price, not counting your mortgage payoff.
That 10% comes from the cost of:
- prepping your house for sale
- Realtor® fees
- seller concessions
- closing costs
- taxes (state, county, and California)
Your mortgage payoff is also a tremendous expense when you decide to sell your home. Typically, it can amount to about 44% of the total cost to sell a house in California.
HomeLight’s free Agent Match platform can connect you with the highest-performing agents in your market who can help you make the best of your home sale. See our data-backed list of the top real estate agents in California.
Header Image Source: (Mattia Bericchia / Unsplash)
- "March home sales and price report," California Association of Realtors® (April 2022)
- "First Quarter of 2022 Brings Double-Digit Price Appreciation for 70% of Metros," National Association of Realtors® (May 2022)
- "Home prices to jump another 11% this year and 3% in 2023, Fannie Mae says," Fortune (April 2022)