If you’re like most people in Seattle, your house is the single most expensive asset you own.
When you decide to sell, it’s a big deal. You might decide that it’s time to pack up and move to another state, relocate to the ‘burbs, or downsize to meet your needs. No matter the reason, you are ready to sell, and you need to know how to complete this important transaction efficiently and for maximum profit.
For planning, it makes sense that you would want to know how much it might cost to sell your Seattle home. In this post, we’ve researched the expenses you can expect and gathered expert insights to help you get a better idea of the cost to sell a house in Seattle.
Housing trends in Seattle
According to UW’s Washington Center for Real Estate Research in Seattle, the median home price for Q1 of 2022 was $885,100.
Days on the market or DOM is the number of days a property has been on the market from listing until having a signed sales contract. It is an important data point for buyers as it provides a snapshot of the relative demand for a home in a particular region, state, or city.
The Seattle market continues to sizzle with a DOM of just 33 days. Tampa Bay, which has been called “the hottest real estate market” in 2022, has an average DOM of forty days. That suggests that Seattle buyers are still motivated to buy even as the market normalizes from its previous record-setting pace.
Start with a home value estimate
A good first step in estimating the cost to sell a house in Seattle is getting a home value estimate.
Home values across the United States recently increased by around 19% in a single year. With values and markets changing so dramatically, now is a good time to check up on your home value. You may be pleasantly surprised to see 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 preliminary 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 Seattle?
The most accurate answer is that it depends. Based on our extensive research, which we’ll break down below, the cost to sell a home in Seattle could potentially be more than 12%.
If you sell your home for $885,100 — the median home value in Seattle — your seller costs might be around $108,084, based on the averages for each of the common expenses we’ll review below.
However, your estimated out-of-pocket costs will depend on your situation and several variable factors and decisions. Let’s look at what you need to consider when determining the cost to sell a house in Seattle.
What are common expenses for home sellers in Seattle?
Ann Nordling, a top real estate agent from Seattle who works with over 70% more single-family homes than the average area agent, notes the cost to sell a house in Seattle will vary on a case-by-case basis within a changing market.
“With the market in the middle of a shift, it’s become more commonplace that more major repairs might need to happen to the value that the seller is hoping for,” Nording says. In other words, sellers may need to work with their agents on making their house the most attractive it can be to generate the most interest from a broad buyer pool.
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.
Prepping your house for sale
Prepping your house for sale can cost between $6,185-$22,915 or .5%-2.6% of your home’s final sale price.
- Home repairs typically run $1,461–$8,851, including but not limited to:
- Patching holes and cracks in the ceilings and walls
- Fixing broken windows
- Repairing and flushing the HVAC system
- Replacing broken appliances
- Restoring the roof
- Updating light fixtures and ceiling fans
- Staging the home: $745-$2,664
- Professional cleaning services: $200-$400 or more, depending on the home’s size
- Paint for interior spaces: $2,200-$5,000
- Landscaping work: $1,300-$5,600
- Pre-listing inspection: $279-$400, if desired or needed
We estimate that the total cost for you to prepare your home for sale in Seattle can range from $6,185-$22,915 with an average cost of $14,550. Before undertaking any large renovation projects or repairs, consult with your Realtor®.
An experienced Seattle real estate agent will know what needs to be fixed and what you can skip.
Realtor® fees in Seattle
Agent commissions are among the highest selling costs in a real estate transaction. In Seattle, Realtor® fees average between 5%-6%. Based on the median home value of $885,100 in Seattle, you can expect to pay between $44,255-$53,106 in real estate agent commissions.
Typically, the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent split the commission evenly:
- Listing agent fee: $22,127-$26,553
- Buyer’s agent fee: $22,127-$26,553
This 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, your median price home is $885,100. If you use a top agent, you may sell your home for as much as $88,510 above the asking price, and you net more than $35,000 in additional profit. In that case, a 10% higher selling price can make the Realtor® fee a profitable investment. The journey is easier with a professional guiding you 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 get an idea of how much you might pay in Realtor® fees in Seattle.
HomeLight’s free Agent Match platform can connect you with a top real estate agent in your market.
Seller concessions can contribute to the overall cost to sell a house in Seattle. In addition to the direct costs of preparing your home to sell and agent fees, there may be indirect costs that occur during the course of the transaction. These indirect costs may include seller concessions and buyer incentives.
A concession is when a seller agrees to use part of the proceeds from their home sale to cover some, or all, of a buyer’s closing costs. The amount of these costs will depend on your market and selling situation.
Rising interest rates and increased home prices are shifting Seattle’s housing market. “I feel we’re going into more of a normal market and I do think we’re going to see some balancing of home prices,” Nordling says. “The buyer pool is a little smaller because we have people who just got discouraged and can’t afford homes anymore.”
The normal market does not mean that sellers are offering many concessions yet. Nordling advises her clients to pay for inspections to ease the burden on potential buyers, but “[sellers] paying for closing costs, I don’t think we’re there yet. We still get enough interest and activity that’s not having to happen.”
Although sellers don’t have to make concessions to make the sale, maybe you want to make your house stand out from the rest?
If that’s the case, you should at least be aware of common seller concessions or buyer incentives and how these can contribute to the cost to sell a house in Seattle:
- Home inspection fees: $200-$400 depending on square footage
- Buyer’s home warranty: $400-$800
- Covering buyers closing costs: $15,000 (approximately)
- Repair credit: varies (which reduces your net proceeds)
Closing costs and additional fees
Your closing costs and additional fees may cost $24,283-$42,368 or 2.7%-4.9% of your home’s final sale price. That’s an average of $33,325, or 3.8%.
Closing costs are fees associated with a home purchase that buyers and sellers pay at the close of a real estate transaction. The average seller closing cost total in Seattle can fall in a wide range because of variable high-dollar factors such as mortgage loan payoff amounts and prorated taxes. Based on our research, the closing costs can land between $66,000 and $108,000.
Here is how some of the average costs might look:
- Escrow fee: $4,400-$13,300 (1%-3% of total purchase price divided by 2)
- Title insurance premiums: $2,500
- Title search fees: $75-$100
- Tax liens or other judgments against the seller: $37, if applicable (to record the satisfaction of a lien)
- Homeowner’s association dues: $200-$500 per month
- Mortgage loan payoff: $8,851-$17,702 (this is variable, but if you pay your mortgage off early you may incur a 1%-2% early payoff fee which could cost)
- Reconveyance fees: $50-$60
- Reconveyance recording fees: $203.50
- Prorated property taxes up to: $7,966
- Real estate excise tax (REET): 1.10%-3.0%
Washington sellers are also responsible for a real estate excise tax (REET), also known as a transfer tax. REET is calculated as a percentage of the sale price, typically about 0.5%-1%, but the tax differs in each county. The Washington State Department of Revenue has a calculator for the REET tax. The buyer can be liable for the tax if it’s not paid. Unpaid tax can become a lien on the transferred property.
Here’s the state’s graduated rate structure for excise tax as it currently stands:
Tier 1 selling price of $500,000 or less: 1.10%
Tier 2: selling price of $500,000-$1,500,000: 1.28%
Tier 3: selling price of $1,500,000-$3,000,000: 2.75%
Tier 4: selling price greater than $3,000,000: 3.0%
In addition to REET, the seller may also pay a 0.5% local tax.
At-a-glance home selling cost example for Seattle
This at-glance analysis is based on the median home price of $885,100 in Seattle. These figures are 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||$14,550||1.6%|
|Realtor® fees (commissions)||$48,680||5.5%|
|Closing costs, taxes, fees||$33,325||3.8%|
|Mortgage payoff (state average)||$307,407||35%|
|REET tax (Washington)||$11,329||1.28%|
|Total selling cost example||$415,491||47.2%|
*Based on Seattle median home price of $885,100
In the example above, if you successfully sold your home for $885,100, you could potentially make a profit of $469,609. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change!
One cost that you may not consider is the cost of relocating. The cost of moving depends on where you are moving 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 Seattle?
There are several ways to reduce the cost to sell a house in Seattle. Some strategies are more effective than others.
Sellers should spend the time and money to beautify the inside and outside of their house to help increase the home’s purchase price. “It’s pretty customary to have yard cleanup, staging, house cleaning, window cleaning, and other minor repairs that need to be done,” Nordling says.
Some of the 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 you 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
Using a discount broker or FSBO is not ideal. Nordling offers an analogy to explain the risks involved. “Imagine buying a plane ticket, sitting down, and then hearing the captain say, ‘I fly part-time, and I have a part-time pilot’s license. I know we might hit turbulence, and I think I can land safely.’”
Ultimately, a discount broker will offer discount services and may not be able to land the sale safely. That means you could leave tons of money flapping in the wind when all is said and done.
How much will I make selling my Seattle home?
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 and local taxes
- Mortgage balance payoff amount
- REET (real estate excise tax)
The mortgage payoff amount is typically the most significant determining factor for calculating your net proceeds. The average Seattle homeowner has a remaining mortgage balance of $307,407.
If you’ve paid off your mortgage before selling your home, you can calculate your profits by taking the sale price minus selling costs. 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 selling your house in late spring and early summer. Typically, families want to be in a home and settled before the next school year. Use HomeLight’s Best time to Sell Calculator to decide when to sell for the most money or the speediest sale.
Know what to expect, plan, and partner with a top agent
A good first step in determining the cost to sell a house in Seattle is to get a home value estimate.
Then you need to make a plan to maximize your profits. 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.
HomeLight’s free Agent Match platform can connect you with a top real estate agent in your market.
Typically, the cost to sell a house in Seattle is 12% or more of your home’s final sale price.
That 12% comes from the cost of:
- Prepping your house for sale
- Realtor® fees
- Seller concessions
- Closing costs
- Washington’s REET
Your mortgage payoff is also a tremendous expense when you decide to sell your home. Typically, it can amount to 35% or more of your total cost.
There are some options for lowering your expenses, but Nordling strongly suggests you stay away from discount brokers and FSBO. “It’s the biggest investment you’ll ever have, and you want an informed professional on your side to make sure you don’t leave any money on the table,” Nordling says.
HomeLight’s Agent Match can connect you with the highest-performing agents in your market who can help you make the most of your home sale. See our data-backed list of the top real estate agents in Seattle.
Header Image Source: (Austin Wehrwein / Unsplash)
- "Washington Market Highlights: First Quarter 2022," University of Washington, Washington Center for Real Estate Research (May 2022)
- "Prepayment Penalty: What It Is And How To Avoid One," Forbes (July 2020)
- "Real estate excise tax," Washington State Department of Revenue (January 2020)
- "How much does a home warranty cost?," Consumer Affairs (May 2022)