You probably know that selling your home costs money. The trick is to slim down your costs without hurting your home’s sale price. It may be tempting to cut all extra spending and just sell your house as-is, but that could end up tanking your final profit or cause your house to sit on the market longer. You don’t have to fall into that trap. Instead, you can find out what’s negotiable and what’s not in our home seller’s cost guide.
The cost to sell a house
The cost to sell your home will depend on your specific house, local market trends, the cost of living, and other area-specific prices, but as rough estimate, you can expect the cost to sell your house to be about 7%-10% of the sale price, including the 5%-6% commission. The most recent HomeLight study found the average cost to sell a house is $31,308, but there may be wiggle room to make up costs. For example, if you’re in a seller’s market, you may be able to negotiate for the buyer to shoulder more of the costs than usual because you have multiple offers on the table.
On the other hand, in a buyer’s market you may need to put in more work — and money — to attract offers from buyers. In HomeLight’s Fall 2022 Top Agent Insights survey, agents report that in a buyer’s market or even a balanced market, getting back to basics in terms of investing in home prep is all the more important to avoid your house sitting on the market. High inflation and declining home prices can also be an added burden for sellers. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at how much it costs to sell a house:
Agent commission costs
Commission tends to be the highest single cost borne by homesellers. On average, you’ll pay a commission of around 6% of the sale price of your home to your agent once your house sells. However, it’s not always the best idea to simply search for the agent with the lowest commission. An agent who charges a lower price might wind up taking on more clients to compensate, spreading their time and attention too thin. It’s best to take time to pick out an experience agent who will hand you a higher overall ROI.
Upgrade and repair costs when selling a house
Everyone knows that your house should look its best to get the best offer, but it’s not always easy to pin down a price for those upgrades. Here are the most common updates sellers make and what they’ll cost you.
Painting your house can boost its value and bring in buyers. Here’s how much it costs to paint the outside and inside of your house:
According to Fixr, if you hire a professional for a single-story home between 800 and 1,500 square feet, painting costs typically run between $1,200 and $5,800. On average, a one-story house’s exterior costs $2,250 to $5,800 to paint. That average also tends to go up as you add stories. For instance, the same Fixr report found the following:
- Average cost to paint the exterior of a two story home: $4,500 – $6,500
- Average cost to paint the exterior of a three story home: $7,000 – $10,000
The cost of hiring a professional painter will also depend on the material built into your house’s exterior. As a general rule of thumb, metal siding will be among the least expensive exteriors to paint, and stucco siding is typically on the higher end.
Some painting professionals offer a package price, but others will charge extra for exterior features. Make sure to ask if the price estimate includes your doors, gutters and downspouts, shutters, or any other home exterior features the painter will come across. If you decide to paint on your own, paint typically costs from $20-$70 per gallon, and you’ll likely have miscellaneous costs for paint supplies.
According to Fixr, the cost of hiring a professional to paint an average-sized room ranges from $990 to $1,320. After the size of the room, the wall texture will be the second biggest factor determining price — textured walls take up more paint, so they tend to cost more.
Painting the interior yourself is also an option. According to Bob Vila, the average cost to paint a room is around $200 to $300. Just don’t forget to factor in how much time painting will take you when you weigh your options.
Home interior cleaning
The cost of cleaning your home will depend on the size of your house and the type of cleaning it requires. The cost of interior cleanings may also depend on how many cleaners you hire, since multiple-cleaner options usually mean the job will be finished faster. According to Fixr, the typical rate for a single cleaner is $25 to $60 per hour, whereas multiple cleaners jump to around $50 to $120 per hour.
Home exterior cleaning
Your two main options for cleaning your house’s exterior are pressure washing and power washing. Pressure washing uses high-velocity pressure to get rid of dirt, dust, and grime. Power washing uses hot water to get rid of grime and dirt.
For the outside of a house, you can expect to pay between $193 and $408 for pressure washing and between $150 and $750 for power washing, according to HomeAdvisor.
You can also wash your patio or deck and driveway. According to the same HomeAdvisor source, this will add $100 to $500 to the cost for a driveway and $250 to $400 to the cost for a deck or patio.
Much like painting, your package price for outdoor washing might include window cleaning and washing, or it might not. Don’t forget to ask if details, such as windows or sliding glass doors are included.
Home repair costs
Home repairs might be something as simple as installing new cabinet fixtures. It could also mean more serious repairs, such as resurfacing countertops or fixing plumbing. Your agent will be able to tell you specific areas of improvement where you’ll get the highest ROI.
Depending on the skill level needed and the intensity of the repairs, average hourly rates for a handyman on Thumbtack range from $40 to above $100 per hour. The national average rate hovers around $60 per hour.
Marketing costs: staging, and photos
There’s no question that selling a house relies on effective marketing. And marketing is all about bringing out the best in your house. Your potential buyers need to be able to see themselves in your home. That’s why photos and staging are so important to your home’s sale.
Attractive photos are crucial for online listings because they draw in potential buyers and put your home’s best features on display. In the end, professional photography may cost money, but the end result could also boost your chances of finding the right buyer.
Staging is also critical because it helps nudge potential buyers towards a final sale.In fact, 82% of buyers’ agents say staging helps buyers picture themselves living in a home, according to a National Association of Realtors® (NAR) study.
Depending on your agent, these costs may also be included in their fees. In case you’re paying out of pocket, here’s what you can expect to shell out:
Cost of staging
Fixr pegs the average cost of staging at $1,500, not including furniture rentals. If you’re renting furniture, you can expect to pay from $1,000 to $3,000 more per month. Hiring a professional stager for one-off consultation will likely run between $100 and $250, according to the same Fixr report.
Cost of photography
Going off Thumbtack’s average price range, you can expect to pay around $160 – $190 per hour for professional photographs, but that could increase if your house is larger. Costs usually vary based on the number of photos you want, the size of your home, and the type of photographs you prefer. Remember to look for someone who specializes in real estate photography because it’s a different skill set than weddings or portraits. This is another case where your agent will likely have recommendations.
Taxes and other fees
Taxes and fees are another area where costs will vary. Still, here are some common fees and taxes with their typical price tags:
- Title insurance: It can vary by state, but title insurance costs typically 0.5% to 1.0% of your home’s purchase price
- Recording fees: The average cost of recording fees is $125, according to the Home Buying Institute.
- Taxes: Taxes, including property taxes, transfer taxes, and any local taxes, will vary widely by location.
- Home inspection: Expect your home inspection to cost between $275 and $400.
Options to lower your sale costs
If you’re worried about the cost of selling your house climbing too high, you may have options. Here are a few ways you may be able to reduce the cost of your home sale:
Selling on your own
Technically, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) home sales tend to end up costing sellers in the long run in the form of lower average sales price of FSBO homes. However, it’s the first thought that pops into many sellers’ heads when they search for ways to save money. Although you can save by not paying a listing agent’s commission, FSBO sales usually sell for significantly less money than agent-assisted sales. In fact, according to a NAR report, sellers who use an agent pull in nearly 20% more on their home’s final price than FSBO sellers. And that cost doesn’t figure in the extra time, work, and stress that comes with selling a house on your own.
Selling with Simple Sale
If you want to forego extra costs, such as repairs and staging, you can sell your home for cash using HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. With this tool, you fill out some information about your house and selling timeline. From there, our team will connect your request with a competitive cash offer. It’s a simple way to sell your house quickly without having to deal with pre-sale preparations.
Selling with a top agent
If you’re strategic about finding a top real estate agent, you could save money throughout your sale. Top agents are experienced and well-connected. That means they’ll usually know what third-party contractors will land you the best price on repairs, staging, photography, or other selling tasks. And they tend to secure significantly higher prices for your sale. In fact, our internal research found top selling real estate agents land as much as 10% higher sale prices than average agents. You can use that uptick in profit to offset a big chunk, if not all, of your home sale costs.
Sell your house with confidence
By understanding the costs of selling your house beforehand, you’ll have what it takes to budget appropriately and prepare for a successful sale. Just pick out the pre-sale price tags that apply to your house and you should know how much of your post-sale profit needs to be set aside, as well as how much you’ll be able to pocket at the end of the day.
Header Image Source: (Sean Foster / Unsplash))
- "Top Agent Insights for Fall 2022," HomeLight (September 2022)
- "Inflation, consumer prices for the United States," FRED Economic Data (May 2022)
- "How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House Exterior?," fixr (September 2022)
- "Quick Real Estate Statistics," National Association of Realtors® (November 2022)