How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House?

The real estate agent commission, explained

If you’re picturing your real estate agent pocketing the whole sum, think again.

In fact, that commission is split between the buyer’s agent‘s brokerage and the seller’s. They might split it evenly, or the seller’s agent’s side might get a bit more. From those splits, the respective brokerages take their cut—which, again, varies—and the remaining amount goes to the agents.

Remember, most agents don’t receive a salary, so that fee pays for all that time the agent spent marketing your home. It also includes costs like photographs and signage, as well as the cost to list it on the multiple listings service. And if your house doesn’t sell, the agent doesn’t get reimbursed for those costs—or paid for her time.

How much sellers pay in closing costs

While buyers tend to pay more in closing costs, sellers aren’t completely off the hook. You can expect to spend an additional 2% of your home’s price on this expense.

Closing costs tend to be fixed, including transfer taxes, escrow expenses, and notary fees. You’ll also pay at closing any outstanding property taxes, a prorated share of the water and sewage bills, and the remainder of your mortgage.

Yet you may have control over a few closing costs. If you hire a real estate attorney to oversee your side of the transaction, it’s worth shopping around to compare rates. You might also be able to avoid a $100 to $200 reissue fee for the title search if you can provide a copy of your policy.

Should I just sell my house myself to save money?

In a hot market, many sellers may think they can sell their house themselves to avoid the commission fees.

However, most people don’t realize that if you sell your house on your own, you still have to pay for the buyer’s agent’s brokerage fee.

Since over 93% of active buyers have a real estate agent representing them, it’s the only way to attract these agents—and thus their buyers—to even consider your home.

What about that cash they would still be saving by selling their home as “For Sale by Owner,” or FSBO?

Consider what your agent brings to the party:

  • Marketing, signs, advertising support, and professional photography
  • The time and “hassle factor” savings of not having to be present for showings, manage calls, host an open house, set up legal representation for paperwork, and conduct the negotiations
  • The legal protection that comes with working with a licensed real estate agent
  • The professional market knowledge that can help you wisely price the house
  • Negotiating expertise that allows your agent to extract the best terms and price from the buyer
  • A wider pool of potential buyers that comes with listing your home on the MLS
  • Access to other agents, who have or know potential buyers. In fact, many sales can happen before a home is even listed, because agents will reach out to one another.

In the end, that ‘savings’ to list a home yourself doesn’t usually save you any money. In fact, it can cost you in terms of time, stress, and often a lower price for your home.

You know the saying “you get what you pay for”? Well, you also earn what you save. Think long and hard about your limitations in terms of time and expertise before heading down the home-selling path solo. After all, this home sale may be one of the largest financial transactions of your life, so it’s not exactly something you should cut corners on with the hopes of saving a few bucks.

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Prepare your home now to sell this Spring! 21 tips to impress a potential buyer.

Simple touch-ups can do a lot to impress a potential buyer — and possibly clinch a deal.

While small upgrades and minor decor replacements may seem like a waste of time when you’re in a hurry to sell your house, one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a seller is listing your home without any advance preparation.

Below is a great list of at least 21 tips to prepare to list your home for sale, and remember, you can give me a call at 405-834-9145 for a free home valuation and I am happy to give you tips on what specifically needs to be done before you place your home on the market.

  1. Clean, clean, clean. Be sure to clean every nook and cranny. Don’t forget overlooked areas, such as dusting the fireplace mantel and ceiling fan blades, polishing appliances and faucets, and washing the windows. If you’ve already moved out or if you’re too busy to do a thorough cleaning, consider hiring a cleaning service.
  2. Pay attention to smells. “Don’t cook bacon in your home the day of a showing,” advises Rachel Weinberg, a broker at Wright Kingdom Real Estate in Boulder, CO. “Although it might taste great, the smell is strong and lingers for a long time. You don’t want your home to smell like a fast-food restaurant!”
  3. Clear out the clutter. You want buyers to focus on how awesome your space is, not how messy it looks. Banish that pile of shoes from the entry, that stack of mail from the kitchen table, and anything else that detracts from your home’s gorgeous features.
  4. Repaint the walls in neutral colors. As much as you love your dramatic red dining room, it could turn off a good portion of your potential buyers. So repaint your rooms in neutral tones such as grays, tans, and whites that allow buyers to focus on the spaces, not the color of the walls.
  5. Keep the decor simple. To help buyers imagine themselves in your space, get rid of any statement art or decor that might turn people off. A classic landscape painting? Totally fine. Your zebra-print leather couch? Might want to slip-cover that for showings or rent a storage unit until you’re ready to move it into your new place.
  6. Get rid of personal items. Buyers want to be able to envision themselves in your home, so remove anything overly personal, such as the gallery wall of family photos or your kids’ artwork on the fridge.
  7. Let there be light! Open all the windows (especially in warmer months) to let in natural light and add floor or table lamps to illuminate areas that are dim. A bright, cheery room looks bigger and more inviting.
  8. Bring nature inside. Potted plants or a few pretty buds in a vase can help bring energy into a space, fill in empty corners, and even draw attention to features you want buyers to notice. Just make sure the plants are in good health (and bug-free!).
  9. Get rid of bulky furniture. Your furniture should fit the scale of the room, so get rid of any extra or oversized items that could make your space look smaller than it really is. For example, if you have a huge sectional in your family room, consider breaking it up and use just the main sofa portion.
  10. Organize your closets. Storage space is a huge selling point, and if your closets are stuffed to the brim, buyers will think you don’t have enough of it. Invest in some boxes, dividers, and other solutions that will help you organize your space, and remove items you don’t need (you can stow them away until you move).
  11. Tackle that honey-do list. All those little things you’ve been meaning to do but never got around to? Do them. Buyers will notice minor flaws, and they’ll detract from the value of your home. So set aside a weekend to tighten those loose doorknobs, fix that leaky faucet, and paint over the scuffs from when you first moved in your sofa.
  12. Do a faux renovation. Little tweaks can make a big difference in the overall feel of a room. Kitchen a bit outdated? Replace the fixtures, faucets, and hinges. Family-room furniture beaten up? Throw some slipcovers over it.
  13. Give each room a purpose. That spare room you’ve been using as an office/guest room/dumping ground won’t help sell your home unless you show buyers how they can use it themselves. So pick a use (office, guest room, crafts room) and clearly stage the space to showcase that purpose.
  14. Turn the bathroom into a spa. Create the feel of a relaxing, luxurious bath — for less than $30. Stack a few pretty washcloths tied with ribbon, add some candles and orchids, and buy bathmats and towels in coordinating tones such as light green, blue, and white.
  15. Lower the toilet seat. When it comes to both showing and photographing your home, this little trick can make a surprising difference.
  16. Turn the living room into conversation central. Practice the art of feng shui: Help buyers picture themselves relaxing with family and guests by grouping your furniture into arrangements that inspire conversation.
  17. Keep the flow going. The last thing you want is people bumping into furniture as they tour your home; it disrupts their focus and makes your space look cramped. Do a dry run as though you’re seeing your home for the first time and tweak anything that interrupts the “flow.”
  18. Make something yummy. Real estate agents don’t put out fresh cookies at open houses just to treat buyers. A “homey” smell such as cookies or muffins baking can help people connect with a kitchen. Not a baker? Fake it with a scented candle.
  19. Make it look lived in with vignettes. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by adding deliberate vignettes that showcase how your home can be lived in. An inviting armchair and a tray with a coffee cup and book on it can turn that empty corner into a reading nook. Pretty soaps in a decorative tray can make your tiny half bath more appealing.
  20. Highlight focal points. Draw buyers’ eyes toward any special features with bright colors or accents such as plants. A pop of red from a throw pillow can draw buyers’ attention to that lovely window seat. A striking fern on the mantel can show off your fireplace.
  21. Boost the curb appeal. Don’t spend all your time indoors. Buyers may decide to not enter a home based on its curb appeal, so make sure your home’s exterior looks excellent. Trim shrubs, weed flower beds, remove and refresh any peeling paint, and keep the walkway clear. Just adding a row of potted plants along the walkway or a cheerful wreath to your front door can make a big difference. Marilou Young recommends her clients focus on curb appeal first. If her clients are on a tight budget, she’ll advise that they at least spruce up the front entrance. That first impression goes a long way.