How Much Will It Cost to Sell Your House?

By John Voket


If you think the total tab for selling your house is just a bit north of your REALTOR’S® commission, make sure to double check your areas of expense.

A recent survey conducted by Zillow and the service referral site Thumbtack pegged the average home seller cost at somewhere around $18,000. According to Skylar Olsen at Zillow Research, analysts identified several common but often overlooked seller expenses and calculated what they would cost in markets around the country.

The biggest of these “hidden” expenses, Olsen says are closing costs, which total $13,357 for the median-valued U.S. home.

As part of these closing costs, sellers typically pay real estate agent commissions of 6 percent, which is shared between the sellers’ and buyers’ agents. But Olsen says after closing costs, expenses associated with preparing a home for market can also be substantial.

She says sellers who hire professional help spend $4,985, on average, covering basic projects: Painting, staging, house and carpet cleaning, lawn care and gardening, and local moving costs. Zillow and Thumbtack’s 2018 Hidden Costs of Selling report factored in closing costs (transfer taxes and agent commotions) and several basic home prep costs.

Zillow computed transfer taxes by using the tax rate for the primary state within each metro area (in cases where metro areas cross one or more state lines), which were then applied to the median home value for that area. Zillow also assumed 6 percent for real estate agent commissions and applied it to the median home value for each metro area.

For the basic seller prep costs, Thumbtack looked at tens of thousands of quotes from small business professionals around the country and determined the average cost for each expense within the selected metros. For the purposes of this analysis, carpet cleaning, interior and exterior painting, lawn care, gardening, home staging, house cleaning and local moving costs were identified as eight of the most popular seller prep projects completed by Thumbtack during the selling a home sale process.

According to the 2017 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, sellers spend five months on average thinking about and prepping to sell their home before listing. The home then spends an average of three months listed on the market with the entire process typically taking just over eight months.

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