The hidden costs of selling a home

Foreclose on a residential home with a sale.

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Generally, selling a house can result in a large financial gain. Buying a property is considered one of the best investments a person can make, considering how reliably it appreciates over time. And while buying a home is a stressful and expensive endeavor, selling one comes with its own hidden costs.

When selling a home, from fees and commissions to home maintenance to marketing, these hidden costs add up quickly. If you’re selling a home with the idea of ​​trading up to a nicer or larger lot, it’s important to be aware of these hidden costs so you don’t get caught off guard.

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When you’re in the market to sell your home, the first thing you want to know is what the right asking price should be. For further evaluation, you may consider hiring a professional appraiser. In addition to inspecting your home from top to bottom, that person will research recent sales in your area to give you the most accurate list price possible.

Most states require a license for appraisals, and your lender is a good place to start when looking for recommendations. Of course, prices vary, but expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $500.

External maintenance

Curb appeal is incredibly important for a home on the open market. It’s the first impression for all types of buyers, and an uncluttered exterior can turn people off — and lower the closing price.

To get your home in tip-top shape, you’ll want to check on any projects you’ve been wanting to complete — especially cosmetic updates. In addition to exterior home repairs and other touches, you need to make sure the lawn is in good condition. It might help to bring in some landscapers for a few additions to help make the most of the space.

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Internal maintenance

Just like the outside of your home, the inside also needs to do as much work as possible for your situation. As with exterior issues, problems within the home can lower the final asking price. As with any serious issue, sometimes a simple color can do wonders to brighten up a room or change the mood of an entire home.

Of course, a lot of home maintenance comes down to deep cleaning and keeping every possible square inch looking as shiny as possible. While this can be done on your own, hiring professionals can help ensure you get the best results possible.


Once the house is in good shape, it’s time to step up. This is a process that involves arranging furniture and other decorative items to give a home the maximum possible appeal to buyers.

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If you’re currently selling a vacant lot, staging is practically a must. It’s hard for potential homeowners to imagine what an empty home will look like, so having the right sofa and drapes can help give a home a human feel and provide small accents that make buyers look like they’re living there. If you can’t afford a $500 to $700 formal event, try decorating where you can. Candles in the bathroom and fruit plates on the table can go a long way.


Now that your home looks like it’s ready for the market, it’s time to start showing it. Although almost everyone has a camera in their pocket thanks to smartphones, it really pays to hire a professional to take pictures.

Photographing homes can be difficult, and spending all that time and money trying to get your home ready to sell and have the best possible presentation is pointless. High quality images look better and can increase interest and possibly earn you more money on the sale.

Real estate agent commission

If you list your home with a real estate agent, that person will lower the final sale price. This amounts to 5% to 6%, which means tens of thousands of dollars. Selling a home is often a huge expense.

Of course, this commission is usually stated up front, but it can be easy to lose sight of it in a sea of ​​other surprise costs until the sale is complete.

Closing costs

In addition to the agent’s commission, you have to take care of all sorts of other fees and bills when you transfer ownership. These usually range from 2% to 5% of the total sales price. They may include transfer taxes, mortgage transfers, debt settlement and notary fees.

In addition, you will have to pay the remaining mortgage, any unpaid property taxes, and utility bills. While most of these costs are fixed, it may be worth considering hiring a real estate attorney to help manage more complicated sales. This will help you save money on various surprise fees that keep popping up.

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