Selling a house can be expensive. Knowing what to expect can help you reduce stress if you have never sold a house before.

It is helpful to break down the selling process into three main phases. These are the preparation phase before your house goes on the marketplace, the negotiation stage with potential buyers, and the final stage when you’re ready to close the deal.

There is no standard amount that applies to the costs and services associated with selling a home. It all depends on where you live and what the state law is. Knowing what expenses you will face is half the battle.

What are the common closing costs for sellers?

There will be some costs even before your property is put on the MLS. These are just some of the costs you might face.

Pre-sale inspections

A presale inspection is required depending on the location of your home before you list it for sale. The seller must organize the presale inspection, not the lender.

Pre-sale inspection is different than the buyer-initiated inspection. House hunters should use this method to get an accurate picture of the home’s condition.

A home inspection can cost up to several hundred dollars.

Home repairs

It is a good idea to fix any obvious problems in your house before you list it.

However, sellers may not feel as pressure to present the best home. A home with more competition may be subject to less scrutiny for minor flaws.


Apart from the repairs, having your house professionally cleaned can help you sell your home more effectively. According to HomeAdvisor, you can expect to spend anywhere from $450 up to $650 to deep clean a 3,500-square-foot house.

Home staging

Home staging can help you sell your home faster. It involves depersonalizing and clearing clutter so that potential buyers can better visualize themselves living in the space. For example, you might rearrange furniture or hang art.

Professional staging is usually a cost that you pay. This will make your home more appealing to potential buyers. According to the National Association of REALTORS(r) 2021 survey, staging costs average $1,500

Sellers who are budget-conscious and stage their home themselves may be better able to avoid this expense. However, there will still be expenses associated with landscaping, tools, cleaning supplies, and other necessary items to complete the job.

What is a seller concession?

You’re not done until you find a buyer. Your final costs could change depending on the outcome of inspections, appraisals or buyer financing.

You may be asked by the buyer to pay a portion of their closing costs. These are known as seller concessions.

You are limited in the amount you can pay for seller concessions. You can only pay the following amounts depending on how the buyers finance their purchase:

  • VA loans: Up To 4% of the sale price
  • FHA loans: 6% to your home’s sale price
  • Conventional loans: Between 3 and 9 percent of the home’s sale price depending on how large your down payment is.

What happens when you have an appraisal gap

The homebuyers might ask you to lower your price to match the appraised value. CoreLogic data shows that appraisal gaps are more frequent during bidding wars. In May 2021, 19% of home sales experienced an appraisal gap.

What is the commission for a real estate agent?

You, the seller of the home, should expect to pay commission fees. These typically amount to about 6% of the sale price.

The fees of the agents will be deducted from your home’s sale proceeds.

Other closing expenses to be considered

These are additional costs that you should not forget when selling your home.

Setting up your bills

You will need to pay your final bills when you sell your house. Ask about getting your deposits back if you have paid for certain utilities or services.

It’s easy to forget to return hardware, such as satellite dishes, hardware provided by your internet service provider, and home security system hardware, in the days leading up to closing. But failing to do so could cost you dearly.

Federal capital gains tax

It’s important to understand that if you sell your house for more than the price you paid for it, you may owe federal Capital Gains Taxes.

The IRS rules allow you to exclude certain appreciation so long as you have lived in the house at least two of the last five years. These exclusions were listed by the IRS in 2022 at $250,000 if you are a single filer or $500,000 if you file jointly.

Moving to a new place

Don’t forget about the cost of moving to your new house as an expense related to selling your home. These expenses could include:

  • Renting or purchasing your next home
  • Moving to your new house (rental truck or moving crew, mileage).
  • Establishing new utilities (electric, gas, internet)

Next steps

The costs involved in selling a house can be very variable. It’s worth taking the time to research these costs and getting to know your local housing market. A budget can be created for your house to sell, similar to what homebuyers do when buying a home. This budget should take into account tax benefits and liabilities as well as other costs. Although it may be time-consuming, the effort is likely to be well worth it.