FAQ: What Is the Average Cost to Sell a House?

by | Nov 12, 2019

The average cost to sell a house in the U.S. is higher than you might think. It may come as unwelcome news if you were hoping to downsize your home now that you’re retired or your spouse has passed on. Nor will the news sit well if you need to unload your house fast because you’ve been transferred by your job or because you’ve fallen behind on your payments due to medical or other emergencies. Whatever your circumstances may be, when selling your property you want to net as much money as you can, not spend more money than you’ve got.

The fact of the matter is, however, that selling costs are on the rise, and sales prices aren’t necessarily closing the gap. That means some homeowners are netting less than ever when selling their homes. To help you determine if you could be facing a similar situation, we give an overview of the most common costs you’ll likely face and offer an uncommon solution for potentially avoiding them.

The Average Cost to Sell a House in the U.S.

That you’re already asking about all the potential fees you’ll pay when selling your house is a good thing. Knowledge is power, and it’s only by knowing what you could be getting into that you stand a chance of choosing what to get out of. So, let’s get to some of the expenses most of today’s homeowners should expect to pay—but that they might be surprised by if they’re not planning ahead as you are.

Preparing Your House to Sell

Most homeowners don’t think about what goes into getting a home ready to sell and how much they’ll spend out of pocket to do it. But, just doing the minimum to prepare your house to sell will cost you several thousand dollars. Purging what you don’t want and packing up what you do, for example, can quickly add up to $1,000 or more after you buy boxes, bubble wrap, and tape, then pay to have your junk hauled away. Then there is cleaning the house from top to bottom, including the carpet or other flooring, tending to the front and back yards, and staging the house for visitors once everything else is done.

If you hire professionals to help you with any of these tasks, your prep fees can nearly double. Florida homeowners, for example, pay almost $4,000 on average for the cost of labor alone, according to Zillow.com. In California, that number jumps to more than $6,500. Doing it all on your own, however, is still a hefty expense you’d have to absorb. Unfortunately, there are few ways to avoid purging, packing, and cleaning if you want your home to sell.

Average cost to prep your home for selling: $5,000

Source: Zillow.com

Pre-Sale Home Repairs and Upgrades

Completing repairs and upgrades on your house is the next set of big expenses you’ll likely incur. Though you may not need to perform a major rehab to drum up interest with buyers, most shoppers will notice that work needs to be done—no matter how minor. And, if you don’t do it, you can expect to be asked for a reduction in price so that they can afford to do it themselves.

Of course, the cost of repairs and upgrades will vary from region to region and on how much work needs to be done specifically to your home. But, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000—with states such as California claiming the high end of the range. The low end of the spectrum, however, isn’t that low, with homeowners in other states rarely paying less than $3,000 to address issues in just one room. Even the average cost to obtain a permit so you can begin any work is almost $1,000, according to HomeAdvisor.com—and that doesn’t include the cost of a home inspection before work starts and after it’s completed.

Unfortunately, if you skip fixing the leaks or replacing the home’s knob and tube wiring, more than one homeowner may skip making you a reasonable offer.

Average cost to renovate a house: $46,000

Source: HomeAdvisor.com

Hiring a Professional Real Estate Agent

Licensed real estate agents typically charge their clients around 6% of a home’s final selling price in commission fees. They can, and sometimes do charge less. However, because listing agents split their fee with the agent who brings you the buyer, they want to make sure that each party is paid fairly. No one likes to do a lot of work for very little compensation. And, honestly, the more money your REALTOR® offers to a buyer’s real estate agent, the more potential buyers will find their way to your home.

With the country’s average—or, mean—home sales price currently at $314,600, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), a 6% commission fee will take a big bite from your net profit. When making ends meet is tough because of high medical bills or a fixed income, you’ll need as much from the sale as you can get—especially if you also performed pricey repairs. Unless you know an experienced buyer you can sell your house directly, however, you’ll need a professional real estate agent to help with selling your home.

Average cost to hire a real estate agent: $19,000

Closing Costs for a Seller

Though homebuyers often absorb a significant portion of the closing costs when buying a home, you will be responsible for handling some expenses—such as the government transfer tax—to help close the deal. Other fees, such as those charged by the escrow company, will likely be split equally between you and the buyer. But your portion can still add up to about 1% of the sale price or more than $3,000 based on the average selling price of a home. You can also expect to pay:

  • Title insurance
  • Prorated property taxes
  • A home warranty for one year
  • HOA fees for transferring ownership
  • Credits towards the buyer’s closing costs
  • Attorney’s fees, where applicable

In total, you can easily end up spending an average of 4% of your home’s selling price in fees just to close the deal. That’s on top of what you’ll also be paying for a real estate agent’s help

Average cost to close the deal: $13,000

Moving Costs to Consider

The least expensive part of selling your house can be the actual move to your new one. Though that will also vary from region to region, and it’ll depend on how big your home is, how far you’re moving, and how much help you need from the movers. Moving companies typically charge somewhere between $25 and $50 per hour, according to HomeAdvisors.com. At first glance, that may sound like a great deal. If you’ve got a small house and you’re moving just across town, it can be. But a home with multiple rooms requiring multiple movers will take several hours just to load the truck—and several more to unload it later. Then, you’ve got to account for travel time to your new location.

That’s why most homeowners spend between about $600 and $1,600 for a typical move. When moving across the country, the cost can jump to $10,000 or more. Since the cost of doing it yourself can be injurious to your health, however, finding a way to budget for help with moving on is always going to be the wiser move to make.

Average cost to hire help for a local move: $1,100

Source: HomeAdvisor.com

Additionally, though median home sales prices are still on the rise across the country, the climb has slowed and is expected to slow even further within the next year to only 2.2%, according to Zillow.com. Already, sellers are getting as much as $60,000 less than their list price when their homes finally do sell. That becomes a problem if what you need to make from the sale after all costs have been accounted for is near the price you actually listed the house on the market for. And barely breaking even won’t make the transition into your next stage of life a smooth, or inexpensive, one.

If you end up spending in all of these supplemental areas, it will add up:

                    + $5,000   → Preparing your house to sell

                    + $46,000 →  Home repairs and upgrades

                    + $19,000 →  Hiring a real estate agent

                    + $13,000 →  Closing costs

                    + $1,100   → Costs for a local move


For a total average of

→  $84,100

Doing away with most—if not all—of these fees can facilitate a graceful, painless transition, however. In fact, reducing the average cost to sell a house is not only possible; it’s actually probable when you seek a cash sale for your real estate property from a buyer who will take the extra step of also reducing your selling stress.

For an Above-Average Experience, Sell Your House Direct

The home buying specialists here at Sell Your House Direct have been buying houses directly from homeowners for nearly two decades. During that time, we’ve watched the average cost to sell a house rise so high that, without us, many of our clients would not have made a dime when they sold their homes. Because we take houses as-is, charge zero fees and commissions, and even help with moving costs, they’ve been able to net more and stress less.

It’s an above-average experience that we pride ourselves on providing. We even give our clients documentation that shows their best options for selling since, sometimes, it isn’t to sell to us. When it isn’t, we help them explore their other options—even if it means finding another buyer.

We want you to have a low-cost, stress-free experience when selling your home. If you give us a call, we guarantee you will.

Reduce your costs and the stress of selling your house for a fair price. Get an offer today from an all-cash buyer that is also a trusted real estate advisor: SYHD.
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