If you’re preparing to put your Illinois home on the market, it’s tempting to think about how much you’ll earn from the sale: Home prices across the Prairie State are up almost 10 percent since last year, according to Redfin data. But to calculate this number correctly, you’ll need to consider all the expenses involved in selling a house. From closing costs to agent commissions, let’s look at how much it costs to sell a house in Illinois.

Sellers’ closing costs

No matter what state you’re located in, home sellers pay a set of fees and expenses to finalize the transaction — also known as closing costs. As a home seller in Illinois, your closing costs will likely include some or all of the following: 

  • Title costs: Illinois sellers are typically responsible for the title search and, optionally, an owner’s title insurance policy. This protects the buyer against title-related issues. Prices vary depending on your home’s sale price and insurer, but it’s common for these policies to cost a couple thousand dollars.
  • Escrow fees: If any funds are being held in an escrow account, you may be charged a fee to maintain it. Escrow fees are often split with the buyer.
  • Transfer tax: In most parts of Illinois, sellers pay transfer taxes. (However, if you’re selling a home in Chicago, the buyer must also pay a portion.) The state’s transfer tax rate is $0.50 per $500 of property value, and depending on where you live, there may be additional charges by your county and municipality as well. Local rates vary.
  • Property taxes and HOA fees: You’ll need to make sure your property taxes are paid until the day the deal officially closes. The same may apply to your homeowners association fees, if applicable.
  • Attorney fees: Illinois doesn’t require sellers to hire a real estate attorney, but working with one can ensure your interests are protected. Legal fees will be due at closing.
  • Seller concessions: Often, sellers will offer to pay a portion of the buyer’s closing costs or cover certain home repairs. Known as seller concessions, these expenses are also settled at closing time.

Real estate agent commissions

A sizable chunk of the cost to sell a house, in Illinois or anywhere, also goes toward real estate agent commissions. These typically equal 5 to 6 percent of the home’s sale price. The median sale price of a home in the state was $282,000 in March, according to Illinois Realtors’ data — 5.5 percent commission on a sale of that price would come to $15,510.

Up until recently, it was standard for sellers to cover this entire cost, but starting this summer, due to a recently settled lawsuit, it could be split between the buyer and seller. 

Of course, property prices (and therefore commissions) vary widely depending on where in the state you’re located. For example, the March median price in Chicago was almost $100K higher than the statewide median at $359,000. A 5.5 percent cut of that price would be just under $20,000.

Preparing your home for sale and moving

Before your home hits the Illinois housing market, you might want to spend some money on sprucing it up, so that it looks as appealing as possible to potential buyers. You don’t necessarily need to fix every single issue, but it’s smart to address obvious things that buyers might notice while exploring your property. High-quality professional photos can also help your listing stand out and attract more attention.

You might also consider home staging, which involves hiring a professional to decorate and arrange furniture to maximize your house’s appeal. The price will depend on how much work you need done, from simple rearranging to furniture rentals. Ask your agent about whether staging might help you bring in a higher price. 

Lastly, don’t forget to budget for moving costs. On average, hiring pros for a local move costs around $1,700, according to HomeAdvisor, while cross-country moves can be several times more expensive.

How much do I get from selling my house? 

After subtracting all the costs of selling your home — and paying off the remainder of your mortgage, if you have one — whatever’s left will be your net proceeds from the sale. This number depends on several factors, including how much you’ve paid in closing costs, commissions and the other factors outlined above. The amount you paid for your home and your remaining mortgage balance also influence how much you’ll walk away with.

Reducing costs 

Although many of these expenses are unavoidable, you may be able to lower your costs with these tips:

  • Negotiate commissions: Many real estate agents are willing to negotiate their commission rate, so it’s worth discussing before you hire someone. Even a small reduction could save you a bundle, especially on a higher-priced home.
  • Sell as-is: Rather than spending money on repairs, consider selling in as-is condition. This means that the buyer purchases your house in its current condition, and any work needed will be their responsibility, not yours. Be aware, though, that you may earn less money with this type of sale.
  • Compare rates: When looking for a service provider (like a home stager or moving company), request quotes from multiple companies to track down the best deal.


Working with an agent may be the most common way to sell a home, but it isn’t the only option. Here are some alternatives to consider: 

  • Cash homebuying firms or iBuyers: In Illinois, there are many companies that buy homes for cash, including national brands, local firms and online-only iBuyers. Going this route has its perks, especially if you’re hoping to sell fast. But the trade-off is that you’ll likely earn less money than you’d get from a traditional agent-assisted sale.
  • FSBO: You’ve also got the option to sell your home without a Realtor in what’s known as a for sale by owner listing. On the plus side, there’s no need to pay a listing agent’s fee. However, you’d be responsible for everything a listing agent ordinarily does, including setting an asking price, organizing viewings and managing the closing paperwork.
  • Home equity: If you need cash but don’t want to give up your property, you might be able to tap into your equity with a home equity loan or line of credit.
  • Renting: Similarly, if you don’t need the cash from a sale ASAP, finding a tenant to move in could bring in steady rental income.

Next steps

If you plan to sell your house in the traditional way, start by finding a local real estate agent with experience in your specific area of Illinois. With their insight and local market expertise, you’ll be in a good position to maximize your profit and navigate the deal with confidence.