If you’re thinking about selling your house, you’re likely thinking about all the money you will make from the sale. However, you don’t get to keep all the cash when you sell your most valuable asset — some of it goes toward a variety of expenses, including taxes and closing costs.

How much does it cost to sell a house? The answer depends on the home’s sale price, where you’re located and what you manage to negotiate with the buyer. The costs can include real estate agent and attorney fees, title-related fees and all the other little administrative expenses that go into sealing a deal. Depending on your state, there may be transfer taxes; if you’re paying off a mortgage, your lender will probably have a few charges for you, too. It’s good to be prepared, so that you don’t get an unpleasant surprise at the closing table.

Costs of selling a home

Here’s a rundown of typical costs to expect as you do the math on what you’ll walk away with when you hand over the keys.

Real estate commissions

The real estate agents’ commissions usually add up to the biggest fee a seller pays — historically somewhere between 5 and 6 percent of the home’s sale price. So, if you sell your house for $450,000, say, you could end up paying $27,000 in commissions. In most cases, you as the seller bear the cost for both your own agent and your buyer’s. However, you may be able to negotiate a lower commission, especially if the sale price is relatively high.

Seller’s closing costs

In a real estate transaction, many closing costs are the buyer’s responsibility. But there are closing costs for sellers as well. Some of the most common include title insurance, recording and settlement fees, and prorated property taxes and HOA fees up until closing day. You also pay other minimal fees for things like escrow and wire transfers. Additionally, if you have hired a real estate attorney, the legal fees will be due at closing.

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to foot the bill for some of the buyer’s costs, too. While that had been somewhat rare in the seller’s markets of the last few years, more than one-third of sellers offered concessions in late 2023, according to recent research from Redfin — a signal that the market is shifting and buyers are gaining more traction.

Mortgage payoff

Your existing mortgage doesn’t magically disappear when you transfer ownership of the property: You have to pay off any remaining balance before that transfer can occur. You’ll probably have to add prorated accrued interest to the total balance, and there might be an additional fee if your mortgage carries a prepayment penalty (check your loan documents or contact your lender to find out).

Moving costs

When you sell your place, you’ll have to move all your stuff to your next place. Paying for that will set you back between $833 and $2,547, with the average moving price being $1,698, according to HomeAdvisor. However, that price tag can be a lot higher if you’re moving long-distance.


There are quite a few tax implications that sellers need to consider prior to listing their homes. Here are three big factors that can eat into your profit potential:

  • Property taxes: Annual property taxes are usually paid in advance. You may need to pay the prorated share of property tax up to the closing date, with the money placed in escrow. However, if you already paid them past your closing date, you might be in for a partial rebate.
  • Transfer taxes: Many states levy a real estate transfer tax, which is a tax on transferring the property’s ownership. Transfer tax amounts vary based on where you live, but they’re typically a percentage of the sale price (usually less than 1 percent).
  • Capital gains taxes: If you stand to make a sizable profit on your home sale, you may have to pay capital gains tax to the government. It depends on the dollar amount of the profit, whether you file on your own or jointly with your spouse, how long you lived there and whether it was your primary residence. If you’ve owned the home for a very long time, give some extra thought to this piece of the puzzle. For example, if you bought the home 35 years ago for $200,000 and it’s now worth $1.5 million (not out of the question in certain parts of the country), your sale could trigger a huge tax hit.

Optional fees when selling a home

While some expenses are mandatory, like taxes, others are optional. Here are some things you might choose to do to improve your home’s appeal, all of which will incur extra expense.

Home repairs and improvements

Before you sell, you might be tempted to undertake a project that seems likely to increase the value in a buyer’s eyes. While some repairs might be worth making, it’s equally important to know what not to fix when you’re selling your house. Consult your real estate agent about whether the cost will be worth it.

“One of the most common mistakes I see from sellers is spending money on the wrong improvements before getting a Realtor involved,” says Charly Marggraf, an agent with Compass in Minnesota. “Often, a seller will hold certain improvements in a higher regard than the general buying public. I appreciate that they want to get their homes in great condition before they sell, but if they are making improvements in order to sell, they definitely need to have a conversation with a professional before they spend their money.”

Home inspection

In addition to talking with your agent, it can be wise to talk with a professional home inspector. A pre-listing inspection will likely cost around $350, according to HomeAdvisor, and it will fill you in on any major problems before a potential buyer sees them. For example, if a home inspector finds a leak in your bathroom, you can proactively address the problem and remove any possibility of a buyer asking you to lower the price to repair it.

Curb appeal and staging

In real estate, a lot of buyers judge a book by its cover. That means that making the house look appealing from the outside is essential to get those buyers to come on in. Consider affordable ways to boost your curb appeal, such as cleaning the windows and sprucing up the front steps and landscaping.

You might also consider staging the interior of your home to make it more welcoming. The cost to stage a home ranges widely, depending on the size of the home, whether you’re renting furniture and more, but an appealingly staged home can make a meaningful difference to buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, 20 percent of buyers’ agents say that staging increased offer amounts by somewhere between 1 and 5 percent.

Cost to sell a house: A rundown

Every property is different, so you’ll need to carefully consider what will impact the math on selling your house. To give you an idea of how this breaks down, let’s consider a property purchased for $350,000 four years ago. You made a down payment of 10 percent, $35,000, so your initial loan was for $315,000. Since then, you’ve managed to pay down the balance to $290,000. In the meantime, thanks to a surging real estate market, the property will sell for $450,000. But how much will really go into your bank account?

Common transaction costs

Real estate commissions $27,000 (6 percent of purchase price)
Property taxes Depends on location
Transfer taxes Depends on location
Title insurance $4,500 (Typically a percentage of the purchase price; in this case, we’ll use 1 percent)
Attorney fees $1,000 (varies by workload and location)
Escrow fee $2,250 (0.5 percent fee representing seller’s portion)
Utilities $328.03 (combined average for electricity, natural gas, water and sewer, according to move.org, but varies widely)
Moving costs $1,698 (average cost for a local move, according to HomeAdvisor)
Mortgage payoff $290,000
Total: $326,776.03

Common optional transaction costs

Seller concessions $6,750 (1.5 percent of purchase price)
Pre-listing home inspection $350
Home warranty $1,049 (varies widely)
Home improvements $5,000 (varies widely)
Home staging $1,796 (varies widely)
Repairs $3,500 (varies widely)
Total: $18,445

In this scenario, your total costs might range from around $326,776 to $345,221. That leaves you with net proceeds from that $450,000 sale ranging from $104,779 to $123,224. Either way, it’s a relatively nice payday that you can use to make a down payment on your next place.

Reducing the cost of selling a house

If you want to pay less to sell your house, you have a few options:

  • Sell it as-is: When you sell your house as-is, you’re telling prospective buyers that you aren’t going to budge on repairs and concessions. This means you won’t have to pay any money to fix the cracks in the floorboards or repair the dented garage door — however, as-is listings can turn off some buyers.
  • Sell it yourself: The “for sale by owner” route cuts the commission fee for a listing agent, so you’ll save up to 3 percent. You’ll still need to pay the buyer’s agent’s fee, though, and be ready to do a lot of marketing and negotiation work.
  • Sell it with a cheaper service: There are low-commission and flat-fee agents whose services are more affordable than a traditional agent. Be mindful of the adage that “you get what you pay for,” though: You’ll want to do your research to determine whether your listing will still be a priority.
  • Sell to an iBuyer or cash homebuyer: These companies move fast, letting you speed to the closing table, and they typically buy in as-is condition, meaning you won’t have to spend on repairs or staging. But, while you’ll get your money quickly, you aren’t likely to get as much as you would with a traditional market sale.

Next steps

Now that you have an idea of how much it costs to sell a house, it’s time to find a local agent who knows your market well and can help guide you to a successful — and lucrative — sale. Set up interviews with several candidates to get a sense of their marketing and sales strategy. Remember: You’re paying them out of your proceeds, so you’re the boss. Ask plenty of questions to find the right person for the job.


  • Add up the costs you expect to pay to get the deal done, including real estate commission fees, home preparation fees, taxes and all the other items you’ll need to pay for at closing. Subtract that total from your list price to get a realistic ballpark estimate of how much money you’ll make from the deal if you sell for full price.
  • It varies widely, but in general, expect to pay around 10 percent of the purchase price to cover all your financial responsibilities. That includes what will likely be the biggest line item: real estate commissions, which typically add up to 5 or 6 percent of the purchase price.
  • Transfer taxes tend to be one of the biggest variables for sellers. Some states don’t charge them at all, whereas in some states they can be very steep. In New York, for example, the transfer tax rate is $2 for every $500 in value — sell a home for $450,000 and you’re looking at $1,800 in transfer taxes. In California, where the rate is just $1.10 for every $1,000 in value, the bill for a $450,000 sale would be a mere $495.