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Sellers: What’s your bottom line? The seller net sheet explained

Suburban homes in a Chisolm, Minnesota
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If you’re planning to sell your home, you might be looking forward to a windfall when you finalize the transaction. The costs of selling, however, can cut into your bottom line. A seller net sheet can help you estimate what you can expect to pocket when all is said and done.

What is included on the seller net sheet?

A seller net sheet contains a breakdown of the anticipated costs of selling your home subtracted from the expected sale price. By outlining these costs, you get a better sense of how to price your home and what your takeaway might be. Here are some of the costs you might see estimated on a seller net sheet:

  • Expected final sale price – A key piece on the seller’s net sheet is the final sale price. Some of the other fees on the sheet are percentage-based, so your all-in costs will vary based on this price.
  • Mortgage payoff – If you still have a mortgage on the home, you’ll pay off the balance with the proceeds from the sale.
  • Agent commission – If you’ve engaged a real estate agent to help with your home sale, their commission (typically either a flat fee or percentage of the sale price) should be listed on the sheet.
  • Taxes – Depending on where you live, you might be on the hook for real estate transfer taxes. (Currently, most states impose a transfer tax.)
  • Recording fee – Your county or jurisdiction might charge a nominal recording fee for the transaction.
  • Attorney fee – If a real estate attorney is involved on your end of things, the attorney will also require payment.

When will I receive the seller net sheet?

If you’re working with a real estate agent, your agent can provide you with a seller net sheet at various points throughout the listing process, such as when:

  • You agree on a list price
  • You change the list price
  • A buyer makes an offer
  • The sale price is finalized

Each of these steps could alter the costs listed on your sheet, so when new developments happen, it’s a good idea to ask your agent to update the sheet to reflect the latest information. You can ask your agent to provide you with a seller net sheet at any time, as well.

Is a seller net sheet required? 

A seller net sheet isn’t necessarily required. Still, it can be a valuable tool to help you understand your financial prospects when you sell your home, as well as the potential consequences of various decisions you make.

How to get a seller net sheet

You can get a seller net sheet by simply asking your real estate agent for one — your agent might have even provided it to you during their listing presentation. Most agents are happy to furnish this document, as it helps spell out how you might maximize your profit.

If you’re not working with an agent, there’s no rule against crafting a seller net sheet yourself. Start with your estimated sale price, then subtract the costs you anticipate incurring in the process (the list above is a great starting point, but be sure to consider anything else you plan to pay for, like an appraisal, repairs, or staging). Once your expenses are accounted for, you’ll have an estimate of what you can expect to walk away with from the sale.

How to save on a home sale

As you dive into the details on your seller net sheet, you might be concerned about costs and looking for ways to save.

One surefire way to limit costs: Avoid unnecessary upgrades. When selling a home, it can be tempting to pour money into renovations to pursue a higher sale price. Instead, weigh the ROI on these upgrades very carefully — often, they aren’t as worthwhile as they might seem. If you aren’t sure about a specific remodeling project, talk it over with your real estate agent, who can tell you what upgrades buyers in your market prefer (and pay more for) and which ones you can skip.

If your home needs repair, a buyer might ask for concessions or for specific work to be completed before a deal can happen. You can avoid this scenario altogether (and cut out the extra expense) by working with an iBuyer. In general, most sellers don’t need to make any repairs to get a reasonable offer from one of these companies.

Another major way to save: Negotiate your agent’s commission. This fee can be one of the costlier expenses on your sheet (typically 6 percent of the sale price), so any reduction can make a big difference to your bottom line. In addition, if you’re able to connect your agent with more listing opportunities (either another one of your properties or via referral), this can increase your odds of nabbing a lower fee.

Written by
Sarah Sharkey
Contributing Writer
Sarah Sharkey is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Sarah writes about a range of subjects, including banking, savings tips, homebuying, homeownership and personal finance.
Edited by
Mortgage editor