Understand The Costs of Selling a House and How to Maximize Profit
When homeowners think about selling, they’re generally thinking about one thing and one thing only: how much money can I make? They’ll likely start by looking at the Zestimate for their home and fantasizing about what they can do with the profit from the sale—perhaps buy a larger home, go on a much-needed vacation or save for retirement. But one of the last things anyone wants to think about are the costs associated with selling a home.
On average, sellers will pay anywhere between 10-16% of the home sale price in fees. Your job as a Realtor is to help your client understand these costs upfront, to temper their expectations and ensure they’re happy with the final profit they receive. We’ve put together a blog to help ensure you’re hitting every angle when talking to your sellers about the cost of selling their home.
The real estate commission is the largest fee the seller will pay—usually 5-6% of the sale price. So, if the house sells for $350,000, the fee would be $17,500-21,000 dollars, split between the seller and buyer agents. It’s no secret that many sellers would prefer to not pay these fees. That’s why some homeowners choose to sell on their own, work with a flat-fee agent, or move forward with an easy, all-cash offer from an iBuyer. But as an agent, you know that the seller will receive significantly less money if they choose this route.
To persuade sellers to list with them, some agents have turned to reducing their commission percentage to reduce sellers’ costs, but there’s a better way to increase seller profit and still earn the money you deserve for the service you provide. When you work with Curbio to provide pre-listing updates that require no upfront cash, effort, or expertise from your sellers, you make it possible for your sellers to increase their profit from the sale of their home without reducing your commission. It’s a win-win.
A staged home will sell for 17% more on average than an un-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. Staging effectively depersonalizes the space so potential buyers can envision putting their own touch on it. But it comes at a cost. According to HomeAdvisor, staging runs an average of $512-$1,894 per home but can be significantly more expensive for a larger home. According to the NAR’s profile of home staging, staging agreements between sellers and their agents vary, but in many cases, the seller pays for the costs of staging. As an agent, you can help by recommending a staging company, securing a discount for your sellers, or even offering to cover the costs until closing.
To help reduce the stress that comes with the costs of selling a house, Curbio can include staging within the scope of our projects. If you have a stager that you’ve worked with before, we’re happy to partner with them. We can also offer storage solutions for your seller’s belongings to help clear an occupied home for staging.
Home Inspections, Repairs and Renovations
This number varies the most and can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the age and state of the home and the sellers’ target sale price. The national average for what sellers spend on renovations is around 5% of the sale price, and there’s a lot of debate about which updates are worth making. If you have items come up on inspections that could potentially ruin a sale, but require a big investment from your client—maybe the roof needs to be replaced, or the HVAC is past its prime—Curbio can help. We’ll repair/replace anything that’s preventing the home from being sold—and your sellers won’t pay a dime for the work until closing.
Most homeowners still owe money on their mortgage when they sell, and the funds from the sale will largely go towards paying off the remaining balance. In most situations, the proceeds from the sale will cover the remaining balance but depending on the seller’s situation and how their home has accrued or lost value since their initial purchase, the situation may be more complicated. To help your seller navigate through the process, first advise them to get a payoff amount from their lender. This will be the best way to get an accurate estimate of how much they still owe on their mortgage, and will help you determine what the sale price needs to be in order to cover the payoff amount. If the seller doesn’t have enough equity to pay off the mortgage at the point of sale, they will need to bring the difference to the closing table or consider a short sale.
Taxes are never fun, and taxes related to home sales are no exception. When a seller sells for a profit, that amount may fall under capital gains and need to be reported when your client files. Fortunately, homeowners are eligible to claim up to $250,000 in profit ($500,000 if filing jointly) if their main home from tax.
The other tax to keep in mind is property tax. Property taxes are typically paid in advance, but the seller will still be on the hook until the closing date, so ensure that they are aware of the need to budget for this.
Home Overlap Costs
When homeowners transition from one home to the next, timing is complicated and it’s difficult to avoid overlap. Many homeowners end up paying for a short-term rental or two mortgage payments simultaneously. Some sellers choose to sign a leaseback agreement to minimize overlap costs. Most sellers can expect to pay around 1% of the sale price for these expenses. As their agent, you can help your sellers understand their options for the transition so that they walk away from the sale happy.
When sellers are wrapped up in all of the details of selling their home, they often forget that moving itself can cost a lot of money—especially if they’re relocating to a different state. Moving costs vary and can range from between 1-2% of the home’s sale price. You can’t do much to manage these costs, but you can have a running list of reputable moving companies to provide for your sellers to make things a little easier. Bonus points if you strike a deal with a moving company to secure a discount for your clients
Closing Costs and Concessions
Closing costs for sellers range from 2-4% of the home’s sale price. In some cases, you may advise your seller to pay the buyer’s closing costs as a concession to speed up the sale. Your seller may also choose to provide other concessions including the cost of the inspection or the cost of repairs.
Be prepared to advise your sellers on these options. Your expertise is critical at this point, especially since these costs can vary so widely and come up so close to closing. How you advise your clients may make or break your sellers’ satisfaction with your services.
Sellers’ costs associated with selling their homes typically range from 10-16%. The expertise you show and the advice you provide on how to handle these costs and maximize profit can be the difference between a seller walking away feeling disappointed or ecstatic.
Curbio prepares houses for sale, giving agents the ability add value to sellers’ homes, and ultimately, sell at the top of the comps. The best part is that this can be done with little or no effort and no expertise or upfront cash from your sellers. You’ll help them sell for more and move on successfully—and they’ll show their thanks with a lifetime of referrals.