7 Hidden Costs of Selling a Home

Ready to put your home on the market? You’re probably already picturing the dollars pouring into your bank account—after all, home prices are rising in many markets across the country and odds are pretty good your home has appreciated over the years. So, it only makes sense that you’d stand to make a profit right?

But what’s easy to forget is selling a home “costs” money, too—sometimes a lot of money. This is what’s known as a reality check. There are some obvious costs you’ve probably anticipated, like a commission to the listing brokerage firm. But there is also a variety of smaller expenses to factor in. Here’s where your money might go, how much you should expect to pay, and some real ways to curb these costs.

If you’ve let your home’s maintenance lapse, you may need to hire a handyman or general contractor (depending on the nature of the work) to get your property ready to put on the market. This isn’t the time to cut corners. Shoddy repairs can be found during a potential buyer’s home inspection and you can wind up paying more money than if you had done the repairs right the first time.

Curb appeal is what gets buyers in the door, and improving your landscaping can raise your home’s value by up to 12% according to research from Virginia Tech. While prices vary, the average cost of a full-on landscaping job—flower beds, plants, trees from scratch is around $3,239, according to HomeAdvisor.

Buyers need to be able to visualize what it will be like for them in living in the home. Hence, staging—where you hire a professional to arrange furniture and other items to make the home more appealing—is a good idea. If you’re selling a vacant home, staging can be more important. Staging services vary widely, but an NAR survey pegged the median cost at $675.

If you’ve already moved into your new home, you’ll want to pay to keep the electricity on while your property is on the market. No buyer wants to walk into a pitch-black house. Also, if you turn off the air-conditioning during the summer, you’re putting your home at risk for mold.

Closing costs will likely be your second-biggest expense behind the commission fee. Typically the seller pays the documentary stamp tax on the deed, pro-rated outstanding property taxes and possibly some of the title fees. Don’t forget, if you have a mortgage balance, that too will have to be paid off.

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