Homeowners are paying $15,000 in hidden costs to sell a house

Buying a home is expensive, but selling a home doesn’t come cheap.

There is so much more to selling a home than many sellers think — and if you aren’t paying attention, you might not realize you are paying thousands of dollars more than expected. Zillow says nearly two-thirds of homeowners don’t realize that these costs exist, and most sellers are shocked when they have spent more than $15,000 just to sell their house.

If you want to sell any time within the next six months, you need to get your finances in order now, says Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow’s chief marketing officer.

“One of the biggest regrets sellers have is not starting the process early enough,” Wacksman says. “For those planning to sell this year, take your time to research all the costs you could be responsible for and how they may affect your profit, or even budget for your next home.”

“Partner with a great agent who can help you understand the nuances in your market – from what taxes or closing costs you should expect, to which home renovation projects can help attract the right buyer,” he adds.

The housing market is hot right now. So hot that sellers may not be able to buy a home themselves. While not all home sellers need to buy homes right away, all buyers are facing rising home mortgage rates. This hurts your chances of buying the home you want because you haven’t been able to save enough money for it. Rising rates are already slowing down many potential buyers from making the jump to home ownership this year.

Want to sell now? Look out for these major costs

If you’re looking around your home and taking notes on what needs to be improved and renovated, that’s what most other sellers are doing, too. Zillow says more than 80 percent of sellers are making home improvements before listing.

Nationally, these costs average less than $3,000, but some parts of the country are paying more than others. The most expensive area for basic home preparation costs goes to Los Angeles, where residents are paying more than $4,000. In Columbus, Ohio, it’s less than $1,500 for the same work.

There are other costs you may not know exist, like closing costs, transfer and sales taxes, and even title insurance and escrow fees. The national average is around $12,000 for sales and transfer taxes, but Indianapolis doesn’t have the transfer tax, so they pay significantly less ($8,238). In San Francisco, it’s more than $51,000 for the same taxes.

The higher your home value, the more you can expect to pay in taxes and fees you didn’t even know about. Zillow estimates that San Francisco home sellers can pay upwards of $55,000 in total hidden costs. Sellers fare best in Cleveland, where they are paying $10,000 in hidden costs.

As unexpected home costs continue to rise with mortgage rates, many young buyers are staying put in rentals. Millennials are taking a step back from buying due to lack of affordability, even though rents are climbing, too — especially for low-end units. Low-cost homes are also selling, but the people who need them the most can’t afford to buy them.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Family

fees, homebuyers, homeowners, investments, mortgages, real estate

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Article last modified on June 26, 2017 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Beware of Buried Expenses When Selling Your Home - AMP.