Here are the 2 biggest ‘hidden’ expenses when selling a home


When you decide to put your home up for sale, it’s easy to envision a smooth process where the new buyer immediately falls in love with the place and you simply wait on the closing date — and big payday. But a new analysis sheds light on some unexpected costs associated with a home sale.

Homes listing site Zillow teamed with Thumbtack to look at the “hidden” or “surprise” costs connected to selling a home and found that the average tally is $18,342.

Selling a home? Here are the 2 biggest surprise expenses

When the companies calculated the costs of several surprise expenses most commonly incurred by people looking to ditch their homes they found that the vast majority of them (61%) are first-time sellers. The data also showed that home sellers spent more time prepping their homes than it will spend on the market.

“Even in the hottest housing markets in the country, selling a home takes time and costs money,” Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow’s chief marketing officer, said in a news release. “From decluttering and staging to pre-inspections, agents and homeowners often spend months behind the scenes prepping a home ‘ well before it’s listed on the market.”

If you’ve ever been involved in a home sale before, you know that there are myriad costs associated with it — such as title insurance fees and points that go to the loan companies — but Zillow and Thumbtack didn’t count either of those in their analysis. So what are the two biggies?

These 2 expenses cost more than you think

Closing costs: Although they vary depending on the market, a median-valued home in the United States averaged $13,357 in closing costs, the report says. These costs are typically driven by real estate transfer tax rates, values and commissions, which are customarily shared by the buyer’s and seller’s agents.

Prep work: Bringing your residence up to snuff can cost a pretty penny as well. The analysis indicated that sellers spend an average of $4,985 to hire professional help. The basic projects include painting, staging, house and carpet cleaning, lawn care and gardening, and area moving costs. Depending on your locale, the pay for many of these jobs varies widely as well.

Wacksman with Zillow says that home sellers would do themselves a favor by researching how much they need to spend to get their residences in decent shape. The homework you do beforehand has a direct bearing on the home’s sale price.

“If you’re planning to sell this year, try to take some time to research what costs you may be responsible for and how they could affect your profit or even budget for your next house,” he’s quoted as saying.

Money expert Clark Howard has some sage advice for homeowners looking to put their houses up for sale.


“Selling your home yourself is more than just getting a ”˜HOME FOR SALE’ sign in the yard,” he writes. “You need to have a sales plan. And be smart about it: Even if you’re trying to cut the commission out, always put ”˜Agents Protected’ on your sign.”

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