What are the Fees When Selling a House?

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Apr 13, 2023

When you’re preparing to sell a house, you may be wondering what fees are involved. While it’s still a seller’s market, between getting your home ready to show, deciding how to list your home, and closing costs, the fees when selling a house typically add up to thousands of dollars. These fees are almost always higher for the seller than for the buyer, so taking fees and extra costs into consideration is especially important when you are selling your home.

What are Real Estate Agent Commissions?

Real estate agents typically work off of commissions, which can vary depending on the market and the services included, but often seem to be an arbitrary percentage of the sale price. Usually, this number hovers at around 5 percent of the price of your home, which can add up to a large amount of money. So, where does the commission go?

Listing and Buyer Agents

When your real estate agent takes a commission, they usually have to split it between themselves and the buyer’s agent. This means that when your agent takes a fee of 5 percent, the money going to them is nearly always immediately reduced by the amount taken by the buyer’s agent, unless they are both the listing agent and the agent working with the buyer, also called a dual agent. In order to be a dual agent, they must have the written permission of both buyer and seller, and the role can quickly become confusing for all parties involved.

Brokerage Firms

Real estate agents usually work for brokerage firms. Brokerage firms also take a percentage of the commission earned by your real estate agent, which can vary just like the commissions charged by the real estate agents. Brokerage firms that don’t charge a commission may charge a flat fee, but typically they take a cut of the Agent’s earnings, which can range from a small amount to upwards of 60 percent. This means that when your real estate agent gets paid their commission, much of it (often over half) goes to the brokerage firm they work for.

Do Real Estate Agents Pay for Staging and Landscaping?

While some real estate agents offer services such as staging and landscaping for your home, this is rare, and they typically ask for higher commissions. You can usually save money by staging and landscaping your home yourself, or even hiring companies that specialize in each service, rather than agreeing to thousands more when you increase your real estate agent’s commission.

How to Avoid Staging Fees

Staging your home is about more than making your space look nice; you want to remove personalized photos, keep paint and furniture neutral, and create a space that is easy for buyers to imagine themselves and their family in. Sometimes, it’s best to rent furniture, especially if you have already moved into your new home and the house you’re selling is empty. Don’t forget to include outdoor spaces when you are staging your home to sell! By adding outdoor furniture and plants, you are able to make your home seem bigger by extending the living areas outside.

How to Avoid Landscaping Fees

By making sure your yard looks appealing to buyers, you first want to ensure your entryway looks nice. If you are unable to grow plush grass, you may want to consider landscaping options that can be quickly implemented, but also look nicer than brown grass. You can add features that include mulch, set up plants in large containers, and add annual flowers or other greenery. The more you boost your curb appeal, the easier it will be to sell your home.

How Much are Seller Concessions?

Seller concessions vary, and depend on a number of variables, including the current market, and how desirable your home is. Seller concessions are closing costs that the seller has agreed to pay for, which can include a wide variety of fees. These may include covering the property taxes for the remainder of the year, paying for recording fees, having the appraisal or inspection done, or even paying for the loan origination fees or title insurance. Knowing what sellers typically pay for in your area will help you stay competitive, while reducing costs by avoiding unnecessary concessions at closing.

Who Usually Pays Closing Costs?

Typically, the buyer pays the bulk of the closing costs, but there may be fees the seller needs to take into consideration, especially if they are in a slow-moving market. The types of fees that fall to the seller vary depending on location, so always check your local laws and best practices. Fees that the seller is responsible for typically include half of the escrow fees, HOA fees, and attorney fees. If you are unsure of which closing costs you need to pay for, you may want to consult with your lender. Sellers will also want to watch out for prepayment fees on their mortgage, which is a one-time penalty that you may have to pay to your mortgage company.

Do I Need to Pay for a Buyer’s Home Warranty?

A buyer’s home warranty covers things such as appliances and systems that may fail in an older home. While you aren’t required to pay for a buyer’s home warranty, it can make your home more attractive to buyers by giving them peace of mind knowing they won’t incur unplanned costs if one of their appliances or systems malfunctions or breaks soon after moving in.

How Can I Save Money When Selling My Home?

One of the most expensive fees when selling a house is the commission paid to your real estate agent. With SimpleShowing, you can save thousands, and still be able to work with a local, full-service agent. SimpleShowing only charges a 1% listing commission, and still allows you to make appointments to show your home on demand, while working with experienced agents who are local to your area. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you sell your home faster, while paying less.


Selling a house involves more than just finding potential buyers and negotiating the home sale price. It’s a complex real estate transaction encompassing a multitude of fees and expenses such as prorated property taxes, mortgage payoff, and buyer’s closing costs, all of which the seller pays. Not to mention, selling costs like the seller’s agent commission, and additional costs such as moving expenses can significantly impact your net proceeds.

Moreover, it’s crucial not to overlook capital gains taxes. If your property value has significantly appreciated, you may be responsible for capital gains tax, which could take a considerable slice of your profit. In addition, transfer taxes are often a hidden cost that can catch sellers off guard. Recognizing the impact of these fees and taxes on your home’s sale price is essential to fully comprehend the financial implications of selling your house.

So, the key takeaway from this is: when preparing to sell your house, you must factor in all these costs, including moving costs, to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Understanding and planning for these expenses will help you set a realistic asking price and help you navigate your sale more confidently and efficiently. Selling a house isn’t just about making money—it’s also about being financially smart to ensure you keep as much of your hard-earned capital gains as possible.

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