When selling your DC/MD/VA home, don’t rush into signing with an agent until you run some numbers and learn about all of your options. There are many costs of listing with an agent, sometimes a direct sell is a more lucrative choice. Educate yourself on all scenarios before you sign a listing agreement that binds you to an agent!
Here are just a few of the costs you might encounter when listing with an agent:
Commissions – 6%+ of the final sale price
Commission fees are usually paid in full by the seller. The percentage can vary but is typically around 6%. In addition to commissions, agents will often have administrative, agent and notary fees.
Inspections – At least a few hundred dollars
Typically a buyer will pay for the inspection as part of the closing costs, however, as a negotiation tactic, more sellers are picking up this cost themselves. After the inspection is done, repairs that must be made are negotiated between the buyer and the seller.
Appraisals – A few hundred dollars
Often times this will be the responsibility of the buyer. If a buyer is working with a lender, the lender will require the house be appraised before the deal is finalized. However, the appraisal cost can be negotiated, and ultimately be paid by the seller.
In some cases, sellers will have appraisals done on their own as a negotiation tactic for a sale. If any appraisal is done on your property, make sure you keep a copy for your records.
Cleaning – $0 to a few hundred
When selling your house, it needs to be clean. Like really clean. You should have a deep cleaning done on the house or clean it yourself from top to bottom. Open houses, surprise showings, and people stopping by to see the home will require the house be clean 24/7. If your schedule is already pretty busy, keeping your home in tip-top shape may require some outside help. The pricing will vary depending on the size of your home and the level of cleaning to be done. You can expect $100 and up per cleaning.
Staging – $0 to a few hundred
Maybe your home is already decorated with new hand towels, candles, bright colored throw pillows and selectively placed houseplants. If so, good for you! For the rest of us, really giving your home that “straight out of a catalog” charm will take a little work. This doesn’t have to cost a ton, there are some great ways to DIY or find deals at a big box store. No matter what you do, make sure you keep your space tidy and pulled together. If interior decorating isn’t your speed, have a friend help, or consult Pinterest. A few small pieces will bring a room together and make it really feel like a home.
Repairs – Varies
As mentioned above, repairs will need to be negotiated between a buyer and a seller. As a seller, if there are repairs you are aware of, it is best to acknowledge them and let potential buyers know these costs have already been calculated into your asking price. Come to the table with a credit for repairs so the buyer feels secure about purchasing the home. If new repairs come to light after an inspection, these will need to be taken care of and terms agreed to before the sale becomes final.
Bills While The Home Is On The Market – Varies (Can be hundreds or even thousands!)
Even if you have moved out of your home while you have it on the market, you will still need to keep the utilities on. When you list, there is no way of knowing how long it will take for your home to sell. It could be months! In addition, you are responsible for the property taxes and homeowners insurance up until the day of closing. If your home sits on the market for any amount of time, (as many do) these bills can add up to a small fortune!