Listing a home can be much more costly than many homeowners realize. Many of the costs incurred during a home sale happen at the end, when money is exchanged and the property changes hands.
Maintenance, Staging and Curb Appeal
These costs, which can range from tens to thousands of dollars, are sometimes optional. However, homeowners who fail to update their home before putting it on the market may see lower bids than homeowners who stage their property. It can be hard to decide what needs to be done to a home before putting it on the market.
Priority items typically include:
- Deferred maintenance: Make repairs that you've been putting off. A broken air conditioner, cracked windows or other glaring maintenance issues can lead to lower offers and reduced buyer interest in a property.
- Curb appeal: Do a little landscaping and yard work to make your home more attractive when buyers pull up. Plant colorful annuals, have any dead or dying trees removed from the yard, and buy a nice potted plant to put near the front door.
- Staging: Staging can involve repainting the rooms, buying new curtains and investing in home organization systems to make the house more organized. Staging areas like the kitchen can go a long way in impressing picky buyers, but costs can certainly add up on this single part of the house.
Improving Your Listing with Professional Photography
Professional photography is going to make your listing pop. Potential buyers may only glimpse at listings, and you want to show your house in the best light possible. A professional photographer will know what angles are best to show off your home, and will use lighting techniques to make your home look great. To stand out from all the other listings, a professional photographer makes a big impact. You may only have a few seconds of casual glancing to attract the best buyer, and this is done by having a professional listing with images taken by a qualified photographer. However, this expense can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, so budget accordingly—the value it adds is tremendous.
Sometimes sellers want to get a home inspected before trying to sell. Knowing what's going on in a house can help you head off problems before they begin. Home inspections can cost a few hundred dollars, but the inspection may reveal expensive repairs that could turn away home buyers when they're discovered. Remember that known issues will need to be properly disclosed in accordance to the law.
Costs of Letting a Home Sit Vacant
If the home doesn't sell right away, there are a variety of costs that can be incurred over time. Things like property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities and maintenance all cost money over time. Depending on how long the house sits vacant, this can amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Many of these costs will depend on the area in which the home is located – for example, a home in Clarksville will likely have a different cost while sitting vacant when compared to a home in a different city.
When the house sells, costs are incurred for the transaction. These costs will vary, and sometimes in slow markets, sellers pay those costs. Any remaining mortgage and property taxes will be paid off at the time of sale. In addition, approximately 2 percent of the sale price of the home will usually go toward closing costs, which include:
- Mortgage processing fees
- Notary fees
- Transfer taxes
- Escrow fees
- Home appraisal
Home Warranty or Other Seller Concessions
A home warranty is often offered to buyers to sweeten the deal and make the home sale more appealing. These plans may vary in scope and cost, but often cost for a home warranty will range between a few hundred to over $1,000. Home sellers can shop around for the best deal.
For more information about how much money it costs to list and sell your house, talk to your real estate agent. He or she can lay out more specific expenses and discuss your budget to ensure that the sale of the home is something that you'll be able to afford.
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