Considering selling your Bay Area home? Here’s a breakdown of all the costs you’ll need to be prepared to pay:

Staging and Home Preparation

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and most Sellers need to invest some time and money into home preparation and staging. Potential house preparation costs include:

  • Painting (interior or exterior)
  • Professional cleaning
  • Gardening
  • Repairs
  • Off-site storage locker or POD
  • Staging – from light primping and fluffing to full-on professional staging

It’s easy to spend money and time on the wrong things and there’s nothing more frustrating than finding out that the $10,000 you spent upgrading the kitchen will only increase your price by $4,000.

SAVYAGENT tip: talk to a trusted real estate adviser before renovating your home for sale.

Pre-Listing Home Inspection (for houses)

We generally recommend that Sellers get a pre-listing home inspection before they put their house up for sale. A pre-listing home inspection gives Sellers the opportunity to proactively fix any issues with the house before it hits the market, or alternatively, factor the cost of those issues into the asking price.  There’s nothing worse than having a Buyer inform you that there’s a buried oil tank in the backyard at the negotiating table! The transparency of a pre-listing home inspection gives Buyers confidence and that means more offers.

SAVYAGENT tip: the person with the most information almost always wins a negotiation

Pre-listing home inspections in the Bay Area cost $400-$600. We consider it an important part of our pricing strategy and a critical part of marketing your home to prospective Buyers to encourage a seller to do this ahead of listing a home.

Real Estate Commission

For most Sellers, the biggest cost to sell their home is the commission paid to the real estate agent. In Toronto, there is an ever-increasing variety of service and commission options to choose from, with differing experience, skills, inclusions and results.

The least expensive option is to sell the home yourself, without the help of a real estate agent. The For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) option will require the Seller to have a good grasp of the value of their home, experience marketing and negotiating and a good lawyer to help with the paperwork. While many people do successfully sell their homes on their own, others spend many frustrating months trying and end up hiring a REALTOR. Case in point: this article: Founder of the ForSaleByOwner website Uses a REALTOR to Sell his Own House.

When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, the commission you pay  is generally split four ways:

  • the agent who works for you, the Seller (aka the Listing Agent)
  • the Listing Agent’s brokerage
  • the agent who brings the Buyer (aka the Buyer’s Agent)
  • the Buyer’s Agent’s brokerage

REALTORs in the Bay Area will charge anywhere from 2.5-6% to list a home for sale; the amount depends on the agent’s experience and results, business model, included services and the amount offered to the agent who brings the Buyer.

While discount agents and brokerages don’t generally include many services, full-service agents and brokerages may pay for professional photography, videography, virtual tours, floor plans, online marketing, print marketing, cleaning, home inspections, staging and more.

SAVYAGENT tip: ask us to show you how the SAVYAGENT team’s All-In Pricing means more $$ in our Sellers’ pockets.

Mortgage Penalty

Read the fine print! If you have a mortgage on your home, your lender may charge you a penalty if you sell the home during the mortgage period. Most traditional lenders (ie banks) allow you to apply the remaining mortgage balance to the mortgage of a new property (provided you purchase the new home within 90 days of closing), but some mortgages have restrictions. If you’re selling your home and not buying a new one, you will likely have to pay a pre-payment penalty, which can be thousands of dollars.  Make sure to talk to your lender before you list your home for sale to fully understand the details of your mortgage.

Other Costs to Sell Your Home (and some good news)

Prior to closing, including outstanding property taxes, utilities or condo fees if you own a condo. The Seller is responsible for these costs up until the date of closing, but if your date of closing doesn’t coincide with the date you normally pay these expenses (it usually doesn’t), then you’ll be responsible for payment of the partial month’s costs.

If you have pets, you’ll likely want to factor in some extra dollars for boarding. It’s much easier for Buyers to view a home without Fido following them around, and there’s no faster way to turn off a Buyer than a dirty litter box.  Boarding your pets will hasten your sale.