How Much Does It Cost To Sell A House In California?
What You Will Learn In This Article
Doesn’t it seem like everything costs more and more money these days? Everywhere you turn there is another expense that is taking away your hard-earned cash! Selling a house in California is no exception and costs quite a bit of money. Read this guide to uncover all the California home selling costs as well as some professional tips for you to reduce them and keep more of that hard-earned home equity in your pocket at closing.How Can I Sell My House Using ISoldMyHouse.com? Learn more
Calculating the Total Selling Costs
In order to show you the total cost of selling a California home, we need to make some assumptions. For example, the selling price of your home can be all over the place, from very low to very high. So let’s go with the average home value in California according to Zillow’s home value index, which fluctuates but is about $578,267.
The second assumption is that you will be selling with a traditional real estate agent, which most people end up doing so we will need to calculate their commission fees into the example. If you decide not to use an agent to sell your house or go with a discount broker, you will need to adjust based on the savings.
So, with that said, the table below breaks the California home selling costs into unique buckets for you to see each line item’s estimated cost based on the average California home value and the typical % of the sale price.
Here is a breakdown of the home selling costs in California
|Average expenses for home sellers in California||Typical % of sales price||Estimated cost|
|Preparing your home for sale||2-3%||$11,565-$17,348|
|Realtor commission fees||5-6%||$28,913-$34,696|
|Negotiable Items & Buyer incentives||1-3%||$5,783-$17,348|
*Based on average home value of a $578,267 home according to Zillow Home Value Index
The typical cost of selling a California house will be between $57,827-$98,305 for a $578,267 home!How Can I Sell My House Using ISoldMyHouse.com? Learn more
An In-depth Breakdown of the Home Selling Costs In California
In the table above that calculated the total selling costs of your home we showed you 5 unique buckets of items that will cost you money when you sell your home. Let’s dive into each of these buckets for you to understand what is actually costing your all of that money.
Cost of preparing your home for sale: 2-3%
The costs associated with preparing your home for sale are typically made up from tasks associated with home improvements, cleaning, landscaping and home staging. You will want to focus on the high impact items such as cleaning the carpets, applying a fresh coat of paint to the walls, having a handyman repair small items, applying a fresh layer of mulch to the garden beds etc.
These costs can vary greatly depending on how outdated or neglected your property is before selling. If your property requires more than the 2-3% estimated costs you might want to consider the pros and cons of an as-is sale and opt to not do any repairs or freshening up at all.
Real estate agent commission fees in California: 5-6%
By far the most expensive cost of selling your house in what you are going to pay a California real estate agent. Their commissions in California will typically run 5-6%, although there is no set fee and they are negotiable. However, the benefits of having a real estate agent handle the same of your home is they will provide white glove concierge service and have a marketing plan to get you the most amount of money in your home sale. That’s assuming you choose one with a demonstrated history of getting these types of results.
A very popular trend in California is to consider alternatives to real estate brokers such as low commission realtors or flat fee MLS listings.Want to sell your California home and save thousands? Find out how
Negotiable items and buyer incentives: ~1-3%
When selling your house a savvy negotiator will be able to get terms in their favor. So it is prudent of you to build into your selling cost estimates money for negotiating with the buyer and this is separate from the purchase price.
For example, a buyer without a lot of money for their closing costs will typically ask the seller to pay for some of these items. This is also called seller concessions and is allowed by the banks with most mortgage programs, up to a certain limit. We would recommend estimating about 1-2% to have in reserves for this expense.
Also, after you have an agreement with a buyer, they will most likely have a home inspection and there is always items they request for you to either repair or credit them back at closing. A fair estimate is to set aside about 1% of the selling price for this.
Lastly, a good incentive for a buyer is to offer a home warranty to give them piece of mind that the homes appliances and mechanicals will be covered in the first year of owning the home. Most buyers don’t know that these items are not covered under homeowner’s insurance so setting aside the $400-$600 for the warranty is a cost worth spending.
Seller closing costs: ~1-3%
Closing costs are the various fees and expenses incurred by buyers and sellers during the closing of their real estate sale. California sellers have a lot of closing costs that are unique and customary to their local county and are deducted from the total profit of the sale. During a typical home sale, a California seller can expect to pay around 3% in closing costs on these items below.
- California Documentary Transfer Tax – the seller pays the Documentary and Property Transfer Tax, which is usually $1.10 per $1,000 of total purchase price. Some cities will have higher rates and the tax is split between the county and the city.
- Attorney Fees – In California an attorney is NOT required for the closing, however, if you choose to use one, they will charge fees for drawing up the closing documents and representing you in the closing process. You can expect to pay between $600-$1,000 for an attorney in California.
- Title Search – This fee is charged to look at the history of ownership and liens for the property. It will confirm the title is clear, and no outstanding liens or encumbrances exist.
- Courier Fee – Only applicable if you have a mortgage, this fee will be charged to transfer the payoff funds to the existing lender.
- Estoppel Fee – If you own a condo or have a homeowners association that charges dues, this nominal fee will be collected to determine payoff.
- Property Taxes – Property taxes are paid in arrears (1 year behind) and will be pro-rated to the day of closing and varies based on property assessment.
- Pest Inspection – Only applicable if your buyer is getting a VA mortgage, you may be required to pay for the pest inspection.
- Title Insurance – This one is also negotiable. If the buyer is getting a mortgage, they pay for a lender’s policy, but there is also an owner’s title policy.
Moving costs: ~1-2%
Don’t forget about the costs associated with moving out of the home you are selling! If you DIY your move you still have the expense of moving boxes and packing supplies, moving trucks, storage units or canisters or hiring movers if tackling the job yourself isn’t for you.How Can I Sell My House Using ISoldMyHouse.com? Learn more
What’s My Bottom Line? Calculating Your Net Proceeds
Estimating and calculating all the costs of selling your California home is good but what really matters is how much money you will have in your pocket (or bank account) at closing. In order to figure this out what you will need to do is simple. Just add up all your closing costs and subtract them from the estimated amount you will sell your house for, then subtract the amount that is owed on all your mortgages, if you have any. That’s it, nice and simple. Going through this process is what is typically called calculating the sellers net sheet.
|Total Home Selling Price||$578,267|
|Minus Estimated Home Selling Costs||$57,827-$98,305|
|Minus Mortgage Payoff||$97,000|
Can I Reduce My Home Selling Costs?
A quick recap what we did so far, we calculated all the total costs of selling your property based off the average home values in California and the best estimates on costs. We then broke them down for you and showed you what is included in all of those costs. Lastly, we showed you how to calculate your net proceeds or money you will have after the sale.
What did you probably learn from that exercise? Probably that selling a house in California is very expensive! The next logical question is “how can I reduce my home selling costs?”
Here’s how to slash those selling costs and maximize profits on the sale of your California home
Seriously consider alternative home selling options that really work.
- If you want to sell your California house as a FSBO, then you can really save a lot of money and you should consider a flat fee MLS listing as a way to list on the MLS and still retain the right to sell your house on your own.
- If selling on your own is not for you, then finding a real estate broker with discounted fees in California is your next best opportunity for savings. They will provide all the same services you are used to but for a lower commission than the typical 5-6%.
Both of these options will get your home the exposure that is needed for attracting real and active buyers who will offer you market value for your home. If you or your agent are a shrewd negotiator or follow a pricing strategy that is designed to attract multiple offers to get the maximum selling price the market will bear then both of these options should be given serious consideration.
Additional Ways To Sell A California House
- How To Sell A House In California (Without A Realtor)
- Selling a House in California? (Here’s Help)
- California Flat Fee MLS Listings
- Discount Real Estate Brokers: Best Options To Save On Commissions
- Sell Your California House Fast For Cash
Additional Resources For California Home Sellers
About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com, the broker of Get LISTED Realty and an official member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, Fox News, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.