All of the Hidden Costs of Selling A House In Pennsylvania

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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 Pennsylvania is no exception and costs quite a bit of money. Read this guide to uncover all the Pennsylvania 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.

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Calculating the Total Selling Costs


In order to show you the total cost of selling a Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania according to Zillow’s home value index, which fluctuates but is about $198,377.

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 Pennsylvania home selling costs into unique buckets for you to see each line item’s estimated cost based on the average Pennsylvania home value and the typical % of the sale price.

Here is a breakdown of the home selling costs in Pennsylvania

Average expenses for home sellers in Pennsylvania Typical % of sales price Estimated cost
Preparing your home for sale 2-3% $3,968-$5,951
Realtor commission fees 5-6% $9,919-$11,903
Negotiable Items & Buyer incentives 1-3% $1,984-$5,951
Closing costs 1-3% $1,984-$5,951
Relocation expenses 1-2% $1,984-$3,968
Total 10-17% $19,838-$33,724

*Based on average home value of a $198,377 home according to Zillow Home Value Index

The typical cost of selling a Pennsylvania house will be between $19,838-$33,724 for a $198,377 home!

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An In-depth Breakdown of the Home Selling Costs In Pennsylvania


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 Pennsylvania: 5-6%

By far the most expensive cost of selling your house in what you are going to pay a Pennsylvania real estate agent. Their commissions in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania is to consider alternatives to real estate brokers such as low commission realtors or flat fee MLS listings.

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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. Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania seller can expect to pay around 3% in closing costs on these items below.

  • Pennsylvania Deed Transfer Tax a sales tax on real estate equal to 1% of the entire sales price is paid to the State of Pennsylvania and another 1% is (typically) divided equally between the school district and local government for a total of 2% of the total sales price. Although negotiable in the sales contract, most buyers and sellers split the cost of the deed transfer tax 50/50.
  • Attorney Fees – In Pennsylvania an attorney is not required for the closing, but if you want 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 Pennsylvania.
  • 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.

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What’s My Bottom Line? Calculating Your Net Proceeds


Estimating and calculating all the costs of selling your Pennsylvania 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 $198,377
Minus Estimated Home Selling Costs $19,838-$33,724
Minus Mortgage Payoff $97,000
Sellers Net $67,653-$81,539

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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania home

Seriously consider alternative home selling options that really work.
  • If you want to sell your Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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%.
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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.


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Additional Resources For Pennsylvania Home Sellers


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