If you list your home for sale with a real estate broker, the broker’s fees will be your most obvious expense. However, from the moment you start cleaning up the property until you’re haggling over the buyer’s final fees, most home sales involve thousands of dollars of unexpected expenses.
When estimating the cost of selling your home, you can be certain there will be plenty of nickel-and-dime costs but also be prepared for major unforseen expenses such as necessary repairs. A cash sale takes care of everything at once, but the real estate market can be very unsettling. Here are some of the hidden costs that sellers often report.
Various Closing Costs
Closing costs are not a simple lump-sum payment that you have to make. This catch-all term can include not only the cost of completing the paperwork involved in the actual sale but also hundreds of dollars in the form of various taxes and fees.
Cleaning and Storage
If you’re going to realize anything close to the market price of your house, you may need to spend a small fortune—and countless hours—cleaning, throwing things away, and organizing. A few trash bags might sound like a small expense, but what if you need to buy loads of supplies and containers or maybe even a storage unit?
Temporary Housing Solutions
Before you find your next house, you may need to stay for a while in a hotel or a rental home. You can cut down on this expense by staying with a friend or in an affordable motel that offers a weekly rate. But these additional expenses can easily add up to thousands of dollars.
If you sell your house for cash, you have more control over the date you move out, allowing you to carefully plan how and when you settle into your next home.
Staging for Showings
Staging a home, or preparing it for viewing, can be quite expensive. Landscaping, small furnishings like new throw pillows for the sofa, and other decorative touches can benefit the sale but do have upfront costs.
And don’t forget: kids and pets cannot be present during a showing. So you’ll need to take them somewhere—out to eat or to a movie or to a kennel (the pets, obviously)—which means further demands on your wallet.
Demanded Buyer Concessions
Buyers tend to ask for concessions—things here and there that they want you to throw in for free. These are yet additional costs of selling your home.
Deductions for Repairs
Expect buyers to nitpick while searching for flaws in your house. Naturally, they want to avoid buying a lemon, but this process often results in requests for repairs that can hit your wallet hard or even threaten to shut down the transaction. If you can’t pay for the repairs upfront, the buyer will likely knock down his or her offering price.
You can list your home “as is,” but “as is” homes tend to attract low-ball offers and endless haggling. If your goal is to sell the house for cash and move on, don’t even consider listing it on the market “as is.”
The Invisible Cost of Time
Hard to measure but perhaps most valuable of all is the cost of the hundreds of hours of your time that might be spent selling your house. From missed work to babysitters, consider all these indirect financial losses as further hidden costs.
If your priority is selling your home with minimal hassle and no out-of-pocket costs, a cash sale is a good alternative to playing the real estate game.