U.S. Homeowners Can Spend $15,000 in Hidden Costs to Sell a House

From closing costs to basic home prep projects like carpet cleaning and staging, homeowners can spend between $10,000 and $55,000 to sell a house, depending on location

Seattle and San Frncisco – May 18, 2017 (PRNewswire) Nationally, U.S. homeowners spend $15,190 on average in extra or hidden costs associated with selling their home, according to a new analysis from Zillow® and Thumbtack(i). Since most (63 percent) of today’s sellers have never sold a home before, some of these costs could come as a surprise(ii).

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To help with budgeting, Zillow and Thumbtack calculated several common, but often overlooked, seller expenses including sales taxes and agent commissions, as well as five optional home prep projects.

More than eight out of 10 home sellers make improvements before listing(iii). While some sellers prefer to complete these projects themselves, those who outsource can expect to spend more than $2,650 nationally to cover staging, carpet cleaning, interior painting, lawn care and house cleaning – five of the most popular seller home prep projects. Labor costs vary significantly by region, so sellers in Los Angeles pay an average of $4,000 for the same projects, compared to sellers in Columbus, Ohio, who pay $1,500.

The two largest closing costs are agent commissions and in most states, sales or transfer taxes. Nationally, sellers spend $12,532 for both closing costs on the median home. Since they are percentages of the home’s sale price, sellers in hot coastal markets like San Francisco pay $51,520 on the median home, the highest of the metros analyzed. Sellers in Indianapolis pay the least ($8,238) as home values are lower and the state has no transfer tax.

From title insurance to escrow fees, sellers are responsible for a variety of other smaller closing costs. Even though selling a home costs money, most (73 percent) sellers are still satisfied with the transaction(iv). To estimate potential profit, sellers can use Zillow’s Sale Proceeds Calculator. It factors in the home’s sale price, mortgage balance and agent commissions, along with other common seller fees.

“One of the biggest regrets sellers have is not starting the process early enough,” says Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow Group chief marketing officer. “For those planning to sell this year, take your time to research all the costs you could be responsible for and how they may affect your profit, or even budget for your next home. Partner with a great agent who can help you understand the nuances in your market – from what taxes or closing costs you should expect, to which home renovation projects can help attract the right buyer.”

“Sellers need to consider these additional, often necessary costs when planning to put their home on the market,” says Lucas Puente, Thumbtack economist. “While it’s clear these costs vary widely, often times the easiest way to ensure a home is fully prepared to be sold is to hire local, skilled professionals to help with basic home projects.”

More information about Zillow and Thumbtack’s Hidden Costs of Selling Report is available on Zillow’s blog, Porchlight.

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Zillow

Zillow® is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. Zillow serves the full lifecycle of owning and living in a home: buying, selling, renting, financing, remodeling and more. In addition to Zillow.com®, Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z and ZG) and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow and Zillow.com are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a local services marketplace that connects customers who need to get things done with local professionals who can help. From plumbers and painters to DJs and personal trainers, Thumbtack helps millions of customers find the right professional for their project in over 1,000 categories. This translates to more than $1 billion in annual revenue for our professionals across the U.S., helping them grow their businesses on their own terms. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, Thumbtack is backed by over $250 million in investment from Sequoia Capital, Google Capital, Tiger Global Management, Javelin Investment Partners and Baillie Gifford.

i Zillow and Thumbtack’s Hidden Costs of Selling report factored in closing costs (transfer taxes and agent commotions) and several basic home prep costs. Zillow computed transfer taxes by using the tax rate for the primary state within each metro area (in cases where metro areas cross one or more state lines), which were then applied to the median home value for that area. Zillow also assumed 6 percent for real estate agent commissions and applied it to the median home value for each metro area. For the basic seller home prep costs, Thumbtack looked at tens of thousands of quotes from small business professionals around the country and determined the average cost for each expense within the selected metros. For the purposes of this analysis, carpet cleaning, interior painting, lawn care, home staging and house cleaning were identified as five of the most popular home maintenance-related projects completed by Thumbtack users prior to selling a home.

ii According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.

iii According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.

iv According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.

Regulations, Retention and Recruitment Pressing Issues for Appraisal Industry

Washington, D.C. – May 17, 2017 (nar.realtor) Any perceived shortage of appraisers may be location specific and dependent on whom you ask, but there is universal agreement that more needs to be done to keep appraisers in the profession and attract new talent. That’s according to panelists yesterday at a property valuation forum at the 2017 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

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The conversation with property valuation experts comes at a time of numerous challenges within the industry. NAR’s Appraiser Trends Study released earlier this year underlined many of the ongoing issues in the profession, including regulatory burdens, insufficient compensation, and dissatisfaction in the work leading to what some say is a shortage of appraisers.

Providing their insights on these issues and ways Realtors® can communicate more effectively with appraisers were David S. Bunton, president and CEO of The Appraisal Foundation; James Park, executive director at the Appraisal Subcommittee; and Jim Amorin, 2017 president at the Appraisal Institute. Susan Martins-Phipps, a Realtor® and certified residential appraiser, moderated the session.

Appraiser Trends Study 03/16/17 by REALTORS® on Scribd

Much of the discussion during the session focused on balancing the need for appropriate regulation without overly burdening the industry. Sharing their own experiences, Bunton and Amorin discussed how the multiple federal, state and international standards can conflict with each other at times and cause confusion, frustration and an inability to appropriately serve the needs of clients.

Citing NAR’s appraisal survey, Amorin said that excessive regulation is the number one reason appraisers are leaving the industry, along with decreased fees and increased expenses. While regulation serves its purpose, Amorin stressed the need for ‘appropriate updating’ given that technology and consumer preferences have changed over the past decade.

“Appraisers are being crushed in the current regulatory environment and there are fewer people entering the profession,” said Amorin. “There are changes that can be put into place that make the process easier for everyone and not put added costs on the consumer.”

According to Park, public trust in the appraisal profession is important, and while there are certainly challenges in the industry, few of those challenges have to do with federal regulation. He also said outside of a few areas, he believes there is not a shortage of appraisal professionals. Citing the lower mortgage volume compared to the early 2000’s, Park said the number of active appraisers is proportionate to the current level of work in most of the country.

Amorin added that although the number of appraisers have declined around 23 percent since 2007, any actual shortages are primarily in some rural areas, and what some see as a shortage in quantity is actually just a dearth of appraisers willing to work for the low fees that have failed to keep up with inflation. However, Amorin did sound the alarm on what could be an inadequate number of appraisers in the future.

“The number of new entrants into the business is abysmally low, and a looming shortage is something we should be concerned about,” said Amorin. “The typical appraiser is in their mid-50s. We’ve got to find a way to make the profession more attractive and lucrative so that technology doesn’t completely take over the valuation process.”

Bunton agreed with Amorin and indicated he’s hopeful an improving housing market will bring more individuals, including millennials, to the industry. “If you’re a millennial, what’s not to like? You get to use technology, the hours are flexible and there’s always work,” he said.

The end of the session focused on bettering the appraisal process for the greater benefit of the real estate industry. While appraisers must maintain their independence, Amorin stressed the important role real estate agents can play in helping serve their clients and improve the work of appraisers. He said to applause from the crowd that it’s certainly fine for agents to talk to appraisers as long as they aren’t putting undo pressure on them.

“Regarding the relationship between appraisers and Realtors®, my message to Realtors® is to help them help you,” said Amorin.

To improve the overall appraisal experience, Bunton concluded that real estate agents should be more involved with The Appraisal Foundation and its boards to stay abreast of the issues. “Nearly half of Realtors® are on our boards, and we would certainly like to see that number even higher,” he said. “Less friction and more commonality on how to make the system more cohesive for everyone will ensure a better process.”

NAR submitted a letter late last year to the Appraiser Qualifications Board in response to their efforts to improve recruitment and retention of new appraisers. Knowing the integral part appraisers are to real estate transactions, NAR supports AQB’s revisions to some of the education and experience requirements to bring new appraisers to the industry.

For more information on NAR’s valuation activities and advocacy efforts, visit www.nar.realtor/appraisal.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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