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.

Moving from a Home with Two Bedrooms to Three Costs $450 Extra a Month

Depending on where you live, a little extra space could increase your monthly mortgage payment by 50 percent, according to Zillow’s new Cost of Moving Up Analysis

Seattle, WA – April 4, 2017 (PRNewswire) Upgrading to a larger home comes with a premium in most major metros. Nationally, families can expect to spend $447 extra a month moving to a three-bedroom home from one with two bedrooms, according to Zillow’s Cost of Moving Up Analysis[i]. That equates to a 50 percent increase in their monthly mortgage payment.

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U.S. families most often seek a three-bedroom home with 2.5 bathrooms. However, more than a third (36 percent) of these buyers go over budget on their home purchase, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Trends Report. To help buyers better prepare this home-shopping season, Zillow identified how much extra move-up buyers could expect to spend on their mortgage if they were to upgrade to a similar home with just one extra bed or bath.

In many coastal markets, moving from a two to a three-bedroom home costs around $500 extra each month. However, in hot markets like San Francisco and San Jose, families can expect to nearly double their monthly mortgage payment, with the premium on moving up exceeding $1,600.

Move-up buyers in the Midwest will see their dollars stretch further. Families in Chicago, Cincinnati and St. Louis can expect to spend just $150 more on their mortgage when upgrading from a two to a three-bedroom home. Cleveland offers the lowest premium out of all the metros analyzed, with move up buyers paying just $74 extra a month to upgrade to a three bedroom.

Bathroom count can also impact a home’s price. Nationally, upgrading to a house with the same number of bedrooms, but with one extra bathroom can cost buyers between $386 and $838 extra a month, depending on the home size. Given this premium, adding an extra bathroom to an existing home may be a cost-effective option for some families.

“While deciding whether to move is a personal choice, understanding how certain characteristics like size, location, or number of beds and baths, can impact a home’s price can be hugely important when determining if a particular home is the right fit for you and your family,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist. “Even though many families may be prepared to spend extra for a larger home, just how much more may come as a surprise, especially for those living in coastal markets.”

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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 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.

[i] Zillow analyzed the cost of upgrading by comparing the mortgage payments of single-family homes. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, the typical household with small children owns their home for seven years. To determine the additional monthly costs associated with upgrading, we compared the mortgage payment of a median-valued home purchased in 2009 with that of a median-valued home with one extra bedroom purchased in 2016. We performed the analysis on the ZIP-code level, then aggregated up to the metropolitan level to control for differences in home values based on location.