How Much Does it Cost to Sell a House in California?

Selling a house can be expensive and time-consuming if you are hoping to get top dollar. There’s so much more to it than just hanging a sign and waiting for the telephone to ring. In a May 2021 article by Ramsey Solutions, Dave Ramsey’s team estimates that the average cost of selling a house is roughly 15% of its selling price.

In this article, we’re going to explore the cost of selling a house in California. This will include a breakdown of these costs so you can get a good idea of the cost to sell your home. If you are trying to sell a house at a different price point, just substitute your price with the one in the table below to see the cost estimates. Or, use the helpful calculator below.

Let’s get started with this analysis so you can decide on your selling strategy and what selling your house will cost you.

Preparation Costs

The first thing anyone interested in buying or listing your house will want to do is walk through it. First impressions matter, so it’s best to refrain from talking to an agent right now or even sharing your plans to sell on social media. Getting your house market-ready will require your time and money if you want to sell quickly and for top dollar.

home improvement costs

There are many things to consider when estimating the cost of selling a house. Here are a few of the initial projects you’ll want to consider when preparing your house to sell:

  • Repairs and Improvements: You’ll want to make any necessary repairs before the open house, and maybe a few improvements that may boost your chances to sell. If you are on a limited budget, apply your efforts to the repairs first to reduce the cost of selling a house.
  • Carpet Cleaning or replacement:  Cleaning carpet is a very minimal cost at $175 to $600 compared to replacing it – if it can be cleaned. However, cleaning will not repair tears or stretching, so make an assessment and evaluate the return on investment.
  • Painting: Painting is labor intensive inside and out, but it’s a necessary cost of selling a house in California. On the interior, there is almost always some sheetrock that needs patching, sanding, and priming. The old paint on the fascia boards needs stripping on the exterior, and the caulk around the windows and doors needs replacing.

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost for painting the exterior of a house is $3,050, while the interior averages $7,000.

  • Cleaning: Hiring professionals to clean before your first showing will be an inexpensive cost to selling a house. They’ll work on it as a team and get it done quickly, which is better than doing it yourself. According to Fixr, this level of deep cleaning will cost between $400 and $650.
  • Landscaping: You have to have curb appeal, and aside from fresh exterior paint, nothing is more noticeable than a freshly manicured yard. Sidewalks and driveways with neatly edged borders and stunning flowers are inviting, and that is what you want. You can spend as much or as little as you’d like on landscaping, but an average cost to do it right is $3,200.
  • Staging: Helping your buyers visualize room sizes and spaces helps them make a connection that can lead to a sale. But, you want to do this with new and current trends that a professional delivers. Staging contributes to the cost of selling a house and varies greatly depending on the size of the house. This article provides a lot of information about staging, including an idea of cost.
  • Professional photos: As tempting as it may be to use your cellphone camera, please don’t do this. Professional photographers know how to capture the best shots of a space, and how to control the lighting so that the photos are consistent. Professional photos printed in professional brochures and flyers will show your potential buyers that you are serious about selling. These photos will only cost you a few hundred dollars, a minimal cost of selling a house.

professional photography helps you sell your california house

Negotiable Costs

  • Realtor Commissions: Real estate agent commissions are the single largest cost of selling a house. Realtors in California earn around 6% commission on a sale. If you are trying to sell your home yourself, you may think this is money saved. However, that may not be true. If a real estate agent brings you a buyer, you will still owe the agent around 3%.
  • Seller Concessions: One cost of selling a house often overlooked is the value of concessions you may provide. A buyer may need some help with the closing costs to close the deal. While a seller isn’t required to make a concession, the value of concessions allowed depends on the type of loan and the buyer’s down payment.

According to Rocket HQ, concessions range from 2% to 5% of a home’s sale price.

The Cost of The Deal

Closing Costs: According to Zillow, closing costs for a seller are 2% to 4%, of the sales price on fees alone, plus the realtor’s commissions. For more information on closing costs, be sure to read this The individual fees included in the cost of selling a house are:

  • Realtor
  • Credit Reports
  • Title Fees
  • Origination Fees
  • Appraisal Fees
  • Surveys
  • Taxes

Home Warranty: One way to close the deal is to include a home warranty. Although you are selling your house, be prepared to pay a year’s premium because they are typically annual contracts. According to Consumer Affairs, the average cost of a home warranty is $600 a year.

Real Estate Fees (Loan payoff): Once your house sells, the proceeds will be used to pay the remaining mortgage on it, if applicable.

Taxes: As the seller and current homeowner, you are responsible for property taxes up to the closing day when the new owner becomes responsible. They will be prorated and deducted from the proceeds of the sale.

In addition to property taxes, if you have lived in the home for less than two years, you will want to set aside some money for capital gains taxes. However, you will not have to pay them until they are due in April.

Penalties: Some mortgage companies penalize you for paying off a loan too early. If applicable, these fees will be deducted at closing.

The Cost of Relocating Your Family

While selling your home is exciting, there is so much involved in it that contributes to the cost of selling a house. You’ll have a specified day in which to move, which means you have some work to do with packing and finding a new place.

  • Packing / Mover Costs: These expenses can vary depending on how far you’re moving, and how many rooms are in your house. Most people use moving companies, even if they are moving across town. It’s just quicker and easier.

packing and moving costs for selling a home

According to HomeAdvisor , you can expect to pay $2,300 for a local, full-service move, and up to $5,700 for an out-of-state move. If you choose to move yourself, a moving truck will cost a minimum of $20 a day.

While budgeting for moving day, keep in mind that you will have another round of moving expenses if you have to move into a temporary home until your next one is ready.

If your temporary housing choice doesn’t provide the space you need, storage unit rentals will add to the cost of selling a house. Depending on your storage size and climate control needs, you can expect to pay from $60 to $225 a month to rent a storage unit.

Temporary housing and storage rental rarely get considered when thinking about the cost of selling a house in California. These are real expenses that most people experience after selling their home.

The Cost of Selling a House Summary

Having discussed the many costs of selling a house, let’s break it down and see how this applies to selling a $500,000 house in California.

Average Expense for a home sold in California% of Sale PriceEstimated Cost
Preparation (repairs, cleaning, landscaping, staging, photos)2.5% - 3%$14,675 - $15,350
Negotiating (commissions and concessions)3% - 9%$15,000 - $45,000
The Cost of the Deal (closing cost, warranty, fees, taxes, etc)2% - 4%$10,300 - $20,300
Relocating (packing, moving, home transition)<1% - 1%$2,360 - $5,925
Total:8% - 17%$43,335 - $86,575

An Easier Way to Sell Your House in California

As you have learned in this article, the cost of selling a house consumes a large portion of the actual sales price. In addition to the cost of selling a house in California, a lot of hard work and time are required before you can even place a sign in your yard. The costs can be substantial and reduce the amount of money with which you expected to leave the closing table.

Selling a home can also be a bit of an inconvenience – like if it sells before your next home has been found or is in move-in-ready condition. Why spend the time and money on a house in which you no longer wish to live? Even more, why move into a rental only to move again when your next home is available?

There’s an easier way to sell your house in California. To find out how, call SoCal Homebuyers at (951) 331-3844 today and receive a cash offer. Or, submit your information below if you want to sell your house for cash quickly, without closing costs, realtor commissions, escrow, or other fees and delays.

 

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