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Beware of These 5 Hidden Costs When Selling Your Home

Estrella Ruiz September 28, 2023

If you've been thinking about listing your property for sale, you probably already know about the obvious costs associated with selling, such as real estate commissions and closing costs. 
However, there are also such things as “hidden” costs, which include a variety of smaller expenses that you need to factor in to avoid unsettling surprises and help ensure that you get top dollar for your biggest investment. Read on to get a brief overview of these hidden costs of selling a home.
Unless you're selling as-is, you’ll likely need to spruce up your home before it hits the market. Preparing your property for sale typically includes general deep cleaning, doing minor repairs, and even some simple landscaping to help boost your home’s curb appeal. 

The costs can vary greatly depending on the state of your property before selling and whether you hire out. Are you considering hiring a house cleaner? Do you have carpets that need to be professionally cleaned? And if you’ve neglected your home’s maintenance, you may have to hire a handyman to handle minor fixes, especially if you can’t do it yourself or don’t want to cut corners. Likewise, remember that even if you do the work yourself, you still have to consider the cost of supplies to make some upgrades.
Great staging can help buyers to visualize what it will be like living in the home. This creates a connection between them and the home that may lead to a higher offer. According to 2022 data from HomeAdvisor, staging costs between $786 and $2,812, with an average cost of $1,774. The price tag for this service can vary widely depending on the size of your home, your location, and other factors.

While it might be tempting to forgo this expense, it's imperative, especially in a tough market or if you’re selling a vacant home. Staging a vacant home can be more expensive, considering the cost of furniture rentals and other services. If you want to save some money, you can stage your house on your own or with the help of your real estate agent. While you won’t likely achieve the same design quality that a professional home stager can bring, you can make an impact by making sure you remove as much clutter as possible and designate a clear purpose for every room in the house. Adding little touches such as fresh flowers, a new doormat, a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter, and scented candles can go a long way too.
According to the 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of REALTORS®, 47 percent of buyers say that the first step they took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale. Since photos are being viewed first, you have to ensure that the pictures you use in your home's listing are done well. They must showcase your home’s best features so that potential buyers will be enticed to see the property in person. 

However, professional real estate photographs don’t come cheap. While the cost varies by area and the size of your home, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 for photos. Rates go higher for other services and packages that may include twilight photos, aerial drone photographs, real estate videos, and virtual tours. Since having professional real estate photos is a powerful way to market your property, don’t forget about this expense when listing your home for sale.
You might think your home was already in tip-top shape when it entered the market. However, when you accept a buyer's offer and they have the home inspected, the inspection report rarely comes back perfect. You’ll be made aware of your property’s minor issues, such as loose toilets or leaky faucets, as well as major issues like water damage, mold problems, or even faults in the foundation. 

These unforeseen repairs can be one of the worst hidden expenses when selling a home since the buyer will often request for the seller to address at least a handful of them. Depending on your trusted real estate agent’s advice, you can always negotiate the issues and split the cost of repairs with the buyer to a predetermined amount. You can also flat-out refuse the requests and just lower the sale price so the buyer can make the repairs themselves. If you want the deal to go through and ensure a smooth closing, you’ll need to cover the total repair costs yourself, which could be thousands of dollars. This proves that regular maintenance can seriously pay off when it comes time to sell. 
Since a lot of negotiating goes on in a real estate transaction, buyers often make conditional requests to be included in the purchase price. These are called seller concessions, which are costs that the seller has agreed to pay. A potential buyer may ask you to pay a share of their closing costs as a part of the deal. Or they may ask you to leave certain household appliances. Likewise, as stated above, you may agree to pay, to reduce the overall sale price to account for the cost of handling any major repairs instead of doing the work yourself. If you're in a situation where you might want to sell your property as soon as possible, offering seller concessions can help move your property faster. 

Bottom Line

Here's a reality check: selling a home costs money. Before putting your property on the market, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the hidden expenses associated with selling to avoid being taken by surprise. With strategic thinking, careful planning, and the help of an experienced real estate agent, you can prepare for these costs and effectively allocate your resources so you can pocket your target profits at closing.

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