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Updated on Tuesday, September 3, 2019
When you decide to sell your home, you may dream of receiving an offer well above your asking price. But putting your home on the market requires you to open your wallet, which could cut into your potential profit.
While some line items probably won’t come as a surprise, you may find that there are a handful of hidden costs.
Below, we highlight those unexpected expenses and everything else you need to know about the cost of selling a house.
Other home selling costs to consider
Now that you have an understanding of the costs that may get overlooked, remember to budget for the below expenses as you prepare to sell your home.
It’s important that you make room in your budget to keep the utilities — electricity and water — on until the property is sold. (This is in addition to budgeting for utilities in your new home.) Keeping these services active can help you sell your home since potential buyers won’t bother fumbling through a cold, dark property to look around. It may also prevent your home from facing other issues like mold during the humid summertime or trespassers.
Be sure to have all of your utilities running on the buyer’s final walk-through of the home, then turn everything off on closing day and pay any remaining account balances.
Budget to pay for homeowners insurance on the home you’re selling as well as your new home. You’ll still need to ensure coverage of your old property until the sale is finalized. Check the terms first, as your homeowners insurance policy might not apply to a vacant home. If that’s the case, you can ask to pay for a rider — an add-on to your insurance policy — for the vacancy period.
Capital gains tax
If you could make more than $250,000 on the home’s sale (or $500,000 if you’re married and filing jointly), take a look at the rules on capital gains tax. If your proceeds are less than the applicable amount after subtracting selling costs, you’ll avoid the tax. However, if you don’t qualify for any of the exceptions, the gains above those thresholds could be subject to a 15% capital gains tax, or higher. Consult your tax professional for more information.
How to save money when selling your home
Keep the following tips in mind when you decide to put your home on the market:
- Shop around and negotiate. Don’t settle on the first companies and professionals you come across. Comparison shop for your real estate agent, home inspector, closing attorney, photographer, etc. It could also work in your favor to try negotiating on the fees they charge to save even more.
- Choose your selling time carefully. The best time to sell your home could be during the spring and summer months. If you wait until the colder months to sell, there may not be as much competition for your home.
- DIY as much as possible. Anything you can do on your own to spruce up your home — landscaping, painting, minor repairs, staging — can help you cut back on the money you’ll need to spend to get your home sold.