Navigating the Maze of Hidden Costs When Selling Your Home

Hidden costs when selling your home

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.

Did you know that, on average, homeowners spend about 10% of their home’s sale price on selling-related expenses?

Consider this: Sarah, a homeowner from California, recently sold her property and was shocked by the amount of hidden costs that cropped up during the process.

Now, as you prepare to sell your own home, ask yourself: Are you financially prepared to cover these often-overlooked expenses?

Understanding these hidden costs when selling your home is crucial for a successful home sale.

Navigating the Maze of Hidden Costs When Selling Your Home

1. Home Improvement and Repairs

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
  • 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.

2. Professional Home Staging

Great staging can help buyers 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
  • Scented candles

can go a long way.

3. Professional Photography

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
  • 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.

4. Unforeseen Repairs After Inspection

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.

5. Seller Concessions

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.

6. Legal and Administrative Fees

Selling a home involves legal and administrative processes that come with their own set of fees. You may need to pay for services such as a title search, which ensures there are no outstanding liens or claims on your property. Additionally, you may be responsible for the cost of notary services, document preparation, and recording fees.

These fees can add up, especially if you’re not aware of them in advance. It’s crucial to consult with your real estate agent to understand the legal and administrative expenses associated with selling your home in your specific location. Being prepared for these fees will prevent any last-minute financial surprises during the closing process.


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.

Selling a home is a significant financial transaction, and being prepared for these hidden costs can make the process smoother and more profitable. By accounting for these expenses and working closely with a real estate professional, you can ensure a successful sale while maximizing your return on investment. Remember, knowledge is power, and knowing what to expect will help you make informed decisions every step of the way.

Share this post!

About the Author

Jason Fox

Facebook Twitter

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." ~ Gandhi [ Recognized as a top 3.5% agent in the United States. ] [ Jason Fox was born in Everett, WA currently lives in the Meadowdale neighborhood in Lynnwood and has lived in different parts of the Puget Sound area in between. He has been in the real estate industry for 20 years in many different capacities. From General Manager of a real estate CRM engagement business, Founder of 2 real estate marketing agencies, nationally recognized blogger with the Jason Fox Real Estate Marketing Blog, Marketing Manager for a top title and escrow service. ] [ Jason is now an award winning residential real estate sales agent, Co-Founder of The Madrona Group, Co-Owner of John L. Scott Ballard and John L. Scott Westwood. ] [ Active in the community, Jason is a proud part of the Autism Speaks effort to raise awareness for autism. This project is very dear to him as he has an 8 year old son, Hudson, diagnosed ASD. Jason is also involved with Neighbor's in Need, the Forgotten Children's Fund, WELD Seattle and the Union Gospel Mission assisting the homeless population in the greater Seattle area. ] [ "My passion is being able to give back to the community that has given so much to me." ] [ When he is not assisting his friends and family with the services of home ownership he loves being a dad to his 4 children, Carter, Rowen, Tyler and Hudson and being a husband to his amazing wife Sarah. Hiking, working around the house, cheering for the Seahawk's, Mariners and Huskies and golfing. ]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *