What do home sellers have in common with Muhammad Ali & Mike Tyson?
No matter if you’re a home seller, or a professional boxer, everyone has felt sucker-punched at least once. While Muhammed and Mike more in the literal sense, being caught unaware by closing costs for a seller could hurt your wallet as much as their faces.
If you’re selling, or thinking about selling your home, you might be wondering – what are the closing costs for a seller and how can I reduce them? A recent Zillow survey discovered, 61% of home sellers found the closing charges overwhelming & confusing. Let’s break down seller closing costs, so you don’t feel lost.
What is Closing?
Closing on a house is the process of getting from an accepted offer to legally transferring ownership. On a mutually agreed upon date by the buyer and seller, the funds are distributed, final documents are signed at the title company, and this is seen as the final step in the process of buying or selling a home.
Typical Closing Costs for a Seller
Do typical seller closing costs really exist? Yes and No.
Different states have different legal requirements and fees. For example, Bankrate.com suggests, “If you live in Texas, you’ll face the highest closing costs in the country. However, if you live in Nevada, you’ll experience the lowest.”
Even with the state differences, there are still a lot of similarities across closing statements around the country.
Let’s take a look at the big five.
The largest fee a seller will take on during the home sale process. While commissions are negotiable, despite what anyone tells you, the nationwide average tends to be 6% (3% to a buyer’s agent and 3% to a listing agent).
Transfer Tax / Recording Fees
Your local government and state will charge different taxes and fees to transfer the title from a home seller to the new home buyer. This differs per market.
The amount an attorney costs will vary market by market. In some cities, an attorney will handle the closing process and paperwork. Meanwhile, in other cities this is done by a title company. Sometimes the seller pays and sometimes the buyer pays, it all depends what you and your agent are able to negotiate.
Mortgage Payoff / Prepayment penalty
Many home sellers don’t realize that if you pay off your mortgage too quickly, your lender might be able to charge you a fee. Lenders will often do this to make up for the fact that they won’t be able to collect your money in the form of interest anymore.
Pay off loan
Are you selling your house before you fully own it? If so, you might still have bills to pay. As a result, paying off your loan could be a big bill at the end of the day.
According to Zillow, the average home price in the US in 2019 is $226,700. Since the average closing costs for a seller is 6%-10% of the home’s sale price, this means that if your home sells for $225,000, you could be paying somewhere between $13,500 – $22,500 in seller closing costs.
How to Reduce Closing Costs for a Seller
Even though Muhammad Ali lived by, “Float like a butterfly, sting like bee” you might not be built to dodge everything life throws at you. Instead of backing out, there are still a few ways to lessen the impact of paying closing costs when you’re a home seller.
Negotiate a lower real estate commission
It’s no surprise that the largest chunk of a seller’s closing costs are commissions paid to 1-2 real estate agents. If you’re up for negotiating with a realtor yourself, educate yourself on realtor commission.
Sell For Sale By Owner
How easy is it to sell your home without a realtor? For a fraction of the price, should I put my home in the MLS? No matter what choice you go with, you have a lot of options at your disposal. But, you should always consider: is the money saved worth the hassle?
Work with a Full-Service REALTOR® for a Discount
There are companies out there that will do the negotiating for you in real estate. Find out which agents work full-service at discount pricing and compete for your business. If you want to sell your house with an agent who offers full-service for 1.5%, that homework has already been done – and it’s free.
If you found your way here today hoping to find a specific number to bring to closing, the good news is that it’s very rare you’ll need to bring any money to closing. As a home seller, your closing costs are normally taken out of the profits you make on your sale. Don’t find yourself blindsided by closing costs. In the words of Mike Tyson, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”