Listing your home isn’t free. There are costs, chores and a lot of work that goes into getting your home ready for the market. Before you list your home, think about the time, energy and money that go into it. If you have a direct buyer, with a great offer, it is often preferred to the hassle and out of pocket costs of listing. What it REALLY costs to sell your home in Washington, DC.
Commissions, Staging & Yard Work, Oh My!
First thing is first. The home has to be thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom. Windows should be done inside and out, grout and tile cleaned, baseboards and molding, and all of the obscure areas such as window sills and ceiling fans. If you have pets, pay particularly close attention to pet hair and odors. Of course, you can clean yourself, but you will not be able to do it with the accuracy and efficiency of a pro. In addition, keeping the home clean for showings, open houses and surprise visitors can take a lot of time and energy.
Never, ever, ever neglect the yard when selling your home. Your will want to make sure your yard had excellent curb appeal and isn’t overgrown or filled with weeds. Just like the cleaning, you can do this yourself, but you will some have some hard work ahead of you. You will want to:
- Trim back trees and bushes.
- Weed the lawn and open areas.
- Plant flowers and appropriate plants.
- Fix anything in need of repair.
- Add fresh paint to outdoor trim, mailbox, door, etc.
- Add seating and other elements of staging to make the outside areas more welcoming
The backyard should be warm, inviting and well manicured. The front yard is your first impression, make it a good one!
Storage & Moving
Even if you are still living in the home, once you put it on the market, it is smart to get some of your personal items packed and stored, ready for your move. Having your personal items around the home can make it feel cluttered and dissuade buyers from having interest. While your home is listed, you will need somewhere to keep your stuff. This might require storage offsite. If you are staying somewhere temporarily until your house sells, your will likely be paying rent in addition to your mortgage. (And don’t forget, two sets of utility bills.)
Once your house does sell, there are the costs of moving. Will you have movers help? Will you do all the packing yourself? Will you need a truck? These are all costs to consider and factor into your budget.
Listing Fees, Agent Fees, Administrative Fees and Notary Charges
Working with an agent also brings a plethora of fees and charges you may not be prepared for. (These charges are IN ADDITION to the commission, which we talk about below.) Agents will pass on a number of fees to you for marketing, listing, and administrative tasks such as clerical work and printing. You will face costs for notarization and other small charges that add up fast.
This is the biggie. Selling your home through an agent entitles them to a commission. Think 6% of your sale price. This can be more or less, but 6% is a good estimation. When you are calculating your asking price, make sure you factor in commissions as well as the other charges listed above.