Around 90 percent of home sales in the United States involve realtors. For most sellers, however, choosing to work with a realtor is more of a reflex than an intentional decision. Essentially, since everyone else is hiring a realtor, new sellers assume that they must need one, too.
Unfortunately, this often leads to unpleasant surprises when sellers tally the bill at the time of sale and realize how much working with a realtor cost them.
Just how much do realtors charge to sell a house? Is hiring a realtor really necessary? Here’s what you need to know about the cost of selling a house.
How Much Do Realtors Charge to Sell a House?
As a general rule, realtors do not have set fees for selling homes. Instead, they work on commission. This means:
- Realtors do not get paid unless or until the home sells
- At the time of sale, realtors get a percentage of the total sale price
- Realtors’ fees are paid out of the proceeds of a home sale before any money goes to the seller
On average, realtors charge commissions of between five and seven percent. This money can be split in several ways. Portions of the commission may go to the:
- Seller’s realtor
- Brokerage firm the seller’s realtor works for
- Buyer’s realtor
- Brokerage firm the buyer’s realtor works for
Unfortunately, dealing with percentages can feel murky or unclear. This is why so many sellers get sticker shock at the time of sale. To make the full impact of these seemingly small commissions clear, here are a few examples.
A five percent commission would work out to:
- $7,500 for a home worth $150,000
- $12,500 for a home worth $250,000
- $15,000 for a home worth $300,000
- $20,000 for a home worth $400,000
- $25,000 for a home worth $500,000
These costs can be steep but they are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Working with a realtor carries a variety of costs above and beyond the commission, as well. The real question sellers need to ask is “how much does it cost to sell a house with a realtor all together?”
Other Costs of Working With a Realtor
The commission that you pay your realtor is the equivalent of a salary. It pays for their time and perhaps a few small assorted costs. It does not pay for the other services you need to sell a home with a realtor.
Knowing what these other costs are and how much you can expect to pay is a critical part of understanding the total cost of using a realtor.
Repairs and Touch-Ups
When selling a house on the open market via a realtor, 73 percent of sellers find that they need to put money into their homes before they can get any back out. This often includes:
- Replacing broken appliances
- Touching up paint
- Getting carpets deep-cleaned
- Repairing scuffs, dings, and other small damage
- Bringing electrical circuits or panels up to code
- Cleaning up the yard
- Removing evidence of water or pet damage
Even in well-maintained homes, these small costs can add up quickly. The average seller spends around $4,000 getting their home ready to sell.
Home staging is no longer an “extra.” Both buyers’ agents and sellers’ agents now routinely consider staging an important step in selling a home.
Some realtors will stage a home themselves. Others will require sellers to hire a staging company. The median cost of staging a home is $400, but actual costs can vary depending on:
- The size of the home
- The amount of staging needed
- How long the home takes to sell
- Geographic location and choice of stager
In some markets, staging can cost up to $600 per room per month. These costs can add up quickly.
Today’s buyers shop online before they shop in person. Nearly 40 percent of buyers were substantially more likely to walk through a home if they were able to view it online first. As such, when selling through a realtor, posting photos and videos of your home online is essential.
But good photography and videography aren’t cheap. Homeowners can expect to pay flat fees plus a charge per square foot. On average, these come out to around:
- $700 for a 1,500 square foot home
- $1,000 for a 3,000 square foot home
- $1,300 for a 5,000 square foot home
Costs may go up if any specialty work is needed, if the home is difficult to reach, or if other similar factors apply.
Miscellaneous Costs and Closing Costs
Other unavoidable costs also come with selling via a realtor. Home inspections are mandatory and can cost between $200 and $300, for example. Appraisals can cost another $300 to $400.
Realtors may encourage sellers to make “concessions” to attract buyers, which costs additional money. Then, sellers face closing costs of between two and four percent of the total sale price. Closing costs cover things like:
- Escrow fees
- Attorney fees
- HOA transfers
- Title insurance
While two percent may not sound like much, it often ends up being between $3,000 and $10,000 on top of everything else. All told, sellers can end up losing between 10 and 12 percent of their home’s final sale price to costs associated with working with a realtor.
Being Your Own Realtor
Faced with these costs, many homeowners begin to wonder if it is possible to sell their homes themselves. Unfortunately, there is both good news and bad news on that front.
The good news is that it is possible to serve as your own realtor. If you handle all of the tasks involved in marketing, listing, and selling your home yourself, you can save some of the money you would have spent on a realtor.
The bad news is that:
- Handling a traditional sale yourself can be stressful and time-consuming
- You will likely get less for your home if you handle the sale yourself
- You will still end up paying many of the costs involved
While you will not have to pay a realtor’s commission, you will still need to:
- Invest in repairs and touch-ups
- Get good photography and videography done
- Pay closing costs
Failure to do any of these things can make it difficult to sell your home at all, much less for the price you deserve. As it turns out, realtors are not really the problem. It is the traditional sale and marketing structure that makes selling a house so expensive when you work with a realtor.
What many homeowners don’t know is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
The Better Way to Sell
For many homeowners, there is a better way to sell a house: sell to a cash house buyer.
When you sell your home to a cash house buyer, you skip most of the traditional selling process. This means that you also skip the associated costs. For example:
- You don’t need to do repairs or touch-ups
- You don’t need professional photos or videos
- You don’t need to stage your home
- You don’t pay any commission fees
- You don’t pay any closing costs
- You don’t pay for inspections or appraisals
This keeps thousands or even scores of thousands of dollars in your pocket.
Selling to a cash house buyer offers other benefits, as well. For example, selling to us at Kind House Buyers would result in a much faster sale than a traditional sale.
Since you avoid showings and inspections and don’t have to wait for buyers to secure financing, you can sell your home to a cash buyer in as little as two to three weeks. Traditional sales, by contrast, tend to take up to two months to complete.
Selling to a cash buyer also enables you to skip the hassles involved in selling a home. It allows you to avoid the fuss and strains of having strangers walk through your home, such as the need to:
- Remove pets from the property during showings
- Be off-property yourself during showings
- Keep your home spotlessly clean and perfectly staged for weeks at a time
- Put away personal items and secure valuables before each showing
- Rearrange your schedule to accommodate showings
Even better, cash home buyers buy houses that would be difficult to sell traditionally.
A Solution for Challenging Houses
Some houses are challenging to sell via the traditional process. Examples include homes:
- With title or lien issues
- With mold problems
- With code violations or that need repairs
- Where homeowners are behind on the mortgage or have other financial issues
- Inherited by heirs who do not want or cannot use them
- Located too far from the owner’s current living situation to sell easily
In all of these cases, the hazards, costs, and inconveniences of the traditional real estate process are compounded. Investment companies, however, are familiar and comfortable with such cases. They can simplify sellers’ positions by paying cash for homes no matter what their conditions.
This puts a fast, easy, and stress-free sale within reach for everyone.
Don’t Hire a Realtor and Keep Your Money!
How much do realtors charge to sell a house? As much as 12 percent of the final selling price, when all is said and done! But you do have other choices.
Get in touch with us today and discover how easy and cost-effective it can be to sell your home directly to a cash home buyer.