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How much does it cost to sell a home in Brooklyn?

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a Home?

When you’re thinking about selling your home, it can be easy to quickly get overwhelmed by all the unknowns. Not only is the process time-consuming, it can be expensive too—and riddled with surprise costs homeowners might not expect. So before you check the Zestimate, pull the comps, or pull up your calculator app to run numbers on how much your investment has appreciated, we want to make sure you know what you’re in for. 

How much does it cost to sell a home in New York City?

Most sellers are prepared for the concept of the closing costs, even if they don’t yet know exact amounts, but some of the costs sellers tend to mentally gloss over are the ones associated with preparing the home for sale, storing or relocating your possessions, and the possible need for concessions offered to the buyer.

If you’d like to know more about closing costs, we have some in depth resources to offer below that are geared specifically to life in NYC:

Short on time? Here’s a quick breakdown of common selling costs

  • Home preparation (including professional cleaning or staging, plus needed repairs)
  • Vacating the home (do your dates correspond with your buyers’? Will you need to rent short-term housing?
  • Any seller concessions you’ll have to make
  • Real estate fees like payoff costs, taxes, or penalties 

Looking for a more in-depth breakdown of selling costs? Read on

Costs associated with selling a house: Home preparations

While not the typical closing costs, these are some of the contributing costs to sell a house:

  • Cleaning: You want to make a great first impression on buyers so consider investing in a professional deep clean. Don’t forget things you may be blind (or, in some cases, nose-blind) to, like deep cleaning carpets and cleaning interior and exterior windows.
  • Staging: Buyers like to see a home staged. It’s that simple. (And no, digital staging usually doesn’t cut it unless you have no other options). 48% of buyers consider seeing a staged home anywhere from “somewhat” to “extremely” important. While staging may encompass many things, at a bare minimum, you should declutter, arrange furniture to make the most of the space, and remove personal belongings. A fresh doormat and flowers on the counter can go a long way. Lay off heavy scents and now’s as good a time as any to break out the guest towels. 
  • Landscaping: This one’s tricky in Brooklyn, where many people live in co-ops and condos and have little control over the grounds. Just do the best you can. If you are a single-family seller, consider your curb appeal. Maybe invest in a landscaping service and tackle any small repair or paint jobs that can make your place look sad. 
  • Home improvements: There are two primary types of home improvements you might undertake before listing: repairing or replacing old systems (roof, furnace, windows, etc.), and upgrades that could up your sales price. Ask your agent for their recommendation on what buyers in your specific area are looking for. You won’t be alone; a whopping 79% of sellers do some form of home improvement.
  • Professional photos: Real estate is competitive in New York City and photos of your place are not the time to skimp on paying a pro. Yes, your iPhone may have amazing resolution but it’s best to let someone with a fresh eye (and stellar lighting skills) take the reins. If you have a full-service agent, they might cover this cost for you.
  • Marketing costs: The vast majority of these costs are likely covered by your real estate agent if you are engaging one. For those who want to go it alone, know that these small costs add up quickly.
  • Pre-inspection: A pre-inspection is optional, but if you choose to do one before listing, you’ll know ahead of time about any major issues that need to be addressed, which can save a lot of negotiating with potential buyers down the road. Think of it as an investment in your future profit. Pay a few hundred bucks for a pre-inspectio nand you’ll be prepared to properly price and negotiate (and fix any issues if you want to).

Home selling expenses: getting out of Dodge

You might not think of the costs of moving and storage as associated with selling your home, but you should. 

  • Temporary housing: If you’re selling one home and buying another, it’s almost impossible to time the transactions perfectly. Most sellers typically have a 6-week or so overlap when they’re still paying their existing mortgage, plus rental housing costs.
  • Utilities: You’ll be leaving these on for showings and open houses, of course. Your final utility bills should be prorated as of the date of sale.
  • Moving costs: Moving expenses can vary dramatically based on the size of your home, how many belongings you have, and how far you’re moving. Here are some recent rate checks we’ve done
  • Homeowners insurance for vacant property: If your home is going to be vacant for any period of time, it’s important to talk to your agent about adding a rider to cover that period.

Common home seller concessions

It’s rare that you receive the perfect offer and can close without making any concessions to the buyer so be prepared for some of these to come up:

  • Post-inspection repairs: Rarely does an inspection report come back perfect, so it’s common for buyers to request repairs from sellers. A common concession is for sellers often either lower the sale price so the buyers can make the repairs themselves, or have the repairs completed as a condition of sale.
  • Home warranty for buyer: As a way to sweeten the deal for potential buyers, sellers sometimes cover the cost of a home warranty. Not only can it make your home stand out from others on the market, but it can increase a buyer’s confidence in your property. A one-year home warranty can cost $300-$500, depending on coverage.
  • Credits toward closing costs: Another concession buyers often request is that the seller cover all or part of the buyer’s closing costs, which effectively minimizes the amount of cash a buyer needs to bring to the closing. For the seller, this cost comes out of the profit you’ll make on the home on closing.

Typical closing costs for sellers

We’ve covered the basics with links above, but here’s some more in-depth information.

  • Agent commission: The majority of your closing costs come from paying commission to real estate agents. It’s typical that the seller pays both 3 percent to their own agent and 3 percent to the buyer’s agent. You can sometimes negotiate down your own agent’s commission, or consider using a discount agent, who offers limited services in exchange for a lower cut.
  • Transfer tax: Also known as a government transfer tax or title fee, this amount varies widely due to varying tax rates by state and the sale price of the home.
  • Title insurance: Sellers are also typically required to pay for a title insurance policy for buyers. Costs can be in the $1,000-$4,000 range, and come out of your net profits on the deal on closing.
  • Escrow fees: Buyers and sellers typically split the cost of escrow services (the third-party company that handles the disbursement of funds in the sale), which can run $500-$2,000, and can also include extra line items for office expenses, transfer fees, and notary services.
  • Prorated property taxes: You’re responsible for the property taxes on your home up until the day of closing, so you’ll see a prorated charge on your settlement statement.
  • HOA fees: Similar to property taxes, if you live in a community with a homeowner’s association, you’ll also be required to pay your dues, prorated up to the close date. There also may be a fee for the transfer of ownership.
  • Attorney fees: If you use the services of an attorney in your transaction (which is required in some states), you’ll have to pay them on closing, too.

Real estate fees: Loan payoff, taxes, and penalties

Once the closing costs are settled, it’s not all profit. There are still a few more costs of selling a house that you need to be aware of:

  • Outstanding mortgage balance: If you’re still paying a mortgage on the home, part of the closing process will include paying off the balance of your mortgage, prorated to the date of sale. You’ll want to check with your mortgage company to see if there is a prepayment penalty as well.
  • Capital gains tax: Here’s a cost to sell a house that’s often overlooked — until tax time. If you’ve lived in the home for at least two of the last five years, you’ll get a tax break on the profit you make on the sale, up to $250,000 if you’re single or married filing separately, or $500,000 if you’re married, filing jointly. If you think you’re going to be subject to capital gains taxes, either because you’ve profited more than the set amount, or because you’ve lived in the home for less than two years, ask your tax professional about subtracting the costs of preparing the home for sale from your profits.

 

WORKSHEET: USE THE COLUMNS BELOW WITH YOUR VALUES TO GET A GUESSTIMATE OF YOUR SALE TRANSACTION COSTS

Home sale transaction math

Let’s use a $200,000 home as an example. Say you purchased the home five years ago, putting 10 percent down (that’s $20,000). Now you’re able to sell the house for $220,000, thanks to appreciation and home improvements you’ve made. Here’s an estimate of what your costs might be:

Original purchase price

$200,000

10% down payment

$20,000

Loan amount

$180,000

Current mortgage balance

$165,000

Most likely transaction costs

Home preparations

$5,000  includes common updates like staging, carpet cleaning, and landscaping)

Commissions

$13,200 (assuming 6%)

Transfer tax

Varies widely by location

Prorated property tax

Varies widely by location

Utilities

$258 (1.5 months of utilities, based on average monthly utilities from the US Department of Energy)

Escrow

$1,000 (seller’s half)

Title insurance

$1,000-$4,000

Sum of most likely costs

$20,458-$23,458

Possible transaction costs

Buyer concessions offered during negotiation

$2,200 (1% of the sale price, on average)

Optional pre-inspection

$250-700 (depending on the size of the home)

HOA fees

$200-$400 (estimated based on paying 1.5 months of dues, plus transfer fee)

Attorney fees

$500-$1,500

Temporary housing

$2,000 (1.5 months at the U.S. average rent of $1,442 a month)

Sum of possible costs

$5,150-$6,800

Total costs of selling a home

Sale price

$220,000

Current mortgage balance

-$165,000

Equity (sale price minus loan balance)

= $55,000

Most likely transaction costs

-$20,458-$23,458

Possible transaction costs

-$5,150-$6,800

Net proceeds

$24,742-$29,392

Transaction Costs

44-53% of equity spent on the transaction



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