You did it! You made the huge decision to move yourself, your stuff, and your family. Even if it is just down the street, you have a lot to get done! The reality of this big shift in your life is that it comes with expenses, and often these costs are afterthoughts that can end up taking away from your happiness and excitement.

According to a study from Zillow, the average American homeowner will spend over $18,000 in extra costs to sell. It's better to prepare for them now and tackle them as part of your moving budget. Here are the top ten hidden costs of buying or selling your home:

1) HAULING TRASH AWAY

1 Trash piles.png

You made a great go of it at your place. What a ride! And along the way, you collected. And collected. You have sold and donated as much as you can and have tax receipts in hand, but you still have junk left over. Do you haul it yourself? Have it hauled away for you? Separate it into recycling or landfill? There are so many things to consider.

The national average cost for cleaning up the trash of a home is roughly $235, depending on variables such as whether your junk contains:
 

  • Solid Waste
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Appliances (Freezer, Fridge, Washer, Dryer)
  • Furniture
  • Fluorescent Lighting
     

Prices vary from provider to provider, but this is a definite cost to budget for.

2) HOME REPAIRS

The Top Ten Hidden Costs of Buying or Selling A Home

If all you have do is pay for painting, landscaping, and general spackle, consider yourself lucky! Be prepared to make regular trips to the hardware store, or even have to contract out bigger jobs that require fixes before the deal is completed. You will find a handy list of average prices for home repairs here.

Sometimes, you think the job is done and another fix is requested, causing more costs and delays. It pays to have a solid inspection to point out issues ahead of time and... get ready for it... "nail" them sooner.

3) UTILITIES

The Top Ten Hidden Costs of Buying or Selling A Home

You'll want utilities running in the house up until the buyer's final walkthrough (and buyers, you'll want utilities on as well!). This means lights, AC, heating, and all the amenities that cost you coins per hour to keep running. Any additional fees to pay off, including bill remainders and setup/disconnect fees are something to consider.

4) CLOSING COSTS

The Top Ten Hidden Costs of Buying or Selling A Home

Closing on a home has built-in fees to the process, whether or not you hire a realtor. These costs vary from state to state and can be split between the buyer and seller. In general you can expect an average cost of about 6% of the purchase price, and sellers pay the realtor's commission (covered more below in #6).

For buyers, there is a list of closing costs considerations, including:
 

  • Escrow fees
  • Document preparation
  • Appraisal fee
  • Interest
  • Insurance
  • Origination fee
  • Tax fee
  • Recording fee
  • Notary fee
  • Credit Report fee
  • Bank processing fee


Don't let these scare you. A seasoned agent (like the realtors at The Agency Texas) will help you navigate everything as quickly and least expensive as possible.


5) HOA

The Top Ten Hidden Costs of Buying or Selling A Home


HOA resale packages can be frustrating for home sellers that think this fee should be covered in a title fee. HOA resale packages present needed documentation to the buyer so they are aware and have full disclosure of the HOA's rules, regulations, and the HOA's financials. Buyers need to be fully aware of HOA rules, they may not even want to buy the home if the rules restrict them from the freedoms they want in what they can do to their property.

The HOA fee is required in order for the title or escrow company to verify the HOA is paid for any assessments, dues, or fees the seller may still owe.

6) REALTOR COMMISSIONS

The Top Ten Hidden Costs of Buying or Selling A Home

There is a running thought that by working directly with the buyer, a seller can avoid paying realtor commissions. While "FOR SALE BY OWNER" is possible, navigating the entire process alone is not for everyone. The typical commission is 6 percent, split by the agent for the buyer and the agent for a seller at 3 percent each. One way to save on commissions is to hold out for a higher asking price to make up for the cost, but in reality every seller should expect to pay a commission around that rate, unless you can negotiate a lower rate and ask multiple real estate agents to bid and compete for your business.

7) STAGING

The Top Ten Hidden Costs of Buying or Selling A Home

Staging isn't for everyone, but there is enough evidence to show that you can sell your home faster by leaving it decorated after you move out. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than nonstaged ones! The hidden cost? A 2,000-square-foot home could cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month, with most staging companies requiring a three-month contract.

8) TITLE INSURANCE & FEES

The top ten hidden costs of buying or selling a home

Title insurance is an unavoidable cost in your home sale and transaction. The average cost of title insurance is $1,000 per policy, but that amount varies widely from state to state and depends on the price of your home. A one-time payment is made when or before you close on your house, and it exists to protect you and the mortgage lender.

In Texas, the Title insurance is a fixed fee, you can see those rates here.

9) SELLER CONCESSIONS

The Top Ten Hidden Costs of Buying or Selling A Home

So, what IS a seller's concession? Basically, it's a seller helping pay for your closing costs, to either get the deal done or perhaps someone helped them out before as well. The great news is a conventional loan allows anywhere from two to nine percent of your new home’s sales price in seller concessions, which means if you can wheel and deal, both parties win and achieve their money goals. This article includes a handy chart on what sellers can help buyers pay for.

10) PROTECTION

top ten hidden costs of buying or selling a house

Lastly, don't forget that on top of just about every kind of rental (trucks, equipment, etc.), there are additional insurance and protection fees you may consider purchasing. Returning a broken hammer gun or dented truck.
 

Of course there are more hidden costs and fees that we may not have covered in this article, so the take away is to plan plan plan and save from last-minute rush costs that you didn't anticipate.
 

If you are ready to find your new dream home, we can help you dream FASTER with our advanced home search site, updated in real-time with the freshest market listings. Cheers!