Owners will spend almost $21,000 to sell their home in 2019, Zillow says

Mortgage

Homeowners in the U.S. will spend an average $20,851 to sell in 2019, according to a report released Tuesday from Zillow. That includes real estate commissions, taxes and projects such as painting and landscaping to prepare for listing.

The total transaction expense will include an average $14,281 in agent commissions and transfer taxes, according to the report. Those are based on sale price, and will range from about $76,015 in San Jose, California, one of the nation’s priciest markets, to about $9,046 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Some of the other markets covered by the report included San Francisco, where sellers will spend an average $58,534 this year just for commissions and transfer taxes; Philadelphia, where the average will be $16,296; Chicago, at $13,825; Dallas, Texas, at $14,580; and Boston, at $30,085.

On top of that, owners this year will spend an average $6,570 in home improvements, according to Zillow. Again, there’s a range: Sellers in Sacramento, California, will spend an average of about $7,800 for projects like landscaping, carpet cleaning and painting. In Phoenix, they’ll spend about $4,000.

“Selling is often a complicated process that can sometimes require extensive prep work in order to put your best foot forward for a successful sale,” Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research, said in the report.

Eight out of 10 sellers will complete at least one project before putting their homes on the market, according to the report. And, it seems to pay off: 22% of owners who paid for improvements will probably sell their properties for above asking price, compared with 16% who don’t, the Zillow report said. The home-improvement numbers were estimated using data from Thumbtack, a site that matches service providers with homeowners.

“Sellers should remember that by taking care of these projects they can get a really strong return on their investment and may be more likely to sell their home for the highest possible price,” said Lucas Puente, an economist at Thumbtack, based in San Francisco.

The national average cost of preparing a home for sale includes:

  • Exterior painting: $2,600
  • Interior painting: $1,245
  • Home staging: $1,805
  • Full-service lawn care: $145
  • Carpet cleaning: $140

The report didn’t include closing costs, such as title insurance fees, or the cost of points to lower mortgage interest rates, Zillow said.

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