Your Comprehensive Cost List for Selling
1. Home Preparation and Staging
In real estate, first impressions are everything. In a hot market, there are many buyers that only get to see a home once at an open house before they put an offer on it. Many buyers are seeing 10-12 homes on average per showing day, which means you have to stand out from the crowd. Sprucing up the home before you take photos of it will help to ensure that it shows great both online and in person. Home preparation and staging will make all the difference when it comes selling for top dollar, and the majority of sellers need to invest both time and money into home preparation:
- Painting (interior, exterior, or both)
- Professional cleaning
- Gardening & landscaping
- Renovations if necessary
- Storage locker for extra stuff
- Staging – from light primping and fluffing to full-on professional staging
Pro tip: talk to a trusted real estate adviser before renovating your home for sale. They’ll know what the best ROI is from room to room.
2. Pre-Listing Home Inspection
A pre-listing home inspection is a great idea in a tough market like this. It will give you leverage as a seller, and an opportunity to fix a number of issues that come up in a home inspection prior to listing your home for sale. If you receive an offer that is subject to a receiving and approving a home inspection, you’ll already have an idea of what the inspector will uncover and what concerns the buyer may have. This will cost anywhere between $300-$800 depending on the size of your house, and may be an included service by your realtor.
3. Strata Documents (for Condos/Townhomes)
Strata documents are something that the buyers of your strata property are going to want to review at some point during the offer process. It is within your best interests to have these documents ready sooner rather than later, because if a buyer can review them in advance then it is more likely that you’ll receive a subject free offer. This is an order that you’ll need to place with the property management company and can cost anywhere from $30-$250 depending on if it’s a rush order or not.
4. Real Estate Commissions
Real Estate commissions and the cost of these commissions is often the largest expense for most sellers. However when calculating the cost of selling a house in BC it is important to look at which option will give you the most profit. In the Greater Vancouver area, there are a variety of services and commission options to choose from, and with over 14,000 realtors to choose from each will offer a differing experience, set of skills, inclusions, and results.
When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, the commission you pay is generally split four ways:
- the agent who works for you, the Seller (aka the Listing Agent)
- the Listing Agent’s brokerage
- the agent who brings the Buyer (aka the Buyer’s Agent)
- the Buyer’s Agent’s brokerage
Discount agents and brokerage don’t include many services, and as a result their marketing and online presence does not create the same first-impression as full service brokers. Full service agents will most likely pay for professional photography, videography, virtual tours, floor plans, online marketing and facebook ads, print marketing, full colour flyers, professional cleaning, pre-listing home inspections, staging, and more.
Realtors in the Greater Vancouver area will typically charge anywhere from 1-4% to list a home for sale, and this amount depends on the agent’s experience and results, included services like staging and professional photography, and the amount offered to the agent who brings the buyer.
Of course there is always the least expensive option, which is to sell your home yourself without the help of a professional real estate agent. This is also known as the For Sale By Owner (FSBO), and requires that the seller has an excellent grasp on the real estate process, real estate contracts, determining market value, and experience in sales and marketing. While some are successful in selling their homes on their own [typically past realtors, developers, or builders], others spend many frustrating months on the market with little action and end up hiring a realtor.
5. Legal (Notary/Lawyer) Fees
Every transaction that happens in real estate requires legal representation, whether it’s a notary or a lawyer you’ll need to choose someone to assist you with completion. If you are buying and selling, it is best to keep the same notary or lawyer for both transactions. They will be the ones to draft up a statement of adjustments for you, in which you will know how much money is due upon completion and what the exact closing costs are to complete. In the case that something goes wrong, they will be your representation to ensure things are smoothed out.
For a sale only you’re looking at about $660-$950, and if you’re also looking to purchase you’re looking at about an additional $950-$1400. Keep in mind that with these notary and lawyer prices they are very much subject to your situation and the complexity of your transaction.
6. Mortgage Discharge
When you sell your home, depending on your mortgage agreement and the fine print, your lender may charge you a penalty if you sell the home during the mortgage period. Most traditional lenders will allow you to apply the remaining mortgage balance to the mortgage of your new property (provided that it is purchased within a certain ‘recent’ time after closing). If you’re only selling and not purchasing, then you will most likely have to pay a pre-payment penalty which can often amount to thousands of dollars. To estimate how much this is, you’ll want to talk to your lender or mortgage professional before you list your home for sale so that you have a full understanding of the discharge details regarding your mortgage.
7. Other Costs to Sell
When selling your property in BC, there are additional tidbits below that you’ll want to consider as well:
- move in move out fees [if strata – typically $50-$200]
- moving truck
- pet boarding costs [in case your pets need a place to be temporarily]
- extra keys cut or fobs purchased for your realtor and/or possession