The cost to sell real estate?

Not a simple question

This is the number one question asked by sellers. There is no simple answer because there are many issues that need to be resolved before you sell your property.

A Selling Cost Calculator can answer commission and stamp duty fees and the legal and removalist fees are also a phone call away. However, there are other costs that you may need to consider as well as your opportunity costs.

Preparing your home for sale

When you sell property, it is often personal. Your attachments, memories, style and opinion often clash when meeting the market. You need to remember you are not buying it. You need a buyer to value your home and the buyers come with a more clinical perspective.

The agent’s job is to inform you of what the buyers’ value and that can range from proximity to schools to the size of the lot. You need to give them what they want not what you think they want. So, replace personal attachment with the desire to achieve an optimum price. This is what all successful products and services do. Ask whether you buy stuff because companies are selling from a company’s heart or is it because they are giving you what you want?

Before you sell meet the market

Agents contest that the presentation of a property has the most significant impact on buyers -from beautiful to horrendous. Arguably due to the costs incurred or saved. As a seller if you are competing with properties that are well presented and reflect contemporary standards you must meet that market. Conversely, you may not need to rely on aesthetics if your property is a land value offering. You should always ask agents… What do buyers want from a property, a street and a suburb? This will determine the balance of your costs.  Below is a percentage allocation to those potential expenses – depending on current property condition.

Common pre-listing expenses Typical % of sale price
Home improvements/cleaning Variable – expect min. of 1%
Landscaping 1% of sale price
Staging 0.3% of sale price


Selling a property is stressful and ironically attaching personal sentiment increases the stress. Opportunity cost simply put is what you have to give up to buy what you want. People miss opportunities because they ignore opportunity costs. So, don’t just ask how much does it cost to sell my house ask… What opportunities will I miss if I don’t make objective calculations based on market intelligence?