Selling Costs. Do You Really Know?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Consultants Realty 2003013006

 Typically, a home owner has it in their mind that the cost to sell their home on their own is $0 and with an agent is 6%.  There are many misconceptions, especially on line, about what happens in the real world of successful home sales.  It's just not as easy and simple as you may think like selling a car or something on Craigslist. Home owners do your homework! Whether it's free internet postings or limited service or a "discount", remember the old and wise saying "you get what you pay for". This is your biggest investment you are dealing with.   Even selling by owner, there are costs. 3-4% is what you can count on. Why?


Taxapalooza!  Property taxes are pro-rated and credited to a home buyer. Why? Our local counties bill property taxes in arrears. This means that when you receive your property tax bills every six months, they are for the year before. You will need to credit a buyer for unbilled property taxes up until the date you close on your home.  Conveyance taxes are typically charged by the county as well. These are in addition to your property taxes and are due to convey the title to the new owner. In Union county, they are currently $2 per thousand in the sale.


Titlemania!  Closing and transfer fees from a title company. Whether your buyer has cash or a loan, until the deed is recorded in the new owners name, you are still on public record as the owner. This is why there is so much confusion with "lease/purchase" or "rent to own" arrangements. Locally, any current mortgage loan or unpaid taxes must be brought to zero balances and current for the ownership to change hands and be recorded. A land contract can be recorded, but the ownership and deed do not transfer until the payoff is complete.


Can you try to get a buyer to pay all of your expenses to sell? Sure. But many buyers have been reading on line as well and are savvy to what are typical seller expenses. In fact, a title company may have you coming in to closing expecting that you know what expenses you have in selling.  The buyers loan officer typically is not going to include sellers closing costs with the closing costs they quote to a buyer.


The devil is in the details. And details. And details. . .Agents are paid to market, to negotiate, then to get your home thru the proper process and resources so that a timely closing is complete. If you are trying to sell by owner, you should seek the assistance of a real estate attorney to be sure all closing paperwork is done correctly. Remember it is not an overnight process, and typically, even in a fast market, an agent is going to dedicated many hours over 3-4 months to get the job done.   And the most difficult part is from contract to closing.


Let the buyer beware.. and be aware!  For buyers of by owner properties, the same applies. Seek legal council if you choose not to get the assistance of a licensed realtor. Not all attorneys deal with home sales, pick one that currently handles real estate closings and knows the ins and outs. You should ask the seller to provide proper disclosure about the property condition. The state of Ohio provides forms for this. In a typical real estate transaction here locally involving an agent, buyers are advised strongly to thoroughly inspect the home they are purchasing with inspection professionals. Major repairs can be costly. The buyer should do all that they can to educate themselves on all of the details about what they are purchasing. 


A seller refusing or discouraging a home inspection could be a red flag that there are some real problems with a property.  Skipping a professional home inspection can be very expensive (think heating/AC systems, roof, attic, foundation, well/septic, etc).  Keep in mind not all home sellers are skipping a real estate agent just because they want to save a few bucks.  Some may be aware of problems with their home that they hope are overlooked by an anxious buyer ready to skip the details and close.  AND Buyers should definitely check several resources for their mortgage loan if they require one and know what they can expect as far as costs to buy.


Emotions Galore!  So many stories I hear about real estate nightmares. I could write a book on those alone. Most of the time after listening, I can pinpoint the issue to either lack of knowledge (missing a step) or lack of communication. Sometimes I am hearing where nothing was in writing or when it was, something was missed.  And later people are coming back and trying to change the arrangement late in the game.  Some examples are, "the buyer needs closing costs to get their loan approved" or "the seller  needs a higher price in order to pay off all liens on the property."   Where you live and making a move is typically and emotional time for anyone.  Add in details of a transaction that none of the parties do often, and you can have a real pressure cooker.  If one party would have just called one good agent to lead the way, so much stress and fear of the unknown could be avoided completely.


There are black and white reasons real estate agents are in business. (Just like there are purpose and reasons for other jobs such as engineering, teaching, legal, plumbing, electrical, etc.  None of which I would attempt without hiring a professional, by the way).  Selling or buying a property is a big decision, a big commitment, and a process.   You deserve the proper representation from an experienced professional to ensure all of the details are done properly.  Home ownership, or selling a home,  is generally something you do only a few times in your life.


I wish you well in your quest to sell or buy, and hope you make educated decisions in your own best interest for a smooth sale. If you find that you need an agent and are in my area, feel free to give me a call. For more information about your home sale or search, contact for a free no obligation consultation:  Vicki Workman, Keller Williams Consultants Realty, 614-440-5174, visit or  Email:   Servicing Central Ohio since 2003, member CBR President’s 25 Million Club, ABR, CRS, GRI, E-Pro. 


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