What is the cost of selling a house in 2023?
If you're embarking on the journey of selling a property, you'll already be aware that the process costs money. But sometimes, we aren't aware of how much it really costs to sell a house. While some selling costs like agent commissions and conveyancing fees are generally expected, there are other costs along the way that you might not be aware of.
Some costs are considered unavoidable, while others are voluntary costs to increase ROI, which can be worth paying for. So what are all the costs involved in selling a property? Let's take a look.
The expected or ‘unavoidable’ costs of selling a house
Arguably, you can try to sell your house yourself. This can backfire, though.
Real estate agents are professionals and know how to reach more buyers and fetch the best price for your home. Unless someone walks up to your door and offers you a ridiculous amount for your property, we highly recommend that the cost of a high-performing local real estate agent should be included in your list of unavoidable costs.
The standard costs associated with selling a house can include:
- Your agent's commission
- Marketing fees
- Search costs
- Discharge of mortgage (in many instances)
- Rates and taxes after settlement
- Conveyancer's fees
- Moving costs
You may not have to pay all these costs, but you will have to pay most of them. One of your highest costs will be your agent's commission.
Helpful resource: Get a suburb profile for any suburb in Australia
How are commission rates calculated and how do they work?
Real estate commission rates aren't regulated and are set by individual agents. This means they can vary from suburb to suburb, as well as between agents within a suburb. While the difference between 2.0% and 2.5% may seem small, take the time to work it out and the difference could be thousands of dollars or more.
There are two main types of commissions: fixed and tiered. Fixed commissions are the most common, and are calculated by multiplying the sale price by the commission rate. If your home sells for $400,000 you might pay:
- $8000 at a rate of 2 percent
- $12,000 at a 3 percent commission rate
- $13,000 at 3.25 percent
A tiered commission rate, on the other hand, is designed to get the most out of your real estate agent, and work for a higher sale price. How? By dangling the promise of a higher commission rate above a set sale price. This is also known as a "commission accelerator".
If you think you can get $830,000 for your home, you could agree on a rate of 2.0% for any price under $830,000 and a higher rate of 6% kicking in on any amount above $830,000.
How much does stamp duty cost?
If you're purchasing a property, you'll be up for stamp duty. Stamp duty can cost more than the commission you pay your real estate agent, but it depends on where you live. If you buy your home for $400,000, you might pay:
- Over $16,000 in Victoria or the Northern Territory
- $13,000 to $14,000 in New South Wales, Western Australia or Tasmania
- In Queensland, you might only pay $7200
Depending on your location, commission and stamp duty can cost between $15,000 to up to $29,000 for a $400,000 home. Add the other unavoidable costs to the equation and it becomes clear that you want to do your utmost best to get the highest possible price for your property.
Yes, you will pay a higher commission, but that is only a small percentage of your selling price, and using a qualified and experienced agent means you have a better chance of fetching a higher sales price.
Voluntary costs of selling a house
Voluntary costs are sometimes called "hidden costs." They're costs you don't think about when you put your house on the market. However, they're costs that can actually pay big dividends. So what are these voluntary or "hidden costs"?
- House cleaning
- Repairs to your home
- Interior and exterior painting
- Small renovations, such as cosmetic bathroom or kitchen upgrades - but be careful not to overcapitalise
- Garden maintenance for curb appeal, and sprucing up any outdoor space
- Home staging is an increasingly popular option that can increase the selling price of your home
What are the costs of pre-sale repairs when selling a house?
If your gutters are rusty and your fence is leaning over, buyers will notice. They will think you haven't maintained your home and may not even make an offer. If they do, it will be because they are looking for a renovator's bargain. Repairs don't cost a fortune but can add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your home.
Does your exterior need painting? If paint is chipping off, it may. If it's just dirty, a pressure cleaning service may be all you need. They will be much less expensive and you should consider having the service clean your driveway, patio and pavements while they're at it.
Inside, you may want to paint dark coloured walls a lighter colour to make your home feel larger and lighter. It can be a DIY project, but consider hiring a professional painter. This is especially true if you are time poor and not handy.
You can get a ballpark estimate of how much these value-add items may cost by using our Selling Costs Calculator.
Read more: How to boost your home's street appeal
Renovating a kitchen and bathroom before selling
Kitchen renovations can be the most expensive but pay the highest dividends. Buyers are looking for a clean, functioning kitchen they feel they can work in as soon as they move in.
If your kitchen is in decent condition, you can clean it and make any necessary repairs. However, if you need to renovate the kitchen, you don't have to pay for granite bench tops and European appliances. Opt for less expensive finishes and materials, like laminate which is hard-wearing and easy to install.
There are also plenty of mid-range appliance brands which are reliable and have good customer service and plenty of spare parts on hand.
And don't overlook your bathroom, either. A bathroom renovation is one of the most effective ways to increase the value of your property. If you're looking for some cost-saving cosmetic improvements, things like changing out a vanity, old toilet and some fixtures can make the world of difference and not cost too much.
Be sure, however, to hire a professional when choosing to repair your home before putting it on the market. Not only will they ensure the best possible results for your home and its prospective buyers, but they will also save you the stress of needing to do it yourself.
Garden touch-ups and curb appeal
The only buyers who will make an offer on a house that has an untidy streetscape are buyers looking for a cheap home to renovate. You can't expect to get the best price for your home if your front yard isn't presentable. Garden maintenance services aren't expensive, but a tidy garden or some landscaping can add significant value to your home.
And don't forget your backyard. After a buyer walks into your home, they will inspect your backyard. You don't want them to see a lawn full of weeds or dead plants in your garden.
Selling the dream with home staging and styling
Home staging (sometimes called home styling) has become a popular way to get your property looking its best for the market. A home stager will essentially evaluate your home and stage it appropriately with furniture and decor to a) appeal to a certain market or demographic, and b) to maximise the look and feel of the space. The idea behind the whole concept is that you are selling a dream to potential buyers, making the property look its absolute best and helping buyers to visualise themselves in the space.
While home staging does come at a cost, it can be incredibly effective at increasing buyer interest, competition, and your sale price. However, it's always advisable to consider your own personal circumstances and speak to your chosen agent about this strategy. Not all housing markets or properties will benefit, so you need to speak to an expert to understand whether it will work for you.
Cost of selling a house in Australia: a state-by-state guide
Now that we have covered all the costs you can expect to incur when selling a house, let’s take a look at what the ‘known’ costs are where you live.
The cost of selling a house in Australia varies on a local, suburb and state level. It also depends on what marketing costs you opt for, as well as how much you spend on sprucing up your property for sale.
Cost of selling a house in NSW
Cost of selling a house in VIC
Cost of selling a house in QLD
Cost of selling a house in SA
Cost of selling a house in WA
Cost of selling a house in TAS
Here is a snapshot of the average commissions and costs state-by-state, looking at urban and rural postcodes in each. Just bear in mind that these costs will vary locally and serve only as a guideline.
|State||Average Commission||Marketing costs||Auctioneer costs||Conveyancing Fees|
|NSW||2%||$600 - $10,000||$400 - $1000||$700 - $2500|
|Victoria||2%||$500 - $8000||$400 - $1000||$400 - $2000+|
|Queensland||2.4%||$600 - $2000||$200 - $1000||$500 - $2200|
|South Australia||1.99%||$400 - $5000||$200 - $1000||$500 - $2200|
|Western Australia||2.4%||$500 - $6000||$400 - $1000||$500 - $2200|
|Tasmania||2.96%||$400 - $4000||$200 - $1000||$500 - $2200|
|ACT||2%||$600 - $10,000||$200 - $1000||$500 - $2200|
Calculate the average real estate commission in your area
You can use our real estate commission calculator to work out the average real estate commission in your area. We've collected the commissions from real estate agents right across Australia to work out the average commission rate for each suburb based on your expected sale price.
Just remember that commission rates vary from one agent to the next.
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