Costs to Sell a House in Philadelphia

Photo of Downtown Philadelphia

Are you looking to complete a home sale in Philadelphia? Homeowners looking to sell will find out they have to face many costs associated with the house selling process. So, how much does it cost to sell a house?

You will have to cover:

  • The real estate attorney fees
  • The real estate agent commission costs
  • The sellers closing costs
  • The transfer taxes and the capital gains tax
  • Title insurance fees
  • The costs of home improvements

Below, you will learn all about the home selling costs of a real estate transaction. Are you ready to get started? Then read on to find out about the average cost of a house sale in Philadelphia.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House

The first cost you should understand is the 5 or 6 percent of the home’s sale price to cover the commission fees of the realtor. The seller’s agent commission fees are the biggest cost the home seller will need to pay off. For instance, if you sell a house for $300,000, you can expect to pay commission fees anywhere from $15,000 to $18,000.

The commission fees are usually divided between the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent. The seller usually covers the entire cost, but you can negotiate with the realtor to reduce the commission fees. Usually, the listing agent is willing to take a lower commission if the local housing market holds strong, the home should sell quickly, or the home value is rather high. 

You can try to sell your home without using a real estate agent and sell it through a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) process. However, by doing so, you risk selling your home for a much lower purchase price, as realtors help sellers get a much better profit.

Along with commission fees, you will also need to cover the costs of real estate attorney fees, transfer taxes, and other fees. These costs will reach anywhere from 2 to 4 percent of the final home sale price. As such, you may end up spending up to $12,000 to cover these costs if you sell your real estate property for $300,000.

Sellers are also responsible for some closing costs besides a buyer’s closing costs, which often include property taxes, HOA fees, title insurance, and transfer taxes. You may also face an escrow fee, a courier cost, and a brokerage fee. You will also need to cover the fees of a real estate attorney once you close on the home sale. 

Lastly, you should pay for a home inspection before putting your house on the real estate market. Any issues the home inspector finds need to get resolved. As such, you’ll need to cover the costs of home repairs. You may also want to pay for landscaping work to improve your home’s curb appeal and attract more home buyers. 

Once you have found a home buyer and closed on the house, you will need to cover the rest of the loan amount from your mortgage company. Therefore, you’ll need to complete your mortgage payoff amount, and you’ll need to pay these basic fees when attempting to sell a home in Pennsylvania, Florida, or elsewhere.

Average Cost To Sell a House

Understanding the costs of selling a real estate property is essential to ensure you can complete a home sale while still making a profit. 

The average costs to sell a house include 5 or 6 percent of the home sale price to cover the commission fees and about 3 percent to cover closing costs. However, you will also need to pay for other costs, such as pre-inspections, professional cleaning, home repairs, landscaping, and home staging before showings.

For example, pre-inspections cost around $300 to $500. Professional deep cleaning costs an average of $200 to $400. The cleaning costs will depend on the square footage of your home. The average costs of home improvements and repairs can land you around an average of $4,000. As for landscaping work, expect to pay an average of $145.    

When staging the home, if you are mostly looking for decluttering and organizing services, you can expect to pay about $800. However, if you’re looking for maximum staging services, you may end up spending as much as $2,000 on average.

You will also need to cover the costs of professional photography so that beautiful photos will end up on Zillow, Redfin, and other real estate property sale websites. The average professional photography costs are around $200. 

You may think you can take your own photos, but the cost of professional photography is often worthwhile. When taken by a professional photographer, your house will look its best and more attractive to the viewer.

If you have already moved out of the home you’re trying to sell, you will still need to pay for utilities there, as no home buyer likes to view a property without working lights, heat or air conditioning, and other forms of electricity. As such, ensure you pay the utilities until you sell the home. According to Energy Star, the average cost of a typical utility bill is $171.

Home buyers also prefer to have a home warranty in place before moving in. As such, the seller may want to purchase a one-year home warranty. Depending on your location, the warranty can cost an average of $350 to $600. 

A few other costs include the capital gains tax, the title search, and other closing costs. The title search commonly costs around $200 to $400. 

Furthermore, you will have to pay for your moving costs, which can cost around $2,300 when moving locally or as much as $4,300 when moving more than 100 miles away. Lastly, you’ll need to complete your mortgage payoff after closing.

So, once you’ve sold your home, you can expect to spend about 15 percent of your house selling price to cover all these costs.

Repairs and Renovation Costs

A Philadelphia homeowner repainting her home before selling

There are specific house repairs to do before selling a house that you must complete. However, you’ll find other renovations unnecessary, as they will not increase your home’s value. 

Too many home sellers put their money into home renovations that end up not increasing their final home sale price. Are you in the midst of a seller’s market? If the housing market is strong for sellers, you don’t need to spend nearly as much time repairing and renovating your property.

You should also ask your realtor for a comparative marketing analysis to see how much money you can sell your place for. Next, try to figure out your return on investment (ROI) for specific room remodels and renovations. 

For instance, you will find that a minor kitchen remodel can add as much as $18,000 to the final sale price of your home. Do you have an old garage door? If so, you can replace it and add about $3,000 to your home’s value. 

Talk to your real estate agent to determine what type of renovations and repairs will help you sell your home more quickly and at a higher value.

When deciding which rooms to renovate, you should keep in mind that both kitchen and bathroom remodels bring you the highest ROI once you sell your place. A few other renovations that can add significant value to your home include:

  • Replacing your front door with a steel door
  • Building a deck for the backyard
  • Replacing old windows
  • Repairing siding with vinyl or fiber-cement siding

If you do not have many funds to handle major renovations like these, you will still need to perform the bare minimum to attract home buyers. That usually includes carpet cleaning, interior and exterior painting, and landscaping. According to Zillow, these home improvement projects cost an average of $4,130.

On average, carpet cleaning costs $140, exterior painting services cost $2,600, and interior painting can reach $1,245. Landscaping fees can land you around $145, but it could be more or less, depending on the size of your lawn and yard.

You will also find that cleaning costs can reach $160 while staging costs can go up as high as $1,805 on average. 

Costs When Selling a House

A few other costs you will need to add to your home selling budget include:

  • Marketing costs
  • Legal costs
  • Moving fees
  • Capital gains tax
  • Council and strata rates

You will need to pay for digital marketing services and print marketing. For example, digital marketing can include professional photography, digital brochures, online real estate listings, and social media campaigns/posts. Print marketing can involve signs added in front of the property, magazine and newspaper advertisements, brochures, and professional copywriting.

You will also need to pay for legal costs, which go beyond hiring a real estate attorney. You will also need to cover the fees of licensed conveyancers and solicitors. These professionals are responsible for transferring the legal ownership of the house from the seller to the buyer.

Moving costs are often at a fixed price, but you can also pay a moving company on an hourly basis. For example, a local move for only a one-bedroom apartment tends to cost only around $200, while a local move for a large four-bedroom house can cost you as much as $2,000 or more in moving costs.

The capital gains tax is the tax you’ll need to pay on the profit you gained from your home sale or any assets you sell. Furthermore, when selling a house, you may find that you have outstanding council and strata fees you must pay off before legally completing a sale. 

Usually, you need to cover these fees every quarter. Once you complete the sale, you may have a month or more of outstanding council and strata fees.

Avoidable Costs When Selling a House

There are specific avoidable costs you can forego when selling a house in Philadelphia. For instance, if you decide to sell your place without the help of a realtor and sell it as For Sale By Owner, you will not need to pay any commission fees.

You may also want to seek out real estate investors and cash home buyers who are willing to buy your place in its as-is condition. That way, you won’t need to pay for any renovations or home repairs. If your home needs tons of work done, selling as-is might end up being the best option.

Is the entire electrical system broken? Do you have holes in the walls? Does every faucet leak? If so, the amount of money to repair the place will be very high, and you may benefit from selling the property in its as-is condition. 

In that case, you can price the home low enough to get multiple bids from house flippers and cash home buyers. 

Plumbing and electrical work often cost $150 or more per hour. Permits for home improvement projects can also cost an extra $1,000. As such, selling your home as-is can save you plenty of money.

However, most potential buyers prefer to purchase a move-in-ready home that does not need major renovations. So if your place only needs minor improvements and new paint, you probably shouldn’t forgo those costs before putting the house on the real estate market.


Were you wondering, “how much does it cost to sell a house?” After reading through the guide above, you should now understand the total cost of a home sale, such as the fees of home staging, realtor fees, seller concessions, and the costs of renovations. 

However, you can bypass many of these fees if you sell as an FSBO and work directly with a cash home buyer. That way, you won’t need to cover real estate agent commission fees, real estate attorney fees, or even remodeling costs since you can sell your place as is.

If you need to sell a house fast in Levittown, you should find cash home buyers in Pennsylvania, as they can complete the closing in as little as a few weeks. Luckily, we buy houses Philadelphia locals love, so contact us today!

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