10 Common Fees Paid By Home Sellers in California

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Most sellers are well aware that there are real estate commission fees that come with selling a property. However, there are plenty of other expenses that Californians need to budget for once the selling process is done in order to budget accordingly.

If you’re planning on selling your home any time soon, here are the fees that you can expect to pay, and why.

1. Buyer’s Agent Commission

Buyers generally don’t have to worry about paying their real estate agents because it’s typically the seller who covers the commission paid to both the seller and buyer agents. The rate that you are offered covers not only your agent’s commission fee, but also that of the buyer’s.

Offering the buyer’s agent less than the typical commission rate of anywhere between 2.5% to 3% is not recommended because you run the risk of your listing being bypassed.

2. Home Staging

Staging your home is an important step in the selling process because it helps to present your home in the most attractive way possible to the masses of buyers looking in your area.

Whether you do it yourself or have a professional take care of it for you, it’s not recommended to skip this step. Decluttering, organizing, furnishing, neutralizing, and depersonalizing your home can leave a really good impression on buyers. Studies have shown that homes that are staged get more showings, sell faster, and bring more money to the table.

3. Title Search Fees

You want to make sure that there are no current liens on your property before you sell. Not only that, you’ should also ensure that you are the rightful owner to the home and that there are no other parties on title, making you legally permitted to sell it. A title search will uncover any of these issues.

4. Escrow Agent Fees

The escrow agent is tasked with coordinating the transfer of title and any monies held in escrow, and will need to be paid for these services.

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5. Buyer Closing Costs

There may be some buyer closing costs that you agreed to cover when negotiating all the terms on the contract. These can include the home appraisal fees, title insurance fees, or costs associated with recording the transfer of the property.

6. Documentary and Property Transfer Taxes

In California, land transfer fees need to be paid in the form of what’s known in the state as the Documentary and Property Transfer Tax. This cost ranges depending on exactly where you are in California, but it’s usually $1.10 per $1,000 of the purchase price which is divided between the city and the county.

7. Home Warranty Fees

Some sellers may offer a home warranty in order to make the transaction more secure for the buyer. This contract covers repairs to things like HVAC systems, plumbing, electrical work, or appliances, and is valid for one year after the buyer takes ownership.

8. Home Owner’s Association Transfer Fees

If the property you’re selling belongs to a home owner’s association (HOA), then you’ll likely need to pay an HOA transfer fee.

9. Pre-Home Inspection Reports

Buyers typically include a home inspection contingency in their offers to provide them with the opportunity to bring in a professional inspector and verify that there aren’t any major concerns with the property that could deter them from going through with the deal.

Buyers usually pay for such inspections out of their own pockets, but it’s not uncommon for some sellers to have a pre-inspection report completed beforehand, especially if the home is old and there is a potential for there to be any problems to uncover and fix before buyers discover them.

10. Natural Hazard Disclosure

In areas where certain types of natural disasters are common, a natural disaster disclosure report may be required that specifies the types of natural disasters that commonly occur in your region. In California, for instance, forest fires and earthquakes are more common than in other parts of the country. If this type of report is ordered, you will be responsible for paying for it.

Every real estate transaction comes with its own set of fees aside from the obvious ones. When selling your home, make sure you’re aware of all the fees involved in order to budget accordingly.