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Drivers and homeowners

May 15, 2019

How much does it cost to sell your home?

If you’re selling your home, be sure to budget for the added costs involved. That way you’ll be ready when the time comes to close the deal.

Is your starter home becoming a tight fit for your growing family? Are you longing for a bigger kitchen or more closet space? Is the commute to your new job taking so long that you’re thinking of moving closer? Do you want to downsize after 30 or 40 years at the same address? Or upsize to make space for your elderly in-laws?

You may be selling your home for the first time, or for the first time in a very long time. Either way, you may not be ready for all the costs involved in making the sale. That’s especially important if you’re using the money from the sale to buy another home. Here are some expenses to prepare for:

How much commission do realtors charge? 

These can run anywhere between 3% and 7%, depending on where you live and what you negotiate with your agent. A 4% real estate commission on a house that sells for $500,000 will set you back $20,000. In a hot market, you may be able to avoid this fee by selling your own home. But it’s still wise to hire an appraiser (starting at around $400) to put a value on your home. You’ll also need a real estate lawyer to draw up the paperwork.

How much will you pay in legal fees when you sell your home?

Budget for at least $1,500. It could be more if your deal is complex.

How much does home staging cost? 

What will it take to make your home appeal to potential buyers? If you were selling 30 years ago, tidying up and painting would probably have been enough. Today, if you look at real estate listings, you’ll see that sellers do a lot more. Painting, yes, but also moving out most of your furniture and even renting art. The cost can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on how much fixing up your place needs. You may be able to save by doing the staging yourself. But prepare to pay for things like storage space. Some real estate agents provide staging as part of their services.

How much is land or property transfer tax? 

If you’re buying a new home, land transfer tax can easily be a significant expense. The tax is a percentage of the purchase price of the home. It varies by city and province, ranging from .1% to 2.1% of the total property value.

How much does it cost to move? 

Your bill will depend on where you’re moving and how much stuff you have to shift. But you’ll likely need to factor in at least a few hundred dollars for moving expenses. That is, of course, unless you have your own truck and friends who will work for pizza and beer.

Do you need mortgage protection insurance? 

Are you taking on a bigger mortgage? Make sure your mortgage protection insurance (life insurance and critical illness insurance) will cover your additional needs. And be sure to update your homeowner's insurance policy. If your new home is bigger than your old one, be prepared for your home insurance premiums to increase.

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