Hidden costs of selling a house in DC

WASHINGTON — For homeowners getting ready to sell, there’s a lot to do ahead of time and a lot of money sellers will spend on the process. A recent study by listing firm Zillow says the Washington metro ranks seventh-highest for seller costs.

The real estate agent commission is by far the biggest seller expense. In Washington, closing costs including agent commissions and sales tax averages $28,869, according to Zillow.

But there’s another $4,000 on average that sellers need to spend upfront covering eight common home seller expenses.

“[Expenses include] things like carpet cleaning, landscaping and a new coat of paint, and things to prepare for the actual listing like professional photos or room staging,” Zillow’s Aaron Terrazas told WTOP.

The listing agent may or may not be willing to shoulder some of the costs of getting the property ready to list, so Zillow recommends negotiating.

And Terrazas said, while real estate commissions are generally considered standard, in a seller’s market like D.C., that is also a conversation worth having with your agent.

“Real estate agents are eager to work with sellers. Talk to your agent, particularly if you are in a higher-end, higher-priced community. That is often an open point of negotiation,” he said.

Zillow says the highest seller costs are in San Jose, averaging $81,507. The city with the lowest seller costs is Cleveland, averaging $12,986.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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