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How to Calculate the Cost of Selling Your Home

Calculate the main costs of selling your home before you list it on the market. Things can move very fast once your property is open for offers and you may no thave time to find all the costs involved in selling your home.


What are the costs of selling your home


Are you outgrowing your starter home? Is your family growing and you need more bedrooms, an extra bathroom and a bigger kitchen? Is the commute to work takes longer now than it used to? Or maybe you want to downsize after many years living in your comfortable and large family home.


Common Reasons for Selling Your Home

  • Growing family
  • Increasing commute
  • Lifestyle change
  • Lack of parking
  • Divorce
  • Empty Nest
  • New employment

You may be selling you residence for the first time or for the first time in many years, even decades. The real estate industry changed dramatically in the last 10 years and the costs changed as well. If you are buying another home it is especially crucial that you fully understand how much it will cost you to sell your present home.

Here are some common expenses to prepare for:

Cost of Realtor's commission

Most home sellers debate whether to try to sell their home privately, without a Realtor involved, work with Realtors for a low fee, or market and show the home themselves and negotiate the transaction without a real estate agent involved. These days there are many choices available for home sellers.

If you decide to let a professional, full-service Realtor list and sell your home expect to pay between 3.5 to 5% in commission on the sales value of your property. That is a lot of money, if your house sells for an even $500,000 at 4% commission the cost is $20,000 plus HST. Experienced Realtors can definitely expose the home to more qualified buyers and negotiate a higher price than most privately marketed homes. Important services are included in the commission such as photography, marketing, MLS Listing, staging and showing of the home to buyers.


Main Costs of Selling Your Home Privately

If you decide to sell on your own to avoid the commission fee keep some factors in mind. You will not be able to attract most qualified Buyers as Ottawa real estate agents work for commission. If no commission is offered your property may not get showed to as many Buyers as it should be. The cost of an appraiser, professional photography, staging, marketing and time to show will add up quickly. But the most important cost difference is based on how you are able to attract various Buyers and negotiate for the highest possible selling price. You will also need a real estate lawyer to complete the paperwork for you instead of the real estate agent.


  • Appraiser (professional vs real estate agent) ($500)
  • Photography ($200)
  • Staging ($200)
  • Marketing (paid online platforms, paid advertisement, print marketing, signs etc) $500+
  • Lawyer fee for Purchase Agreement and clauses

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

Budget for at least $2500 or roughly 1% of the value of the home. It could be more if your deal is complex such as multiplexes.

How much is land or property transfer tax? 

When 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 over 2% of the total property value.

How much does it cost to move? 

Moving is often left out of the cost of selling and buying a home. Yet it could be one of the most expensive part of a property sale. If you move to a close-by new home and your main factor is the amount of stuff you have to move. It is a good idea to budget about $600 or more if you have a lot of stuff and moving a longer distance.


Mortgage Fees and Penalty

Mortgage penalties are the single most neglected and forgotten costs of selling a home. If you sell your property with an outstanding mortgage on it expect to pay at least some penalties. They can range from a few thousand dollars to much more. Make sure to ask your mortgage broker or lender the amount of these fees and whether they would be waived if you are buying another property immediately after the sale of the present one.

Do you need mortgage protection insurance? 

If you are buying a new home and taking on a bigger mortgage make sure your mortgage insurance covers the additional fees. Premiums may increase with the larger home as well.

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MLS®, REALTOR®, and the associated logos are trademarks of The Canadian Real Estate Association.