How Much Does It Cost To Sell Your Home In California
Authored by
Chris Edwards
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The cost of selling your home in California can vary tremendously based on several factors, but in general, you should expect to spend 7-10% of the final home sale price to sell your home.

Real Estate Agent Commissions 

Real Estate Agent Commissions will take up most of the costs to sell your home. In a traditional model with two real estate agents -one representing the buyer and one representing the seller, you can expect to pay a commission of 5-6% of the house's final sale price, which is split with the buyer’s agent. 

The commission paid to your real estate agent is known as the listing fee. It averages 2.69% in California and is paid in exchange for marketing your property and helping you navigate the process. 

The commission paid to the buyer’s agent is an incentive to show your home to prospective buyers. It’s recommended to offer a buyer’s agent commission even if you plan on selling your home FSBO, as it’s unlikely that your home will have much interest without one. The average buyer's agent fee is 2.41%

With a median sale price of $816,800 in California, you could pay between $40,840 and $49,008 in realtor commissions alone. 

Sellers’ Closing Costs 

Closing costs include escrow fees, title insurance, document preparation fees, property taxes and legal fees. The costs can vary but typically range from 1-3% of the sale price. You can sometimes negotiate with the buyer to split some of the costs, but the seller pays for the closing costs in the majority of cases. 

Escrow Fees 

Escrow fees are paid to the escrow or title company that handles the closing process, including holding the funds while you close on the home. Once the home is closed, the escrow company will distribute the funds to the parties involved. Parties involved in the escrow distribution process include: 

  • Distribution to real estate attorney fees 
  • Distribution to the lender to pay off the remaining mortgage
  • Property taxes 
  • HOA fees 
  • Title Insurance premiums
  • Homeowner insurance premiums 
  • Your proceeds from the transaction 

Escrow fees typically cost 1% of the final sale price. Using our average of $816,800, that means you should expect to pay around $8,000 in Escrow Fees. Some escrow companies will offer flat rates, but a percentage model is more typical. 

Real Estate Attorney Fees 

Real Estate Attorneys help you navigate the selling process, prepare and review documents, and help you avoid potential legal pitfalls. While real estate attorneys are not mandated in California like in other states, some lending institutions may require them, so it’s important to investigate your unique situation and see if a real estate attorney is right for you. 

A real estate attorney is important if it’s a complicated sale. This can include:

  • Selling a home that needs repairs
  • Selling a home with prior major damage, even if it’s been repaired (ie. fire, flood, foundation etc). 
  • If there are any liens involved
  • If it is a short sale
  • If you’re selling an inherited property 
  • If you’re selling a property that is part of a dispute (ie. divorce) 

Real estate attorneys charge between $100-$400 an hour on average, and the number of hours spent on your sale will vary depending on the complexity. Many also offer flat fee models for sales that are uncomplicated and straightforward. Flat fee rates will typically range from $1,500 to $4,000. 

Transfer Tax

California’s Revenue and Taxation Code dictates that a transfer tax of 0.11% of the value of all property of which ownership is being transferred. Certain cities or municipalities may have an additional transfer tax as well. 

Property Taxes and HOA Fees

At closing, you’ll be assessed property taxes.  You’ll pay a prorated amount calculated up to the day of closing.  The buyer will be charged a prorated amount for what is due between the closing date and the next time taxes are due.  In some cases, a seller will have prepaid their property taxes.  In this case, they will receive a prorated refund at closing.  

If the property has a Homeowners Association (HOA), it is very likely that they will assess charges when a property is sold.  These charges may include transfer fees, key fees, documentation fees and lender’s certification fees.  Some HOAs require some or all of these fees to be paid upfront, but in many cases they can be collected at close of escrow and distributed by the escrow company.  

Preparing A Home For Sale

Cleaning & Decluttering 

Preparing your home for sale can be a challenging and tedious process. At a minimum, it’s recommended that you clean your home thoroughly and declutter as much as possible. This is important for the initial listing photos and each time you have a showing. While cleaning and decluttering may not cost anything, you may need to purchase short-term storage for some possessions. Some people may also choose to hire cleaners. 

Home Inspection & Repairs 

Though home inspections are typically paid for by the buyer, many sellers are choosing to get a home inspection done preemptively. This can help avoid unforeseen surprises during the closing process and make the property more attractive to buyers. The average price of a home inspection in California is between $325 - $450, and only takes a few hours to complete. Inspections will typically inspect the home for the following: 

  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Septic tank
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing 
  • HVAC
  • Asbestos
  • Radon
  • Lead 
  • Mold
  • Pests and rodents

It is also very likely that you’ll need to do some minor repairs like patching holes and repainting. Some homes may also require larger repairs before it’s marketable. This can of course result in a range of costs averaging between 1-3% of the final sale price. Some people choose to try and sell their home as is, but it often leads to lower offers and a longer sale process. Read our blog about selling a home that needs repairs for more information on the process. Common repairs include: 

  • Repainting: $2000
  • New Roof: $9000-$25,000
  • Hot Water Tank: $2000-3500
  • Electrical Panel Upgrade: $3500-4000
  • Replace Carpet: $3-8/sq ft 


Staging may be recommended to improve the first impression of a property. This is not typically necessary if you’re living in the home, but is recommended if you’re selling a vacant or limitedly furnished house. You may choose to stage for a variety of reasons including: 

  • Selling an inherited property which has been emptied 
  • Selling a home you had previously rented out 
  • Selling a home that you’ve recently repaired 

Staging gives the house a more “homey” and makes potential buyers get a better sense of what living in the home would feel like. 

Concessions to Buyers

It was reported last year that a third of sellers are giving buyers concessions and has been trending upwards for the last two years. Concessions usually take the form of either cash off the purchase price or mortgage-rate buydowns. A large contributing factor to the rise of concessions is the rising interest rates that have made buyers more cautious when buying a new home. 

Additionally, developers with large inventories during the pandemic have been lowering prices to offload inventory, which has impacted the market pricing. 

A concession on the home price is straightforward and usually involves a financial contribution to the buyer to account for things like repair costs. It can also involve negotiating paying for closing costs typically paid for by the buyer such as recording fees, appraisal fees, and attorney’s costs. 

There are limitations to the value of the concessions, typically based on loan type and percentage downpayment. According to Rocket Mortgage, seller concession limits for conventional loads are as follows 

  • 3% on down payments up to 10%
  • 6 % on down payments from 10-25%
  • 9% on down payments 25% and greater
  • 2% if the buyer is purchasing the property as an investment 

How Much Does it Cost to Sell to A Cash Buyer? 

Avoiding known and unknown costs is a major advantage when selling to a cash buyer like Haven Homebuyers.  With a cash offer, there are no real estate commissions, no closing costs and no escrow fees.  On top of that, sellers do not need to renovate and prepare their home for sale or make or pay for any repairs.  

We will typically offer 90% of the market value for your home. This can feel like you’re taking a big financial hit, but with the traditional home sale costing 8-16% to sell, you’ll find our offer is comparable while adding convenience. We can close in as little as 5 days, or you can pick the closing date that suits you best, which makes us the more flexible option. We’ll even close on your home and allow you to rent back for up to 29 days. 

Authored by
Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards, Vice President of Acquisitions.  Chris has an extensive background in real estate spanning over 25 years.  After spending the first ten years of his career in the mortgage industry, he transitioned to sales, investments and renovations.  From buying foreclosures on the courthouse steps to renovating hundreds of homes to managing production for a major iBuyer, he's seen just about everything.  Chris has a passion for helping home buyers and sellers create and maximize value for their important life investment in real estate.

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