How to Work Out the Costs of Selling A House

01st Jul, 2020 | Investor, Refinance

In this article:
Here are some of the essential expenses to add up, plus our money-saving tips for selling a house.
When selling a house, it’s human nature to first think about how much you will make, rather than the expense of selling. But these selling costs can be considerable and should be factored into your decision to sell. Here are six critical costs associated with the sale, including our tips on ways to spend less.

Real estate agent commission

Real estate fees vary by suburb and state, but as a general guide, you can expect around 2% of the home’s sale price. Many real estate agents opt for this commission-based fee structure, but others use flat fees and tiered commission.
With tiered commission, you might pay a lower than industry average percentage of the sales price up to a predetermined dollar amount. If the property sells for a higher price, the percentage commission increases. This structure gives the agent incentive to work hard to achieve a higher sales price rather than pushing for a quick sale.


Putting time and effort into finding the right agent is vital. Ask for written confirmation of which real estate agent will be handling your job. If your listing passes to a junior agent who has limited negotiation experience, there is less chance of securing the maximum sales price for your home.


The advertising and marketing of your home is usually a separate charge, but some agents include it in their commission or flat-fee.


When comparing agents, get as much detail as possible about these marketing fees so that you can compare apples with apples. For example: will there be a floor plan; a professional copywriter; and where will the listing appear? How visible is the signage outside your home, and will there be social media advertising? Do they have a decent database of prospective buyers to contact? 

Aim to agree in writing on a budget, considering your home’s location, your preferences, price point and timeframe. Whether or not the property sells, you’ll still be up for the cost of marketing unless you find an agent who charges on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis.

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Conveyancing fees

You want the settlement to run as smoothly as possible, which usually involves enlisting the help of a conveyancer. Your conveyancer will prepare the legal documentation for the transfer of ownership, review the contract of sale and represent you during the settlement process. 
Conveyancers usually charge a flat fee and will pass on any expenses they have to pay on your behalf (disbursements). According to the Australian Institute of Conveyancing, in NSW the fixed fee can range from $900 to $2,200. Solicitors can also undertake conveyancing work but may charge higher prices as they’re qualified to give legal advice. You may not need this level of service unless you expect a complicated sale.


Agree on a fixed rate with your conveyancer and ensure you can see a clear breakdown of their fee structure. 

Capital gains tax

Capital gains tax (CGT) kicks in when you sell an asset – your investment property – and you make a profit. The amount you’ll need to pay depends on the property’s sale price and the costs incurred in buying, maintaining and selling the property. 


You might be able to avoid or minimise capital gains by living in the property for at least six months after purchase and holding off for more than a year before selling.

Lender fees

There may be mortgage discharge fees and settlement fees to pay depending on your lender. If you have a fixed rate loan, expect the break fees to be considerable.

Home styling

Professional styling helps to show your home at its best and in a way that attracts buyers. A stylist knows how to maximise space and present your home so a potential buyer can see themselves living there. If professional styling isn’t in your budget, consider doing your own cosmetic renovations
Contact your local Yellow Brick Road representative to find out more about which costs to factor in, as well as your financing options to cover the gap between selling and buying.