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How Much Does It Cost To Sell A Home In California?


Real estate can be an incredibly lucrative investment, and when it's ready to sell, whether it's a primary residence or an investment property, knowing exactly what you're up against and how to determine the bottom line means that there won't be any hidden surprises when it comes to what you actually make out of the sale of your home. Closing costs in California may vary, but California homeowners can generally expect to pay 6 to 10% of the sale price of their home anywhere to close the deal.

By Basil D Soufi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Closing costs – additional costs outside normal realtor commissions – is an important step in the process. There's more to it than just subtracting the balance of your loan from the agreed purchase price. Typically, as long as your home has built up equity (meaning, it's worth more than what you've paid for), most vendors don't have to come up with cash to cover the costs listed below. If you're upside down on your home (meaning it's worth less than the initial purchase price), then it's probably going to cost you to sell it.

Small fees and costs add up quickly. What, exactly, are the average closing costs for California dealers? From the commission paid to the listing agent to the town or county transfer fees, when it comes to the saler closing costs in California, homeowners need to know what to expect before listing.

Property Taxes

Depending on the time of year of the sale, there may be unpaid property taxes, which are prorated until the end of the sale. If property taxes have already been paid in advance, the purchaser shall credit the seller a pro-rated amount from the date of sale. You can also read my Property Tax Calculation article for more information on how property tax is calculated when you sell real estate.

Lender Payoff

If you have a mortgage when you sell a house, your lender will collect the principal balance, any unpaid interest, and also charge some fees to close the account.

  • Principal Balance
  • Interest – any accrued interest due to the close of the Escrow date
  • Demand Fee – the cost of providing the company with a payoff amount. It was also called the Statement Fee.
  • Repayment fee – the cost of closing the loan and releasing the lender's interest in the property and reassigning the owner (albeit briefly) back to the seller. Also known as the Release Fee.
  • Reconveyance Recording Fee – the cost of recording the Deed of Reconveyance at the County Recorder 's Office. The Deed of Reconveyance shall transfer the property title from the lender (also referred to as the beneficiary) to the borrower (also referred to as the trustee).
  • Any late fees not paid

HOA Fees

HOA charges the preparation of documents and the transfer fees, which are usually paid by the seller. The seller is required to provide HOA documents for the buyer's review, including CC&Rs (Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions), minutes of the board meeting and articles of incorporation. HOA charges a fee for the preparation of the document to assemble this package. HOA also charges a transfer fee to register the purchaser as the new owner. You can read my Seller Disclosures article for more details on the required HOA documents.

HOA Dues

Homeowner Association (HOA) fees are also pro-rated. If they have been paid in advance, the purchaser shall credit the seller with a pro-rated amount from the date of sale.

Escrow Fees

The Escrow company handles all of the funds in the real estate transaction. In Southern California, buyers and sellers usually pay their own bills. The fee for each party is based on the purchase price, which is approximately $2 per $1,000 purchase price plus a basic fee of $200. Additional fees include courier, document preparation and other services provided during the visit.

Documentary Transfer Tax

In California, the vendor pays the Documentary and Property Transfer Tax, which is usually $1.10 per $1,000 of purchase price. Some cities are at higher rates. This tax is divided between the county and the city.

Title Fees

The title company provides title insurance to both the purchaser and the lender. The seller usually pays for the Buyer's Title Policy while the Buyer pays for the Lender's Title Policy. Title insurance protects the policyholder from challenges to the rightful ownership of real property arising from the circumstances of past ownership. Title Policy premium of the owner, which is paid only once, is based on the purchase price. Other title charges include subscrow and wire charges if the seller has an existing mortgage.

Broker Commissions

Broker commissions are divided between brokers of the listing agent and the buyer agent. The commission is negotiated between the vendor and the listing agent and is almost always a percentage of the purchase price.

Additional Charges

The terms of the sale are outlined in the Residential Purchase Agreement. Terms may include a seller 's credit to the buyer's closing costs, or a buyer's credit to the seller's closing costs. Buyers often ask for a one-year home warranty, a natural hazard disclosure report, and a termite inspection. Buyers may also request that the seller complete repairs, such as the fixing of a plumbing leak, the replacement of a roof, or the clearing of a termite infestation and the repair of termite damage. Repair requests are negotiated between the purchaser and the seller after completion of inspections.


Do You Need a Real Estate Agency to Help Sell Your Home?

Sexton Group Real Estate Property Management in Berkeley, California is a boutique real estate company specializing in residential sales as well as property management services for properties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. We have 2 offices to serve you, one in the heart of Berkeley and the other in the heart of Lafayette, California. The Sexton Group encompasses the essence of Berkeley’s charm and Lafayette’s family-oriented vibe all with a relaxed, down-to-earth nature. We are an amazing group of agents whose wealth of experience spans more than 25 years in the industry.  Looking to sell a home in Contra Costa or Alameda County? Contact us today for your free consultation!