Are you thinking about selling your house in 2023? If so, you’re not alone. Many homeowners are looking to cash in on the hot housing market. But before you put your house on the market, it’s important to know how much it’s going to cost you to sell. Today we will unlock the mysteries of selling a house in 2023 with a comprehensive breakdown of all potential costs involved. We will cover costs like conveyancing, marketing, agent fees and lender fees. We’re going to guide you through each cost element in our extensive state-by-state guide.
The best part? We have a bonus at the end!
Let’s dive in…
Table of Contents
1. Conveyancer costs of selling a home
A conveyancer is just a legal professional that specializes in property. You can get a lawyer or a conveyancer. Their job is to protect your legal interests, so they’re going to be there to help draft up the contract, get all the legal documents together, potentially complete searches and then ultimately help on the day of settlement to move the money from the buyers account to yours, giving you the money to pay out your bank and moving things around.
We consider conveyancing a non-negotiable cost. We have had clients that try and do their own conveyancing and legal work – and it has always been a nightmare!
The reality is that unless you have a legal background, you might not understand how it works—for example, moving money around PEXA (Property Exchange Australia), where you need an account and login details. Also, a lot of banks won’t allow you to do physical checks because they want you to go through a settlement agent. So it is just easier to work with a conveyancer.
Should I go for a high-tier conveyancing firm or a smaller firm?
It really depends on your personal situation. As the saying goes – horses for courses. Generally, you’ll pay a lot more for that name brand, and they will do a similar job to the smaller firm. So your pocket and financial goals will determine which you go for.
What we do advise, though, is you want to get a local expert. Every state in Australia has slightly different legal laws and different contracts. So if you’re in Queensland, for example, you want to be working with the Queensland-based conveyancer or a lawyer versus. The same goes for New South Wales Etc.
Now the key here is that they’re going to recognize if there are potential issues, such as special conditions in the contract, that you need to be aware of because they’re protecting your legal interests.
Conveyancers cost anywhere between $800 and $2,000.
2. Marketing costs of selling a home
When you are selling your house, there will be marketing costs. But beware that real estate agents may try to pep up this cost. Some agents can recommend extravagant costs like a 2-page spread in the Courier Mail or even create an independent website for your house! You need to sift through the agent’s marketing plan and ask yourself if this plan is helping you sell your home or is just promoting the agent…
Other stuff that the agents generally recommend to have are things like pamphlets. Their usefulness remains to be seen as most people just look at listings online and share links with their friends.
Here are 3 marketing costs you should definitely spend money on:
- Listing your property online. Everyone is online these days, so you definitely want to spend some money for being on realestate.com.au or domain.com.au, as these are usually the first places people look for homes to buy.
- Get proper photography for your home. One thing you should not compromise on is proper photography. You should go for the high-spec photos, e.g. 4K quality or whatever you can get. It’s worth hiring a professional to really present the property nicely. You have probably been online and seen a property with beautiful, well-lit pictures, and you were so wowed that you wanted to see the property. On the other hand, dark and dingy photos are off-putting, and people usually just scroll past them online.
- Make a floor plan for your property, especially if you have quite a large house with 3 or more bedrooms. Many people want to know what they’re dealing with, and it helps them imagine themselves in that property and figure out where they want to put their furniture. So a floor plan is definitely a must-have.
The average cost of advertising in 2023 in Melbourne is about $6,500 to $8,000. In Sydney, it’s about $4,500 to $10,000. In other states, marketing costs are also within that range. So we are talking a sizeable amount for advertising. But as we said, you need to focus on two things: photography and listing your property online.
3. Styling costs
Styling your home is critical because, as we mentioned above, many people will find your home online and make their first impressions from the photos. If the house is cluttered or has old furniture, many people will just scroll past it.
Generally, the agent will recommend you get rid of your old furniture. If you have already moved out, your house will be empty, and this can be helpful for the buyer so they can see the space.
But most times, it can be difficult to just see an empty lounge, so staging some furniture in the home can be useful. The idea of styling is to make the home as appealing as possible.
The styling costs can range between $5,000 and $10,000 if you are going for the whole home package, i.e. they are putting beds, kitchen tables, lounge furniture and even paintings on the wall.
If you cannot afford this amount, you can go to Kmart yourself and get some trendy furniture. You may be able to get a deal where you will be able to stage your house for a fraction of the cost.
Here are some low-cost styling tips:
- decluttering the house
- painting walls
- fixing the backyard
Be sure to work with your agent to find out what they recommend. We have seen some agents use digital styling. This can be good for the photos, but it can be a disappointment if people actually go to the home. It is important to understand that different houses are going to need different levels of styling and presentation…
4. Agent costs of selling a home
You are obviously going to need to pay the agent who is selling your house. There are 3 ways of paying the agent.
Flat fee – some agents will just charge a flat fee, say $5,000, to sell your home. In this case, you will not pay more or less than that $5,000 even if they sell the house for a lower or higher figure.
Percentage – this is the most common one. The agent will usually charge between 1-3% of the purchase price (plus GST).
Bonus model – this is where the agent gets a bonus if they sell your home above a certain price. Let’s say you have a property, and the agent says you’ll pay 1.5% if they sell the house for $1 million. But if they sell for over $1 million, they will get 10% of whatever exceeds the $1 million. If they sell the property for $1.1 million, you will pay $15,000 (1.5%) plus $10,000 (10% of $100,000). So the total commission you’d pay in this case is $25,000.
So you can decide which model works best for you. But generally, agent fees range between 1.5% to 3.5% depending on which state you are in.
5. Lender fees
This is assuming you have an existing mortgage when you sell your house. When you sell that house, the loan needs to be paid out. So you need to be aware of some costs associated with paying out your loan.
- Discharge fee. This fee is pretty standard, and that’s what the bank charges for processing. Usually, it’s not anything crazy– it’s about $350 up to $1,000. Now, you will need to fill in a discharge form with your lender. If you’ve got a broker like Hunter Galloway, we will help with that process. The discharge process takes anywhere from 14 days to 21 days. So you don’t want to be doing a discharge last minute; it is something you want to move quite quickly on. Your conveyancer will usually also prompt you on doing that and when you need to get that moving.
- Break costs. If you have a fixed-rate loan and have a few more years remaining on your fixed term, you may need to check with your lender because they could be early repayment fees payable. These costs can vary depending on interest rates. For example, if you fixed at 1%, but the variable and fixed rates are now at 6%, the banks will let you out of that contract at no cost. But if you fixed at 10% and the rates are now 1%, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in costs.
- You will also need to pay Land Title and some government fees as well, but that’s only an additional $100.
So, if you are not on a fixed-rate loan, you are only looking at about $1,000 or less in discharge fees. But if you are on a fixed rate, you must check in with your lender.
6. State-by-state costs of selling a home
Now let’s talk about the state-by-state costs. Usually, the conveyancing and marketing costs are pretty standard across Australia. But what differs are the agent commissions.
Here are the different state-by-state costs:
BONUS: Auction costs of selling a home
Our last tip is a bonus tip: should you sell at auction, and what are the costs associated there?
In addition to the marketing costs and agent’s fees which we have explained, an Auctioneer can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000. Their job is to direct the auction and call the paddles. An experienced Auctioneer can get you some pretty good results, and it is always advisable to work with someone your real estate agent has worked with before.
The fee for an Auctioneer is generally fixed. From a seller’s perspective, an auction is fantastic. The agent will do a 3 or 4-week campaign—in a month, your home goes to auction, and it’s all over in 1 day. There’s going to be no finance clause or cooling-off periods.
The flip side to having an auction is that it can also limit your buyers. From the buyer’s perspective, an auction can be frustrating and nerve-wracking, especially for first-home buyers. So you must weigh the pros and cons and rely on the agent’s advice. You also have to understand the market conditions – if it’s a quiet market, you might get only 1 or 2 people show up, and it might get passed in. That’s always a risk with auctions.
Next steps and selling your home
Have you just sold your home and are looking to get back into the property market?
Our team at Hunter Galloway is here to help you buy a home in Australia. Unlike other mortgage brokers who are just one-person operations, we have an entire team of experts dedicated to helping make your home loan journey as simple as possible.
If you want to get started, please call us on 1300 088 065 or book a free assessment online to see how we can help.