money selling home

How much money will you get when you sell your home?

June 23, 2016 | Most Read | By: Allison

Let’s cut to the chase. The #1 thing on all sellers’ minds is how much money from selling your home they will get. SO, here’s the basic equation…

Sales Price – {Seller Closing Costs + Loan Payoff} = Bottom Line Proceeds

…and how to break it down. You’ll calculate how much cash you’ll net in no time.


Of course, the most important factor is the property’s final sales price.  To find out what your home is worth, click here.  In our market, some houses sell over list price, while others will sell for significantly less. The final sales price depends on how realistically the house is priced from the start.

Now, how do you calculate closing costs? We thought you’d never ask…


Covering Purchasers’ Closing Costs

Some buyers need part of their closing costs covered by the seller (typically, those who don’t have a lot of cash). This practice is most common at first-time buyer price points. If this is the case, buyers will often increase the offer price by the amount they request in closing costs.

Wood Destroying Insect Inspection Fee & Repairs

Most lenders require this inspection in order to process a loan. In Virginia, the purchaser selects if they will pay for the inspection or if the seller will pay. This cost (approximately $60) appears on the closing disclosure at settlement, charged to whichever party indicated in the contract. The seller is always responsible for the cost of any repairs that need to be made per the inspector. They can pay the treatment company directly or have the cost come out of the proceeds at settlement. (Note: In D.C., the contract does not provide an option for who pays for the inspection; it is always the purchaser.  One caveat for both jurisdictions is if the purchaser is using a VA loan, the seller must pay for the termite inspection).

Home Inspection Repairs

The purchaser will pay for any other inspections they would like to perform on the property. The purchaser can request that you make certain repairs on the home in an inspection contingency negotiation. If the seller does not agree, the buyers have the opportunity to void the contract. Sellers should plan to make (and budget for) some home inspection repairs. Similar to the termite inspection, you can pay the contractor directly or, after the work is done, have the settlement company pay them out of your proceeds at settlement.

Home Warranty

A home warranty is another item the purchaser might ask for in a sales contract. They typically cost no more than $550. While not in all contracts, we see warranties requested in about half of the resale contracts that come across our desks.

Transfer Taxes

Both parties will pay some transfer taxes at settlement. Some fees are paid by the purchaser and others are paid by the seller. In Northern Virginia, the seller pays a transfer tax (1% of sales price) and a grantors tax (1.5% of sales price). In D.C., both buyer and seller pay a tax of 1.1% of sales price if the purchase price is $399,999 or less, or 1.45% if the purchase price is above $400,000.

Property Taxes

The settlement date will impact your closing costs, as everything is pro-rated as of the day of settlement. For example, property taxes are typically escrowed by your lender (if you have a loan), who pays them on your behalf twice per year directly to the county or city.  However, you will need to pay what is owed at settlement.

Let’s assume your yearly property taxes are $10,000 and the first half of the year’s taxes ($5,000) are due on June 15th. If you settle on June 1st, most likely your taxes have not yet been paid, so that $5k will be paid by the title company from your proceeds. But, fear not – the money you escrowed for taxes (and insurance) will be returned to you by the bank after settlement so you are not out all of that cash. The check will be sent to you within a couple of weeks, so be sure to give the title company your forwarding address!

Conversely, if you settle on July 1, and your taxes due June 15th were likely already paid, and the buyers will pay for the entire second tax period. You will then just credit 15 days worth of taxes for the time you owned the home during that tax period (June 15-July 1).

Condo or HOA Fees

The same goes for prorations for any HOA or condo fees, if applicable. They will pro-rate everything as of the day of settlement.


There is no “set” real estate commission, but in our market, you will tend to see the commission at 6% of the final sales price, plus a small administration fee ranging from $200-$500. The 6% is paid to the listing brokerage who sells your home, not to your Realtor. For example, if you hire The Goodhart Group, the commission would be paid to our broker. Of that 6%, the 3% goes to the real estate brokerage that represented the buyer of your home. From each 3%, the listing and buyer agents receive a portion from the brokerage.

Settlement Fees

There are also fees to the settlement company to conduct the settlement, draft the documents, and record the deed. These fees tend to be under $1,000. Keep in mind that all settlement company fees do vary slightly. The purchaser has the irrevocable right to select their title company in our area, so this is not a term of the contract that is negotiable. The variance in fees is minimal.

FIRPTA Withholding (if applicable)

If you are a foreign resident of the US, you may encounter further tax withholdings due to FIRPTA (Foreign Investment in Real Estate Property Tax Act of 1980). If you are not a U.S. citizen, read more on the FIRPTA tax here.  


The last piece of the puzzle in determining how much money you’ll net from selling your home is the loan payoff(s). You need to look at what you owe to each bank. The title company will pay off any loans at settlement. Each loan has payoff release fee, usually running about $150-$200 per loan.


That’s it! Just add up all of the costs outlined above and subtract it from your sales price.


Math not your strong suit? Don’t fret! There’s an app for that…


We love the free app CloseIt! You simply fill in some basic info (some of the items above – others are automatically generated) and Viola! It generates your estimated proceeds. Since a title company created the app, the numbers are very accurate. You can play around with the numbers very easily to test different scenarios. Using the app is quick and easy.

Now that you have a ballpark for your proceeds, you’re probably wondering when you will get the cash. In DC, you’ll get it pretty much right away. In Virginia, it can take up to two business days. The settlement company can either send you a check or wire you the money when it’s available. If you opt for a wire, bring your wiring information along to settlement (here’s more on what happens at settlement). 

Thinking about a move or just want insights into the world of real estate? Let’s talk.

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