Selling a house isn’t cheap, and the cost to sell your Kingstowne home may even surprise you. If you are like most first-time homeowners, you probably haven’t given much thought to these costs before considering listing your home for sale.
This post will break down the cost of selling a home in Kingstowne, Virginia, by the four phases of the home selling process. If you don’t feel like reading this article, you can always watch this two-part video that explains the entire process.
Since Kingstowne is Northern Virginia’s second-largest planned community, you’ll be able to use these tactics for selling a home throughout the region.
When you look at all the money you spend selling a home like repairs, staging, commissions, closing costs, moving, and more, your final bill can quickly add up.
Depending on the market and your home’s condition, you can expect to spend some money during all four phases.
Part one of the series will cover the most critical phase of the home selling process, Coming Soon. In the Coming Soon phase, you’ll learn everything you can expect to spend money on when preparing your home for the market.
The “Coming Soon” phase includes anything you do to your house before putting it on the market.
This will be the longest of the four phases.
Before this stage begins, you will interview and hire a real estate agent.
It’s essential to mention your agent right now because they will prepare a Market Analysis that will serve two purposes.
- You’ll know where to price your Kingstowne property.
- You’ll learn how to position your property in the market.
Real estate is hyper-local, meaning that homes for sale in Kingstowne differ from those in other parts of Northern Virginia as a while and Alexandria specifically.
So, if you want to know how much you can sell your Kingstowne home for you’ll need a market analysis.
Click here to request a complimentary Market Analysis for your property.
When it comes to positioning your property, we’re really talking about making it more appealing to buyers.
The three ways to make your property more appealing to buyers are appearance, repairs/deferred maintenance, and updates.
You will determine what repairs and updates would benefit your home before coming on the market with your agent. Each will cost both time and money, so it’s best to plan ahead.
Since I began my real estate career in 2008, I’ve never come across a property that didn’t need some attention to its appearance. When I talk about appearance, I mean how the property looks in the buyer’s eye.
Walking around your home, what do you see that can be improved? Make a note of these items before meeting with an agent.
Invite your agent to do the same and compare their findings to yours.
The three main things you’ll want to address when it comes to your home’s aesthetics are staging, decluttering, and cleaning.
Most homes can benefit from all three of these things in varying degrees.
If your property is unoccupied and vacant staging could be one of your largest expenses.
Fortunately, you have a few options here.
Traditional onsite staging involves furnishing your property using the services of a professional stager. They decorate select rooms using furniture and home decor pieces from their warehouse.
Most professional stagers in Northern Virginia charge between $400 and $600 for an initial design consultation and another $400 to $700 a month per staged room usually with a one-month minimum furniture rental.
On the other hand, you may want to consider virtual staging. Virtual staging can be done by a professional photographer and usually has a 24-48 turnaround time.
It cost significantly less at $35-$50 per month.
A third option, and perhaps the best option if your home is occupied to use your existing furniture. Your furniture can often be rearranged in a manner that will improve the overall appearance of your home while also saving money.
That brings us to decluttering.
You’ll also want to declutter, which could mean purging your house of unnecessary items, or it could be leasing an off-site storage unit to hold on to things that don’t add to its appeal, but you also aren’t ready to let go of.
This a great time to walk your home again and put everything into three categories.
If its a keeper, determine if its something you use regularly and will need over the next few months. If so, it should stay, and we can decide if it needs to be rearranged or if it can remain in its current place.
Items in your discard pile can be given away, sold, or donated.
Things you are uncertain about or that you’d like to keep but won’t need in the immediate further can be moved to an off-site storage facility.
Offsite-storage units cost vary depending on the number of items you plan on storing and time of year. Expect to pay between $50 to $200 per month for a minimum of three months.
One out of ten clients pays for off-site storage. There are over a dozen self-storage facilities in and around Kingstowne.
Here in Kingstowne, you’ll probably find flyers from area cleaning companies tucked inside your storm door at least once a week.
That’s because these companies know that most of us aren’t giving our homes the same type of attention they would when cleaning.
While you may do a great job cleaning your home, hiring a professional to deep clean your home is ideal for properties coming on the market.
Deep cleaning includes top to bottom attention, including windows, carpets, and if necessary, the exterior of your home. Professional Deep Cleaning varies depending on the size of the property. Expect to pay a minimum of $200.
Let’s not forget about the often overlooked item on a cleaning checklist curb appeal. Don’t forget to tend to your home exterior. This may include pressure washing the siding or deck and any required lawn maintenance.
Hiring a professional landscaper or a neighborhood teenager from NextDoor to prepare the yard will improve the property’s exterior appearance.
Hiring a neighbor or teen in the area is an excellent idea for simple lawn mowing, but I recommend hiring a pro for larger landscaping projects.
Expect to pay between $50 to $300 depending on your garden’s complexity and your lot size.
Now that we’ve taken care of the property’s appearance let’s discuss repairs and deferred maintenance.
While living in your home, things are bound to slip through the cracks when it comes to home maintenance. If you’re like most Northern Virginia homeowners, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, meaning when something breaks, you fix it, but you don’t pay as much attention to some other things that aren’t as obvious.
Handling repairs and deferred maintenance items before your home comes on the market saves you money and can also keep you from losing a buyer once your home is under contract.
When it comes to repairs, now is the time to fix that leaky faucet, loose doorknob, or broken socket cover.
The easiest way to find out everything that needs to be repaired in your home is to conduct a Pre-Market Home Inspection. You don’t want to know EVERYTHING that’s wrong with your house, and I’m not suggesting you find out.
Home inspectors don’t have to do a full home inspection during this step.
The inspection is more of a walkthrough with no paperwork to point out significant flaws that are likely red flags on a home inspection.
Expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $825 for a Pre Market Home Inspection, depending on your home’s size. The high end of this range is more from larger estates over 6,000 square feet.
For the typical townhouse or single-family home, expect to be on the lower end of this scale.
Handling repairs in advance can also save you money because any defect found can be remedied by you or a handyman versus licensed contractors, which is the requirement after a buyer’s requests during the home inspection negotiation period.
A handyman in Kingstowne will likely charge between $20 and $50 an hour while licensed contractors start at $100 per hour.
More likely than not, your home won’t require any significant repairs, but there will probably be a few items that need to address due to deferred maintenance. That will likely include things on your honey-do list that you just haven’t gotten around to.
Several items fall in the deferred maintenance category like HVAC service, A/C Duct Cleaning, Fireplace Vent Cleaning, and Gutter Cleaning are the most common ones I come across in Kingstowne.
It’s recommended by most HVAC professionals to have your system serviced twice annually to improve performance and prevent damage. However, you’d be surprised by the number of homeowners that haven’t had their systems serviced in years.
This will almost certainly show up on a buyer’s home inspection report. Since HVAC service and cleaning are the most likely deferred maintenance, budget a minimum of $90 per unit.
Do yourself and your agent a favor and handle any repairs the HVAC company recommends at the time of service.
The final expense category in the coming soon phase is Updates.
Honestly, I wouldn’t categorize this as an expense. It’s more of an investment. And like most investments, you should consult a professional before committing to it.
I know you watch HGTV, and you think taking down that wall in the kitchen will open up the space and make it more appealing to prospective buyers.
And if your goal here is to give buyers their dream home, have at it. However, if your goal is to make as much money as possible, CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL.
In this case, your real estate agent.
When your agent prepares the home valuation report I mentioned earlier, it should include comparables, including recently sold properties in Kingstowne. How do you feel your home compares?
Do yourself a favor and ask your agent to schedule a few showings for Kingstowne listings similar to your property.
Now again, ask yourself how do you feel your home compares. Please note the common updates found in the properties you viewed and those included in their valuation report.
Do you still think you need to make the updates you were considering?
Your agent can guide you through which updates are worth it and which you should avoid.
The most common updates when selling a home in Northern Virginia are paint, new carpet, kitchen spruce up, bathroom spruce up, kitchen remodels, and bathroom remodel.
You might find that all you need to do is spruce up the place a little. A spruce up is new paint, update cabinet hardware, replace faucet fixtures, and upgrade lighting.
Since this part of the process can get out of hand quickly, I won’t share any prices or ranges because they can be all over the place. Just remember that updates are an investment.
Side note: Don’t worry if the numbers make sense for you to update your home, but you don’t have enough money to pay for updates out-of-pocket.
If you have enough equity in your home, find a contractor that will allow you to pay for the renovation from the sale’s proceeds at settlement.
That way, you can renovate your home, maximize your profit, and not worry about the cost until you sell it.
Check out my interview with Home Prep, a local home contracting company that offers this service here in the Northern Virginia area.
Most sellers will spend less than 1% of the sales price getting their home market-ready. Kingstowne’s average townhouse value was $533,309 in 2019, while the average single-family home sold for $686,078 in that year.
This may seem like a lot of information, and it should because this is a pretty thorough breakdown of all the things you could come across before putting your house on the market.
But most sellers won’t incur all these costs but will choose which among these to consider and address.
After Coming Soon, the next phase is when your listing goes live and is now Active on the market.
In the active phase, the goal is to maintain the status quo.
There shouldn’t be any significant changes to the property, and you should incur any major charges barring any unusual circumstances.
An increased electricity bill is one of the expenses you can expect to incur because I request that you leave all lights on any day we have morning and evening showings.
I recommend that all my clients in Kingstowne turn the lights on before the first showing and turn them off when they return home after the last showing is complete.
In addition to electricity, landscaping needs to be regularly maintained to keep the curb appeal consistent with the online photos. When your home is on the market, your landscaping cost will depend on the Average Days on the Market in Kingstowne when you sell your home.
Finally, depending on your living situation and your home and family’s size, you may want to consider having the cleaning return if you cannot manage to keep your home what I like to call showing ready.
Your home is showing ready when it is free of clutter, floors are swept, mopped, and vacuum, bathrooms are tidy, and the kitchen sink is free of dishes and countertops are clear.
In my experience selling homes in Northern Virginia, most homeowners can handle this last item on their own. But again, it depends on your availability and living situation.
When we’re in a seller’s market and days on the market are low, your house could come on the market and be under contract within days and closed within the same month.
All in all, that means your additional expenses when active on the market should be minimal, with perhaps only seeing a slight increase in your energy bill and maybe an additional cleaning.
Once your house is under contract, you may incur additional costs repairing issues found during the buyer’s home inspection contingency period.
Depending on the sales contract’s details, the buyer may request some repairs be made before settlement.
Again this can range from a couple hundred to a couple of thousand dollars depending on the condition and issues.
Most sellers tend to spend less than a thousand dollars on home inspection repair items in my experience.
However, if broader or more severe issues are discovered you can expect most buyers to request they be remedied before settlement by a licensed contractor.
In this scenario, you may shell out more money in this phase paying for the completion of the repairs before settlement or at the end of the transaction in the form of a credit to the buyers.
There are two categories of expenses in this final phase, move-out expense and closing fees.
Moving is more expensive than you may think, or at least it can be. It all depends on your level of involvement.
Sure, you could do it yourself, but most of our clients in Kingstowne prefer hiring a moving company.
Moving locally from one area in Northern Virginia to another is less expensive than moving out of state. Local moves can cost between $2,000 to $6,000 depending on the weight of your items, time of year, and the company you use.
Out-of-state moves are a different animal altogether.
The cost varies widely from company to company and depends on the distance, weight of your belongings, and the time of year.
Budget between 1% to 2% of the sales price for your out-of-state move.
Let’s assume you find and hire a mover, and all of your stuff is out of the property; now it’s time to clean the property.
The buyer will conduct a final walkthrough of your property before they sign their paperwork.
The contract states that you’ll have the home broom clean for the final walkthrough.
I suggest you hire the same professional cleaning company you used during the Coming Soon phase to handle your move-out clean and call it a day.
You can expect to pay the professional cleaner another $200 for the move-out clean.
Let’s head to the title company and learn about your final home selling expenses.
To best understand closing fees, look at them as two categories; real estate commission and settlement fees.
Real Estate Commission
Quick disclaimer: The real estate commission is always negotiable, no matter which company or agent you choose to work with.
Typically, the seller can expect to pay the full commission for both the listing and selling real estate agents. That fee is usually split evenly between the two real estate agents handling the sale.
In 2019, the average sales price of a townhouse was $533,000 in Kingstowne.
If sellers paid commission was between five and six percent, that would cost anywhere from $26,650 to $31,980 in real estate commissions to sell a townhouse in Kingstowne.[table “132” not found /]
A quick way to calculate the closing cost is to estimate the cost as 1 percent of the sales price.
Closing cost includes fees to the settlement company, taxes due to local and federal agencies, HOA fees, and other miscellaneous charges.
Using the average selling price of townhouses in Kingstowne, the closing cost equaled $5,330.
Click here to calculate your closing costs using our Northern Virginia Seller Closing Costs Calculator.
You can also check out the video below for a more detailed explanation of Seller Closing Cost. In the video, I explain each closing disclosure line and break down each charge you may incur at settlement.
The Average Cost to Sell a Home in Kingstowne
Let’s put it all together and see what we get.
Let’s say your home will require onsite staging with one month of furniture rental, three months of offsite storage, two professional cleaning services, sixteen hours of handyman services, HVAC system service, and a local moving company to transport your belongings to your next home.
$49,915 would be the grand total for selling your Kingstowne townhouse.
- Coming Soon – $2,855-$6,555
- Appearance – $2,000-$3,800
- Staging – $1,755-$3,150
- $400-$600 – Staging Design Consultation
- $1,200-$2,100 – Onsite Staging ($400-$700 per room at three room minimum)
- $50-$300 – Landscaper
- Decluttering – $150-$600
- $150-$600 – Offsite-storage (three months)
- Cleaning – $200
- $200 – Professional Cleaning
- Repairs/Deferred Maintenance – $750-$2,605
- Repairs – $570-$2,425
- $250-$825 – Pre Marketing Home Inspection (price is based on property square footage)
- $320-$1,600 – Handyman Services ($20-$50 per hour for two eight-hour days)
- Deferred Maintenance – $180
- $180 – HVAC Service and Cleaning ($90 per unit cooling and heating unit)
- Repairs – $570-$2,425
- Paint Job
- New Carpet
- Kitchen Spruce Up (new paint, update cabinet hardware, replace faucet fixtures, and upgrade lighting)
- Bathroom Spruce Up (new paint, update cabinet hardware, replace sink faucet, replace shower head, and upgrade lighting)
- Kitchen Remodel
- Bathroom Remodel
- Staging – $1,755-$3,150
- Appearance – $2,000-$3,800
- Increased electricity bill.
- Cost to maintain lawn.
- Pending/Under Contract
- Cost depends on the response from the buyer.
- Move-out Expense
- Moving – $2,200-$6,200
- $2,000-$6,000 – Local Movers
- 1%-2% of sales price – Out-of-State Movers (final cost will depend on the time of the year, weight of your belongings, and distance to new property)
$200 – Professional Cleaning Service
- Moving – $2,200-$6,200
- Closing Fees
- 5%-6% – Real Estate Commission
- 1% of sales price – Closing Cost
- Move-out Expense
Now let’s take a look at the average sales price for a single-family home, townhouse, and condo in Kingstowne to estimate the cost of selling each one.
Using 2019 numbers, the average sales price in Kingstowne for single-family homes was $686,000 for townhomes, it was $533,000, and condos were $313,000.
Average sales prices were calculated using Bright MLS on September 4, 2019.
Overall you can expect to pay between $46,000-$60,000 to sell a single-family home, $37,000-$50,000 to sell a townhouse, and $24,000-$35,000 to sell a condo.
Or, you can make the math easier by using 7-9% of the estimated sales price for a single-family and townhouse and 8-11% for condos.
Keep in mind these are very generous estimates because I want to prepare you for the highest expected output.
And that’s a breakdown of how much it costs to sell a home in Kingstowne. These same percentages can be applied when figuring out the cost to sell a home in other parts of Northern Virginia.
Remember, the sales price in different parts of Northern Virginia will vary by location but the expenses associated with the sale remain the same.
For first-time home sellers, let me know how much you thought it would cost to sell your home? Have sales prices in Kingstowne changed a lot since you bought your home?
If you sold a home before, these figures might be old news for you. Is there anything else you’d add to this list? Do you think the market has changed a lot since you last sold a home?
This post serves two purposes.
First, it will educate you about the process of selling a home. The more you know, the less likely an unscrupulous agent will take advantage of you. In my 12-plus years of selling homes, I’ve seen everything. Most homeowners would have been protected if they knew a little bit more information.
Second, if you’re in the Northern Virginia area, I’d love to interview you to sell your home. Feel free to call or send me a text at 703-539-2053. You can also shoot me an email if you have any questions about selling your home.