In a new report, Zillow tells us that sellers will spend an average of $20,851 to prepare their houses to sell. This figure includes things such as real estate commissions, taxes and projects/fixes that need fixing. Zillow’s report does not include things such as closing costs, title insurance fees, the cost of points to lower mortgage rates, etc.

Home improvement costs average $6,570 nationally but can vary from $7,800 for landscaping, painting and carpet cleaning in Sacramento to $4,000 for the same services in Phoenix. Averages for total transaction fees come in at approximately $14,281 for agent commissions and transfer taxes, however, these transaction fees vary based on such things as location, location, location and sale prices.

Zillow tells us 8 in10 sellers will complete at least one project/fix before putting their house on the market to sell. Owners who do, 22% of them, will likely sell their house for above the listing price; 16% of sellers who don’t do at least one project /fix prior to listing will not sell their house above the listing price.

National averages for some of these separate project/fixing costs include:

  • Exterior painting – $2,600
  • Interior painting – $1,245
  • Home staging – $1,805
  • Full service lawn care – $145
  • Carpet cleaning – $140

Transaction fees  are a different story altogether.  They can range from $76,015 in San Jose to $9,046 in Cleveland. Check out transaction fee variables in these locations:

  • San Francisco – $58.534
  • Philadelphia – $16,296
  • Chicago – $13,825
  • Dallas – $14,580
  • Boston – $30,085

According to Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research, “Selling is often a complicated process that can require extensive prep in order to put you best foot forward for a successful sale.”

The old adage, “It takes money to make money,” rings true to Olsen’s words.

Thanks to Thumbnail, a site that connects service providers to homeowners, for the above numbers.