Chicago Home Seller Closing Costs

If you’re wondering how much it costs to sell your home in Chicago, you’ve come to the right place. You’re probably aware of some of the costs that go into selling your home, but especially for those selling for the first time, it’s helpful to gain a solid understanding of what you’re paying for so there aren’t any surprises that jump out down the road. 

The typical ballpark cost to sell your Chicago home is about seven or eight percent of your home’s sale price. Seems like a hefty percentage, so let’s break it down into categories. That rough estimate includes fees associated with preparing the home for market, things you owe after it goes under contract, and everything you need to pay at closing. 

Here’s a list of every single one of the costs to sell your home in this city, from the day you decide to sell to the closing:

Before going on the market

  • Cleaning
  • Staging
  • Storage
  • Movers
  • Virtual staging/photos
  • Repairs
  • Cosmetic updates
  • Move-out fees

Under contract

  • Inspection
  • HOA fees
  • Land survey 

At closing

  • Property Taxes
  • City of Chicago Transfer Tax
  • Title Fees
  • Mortgage payoff
  • Attorney fees
  • Realtor commissions
  • HOA dues
  • Special Assessment
  • Miscellaneous buyer credits

Disclaimer, these are not cookie cutter transactions – each property and seller situation is different. Obviously, the condition of the home is a major factor of seller fees, but so are things like the presence of divorce – there are certain additional fees that may be required in this circumstance. To give you a better idea of the costs associated with selling your Chicago home, download our equity calculator. 

Want to know more about each of these costs to sell your home in Chicago? Let’s look into each of these costs, in the order of when you’ll be paying them. 

Costs you’ll pay before your home goes on the market

  • Cleaning: All homes require a deep clean before hitting the market. Most deep cleans require a professional cleaning service. Things like vacuuming, scrubbing the inside of the oven, and scour cleaning the grout in the bathroom are just a few things they’ll do to give your home a little TLC before she’s ready for her debut. You’ll end up spending around $200-$300 for a mid-size condo, $500-600 for a house. You may also need to steam clean your carpet.
  • Staging: If you decide to stage your home (which we typically recommend if your home is vacant), this cost can range anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500, depending on size and scope. Some sellers opt to stage just a couple primary rooms – living room, dining room, master bed – while others may go for the entire home, less a room or two. We’ve seen some stagers charge a flat fee for three months, then charge monthly after that. Others may charge a set up fee with monthly charges after that; just depends on the company. If this is something you opt out of, check out our blog post on staging for some simple staging tips you can do yourself.
  • Storage: If you have nice furniture already and don’t feel the need to stage your home, then prepping it for buyers is a matter of decluttering and storing your belongings somewhere else. We’re talking photographs, excess chairs, lamps, coffee tables, office supplies, etc. In this case, renting a storage unit would be beneficial. If you’re keeping your belongings in your home, we recommend swapping out your bathroom supplies for brand new hand towels, bath mats, and shower curtains.
  • Movers: When you pay this fee obviously depends on when your next home is ready for you to move in. If you’re moving cross-town, prices typically range from $500 for a smaller condo, to $2,000 for a single family home. Moving outside the Chicago area can add up to several thousand depending on how far you’re moving.
  • Virtual staging/photos: If your home is completely empty, virtual staging can help potential buyers imagine what the space looks like. Most Realtors, including those at Center Coast, cover the cost of virtual staging, as well as professional photographs and other marketing fees, as part of their service. If your Realtor doesn’t, find a new one. Just kidding – kind of – but know you’ll have to pay at least $150 just for basic for photos.
  • Repairs: The most common repair we recommend is interior painting. Depending on how many rooms in your home, you can plan on $2,000-$4,000 to have a professional do it. 
  • Cosmetic updates: Your Realtor may recommend high ROI improvements. These tend to be simple cosmetic changes that a handyman can do, like swapping out lighting fixtures, installing new vanities, putting in a backsplash. These may not be necessary, and you Realtor would you recommend things that are sure to get your money back and then some. 
  • Move-out fees: This applies to condos only – some HOAs require move in and move out fees. These might be $150-$250.

That’s quite the laundry list so far, but the good news is, very few of you will need to incur all these costs to sell your home. If your home is in good condition already, you could spend less than $1,000 at this stage. We typically advise sellers to budget $2,000 to $3,000, unless there are larger costs like painting.

Costs you’ll pay after your home goes under contract

  • Inspection repairs: While the buyer pays for the actual inspection, you will need to pay for the inspection items that get negotiated as a part of attorney review – specifically the items for work that needs to be done. There are two ways to go about atoning a buyer for repairs that are discovered during inspection – directly paying for the work that needs to be done, or issuing a credit to the buyer so they can later pay for the work. Either way, this is coming out of the seller’s pocket, theoretically speaking, and the costs vary with the amount of work needed to be done. CJ Lamb of The Gunderson Law Firm in Chicago is a big fan of credits in lieu of doing the actual work. This is for two reasons: first, sometimes picky Buyers will show up for a final walk-through before closing, try to say the work was done improperly, and threaten to cancel the deal – a credit leaves no room for a picky buyer to say an inspection item was not repaired correctly. And second, if a deal falls through, the seller will not have lost any money spent on making inspection repairs. If they had paid for the repairs themselves, there would be no way of getting a refund for the work done.
  • HOA fees: If the sale involves a condo, the HOA might require payment to prepare all the documents they need to facilitate a change in ownership within their records. These fees will range from $200 to $800, with the most common amount being around $395. If the condo resides in a big building with a management company-run HOA, these fees are more likely than if the HOA is owner-run, which is common in smaller buildings. Some law firms like The Gunderson Law Firm will front these costs for their sellers and take care of any HOA costs to be reimbursed at closing.
  • Land survey: If the sale involves a single family home, a land survey is required. These are done by surveying companies, which typically charge around $495. Your attorney generally pays for this, and you reimburse them at closing; if not, you’ll need to pay it beforehand.

Costs you’ll pay at closing

  • Property Taxes: As a seller, you’ll have to pay buyers for taxes accrued on the property while buyers don’t live there. These taxes are paid in one year arrears, meaning you’ll pay 2019’s taxes in 2020. Since the buyer will eventually get stuck with the entire annual tax bill, you’ll need to give them a credit for the portion of the year you owned the property. Obviously, this amount depends on the price of your property and the time period you owned it.
  • City of Chicago transfer tax: Every Chicagoan’s favorite, good-for-nothing tax, this is a one-time tax that both sellers and buyers have to pay. Good news is, you won’t be paying as much for this tax as a seller as you did as a buyer: The tax rates vary from city to city. Chicago sellers pay taxes to both Illinois, Cook County and Chicago. The Illinois tax rate is $1.00 for every $1,000 of the Purchase Price, the Cook County Tax rate is $0.50 for every $1,000 of the purchase price and the Chicago Tax rate is $3.00 for every $1,000 of the Purchase Price. That all adds up to .45% of the purchase price – for example, $1,350 on a $300,000 home sale.
  • Title fees: These are the fees you’ll incur from the title company as they transfer ownership of the property. 
    • Owner’s policy: Sellers are required to pay for the insurance policy itself, which has to cover the purchase price. This is the largest fee you’ll pay when it comes to title fees. Every title company calculates their fees slightly differently, but you can usually expect to pay between $1,750 for a very inexpensive property and $3,500 for properties up to $1 million. 
    • Closing protection letter: This is the document that names the seller and to the title insurance policy. These generally run $50.
    • Update fee: This is a smaller fee – usually around $200 – that covers the gap of time from when the title commitment is issued to the closing. Damage can happen to a property over that period of time, so the title company will insure that.
    • Title search fee: This is to make sure you, as the seller, are the correct owner of your home before you can sell it to someone else and effectively grant the title. This fee usually ranges from $275-475.
    • Wire fees: Some title companies charge wire fees if sellers prefer to receive their money via wire or if the seller has a mortgage that is getting paid off via wire. These are typically $40-$45 per transaction.
    • Water and Zoning fees: These fees depend on which type of home you’re selling. If you’re selling your single family home, you’ll need to pay for a zoning certificate and water certificate for about $250 total in order to close and for the deed to be recorded. This ensures the buyer will not incur giant water bills once they move in. If you’re selling your condo, you only need a water certificate, which will set you back about $150. 
    • State of Illinois Title Policy Registration Fee: The state will charge a $3 fee to keep track of all of these documents. Don’t spend it all in one place, Illinois.
  • Mortgage payoff: This is probably the largest of the costs to sell your home. Obviously, it varies depending on what you owe on your mortgage. A common misconception is that your mortgage payoff equals your statement balance. In reality, your mortgage payoff amount will be higher than the balance shown on your monthly statement. This is because the actual payoff amount must also include the interest accrued since that statement. Mortgages actually calculate interest in one month arrears. That means your actual mortgage payoff will contain roughly an extra month’s worth of interest.
  • Attorney fees: A majority of attorneys get compensated from title companies as a percentage of title insurance fees due to the liability the attorney incurs representing you and performing the title work. In addition, you will pay your attorney an additional fee. This varies depending on which attorney you’re using what whether you’re selling and buying, solely selling or selling a different kind of property other than a single unit or home. If you’re just selling a single unit or home, typically the cost will be around $600 as a flat fee. With a dual transaction (Buy/Sale of a single Unit or Home), package deals are common. 
  • Realtor commissions: Your Realtor’s commission is a percentage of the sales price at closing, and is one the largest of the costs to sell your home in Chicago. Why? Their commission is a contingency fee, meaning Realtors only get paid if the home closes. Being a listing agent, Realtors take on a lot of risk; risk that the home takes a long time to sell, and risk that it doesn’t sell at all. Realtors spend their own money and countless hours on marketing your property, negotiating with buyers and solving problems. It’s actually not countless – we counted – and it’s generally around 100-120 hours to close one home. 
  • HOA dues: If you’re selling a condo, your HOA will require you to pay your HOA dues through the month of the closing date. Good news though: when this happens, the buyer will give you a credit for the prorated portion of the month the the buyer ends up owning the home. For example: if you close on September 15th, you, as a seller, will have already paid your HOA dues through the 30th. This means the buyer will pay you back for the remaining 15 days of the month at closing. In some instances, the closing date lines up with the HOA fee due dates so that buyers have to pay HOA dues before they officially own the home. If this is the case, you’re expected to pay back the buyers for the time that they have not lived there yet. This cost varies based on the amount of your HOA.
  • Special assessment: Generally, you are responsible for any special assessment levied by the HOA prior to closing. Most sellers pay the special assessment at the closing in the form of a credit to the buyers. If the HOA issues a special assessment during attorney review, you’ll have to pay off that special assessment of their money being escrowed. Again, cost varies here.
  • Miscellaneous buyer credits: This is on a case-by-case basis. If you agreed to give the buyer a credit instead of making repairs after inspection, or if they negotiated a closing cost credit in exchange for a higher price, you’ll pay that credit now.

If you’re still with us, congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of this blog post and thus, the end of the list of costs to sell your home in Chicago. Deep breath!

To get a better idea of how much you’ll be paying for these costs to sell your home based on its value and other varying factors, download our Chicago seller costs calculator. It will tell you what fees you owe and estimate how much those fees are. 

And if you’re also buying a place, check out our blog on closing costs for buyers in Chicago. We’d recommend giving yourself a few days to recover from this blog first though. 

By | 2019-10-15T15:34:11+00:00 October 11th, 2019|

About the Author:

Paige is the Marketing Coordinator at Center Coast Realty.

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