Selling a home is as much about getting a good return on your investment as it is about timing. Make sure you understand key concepts like home staging, strategic remodeling, real estate agents, and advertising your home.

The Balance’s Guide to Selling Your Home

Card Placeholder Image
How to Buy and Sell a House at the Same Time
Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do you stage your home for a home sale?

    If your budget allows, consider hiring a professional staging company to do it for you. It’s not cheap—you can spend up to $2,000 per month for a 2,000-square-foot home, according to some estimates. But it can also increase the amount a buyer offers by 1%-5%, according to an NAR survey. One way to save is to pay for a consultation with a professional, and then stage the home yourself, with your own furnishings. Next, make sure you cover the basics: clean, eliminate clutter and personal decoration, open the drapes, and turn up the lights.  

  • Can you avoid capital gains on a home sale?

    You can—up to a point. You can exclude the first $250,000 of capital gains from the sale of your home if you’re a single filer ($500,000 for joint filers). To be eligible the house must have been your primary residence for two out of the previous five years, and you must have been its owner for two of the previous five years, as well. Of course, the rules are complex, especially for inherited property and other situations; consult with a tax professional.  

  • Can you sell a home without an agent?

    You can sell a home without an agent, “For Sale by Owner (FSBO)”. Most homeowners who take this route do so to avoid paying agent commissions, which can be as high as 7% of the sales price. Unfortunately, according to the National Association of Realtors, homes sold via FSBO in 2021 fetched $58,000 less than those sold by agents, a figure far larger than the cost of commissions: Average agent-sold homes went for $318,000, which at 7%, would generate $22,260. Still, about 7% of homes sold in 2021 were FSBO, so it’s a viable option for many. 

  • How much does it cost to sell a house?

    Selling a home is a big undertaking, with lots of people involved. In general, sellers should expect to pay as much as 10% of the sales price once all the costs are added up. The largest cost will be agent commissions, which range between 5%-7%, with 6% the average. Other costs include staging and preparation, some closing costs (although most of those are borne by the buyer), and any post-inspection repairs or credits to the buyer.

Key Terms

Explore Selling Your Home

real estate and property concept - close up of hands holding house or home model
Selling Your Home in a Seller's Market
A house for sale
The Worst Home-Selling Mistake
Couple speaking to real estate agent
The Different Types of Listing Agreements for Selling a Home