How Much Does It Cost to Sell Your House by Owner in Pennsylvania?

Written by Kristine CameronJune 3rd, 202211 minute read

Summary of costs | Pre-listing expenses | Listing expenses | Closing cost expenses | FSBO alternatives

On average, Pennsylvania residents can expect to spend about 9.25% of their home's property value to sell their home. This means it would cost about $24,355 to sell a $263,381 home (the median home value in Pennsylvania).

Properties listed as for sale by owner (FSBO) could help sellers save an average of 2.81%, or about $7,400 on listing agent commissions. However, even by eliminating listing agent fees, selling FSBO probably isn't as cheap as you might think.

Use the calculator below to estimate your actual FSBO selling costs. The calculator defaults to the required costs only, but you can adjust the additional recommended fees based on your exact needs.

This guide will further explain all these costs so you can fully understand what you need to pay as a FSBO seller and which expenses are customizable. By the end, you'll be able to make informed decisions about maximizing your FSBO savings without jeopardizing your sale!

Summary: Typical FSBO costs and fees in Pennsylvania

Surprised by the hidden costs of selling without an agent? Here are some of the major expenses that most FSBO sellers don't consider:

  • Home valuation: FSBO sellers should consider getting a broker price opinion (BPO) or a professional appraisal to accurately price their homes. A valuation usually costs $100–385.
  • Pre-listing prep: The recommended pre-listing preparations add up to $2,485. This fee includes interior painting ($1,899), deep cleaning services ($168), and handyman services ($418).
  • Flat fee MLS listing: Getting your home listed on the MLS database can cost between $100–2,000, depending on how many extra services you need.
  • Real estate photography: The average cost for standard real estate photography in Pennsylvania is $169.
  • Concessions: Pennsylvania sellers spend about 2% on concessions, or about $5,270 for the average home.
  • Closing costs: Total closing costs add up to about $1,892 for the average home, including transfer taxes ($1,317), the recording fee ($150), and the title service fee ($425). Plus, you'll owe prorated property taxes at a rate of 1.58%
  • Buyer's agent commission: The average buyer's agent commission rate in Pennsylvania is 2.72%, or about $7,164 for a home with the median value of $263,381.
  • Real estate attorney (optional): Although it's not required in Pennsylvania, we strongly recommend FSBO sellers to hire a real estate attorney to help them through the closing process. The average flat fee for an attorney is about $1,000, but some may charge by the hour (average rate is $200 per hour per hour).

💰FSBO vs realtor: Are the potential savings worth it?
When you sell FSBO, you can save about $7,400 on an average home by avoiding paying a listing agent's commission. However, that means assuming a lot of the risks and many of the costs of services a real estate agent provides. In the end, your savings might not be as great as you'd hoped. Luckily, discount brokers over a full service option and still save you thousands when you sell.

Our friends at Clever pre-negotiates low rates with top local agents from major brokerages like RE/MAX and Keller Williams. When you go through Clever, your listing fee is just 1% vs. the average 2.81% rate in Pennsylvania. You get all the benefits of a full-service agent (including pro photos, marketing, and end-to-end support) for about one-third the typical price.

Clever’s service is also 100% free with no obligation — so there’s no risk in giving it a try. If you decide it’s not for you, you can just walk away and stick with FSBO.

» LEARN MORE: Try Clever’s free service, find out how much you could save

FSBO costs in Pennsylvania: An in-depth breakdown

Typical pre-listing expenses for FSBO sellers in Pennsylvania

Pre-listing expense

Cost

$100–385

Inspection (optional)

$340

$168–2,485

Total

$100–3,210

*Based on local service estimates and prices in Pennsylvania

Pre-listing expenses are things you do before you put your house on the market. Generally, FSBO sellers in Pennsylvania can expect to pay between $100–385 on pre-listing costs. However, these expenses may vary depending on the condition and location of your home.

Recommended: Professional home valuation ($100–385)

If you're selling FSBO, it's a good idea to get a professional home valuation. If your home is priced too high, it'll be really difficult to sell. If your home is priced too low, you won't earn the money your house is actually worth.

There are two options for getting your home professionally evaluated: a broker price opinion (BPO) or a home appraisal.

A BPO is when a broker or real estate agent does a basic inspection of your home and compares it to similar properties in the area. It costs about $100 and generally works best for sellers in suburban or urban regions with several nearby comps.

An appraisal is a bit pricier ($320 to $385), but it's completed by a certified appraiser who will conduct a more detailed analysis and consider more market trends in the surrounding area. This option is best for sellers in less populated areas or with more unique homes. The more unique/unusual your house is, the more difficult it will be to find similar comps.

Optional: Pre-listing inspection ($340)

Pre-listing inspections aren't necessary in Pennsylvania, but getting one can give buyers additional peace of mind. If your home has a serious issue that could impact the sale, getting an inspection can be a good idea.

In Pennsylvania, the average home inspection costs about $340, but this can vary depending on the square footage of the property. In Pittsburgh, for example, the average cost of a home inspection is $371. In Philadelphia, on the other hand, the average home inspection costs $446.

However, not all sellers need to get an inspection. Don't worry about getting one if your home is less than 5 years old or is being sold to an investor. If you have the time and flexibility to negotiate with buyers, you don't need an inspection, either.

Optional: Repairs and improvements $168–2,485

Making some minor repairs and adding a few cosmetic improvements to your home can make a major difference to potential buyers.

In Pennsylvania, the average cost of repairs adds up to about $2,485.

Here's how the standard fees break down:

Cleaning services
$168
Handyman services
$418
Interior painting
$1,899

Additional costs can include landscaping ($3,372 on average) and staging ($1,461).

To keep more of your money in your pocket, you could do some DIY projects. Just keep your own timeline in mind — it might be worth it to hire a pro if you don't have the time or materials necessary to complete each task.

Typical listing-related expenses for FSBO sellers in Pennsylvania

Listing expense
Cost
$25–100
$2–35
$169
$100–2,000
~$350
Total
$296–2,654
*Based on local service estimates and prices in Pennsylvania

Listing expenses refer to the costs associated with putting your home on the market, attracting buyers, and selecting an offer. The listing expenses vary a lot depending on how you want to market your home and how you want to conduct showings.

Below, we also offer a few suggested marketing costs that might help you sell more efficiently.

Recommended: Lockbox purchase ($25–100)

A lockbox is a small box with a combination lock that holds a key to the property. This device lets buyers' agents check out your home, even if you're not there.

It's strongly recommended to have a lockbox so potential buyers have the freedom to tour the property without feeling pressured or rushed by the seller. Visitors will feel more comfortable speaking honestly with their agent or partner if the seller isn't around. It's also a big time commitment to be available anytime someone wants to check out your home!

A standard lockbox can cost under $30, whereas more expensive Bluetooth-enabled locks can be more than $100.

Recommended: FSBO yard sign ($2–35)

Putting a for sale by owner sign in your yard will help generate word-of-mouth referrals and attract the attention of local real estate agents and buyers. Make sure that your sign includes your name and contact information at the bare minimum.

You can choose from a basic corrugated plastic sign or an aluminum sign and use a thin H-frame ($1–3) or a sign frame ($18–35) to hang your sign. If you're in a more expensive neighborhood, you may opt for a sign post, but these can cost over $50.

You may also include a sign rider with brochures/pamphlets with details about your house or upcoming showings. A pamphlet box that can be attached to a sign costs about $25–30.

If you work with a flat fee MLS company, they might include a yard sign as part of their FSBO package.

Recommended: Real estate photography ($169)

The cost of standard real estate photography in Pennsylvania is about $169, but this can vary based on your location and the size of your home.

Photos are one of the most influential factors to potential buyers, so make sure that every room is clean, well-lit, and clutter-free to showcase the features of your house. If you'd like, you can further show off your property with 3D images or aerial photography, but these extra services can get pretty pricey.

Recommended: Flat fee MLS listing ($100 to $2,000)

According to our 2022 survey of 1,000 home sellers, 71% of home buyers browse sites fueled by the MLS. Not listing your house on the MLS can cause your property to go overlooked by agents and prospective buyers.

However, if you're selling FSBO, the only way to get your home listed on the MLS database is to work with a flat fee MLS company.

The cost of a flat fee MLS package varies based on the number of extra services you need. If all you want is to get listed on the database, you can expect to pay around $100. If you want help marketing your property or need additional supplies to advertise your home, it can range from a few hundred dollars to $2,000.

✋ What about free listing sites?

There are several free websites that allow FSBO listings, such as Zillow, Facebook, and Craigslist. However, these sites aren't used by actual real estate agents as often as the MLS database. Furthermore, using a flat fee MLS company will automatically sync your listing to hundreds of other websites and local brokerage sites anyways.

Optional: Additional recommended advertising (~$350)

If you want to go above and beyond with your marketing strategy, there are a few additional options to consider:

  • Brochures: You can design your own open house brochures using sites like Canva and Vistaprint. These user-friendly platforms offer templates for different brochure sizes, folds, and designs that you can customize, print, or order in bulk.
  • Social media posts: If you want your listing to stand out on social media, you can boost one of your posts on Facebook or Instagram. Both of these platforms allow you to customize your own budget and choose how often to boost your listing. It can cost as little as $1 per day on each platform to advertise your post.
  • Open house materials: You might want to have refreshments, brochures, a sign-in list, or other materials to make your open houses and showings memorable. Costs here can vary a lot based on personal preferences and the number of showings held.

Closing costs for FSBO sellers in Pennsylvania

Listing expense
% of sale price
Cost
2.72%
$7,164
Up to 1.58%
Up to $4,168
N/A*
$1,467
0.50%
$1,317
County transfer tax
0.5%
$1,315
Total (required fees)
5.02%–7.02%
$13,224–$18,492
N/A*
$200 per hour
Concessions (optional)
About 2%
$5,270
Based on the median home value in Pennsylvania ($263,381)
*Closing cost is a set fee and not dependent on sale price. Because of this actual costs may be higher or lower than the average ranges.

Closing costs in Pennsylvania usually add up to about $13,224–$18,492, including the average cost of the buyer's agent commission.

These fees can be paid using the funds you earned from the sale. In other words, you won't have to pay these fees out of pocket unless you're underwater on your mortgage.

Most of these fees are required in Pennsylvania, but sellers and buyers can negotiate which costs each person is responsible for.

Recommended: Buyer’s agent fee ($7,164)

Unless you're selling directly to someone you know or an unrepresented buyer, you'll probably have to offer the buyer's agent commission. In Pennsylvania, the average buyer's agent commission is 2.72% of the sales price, or about $7,164 based on the median home value of $263,381.

However, the commission rate is always negotiable. If you're selling FSBO, you can negotiate directly with the agent to come to an agreement that's fair for everyone involved.

Required: Prorated property taxes (up to $4,168)

Prorated taxes are fees split between the buyer and seller, determined by when each party actually lived in the home. For example, if the seller lived in the home for 10 months before selling the home, they should cover the property taxes for that period of time.

In Pennsylvania, the average property tax rate is around 1.58% of the property value, or about $4,168 annually.

Required: Title service fees ($1,467)

Title service fees, which cover the costs of working with a title company, add up to about $1,467 in Pennsylvania. In most states, the title service fees would also cover the buyer's title insurance, but it's customary for Pennsylvania buyers to pay for their own insurance.

Required: Recording fee ($150)

The average recording fee in Pennsylvania is $150. Recording fees pay for the services needed to transfer and update real estate documents, such as affidavits, leases, mortgages, deeds, or other documents.

Required: State transfer tax ($1,317)

The average transfer tax rate in Pennsylvania is 2%, but this is split between the buyer and seller. Transfer taxes cover the costs of transferring ownership of the property to your buyer.

Of the 1% the seller pays, usually 0.5% will go to the state, and the other 0.5% will go to the local county and/or school district. Sellers can expect to pay about $1,317 in state transfer taxes and $1,317 in county transfer taxes for the average Pennsylvania home.

Some cities also charge an additional city transfer tax. Philadelphia, for example, requires an additional 3.278% on top of the standard 1% transfer tax rate.

Optional: Concessions ($5,270)

Seller concession fees refer to the closing costs the seller agrees to pay to make the closing process more affordable for the buyer. These are more common in a buyer's market, where there are more homes for sale than prospective buyers.

Concession expenses come out of the total profit from the home. For example, if a seller agrees to pay $2,500 in concessions and sells for $150,000, they'll earn a total of $147,500.

Concessions in Pennsylvania cost sellers an average of 2%, or about $5,270.

Optional: Real estate attorney fees (~$1,000)

FSBO sellers in Pennsylvania aren't required to hire a real estate attorney, but it's still a good idea to get legal advice when reviewing offers or completing the closing process.

The average flat fee rate for a real estate attorney is about $1,000, although some may charge around $200 per hour instead. Most attorneys will offer a free consultation to assess your needs and give you a more accurate price estimate.

Summary: Cost to sell a house without a realtor in Pennsylvania

FSBO sellers in Pennsylvania will spend 5.17% to 9.25% of their home's property value in order to sell their home. However, the savings that come from working without a realtor might not be worth the extra work and hassle.

Without an agent, FSBO sellers will have to manage all the tasks a realtor usually takes care of, such as marketing the property, negotiating with buyers, and hosting house showings. Sellers will also have to pay for several things out of pocket that an agent would normally cover, such as a lockbox, yard sign, an MLS listing, and professional photography.

It might be helpful to investigate the costs of these services in your area to see how much you'll actually save if you sell without a realtor.

FSBO alternatives in Pennsylvania: Better ways to save on realtor commission

If selling without a realtor sounds too stressful, there are other options. You can sell directly to a cash buyer or work with a discount broker to save money without missing out on valuable realtor services.

A cash buyer typically refers to a company, such as Pittsburgh Cash Home Buyers, that can purchase your home without taking out a mortgage. These companies buy homes as-is, which lets you avoid the costs of preparing your home for sale and marketing your property.

Another option is a discount brokerage. A discount brokerage will connect you with full-service real estate agents who are willing to work for a lower commission rate. Instead of the standard 2.81% commission rate for a listing agent, you could spend just 1% by working with a service like Clever Real Estate.

Clever pre-negotiates with top agents across the country to help sellers keep more of the money they earn on their home sale. Check out Clever to get matched with an agent today and see how much you can save!

</p><p>FSBO sellers don't have to pay commission to a listing agent, which can help them save 2.81%, or about $7,401 based on the median home price in Pennsylvania. However, not using an agent can cause different expenses to add up, such as marketing fees, home staging, photography, and more.</p><p>

</p><p>Unless you sell directly to a friend or an unrepresented buyer, you'll likely have to cover the cost of the buyer's agent. If you don't offer commission, realtors won't be inclined to show their clients your home. In Pennsylvania, the standard commission rate for buyer's agents is 2.72%, which comes to about $7,164 based on the median home value.</p><p>