James HurwoodWritten by James Hurwood
Reviewed by Stephen Zeller
Last updated 28/11/2023

Key takeaways

  • If you’re getting ready to sell a property in Australia, you may be facing a larger number of costs than you previously thought.
  • Advertising, inspections, Capital Gains Tax, moving costs; these are just some of the costs you may need to factor in.
  • Having a thorough and fully informed understanding of your selling costs will make the actual selling process a lot less stressful.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Expert tips for managing your property selling costs

Selling your house can be time-consuming, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be stressful. Our General Manager of Money, Stephen Zeller has some tips for prospective and future property-sellers to try and help them better understand and manage their property selling costs:

Cheapest isn’t necessarily best

When researching real estate agents, it can be tempting to hire the agent with the lowest commission costs, but does this agent have a proven history of selling homes in your local area? Although an agent may charge a lower commission, they may not be able to get you as high a sale price as a more established agent with a larger customer base. Research recent sales in your area to see which agents are performing the best.

Give your property a quick facelift

There are some simple tasks you can complete to get your property ready for sale which don’t require a professional. For example, you can remove weeds and freshen up the garden beds with some new mulch, get rid of any unused items around your home or use a pressure hose to clean your driveway and paths. And as they say, many hands make light work, so if you have any friends or family who can assist, the easier these jobs will be.

Keep track of your costs

If you’re looking to purchase a home in the future after selling your current home, it’s important to consider all costs associated with selling the home to know how much you’ll have available for the new purchase. It can be easy to lose track of what has and hasn’t been paid, so creating a spreadsheet with your anticipated costs to sell your home (or even just a written tally) and crossing off each item as it’s paid can help you stay on top of things.

What are the potential costs of selling a property?

selling house for sale sign

Some of the costs associated with selling a property may seem obvious – such as agent fees or advertising costs – but there are also less obvious expenses.

Some of the costs you might encounter while selling a property include:

  • Property preparation and styling
  • Real estate agent commission and fees
  • Advertising costs
  • Auction costs
  • Conveyancing fees
  • Pest and building inspections/reports
  • Lenders’ fees
  • Capital gains tax
  • Moving costs
  • Miscellaneous associated costs.

You won’t necessarily have to cover every cost listed here when you sell a property; think of it as a guide to the range of costs you could have to cover. Let’s delve into each one and break down what it is and how much it might cost you to move onto your next home.

1. Property preparation and styling

Depending on the current condition of your property, you may decide to invest in improving its visual appearance. This could include paying for things like:

  • Repairs and/or renovations
  • Professional cleaning services
  • Professional property staging (also known as styling).

Having your property professionally cleaned and/or staged can help you get a better price. Your total costs for any property staging or styling will vary depending on where you live and your choice of staging service.

What is property staging?

Property staging (also commonly known as property styling) is the process of decorating and arranging a property for sale in order to increase its visual appeal. This could include decluttering spaces or hiring different furniture, plants or ornaments to enhance the appearance of your home.

2. Real estate agent fees

Most sellers will typically seek help from a real estate agent to sell their property, as this is usually easier than trying to sell it themselves. The downside of this convenience, however, is that real estate agents charge a fee for their services.

Real estate agents can opt for either a fixed commission rate or a tiered commission rate, depending on their personal preference, standard practice and what they think the property might sell for (as opposed to its current market valuation). This rate is agreed upon before the sale and may or may not include GST.

  • A fixed commission rate is usually determined at the agent or company’s discretion and is generally a fixed percentage of the property’s final sale price.
  • A tiered commission rate is based on a sliding scale that applies ‘standard’ rates to sales up to a certain amount. However, when the sale price increases over that amount, the tiered commission rate may also increase to include a percentage-based bonus.

What’s considered ‘standard’ in terms of real estate agent costs will vary between states, local markets, real estate agents and companies, with some new companies offering flat fees and others charging more or less than the average rate. If you’re planning on using the services of a real estate agent, it can be a good idea to shop around and do some research so you get an idea of how much agents in your area might charge.

3. Advertising costs

While your real estate agent (if you’ve chosen to work with one) will generally handle any advertising during your property’s sale campaign, it’s a cost you’ll likely have to account for.

The total sum of your advertising costs will generally depend on:

  • The agent you’ve chosen to work with and the company they work for
  • The types of advertising and the style of marketing campaign
  • The costs associated with creating and distributing marketing assets
  • Average property advertising costs for the area your property is located in.

Advertising and promotional options for selling your property include:

  • Display boards
  • Online listings
  • Professional photography
  • A floor plan
  • Press advertisements.

Your advertising and marketing costs could be as low as a few hundred dollars or could be in the thousands of dollars. In a more expensive market like Sydney, the lowest available option for advertising costs could cost several thousand dollars.

4. Auction expenses

Depending on your circumstances, your estimated property value and the current property market, you and/or your agent may decide that an auction is the best way to sell your property.
Exactly how much you pay will depend on where you live and the auctioneer you choose to work with, so you may want to research auctioneers in your area or talk with your real estate agent to get a clearer idea of how much an auction might cost you.

5. Conveyancing

Selling a property will generally involve the transferral of its title from you (the seller) to the buyer, conveying legal registered ownership. Unless you’re a lawyer, you’ll typically require the help of an expert to navigate this process.

Your conveyancer could be the solicitor handling the legal aspects of your broader property affairs, or another individual hired solely for conveyancing purposes. Either way, conveyancing isn’t cheap, as you’re engaging the services of a qualified and licensed legal professional on a high-value transaction.

Conveyancing costs can vary based on where you live and the specific fees charged by the conveyancer you end up working with, but you should probably be earmarking between $800 and $2,200 for conveyancing costs.¹

6. Pest and building reports

Pest and building reports can be considered an essential test for any property you’re thinking of buying – but you could stand to benefit from getting them done as a seller too!

Commissioning pest and building inspections before putting your property up for sale can:

  • Help to identify any problems with the property and allow time to get these fixed before selling.
  • Potentially add value to your home by ensuring it’s in good shape before it goes on the market.
  • Provide peace of mind for you, and potential buyers.

The cost of a combined building and pest inspection can vary depending on where you live. While these inspections aren’t a necessary cost for everyone looking to sell a property, they can help the process run a little more smoothly.

7. Lender fees

Depending on your lender and the terms of your mortgage, it may cost extra to pay off your home loan before the conclusion of its term. Doing so could involve:

  • Exit fees – These cover the money your lender is considered to have ‘lost’ as a result of you not having to make home loan repayments. Exit fees were banned on 1 July 2011, but if you took out your home loan before that date, you might have to pay an early exit fee regardless.
  • Break fees – If you pay off and close a fixed rate home loan, or the fixed rate component of a split rate loan, before the conclusion of the fixed rate period, you will likely have to pay a break fee to your lender. This fee will be stipulated in the Key Facts Sheet (KFS) pertaining to your home loan.
  • Discharge fees – A mortgage discharge fee is designed to cover the administrative costs of closing your mortgage and home loan.
  • Release of mortgage fee – This is an additional fee that’s only charged in certain states, like Queensland. This is separate, and in addition, to an exit or discharge fee.

The size of these fees will vary based on your lender and the terms of your home loan, and will usually be around $300.

8. Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Depending on what you’ve used your property for before deciding to sell it and how long you have owned it, you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any money you make from the sale. CGT is a tax levied on the sale of assets and is generally charged at your regular income tax rate.

You’ll typically be eligible for a CGT exemption if:1

  • You’re an owner-occupier
  • The property has been your home for the entire time you’ve owned it
  • You’ve not used the property to produce income
  • It’s on two hectares of land or less.

However, if you’re going to profit from the sale of an investment or commercial property, you will generally have to pay CGT on that profit. If you make a loss on the sale of these types of properties, you may be able to carry that loss forward and deduct it from your capital gains in a future financial year.2

If you’ve owned the rental or commercial property in question for 12 months or longer, you should receive a 50% discount on your payable CGT.3 In any event, you should speak to your accountant to understand how much CGT you may have to pay.

9. Miscellaneous selling costs

There are also smaller, ancillary selling costs you may like to consider, such as:

  • Moving and removalist costs. If you’re currently living in the property you’re selling, you’ll need a removalist (or some mates) to help you move to your new home.
  • Professional cleaning. We’ve already talked about cleaning your property for inspections and walk-throughs. Once you’ve sold the property, you may want to clean it yourself or pay to have it cleaned, so it’s spotless for the new owners.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Meet our home loans expert, Stephen Zeller

Stephen has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry and holds a Certificate IV in Finance and Mortgage Broking. He’s also a member of both the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) and the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA).

Stephen leads our team of Home Loan Specialists, and reviews and contributes to Compare the Market’s banking-relating content to ensure it’s as helpful and empowering as possible for our readers.


  1. Australian Taxation Office. Eligibility for main residence exemption. Accessed November 2022.
  2. Australian Taxation Office. CGT when selling your rental property. Accessed November 2022.
  3. Australian Taxation Office. Calculating your CGT. Accessed November 2022.
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