Home sellers in California can expect to pay about 0.8% of a home's final sales price in closing costs. For an $800,000 home — roughly the median home sale price in California in 2021 — that's $6,400, not including realtor fees.
While the biggest closing costs fall on home sellers, buyers also have to cover expenses. For buyers using a conventional loan, a 1% loan origination fee is typically the largest single cost. There are also other expenses, like appraisal fees, home inspection fees, and title insurance which add to the bottom line.
Buyers can roll some or all closing costs into a loan, depending on the loan type.
For sellers, closing costs will be paid from the proceeds of the sale. As long as you have enough equity, you shouldn't need cash on hand.
Most closing costs are non-negotiable — but realtor commission is an important exception. This matters, because realtor commission is typically one of the biggest closing cost expenses. In a traditional home sale, commission can be as much as 6% of your home's sale price. That's $48,000 on a typical $800,000 California home!
If you want to save on realtor fees, our friends at Clever Real Estate can help. Clever is a free service that matches you with top-rated local agents from national brokers including Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and Coldwell Banker.
Clever negotiates on your behalf, helping you get incredible service for just 1% in listing fees. If you sold an $800,000 home with Clever, you'd save $16,000 on realtor fees. Find out how much you can save with Clever today!
California Closing Costs for Sellers
Excluding realtor commission, California home sellers are responsible for a variety of expenses at the closing table.
In total, you should budget at least $6,640 if your home is around the median $800,000 home value — plus additional funds to cover property taxes, which vary.
California Closing Costs for Buyers
Home buyers don't have to worry about realtor commission — but closing costs can still add up to a hefty sum that's added on top of your down payment.
For an $800,000 home in California, you should budget at least $10,360, plus enough to cover property taxes in your specific location.
Looking to save on closing costs? Our friends at Clever can help! California home buyers who find an agent through Clever are eligible for Clever Cash Back, which puts 0.5% of the home's sale price back in your pocket after closing.
The money is yours, with no strings attached — so you can use it to offset closing costs, treat yourself to new furniture for your dream home, or simply enjoy the extra savings. Learn how to find a great agent and save!
Average California Realtor Commission
Our Data Center recently surveyed more than 900 real estate agents to determine average commission costs nationwide. The average California realtor commission in 2022 is 4.92%, with the lowest end being 4.39% and the high end being 5.45%.
That includes both the buyer's and seller's agents, with each getting an average of 2.46% of the sales price. The seller pays for both commissions.
For expensive homes — like those in California — even a fraction of a percent translates to lots of money. Here's how the costs break down for sellers who work with a traditional real estate agent:
California home sellers can save thousands of dollars by listing with Clever, and you'll never have to compromise on getting top-tier service from respected brokerages including Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX, and more.
With 1,600+ Trustpilot reviews, Clever Real Estate has earned a 4.9 star rating and helped thousands of home buyers and sellers save on closing costs. Find the best agents near you!
Additional Closing Costs in California
Along with standard closing costs, there are some costs that vary according to your specific transaction.
Property Taxes (Vary by Seller)
If you're a seller, you'll pay for prorated property taxes, which is calculated by the amount of time you've owned the property that calendar year until closing day.
If you're a buyer, you may have the option of waiting until the end of the year to pay your share of taxes and not at closing.
However, your lender may require you to put tax money into an escrow account, which the lender will disperse when taxes are due. This amount could be a few months or a full year's worth of property taxes.
You would also have to credit the seller a prorated amount if the seller already paid their taxes in full for that year.
Mortgage Balance Payoff (Varies by Seller)
For sellers at the close of escrow, before receiving any proceeds on the sale of the house, the remaining amount owed on your mortgage will be paid off to the lender. The mortgage balance payoff is the cost of repaying your home loan.
This cost may also include a loan payoff fee, which will vary by lender and may include a prepayment penalty if outlined in your mortgage.
Closing Cost Concessions (Varies)
Some buyers ask a seller to cover their closing costs. If you agree to this request, you will pay their fees. The amount of this wholly depends on what you agreed upon in the contract. A typical concession is repair costs that the seller agrees to compensate for.
Notary Fees ($15)
Standard in most legal processes, notary fees are paid to a notary to verify your identity and ensure proper execution of paperwork.
Notary fees for real estate in California charge a flat fee of $15, although there may be other costs depending on the nature of the sale. Typically these are paid by the buyer and fall under title services.
Homeowners Association (HOA) Transfer Fee (Less than $1,000)
An HOA transfer fee only applies if the property you’re selling has an HOA.
It’s usually paid for by the seller, and will include a fee to cover document preparation and to register the new buyer as the property owner. HOA transfer fees are typically less than $1,000.
Cost of Home Warranty (Approximately $1,000)
A home warranty is a common closing concession provided by the seller. The coverage period typically lasts for one year.
According to Home Advisor, the average cost for a one-year home warranty is $1,000 in Los Angeles.
Termite Inspection Fee ($50 - $100)
A termite inspection fee is common in California and may be required depending on location and the type of loan a buyer is using.
The termite inspection fee usually costs $50-100 and is paid for by the seller.
Natural Hazard Disclosure Report ($50 - $150)
Most home sellers in California are required to provide a Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) report, which costs around $50 to $150.
The NHD report details natural hazards or threats in your area, such as earthquake fault lines and flood zones. The report often includes other nuisances such as airplane noise.
Lien Release Document Fee ($25)
If a court judgment resulted in a lien on your property for an unpaid debt, you’ll need to repay it before your sale can close. A lien release document (also known as a Release of Lien or a Lien Cancellation) stating any lien against the your property has been paid will likely be required. You will probably also have to pay a recording fee on the document showing.
This should cost about $25, although additional fees may apply.
The Bottom Line
The cost of selling a house in California can be a bit of a shock to anyone who hasn’t gone through the process before. But knowing what to expect and how to calculate your bottom line at the very end can help eliminate some of the stress.
While many closing costs are non-negotiable, you can still save big on your next home sale. We recommend listing with our friends at Clever — they've pre-negotiated listing fees of just 1% and can match you with top-rated real estate agents who have experience selling in your area.
Clever partners with high-performing realtors from trusted brokerages like Keller Williams, RE/MAX and Coldwell Banker. They'll also match you with several realtors, so you have the option of hand selecting which realtor you want to work with. Clever is free to try and has no upfront fees, so there's no obligation to stick with them if you don't like what they offer.
Best of all, Clever isn't just for sellers. Buyers who work with a Clever partner agent in California can 0.5% cash back for home sales over $150,000. On an $800,000 home, that's $4,000 you can use to cover closing costs!
FAQs About Home Seller Costs in California
How much commission does a realtor make in California?
The average realtor commission in California is 4.92%, and it's split between the buyer's and seller's agents. That means, on average, each realtor will receive 2.46% of a home sale's proceeds. Learn more about California realtor commissions.
How much are closing costs in California for the buyer?
Buyers can expect to pay about $10,300 in closing costs in California. That doesn't include property taxes, which may also be required. Learn which costs buyers have to pay.
How much are closing costs in California for the seller?
Not including realtor fees, sellers in California can expect to pay about $6,640. With realtor fees, that cost will be much higher — over $39,000 for a home valued at $800,000 if you use a traditional agent. Learn how to calculate closing costs for your home sale.
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