Thinking about selling your home? Here's what you need to know to sell your home in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Real Estate and Seller Disclosure Act requires PA home sellers to provide the buyer with a property disclosure statement for all residential real estate transfers. The law requires the seller to provide the home buyer with a signed and dated property disclosure statement prior to the execution of an agreement of sale. The seller disclosure statement itemizes a variety of issues regarding the condition of the home to the best knowledge of the seller. This form can be obtained online, or with the help of a real estate agent. Reference: UNRUH, TURNER, BURKE & FREES
The Seller Closing Cost Calculator will estimate your settlement costs; including the Pennsylvania deed transfer tax and Seller Assist (if applicable). The Listing Price Calculator will help you estimate the cost of selling your home.
Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992e sellers are required to provide the buyer with a Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home pamphlet. The home seller must disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards and provide the buyer with a Lead Warning Statement. Additional information regarding the law and your requirements under this law can be found here: The Lead Disclosure Rule
Real Estate Commissions
By law, the real estate commission is negotiable. In most cases, you will only pay a percentage of the sales price when the home sells. Some real estate brokers may charge you a flat MLS fee if the sales price is too low.
Seller's Closing Costs in Pennsylvania
Unlike the buyer, the closing costs for sellers in Pennsylvania are few, but can be costly. You can use the PA Seller Closing Cost Calculator to estimate the seller's closing costs in Pennsylvania. Here's a list of the likely closing costs
The seller will be expected to prepare a deed for the buyer. The cost will vary between closing attorneys and title insurance agents. Estimated cost - $100
DEED TRANSFER TAX
Pennsylvania requires a deed transfer tax for property transfers. Think of it as sales tax on real estate. The State of Pennsylvania charges 1% of the sales price and the municipality and school district USUALLY charge 1% between them for a total of 2% (i.e. 2% X 100,000 = $2,000). There are exceptions (for example, parent to child). You should call your municipality for the correct transfer tax percentage; and make sure you add the Pennsylvania 1%. By custom, the buyer and seller split the cost. 1% to buyer, 1% to seller, however, payment by buyer or seller is dictated by the sales contract. Deed Transfer Tax Page
Some closing attorneys will charge a document preparation fee in lieu of a deed preparation fee, however, some settlement companies/attorneys will charge a "doc prep" fee in addition to the deed preparation. Figure $200
NOTARY FEE - Self explanatory
OVER NIGHT FEE
If the seller has a mortgage covering the property, the settlement company may charge for over night mailing to payoff the mortgage. The cost, if charged will vary, estimate $20 (although it might be higher).
Most closing attorneys and title insurance agents will charge a settlement fee for conducting the closing. This fee will vary from 0 - $200. Estimate $100
DYE TEST TO MUNICIPALITY
In some urban areas, notably Allegheny County, the seller may be required to obtain a dye test. In past years, rain water from the gutters were channeled into the sanitary and storm water pipes. With the expansion of new construction, the sanitary and storm water systems became over loaded with the additional water. So some municipalities require home owners to obtain a "dye test". A dye pack is flushed down the commode and gutter and either a plumber or the municipality will open up the sanitary sewer and storm water access to see if the dye is entering either system. Needless to say, if there is discharge into these systems, the seller will be required to correct the discharge. The cost will vary. A prudent seller will contact the municipality if this is a requirement and cost.
DYE TEST TO PLUMBER
If necessary, estimate $100 - $200.
TAX CERTIFICATIONS & LIEN LETTERS
Are the seller's property taxes current? How much are the real estate taxes? The only way to know the answers to these questions is to contact the municipality and request a "tax certification letter". The closing attorney, settlement company or real estate agent will contact the municipality for this information.
SELLER PAID CLOSING COSTS
The home seller may be asked to pay a percentage of the sales price or flat dollar amount toward the buyer's closing costs. This cost is a reduction from the profit from the sale of the home. Read more
Does the municipality have a lien on the home? Again, the only way to know for sure is to obtain a "no lien letter". The settlement company will obtain this information from the municipality. The charge for the tax certification and lien letter varies widely across Pennsylvania - anywhere from $5.00 - $200.
Some municipalities charge an occupancy permit, some do not. In some municipalities it's the responsibility of the seller, in other's it the responsibility of the buyer. Another question for the municipality.
REAL ESTATE COMMISSION
The real estate agent's commission is negotiable. Estimate 6%.
The buyer may request a home warranty. The cost will vary, estimate $450.
PEST INSPECTION REPAIRS, RADON SYSTEM
If a pest inspection reveals infestation, the seller will be expected to treat the property. Cost . . . ? Some home buyers will obtain a radon inspection. If radon is present in the home, the buyer may request a radon system. Cost . . . ?
REAL ESTATE AGENCY FEE (Coordination Fee, Warehouse Fee, Administration Fee, etc.)
Some real estate agencies may require an additional fee up and over the real estate commission to sell a house. This fee, if charged, can vary from $50 - $500. Estimate $200.
PENNSYLVANIA PROPERTY TAX PRORATON
At settlement, the real estate taxes will be "prorated". In short, any property taxes (local, school & county) that were paid by the seller for the time the buyer owns the property will be reimbursed to the seller. However, if the real estate taxes were not paid by the seller during their ownership, then the seller will be expected to pay this cost to the buyer. The seller will not pay the buyer's real estate taxes and visa versa. PA Proration Tax Calculator will estimate the tax proration.
ALWAYS CALL THE MUNICIPALITY FOR THE CURRENT DEED TRANSFER TAX (remember, this cost is in addition to the State 1% and is customarily split between buyer and seller).
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