What expenses to expect when you sell your house Selling a house has hidden costs, but planning ahead can eliminate last minute worries. According to a new study by real estate research firm Zillow and Thumbtack, an online site matching local professionals to customers, the average cost of covering basic projects - painting, staging your home, carpet cleaning, lawn care and gardening, and local moving costs - was $4,985 for sellers who hire professional help. The analysis showed a range of an average high of $6,580 in San Jose and a low of $3,720 in Dallas, according to USA Today. Before you spend money on updating the look of a home, review the foundational elements that make or break a house to see how much you really need to spend. First look at smaller things. The faucets shouldn't drip and all fixtures should be in working order. Windows should not be broken or cracked. Fans should not wobble or make noise. Next, look at higher price items. The heating and air conditioning should work. Walls and ceilings should be presentable. Appliances should all work. If you can, gather information about the age and repair history of these items. Then there is the roof. In some hot markets, real estate agents say properties can sell sight unseen. Yet, the roof condition is crucial to getting the best price. Problem is that a new roof is expensive. If it costs $10,000 to put on a new roof, it could be money well spent. If a buyer has options for similar houses at a similar price with a good roof, it's unlikely they'll choose a house they have to re-roof. Even if the house sells with three layers of shingles, chances are the selling price could take a hit for more than the cost of the roof. To your list of repairs, add the cost of decluttering. Plan yard sales and eBay sales for items of value. Theses sales might add some cash to your sales budget, but as for bulk clutter removal, they often won't do much good. For serious bulk removal, call a trash hauling company. You can usually hire a man and a truck who will take every last item out of a storage area. Naturally, you will need to pick out the items that you genuinely want to move. You could repair those three old string trimmers. You could use those 2x4s somewhere, but the question is do you really want to move them? A decluttered property and outbuildings are crucial to a good sales price. Experts usually recommend neutral paint throughout the inside, although many homeowners ignore this expense. Carpet cleaning can often suffice, in lieu of replacement, but be sure to add the cost to your estimate. Don't overlook yard work and house cleaners, both of which put your house in a good light.