Use an Online Calculator to Determine Savings When Selling Your Own Home

A selling house costs calculator quickly and easily provides an estimate of the amount of money that a homeowner can save by selling their own property.


Selling your own home is a terrific way to save money–a LOT of money. There are a few different factors that determine just how much you can save. You can sit down and crunch those numbers yourself or you can use an online tool that’s essentially a selling house costs calculator.

But before you can figure out your potential cost savings, you need to determine how much your home is worth.

The Importance of Your Home’s Fair Market Value

The listing price of your home is a crucial factor in how quickly it will sell. The key to figuring out what price to list your home at is finding its fair market value (FMV).

Defining Fair Market Value

In a piece at First Foundation, FMV is defined as:

the price a ready, willing and able buyer, with knowledge of all pertinent facts, is willing to pay for a certain piece of property. Fair market value is the amount you may expect to receive from a sale of your real estate, or the price you may expect to pay when purchasing a certain property.

Determining the FMV of a home is more of an art than a science. Kimberly Dawn Neuman writes that there isn’t a mathematical formula to use. Instead, a licensed appraiser:

gathers and measures the qualities of a home, such as its square footage, condition, similar homes in the area, neighborhood, market conditions, and other factors. The appraiser’s information is used by lenders, attorneys, insurance companies, and other agencies to estimate a home’s market value.

Although Neuman specifically mentions a licensed appraiser, a private homeowner can certainly figure out the FMV of their own home. While the research involved is a straightforward collection of data, it may be somewhat difficult for a private seller to maintain the objectivity required. Often homeowners overvalue their homes. They might:

  • Add value based on sentimental reasons;
  • Overvalue improvements; or
  • Not have the same data that a professional appraiser has access to.

However, as long as you can remain objective, you can either do the legwork to figure out your home’s FVM or you can use an online home value calculator. And it’s worth it! A licensed appraiser will charge about $350 to $500 plus HST for a professional home appraisal in Ontario. With some time and research, you can save that cost by doing it on your own.

Determining Your Home’s FMV with Research

Your home’s FMV is based on a collection of data, including its location and physical characteristics, as well as similar nearby properties. Specifically, according to the National Bank of Canada, you should look at:

  1. Where your home is located
    • This includes considering the properties and amenities that are situated nearby as well as the neighbourhood and the municipality that the home is located in. Similar homes will sell for different prices in different areas of a city or country.
  2. The physical characteristics of your home
    • Look at things like lot size, outbuildings (like a detached garage or shed), square footage, number and type of rooms, and overall condition.
  3. The listing/final sale price of comparable properties
    • Try to find 3-10 comparable properties in your area that are currently listed or that sold within the last six months.
  4. Municipal valuations/Property tax assessments
    • While assessments are often based on outdated data, they can help determine market trends in your area.

Once you have all the data collected, you should create a range of prices. Starting with the lowest-priced property work your way up, placing each home into the range. Note the location of each home and its physical characteristics in addition to its price.

Once you have that range created, you will need to objectively place your own home into the range. For instance, perhaps your home backs onto a park while Property A is across the street from a strip mall. Since the location of your home is more advantageous than Property A’s, place your home in the range above Property A. Then, let’s say Property B has a newly-upgraded ensuite while your home doesn’t have an ensuite at all. Your home should be placed below Property B.

The examples given above are overly simplistic. Most properties will have things that warrant both a higher price AND a lower price than your home. It can be complex to weigh all the different factors in order to find the best spot for your property on the scale. But, this method ensures that you arrive at a good estimate of your home’s FMV.

Determining Your Home’s FMV with an Online Calculator

If you’re having difficulty placing your home within the range of comparable properties, a home property calculator can help.

These calculators are commonly found at real estate websites. According to zolo.ca, the calculators factor in several different types of data, including “nearby homes, comparable properties, recently sold properties, Canadian Census data, location, and other real estate market information.”

At Zolo, you start by typing your address into the calculator. Then, you’re prompted to specify the type of home (house, condo, or townhouse), the number of bedrooms, and the approximate square footage. An estimate is provided instantly after doing so.

It’s important to keep in mind that these tools provide ballpark figures only. These calculators don’t ask about many factors that affect a home’s FMV. For instance, the age of your home, the number of bathrooms, and recent upgrades are all things that need to be considered. Although not perfect, these tools can be valuable in helping you maintain objectivity and in narrowing down where exactly your home should be placed in the range of similar properties.

Fair Market Value and Listing Price

The FMV of your home influences your listing price, but the two numbers aren’t necessarily the same.

The listing price is the amount that a homeowner hopes their home sells for. The FMV is an estimate of what buyers are willing to pay. The FMV is an important factor in determining the listing price. If a home is listed much higher than its FMV, it may get little interest and take longer to sell. It’s smart to keep your listing price close to the FMV estimate.

Once you’ve determined your listing price, you can use an online costs calculator to figure out how much you can save by listing your own home.

Online Costs Calculator for Selling a Home

If you’re curious about how much money you can save by selling your own home, try using an online calculator that’s for selling houses.

You could certainly crunch those numbers yourself. In Ontario, commissions paid to realtors typically total 5% of a home’s final sold price, with 2.5% going to the seller’s agent and 2.5% going to the buyer’s agent. Ontario’s Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which is 13%, is added to the total commission cost.

But in addition to figuring out how much money you might save by selling your own home, there are expenses that need to be factored in as well. For instance, if you’d like your home listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), that is an additional cost. The MLS is the most powerful marketing tool in real estate. However, only licensed realtors can access the MLS and they will typically charge a fee to list your home for you.

If you want to bypass the number crunching, check out a savings calculator like the one at DIYoffer.ca. All you need to do is punch in your listing price and the calculator instantly determines your cost savings.

What’s handy about these calculators is that you can quickly punch in a range of numbers to see your cost savings at every price point.

If you’re thinking about selling your own home, an online calculator can quickly determine your cost savings. And that number can be a BIG motivator for you to act on your own. The savings on a $500,000 home, for instance, total $13,562–which is a substantial sum.

What would you do with $13,000?