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Understanding Real Estate Excise Tax: Impact on Buyers and Sellers


When it comes to buying or selling property, we've all heard of property taxes. But, have you heard about the real estate excise tax? Let's delve into this lesser-known yet significant part of real estate transactions.

What is a Real Estate Excise Tax?

Simply put, the real estate excise tax (REET) is a charge levied on the sale of a property. But wait, who bears this cost? Is it the buyer, the seller, or both? Let's find out.

Who Pays the Real Estate Excise Tax?

Generally, the seller is responsible for paying the REET. However, this can be subject to negotiation and, in some cases, the buyer might end up sharing the burden.

How is the Real Estate Excise Tax Calculated?

Well, the REET is a percentage of the total property sale price. This percentage varies from one state to another. It could be as low as 0.1% or even go up to 2.5%. Let's dig a little deeper into this.

Real Estate Excise Tax Rates Across States

Did you know that Washington state has one of the highest REET rates in the United States? Interestingly, some states like Montana and Alaska don't impose this tax at all.

How Does Real Estate Excise Tax Impact Buyers and Sellers?

The effect of REET on the buyer and seller largely depends on their negotiation skills. Ultimately, it's a cost that needs to be accounted for during the property transaction.

How to Minimize the Impact of Real Estate Excise Tax?

With proper planning and negotiation, both buyers and sellers can navigate the complexities of REET. Interested in some tips to manage this tax more efficiently? Keep reading.

Plan Ahead

As a seller, be aware of the REET rates in your state. As a buyer, understand that this tax might affect the total cost of the property.

Negotiate Wisely

Whether you're a buyer or a seller, your negotiation skills can greatly influence who bears the burden of REET. Don't shy away from discussing this openly.

Seek Professional Help

When in doubt, turn to a real estate professional or a tax consultant. They can guide you through the intricacies of REET, making your property transaction smoother.


In conclusion, the real estate excise tax is an important aspect of property transactions that shouldn't be overlooked. While it is generally paid by the seller, it can influence the overall costs for both parties involved.


  1. What is the real estate excise tax? It's a tax levied on the sale of a property.

  2. Who pays the real estate excise tax? Typically, the seller pays this tax, but it can be negotiated.

  3. Does every state have a real estate excise tax? No, some states, like Montana and Alaska, do not have this tax.

  4. How can I reduce the impact of the real estate excise tax? Planning, negotiation, and professional consultation can help reduce its impact.

  5. How is the real estate excise tax calculated? It's calculated as a percentage of the total sale price of the property.

Unique Data Points

  1. The REET rate can vary from 0.1% to 2.5% across different states.

  2. Washington state has one of the highest REET rates in the United States.

  3. Montana and Alaska do not impose a real estate excise tax.

  4. The REET is typically paid by the seller but can be shared with the buyer through negotiation.

  5. The impact of the REET can be minimized through planning, negotiation, and seeking professional help.


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