Selling a home in Dallas
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If you’re thinking of selling your house in Dallas, you’re sitting on a valuable asset. Some neighborhoods in the Dallas–Fort Worth metro area have seen home values increase by 270 percent over the past decade as more people look to plant permanent roots in North Texas. The past two years of pandemic-fueled buying have accelerated home prices in Dallas, but selling now, or anytime in 2023, might not be quite the Mavericks-style slam dunk you might expect. Rising mortgage rates are creating headwinds for the housing market, and Redfin data shows that median home prices have fallen by more than $90,000 since their peak in May.
With the economy looking uncertain, you might be wondering whether you should sell your house now or wait. You can still pave a pathway toward a deal, but you’ll need to understand the shifts in the market before you list your home. Read on for everything you need to know about how to sell a house in Dallas.
Things to consider when selling your house in Dallas
Before you list your home, be sure to think about your needs and expectations from the sale. Here are a few key questions to consider:
What kind of shape is your home in?
Many sellers are tempted to make big upgrades before listing, with the assumption that a new kitchen or a revamped home office will inspire a buyer to hand over a bigger check. That’s not usually the case. Most major remodeling projects fail to recoup their costs at resale, so you’re better off considering cheap and easy ways to boost your property value.
It’s also important to think about repairs. Not everything needs to be fixed. For example, buyers won’t want to inherit an air conditioner on its last legs before another hot Dallas summer. However, they might be OK with an older set of windows or a dishwasher that has seen better days.
In some cases, necessary repairs might add up to a huge financial burden. If your home falls into the fixer-upper category, you might want to think about an as-is listing. As-is serves as a disclaimer that all the problems are going to fall on the buyer’s shoulders.
How quickly do you need to sell?
If you’re in a rush to relocate, keep in mind that homes are taking longer to sell now than they used to. For example, Grayson County deals took 11 days longer to close in October 2022 than they did in October 2021, according to the MetroTex Association of Realtors. Buyers are not in as much of a rush as they once were.
Still need to sell your house fast? The quickest route is probably finding an all-cash buyer, whether it’s an individual with deep pockets, an iBuyer or a real estate investment firm. Investors have been very active in the Dallas-Fort Worth area throughout the pandemic. A report from the National Association of Realtors found that institutional investment companies purchased 43 percent of homes sold in Dallas County in 2021. These companies come with the upside of a fast deal — but also the downside of likely offering less money that you’d get on the open market.
What’s the market like in your neighborhood?
When you’re thinking about selling a house in Dallas, it’s important to think about where specifically in this sprawling metro area your home is located. Buying activity in your specific neighborhood is more important to think about than overall Dallas–Fort Worth statistics. The time it takes to sell, and the amount you’ll sell for, can look very different depending on your location. In Hunt County, for example, homes were spending 37 days on the market and selling for a median price tag of $286,888 in October 2022. In Stephens County, the numbers looked less promising: 50 days on the market and a median price tag of $153,750.
How much will all this cost?
Before you start tallying up your potential profit from the sale, don’t forget to think about how much it costs to sell a house in Dallas. While you’ll benefit from the fact that there are no real estate transfer taxes to sell a home in Texas, there are still some closing costs for sellers to consider:
- Realtor fees: This represents the biggest chunk of cash that eats into your profit potential. You’ll be responsible for paying your agent’s 3 percent commission fee (unless you can negotiate a lower fee) as well as the buyer’s agent’s 3 percent fee.
- Title insurance: Sellers are usually on the hook for paying for the owner’s title insurance policy in the Lone Star State, although you might be able to negotiate splitting it with the buyer. If you do pay for it, budget somewhere between 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent of the sale price.
- Unpaid property taxes: If you have any outstanding property taxes, you’ll need to pay the bill before you can close the deal.
- Attorney fees: You aren’t required to hire a real estate attorney in Texas, but you should. It’s wise to invest in legal expertise to navigate the complexities of a real estate contract — there is a lot of money at stake, after all. You’ll pay his or her fees at closing, and the expense will vary based on their hourly rate.
- Concessions: As buyers get a bit more bargaining power in today’s real estate market, don’t be surprised if you get a request for concessions based on any issues uncovered in a home inspection. If you say yes, you’ll need to cover a portion of the buyer’s closing costs.
Preparing your home for sale in Dallas
Selling a home is like going on a first date: You want to make a great first impression. A professional home staging service is designed to deliver a love-at-first-sight look for your home. You could pay just a few hundred bucks for light decluttering and organizing, or more for a bigger project, such as long-term furniture rental. However, it can pay off in a big way by helping buyers envision themselves in the space. You may also want to conduct a pre-listing inspection. This will uncover any potential issues that would come up in a buyer’s inspection after you go to contract. This will cost you a few hundred bucks, but it can be helpful in proactively addressing problems that might delay the deal later.You’ll also have some paperwork to complete. Texas state law requires that you fill out a seller’s disclosure notice, which includes knowledge of any defects that could impact the property value or the safety of anyone living there. And if your home is part of a homeowners association, make sure you request documentation about the financial health of the association and its bylaws in advance. Buyers will want to review this information.
Selling your house without a Realtor
You might be tempted to try to sell your house on your own to eliminate the commission you’ll have to pay your agent. However, saving a little bit of money can actually cost you a lot of money. The adage “it takes money to make money” is definitely true in real estate: A report from the National Association of Realtors found that FSBO (for sale by owner) listings averaged a $225,000 purchase price, while the average price for homes sold with an agent was $345,000.
Outside of the extra money you stand to gain from finding the right real estate agent, you’ll also save a lot of time. Selling a home involves a ton of work: listing it, coordinating showings and open houses, back-and-forth communication with a buyer’s agent and more. Realtors take care of all that hassle for you.
Pricing your home to sell
Your agent will be the best source of advice when it comes to the biggest question in the selling process: How should you price your home? You can get a very basic idea of how much your house is worth online, but your real estate agent will help you review comps of similar properties that have recently sold, and can prepare a detailed comparative market analysis. Understanding what other buyers have been willing to pay will provide a good baseline for your own listing.
Remember that the market is shifting, and you may not be able to get the same price now that you would have last year. According to data from Redfin, more sellers in Dallas have been forced to reduce their prices in recent months.
Getting to closing day
Once you sign your name on the dotted line of a purchase agreement, you still have a few responsibilities on your shoulders. First, be fast. Time is of the essence, so respond to questions from your agent and your attorney as quickly as possible.Next, you have to make sure the home is ready for the new owner. Be sure to schedule movers well in advance of the buyer’s final walk-through, and consider hiring a cleaner to make sure it’s in pristine shape. Review the closing statement to verify all the costs you’re slated to pay are correct. If you hired a lawyer, you might not actually have to attend the closing. Let your attorney check off the final to-dos and transfer the appropriate funds. Then, the rest of the money is yours. Whether you’re moving to a new neighborhood in Dallas or relocating to a new part of the world, you’re ready for your next adventure.