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Selling a house in Texas

Texas cityscape
Duy Do/Getty Images
Texas cityscape
Duy Do/Getty Images

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If you’re thinking about selling your house in Texas, you’ve picked a perfect time. The Lone Star State continues to attract new residents, topping U-Haul’s list of the most-moved-to states in 2021. As more companies plant roots in Texas, and more of their employees follow suit, use this as your starting point to help figure out what you need to do to maximize your home’s value.

Are you ready to sell?

Leaving a home can be tough, particularly if your family has grown there and you’ve made plenty of memories. Rather than rush to list your house, take the time to make sure you’re ready to leave. In addition, while you might have no problem selling, finding a new place to call your own is stressful. Do the math to figure out how it will feel to turn around and be in a buyer’s shoes. If you’re selling your house while buying another at the same time, you may need to consider some additional pieces of the puzzle.

Once you know that you’re ready to sell your house in Texas, ask yourself these three important questions:

Is it worth upgrading your home before you sell?

Probably not. Major upgrades don’t tend to recoup all of their value once you’re ready to sell. And right now, in the midst of supply chain challenges and a labor shortage, upgrading anything in your home is likely to be expensive and take a long time. While that kitchen remodel might sound like a great idea, by the time it’s done, who knows if the market will still be as favorable for sellers?

However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid spending any cash to get your home looking better. From painting to adding an energy-efficient thermostat, there are some simple steps to increase your home’s value.

What should you repair before selling your home?

Repairs, on the other hand, are a different story than renovations. If a buyer is shelling out a lot of money to become a homeowner, the last thing they want is a long list of issues they will have to pay for when they move in. You should address anything major, like a roof repair or a broken air conditioning system (remember, it’s Texas, and it’s hot) before letting anyone tour the property. You might even consider a pre-listing home inspection, which can identify hidden issues that might turn up when a buyer gets their own inspection.

Should you pay to stage your home?

While your home has served your lifestyle needs well, prospective buyers may not appreciate the dated outdoor furniture or the bedroom that has been converted into an office. Staging your home can solve those problems. A professional home stager will cost some cash — an average of $1,719, according to HomeAdvisor — but the investment can be well worth it. Data from the Real Estate Staging Association shows that staged homes sold for around $40,000 over listing price in 2021. Ask a real estate agent for their opinion on whether your home might benefit from home staging.

When is the best time to sell a house in Texas?

Historically, the best time to sell a house in Texas is in May and June. It’s a similar pattern to the rest of the country: School is out, and more people are looking to settle down prior to the beginning of the next academic year. But of course, the best time to sell a house is when it’s likely to spend the fewest number of days sitting on the market.

In today’s Texas market, just about any time is a good time to sell your house. Data from Texas Realtors shows that housing inventory stood at just 1.2 months at the end of 2021, a far cry from the 6 months of inventory that would show a more even playing field between buyers and sellers.

Finding a local Texas real estate agent

With all the questions that can come up when selling your house, it’s wise to ask friends and colleagues for recommendations on local real estate agents. Realtors understand the market, know how to effectively promote new listings and have experience working to attract multiple offers.

Some sellers prefer to do it all themselves — the For Sale By Owner, or FSBO, route — to avoid paying comission fees. However, all that work typically leads to less money. Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that FSBO properties sold for an average of $58,000 less than agent-assisted home sales in 2021.

Price your home competitively to get the most from the deal

When you’re selling your home in Texas, it can be tempting to go big — after all, everything is bigger here. However, avoid the urge to list it for the highest possible price and aim to list it for an amount that will draw a massive crowd of people who want to move in. Most expert real estate agents will tell you that the spirit of competition is a key ingredient to getting the most when selling your home. Start by determining how much your house is worth, and then, look at the comps in your neighborhood to see how much other houses are commanding right now. It’s important to look at what has recently sold, not what has been sitting on the market, to get a sense of the best listing price that might be able to lead to a bidding war.

Documents and disclosures in Texas

As a seller in Texas, you’re legally required to share every detail you know about the property. Texas law requires the completion of a seller’s disclosure notice, which includes details about everything from issues with the roof to whether anyone has been killed on the property in the past three years. Additionally, if your home is part of a homeowners association, be prepared to hand over a range of documents about the financial health of the association and past meeting minutes from the board.

Need to sell your home fast? Consider these alternatives

If you’re in a tight time crunch, here are four faster routes to a sale than the traditional method.

iBuyers

Companies like Opendoor, Offerpad and RedfinNow will make you an offer on your home very quickly — typically in 24 hours or less. That kind of speedy sale may sound appealing, but proceed with caution. A 2019 study conducted by Collateral Analytics showed that the typical cost for using an iBuyer ranged between 13 percent and 15 percent of the sales price — much steeper than the usual 6 percent for agent commissions. You can always request an offer from an iBuyer to see what you might get and then, if you aren’t pleased with the number, consider a traditional listing.

Sell for cash

One of the reasons it takes so long to sell a house in Texas (or anywhere, for that matter) is the need to wait for a lender to officially underwrite a loan. So, rather than wait for a buyer to secure financing, you can consider a number of companies that buy homes for cash, or you can look for an all-cash offer from a buyer who has deep enough pockets to pay for your home without anyone else involved in the transaction.

As-is sale

You can think about listing your home as-is, which is kind of like putting a billboard up that says, “I’m not changing anything, fixing anything or budging on concessions for anyone.” It’s an easy way to tell prospective buyers that you aren’t going to deal with back-and-forth negotiations about the home — what you get is what you see.

Add curb appeal

Consider ways to make your home more appealing to buyers without breaking the bank on any major upgrades or repairs. From cleaning the windows to power washing the driveway, there are quick and simple ways to add curb appeal without investing loads of cash.

What to expect at the closing

You should be prepared to pay for a range of expenses when your sale closes.

Cost of selling a home in Texas

Selling isn’t all profit — it costs money to sell a house. You’ll need to pay the real estate agents involved in the transaction, which typically means 3 percent to your agent and 3 percent to the buyer’s agent (which the seller typically covers). So, on a $400,000 sale, the seller would pay $24,000 in real estate commission fees.

Seller’s closing costs

In addition to covering the tab for the real estate agents involved, consider how these closing costs and miscellaneous expenses may impact your profit potential.

  • Title insurance: The seller typically pays for the title insurance policy in Texas. Rates vary depending on the sale price of the home. For example, a $400,000 property would have a title insurance policy of $2,413.
  • Transfer taxes: There are no transfer taxes in Texas, so you don’t need to worry about this adding to your bill.
  • Escrow fees: You may need to pay a portion to a company for managing the buyer’s earnest money deposit in an escrow account. Escrow fees typically depend on the purchase price.
  • Seller concessions: If a buyer uncovers issues he or she would like to be repaired, they may ask for concessions with you helping pay for a portion of their closing costs. These are negotiable, though, and in a seller’s market, you certainly don’t have to agree.
  • Attorney fees: You’re not legally required to have a real estate attorney in Texas. But it’s smart to have a legal professional on your team to ensure you are protected in the transaction.
  • Moving fees: Don’t forget to factor in what you’ll need to pay a company to haul your belongings somewhere new. If you’re relocating less than 100 miles away, HomeAdvisor data shows the average cost will be $1,649. If you’re moving across the country, that price tag will be much higher.

Take the first step

Ready to sell that Texas house? Start interviewing real estate agents to see how a few different professionals would approach your property. With the right agent on your team, you can enter the market with confidence about your pricing strategy, your open house schedule and your plan to maximize your home’s value.

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Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin is a contributing writer for Bankrate and covers topics like credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.
Edited by
Senior real estate editor