About Selling Your Home – Q & A

Are you considering selling your home in Texas? Deciding to put a house on the market can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Educating yourself on the process can help make the process easier and smoother. Below are answers to common questions about selling a home in Texas.

What Are My Rights as a Seller?

In Texas, several legal rights are granted to sellers that real estate agents must respect. These include the right to reasonable privacy during showings, the right to inspect all offers before making a counteroffer or rejecting an offer, and accurate information from agents regarding offers, contracts, and closing costs.

What Are The Steps of The Home Selling Process?

The home selling process usually involves creating a listing, advertising the property through online listings and open houses, negotiating with buyers, getting inspections and appraisals done, reviewing purchase agreements and other paperwork, and eventually closing on the sale.

What Fees Will I Have To Pay When Selling My Home?

When selling a home in Texas, you may have to pay certain fees for closing the sale. These may include title insurance fees, transfer taxes and recording fees, escrow and survey fees, and any remaining mortgage or loan payments.

What Are Common Sellers’ Concerns During The Home Selling Process?

Some of the most common concerns during the home selling process include pricing the home correctly, finding reliable buyers who are not underfinanced or overreaching on their bids, and managing the timing of the sale so it isn’t too lengthy or too rushed.

Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?

According to experts, sellers do not have to disclose other offers.

Should I add on or buy a bigger home?

Consider these questions before choosing between adding on to an existing home or moving up in the market to a bigger house:

  • How much money is available from cash reserves or a home improvement loan to remodel the current house?
  • How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a second floor, or does the lot have room to expand on the ground level?
  • What do local zoning and building ordinances permit?
  • How much equity already exists in the property?
  • Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy housing needs?

Ultimately, the decision should be based on individual needs, the extent of work involved, and what will add the most value.

What are some tips on negotiation?

The more you know about a seller’s motivation, the stronger your negotiating position. For example, a seller who must move quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price with a speedy escrow. Other so-called “motivated sellers” include people going through a divorce or who have already purchased another home.

Remember that the listing price is what the seller wants to receive but is not necessarily what they will settle for. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller’s asking price stacks up.

Some experts discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be presented, it can also sour the sale and discourage the seller from negotiating at all.

How do I prepare the house for sale?

Making your home look as nice as possible may seem obvious. It’s not because many sellers don’t do much beyond vacuuming the living room rug and maybe cleaning the ring off the bathtub, says George Devine, in “For Sale by Owner,” Nolo Press, Berkeley, Calif.; 1993. Short of spending a lot of money, Devine offers several steps people can take to make their home show better:

  • Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden, and clean debris from the yard.
  • Clean the windows and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking.
  • Be sure that the doorbell works.
  • Clean and make all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls, and ceilings attractive. The bathroom and kitchen must be spotless.
  • Organize closets.
  • Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords.
  • Ensure the house smells good: from an apple pie or baking cookies. Hide the kitty litter.
  • Put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house.
  • Pleasant background music is a nice touch.

How long do bankruptcies and foreclosures stay on a credit report?

Bankruptcies and foreclosures can remain on a credit report for seven to 10 years.

Some lenders will consider a borrower earlier if they have reestablished good credit. The circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy can also influence a lender’s decision. For example, a lender may be more sympathetic if you went through bankruptcy because your employer had financial difficulties. If you went through bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, the lender probably would be less inclined to be flexible.

What do all of those real estate acronyms in the ads mean?

Don’t be alarmed if you stumble over weird acronyms in a real estate listing. There is a method to the madness of this shorthand (which is mostly adopted by sellers to save money in advertising charges). Here are some abbreviations and the meaning of each, taken from a recent newspaper classified section:

  • assum. fin. — assumable financing
  • dk — deck
  • gar — garage (garden is usually abbreviated “gard”)
  • expansion pot’l — may be extra space on the lot or possibly vertical potential for a top floor or room addition. Verify actual potential by checking local zoning restrictions prior to purchase.
  • fab pentrm — fabulous pentroom, a room on top, underneath the roof, that sometimes has views
  • FDR — formal dining room (not the former president)
  • frplc, fplc, FP — fireplace
  • grmet kit — gourmet kitchen
  • HDW, HWF, Hdwd — hardwood floors
  • hi ceils — high ceilings
  • In-law potential — the potential for a separate apartment. Sometimes, local zoning codes restrict rentals of such units, so be sure the conversion is legal first.
  • large E-2 plan is one of several floor plans available in a specific building
  • lsd pkg. — leased parking area, may come with an additional cost
  • lo dues — find out just how low these homeowner’s dues are, and in comparison to what?
  • nr bst schls — near the best schools
  • pvt — private
  • pwdr rm — powder room, or half-bath
  • upr- upper floor
  • vw, vu, vws, vus — view(s)
  • Wow! — better check this one out.