How to Sell Your House Fast in Austin – The Guide
If you’re asking yourself, “how can I sell my Austin house fast” then you’re at the right place. Consider this the definitive guide to selling your Austin house fast.
Real estate transactions are complicated with several third parties involved and various “if this, then that” scenarios. Every situation is different making the task of selling a home confusing. We help home owners in Austin sell their houses fast and we’re dedicated to continue doing so. We’re Austin’s #1 trusted home buyer and we buy houses as is, in any situation and any condition with no costs to the seller. We buy houses with cash, quickly.
Now let’s get back to the guide.
Situation – Do you need to sell your house fast?
Why do you want to sell your house fast? The reasons are numerous. For example, do you have tenants who haven’t paid rent for several months? Have they damaged the house or refused to leave?
Sometimes family members end up not paying or refusing to leave. In this case it may be preferable to sell the house fast and let the new owner evict the tenants.
Financial distress in another common reason. Are you behind on payments or facing foreclosure? Have you lost a job? Been divorced and gone from dual income to just one? Have you incurred costly medical bills and need cash? Do you have little or no equity and need to sell quickly? Or do you need relocate and don’t have the time to make necessary repairs?
We’ve seen them all.
The most important aspect of your situation is that you’re honest about it with prospective buyers. We’ve seen too many situations where sellers give superficial reasons for selling in an effort to conceal the actual reason for the sale.
If you say you want to downsize but are in foreclosure, we’ll figure it out.
We understand situations like foreclosure are embarrassing and explaining it to a stranger isn’t ideal. But it will help in the long run. Think about it like visiting the doctor. If you’re not forthcoming with them then you’ve only compromised yourself by withholding valuable information.
Everything we do is 100% confidential.
Situation plays an important role in value.
There will always be a trade off between the speed required to get a deal done and the price of the house. If the situation requires the deal be closed in a week then you shouldn’t expect to get market value. This is because the amount of people capable of closing a deal in a week are very few. The neighbor who says he wants to buy your house can’t close the deal. But we can.
If time isn’t a factor in your situation then listing with a realtor is your best option. That way your property is open to largest pool of buyers possible.
If you’re considering using a realtor make sure they are aware of the details of your situation. An agent should be a trusted adviser to guide you through the process of a home sale. Their responsibility is much more than just listing your house.
Location is a huge factor when selling your house fast
Where is your house located? This is another critical factor in determining the value of your home. Home values are incredibly location specific and can change by just crossing the street. Real estate agents and investors use comparable homes sales to determine pricing but the meaning of the word comparable is very specific.
Are they the same size? Built in the same year? What about the layout: does it have 3 bedrooms or 4? Does it have a half bath? These may seem like small details but they effect the price of a home.
If your house has 1000 more square feet than the neighborhood you can’t expect to get the same price/sqft for the additional area. This additional space will be SIGNIFICANTLY discounted and will likely slow the sale. The rule applies for a 5 bedroom house in a 3 bedroom neighborhood. When selling a home it is rarely an advantage to be an outlier.
When your house is an outlier the buyer pool is reduced significantly and so is the value. This is the same principle as described above regarding the small group of buyers who can close a deal in a week.
The same goes for the finishes of a house. If your house has a dragon mural on the living room wall then you cannot expect to get the same price as a house with a neutral color palette.
I’ve seen a dragon mural by the way. In a house.
Who will buy your house fast?
If you’ve got no time, location or financial constraints then you should probably sell your house to retail buyers. This is the largest buyer pool and they will, on average, offer more money for houses. The best way to sell to retail buyers is by using an agent because they have access to a large pool of buyers via the MLS and other agents.
If you don’t want to use an agent then you could sell the house yourself or use a discount service provider like Listing Spark. You’ll save money on agent fees but you’ll likely be offered less than if you listed with an agent. And remember you’re handling the entire transaction by yourself. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’ve bought and sold less than 5 properties.
Closing a sale is where an agent provides value. This is a complicated process (overly in my opinion) and can have costly consequences if not handled properly. An experienced agent has closed hundreds of transactions and will help move the process along by managing communication between all parties involved.
Buyers, sellers, agents, attorneys, notaries, lenders, escrow officers, contractors, surveyors and etc. can all be involved in a single transaction. Without the help of an experienced agent managing the communication the process can stall.
We guide sellers through the process the same way an experienced agent would. Our mission is to make it as simple and transparent as possible for sellers. We remove all the friction and take care of everything.
Also, keep in mind most retail buyers require bank financing to purchase a house. Lender approval is a time consuming process (45-90 days). Also, banks typically won’t finance houses that aren’t in excellent condition. So if you don’t have time or you’re property needs repairs then it may be beneficial to sell to a home buyer (investor).
Home buyers and investors have access to capital allowing them to purchase houses quickly without traditional bank financing. They offer speed but this comes at the expense of price. Investors don’t pay retail price for houses. They only buy properties with a discount typically 25-30%.
Not all investors are created equal, however. Real estate investing is a business that has a high turnover rate which leads to inexperienced investors promising things they can’t deliver.
Negotiation and terms for buyers and sellers in Austin
Now let’s move to what happens once you’ve accepted an offer to buy your house.
This is where the real process of selling your house begins. On TV the deal is done once an offer is accepted. In reality this is when the work starts. There are many terms and topics to discuss here so I’ll touch on them all briefly.
Usually an offer is accepted verbally prior to the written offer. But remember verbal acceptance shouldn’t be considered the equivalent of a written contract. I’ve had buyers and sellers tell me “my word is good as gold” and not follow through on a commitment.
In fact, I now regard anyone who describes the strength of their “word” as someone who isn’t trustworthy. This is based on studying my past interactions with buyers and sellers and I don’t want to imply this is anything but my own personal belief.
A person of high character doesn’t talk about their trustworthiness, instead they take action. In this case action would be signing a contract promptly.
To summarize, put the offer in writing.
99% of all transactions in Austin will use a contract provided by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). If you’re selling a house then you’ll be using the One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale). This contract is 9 pages long and provides equitable negotiating power for buyer and sellers.
We only use the standard TREC contract when we make offer and beware of any custom, DIY or personal contracts. These may not be as equitable towards sellers.
Once the contract is signed by both parties buyers will need to provide earnest money towards the purchase. Earnest money is defined as, a deposit made to a seller showing the buyer’s good faith in a transaction. It confirms the transaction with the exchange of money.
Earnest money is typically held jointly by the seller and buyer in a trust or escrow account. In most transactions earnest money is 1% of the price but it is negotiable and can be as little as $10.
Next is the option period. Almost all transactions will have an option period but the length is negotiable and can range from 5 days to 6 months or longer.
Most option periods are 7-10 days. This is the period in which the buyer has the option to terminate the contract for any reason.
The option period allows the buyer time to perform due diligence on the property. The title company will confirm the seller is the actual owner by performing a title search. The title company will also need to confirm the property boundaries via a survey.
The buyer also has the option to perform inspections of the house to uncover any damage. The inspection results are also a common point of negotiation. If the roof appears to be in acceptable condition upon showing and the inspection reveals damage then then the buyer has the right to ask for the seller to make the repairs, reduce the price or terminate the contract.
Most transactions will require addendums to the contract. A couple of the most common are Third Party Financing Addendum, HOA Addendum and the Addendum for Sale of Other Property by Buyer. These are essentially separate contracts within the overall contract.
Remember the “if this, then that” scenarios I mentioned earlier? These are what I’m referring to.
Let’s take the Third Party Financing Addendum for example. This means the contract is subject to approval by a third party lender and if not approved then the contract is terminated.
Since most houses are purchased with financing there is usually a loan that must be paid off to complete the sale. The amount of the loan to be paid is called the payoff. This information is usually gathered from the lender by the title company.
The next topic is a controversial one.
The TREC contract is generally not enforceable.
If either the buyer or seller defaults it is incredibly unlikely that either will be forced to perform their duties as outlined in the contract. There are examples of sellers being forced to sell and even more rare buyers forced to buy. However, these scenarios are incredibly rare and usually cost prohibitive due to legal expenses.
That said, NEVER enter a contract you have a bad feeling about or no intention of honoring. This WILL backfire 100% of the time and there is a high cost of a bad reputation.
As a seller once you’ve navigated the negotiations, title search, inspections and option period you’re almost ready to be paid.
Prior to closing the transaction and dispersing funds the title company must prepare the “HUD”. This is actually the HUD-1 Settlement Statement provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. This form organizes all the service providers and their fees into an itemized list to ensure everyone is compensated.
After the Sale
Once all the boxes are checked and paperwork has been signed you’ll receive the proceeds right? Well sort of. First, the lien holders are paid off. Agents, if involved, will receive their percentage prior to dispersing funds to the seller. The title company will also be paid prior to the sellers. Closing costs are usually 2-3% of the purchase price of the house and who pays and what percentage is up for negotiation.
After all funds are dispersed to the other parties, then sellers will receive the remaining proceeds of the sale.
What about taxes?
If you’ve lived in the house as your personal residence then you don’t have to pay any tax on the proceeds of the sale up to $250,000 for single filers and up to $500,000 for joint filers. However, if the house is not a homestead then you’ll be liable to pay capital gains taxes on the proceeds of the sale.
Now go forth and use your best judgement to sell your house fast. And if you’ve got any other questions don’t be afraid to give us a call.
We’ve been buying houses since 2015 and strive to offer superior customer service. We communicate in a straight forward manner and offer fair prices.
You can learn more about our process here.