Selling a house in Texas without a realtor is not an easy job if you are not a professional, but it can be done with proper research.
Even if real estate professionals advise against this method, there are homeowners who would rather sell their properties by themselves. They do this because they want to save money by not having to pay a commission fee. Some might have already spoken with a buyer before they even thought of listing their home.
But there are also others, who are likely to be real estate investors, who want to start learning how to sell a house on their own because they know they will be doing this a lot.
As a homeowner in Texas, you can use your strengths to sell your property. After all, you have lived in that house for a while. You are familiar with its quirks and details, and you know the neighborhood like the back of your hand. Real estate investors who may not have lived in the house they are selling would surely be knowledgeable about the area as well.
If you are thinking of selling your home without the help of a professional, then this article is for you. Read on to learn the step-by-step guide on how to sell a house by owner in Texas.
Step 1: Know the Law About Selling a House in Texas Without a Realtor
Because you will be selling real estate in Texas without the help of an agent, you need to acquaint yourself with the property laws, such as seller disclosure requirements and fair housing laws.
What to Disclose About Your Property to Prospective Buyers
Texas law requires homeowners of single-family homes to disclose the condition of their property during the sale process. You can do this by filling out a Seller’s Disclosure of Property form, which asks for details such as:
- Contents of your house including appliances and whether or not they need to be repaired or have had issues before
- Smoke detectors, which need to be installed and in good working order
- Any lawsuits filed against the property
- Any defects in electrical wiring and other systems
- Any conditions affecting the home like termites, toxic waste, and asbestos
- Any HOA fees, deed restrictions, and other specified details
Know About and Follow Fair Housing Laws
The Texas Fair Housing Act and the US Fair Housing Act protect home buyers from being discriminated against while they try to purchase a home in Texas based on the following qualities they possess:
- Their race
- Their skin color
- Their national origin
- Their religion
- Their sex
- Their physical or mental disability
- Their familial status
According to Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Fair Housing Act covers most housing. However, there are circumstances when the law exempts single-family homes that are sold or rented without the help of a broker. Still, it is better to treat all of your prospective buyers equally so you can avoid getting complaints.
Step 2: Do Market Research
Selling property in Texas involves conducting market research. After all, you cannot just pull numbers from the air when deciding on the sale price of your home. You must first know what the real estate market is like in your area: if there is high demand, if there are many properties for sale, and the average price of a home similar to yours.
Knowing these kinds of information will help you:
- Understand the trends and current conditions in the real estate market;
- Compare prices of homes that are similar to yours;
- Learn how much you can ask for your home;
- Gauge if your asking price is reasonable or otherwise; and,
- Know how to market your property to maximize your reach and find more prospective buyers.
Below is a quick list of how you can do your own market research. For an in-depth guide, click here.
- Identify the type of home buyers who are interested in acquiring a property in your neighborhood.
- Find out how in-demand your neighborhood is. Observe the number of homes that were listed and sold in the last six months and the average time it took for them to sell.
- Examine the features of your property and neighborhood.
- Check how your neighborhood is doing. Look into any new developments nearby that could either attract or repel new residents or drive the current ones away.
- Study your competition (or comps). Look at three to five comparable properties that were sold in your community within the last six months as well as similar homes that are on the market.
- Calculate the average price per square foot based on the selling price of your comps.
Step 3: Set a Competitive Asking Price
Once you have the average price per square foot, you can multiply this by the actual square footage of your property to determine its market value. You can then decide on your pricing strategy based on your research findings.
How to decide on pricing strategy
When selling a house in Texas without a realtor, you are not only competing with other homes for sale, but you are also competing against real estate professionals who represent them. You know that they have more experience in selling homes than you do, so you have to keep up.
There are three pricing strategies you can choose from:
- Setting the price below market value.
Use this strategy if there is high demand for houses in your area, but your home is in relatively worse condition compared to your comps. This will also work if supply and demand are equal, but your house offers the best value. Pricing below market value is also good if the market is slow but you need to make a quick sale.
Even if you set the price low, you still have a chance to turn a profit from this sale. If there are multiple buyers interested in your property, they could send you an offer that is higher than your asking price.
- Setting the price at market value.
This strategy is perfect if it is your first time selling a house and you would want to play it safe.
- Setting the price above market value.
This pricing strategy is the riskiest move among the three, and one of the things that real estate professionals advise against. However, pricing above market value may still work if the market is hot and you think that your home is the best choice compared to your comps. If you do decide to go with this, you also need to be willing to reduce the price if there are no takers after 7 to 14 days. Otherwise, your house will be on the market for a long time.
Step 4: Prepare Your House for Sale
When selling a house in Texas without a realtor, especially when you want to close fast and for a large amount, you need to show that your home is worth every dollar that you are asking for. You can achieve this by having a clean, captivating home to convince your buyers that your property is their dream home come true.
To prepare your house for sale, you must do the following:
- Resolve any obvious and large-scale issues. This is the time to fix the leaky roof, the peeling flooring and wall paint, or that dented door.
- Declutter. If you are moving out of the home you are selling, now is the time to go through your things and decide which ones to keep and which ones to discard.
- Deep clean. No matter how tidy you have been while you were living there, it is recommended that you clean the place from top to bottom.
- Aim for a neutral color palette. If there is a specific wall, floor, or even furniture that is too bright or bold, you might want to consider replacing it with something more muted.
- Give your curb appeal a makeover. The first thing that prospective buyers will see is your home’s exterior. Cleaning and sprucing up the place will leave them impressed.
- Do not forget the little details. You would want your prospective buyers to feel at home when they view the place. Fresh flowers and baked goods can make a difference.
- Ask your family for help. When selling your home, you may have to go by several days touring prospects around. Remind your family to keep the place clean in the meantime.
Whether you want to maximize your profit or just want to sell a home as is in Texas, making your property look presentable is key to attracting prospective buyers and getting offers.
Step 5: Take Great Photographs of Your Home
As you learn how to do a for sale by owner in Texas, you will discover how valuable your home’s photos will be. High-quality photos will catch prospective buyers’ attention, making them want to see more of your property.
If this is in your budget (and it is recommended that you do) and you do not fancy yourself a photographer—not even an amateur one—then consider hiring a professional. But if you must do it yourself, here are some tips to help you take great pictures of your home:
- Keep your camera’s lens parallel to the walls and at about four feet off the floor when taking pictures. Using a tripod will help if you have shaky hands.
- Use natural light as much as possible. The best times to shoot are during the early morning hours or the late afternoon. Avoid taking pictures at night.
- Use one type of lighting for each photo. If you are taking advantage of the natural light, turn off any other lighting sources in the room.
- Do not use the camera flash, even if the room looks too dark. Turn on the overhead lights if you need to make the space look brighter.
- Experiment with focus. If you are using your phone to take pictures, tapping the screen directs where the camera should focus. Doing this will help balance the light in your shot.
- Do not forget to clean your lens. A smudge or dirt would ruin your otherwise perfect photo.
- Take shots of the whole room instead of close-ups of certain details. Buyers will have the chance for a closer look when they visit your home.
Step 6: Promote Your Listing
Now that you have amazing photos of your home, it is time to list and promote your property to as many people as possible. There are several ways to do this:
#1: List Your Home Online.
More and more buyers start their search for a new home online. And real estate websites have made it easier for them to look up houses for sale with features that let them filter their search by location, price range, square footage, and more. They also allow those who want to learn how to sell by owner in Texas to list their own property without the help of a real estate agent.
One great example of this platform is Mashvisor’s Property Marketplace. There, you can list your home for free, and it would then be marketed to thousands of real estate agents, investors, and other serious buyers.
Of course, make sure to not set and forget. Interested buyers are more likely to reach you on the website where they saw your listing. Setting alerts for such messages will keep you on top of inquiries.
#2: Tell Your Friends and Family.
Once you have posted your listing, you can share the link with your friends and family via text or email. You can also post it on your social networking websites and ask your followers to share it with their own network. Who knows, they might be acquainted with someone who is actively looking for a home in your area.
#3: Try Paid Advertising.
If your budget allows it, paying for ad space would increase your reach by 10 times or more depending on the platform. So try taking out an ad on your local newspaper and radio station. Or you could print out flyers and post them on public spaces that allow this, such as cafés, libraries, and grocery stores.
Final Thoughts and What to Do Once You Have Attracted Offers
Selling a house in Texas without a realtor is a lot of work, but it could be an enjoyable learning experience especially if you are an investor who is planning to do this more than once. You need to:
- Know the housing laws that apply in your area
- Do market research and analyze the results to set a competitive price
- Prepare your house for visits from interested buyers
- Take beautiful pictures of your home, which you can use when listing online
- Promote your listing on a real estate website that can reach thousands of qualified buyers such as Mashvisor Property Marketplace
When your listing starts attracting attention, the offers are soon to follow. During the negotiations, try to make concessions to the buyer as well so they do not back out.
After that, you will also have to finalize more details such as home inspections, appraisals, and possibly another round of negotiations. Make sure to pay very close attention to this step so you can keep your sale on track. And once you have overcome that hurdle, you can finally close the deal and turn over the keys.
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