You’ll find hot markets for real estate all over the country. Sales from 2019 put Austin, Texas in the hot market category. That’s good news if you’re selling your home in 2020.
Beyond the sales reports and the hopeful stance held by realtors and their clients, you can help keep your feet on the ground when it comes to selling your home.
Why stay grounded?
Staying in touch with trends and looking at selling Austin houses from a grounded (and realistic) perspective will help make your selling experience a success. Read our guide to five things to keep in mind when selling a home in the Austin real estate market.
Deciding to sell a home is usually an emotional decision, especially when it comes to the price you want for your home. If you’re savvy, you’ll also keep an eye on the current listings in your neighborhood.
Be careful when evaluating your home against others in the area, especially the one your neighbor just sold.
The listing prices (and the final sales prices) in a neighborhood depend on a range of factors including:
Another factor is one not often mentioned when neighbors share their success stories.
Motivation! You and your neighbor have different motivations for selling. If your neighbor’s home sold for at or above the asking price, it could mean they offered to make certain repairs, or maybe they had the luxury of waiting several weeks or months for the perfect buyer.
Your neighbor might have started with a low listing price in hopes of starting a bidding war. It happens but you’re not always guaranteed a slew of buyers in a battle to buy your home.
Instead of basing your hopes on what your neighbor did with their home sale, start with a professional opinion of your home’s value.
Your prospective buyers will start their home shopping experience online. They’ll view homes on the various real estate websites where they’ll see value estimates for every property. Many real estate websites such as Zillow, attach a valuation that may not be accurate and may much lower than what a buyer will pay.
The overall value of the other homes in your neighborhood determines the price of your house.
When pricing your home, consider putting together a comparative market analysis (CMA). The CMA uses comps from recently sold homes. With a few research skills, you can construct a CMA yourself.
A CMA makes a good start, but a professional appraisal is more accurate.
An appraisal uses some of the same details found in a CMA, but the appraiser factors in everything about your unique home. Selling your home with a professional appraisal in-hand works well to back up your asking price, especially when it’s higher than what the online real estate sites show.
You might also use information from a recent tax appraisal to your benefit. A tax appraisal calculates the assessed value. You likely won’t base your asking price on this appraisal, but a lower assessment is sometimes attractive to a buyer since it means a lower tax bill.
The idea of appreciation is one thing that makes homeownership so popular. Instead of paying rent and covering a landlord’s mortgage, you’re paying rent to yourself. You hope to recoup the rental payments one day when you sell the house.
In theory, it makes sense and in many cases, a seller can walk away with a tidy profit. You sell the house for more than the purchase price, which means you’ve made money, right? The truth is while you may whittle away at the balance on your mortgage, it doesn’t always result in a large check at closing.
In real estate, time matters. The amount of time you occupy your home after you buy it figures into how much it will cost you when you sell.
Owners who sell before they’ve lived in a home for at least 5 years may end up losing money. Of course, it’s a general rule but it’s one to consider when deciding whether it’s the right time to sell.
If you’re in a situation where you can’t wait the 5+ years to sell, you’ll want to prepare for the idea that you may not make as much money on the sale of your home.
Going back to the discussion on the other homes in your neighborhood, let’s look at upgrades.
You may love your imported flooring and had no qualms about investing in an inground pool, while the rest of your neighbors settled for ordinary flooring and pay for a pool membership at the community center. Yes, you have great taste! Taste doesn’t always impact your selling price, especially if your neighbors don’t go the same extremes.
Your imported flooring and inground pool may have a value of $100,000 while the average selling price in your neighborhood runs closer to $200,000.
You’ll have a hard time selling the upgrades to the average buyer.
Expensive flooring and pools with water features may make dramatic examples of upgrades. The point is when investing in upgrades make sure you’re investing in things with a high return on investment (ROI).
The same goes for pre-listing repairs you make to the home. Don’t go overboard in an attempt to bring your home up to the presumed market value.
You and your prospective buyers likely have distinct color preferences. You love the cranberry red walls in the dining room and the sunny yellow walls in the kitchen. Those colors could make a buyer cringe!
Before you run out and buy several gallons of stark white paint, wait a minute! Color impacts buyers, but they still like something other than white walls. Your goal in selecting colors for the home you’re trying to sell is choosing colors that will help a buyer see themselves living in the space.
Dark colors can turn off buyers. When you freshen up your home with new paint, stick with neutral colors. For example, greige—a mix of gray and beige—is a popular color scheme right now.
If you’re not enthused about greige or other neutral colors like creamy off-whites, think about your goals. You want to sell your home, not style it according to your tastes. When a buyer walks through a home painted in neutral colors, they’ll feel like they could move in without needing to spend a fortune covering up the previous owner’s paint choices.
Besides, neutral colors make rooms look gorgeous in photographs, the first place most prospective buyers will see your home!
Selling a home is a big step, but when you need to sell, knowing what to expect helps you plan for a successful sale. Austin houses usually sell quickly, but you can take a few extra steps to ensure your home sells in record time, and at the right price.
If you’re wondering whether now is the right time to sell your home, or you’re ready to list, contact us today. We buy houses and are happy to provide you with a cash offer.
Lisa is a local real estate investor in Austin Texas.