All posts by Lauren

Sell My House Fast! (Common Mistakes Sellers Make)

If I want to sell my house fast, the first thing I need to do is educate myself on how to be successful, which involves knowing common mistakes other sellers make! 

Avoiding these mistakes will help you as well, and will ensure that you have done everything in your power to get a prompt offer on your home. The best part? You can take care of these suggestions yourself by spending little or no money! Here is our checklist on common mistakes sellers make. 

  1. Overlooked curb appeal!

When preparing to sell my house fast, Curb appeal is the FIRST thing I know buyers see when they view my home – the “Curb”! 

If you want to sell your house fast then you need to know that the appearance of the outside matters greatly! Clear the yard of clutter, mow the gross, plant some flowers or even put potted flowers near the front door. It would be simple and cheap to make or add some of these minor upgrades to the appearance of your front yard and it will most certainly be worth it! 

  1. Underestimate what needs to be repaired!

Let’s be honest……after living in my home a while there are certain minor issues that I am probably blind to. However,  small issues such as a leaky faucet, a dingy bathtub, or chipped paint on a baseboard can suggest to my buyers that there are other areas of my home that are poorly maintained. 

As a seller, you may not even think to consider these issues consciously, but they will leave an impression on any potential buyer whether you know it or not. It might be a good idea to have a co-worker or a friend, especially someone familiar with real estate, visit your house and make suggestions or point things out that may be of concern to them as a new home buyer. 

  1. Forgot to stage the house!

While addressing curb appeal is basically staging the outside of the house, you also need to stage the inside of the house. Did you know that renting furniture for an empty house might actually cost less than you think and can result in HUGE improvements in your offers? If you want to sell your house fast and get multiple offers on our home, show homebuyers how they can use all the unusual spaces and small rooms in your house. Make it look like their dream home! Remember to stick to basic colors that appeal to the majority, not just your own specific preferences. If your furniture will remain in the house during the showings, then get suggestions from outsiders on how you can improve the arrangement of your furniture and rooms. It might even give you some new ideas on how you want to set up your new living space in your next home! 

  1. Overestimated value of house!

When pricing your house to sell fast, view listings in your area at,, or Look for the houses that are comparable in size, age and location to yours. If those houses have hardwood floors and granite countertops and yours has carpet and formica, dated countertops, well then you’ll need to set your price lower (or make those similar updates in order to strive for a higher price). If the reverse is true, you might be able to set your price a little higher and point out to potential buyers that your house has more features than the comparable properties. Most importantly, you will need to be willing to negotiate. Remember that setting the price too high (or too low) can get you into trouble. You want to price your house close to the current market value. 

  1. Whoops! Forgot to spread the word!

I want to sell my house fast…but I didn’t tell anyone! How would anyone know you were selling? List it on the MLS, put up a sign and don’t forget to utilize social media, aka FREE advertising! Even if you have a real estate agent, you might have access to networks and people that would have never heard from your agent, so take charge and market your house in as many ways as you can think of. 


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

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How To Sell A Vacation Home – 4 Considerations!

Do you want to sell a vacation home? Are you wondering when the best time to sell a vacation home is? Statistics in the past few years illustrate just how much the second-home market continues to surge, providing a great opportunity for those ready to move on and determining how to sell a vacation home. The 2014 National Association of Realtors’ “Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey” revealed that 717,000 vacation homes were purchased in 2013. Click on the image to the right to reveal some other interesting and recent data regarding vacation homes from 

So, if you own a vacation home and you are thinking of selling, where do you start? Below are a few considerations. 

First: Before Asking How To Sell A Vacation Home, Decide If You Really Want To Sell It 

This may sound like a silly question if you have thought enough about selling your house to reach this post, but are you REALLY ready to sell the vacation home? Before selling it, you might consider a few other options so that you can continue to use it for 

your family. Do you have kids? If so, how old are they? If they are nearing independence, it might be worth hanging onto the house for them. Perhaps they would be interested in either renting out from you for vacations, or even moving to the area and living in the house. Whatever the case, it’s worth discussing the decision with the whole family. 

It’s also possible that you could share the cost of maintaining the property with other friends and family. Many people also choose to utilize Airbnb and other websites that make finding renters easier. If you could make sure the house was rented most weekends, would it make a difference? 

If you considered the above and still want to sell, keep reading! 

Second: Determine The Best Time To Sell A Vacation Home 

If you have decided to sell a vacation home, then begin the process by doing some market research. Summer is often thought of as the busiest season in real estate – but not every city is the same. What city is the house in? 

If the location is great for skiing or winter sports, then selling during the ski season makes sense. You will have more competition, but overall the influx of buyers will give you a better pool to choose from. 

If the city is particularly hot, then your busy season might be the spring instead of the summer. 

If the area is great for camping or hiking, then fall would be your best bet. 

Three: Start Cleaning Up The Property Early 

If you don’t reside in the house, then start preparing the property early and give yourself plenty of time. Do the repairs you will need to do, or start scheduling the repairs to happen with contractors. Make sure to clean the house well and KEEP it clean. You might consider having a housekeeper come to the house a couple times a month if your schedule doesn’t allow you to visit often. 

Fourth: Find A Knowledgeable Agent 

The agent you choose will need to have additional knowledge besides traditional market knowledge. Find an agent familiar with seasonal patterns and trends that can help you determine the best time to sell. Additionally, find someone that will be able to talk to potential buyers about rental prices, the rental market and what attracts rental buyers. It would also be good to educate them regarding the cost of maintaining a rental property. 

It is very common for sellers to come to Lisa Buys Austin Houses to sell their additional or second homes because of the ease of the transaction and our unique, extensive market knowledge. 


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

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How Home Investors Can Help You Prevent Foreclosure

One of the best ways to prevent a foreclosure is to sell your house to a home investor. This helps pay off a mortgage fast. Though handling your mortgage this way still means losing the home, your credit isn’t as impacted, and you may even walk away with money to start over again. 

Reputable home investors are perfectly positioned to help you. To understand why, you first need to understand the foreclosure process. 

The Stages of Foreclosure 

The foreclosure process moves very fast, and you have to move quickly too if you want to respond. If you don’t, it can take as little as 41 days for you to lose your home.  

The first step is the receipt of a “Notice of Default” letter. This letter tells you that the loan is in default. The lender typically tries to call you or mail you to remind you of missed payments prior to sending this notice. 

Your options at this point are to bring the loan current within 20 days, to look for a loan modification, or to declare bankruptcy. You can also start thinking about selling your house at this point. However, if you want to keep your house, consider a loan modification before taking any drastic steps. 

In 20 days there will be a “Notice of Sale, Filed and Posted.” At this point, you are just about out of options. The home will be sold just 21 days after the receipt of this second notice. After the home sells, you can and will be evicted. The lender will also “accelerate” the loan, which means that the only way to stop the proceedings is to pay the whole thing off, not just the several months worth of unpaid payments that the lender will be asking for in the default letter. 

Remember, allowing a foreclosure to proceed all the way to a sale and eviction will make it harder to find a new place to live. The foreclosure will be on your credit report, and when it comes to finding new housing that mark on your record can make things difficult. 

Selling Your Home 

If you decide to sell your home you’ll have two options. 

The first option is a “short sale.” This means you’re going to sell the home for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. This is typically the last resort of people who are upside down in their homes; they may sell the home at market rate yet still end up with a balance that will have to be paid. 

Your lender has to approve the short sale, and here’s where things get sticky. It can take them up to 120 days to make the decision. Unless they decide to halt the foreclosure proceedings you may not get an approval before your deadline. If you think you might want to do a short sale, start talking to your lender the moment you’re in trouble. 

However, banks do move a little faster for a cash sale. Short sale approvals typically take time. In this case, a second lender offers a mortgage to someone else to buy the house. As home investors, we’ve presented banks with attractive terms in the past. This helps expedite approvals. 

However, you don’t even have to go through this pain if you’ve got enough equity in the home. If you owe $70,000 on an $150,000 home, we may be able to offer you enough on an as-is cash sale. This helps pay off the rest of the mortgage. Additionally, it gives you some money for starting over. Depending on how much you owe you may have enough money to escape by the skin of your teeth, to put down a deposit or first month’s rent on a new apartment, to put a down payment on a new, more manageable mortgage, or even to purchase a small condo or townhouse for cash. Either way, you’ll be far better off than if you allow the foreclosure proceedings to take you all the way to an auction and an eviction. 

How Fast? Real Fast. 

The good news about selling your home as-is to investors like us is that we can get an offer to you very quickly. You’ll have an offer in your hands in as little as 24 hours. We can have the closing complete in a week. We even give you time for packing so you can move on to your next home. 

Can you buy the home and sell it back to us? 

Sadly, no. 

If we helped you out with a fast short sale then you’ll be asked to sign an Arm’s Length Affidavit at closing. That’s a lender requirement. They don’t want you benefiting financially from the short sale. Attempting to remain in the home after a short sale is a form of mortgage fraud. 

If you’re facing this scenario it’s best to look at this as a chance to downsize and realign your finances. A better, brighter financial future awaits. You have a chance to rebuild within your current means. Trying to hold on to a house for too long is one of the biggest mistakes we see homeowners make. If you get into financial trouble…don’t let this mistake trip you up. 


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

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Home Maintenance Tips for Your Austin Home

Living in Austin is great – especially when there is nothing wrong with your home. 

But when an air conditioning unit goes on the fritz… 

Or you have a leak in your roof or other home maintenance issues develop… 

Suddenly life takes a dramatic turn. 

Many people are looking for “home maintenance tips in the Austin” area that are easy and cost effective. Since we agree with the philosophy of reducing the hassle, stress and expense of repairing issues by performing routine maintenance from time to time, here are a few simple tips for keeping our Austin homes in tip top shape year round. 

Simple Home Maintenance Tips 

Replace All HVAC Filters Twice Per Year 

Whether it’s the filters of your heating units or the air conditioning units, one of the easiest things any homeowner can do is to replace the filters attached to these units and air ducts in your home. It can get rather dusty in {City} and as a result, dust and debris tends to enter our homes and cause loads of trouble. 

However, did you know that the number one culprit of electrical device failure like major appliances such as TV’s, Refrigerators, and Computers is excess dust contaminating electrical equipment and causing failure of the units? 

One easy way you can reduce this from happening in your home is to replace your air circulating filters on a regular schedule. Many people like to do this when they change their clocks (twice per year). By simply replacing the filters, the air inside your home will be much cleaner and less ‘dusty’. 

This will keep all your major appliances working much better all year long as well as provide a healthier living environment in your home. 

Reverse Ceiling Fans 

If you have ceiling fans inside your home, our second item of home maintenance tips is to make sure you reverse the ceiling fans direction twice per year. 

This also should be completed the same time you change your heating and a/c filtration system. Most ceiling fans have a reverse switch that allows homeowners to choose the direction that their fans spin. 

Here is the easy tip: if you are using your heater, make sure your ceiling fans spin in a clockwise direction. 

If you use AC and are trying to cool the house, make sure the blades spin counterclockwise. This will reduce energy used for heating and cooling your home. 

Clean the Gutters 

This is a great way to keep your roof from collecting standing water–and as such is the third of our home maintenance tips for keeping your roof from needing costly repairs. 

When water collects on a roof, it tends to seep into the roof shingles, which eventually causes the roofing materials to wear out sooner than they should.  In a recent article written by HomeTips, by having your gutters routinely cleaned they protect siding, windows, doors, and foundations from water damage and help prevent flooding in basements. Clean your gutters and make sure there is no blockage on the roof. This way, you’ll easily maintain smooth drainage on your roof. 

By following these three simple home maintenance tips for your home, you’ll save a lot of money on unwanted repairs. You’ll also save on things like electric bills and have a healthier home to live in year round. 

Does your home have too many repairs? 

Often in this situation, home owners feel trapped because of costly home repairs. If you have this concern, it’s important that you take the time to learn more about the Lisa Buys Austin Houses process for buying houses. 

You don’t have to worry about fixing anything before you sell your home either. We’ll even get you a quote on your home in extremely short order–24 hours turn around and can pay cash for your property! 

We also provide many other creative approaches to real estate in the Austin area. 


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

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Squatters rights: What is a squatter?

If you are a landlord or a property owner not residing in a property, you may at some point encounter unwanted inhabitants or squatters rights. What most people in this situation don’t realize is that a “squatter” is a very specific type of inhabitant. Before deciding how to handle the situation, it is important to determine specifically what is going on, so that it can be handled legally. 

There are three types of unwanted inhabitants. 

Worn Out Welcome: “Squatters” Defined 

One reason some landlords refer to their tenants as “squatters” involves the lapse of the tenant’s lease. However, tenants with expired leases are not technically squatters; they are “Tenants at Sufferance” or “Tenants at Will.” 

A Tenant of Sufferance is a “hold-over” tenancy after a lease has expired, but before the landlord has demanded that the tenant “quit” (vacate) the premises. During a tenancy at sufferance, the terms of the lease (including payment of rent) that existed before expiration binds the tenant. “Tenancy at Will” is similar, except there is no lease or written agreement, i.e., an at-will agreement. 

Importantly, if the person residing in the property ever had a lease agreement, they fall into the “worn out welcome” category. All parties must follow state law accordingly. Even a tenant of sufferance must receive a 30-day notice before serving them an eviction notice. 

Breaking And Entering 

A second type of unwanted tenant is one who breaks and enters your property. This type of “tenant” is actually a trespasser, and still does not qualify as a squatter. 

A trespasser is NOT someone: 

  • Whose lease has lapsed; 
  • Who stopped paying rent; 
  • Who breaches the lease in any way. 

A trespasser IS a transient, and never had a lease agreement. Even a family member can trespass if they never had a lease agreement and are unwelcome in the property. 

In the absence of a rental agreement and when the parties intend that the occupancy will be temporary, the occupant or guest may be considered to be “transient.” To make this determination, the law provides a presumption that when the dwelling unit occupied is the sole residence of the guest, the occupancy is non-transient, and when it is not the sole residence of the guest, the occupancy is transient. 

This Land Is My Land 

So, what is a squatter, you ask? A squatter has no legal claim to the property, but they intend to gain possession of the property through adverse possession through involuntary transfer. A property owner who does not use or inspect his or her property for a number of years could lose title to another person who makes a claim to the land, takes possession of the land and uses the land. 

Unlike a trespasser, squatters are intentionally trying to take possession of the property. Like a trespasser, they never had a lease agreement (or any agreement) with the landlord. 

If you are a landlord who wants to sell a house or is having problems with tenants, we can help. 


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

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Sell Your House Fast – Dealing with Grief

Most people who need to sell their house quickly do so at the end of a long hard road of other trials. Many have family members that have passed away, many fall behind financially and cannot afford mortgage payments. Some people bought their house for more than they can sell it for, but they have no option but to sell it. Because of these emotional circumstances, Lisa Buys Austin Houses’ team has learned to be very sensitive to everyone’s situation. 

Many sellers experience grief as a result of their circumstances, or of simply selling a house they lived part of their lives in.  

Introduction: Grief is Unpredictable 

I watched a couple movies in the last few months that dealt with grief. One of those included “The Greatest”. 

This film depicts the family and a friend of a teen who unexpectedly died. This deep, rich and insightful film brought up intense feelings for me regarding my dad and how I have been dealing with his death. 

Part of the beauty in this film involves how differently each person felt and expressed their grief. The mother woke up every morning and after a brief stretch, a look of realization came across her face, and she collapsed again to cry.  The troubled and rebellious brother of the teen boy began attending a grief group seemingly against his will. The father attempted to hold it together and avoided talking about his son, until the end of the movie when he finally broke down. His moment of intense anguish brought me to tears, and I identified with that feeling of loss. 

My grief feelings have been similar: they are unpredictable, and I’ve done a lot of things differently this year…just because. It has been a beautiful and painful journey. Today I feel intensely grateful, as I feel God soothing me through this process. I feel like a little girl, with His hand stroking my forehead and telling me it’s already okay. 

I have a much higher level of acceptance for myself and others today. And this brings me to the topic at hand: the top three things I want you to remember as you experience your grief. 

Grief is experienced differently for everyone. 

First of all, we all experience grief differently. Just because my brother didn’t cry as much as I did, doesn’t mean he didn’t care. My step mom probably cried the least during the whole process, but her grief was delayed due to the distraction of everything for which she was responsible. You can go read a book about the phases of grief, and you’ll probably identify with a lot of it…but the bottom line is that no one can tell you what it will look like. Just show yourself a lot of grace, and give yourself some time. Be gentle on yourself. 

It always gets better, or at least different 

The other thing that helps me is to remember that things always get better. Once when I was going through a LOT of pain, a mentor told me “I PROMISE” it gets better. I didn’t think anyone could promise such a thing, but I held on to her statement with hope. And it was true. 

I know, I know. When it rains it pours. Things may not get amazing soon or ever. But, at the very least they will be different. You are not going to be stuck feeling this same level of grief forever. It will dissipate. You will discover new things about yourself. You will get support and love from new people. You will appreciate the presence of the person you lost more than you ever have before, and honestly that is a beautiful thing. 

A lot of negative things can happen, but if you focus on the good, then you will continuously notice more and more good things. Feel your feelings: be sad, angry, upset, frustrated, etc. But at the end of the day, be grateful. If you are, things can get better. 

Do Something Special 

The greatest way I’ve been able to honor myself and my dad is to do something special for him, and for me. For example, once a year or so, I write him a letter about all the new and wonderful things going on in my life. This gives me an opportunity to honor him in remembrance, and it gives me the opportunity to reflect on how much I love my life. 

Do you know what I did this Father’s Day? Nothing. It was wonderful. I took a few extra naps, went to the grocery store, and watched a scary movie. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to do anything that anyone expected of me, and that was something really special for myself. 

What can you do that will be special for yourself? 


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

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Considering a Reverse Mortgage? Reverse Mortgage Basics You Need to Know

Considering a reverse mortgage? If so, there are some reverse mortgage basics you need to know. Many people look at a reverse mortgage and see “free money.” 

You can’t take it with you when you go. 

That’s pretty much the driving principle behind reverse mortgages. You get cash now. You get to stay in your home. By the time the bank takes it back you’re (probably, hopefully) dead. 

But unfortunately, there are plenty of pitfalls that make reverse mortgages a risky move. 

Reverse Mortgage Basics: How Does a Reverse Mortgage Work? 

A reverse mortgage is essentially a home equity loan, which means you are taking on debt. However, there are some key differences between a reverse mortgage and a traditional home equity loan. 

  • With a normal home equity loan you would receive a large, lump sum payment. When you take out a reverse mortgage the bank disburses a small percentage of the loan each month, essentially supplementing your monthly income. 
  • You won’t make monthly payments, but the balance comes due after you die, sell the home or move out. The bank will have the right to sell your home. 
  • There are requirements. Borrowers must be 62 or older. 
  • Most borrowers own their homes outright. Some have a very large equity percentage and a very small mortgage. 
  • Fees can be outrageous, ensuring that you owe more than you’re ever going to get. 

How can borrowers use this money? 

There are no restrictions regarding how borrows use funds from a reverse mortgage. 

Many borrowers use the money to supplement their retirement incomes. 

How much money can you get? 

It depends. Older borrowers with more valuable homes will tend to get more money. 

But that’s probably not what you should be focused on. If you get dollar signs in your eyes you might not evaluate the pitfalls properly. 

Common Pitfalls of Reverse Mortgages 

Pitfall #1: It will be extremely difficult for your heirs to keep the home. 

One common pitfall and one of the reverse mortgage basics is the difficulty involved in keeping the home. This may or may not be an issue for you. If you don’t have heirs or you feel that your heirs would find your home to be a burden then you can effectively dismiss this concern. 

But for many families, the home is the only wealth they’ll ever be passing on. And while heirs could keep the home by paying the balance of the reverse mortgage, they may not have funds to do so. 

Pitfall #2: Foreclosure still happens. 

You may think you’re safe from foreclosure because the bank is supposed to be paying you. But if you fall behind on your property taxes or homeowners insurance then you could still be forced out of your home. 

Many borrowers do not understand this, prompting lawmakers in some states to seek more protections for reverse mortgage borrowers. 

Pitfall #3: You’re essentially trapped in the house. 

Need to move to a nursing home? Want to move in with your kids? 

The reverse mortgage may hold you back or leave you broke. The bank will sell the house, and if it sells for less than you owe then you’ll have to pay the difference. Many homeowners won’t be able to afford this, which means they’ll be trapped in their homes well past the point when they should be seeking an alternative arrangement. 

Pitfall #4: Anyone else who lives in the house could be in trouble after you die. 

According to The Motley Fool: 

Until recently, even the spouse of the person whose name was on the reverse mortgage could be required to leave the home. New legal provisions now protect spouses in that situation, but if you have children or other family members other than your spouse living with you and their names aren’t on the Reverse Mortgage they could be forced out of the home within 12 months. 

Make sure you discuss these reverse mortgage basics, principles, and pitfalls with your family before you move forward. 

You Have Alternatives 

After considering these reverse mortgage basics, it’s possible you just can’t afford to stay in your home. Perhaps leaving it to your heirs is either not feasible or not a concern. There is a way that you can get extra money to supplement your retirement while allowing anyone else who lives in your home to vacate in an orderly way. 

Selling the home as-is may be the best way to keep a safe roof over your head, allowing you to downsize into assisted living, a more modest condo, move in with your kids or to get an apartment. The lump sum that remains could then be added to your retirement fund or bank account. You can disburse the money to yourself on a monthly basis if you need to. This financial move is much less risky than opening the door for a bank who will almost certainly structure the deal so that they, not you, come out on top. 

Cash is better than debt. Call Lisa Buys Austin Houses to find out how much your home could be worth. 

Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

Get a Quick Cash Offer    |    Call 512-598-4929

Best Time To Sell Your House

If you ask any real estate expert when the best time (season) of the year is best to sell your home, they will all give you different answers. Truly there are advantages to selling your house at ANY time of the year. Whether it’s summer or winter, any time of the year is the best time to sell your house. 

Advantages of Selling In Winter 

One of the biggest advantages of selling your home in the winter is that there is less competition. Many people choose to not sell in the colder months because they are busy with the holidays. This means that whoever is looking is motivated to find a home since there isn’t much to choose from. Another benefit is the fact that you can take advantage of the holiday season by decorating your home. Tasteful Christmas/winter decorations can make your home seem more homey and warm, thus making it more appealing to potential buyers during showings! 

Advantages of Selling In Spring 

Spring is the season that most people say is the perfect time to sell. One of the advantages of selling in the spring is that there are plenty of buyers. Most families want to close on their new home and be settled in before it’s time for their kids to go back to school. The amazing thing that comes with spring is the amazing weather. This weather makes people more willing to go on walk-throughs of houses and gives you a chance to spruce up the landscaping on the home you’re trying to sell. Kids are in school during the spring also so if you have lunch time or day time showings, there’s no need to worry about having to get your kids out of the house. 

Advantages of Selling In Summer 

An advantage of selling in the summer is that most people have gotten their tax refund back. This means more income towards a down payment for a house, simple as that. Same as spring; summer is a time when there are more motivated buyers because most want to be able to buy a house before school starts. The summer also brings longer days so that means there is better visibility and you can have showings later on in the day when the sun is still shining. 

Advantages of Selling In Fall 

Many people that buy in the fall are truly motivated because they want to be able to close before the year ends. The reason why is because that way they can relish in the tax advantages of home ownership in the current tax year. Same as with winter, there is less competition. Lower inventory means that your home will be in high demand and that whichever offers you get, will be serious. 

So there you have it! Doesn’t really matter when you sell your home. There are advantages to selling all through the year. As long as your home has curb appeal, all necessary repairs have been made and it is priced reasonably, you should have no problem finding the right buyer! 

Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

Get a Quick Cash Offer    |    Call 512-598-4929

4 Tips to Sell a House Fast When Out of State – Vacant House Tips

Selling your house can be a trying time, and selling an empty house can be even more challenging.  There is so much involved in the process and it’s difficult if you are not actually present, especially if problems occur.  So, what should you do? While many sellers turn to Lisa Buys Austin Houses for a simple solution, below are our top 4 tips to sell a house fast when you are out of state, or not present in the home. 

  1. Contact – Have a Point of Contact

If you are selling a vacant house, make sure you have a trusted local point of contact near the property. This person can watch over the house to make sure no one breaks in, and can also help prepare the house and provide access to buyers or real estate agents. 

  1. Access – Make Sure Buyers Have Access

Leave a key with your trusted point of contact or a real estate agent. They will probably utilize a lock-box to give access to other buys and agents.  You never know when a potential buyer may want to see the house, so access at all times is crucial. 

  1. Contents – Protect Your Belongings

If the house is vacant and empty, then great! You can skip this step. However, if there are contents still within the house, you have two options. 

Make a trip down to arrange and take care of any remaining items. This option is preferable if you want to sort and organize the items in the house. 

Hire a move-out company to pack or discard the remaining items. If you haven’t had time to organize the items, a professional organizer can use your direction to pack and sort belongings. 

  1. Closing – Find Someone to Accommodate Your Situation

Most title companies will allow for a mobile closing. You will need to locate a local notary or request that the title company locate a notary for you that can be present while you sign the documents. 

It’s not an easy task to cover these responsibilities and maintain your daily routine in a prompt and efficient manner.  If you are looking for an all-in-one exclusive service package (also known as “turn key”), then call Lisa Buys Austin Houses today! We will conduct a free evaluation with no obligation of your house, and let you know how we can help. Call us for more information. 


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

Get a Quick Cash Offer    |    Call  512-598-4929

Will I Owe Taxes if I Sell an Inherited Property?

While an inheritance can represent a windfall, Uncle Sam always wants his cut. We may not like taxes, but it’s wise to consider them whenever you make any kind of a financial move. 

However, you will not necessarily owe taxes on the sale of your inherited home. Your tax liability will depend upon a number of factors. In order to understand what your next move should be, you need to understand several important terms. 

Income Tax vs. Capital Gains Tax 

Many people spend the vast majority of their life dealing with income tax and only with income tax. Income tax is a tax levied on any income source: wages, tips, and self-employment income. Sometimes, debt forgiveness or prize money can be tacked onto your income tax. 

Capital gains tax is a tax levied on the sale of an asset such as stocks, bonds, or real property. 

The good news? The capital gains tax rate is lower than the income tax rate. Income tax starts at 10% and can skyrocket to 39.4%, depending upon your tax bracket. The highest capital gains tax will go is 15%, and the lowest two tax brackets pay 0% on capital gains. 

You can find your tax bracket here. 

So why does capital gains tax come as a shock to so many people? Because most people aren’t used to “out of sight, out of mind” taxes. If you’re not self-employed, then employers pay half of your income tax. The rest comes out of your check. You’re free to use whatever is left, and you might even get a refund at the end of the year. 

But nobody’s matching or paying your capital gains tax, which means if you owe any, you may have to pay that amount out-of-pocket when next April comes around. If you didn’t plan for this you could be left with the biggest tax bill you’ve ever seen. 

Fortunately, you are not going to be taxed on every dollar of the home sale. 


The home’s “basis” is the figure that the IRS uses to determine whether you have made a capital loss, or a capital gain. “Basis” is a fancy way of saying, “this is what the home is worth, in tax terms.” 

When you are the primary homeowner, basis is calculated by taking the original sale price of the home and adding the cost of any improvements. For example, if you bought your home for $150,000 and added a $25,000 metal roof five years later, your basis would be $175,000. 

However, when you inherit a home, the basis is calculated a little differently. Instead of trying to track down every last improvement or using a sales figure that might be 30 or 40 years old, the IRS uses the Market Value of that home on the date of the decedent’s death. 

This actually works in your favor. Aunt Maude may have paid $20,000 for her 3 BR/2 BA home in the 1950s. If she dies in 2016 you do not want the IRS to use $20,000 plus her $12,000 kitchen remodel as your basis. The same home might well sell for $300,000 today, which means you’d owe disproportionate capital gains on the home. 

Instead, the IRS says, “That home is worth $300,000,” for the purposes of calculating whether or not you have generated a gain or a loss. 

If you generate a gain, the gain is taxable. If you generate a loss, that’s tax deductible. This is a good thing to remember as you continue to think about your next steps. 

Calculating Gain or Loss 

Calculating whether you’ve generated a gain or a loss is simple. 

Let’s take Aunt Maude’s home, with a basis of $300,000, and let’s say you’re the only heir. You sell the home for $350,000. You’ve generated a capital gain of $50,000. If you’re in a modest tax bracket with a 10% capital gains tax you’re going to owe $5,000 at tax time. That might be okay if you remember to set aside the $5,000 before you spend any of your money, but it might come as a shock if you don’t! 

However, if you sell the home for $250,000 then you’ve actually created a $50,000 capital loss. You’ll be able to claim that loss on your taxes, and you’ll get a break.  You won’t be able to claim it all at once: you’re capped at $3,000 per year. But that capital loss deduction does roll over, year after year, until it is gone. 

Could Selling to an Investor Create a Tax Benefit? 

Most investors are going to make an offer on your home that is a little lower than fair market value. How much lower depends upon the condition of the home. If the home is in great shape, doesn’t need a single repair, is free of liens and gets through probate fairly quickly then our offer could be very close to your $300,000 basis. 

This is rarely the case however. If your Aunt Maude is like most people, she left you a home that needs at least a little bit of work. That floor she always meant to get around to fixing, but never did. Or that water heater that’s on its last legs. The lien you knew nothing about. If that’s the case, then our offer might be considerably lower. We might only offer you $250,000 for such a home. 

That means you take a capital loss, getting a break on your taxes.  And while you may think, “yeah, but I just lost money!,” the truth is, you might be saving money. 

Just think about the repair costs you did not have to pay out of pocket (before seeing a single cent of the proceeds) to do the same thing an investor might do. It also means you’re not paying upkeep, utilities, homeowner’s association fees and vacant home insurance while you wait to get the home into tip-top shape. 

Obviously you should see our offer, talk to your accountant and think long and hard before making any decisions. These numbers do help you understand, however, why selling your inherited property to an investor might truly benefit you. 


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours. 

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