All posts by Lisa

how to sell a house with code violations

Cracking the Code on How to Sell a House With Code Violations

It can be daunting to find out that your home isn’t up to code, especially if you are trying to sell it.

Fortunately enough, you will still be able to sell your house after overcoming some obstacles.

In this article, we will go over what it means to have a house not up to code, and how you can mediate the problem.

Keep reading to learn how to sell a house with code violations.

What Is a House With Code Violations?

Each municipality possesses a set of building codes, which protect the health of the public, extend general welfare, and assure safety in terms of construction and occupancy. But, these rules change often.

Your local Regulation and Licensing Department is responsible for overseeing the codes for historic, residential, commercial, and manufactured buildings. The department is also responsible for the codes relating to solar energy, electrical safety, boilers, plumbing, etc.

Nationwide codes also exist, such as the National Electric Code, which proposes the designs, inspection approaches, and installation methods for safe electrical equipment. This list has been revised many a time, so what has been considered safe 15 years ago might not be so today.

Because of this, a homeowner can quickly start to gather violations, fines, and citations for simple things like not cleaning the pool, not mowing, and not maintaining the property in adherence to the rule of code.

City fines are not a joke and are quick to start gathering interest on a daily basis.

Let’s take a look at some common code violations:

As mentioned, housing code violations range from simple issues to major repairs.

  • Dysfunctional or incorrectly placed smoke detectors/alarms
  • Handrails end into a wall and don’t turn
  • Bathroom exhaust fans vent into the home, instead of the outside
  • Deck flashing is missing between the house and ledger board
  • Defective ground circuit interrupters on electrical appliances

These are just some examples, but the list extends far beyond these five. Keep reading to learn how to sell the home, even if you have some sort of code violation.

How to Sell a House With Code Violations

You can sell a house with code violations with one of these three options:

  1. Fixing the problem
  2. Lowering the price
  3. Selling ‘As Is’

Let’s take an in-depth look at these options.

1. Fix the Problem

If you are aware of the code violations, the best way to sell your house is not to have them in the first place. This means you need to determine if the scope of the problem and the current housing market is pertinent to you fixing it or not.

For instance, if you simply need to relocate the smoke alarms, even by a slight margin, that’s a 20-minute fix you can easily do.

If you need to test your ground interrupted, you buy a GFCI tester for $15 and replace outlets that don’t work for about $15 each.

If the problem is a little more difficult, you can hire an electrician. They wouldn’t charge more than $10 for reversing polarising or rewiring an outlet, or $40 to replace an old one with a GFCI-enabled one.

However, if you were in need of a new electrical panel, you would be in for a solid $2,000. These problems vary in scope, so it’s important to decide when the benefits outweigh the costs.

On the example of plumbing piping, you would need to consider where it runs in the house, and how much it would cost for you to replace on the reference of a potential buyer repairing it. If the piping is obstructed and hard to repair, it might just be better to replace it.

Replumbing a house can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000, depending on materials and size.

The buyer is always looking for the best house in the best condition for the best price. So if you want to get that sale, you might as well fix the problem. It might increase the sales price, and help you rest assured that a buyer won’t come looking for you after a couple of weeks.

2. Lower the Price

Not everyone has the cash to make these repairs, so it’s best to offer credit at closing or decrease the sales price.

However, this is only a viable option if the violations are not from the harmful or threatful category to a buyer. Not to mention, you have to have the entire house inspected and share the results in full transparency with the potential resident.

Not fixing the issues serves for many a new issue. Most buyers want to buy a clean title with no violations, so it might be difficult for you to find buyers who are willing to assume the responsibility for these issues.

What you can do is sell the house for cash to a direct buyer, although for a lower price.

3. Sell ‘As Is’

Almost all homeowners place the priority of selling a home with the hight possible price, and this can certainly be achieved on the open market. Granted you have a proactive real estate agent.

But not everybody has the cash or time to overcome the code violations that stand in the way of securing a sale in a traditional way. That’s why selling the house ‘As Is’ off the market to an instant home buyer is the best option.

These people are investors, house flippers, startups that purchase these types of homes at scale for lower prices. In most cases, there are several such buyers at any one time on the market—all of which would be willing to throw their chips to purchase the home on applicable terms.

Your Home for Sale

Now that you know how to sell a house with code violations, you are well on your way to saving time, and finally getting it off your hands.

If you are wondering how much one would offer for your house with code violations in the Austin area? We have a solution.

At Lisa Buys Austin Houses, we will gladly take a look at it, and provide you with a competitive cash offer.

All you have to do is fill in your name, email, and location and we will present you with the best possible results. After this, you will get to decide if the price is right for you.

Good luck!

sell your house

7 Ways Social Media Can Help Sell Your House in Austin, TX

Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or a skilled agent, selling a house in Austin, Texas can be a long and involved process. Thankfully we have the power of social media.

With over 69 % of American adults on social media (more than 95% of millennials) starting their home search online, the importance of using social networks to sell your house can’t be overstated. This coupled with the many stories of people selling their homes on social platforms, there’s no doubt the tool is impacting the industry.

So you want to sell your house fast? Here are 7 ways social media can help you do it.

1. Share Powerful Visuals

Whether you’re advertising traditional or on social platforms, you need fantastic photos for your house. Professional photos can help sell your Austin house faster than low-quality images and videos. To capture the best shot, take photos on a bright day and always remember to edit photos afterward to remove shadows and unwanted reflections.

Social media for home selling is greatly visual in terms of content. Instagram, for example, is very popular with many agents for its flexibility. The platform allows you to share images and videos of your property. Don’t forget to attach hashtags to attract potential buyers looking for a house in your neighborhood, such as #austinhomesforsale.

You may hire a photographer to create optimized videos that fit on Instagram stories. Professional photos encourage shares and “likes” and compel potential buyers to contact you.

If you’re on a budget you can do it yourself. Use your phone to capture videos and share them on the platform to give people a preview of the house you’re selling. You can establish an edge on social media by including video tours of the areas surrounding your Austin property—especially if it’s located in a less-known neighborhood.

2. Use Facebook to Sell Your House

Facebook is amongst the top social platforms to get the word out when you want to sell your house. One of the reasons for this is because Facebook allows you to target specific demographics, which is good for the real estate business.

For example, the platform lets you target your audience by age and income. You can run inexpensive ads and target people within a certain radius of the house in Austin on sale. Facebook ads not only attract leads but also help create interest in the house.

Also, Facebook allows you to communicate with prospects, go live, publish listing-related content and updates and curate reviews. The Facebook Live feature lets you stream a property from your device, which is great for showing off your house. There is also the Facebook Marketplace that lets you connect with potential buyers.

3. Pinterest Marketing

Pinterest provides a big marketing opportunity for Austin realtors to sell homes. You can use this network to drive traffic and visitors to your real estate website.

Also {interest lets you build targeted ad campaigns that are linked to your listing. The ads tend to be more affordable compared to other platforms, so you can always try your hands at it.

Creating local boards on Pinterest is one of the best ways to market your house on Pinterest. After creating a board, you may want to invite people to collaborate on it. This way, you’ll attract many users to follow the board and add pins to it.

You can even create a board that comprises a digital community of Austin locals who you’d ultimately like to sell your house to. On your board, pin beautiful photos that are linked to the listing to attract visitors.

4. Fire up Your Snapchat

Snapchat has millions of daily users in the U.S. alone, with billions of video views every day. Snapchatters mostly use the platform to share fun videos and photos. Why not use it to share the remarkable features of your house for sale.

Telling your property’s story in an entertaining video is a thoughtful way of marketing. Show off breathtaking views and unique features of the home. Remember to use geofilters─ the fun graphic icons that allow viewers to see where you’re Snapping.

Snapchat also offers a platform for you to network with other agents in Austin. Connecting with realtors from around your area can have a huge upside. Property owners connecting with agents within Texas.

5. Sell Through Groups

There are social media platforms that offer communities around a variety of things, including selling homes. Check out groups on Facebook or LinkedIn to come across some good leads.

You’re typically able to freely post and advertise in these communities, as long as you follow the established rules. Take advantage of the fact that your target audience is already all in one spot.

6. Use the Right Keywords

Figure out and use the most common search words used by people looking for a house in Austin. Examples of keywords for selling houses might include “buy a house in Austin, “for sale by owner”, etc.

Use such search phrases throughout your posts and with the consumer in mind. Note that almost all pages that rank highly on search engines are complemented with copy that “sells”.

7. LinkedIn for Realtors

LinkedIn isn’t necessarily the place you’ll find most home buyers. But, it’s one of the top platforms (if not the top) to connect with agents and share your industry experience.

The platform lets you create a resume, which allows potential Austin home buyers to learn more about you.

Get Your House Sold With Social Media

Selling your house can be stressful and takes a lot of effort to see through. However, with so many residents online, social channels offer some of the best ways to attract interest and sell your house. Plus, using social networks is a simple process and sharing is free!

So share interesting parts of your house. You never know who could be waiting to see and buy it.

If you’re looking to sell your Austin home, get a cash offer today.

home staging tips

6 Speedy Home Staging Tips for Getting Buyers Fast

You’ve decided to sell your home. You’ve found a realtor and put it on the market.

They’ve advertised it and taken some professional photos, but it’s still not sold. You’ve had a few showings, but no one has made any offers you’d like to accept. So, what do you do?

With all the homes available on the market today, it’s important for home sellers to make their properties stand out from the other homes for sale. The best way to do this is with home staging.

Home staging makes your home look attractive and makes it appeal to potential buyers. But it doesn’t have to cost a bundle.

Here are some quick home staging tips to make your home look inviting and sell faster.

6 Quick-N-Easy Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home in a Snap 

Whether you’ve lived in your home for years or inherited a home as an accidental owner, there are home staging tips to make the house you want to sell look attractive. Follow these tips to quickly get the offer you want.

1. Make Your Master Bedroom Appeal to Both Men and Women

It’s likely that you’ll have couples viewing your home. And a really big turn off, especially when you’re a single person, is when your master bedroom looks too feminine — or too masculine.

In order for a home sell, the potential buyers need to imagine themselves living there. And if your master bedroom is too feminine for a man or looks like a bachelor’s bedroom, it can be a turnoff.

This change doesn’t require much effort. Usually, just a can of paint and some little touches will do. 

First, remove anything in the room that’s geared to one sex. Next, paint the walls a neutral color, like a soft white, beige, or light gray.

Pick up some nice bedding that can work for either gender. Then place some accessories in the room, such as some plants, a mirror, and a work of art that could appeal to both men and women.

2. Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Dated kitchen cabinets ridden with stains on them are an eyesore and a big distraction to potential buyers viewing your home. But the cost of purchasing new cabinets aren’t cheap. Instead of buying something new, why not repaint them?

Choose a neutral color paint. Something bright blue or red or pink is too loud and may not appeal to everyone. If your cabinets are natural wood, you can restain them.

When staining, apply the stain you choose evenly. Make sure to brush it on in the direction of the grain. If you’re painting, a good idea is to use semi-gloss paint. It will be easy to wash off stains and marks.

Lightly sand the cabinets after each coat for a smoother finish. Make sure to wait for the paint to dry before you sand and apply a new coat.

When you’re finished painting, pick up some nice cabinet hardware. You can get it at a home improvement store for under $100. You’ll be surprised how chic your cabinets will look with some stylish knobs and pulls!

3. Stage the Room to Look Functional

One of the best home staging tips is to make a room look functional. Start with one space and clean out the clutter. Then furnish it to display its functionality. Whether it’s a workshop in a garage or a book nook, set up the area so the potential buyer can imagine using it.

Make sure the walls are painted in a neutral tone. Then take one area and show how it will be used.

For a workshop area in a garage, place the tools on hooks. Arrange the saws and equipment in a neat fashion.

For a reading space, find a stylish, comfortable chair and an ottoman and a good reading light. Lay a couple of books on a side table. This helps people viewing your home to picture themselves reading one of their favorite books or magazines in this cute nook.

4. Neat Bookshelves Add a Nice Touch to Any Space

Displaying a bookshelf, whether it’s a built-in or against a wall, adds style to any room. The important thing is to arrange the items in the bookshelf neatly. Don’t make it too crowded with too many books.

In your bookshelf, you’ll want items in it other than books as separators. Place a pillar candle on top of a few books to add some warmth.

Or add a plant and a wicker basket. Don’t use photos or personal items because they’re not familiar to the potential buyer. Keep things neutral and not too wild so the buyer can think about what personal things of their own they can place in that space.

5. Add Touches of Greenery to Your Home

Plants add life and energy to any home. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cactus, a palm tree, or a perennial. Plants and flowers bring nature indoors. When choosing plants to punctate the home, be careful that they’re trimmed.

Placing them in an attractive pot, whether ceramic, stone, or wood, makes the perfect home staging tip.

Don’t put too many around the home. You don’t want them looking crowded. They’re meant to be accents to inspire.

6. Let There Be Light

One of the most beautiful home staging tips is to fill the room with light. There’s nothing more discouraging than a dark, dingy room.

First, make sure the window shades or curtains are open. Buyers love natural light shining through windows. So let the sunshine in!

If your home doesn’t get a lot of light, put in some artificial lighting, like a few bright LED lamps.

Also, with dark spaces, it helps to display light-colored furniture pieces to make the room appear lighter.

The Takeaway on Quick Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Property Faster

You don’t have to spend thousands on a home makeover to make it sell faster. With these handy home staging tips, you’re sure to increase your chance of a sale.

Looking to sell your home in Austin? Contact Lisa and Sean today!

Home Investor Myths and Facts

Do you believe these 5 myths about home investors? Let’s set the record straight about what it means to work with an experienced investor.

There is a lot of mystery and misinformation surrounding home investors, and some of it isn’t very flattering. This often makes people who should go to an investor think twice about doing so.

Often, people who believe the following myths will try to put themselves through the traditional home selling process when there are pressing reasons to avoid doing so. That’s what makes these myths so destructive.

Myth #1: Investors Only Buy Unappealing Houses

Home investors buy all kinds of houses.

We do buy houses in need of heavy renovation and repair when homeowners don’t have can’t afford said repairs. And yes, one of the ways we make money is indeed by “fixing and flipping” homes that are in bad shape.

But we buy absolutely gorgeous homes too! Some of the beautiful homes we buy come from people who inherited them but have no use for them–they already have homes of their own, and haven’t sunk any money into the home. They don’t want to pay property taxes or upkeep, and it makes sense to sell the home instead.

We’ve also bought homes from landlords who are sick of headaches that come from managing tenants, from divorcees who have been ordered by courts to sell their home as quickly as possible, and from people who are behind on their mortgage and who need to preserve their credit as much as possible in a short sale. We’ve bought gorgeous homes that have liens–and houses with liens that aren’t the fault of the seller.

Home investors are a good choice if you need to sell fast, if the house is in bad shape, or if you just don’t have the time and energy it takes to stage and show the home.

If you’ve got a gorgeous home and you’ve got all the time in the world then yes, even we’d probably tell you to sell the home the traditional way. But please understand that whatever the condition of the home, sellers we work with are usually very happy to take advantage of the solutions we can offer to them.

Myth #2: All Investors Lowball You

Reputable investors present fair cash offers for each home they buy.

However, the offer is indeed impacted by our position as investors.

We don’t want to buy the house for the same amount you’d sell it to a resident-owner, since we’re not going to live in the house. We’re going to sell it for profit.

And if we need to make repairs on the home, then we’ll factor that into the offer…just as a resident-owner would.

In general, most of our offers are somewhere between 70% to 80% of what a resident-owner would pay for the same home. Many of the people we work with find this fair considering they’ll be able to sell the home quickly, and walk away with a check…quickly. Again, many of our sellers aren’t really concerned with extracting the maximum value of the home because it would actually prove detrimental for them to do so.

Remember that in some cases the home is not likely to sell for the asking price on the traditional market–or at all. At least…not in as-is condition.

Reputable home investors stay on top of the market and factor market conditions into our offers. And in some cases, homeowners still make a profit on their homes, even though we aren’t paying “market value.”

Myth #3: Selling A House Takes A Long Time Unless Something Is Wrong

Banks take a really long time. When you see people closing in 30-60 days after making the offer it’s usually because they’re buying the home with a loan.

Cash changes everything. Even the rare resident-owner who can pay in cash could easily close on a home in 7-10 days. Anybody could close in 3 days if title companies didn’t need to do title searches to make sure you have the legal right to sell the home in the first place.

A fast sale means one thing: it’s a cash sale. That’s it. And there’s nothing shady about cash.

Myth #4: All Investors Are Scam Artists

You’ve heard horror stories, and we forgive you for being leery. There are certainly folks who put out “We buy homes for cash” signs and then find ways to scam you. Usually, they do this by asking for some sort of “processing” or “audit” fee. They’re out to collect these fees, and when they have them, they just disappear.

So. Anyone who asks you for cash is bad news. Real investors pay cash. Anyone who hasn’t been around for too long is also at least a little suspect.

But if you’re dealing with investors who have been around for a decade or more, and who have dozens of positive reviews, and who don’t ask you for money and who make legitimate, legal offers on homes…then you’re probably fine.

Myth #5: Investors Don’t Care About Sellers

Well…some don’t. As we tell people again and again, anyone can call themselves “investors.”

But…we do. We encourage people to call our offices and ask our advice whether they end up selling to us or not. We’re here to help homeowners with specific, legitimate problems. It’s our passion. The money is a nice side effect; it’s the thing that keeps in business so we can continue to offer our aid.

Again, if we think you should work with a traditional realtor, we’ll tell you so. We don’t want your home if this sale is not going to be a wonderful thing for you…we’re here to relieve burdens, not to create them.

Want to find out more?

Call us and see if you can benefit from selling to Lisa Buys Austin Houses. But remember, we’re not going to pressure you…because we do care.

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

Get a Quick Cash Offer    |    Call 512-598-5418

sell your home

7 Cleaning Tips to Help Sell Your Home in Austin, TX

Do you want to spruce up a distressed house? Do you need to sell your home fast without any stress or demands from the buyer?

If you want to sell your home then you need to present it in the best life possible. And for some homes, this means using a little elbow grease to clean them up and show them off.

With a little help, you too can sell your home fast. Read on to see what to do that will bring you in the best bang for your buck.

Where to Focus When You Need to Sell Your Home

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. When you don’t know where to start cleaning your home, the best place is the entryway.

Go stand in your doorway and look at your home through the eyes of the buyer. What do they see? Cobwebs in eves outside? Are shoes strewn all over the floor inside?

These are red flags that your home needs maintenance and is lacking storage. Get the entryway cleaned up first and you will be well on your way to selling your home fast.

Then focus on the high-traffic areas such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen. These are where most people will spend their time and will be looking for functionality and comfort.
Just as with remodeling, you will get the most bang for your buck in the bathrooms and kitchens. This is where a little elbow grease can go a long way. Get your cleaning tools listed below and scrub these rooms until they sparkle. You will see this extra work pay off dividends when interested buyers come to tour your home.

Outside, it might be worth your time to invest in a pressure washer. This will save time so you can clean it up of any dirt and grime or spiderwebs and mold.

Curb appeal is crucial to help you sell your home fast. Indoor and outdoor cleaning will take some time, but they are worth it to avoid scaring off potential buyers and requiring you to lower your price.

Get Rid of Mold

Mold will bring your sales price way down. So, be sure to put getting rid of mold at the top of your to-do list. As you clean your bathrooms be on the lookout for anything that might resemble problems for your buyers.

You probably have the right products to kill mold in your cupboards already. Vinegar works best on porous surfaces and bleach works best on hard surfaces. This is one step you can’t skip if you want to sell your home as fast as you can and get the most for it.

Buyers want to picture themselves relaxing in your tub, not scrubbing it. So do the work for them so they can envision buying and enjoying your home for years to come.

If you want to sell fast for cheap then don’t worry about this extra step. But if you want to get the equity you deserve out of your house, then roll up your sleeves and spruce up your home. It will be worth it when buyers are competing to put in an offer on your home.

Solution for Clutter

Your home buyer is likely looking to upgrade their space. They want more room for their stuff. So, they need to think that your home will provide them plenty of space to spread out and finally get away from their own clutter.

Use staging to show buyers how to use space in rooms they might not be able to picture on their own. Look around your home with the eye of a buyer, show off the spaces they can find convenient solutions for clutter around your home. To get the most money for your home, you will need to highlight the most usable spaces for your buyer.

So if you have too much clutter, you will need to invest in an off-site storage unit and move it out before you list your home.

Best House Cleaning Tools

You will be doing a lot of cleaning to get your home ready to sell. Make your job easier by finding the best tools for cleaning. As mentioned earlier, for outside cleaning a pressure washer is suggested to clean quickly and easily.

Inside, renting a carpet cleaner is also suggested so you can invite your potential buyers into a clean and tidy home. Dingy carpets mean your home buyer will see immediate projects, which is something they don’t want. Do this step for them so they are competing for your home instead of running away from it.

Don’t discount your baking soda. Nothing will drive away potential buyers faster than bad smells. Sprinkle some baking soda on your carpets before you vacuum them. Then be sure to put the rest of the box in the fridge to absorb the foul smells there also.

So, grab your broom and mop and get started cleaning your home so you can sell it right away.

DIY or Done for You (Which Is Right for Your Situation)

From the cobwebs on the windows to the mold in the shower, nothing will drive away interested buyers faster than a dirty house. Take the time to clean your home and you will be able to sell your home faster and for more money.

Clean and clutter-free homes sell fast. People want to picture move-in ready, they don’t want another project on their hands. If you want to sell fast without having to slash the price, then take the time now to clean up and clear out your home.

Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way of the best-laid plans. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to sell fast and can’t clean up as much as you like, there are still options. I buy houses in “as is” condition, and I pay cash.

If you need help getting out of your home, you can read more about what I do and how I’m different from most investors here. I am here to help you make the most out of a difficult situation, and I can’t wait to show you how I can help you today.

Facts About Inheritance You Might Not Know

If you have an inherited house, then as home investors we know there is a lot to deal with. Family members must cope with the loss of a loved one. And even in best case scenarios, dealing with the estate left behind only adds to the stress.

We encounter these issues on a daily basis. The good news is there are a few facts that can help you and your family be prepared.

Your Relatives Might Not Be As Organized As You Thought

First of all, your family may not be as organized as you thought. Most people are inclined to assume that their parents or siblings had a will, and that they simply have to probate it and go from there.

However, it is very common that the person has done little to nothing to prepare their estate for their passing. Luckily, we have ways to handle it such as heirships and affidavits, and other problem solving, but it can be very stressful to know that you’re starting from step 1.

Children and Marriage Surprises

Another very common issue with inheriting houses is children and marriages. People marry, divorce and remarry without considering how it affects their estate. Children, half children, adopted children and THEIR marriages further complicate the issue.

If there isn’t a will, then everyone is entitled to a piece of the pie. Negotiating becomes more difficult and convoluted. As home investors, we often facilitate communication and negotiations when there isn’t a will.

Options and More Options

Lastly, many people don’t realize just how many options exist when a house is inherited. It can be extremely stressful to suddenly inherit the financial burden of an inherited house, especially if there are no other assets or finances to compensate the family. However, there are resources that can help.

While finding a tenant can sometimes be an option to help pay for the holding costs, it can also add to the stress of the situation.  For example, if you fall behind on payments on the inherited house, there are multiple ways to alleviate the burden. If you fall behind on taxes, the county will usually allow you to arrange a payment plan to catch up on the tax payments. If you fall behind on the mortgage, you can go to the lender to negotiate a payment plan, or you can get information about HARP, a government organization whose aim is to help people stay in their house.

How Home Investors Can Help

One reason people sell inherited houses to home investors such as Lisa Buys Austin Houses is that the estate is in SUCH a mess that they don’t know where to start. Lisa Buys Austin Houses cleans up these messes at no cost to the seller – its our expertise, but it’s also what we love to do.

If you have questions about your inherited house, call us for free information or a no-obligation offer on the house.

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

Get a Quick Cash Offer    |    Call 512-598-5418

Divorce and Your Home: 4 Things You Should Know

Handling the marital house during divorce is one of the most difficult parts of dissolving a marriage. Is it any wonder so many people make major financial and legal mistakes when it’s time to make decisions?

There are, in fact, many decisions to make. Will one of you keep the home or will you sell it? As real estate problem solvers, Lisa Buys Austin Houses can help you evaluate your options.

Ability To Afford Your House During Divorce

You may not be able to afford to keep the house during divorce.

There are two reasons for this.

First, if you have a mortgage you might not be able to keep it. Unless the house is in only one spouse’s name to begin with, the bank approved the loan after taking the income of both spouses into account. The spouse who remains in the house will usually have to refinance the loan into his or her own name. Often, the remaining spouse is unable to qualify on the basis of a single income. You may be able to get around this by getting your ex to sign a quitclaim deed (see below), but if your ex is smart he or she won’t want to agree to that.

Even if you can qualify for the loan, you’ve got to decide whether or not you can carry a large mortgage on your own.

And if you don’t have a mortgage? Houses come with higher utility bills, higher upkeep bills, and a near-constant stream of maintenance expenses. Ask yourself if you can really handle it when the AC needs a $1500 repair or the water heater blows out. The home represents the largest percentage of most people’s budget, and divorce may be an ideal opportunity to downsize.

Be Aware Of Your Rights

You might not want to sign over your rights.

If you’re abandoning the home, you might not want your ex to stay there, even if they’re getting primary custody of the kids. As mentioned above, if your ex can’t afford to refinance but wants to keep paying the mortgage you may be asked to sign a “quitclaim deed.” If you do, you could be opening yourself up to a potential financial disaster, as Money Magazine reports.

A quitclaim deed is a legal way to transfer interest of real property. Signing this deed means the person is forfeiting their claim and right to the property. Signing this deed in divorce gives the other party full rights to the home, but your name still remains on the mortgage. You will still be held accountable for any missed mortgage payments and your credit score will be affected.

Remember, the deed and mortgage are two different things, and the quitclaim deed cannot remove your name or responsibility from the mortgage.

Another important thing to know about quitclaim deeds is that if you sign one, you are forfeiting the right to sell and profit from your home sale. For example, say you sign a quitclaim deed because your ex wants to pay the mortgage, but cannot afford to refinance. Now that your name is off the deed of the home, your ex can sell or refinance the house any time and will not owe you anything.

Should You Sell The House?

It may be best to move past the emotions invested into the home and sell it.

Indeed, this is often the scenario that the judge will insist upon. Your mortgage gets paid off. If anything remains you and your spouse will generally split the proceeds. Everyone loses the home, but everyone walks off into a new life with a fresh, clean start.

Usually this is the smartest and cleanest way to handle your home.

Consider Any Court Deadlines

Sometimes, judges give you a deadline.

When a judge forces the sale of the marital home, they may only give you 30 days to sell.

Given current averages in terms of how long a home remains on the market this would not be a very generous amount of time either in Austin, where home sales can take at least 30 to 45 days on average. This means selling through an MLS listing and a real estate agent may not be your best bet, especially if your home has liens or needs repairs.

Selling Options For House During Divorce

Instead, selling as-is to a real estate investor may be your best bet. Lisa Buys Austin Houses, and other buyers like us, buy homes quickly. We issue offers in just 24 hours, and can buy the home even if it has issues. We help divorcing spouses resolve their property matters quickly. This way, they quickly comply with court orders and get on with their lives.

Are you getting a divorce?

Do you have questions about how Lisa Buys Austin Houses can help?

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

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Coping with the Home Selling Process

At Lisa Buys Austin Houses, we have a lot of clients who are dealing with major changes and we realize that the decision to sell a house can be emotional. We have a lot of content about moving, so today we wanted to discuss a little bit about what the process is like emotionally. We visited Ava Profota with the Inner Loop Counseling Group in Houston, and she gave us some tips regarding how to deal with the emotional side of moving and making major life changes.

A lot of people are dealing with grief without realizing it, and most people also don’t realize that grief can arise from both positive and negative life changes, because you are usually leaving something behind or ending a chapter of your life. Many of Ava’s clients felt things like sleeplessness, and they had just lost their best friend.

Home buyers often find buying a new house exciting and fun, but when the excitement is over they may feel a dip in their mood. Here are some tips on how to deal with these feelings:

# 1 Prepare yourself for a stress-free move. Start Now!

One thing you can do to ease your transition is to prepare yourself for a stress-free move in the first place. Ava suggested numbering each room in the new house, and then numbering packed boxes to correspond with the new rooms. This way, there won’t be any confusion on where your items are. It will be much easier to find the things you need!

# 2 Remember that you made the right decision.

When the excitement wears off, you may question your decision to move. Remember how much thought you put into your decision before making a change and give yourself some credit. Selling a house, buying a house and moving did not happen overnight. You probably talked to friends and professionals along the way who helped you, and hopefully this reinforces your confidence in your decision.

# 3 Talk to someone else. They Will Help!

Talking to someone else who has moved recently (but not as recently as you!) can give you a fresh perspective on the situation. They will not only be able to relate to you, but they will also be able to give you tips on how they got through the stress of moving.

# 4 Get some extra sleep. It’s Science!

This may sound silly, but when negative emotions are up, positive emotions are down – this is because you are experiencing a dip in dopamine. An extra hour of sleep a night provides more serotonin and counteracts the effects of the lower dopamine levels. Additionally, getting out in the sunlight and getting a little more exercise will all help elevate your mood (it’s science, ya’ll).

Thanks Ava for bringing this topic to us! It’s definitely not something many people think about, but it is very common. You can find out more about Ava’s services at You can also call us to find out more about how to sell your house hassle free!

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

Get a Quick Cash Offer    |    Call 512-598-5418

Can a House Be Sold With Back Taxes Due?

Can I Sell My House with Back Taxes? The short answer is yes…but the back taxes have to be paid.

Local governments charge property taxes to pay for services in your neighborhood such as emergency personnel and schools. The penalties for not paying your property taxes range from collecting interest to losing your home.

While the IRS and city governments try as often as possible to NOT possess houses that accumulate back taxes (they don’t like the negative publicity), they also don’t allow unpaid taxes to accumulate above a certain point. The higher the amount owed, the more difficult it becomes to collect (or on the other hand, to pay).

There are some companies that actually pay/loan the back taxes for home-owners in certain situations, but the interest rates are high (then again, so are the interest rates if you are unable to pay taxes on time).


There are several potential consequences when property taxes aren’t paid. First of all, the local government will begin adding interest to what you owe The amount varies by local government. You might have penalties charged once each month, adding to your balance, or the collector may calculate interest daily.

The tax collector may also file a property tax lien for the amount of taxes owed. The lien gives the tax collector interest in your property, and will prevent you from getting a mortgage or selling the property until you satisfy it. Liens of any type on a property’s title are known as “clouds” or encumbrances.

Once the tax collector has a property tax lien against your property, it can move forward with other collection methods, such as foreclosure. Unpaid tax liens may show up as unpaid debt on your credit history.

Foreclosure policies for property taxes vary by area. Some local governments put properties with owed taxes up for auction, with the successful bidder becoming the new owner of your property. Other local governments sell tax liens as certificates to private investors. A third party who buys your tax lien can foreclose on it using the foreclosure procedure found in the local laws. A third possibility is the local government taking ownership of your home and selling it later to recoup owed taxes. Unpaid tax liens may show up as unpaid debt on your credit history.


If your inability to pay the property taxes is short term and temporary, you might consider contacting the tax office and negotiating a repayment plan. Keep in mind that the missed payments accumulate interest. If you live in an area with high property taxes, the amount owed can accumulate very quickly.

Another option, believe it or not, is to simply walk away from the property. Property taxes attach to the property, not the current owner. Remember that this option will likely reflect poorly on your credit for years to come. Liens are a matter of public record. Credit bureaus regularly check public records for things like liens and add them to peoples’ credit histories where applicable.

A better option would be to sell the house before the amount owed puts the house at risk of foreclosure. The property taxes owed come out of the sale price for the house, meaning that no additional money will be taken out-of-pocket for the seller. If you are falling behind on your taxes and are unable to repay your back taxes, selling your house is the best option.

Lisa Buys Austin Houses works directly with title companies to resolve liens and taxes at no cost to you.  If you are falling behind on payments, call us for a no-obligation cash offer or simply to ask questions.

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

Get a Quick Cash Offer    |    Call 512-598-5418

Mortgage Forbearance Versus Deferment

Mortgage relief options such as mortgage forbearance and mortgage deferment are becoming readily available to those in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what do these terms really mean?

Mortgage deferment and mortgage forbearance are not the same, although we are starting to see them being erroneously used interchangeably.

Both mortgage deferment and mortgage forbearance plans allow borrowers to temporarily stop making their monthly payments, but they differ in what happens next.

Mortgage Forbearance

What we are seeing from most of the lenders right now are loan forbearance options. Many borrowers haven’t become past due on their mortgage yet, but, as the pandemic plays out, are rushing to delay these large payments until jobs and the economy stabilizes.

At the end of a forbearance period, the amount of payments missed are due in one lump sum. So, if your lender approved you for a 90 day forbearance plan, those payments are due at the end of the 90 days. Example: your mortgage payment each month is $2,000. At the end of 90 days, $6,000 of deferred payments would be due AS WELL AS your next $2,000 regular payment. That is a lot to have to come up in one lump sum.

Mortgage Deferment

On the other hand, loan deferment allows borrowers to repay the money over time or add it to the end of their loan period. This is typically seen in the form of loan modifications.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that nothing is free.

Lenders may choose to work with borrowers to structure a payment plan to make the repayment process more tolerable for the borrower.

You’re not getting free mortgage payments, they will have to be repaid. Interest will continue to accrue. What we don’t want to see is millions of Americans not able to repay the forbearance payments and go into real foreclosure after the pandemic settles.

Before signing up for a forbearance, deferment or loan modification plan, be sure to talk to your lender about the implications and the expectations of what you’re signing up for.


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