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how to buy a pre-foreclosed home

A Step by Step Guide on How to Buy a Pre-Foreclosed Home

Wondering how to buy a pre-foreclosed home? It’s a smart choice in the current Austin housing market.

As people struggle to pay their mortgages due to a job or income loss due to the pandemic and Texas home prices rising 6.5% in cities the market provides an opportunity for people looking to buy a new home. 

Buying a pre-foreclosure home allows the seller to avoid foreclosure and cut their losses. Pre-foreclosures enable homeowners to avoid going deeper into debt and damaging their credit when a home’s foreclosed.

Have you been thinking about purchasing a pre-foreclosure? Want to know about how to go about doing so? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to buy a pre-foreclosed home. 

Benefits of Buying a Pre-Foreclosure

When a home enters pre-foreclosure, the homeowner still has an opportunity to pay the bank by selling the home to pay off the loan balance. This helps them avoid having a foreclosure on their credit, which is more damaging than a pre-foreclosure.

It benefits buyers because they get the home at a lower cost than the market value. And it keeps the house from going on the market for sale. It can be a win-win for all: the seller, buyer, and the bank.

In a pre-foreclosure, the seller can still avoid damaging their credit with a red mark on their credit score for seven years. And they can still leave with equity in the property.

Due to the pandemic, people are looking for low-cost deals, and these opportunities are beginning to come up in the housing market.

How Homes Enter Pre-Foreclosure

Homes can enter pre-foreclosure for a variety of reasons and circumstances. One as we touched on is a job loss or a loss of financial income due to unforeseen circumstances. 

Other reasons include the death of the property owner, a couple getting a divorce, or another unfortunate situation that causes someone to fall behind on mortgage payments.

These circumstances can turn people’s lives inside out. It’s unfortunate but a pre-foreclosure can help prevent it from getting worse.

The Timeline for Entering Into Foreclosure

When a homeowner doesn’t pay their mortgage for months, they can go into pre-foreclosure when an agreement to pay can’t be made. At this time, lenders start foreclosure procedures.

The lender sends out a public notice called a “notice of default.” This notice becomes public record. That’s when investors and realtors learn when homes enter pre-foreclosure.

The timeline of starting pre-foreclosure used to vary from bank to bank. But recent legislation permits homeowners to have 120 days to go into foreclosure.

This is known as a 120-day loss mitigation period. This means a lender has to wait until a property owner is 120 days past due before they can begin pre-foreclosure proceedings.

While the bank tries to communicate with homeowners to make a resolution, this isn’t always possible. Depending on the state you live in determines when the home goes up for public auction. New York and New Jersey hold the longest periods.

How to Find a Pre-Foreclosed Home

There are different ways to find pre-foreclosures. They’re usually not advertised but you can find information once the property receives a notice of default.

One place you can look is at your county recorder’s office. But if you want to avoid the trek downtown or wherever your county clerk is located, you can find pre-foreclosure properties online.

Companies sell lists of foreclosures that can be purchased with a subscription fee. These companies do the research for you in exchange for a price.

They travel to the offices and collect the data. Then sell it to people and businesses who want easy access to the information online.

Who Buys Pre-Foreclosures?

Purchasing pre-foreclosures is a big market for investors. They pay cash for the home, fix it up, and resell it for a good profit. But they’re actually available for anyone to purchase who has the cash or the funding.

But know this: often these properties are beaten, battered, and neglected. This can occur when a homeowner hasn’t had the money to maintain their home in proper condition. 

Another reason this occurs is when there’s a disgruntled homeowner involved. They’ve lost their home after making a downpayment and paying their mortgage for years.

How to Buy a Pre-Foreclosure Home

You can try mailing a homeowner before a property goes up for auction but it’s best to speak to an investor or realtor. You don’t know the state of mind of the property owner, so it’s best not to go knocking on their door unannounced.

On the other hand, if the homeowner is agreeable after you send a letter, they may allow you to walk through the home to see what needs to be done.

The home may need a lot of repairs. If you go this route, try to be compassionate and tactful. They’re experiencing a disheartening situation.

What to Pay for a Pre-Foreclosed Home

People often have this question: What offer should I make? It’s a good rule of thumb to shoot somewhere in the middle when buying a pre-foreclosure.

For example, if the homeowner owes $150,000 to the bank, but the home’s value is $200,000, you may want to offer $175,000. Make sure to consider the cost of fixing the home if it’s been neglected.

Cash or Financing: What’s Best?

While you can apply for a mortgage, the home is more likely to sell with someone with a cash offer. While there are some exceptions, cash is a more favorable option when it comes to pre-foreclosures.

Thinking of waiting until the home goes to auction? Then you’ll definitely need cash, and you may not get to view the inside of the property which can impose a high risk that comes with many surprises.

How to Buy a Pre-Foreclosed Home: Everything You Need to Know

In our step-to-step guide, you’ve learned the details of how to buy a pre-foreclosed home. Now you need to decide if buying one is right for you.

Looking to buy or sell a pre-foreclosed home in the beautiful, happening city of Austin, Texas? Contact us today to get the best offer.

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. 

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

using social media

7 Tips for Using Social Media to Sell Your House Fast

Almost one million homes solid in July of 2020, and if you’ve been looking to sell your home, now is as good a time as any. However, it can be a challenge to get your home on the market without the right tools at your disposal.

Using social media to boost awareness of your property and heighten interest is smart, convenient, and entirely free. Consequently, many homeowners are turning to popular social media platforms to get the word out about their for-sale property.

Let’s explore some of the best ways you can use social media to your advantage while selling a home.

Using Social Media to Sell Your House

Social media is pervasive, and there’s a good chance that you already participate in one of the more massive platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are a few of the top dogs, though YouTube and Pinterest are also popular.

However, having and maintaining a personal social media account is different than creating a home-selling account. If you’ve been considering posting information about your for-sale property via your personal accounts, you may want to reconsider.

Creating and using a separate account purely for the purpose of selling your home helps to keep things organized and focused. A potential buyer may scroll through your media timeline and discover something less-than-professional.

The best way to keep buyers interested is to maintain a professional attitude and appearance throughout the selling process. To use social media to sell your home quickly, you could:

  1. Use Multiple Platforms
  2. Post Consistently
  3. Don’t Spam
  4. Be Tactful
  5. Do Your Research
  6. Utilize Relationships
  7. Show-Off Renovations

By taking all of these steps and maintaining a positive attitude, you’re more likely to sell your home. Of course, patience is key, especially if you’re unwilling to negotiate on the final sales price of your home. 

Still, with the right information and tools, you’ll be better equipped to handle to challenges of social media and home-selling. Let’s get started.

1. Use Multiple Platforms

Using only one social media platform to advertise your property is the modern equivalent of putting all of your eggs into one basket. If you’re not diversifying your marketing method, you’re losing out on tons of potential buyers.

2. Post Consistently

When you’ve gotten your accounts set-up and raring to go (and you’ve figured out the best time to sell), you’ll want to begin posting. However, this is not a one-and-done deal. Consistency is key to finding success with social media.

You may want to line-up a set of unique posts for each of your social media accounts. If you’d like, you could make these identical to one another. Still, most platforms differ enough to where distinct posts are necessary.

3. Don’t Spam

While it’s crucial to post consistently, it’s just as vital to resist the urge to over-post. When you’re posting updates on your home several times per day, you’re actually flooding your accounts with self-imposed spam. 

No one wants to wade through endless, nearly-identical images or filter-heavy edits of previous posts. Updating your accounts two to three times per week is the ideal pace for more sellers. Anything more might be a tad overwhelming.

4. Be Tactful

The internet can be a cruel place full of unhappy, loathsome commenters. In the event that you receive a harsh or unkind message after posting (it seems strange, but it does happen), try to remain professional and tactful. Essentially, no cursing!

5. Do Your Research

There are several do’s and don’ts when it comes to social media, and quite a few of them differ from platform to platform. If you’re working with a platform that you’re not entirely comfortable with or knowledgable about, it’s ok to seek help.

Doing your research into common social media marketing methods might be the best decision you make during this process. Otherwise, you may commit a social faux pas that lingers for years to come. Remember, the internet never forgets.

6. Utilize Relationships

After creating and populating your professional home-selling social media accounts, share them with friends, family members, and coworkers. While none of your current pool of contacts may be in the market for a home, one of their friends might be.

Asking loved ones to share your account information within their social circle is only bound to increase immediate awareness. If you’re able to get a viral share loop going, you may begin to receive thousands of views.

7. Show-Off Renovations

If you’ve been renovating or upgrading your home in preparation for selling it, don’t be shy about sharing those renovations with potential buyers. Posting photos and videos of your spaces before and after work is complete can build interest.

Additionally, potential homeowners may be intrigued and comforted by the hard work and dedication put into bettering the property. A recently renovated home is also likely to experience an increase in value, which may appeal to current owners.

But there are a few things to keep in mind when completing renovations. Avoiding common mistakes, like diving in without a budget, is crucial to experiencing the most beneficial and satisfying results of a renovation.

Talking to Buyers Has Never Been Easier

Using social media to advertise and market your for-sale property is a straightforward and semi-casual solution to traditional listing methods. By using multiple platforms, posting consistently, and being tactful, you could attract buyers.

Of course, it’s also essential to avoid over-posting, and doing your market research beforehand could be an immense help. Speaking with friends, family members, and coworkers might also help spread the word.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to record renovations and show them off on social media. Prospective home buyers typically enjoy seeing the depth of care current sellers are putting into their property.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about selling your home quickly and profitably, then learn more about us now!

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. 

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

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. 

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

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. 

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

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. 

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

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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house renovation mistakes

8 Common House Renovations Mistakes to Avoid for Sellers

Only 7% of buyers purchase a home directly from the owner. That does not mean you are off the hook when it comes to selling your home. There are things you need to ensure don’t happen before putting your home on the market. Read on to learn about eight common house renovation mistakes to avoid as a seller.

1. DIY Gone Wrong

One of the newer house renovation mistakes is trying to do a DIY project and messing it up tremendously. It has become more common because of all of the home improvement shows out there. It may be beneficial to your home renovation budget, but you need to know your limits.

It’s easy to overestimate your ability to complete a project on your own. It is also hard to complete it on time.

If you mess up a DIY project, you risk wasting hours of your time and may have to spend more money getting it fixed. Even worse, you may create an unfixable problem. Signs of damage from your project gone wrong is not beneficial when you try to sell your home.

That does not mean you can’t work on the project at all. You should do the easier things like painting, removing wallpaper, changing out light fixtures, etc. Once you finish those items you can hire a professional for the complex work that involves structure, electrical, or plumbing.

2. Not Creating a Budget

Creating a budget can be one of the best house renovation tools you use. Your budget should include everything you need to renovate plus any unexpected costs.

Making your home look good as new for resale is impossible without a great budget. Unforeseen circumstances can occur when you put your house on the market. It could be things like leaks, mold, termite damage, outdated wiring, and more.

If your home is older, it is going to be costlier to fix up. When doing renovations, you have to expect you will come across hidden problems.

Even professionals won’t be able to see certain issues coming. That is why it is so important to keep your budget flexible. Keeping your project on track cannot be done without a proper budget.

3. Not Hiring a Designer

Not hiring a designer can be one of the most crucial house renovation mistakes. Designers can benefit indoor and outdoor renovations. That means they can even help increase curb appeal.

Renovations can leave your home looking completely different. Your furniture and items may not fit like they used to. If you can’t get it just right, hire a designer.

During the selling process, an open house that was designed by a professional will make the value go up. It can attract more buyers who will have to compete to buy your home.

Designers do more than placing furniture in the correct area. They create a space that is attractive to people living there.

They can also help downplay the issues your home may have. Any unattractive areas can be strategically masked.

4. Hiring Unprofessional Contractors

A contractor can make or break the outcome of your home renovations. You should only be considering those who are licensed and have good reviews.

You can start by asking for recommendations from people in your area. You can also ask the company for their references and call those clients yourself. They will be able to tell you how well the job got done, and if the schedule and budget were correct.

Picking a contractor based on price will cause you problems in the end. Maybe you saved money, but the job was completed incorrectly because the contractor lacked experience and attentiveness. Now you have to spend even more money to have your home ready to sell.

5. Not Having Details

You need to know the details of the job you want done. This process relies on your just as much as it does the professional. That goes for hiring designers and contractors.

The professionals you hire need to receive a detailed project specification list. This way, you can accurately compare price.

Not having this list is one of the house renovation mistakes you don’t want to make. The specifications should include a project summary, designer plans, schedule of dates, trade details, and any special parameters.

6. Working Without a Contract

When you choose a contractor, you need to have a written contract that includes details of the project. It should be signed by you and the contractor.

The agreement will list the work, materials, cleanup, price, and schedule. You also need to ensure it includes what will be done first.

For example, you don’t want new floors put in before the walls get repainted because you risk ruining the floors. That could be a disaster when you try to sell your home.

Be sure to update the contract if anything changes. A correct and up to date contract will keep the contractor on track.

7. Making Compromises

Sometimes compromises are a good thing. That is not the case when you are dealing with home renovations.

You don’t want to make compromises for things like time and your ultimate vision. You especially need to be on schedule if you are remodeling to sell your home after you have already moved.

People have a habit of telling you their opinions about color or layout. If you don’t like their ideas, you don’t have to go with them. Don’t feel pressured into using cheap materials. After all, you will be living with the results, not them.

8. Neglecting Landscaping

Curb appeal is just as important as the inside of the home. It’s the first thing you see before actually going inside. Landscaping sets the tone for the inside of the home.

If you plan on selling your home, you need to have a budget for landscaping. Just sprucing it up a little can have a big effect on how people look at it.

House Renovation Mistakes Explained

Now that the common house renovation mistakes you can work to avoid them. As a seller, you want your home to look the best that it can. There are a lot of problems that could occur, so always be ready for them.

If you are ready to sell your home, get an offer from us today.

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. 

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