Sellers’ FAQs

Where do I start?

For many people, the first step they take when selling a home is to contact a REALTOR®. You also may want to do some informal research looking at ads in the paper and on the Internet to get a general idea for asking prices of homes like yours.

How do I find a REALTOR®?

Recommendations from friends and acquaintances can be very helpful. You can also look in the Texas Association of REALTORS® “Find a REALTOR®” search or contact your local board of REALTORS® for a directory of their members. Remember, not all real estate agents and brokers are REALTORS®. Find out the difference.

How should I choose a REALTOR®?

You may want to contact several REALTORS® before deciding on one to help you. Make sure you are comfortable dealing with that person—you will be working with him or her for quite some time. Some REALTORS® specialize in certain areas of real estate, and many have completed advanced educational requirements in those areas. You may be interested in working with a REALTOR® who has achieved a designation such as Accredited Buyer Representative, Certified Residential Specialist, or Graduate, REALTOR® Institute. Read about the various REALTOR® designations.

Do I have to use a REALTOR®?

No. If you sell your home by yourself, though, you will work hard for the money you hope to save. (And if you make a few bad decisions or mistakes, you may actually end up losing more money than you thought you would save.) You must determine a price that will maximize profits without overpricing the home, market your house, schedule and be available to show your home to prospective buyers, handle all negotiating, and coordinate the myriad details involved in seeing the transaction through to a successful closing. In a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®, 28% of people who sold their homes themselves said they would hire a real estate professional in the future, while 40% responded that they were not sure of their plans.

How do I figure out my asking price?

What is my house worth?

In short, it’s worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. The buyer must also be able to secure financing to proceed with the purchase at that price. Factors that will influence the price of your home include its size and condition, location, and supply and demand (whether it’s a “buyer’s” or “seller’s” market in your area).
Can I get an estimate on the Internet of what my house will sell for?
There are many Web sites that promise to tell you what your house is worth. The information may not be reliable, though. It’s unlikely that the data used to determine your home’s value is as accurate, relevant, or as up-to-date as it should be to give you an accurate assessment of your home’s value.

How do I find out what my house is worth?

A REALTOR® can prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for you. A CMA takes information from recent home sales that are similar to your home and in the same area. You could also get a professional appraisal, which is an opinion of value based on the appraiser’s detailed look at the specs and features of your home and compared to other recent home sales.

Should I price my home higher than its value to leave room for negotiating?

You are free to set whatever price you want for your home. But many experts believe that homes priced much higher than comparable homes ultimately sell for less than if they had been priced fairly to begin with. The reason? A home that is priced too high may sit on the market for a long time with no offers. The seller finally comes down in price to generate some activity. But buyers wonder why the house has taken so long to sell, so they make offers on the home that are lower than even the now-discounted price. By contrast, a home priced fairly may generate interest from several buyers as soon as it hits the market (especially in a seller’s market), and the buyers may make higher offers in order to try to make sure their offer is the one that is accepted.

How can I find out how much money I will make on the sale of my home?

Your REALTOR® can provide an estimate of the costs associated with selling your home. The costs may vary depending on the selling price, so you might want to ask your REALTOR® to figure out the costs for two or three possible selling prices.

How will I market my house?

What will my REALTOR® do to market my house?

REALTORS® have many tools at their disposal to get the word out that your house is for sale. Among the things they may do for you are:

  • Enter your house in the multiple listing service (MLS)
  • Put a for sale sign in your yard
  • Advertise your home in the real estate section of the newspaper
  • Advertise your home on the Internet
  • Tell other agents and brokers about your home
  • Send postcards or newsletters (with a listing of your home) to prospective buyers
  • Hold an open house

What can I do to help market my house?

Word-of-mouth advertising can be very powerful. Tell everyone you know that you are selling your house. Even if the people you tell are not in the market, someone they know might be.Also, consider all the marketing efforts your REALTOR® presents to you. You might have reservations about some of them at first, but further discussion may reveal you would be losing an important tool. For instance, some people object to placing a for sale sign in their yard.

However, yard signs are one of the most frequent ways buyers find out about a home for sale.

Are there quick, inexpensive ways to make my home more attractive?

Yes, but before you dive into those, make sure your house is in good condition. If it needs major maintenance, you should either take care of it before putting your house on the market or be prepared to make concessions in price.
Quick and inexpensive means to making your house more attractive include

  • Neat and healthy landscaping (flowers add a nice touch
  • Fresh paint
  • Uncluttered appearance, inside and out. You might even put some furniture and other belongings in storage
  • You should also keep your house neat and clean at all times.

Can I be in my house when prospective buyers look at it?

It’s generally not a good idea. Buyers want to be able to discuss your house freely among themselves and with their REALTOR®, and they may not feel comfortable doing so if you are present. If you must be in the house during a showing, try to stay away from the buyers unless they or their agent approach you with a question.