for Austin sellers

From commissions to moving day and everything in between.  We've got answers to your biggest questions.  

Buyers, we've got you covered too

Packing.  Showings.  Offers.  Inspections.  

You're juggling a lot when selling your home. 

We make it simple.  

Below you'll find our answers to the most frequently asked questions about selling your Austin home.  If you have more questions, please reach out.      

How much does it cost to use a Realtor to sell my house? 

Wouldn't I be better off with one of those instant offer programs?

In Texas, the homeseller usually -- but not always -- agrees to pay the commission of the agent that is listing their home for sale as well as the commission of the agent that is representing the buyer purchasing the home.  Most Realtors are not paid by the hour or appointment and do not receive any money unless they sell a home.  This means that both buyer and seller agents are not paid until the deal is closed. Payments to the real estate agents on both sides are typically paid out of the proceeds of the sale.  The commission often amounts to roughly 3% for each agent, although the amount of commission is negotiable with both the agent representing you and the agent representing the buyer as a term of the purchase contract.   

Of course, as a Realtor we think there's immense value in using an experienced professional to sell your house.  Not only do we have a deep understanding and insight into the market forged from years of experience , but we also have a fiduciary duty to you -- and that means we work with YOUR best interest in mind.  We guide you through the process, we answer all of your questions in real time, advise you on adjustments you can make to maximize your profit, and we fight to get you the best deal.  We don't win unless YOU win.  Of course, not all Realtors are created equal.  Read reviews and take your time to find someone that is the right fit for you.         

The alleged simplicity of instant offer programs certainly has its appeal.  But doing so can come with trade-offs.  Low ball offers, little human contact, unexpected fees, and hidden online reviews are just some of the complaints you'll discover if you do some online research.  In fact, many of these companies turn around and re-sell your home for more than they paid you for it.  Wouldn't you rather make as much as you can on your sale than have some aggregator capitalize on your investment?  If you are considering the possibility of working with a flat-fee platform or i-buyer company, educate yourself about the potential issues before you take the plunge.

How much needs to be done to my house before putting it on the market?  

Some sellers think their home has to be perfect before it can go on the market, and the idea getting it ready for sale can deter sellers from actually putting their home on the market at all.  While it's true that certain updates can increase your sales price and shorten the amount of time it takes for your home to sell, most of the time there is less work that needs to be done than the homeowner believes. 

Before you decide not to sell, seek advice from a Realtor to see how much work is truly needed.  An experienced Realtor can also help you figure out which updates will yield the highest return on your investment, so it's good to get an expert opinion before you spend money, time, and effort to upgrade your home.  Our Concierge program can also help you cover the upfront cost of upgrades -- like painting, landscaping, or even staging -- so that you don't have to come out of pocket to get the most out of the sale of your home.

How much is my house worth?  Can I figure out my home's value from an Internet website?

The accurate value of your home depends on many things such as the square footage, neighborhood/area, and many other attributes.  In order to tell you what your house will likely sell for, we look at comparable sales.  These "comps" as we call them are homes that have sold in your area that have similar attributes to your home.  Yes, your neighbor's home may have sold for X, but that doesn't necessarily mean your home will sell for X...  We conduct a detailed analysis and offer anyone a free, custom report that includes accurate and up-to-date information to determine your home's value. If you are looking to see your home's current value click here.

If you have purchased a home, sold a home, or just hunted for homes, you have most likely used third-party real estate search engines to search for homes. These sites provide estimated values of homes for nearly every home in the United States. However, these are not always accurate home values for your local market. All estimates are based on calculations and formulas that do not necessarily provide accurate information.  In fact, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff Rascoff sold his Seattle home for 40 percent less than the Zestimate of $1.75 million.  

These online guesstimates can be deceiving and lead to both upset buyers and sellers. You can receive a more accurate value of your home by speaking with a top Realtor in your local area, not a third party real estate website. If you are looking to see an accurate and up-to-date evaluation of your home's current value prepared by a human (us!) instead of a robot click here.

What's the difference between assessed, appraised, and market value?

We get asked all the time about the different values assigned to a property, and why they often seem to be so substantially far apart! Here’s a quick rundown of the various ways of valuing a home:

MARKET VALUE:  Simply put, this is what a buyer is willing to pay for a property. A real estate professional will use their knowledge of the market as well as a comparable market analysis of recent sales of similar properties to give a range of value for a specific property; however, there is both an art and a science to this process so each real estate professional may have a different opinion of value.

APPRAISED VALUE:  An appraisal takes place if there is financing being obtained on a home (or some other situation arises, such as for estate/probate purposes). Basically, a lender wants to be sure that the home is worth what the buyer is paying (and what they are lending), as they will be holding a mortgage on the home as collateral for their loan. Appraisers traditionally will create a radius around a property and select 5-6 comparable properties that have sold, and add or subtract value based on the finishes, overall condition, and basic specs of a property. If the appraisal is for financing purposes, it is important that the property appraises.  If it does not, the lender may deny the loan.

ASSESSED TAX VALUE: This is an assessment done for tax purposes. The county tax assessor’s office places a value on each property in the municipality each year in order to ascertain what the tax on each property should be. Often the county tax value does not align with the market value of the home.  This is because there are no laws in Texas that require the disclosure of what homes trade for.  As a result, the taxing entity is often relying on incomplete information to calculate assessed tax value.

How long will it take to sell my home?

The national average for selling your home is currently 100 days. However, this varies drastically depending on the area, seasonality, economic conditions, and the price of your home. 

It is important to price your home competitively and make sure your home is seen by as many people as possible. The more exposure your home receives, the faster the offers will come in. We offer strategic marketing plans for our sellers to get their home as much exposure as possible through professional photography, Facebook marketing, email marketing, and more.  You can find the current market statistics on our Instagram account or learn more about our marketing plan here.

 How is the real estate market right now?

We receive a lot of questions in regards to the current status of the real estate market. There are many indicators that come into play:

  • inventory of available homes on the market,
  • average number of days a home spends on the market,
  • average sales price, 
  • list price to sales price ratio,
  • economic conditions, including interest rates, and 
  • seasonality.  

If you would like an up-to-date analysis of our local market, let's schedule a time to talk.  You can also check the latest market stats that we post on our Instagram account.  

Does staging my home really make a difference?

Yes!  Homes that are staged sell roughly 88% faster than those that are not staged. On top of that, homes that are staged sell for 20% more. Staging can make a huge difference because it offers the buyer an opportunity to envision themselves living in your home.  We could go on and on, but see for yourself the difference staging makes.  

We are such big believers in staging that we even provide a free staging consultation to all of our seller.  And, we offer a Concierge program that will cover the upfront cost of staging your home for sale and allow you to pay the cost back out of your proceeds at closing.  It's a game changer.

What is a bidding war?

Current market conditions are simply a function of supply and demand.  When there is a high demand for homes but a low inventory of homes on the market, it is considered a seller's market.  In a seller's market it is common to have multiple buyers bidding on the same one property, which creates “the auction effect” – or a bidding war -- where they compete against each other to purchase the home.  A bidding war can also occur when a seller prices their home below market value, making it extremely attractive to potential buyers.  In either case, a bidding war often drives up the purchase price of the home.  

There are no rules on how multiple offer situations are handled.  Some real estate agents negotiate the first offer that comes in, where others ask for the highest and best offer by a certain date.  We’ve developed our own thoughtful process when working with sellers where we inform all potential buyers that the house is now in a multiple offer situation.  We tell all buyers our preferred terms and invite them to bring their “highest and best” offer by a particular date. This allows us to be transparent with all parties, while also allowing the potential buyers to improve their position before the seller makes a final decision.  Make sure your real estate agent has a pre-determined plan to address multiple offers.

How does the option period work?

After the real estate contract to purchase your home is executed (meaning all of the terms are agreed upon and all parties have signed the contract), an “option period” typically begins.  The option period is a span of time in which the buyer has an unrestricted right to terminate the contract for any reason so long as proper and timely notice is provided to the seller.   

This is the buyer's opportunity to conduct any due diligence necessary before moving forward with the home purchase.  During this period -- often 7 to 10 days -- the buyer commonly has the home inspected to determine if there are any underlying issues (roofing, plumbing, electric, etc.) that could affect the price of the home.  Based on what is discovered during the inspection, the buyer may ask the seller to make repairs or attempt to renegotiate the sales price of the home.   

Because the seller takes a risk by changing the status of his or her home to “pending” or “under contract,” the buyer often compensates the seller by paying for the “option” to terminate the contract.  This is a way of showing good faith to the seller.  The cost and length of the option period may vary, as it is one of the key negotiable terms of the real estate contract.  

Here in Austin the option fee usually ranges from $100.00 up to $5,000 depending on the cost of the home being purchased or strategic negotiating reasons.  Because it serves as a type of deposit to secure the contract with the seller, the option fee is not refundable if the buyer chooses to terminate the contract during the option period.  If, however, the buyer proceeds with the purchase, the option fee is applied toward the final sales price of the home.

What is the best way to respond to low ball offers?

While they can feel insulting, low ball offers are a common occurrence in real estate.  It's a way for the buyer to test the market (and the seller).

  It may seem far fetched, but low ball offers sometimes turn into deals.  Because of that we advise sellers to try and detach themselves emotionally and view the sale of their home as a business decision.   

We have several techniques we recommend depending on how long the home has been on the market, as well as the seller's goals.  We may simply invite the other side to improve their offer or we may counter the offer.  Either way we typically keep the dialog open with the goal of seeing it improve.  

What buyers would tell sellers if they could

Time and time again we hear the same complaints from buyers as they are searching for an Austin home of their own.  Before that For Sale sign goes up in your yard, consider this unfiltered feedback we've collected from buyers over the last 25+ years.

Revenge of the Buyer >>

Advice for buyers too

Are you selling a home and buying a new one?  Check out our answers to frequently asked questions for buyers.

Check your home value 

Are you wondering what your home might sell for?  We'll run a free report of your home's estimated value.  

Check your home value 


Technology is great, but sometimes it's nice to talk to a real person.  Reach out for a no obligation, no BS consult.

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Email us:
[email protected]

"We've worked with many different Realtors before, and without hesitation, none of them compared to Paul.  He was clearly most concerned with helping us meet our needs first and foremost.  We never felt rushed or pressured."

-- Audrey O.

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