In many ways, listing a condo for sale is similar to listing a house for sale. You must determine an appropriate asking price, prepare the home to go on the market, and then advertise the home to prospective buyers. Digging up relevant home documents such as the ones listed in this post, are helpful when selling a home or a condo. However, there are a few additional items you will also want to research prior to listing a condo for sale.
First, you will want to find out what types of financing can be used to purchase a condo in your complex. Why should you care what types of loans a buyer could use to purchase your condo? Well, not all condo complexes qualify for all types of loans. Let’s imagine you receive an amazing offer on your condo. You accept the offer and begin preparing to move. A few weeks go by and then you are notified that the buyer can no longer purchase your condo because the condo project does not qualify for the loan product the buyer planned on using to purchase your condo. In this scenario, it’s possible they may not be able to qualify for a different type of loan, and you will be back at square one. To make matters work, your home will have been off the market for a few weeks - valuable time you could have used to identify a buyer that is truly qualified to purchase your condo.
You can see how it makes sense to understand what loans buyers can use to purchase your condo. This example sheds light on the greater issue of making sure a buyer is thoroughly vetted to ensure he or she can qualify for the purchase. Whether you are selling a house or a condo it’s important to verify with a buyer’s lender that the buyer is truly qualified and that the property is eligible for their specific loan product. When selling a condo specifically, I would check to see if the condo building qualifies for FHA financing. You can check to see if your condo project is FHA approved on the HUD website. Additionally, I recommend determining if the condo is warrantable. This one is a little trickier; however, this post outlines some of the factors that influence whether a condo is warrantable or not. You should also check with an experienced mortgage professional.
There are a few other things you will want to know about your condo before listing it for sale. Understanding what your HOA fee covers and how much it is monthly will help you better market your condo for sale. You also want to find out how much the resale certificate costs and what the HOA charges for transfer fees. And, you want to find out how long it usually takes the HOA to provide the resale certificate. All of these items are on the sales contract. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, how can you intelligently negotiate an offer you receive? Contact your HOA for detailed information on these items.
Researching all of these pieces before you list your condo for sale ensures a smooth closing. As an experienced listing agent with a plethora of condo sales under my belt, answering all of these questions is part of my listing checklist. If you are interested in selling your Austin area condo, contact me today.
If you’re preparing to put your home on the market, you are probably staying busy cleaning, de-cluttering, and starting to pack. You may also find time slipping away from you as you spend hours perusing Zillow searching for your dream home. However, have you even thought about gathering these important documents? By taking the time to locate the following items will make selling your home much easier. After all, you don’t want to find yourself unpacking box after box looking for that overstuffed home folder when you have a ready buyer prepared to purchase your home. So, do yourself a favor and gather these docs now; you’ll thank me later.
When you purchased your home, you likely obtained a survey for the property. If you haven’t made many structural changes to the footprint of your home, and it hasn’t been five decades since you purchased the property, you can likely still use the survey when you sell the property. When a buyer submits an offer on your home, they can select to use the existing survey or opt for a new survey. If you have an existing, reliable survey, it’s unlikely the buyer will ask you to purchase a new one. A new survey will cost at least a few hundred dollars, so do yourself a favor and find that survey today. It’s important to make sure the survey has the surveyors seal; however, you don’t have to have the original copy.
2. Floor plans
If you have existing floor plans for your home, find them. A prospective buyer may have different needs than you, and may want to alter the home to fit those needs. Floor plans make it easier for buyers to make an informed decision about the costs of remodeling. Floor plans also save buyers time and you the inconvenience of allowing them back into your home to take measurements. With a floor plan, a buyer can easily start imaging how their furniture would fit in your home.
3. Repair receipts
Did you install a new roof a few years ago? How about HVAC work? These big ticket items are often areas of interest to prospective buyers. If you can provide documentation that a new roof was installed just last year, buyers will find your home more appealing knowing they won’t have to incur roof repair costs in the near future. It’s also good to document bids for repairs you didn’t make. Maybe you thought about adding an external propane tank so you could install a gas stove but you never did. Buyers may similarly express interest in installing a gas stove, and this bid could be the last piece propelling them to put an offer in on your home.
4. Loan Statement
This one is muy importante! In order to determine how much you should list your home for, and to assess if an offer is acceptable to you, you must know how much money you have in the home. You likely receive a monthly statement from your loan provider and it will state the loan payoff amount. Keep this number in the back of your mind as you prepare to sell your home.
5. Utility Bills
Buyers often want to know about utility costs. This is another piece of the puzzle that makes up their monthly living costs. If you can provide documentation for your utility costs (especially if they are low) it will make it easier for a buyer to commit to your home. If you can find your statements for electric, water, gas, and trash for the last 12 months. You or your agent, can then average the costs to provide an estimate to prospective buyers.
6. Manuals and Warranties
If you kept all your manuals for your appliances, good for you! A buyer will find these documents helpful and you can put them all in an envelope with a pretty little bow to deliver to them at closing. Warranties will work in your favor, if they are transferable. Remember that fictitious roof repair I alluded to earlier. New roofs usually have a one-time transferable warranty attached to them. So if something happens to the roof after you sell the home, the new buyers will still be protected by the contractor’s warranty.
For other great tips on getting ready to sell your home take a look at these posts:
Prioritizing Upgrades When Preparing to Sell Your Home
Increasing Your Home's Value
Prepping Your Home Now to Net the Most Money on Your Austin Home Sale
If you’re thinking about selling your Austin area home, contact me today.
Yesterday, I was at a closing, and my client and I decided it would be funny to track exactly how many signatures were required to officially sell the property. I always make jokes about closing saying “you sign your life away” or “you’ll practically get carpal tunnel in the process”. But, we were curious, exactly how many signatures would it take.
As my client continued to sign a variety of forms, many of which seemed to cover the same thing, I started tallying. All in all she signed her name 24 times yesterday, and initialed 6 times. This was part of a 1031 exchange so I speculate she may have endured a little less pain had it not been.
This process got me thinking. I wonder how many signatures and initials are required in total from the listing to the closing. I looked back through my records and uncovered these stats:
All in all my client signed her name 29 times and her initials 28 times. Keep in mind this was for one seller client. Also, this was a multiple offer situation and there was no countering on the contract. All in all, these numbers were actually less than I thought, and, as my client pointed out, almost all signing before the closing was done electronically which makes it a lot easier than by hand.
You’ve been working on getting your home ready to go on the market for a few weeks. You’ve been tackling various projects; cleaning up the yard, touching up the paint, and de-cluttering. Unfortunately, these projects may seem to take more time than you had imagined and now the time has come for your home to be photographed. Preparing your home for photos is a little like preparing your home for a party. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, but overall you want it to appear tidy and clean.
First on your list should be removing clutter. If you’re running low on time, this means cramming everything in the closets, drawers and boxes in the garage. Obviously this isn’t the best approach for long term, but if you just need the home presentable for photos, this is your best bet. You really want only a few minimal items on all the countertops in the home. Hide all your kitchen appliances in the cabinets, and make sure all the random papers, personal items, and cooking supplies are off the kitchen countertops.
In the bathrooms, place all of your personal items (toothbrush, deodorant, beauty supplies etc.) in a large Tupperware, bath caddy, or box. Place this box under the sink. Your countertops will be clear, and you can utilize this method throughout the showing process as well. Simply remove the box in the mornings and evenings, perform your daily hygiene routine and then put the box back under the sink.
Don’t forget the pet’s and kid’s stuff. Hide food and water bowls in closets. Make sure the litter box is tucked away out of sight. Stuff the kids toys under beds or in the closet, and make sure all of the kids and animals are out of the way for the photos.
When it comes to cleaning your home for photos, you can get away with doing a lot less than you will need to do to prepare your home for showings. For photos, you want to focus on a few main areas: floors, countertops, and windows. Make sure the carpet is vacuumed and steam cleaned if necessary. Have stubborn stains? This stuff works miracles! Sweep and mop the hard surface floors, and make sure to clean the countertops and kitchen appliances. Windows are important too! If time permits, take the screens off. Photos look better without the mesh in the background. If you’re running short on time, make sure to clean the most prominent windows, especially if they reveal a pretty view.
Outside you will want to make sure the lawn is cut and leaves are raked or blown away. Hide your trash bins in the garage or on the side of the house. Nothing ruins a gorgeous first shot of your home more than an unsightly waste bin. Last but not least, don’t forget the lights. Make sure all of your lights are functioning and have bulbs. Open all of your blinds and curtains to let in natural light. Great light really does make a great photo.
Preparing for listing photos leads to great images. First impressions occur with your home’s photos these days. Do yourself a favor and take these steps to ensure your home looks it’s very best when buyer’s see it online. Thinking about selling your Austin area home? Contact me today for more home selling tips.
Many people will tell you that the best time to sell your Austin area home is in the spring. However, is now really the best time to think about listing your home for sale? Well, it may be and it may not be. For many Austin residents, spring likely is the best time to sell your home. However, depending on what type of home you have and where it is located, you may be better off waiting if you want to sell for the most money.
For homeowners in the City of Austin, spring probably is the best time to sell your home. Over the past three years, the median home sales price for single family homes in the city limits has been highest in the summer months. In 2015, the highest median sales price for these homes occurred in May at $360,000. In 2016, the highest monthly median sales price was $377,470 in June. Last year, we saw the highest median sales price occur in June again with the median sales price increasing to $407,500.
As you can see, single family homes in the City of Austin really do sell for the most money in the spring. It’s not all about the price though. If a quick sale is important to you, the spring market is great for that too. The last column in the chart above represents the number of days a home is on the market before it goes under contract. Over the past three years, the median days to sell in the spring months was almost always less than 2 weeks.
If you’re thinking you want to sell your Austin home for the most money in the least amount of time, now is the time to start preparing to sell your home. Keep in mind that there is usually about a month of time from the date the contract is accepted until the closing date. In order to close in June, you want to list your home in April or May.
Now, if you are thinking about selling your condo in the City of Austin, now may not be the best time to sell. City of Austin condos had the highest median sales price in December for both 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the highest median sales price for condos in the city limits occurred in October when the median sales price was just under $305K.
If you don’t live in the city limits of Austin, spring may not be the best time for you to sell either. While single family home sales in Travis and Hays County conformed to the spring is the time to sell trend, homes in Williamson County did not.
In Travis County, May was the month with the highest median sales price in 2015. In 2016 and 2017, June yielded the highest median sales price for single family homes in Travis County with sales prices of $350K and $370K respectively. Hays County single family home sales showed the highest median sales price for 2015 in June with a price of S250K. In 2016, the highest median sales price occurred in April. Last July yielded the highest median sales price for 2017 with a median sales price of $270K.
Conversely, winter seems to be the best time to sell single family homes in Williamson County. In 2015, the highest median sales price was $252,500 which occurred in December! A month usually not associated with peak selling season. In 2016, November yielded the highest monthly median sales price, and in 2017, December led again with a median sales price of $287K. I should note that in 2017, the June median sales price was a close second with a median sales price of $286,713 and a much shorter number of days on market, 15 days compared to 40 in December.
If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, you really need to look at the market activity in your specific neighborhood. I’d be happy to run individualized reports for you; just contact me. Alternatively, if you are mildly curious what your home is worth, click here for a quick home worth estimate.
Recently, I was talking to a prospective client. We were discussing commissions and he commented, “well, a listing agent really doesn’t do anything”. I resisted the urge to scream obscenities at his face, and calmly replied that a good listing agent does a lot more than you think. Besides, taking care of the essential duties when listing a home for sale, I’ve gone above and beyond for my Austin area real estate listings more times than I can count.
So, what exactly does a listing agent do? Well, first and foremost, I cover the basics. I help you price your property, prepare it for the sale, market it to prospective buyers, negotiate the offers, and ensure a smooth closing. I don’t just put a sign in the yard, a lockbox on the door and say good luck.
When I help my seller clients prepare their home for sale, that sometimes means I’m getting down and dirty with them. I want the home to show the best it can, after all, any listing is a reflection of my work. In the past, I have helped clear out the belongings from a home that had been vacant for over 5 years, mopped the floors of a condo minutes before the photographer arrived, coordinated extensive remodels so that my seller would get the highest price for his home, and even mowed the lawn. I also have personally staged a number of my vacant listings. A staged home sells quicker and for more money than a vacant property so I lug couches into and out of homes, and add décor touches.
Once the home is ready, I pay a professional photographer to capture the property in its best light. I try to always meet him there to make sure he captures unique elements of the property, and then I take those images and create a full-fledged marketing campaign. I stay up late designing flyers, spreading the images through social media, and promoting the property through a plethora of other modes.
Sure I put the property on the MLS, as any competent agent would, but I also field numerous phone calls and emails from prospective buyers, coordinate showings, and when it’s necessary personally show the home. I host open houses, and door knock the neighborhood to make sure all the neighbors no your home is for sale. I put your home on REALTOR tours to make sure all the agents who work your neighborhood know the home is for sale as well.
While your home is on the market, I make sure it stays in tip-top shape. This winter, we had an unprecedented amount of freezes in Austin. I regularly attended to my listings, making sure the heat was on, cabinets were open, and just to be sure the pipes wouldn’t freeze, turned the water off. I joked with one seller client recently that this was the hardest part of my job; I had bloodied my knuckles and bruised my arms countless times while struggling with a wrench to move that tight knob to turn the water on and off.
At another listing of mine, I noticed someone had tracked mud all across the brand new carpet. I personally got on my hands and knees and scrubbed and sprayed that carpet till it looked good and new.
My listing efforts are not limited to physical labor. A few years ago I was helping a young lady sell a home she had inherited in East Austin. Unfortunately, her grandmother didn’t have a will and the mortgage company refused to release the payoff statement to her. This was delaying closing and something had to be done. I must have called, and emailed at least twenty high up employees at the bank. I sent out hand-written notes, and finally, I got through to someone, and she was able to send us the payoff statement.
Of course, I handle all the other tasks a good listing agent takes care of too. I negotiate for my clients’ best interests, prepare net-sheets for incoming offers, vet prospective buyers, and ensure the final settlement statement is prepared correctly.
I’m sure this sounds like a lot of work, and don’t get me wrong it is, but I love every minute of it. I take great pride in my work, and feel a great sense of accomplishment when my client sees the amount of money they made on their home sale. If you’re looking for a go-getter, who works hard to ensure your Austin area home sells for the most money, contact me today.
In the past, I’ve discussed cosmetic strategies for preparing your home to sell for the most money. Articles such as 9 Tips to Increase Your Home’s Worth and Prioritizing Upgrades When Preparing to Sell Your Home provide an overview of strategies to increase your home’s curb appeal both outside and inside your home. Conversely, this article focuses on home maintenance and home repairs that you should address prior to listing your home for sale.
In an Austin home sale, the buyer has what is called an option period. The option period allows the buyer the right to access and do all necessary due-diligence on a home prior to being locked into the home sale. The buyer has the unrestricted right to terminate the contract during the option period, and the earnest money will be returned to the buyer. It’s strongly recommended that the buyer have a licensed home inspector inspect the property during the option period. Any aspects of the home identified by the inspector as areas of concern, are leverage for the buyer. The buyer can either request the homeowner fix the issue of request monetary concessions for the repairs. These requests are formally submitted to the seller in the form of an amendment to the contract.
Probably the most common item I see on such an amendment is the request for the air conditioner to be cleaned and serviced. If you’re preparing your Austin home for sale, you should consider having the AC cleaned and serviced prior to listing your home. Why give the buyer an opportunity to overcharge you for this service? If you tackle this before listing your home, you can take your time comparing quotes from different providers, rather than rushing to have the AC serviced when you’re in the middle of moving or risk conceding more than necessary to the buyer for the service. While you’re at it, you should also replace the air filters.
The other benefit to repairing or servicing your home prior to the repairs being mandated in an amendment is that you get to choose who does the work. Once a repair is required per an amendment, the repair must be made by a licensed contractor. If you are handy, you may be able to fix things yourself prior to listing your home or hire an unlicensed handyman who is still qualified for the job. An inspector will note every little thing that is wrong with a home. A door without a stopper will be noted, as will the lack of a smoke detector in a room. I’m not particularly handy, but I could easily install these items. Another item I regularly see on inspection reports is a lack of an anti-tip bracket on the oven. This five to ten-dollar part effectively anchors your stove to the wall so that a child cannot get in the oven and have it fall over leaving them trapped inside.
Another item you may consider DIYing is in regards to the exterior of the home. An inspector is going to note any plant growth that creeps up the home as an area of concern since it could lead to wood destroying insects entering the home. Pull off any vines or climbing plants that are making their way up your home. You should also clean out leaves and debris from gutters and make sure gutter spouts are properly diverting away from the home. If your home has flashing, check to see that its properly diverting water off the roof, and away from the home. Grading is also an area of interest for an inspector. Your yard should slope down from your home so that water moves away from the property.
If you have any known leaks in your home, it’s best to address these now. Even if you don’t, you may want to check under your sinks and around your toilets to make sure there is no water penetration. Leaks in faucets or sink pipes can usually be addressed quite easily. It may just be a matter of tightening a piece or replacing a washer. You should also address any running toilets. Sometimes it’s as easy as adjusting the flapper chain- an easy no tools required fix. If you have major plumbing issues, it’s best to consult a licensed professional.
Another common item on inspection reports is electrical issues. A lack of GFCI outlets is often noted as a potential safety risk. It’s my understanding that if the outlets are properly grounded this is not necessarily an area of concern. However, if you don’t want to be nickel and dimed during the option period, this is another item you may want to address. Any outlets or fans that are not functioning properly should be looked at by a professional, and while you are at it, make sure all your lights have functioning bulbs. An inspector may not be able to assess if a light doesn’t work or if it’s simply lacking a functioning bulb.
These are just a few of the most common repair requests I see. If you’re planning to sell your home, determining which projects are the most important is a complex evaluation. Your budget, and desired sale price will determine the most important projects. Not sure which projects you should tackle before selling your Austin home? Contact me today, and I’ll help you decide which projects will allow you to net the most money in your Austin home sale.
1. Popcorn Ceilings
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who liked popcorn ceiling. I mean really, who invented this in the first place? It’s hard to clean and generally just an eye-sore. Popcorn ceiling is also challenging to remove. You must wet it, scrape it, and then repair/paint the new ceiling. Depending on your timeline and budget, I may not even recommend taking the time to remove it. However, if you can work it into your timeline, buyers will thank you!
2. An Ugly Yard
Is your yard over grown and unruly? Do you have weeds the size of trees? It’s vital that your home gives a great first impression. You want people to be enticed to look inside your home, and the first step to this is making sure your curb appeal is A+. Mow the lawn, trim your shrubs, blow dead leaves and consider adding colorful flowers to lure those buyers into your home!
3. Distracting Walls
An accent wall here or there may actually be beneficial to your home’s appearance. However, if your home has a rainbow of bright colors in every room, you may want to consider painting. There’s nothing wrong with your purple bathroom, but I recommend neutral colors. You want your home to appeal to all buyers. By using bright colors, it is highly likely you will turn off a majority of prospective home buyers. If you have outdated wall paper, it’s also time for an update. Strip the archaic floral prints, and add a coat or two of a neutral paint to remind buyers that your home can still be lived in this century.
4. Carpet, Carpet Everywhere
Shag carpet in the bathroom? Hell NO. Carpet in the bathroom or kitchen is a major negative for today’s buyers. Truthfully, most buyers today don’t want any carpet! If you have hidden gorgeous hardwoods under that ugly, worn out carpet, pull it up today! If you uncover, concrete, you may consider staining it for an affordable improvement. There are also a number of inexpensive laminates and tiles that look like wood that buyers will love. My one recommendation for flooring is try to keep it consistent. Buyers prefer a single flooring type across the home. If budget is a concern, consider replacing the flooring on one level of the home, or leaving carpet in the bedrooms only.
5. Outdated or Incongruous Fixtures
Lighting and plumbing fixtures can easily be swapped out to give your home a new look. Outdated or dirty faucets can be replaced for around $100. Maybe your fixtures are modern, but they simply don’t match one another. If you have light fixtures in a mix of shades, you can even remove them and spray paint them the same color to give your home a more congruous feel. Remember how I said no one likes popcorn ceilings. I’m pretty sure no one likes overhead fluorescents with Plexiglas either. Consider changing out your overhead fluorescents with pendant, track, or recessed lighting.
Clutter is by far the easiest item on this list to tackle, and it will have profound results. Make your home look like a hotel room. There should be very minimal items on any countertops. I recommend homeowners keep a box or caddy under the sink with all of their essential items. This way it is easy to take out and use, and then out back under the sink away from sight before showings. Remove personal items! There should be no stacks of bills on desks or dirty laundry on the floor. I once showed a home, and there were feminine care products on the bed! It certainly made a lasting impression, but not the right kind.
Prospective home buyers will misconstrue a dirty home for a poorly-cared for home. You want buyers to see your gorgeous quartz countertops, not stains from this morning’s coffee mishap. Imagine how your mother in law would view the appearance of your home. Do you hear her nagging voice in the back of your head? Tidy up your home, so buyers can truly see the property instead of disregarding it due to the scum marks taking over the shower.
Ready to start discussing which projects you should tackle before putting your house on the market?
If you’re thinking about selling your home, you may be thinking about all the things you need to do before actually putting your home on the market. You may be thinking about small things such as fixing that leaky faucet, or maybe you are thinking about a more extensive change such as remodeling the bathroom. Regardless of if you are planning to spend $100 or $10,000, it is important to prioritize those updates in accordance with ones will yield the best return.
Your first step in this prioritization process is to put yourself in the shoes of a potential homeowner. A great real estate agent will help you understand what’s most desirable in the current marketplace, and help you to prioritize which projects you should undertake given your budget.
Before you consider remodeling the entire kitchen, assess your home for obvious items in need of repair. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, if they see a leaking faucet, a light that doesn’t work, a hole in the drywall, they are going to assume the property has been neglected and want to offer you less for the home. First things first, fix the obvious issues.
Now, that you have taken care of making sure your home is in working order, you can begin to consider upgrades that will provide you the best return on your investment. Paint is one of the least-expensive updates that can have the highest returns. If your home has outdated wall paper, or a bright purple wall, I would strongly encourage you to get some quotes for a neutral paint job. Don’t limit yourself to thinking about paint for the walls. A coat of paint on cabinets in the kitchen or bath, on brick or stone facades, on the mailbox, or even the front door can add significant value.
Landscaping is another area where a small investment can go a long way. The first-impression your home delivers to prospective buyers determines whether or not they even step inside your home. Make sure it looks appealing from the front yard! Cut the grass, trim the hedges, and consider adding new flower beds, or flowers in pots for a pop of color.
Flooring is another update worth considering. In general, buyers prefer a consistent flooring throughout the home. Buyers are tending to gravitate away from carpet these days. That being said, if your home has brand new carpet, I wouldn’t suggest ripping it out to lay new wood flooring. On the other hand, if you have original shag carpet from the 70s, I’d recommend some estimates for updated flooring.
More extensive remodels really require a thorough understanding of the property and the budget to prioritize. However, I would generally say focus on the kitchen and the baths. Home buyers are looking for large master baths and the majority of homes built in the 60s and 70s have tiny master baths. Depending on your homes layout, you may want to consider reconfiguring your floorplan to give you a larger master bath/master closet. Open floor-plans are one of if not the most important attributes home buyers are looking for in a new home today. Can you open up some walls to give your house that light and airy feel?
If you’re trying to prioritize updates for your home prior to listing it for sale, the first step is to find an amazing REALTOR to help you. I help my clients analyze their property to determine what repairs/updates might be worth pursuing, obtain quotes from multiple contractors for the entire list, and then systematically prioritize the repair/update list in accordance with the budget. If you’re looking for help in this arena, give me a call today. If you’re curious what your home is worth as is, you can get a rough idea here.
My Austin clients frequently have questions about who pays for what in a real estate transaction. In Texas, almost everything is negotiable; however, there are certainly norms and the promulgated forms used by Texas REALTORS naturally lend way to certain cost distributions.
In order to think about who pays for what is a real estate transaction, you first most consider what expenses are involved in a real estate transaction. One of the largest expenses in a real estate transaction is commissions. In Texas, real estate commissions are customarily a seller expense. It is most common to see the seller pay six percent of the sales price towards commissions, three percent to the buyer’s broker and three percent to the listing broker. However, this distribution is not set in stone. For multi-million dollar listings, the commission may be lower, and the seller ultimately determines the commission percentage as well as the distribution between the buyer and the listing brokers.
Additional costs involved in a real estate transaction include marketing expenses, title policies, appraisals, surveys, inspections, energy audits, and loan origination fees. Good listing agents will usually take on the marketing expenses incurred to properly advertise a property. These expenses include professional photography, print marketing (including mailers), digital marketing platform expenses, and advertising fees. Staging fees may be paid for by the seller directly or the listing agent.
The owner’s title policy usually costs a little more than one half of a percent of the sales price. Click here for exact title policy costs in Texas. The owner's title policy is typically a seller’s expense. However, with the competitive buying market it is not uncommon to see buyer’s incurring this cost to make their offers more appealing to the seller. The lender’s title policy cost is related to the loan amount for the property and is typically a buyer expense.
Property inspections are a prudent decision for any buyer. These inspections can cost several hundred dollars, and additional specific inspections for items such as wells, septic systems, foundations, etc. may be needed as well. These inspections usually occur during the option period at the expense of the buyer. In certain situations, it may be beneficial to have a property pre-inspected. In this case, the inspection would be a seller fee.
Lender related fees are typically paid for the buyer. In addition to the lender’s title policy, buyer costs associated with loans include loan origination fees and appraisal fees. These fees will vary based on both the property and the lender utilized.
A survey is generally required for the sale of property in Texas. If the seller has an existing survey for the property, it may be used for the sale if it’s approved by the lender and the title company. The Texas Real Estate Commission’s 1-4 Family Residential Contract offers 3 options for how the survey will be obtained. Option 1: an existing survey will be used and it if is not approved by lender/title company you can elect for the seller or the buyer to pay for a new one. Option 2: seller pays for a new survey. Option 3: buyer pays for new survey.
A condo does not require a survey for a real estate deal. However, there will be other fees associated with a condo sale. When you are involved with the sale of a TX condo, you will want to consider who is going to pay for the resale certificate and who pays for the transfer fees. Again, the Texas condo contract is written in such a way that lends way for the buyer to pay for at least a portion of the transfer fees. Thus it is common for the seller to pay for the resale certificate and the buyer to pay for the transfer fees but this in no way set in stone. Both fees are entirely negotiable.
If a home warranty purchase is noted on a real estate contract, it is likely an expense to the seller. This part of the real estate contract states that the seller will reimburse the buyer X amount towards the cost of a residential service contract. Escrow fees, the fees paid to the Title Company, are typically split between the buyer and seller. You may also see legal fees, processing fees, and various fees imposed by municipalities on either side of the closing document.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are a variety of fees involved with a real estate transaction and who pays for what is usually negotiable. If you’re a buyer in a competitive market, the more “typical seller-related expenses” you agree to take on, the stronger your offer will appear to sellers. If this all appears to be a bit much to take in and you’d like someone to walk you through the details or if you have additional questions, contact me today.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.