If you want to learn how to sell your home fast in Houston, you have come to the right place! There are many different ways to sell your house.
Some sellers decide to use a real estate agent, others choose to sell fast to a professional house buyer. And still, others go it alone and put their house “for sale by owner”. The truth is there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to sell your house depends on many factors:
- The condition of the property
- Your financial situation
- Available time to sell
- Available resources to make repairs
In this Ultimate Guide, I will show you the top ways you can use to sell your Houston home fast. Next, I will compare them side by side so you can make the best decision that works best for you. Then, I will go over the exact step-by-step process to sell your home fast in Houston, Katy, Spring, Cypress. Last, I will cover some frequently asked questions about selling your home as-is to a professional home buyer.
Before we dive in, let’s take a brief look at the housing market in Houston, Katy, Spring, and Cypress, TX.
Housing Market in the Houston Area
Things to Know About Housing Market in Houston Before Selling Your Home
The housing market in Houston has been strong over the last few years. The combination of low rates and lots of people moving to the Houston area has created strong demand for homes. On the other hand, the supply of homes has been shrinking. What this means is that there are fewer available homes for Buyers to pick from.
What this means is that it’s a good time to be a Seller of a home in excellent condition. Most Buyers (especially out-of-state ones) are looking for homes that are move in ready. Moving to a different state is challenging enough. They don’t want to undertake a fixer-upper project on top of it, too. So, if your home needs substantial work, the demand from Buyers may not be as strong.
The housing market in Houston has been benefiting from some positive trends in the national real estate market since 2012. The question is will these positive trends continue in the future? No one can predict the future with 100% accuracy but there are signs of change in the air.
Mortgage interest rates have been rising rapidly. According to Freddie Mac, “the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.92 percent. This is the highest rate since May 2019. A year ago, the average rate was 2.81 percent”.
As mortgage rates rise, the demand for houses falls as fewer buyers can afford the higher payments. Eventually, this can lead to a shift in the balance where buyers are in the driver’s seat driving prices lower.
The Houston housing market is backed by a strong local and state economy. However, even the strongest economies go through up and down cycles. What this means for you is that it might be best to sell your Houston home before the market changes.
Housing Market in Katy is Very Beneficial to Sell Your Home
Katy is a popular suburb on the west side of Houston on Interstate 10. The area is known for excellent schools as well as great retail and dining. When it was originally developed, the Katy area quickly became popular. The main reason was its proximity to the Energy Corridor and its oil and gas jobs.
Like the rest of Houston, the Katy real estate market has been good for Sellers. Buyers are attracted to the exemplary Katy ISD school system so they’re flocking to the area. Also, the Katy area still offers good opportunities to buy new construction homes in large master planned communities. These neighborhoods have nice included amenities like community pools, hike and bike trails, golf courses, and more.
The market has been favorable to newer homes in areas like Cinco Ranch. However, the same cannot always be said for older homes in Katy. Buyers prefer newer homes so they tend to shun older homes because they come with major repairs that are due in short order like roof, siding, and HVAC replacement.
Do your home repairs that should have been done long ago but haven’t? This is another factor why this type of home might not benefit as much from the current housing market in Katy.
Quickly Sell Your Home in Spring
Spring is a popular suburb on the north side of Houston located just south of the Woodlands on I-45. The older part of Spring (east of I-45 and south of the Woodlands) has older homes. These homes are zoned to Spring ISD. The newer parts of Spring are Klein (west of I-45) as well as east of 45 along the Grand Parkway. These sections are zoned to Klein ISD and Conroe ISD respectively – both of which are great, sought-after school districts.
The real estate market has been good to Sellers of newer homes zoned to Klein and Conroe ISD. That’s because Buyers are attracted to exemplary schools. The Spring area still offers opportunities to purchase new homes, especially in the northeastern quadrant.
The market has been favorable for newer homes in popular areas like Gleannloch Farms, Auburn Lakes, and Harmony. However, the housing market on the southeast side of Spring has lagged because Buyers prefer new or new-ish homes. They shun older homes in the Spring area due to upcoming major repairs like the roof, siding, and HVAC replacement.
Cypress is a Great Place to Sell a Home
Cypress is a popular suburb on the northwest quadrant of Houston on Hwy 290 that connects the city to Austin. This area has experienced robust growth in the last decade. Rapid development has brought master planned communities, outlet centers, and hospitals to the area. Buyer demand has been high and interest rates and available inventory has been low.
As a result, the housing market in the Cypress area has been rampant. This is especially true for newer homes in desirable master planned communities like Bridgeland and Towne Lake. Sellers have been in the driver’s seat and prices have risen. Older homes built in the 1980s have not participated as much in this strong market.
Ways to Sell your Houston Area Home Quickly
After covering the housing market in Houston and the suburbs, it is time to go over the top ways you can sell your Houston house fast.
Sell Your Home by The Owner in and Around Houston
Some homeowners want to sell their home for the maximum price at lower costs than a traditional sale through a real estate agent. So they put their home on the market “for sale by owner” and try to sell it themselves.
These owners don’t see the value in the services of a real estate agent and think they can get the same results at a fraction of the cost. There are many online services that have sprouted up to help these homeowners market their properties, including some that will let them post on the MLS.
At the end of the day, the owner feels that no other person will try harder to sell their home than they will. And if they can save thousands doing it, they figure it is worth a try. But is it?
Process of Selling Your Houston-Area Home Right Away by Owner
When you sell your house “for sale by owner”, the process can last 3-4+ months from start to finish. Unlike a real estate agent who sells houses full time, for most For Sale by Owners this is their first time. So there’s definitely a learning curve. Here are the steps in the process when you sell your home for sale by the owner.
Figure Out the Right Price of Your Huston-Area Home
The hardest thing when you sell your home by owner is to determine the correct asking price for their property. Typically, homes for sale by owners are either substantially underpriced or grossly overpriced. This makes perfect sense when you consider that most owners’ knowledge of the market is anecdotal.
For example, an owner might know that “the Joneses around the corner listed their house for X”. However, the owner does not have access to the MLS system to get the full picture of comparable sales in the neighborhood.
Knowing the asking price of a property is a data point but it doesn’t tell the complete story. Also, homeowners are emotionally involved with their property and as such, they’re biased by definition. So they tend to overvalue the features of their home and discount those of others.
Handle Your Own Showings and Open Houses to Quickly Sell Your Home
When you sell by owner, you have to coordinate your own showings and open houses. You have to provide access to the property and accommodate showings at a time that works for prospective buyers.
The majority of the time the Seller will be present for these showings which can make the Buyer uncomfortable. They will feel like they are being supervised and will not be comfortable viewing at their own pace.
Also, the Seller’s emotional involvement gets in the way here too. Sellers get defensive and argumentative when a buyer points out flaws in the property. Unlike a professional agent that moves the conversation forward toward closing, an inexperienced Seller can get in the way of a sale.
The Contract is a Must While Selling Your Home
Suppose a Buyer is interested and wants to make an offer on your house for sale by the owner. Who is going to prepare the purchase contract? According to the NAR Survey of Buyers and Sellers, over 89% of Buyers are represented by a real estate agent. Therefore, the most likely scenario is that the Buyer will have an agent representing them.
The Buyer’s realtor will likely prepare the contract which solves that problem. But will the Buyer’s Realtor prepare a contract in a way that’s beneficial to you? Not likely because the realtor has a duty to advance the interests of the buyer.
Also, do you feel comfortable with your knowledge of purchase contracts and disclosure forms to negotiate with a seasoned agent that negotiates for a living? How about your ability to avoid a future lawsuit for improper disclosure?
Sign a Closing Disclosure After Selling Your Home
Now we get to the final part of the process: the closing. The title company will send out the final closing disclosure and parties will go sign closing papers at their office.
How familiar are you with closing disclosures? Are you able to tell which fees should be paid by the Seller and which by the Buyer?
The title company representative will be there to go over the documents so that’s a plus. But it’s not their job to represent you and advocate for you like an agent would. They are supposed to be impartial.
Pros and Cons of Selling Your Houston-Area Home by the Owner (FSBO)
Selling your Houston house for sale by the owner can be a viable option for some Sellers. For others, it might be a disaster. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider the pros and cons of selling For Sale by Owner (FSBO).
Pros of Selling Your Houston-Area Home By Owner
- Selling your house FSBO can save you money. In a best case scenario, if you were to price your home properly and sell it to a buyer that doesn’t have an agent, you can save the commissions on the sale.
- You will give maximum effort to sell the house. As they say, no one will work harder than you to sell your house than you will. An agent has multiple listings, you only have one priority.
Cons of Selling Your Home Near Houson By Owner
- Selling by owner (FSBO) does not usually save you money. As mentioned earlier, 89% of Buyers have an agent. This means you will not be able to save the fee that their agent gets. You can still save the listing agent fee. However, those savings are usually overcome by leaving money on the table by underpricing and inferior negotiation skills. FSBO listings typically sell for anywhere from 6-24% less than agent listed properties in the same neighborhood.
- Selling by the owner is a potential liability nightmare. We live in a very litigious society. The most common cause of real estate related lawsuits is non-disclosure. When you try to sell the house on your own you assume all the potential liability that could be avoided with the guidance of an expert.
- Selling by the owner (FSBO) is not effective. As much as 80% of owners who try to sell their house on their own end up listing with a real estate agent. They would not do that if selling by the owner was effective. This is even more true during challenging markets. Even the founder of ForSalebyOwner.com sold his condo using a realtor.
- Selling your house yourself is a lot of work. Even in the off chance that you sell the property AND save some of the commission, it’s not a pretty picture. When you compare the savings to the number of hours you have to spend, you quickly realize that it’s not worth it.
If you’re looking to get the maximum price for your home, a better option might be to work with a real estate agent. I will go over that option next.
Quickly Sell Your Home in and Near Houston with a Real Estate Agent
One of the most common ways to sell your house is to hire a real estate agent. Licensed agents list your home for sale on the MLS. They typically charge commissions of up to 6% of the sales price.
In addition, you are responsible for closing costs which can amount to an additional 2-3% of the sales price. Last, during a Buyers market, they will ask for assistance to help pay for their closing costs.
This can amount to 3-6% of the purchase price depending on the type of financing the buyer is using.
Process of Selling Your Houston-Area Home With a Real Estate Agent
When you sell your house with an agent, the process can last 3-4+ months from start to finish. In some cases, it can be faster if the market is favorable or the Buyer is paying cash. Here are the steps in the process when you sell your home with a Realtor.
Listing Appointment and Agreement Before Selling
First, you interview 2-3 real estate agents and sit through their hourlong listing presentations. The agent will share what they plan to do to market the home. At the end of this process, you will hire one of the agents.
They will require that you sign an exclusive contract to sell the house through them. The length of the contract varies but typically it is a 6-month commitment. During this time, you must sell the property through that agent. you can’t use any other agents or sell it yourself.
Pre-inspection of Your Home
Next, your agent will suggest doing a pre-inspection of the house with a licensed inspector. Here, the inspector identifies any required repairs. Then the agent will ask you to make those repairs prior to listing the home on the market.
You are responsible for the cost of this inspection. The main benefit of pre-inspection and doing the repairs is that the sale will usually go a lot smoother.
Declutter and Depersonalize the Home in the Houston Area to Get Better Selling Price
Your real estate agent will suggest that you do some improvements to the home to make it more marketable. This typically includes re-painting, re-carpeting, replacing appliances, plumbing, or light fixtures. You are responsible for the cost of these make ready repairs.
Furthermore, your agent will ask you to declutter and depersonalize the home so it will appeal to most buyers. The make ready can be costly but the benefit of doing it is that you get a better price when you sell.
Good Photographs and MLS Listing to Sell Home Fast
Once the home is ready for sale, the Realtor will need photographs for the listing. He will either have a photographer take professional photos or take the photos himself. Some agents pass the cost of the photography to the owner and others include it as part of their services.
Good photographs are critical to the sale of your home since they are the first impression prospective buyers will get. Last, the real estate agent will enter the home in the MLS where agents and buyers look for homes.
Showings and Open House to Sell Your Home Fast
Now that the home is listed on the MLS, it’s time for showings and open houses. During this time, you are responsible for keeping the home in immaculate showing condition. This can be challenging especially if you still live in the home.
Also, you will have to leave every time there is a showing or any open houses. The average duration of an open house is 3-4 hours. Open houses are very effective marketing tools for the real estate agent to get new buyer clients. But, they’re very ineffective at selling the house itself. According to the NAR, “just 7% of buyers found the home they bought by visiting an open house.”
Offer, Contract, and Inspections For Your Home
When a Buyer is interested, they send an offer to buy the house to your real estate agent. Your agent is required by law to present you all the offers and explain the terms to you. Then, you have to make a decision on which offer to accept and execute a binding contract with that buyer.
Once the contract is signed, the Buyer will deposit earnest money with the title company (1% of the purchase price). They will also pay you a $150-250 fee for the right to back out of the contract for 7-10 days.
During those 7-10 days, the Buyer will do their own inspection of the property. The purpose of the inspection is two-fold. On one hand, the Buyer wants to make sure there are no “dealbreaker” issues with the house. On the other, they will use the inspection report as a tool to lower the purchase price in the contract.
During these 7-10 days, the Buyer can back out of the contract for ANY reason. If they back out, all it would cost them is $150-250.
Buyer Will Get Financing to Buy the Home
Once the inspections are over, the Buyer will work on getting their mortgage financing in order. Some buyers will pay cash although this is rare. According to the NAR survey of Buyers and Sellers from 2018, 90% of home buyers used mortgage financing.
As part of this process, they will send a licensed appraiser to determine the market value of the property. The home must appraise for the purchase price for the Buyer to get a mortgage. If it doesn’t, the Buyer has the option to walk or lower the price further.
Appraisals are one of the main reasons real estate deals fall through. According to the NAR Confidence Index, “23% of all sales are delayed and 12% fall through due to appraisals”. The process to secure a mortgage typically takes 3-4 weeks for a well qualified buyer. It could be longer if the Buyer has challenged credit or other issues.
Sign Closing After Selling Your Home
Now that the mortgage has been approved, it’s time for closing. In Texas, the closing is handled by a title company. The Buyer and Seller sign final documents to close the deal. After the closing is finished, the lender sends the loan money to the title company and they fund the deal.
As the Seller, you get a check for the sales price less your real estate agent commissions and closing costs. From that amount, you have to recover the money spent for repairs with the make ready and pre inspection.
Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home in and Around Houston with a Real Estate Agent
Selling your house with a real estate agent can be a good option for some Sellers. For other Sellers, it is a bad decision with serious consequences. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at the pros and cons and decide if it makes sense for you.
When to Sell Your Houston-Area Home With a Real Estate Agent
You might want to sell with an agent if you:
- Have a home in excellent condition
- Value getting the highest price over speed
- Need a professional to hold your hand throughout the sale
- Have plenty of time available to get the deal closed
- Can keep the home show ready and don’t mind lots of showings
- Aren’t selling a tenant-occupied home
- Are current on your mortgage payments and taxes
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When Not to Sell Your Houston Area Home With a Real Estate Agent
Instead, it would be a bad idea to sell your home with a real estate agent if you
- Have a home that needs substantial repairs
- Don’t have the money to make repairs
- Value closing quickly over getting the highest price
- Don’t want lots of showings and open houses
- Are selling a tenant-occupied home
- Want a guaranteed sale that won’t fall through
- Are you behind on your mortgage payments and taxes
If that is your situation, you might be best served by selling your house as-is to a professional investor.
Sell Your in or Near Houston Home Fast to an Investor In As-Is Condition
If the house you need to sell needs substantial repairs or you’re in a financial bind, you don’t hire a real estate agent. As we covered in the previous section, agents are best for selling homes in good condition with plenty of time available. If your house needs thousands of dollars in repairs or if you’re behind on your mortgage payments, you don’t have the luxury to wait.
Furthermore, you don’t want a sale that might fall through due to financing or inspections. You need a quick sale that’s guaranteed to close on time. That’s when you should consider selling your house to a professional investor in as-is condition.
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Process of Selling Your Home to a Professional Investor in the Houston Area
When you sell your house as is to a professional investor, the process can take as little as 10 days from start to finish. This is because professional investors often pay cash and/or have their financing ready to go. Here are the steps in the process when you sell your home as is to a professional Investor.
Investor Price vs the Regular Buyer Price For Your Home
The preliminary step to selling your house to an investor is to understand the differences between the investor price and the regular buyer price. As I covered in the section about selling your house with a realtor, the sales price is NOT what you get when you close. In that scenario, you have to pay realtor fees, closing costs, make ready repairs, inspection repairs before you get your cash.
When you sell to a trustworthy investor the price they offer you is the price you get. That’s because there are no realtor fees when you sell to an investor. Also, you don’ have to make any repairs when you sell your house as is. Professional investors also pay for the closing costs so you don’t have to pay those.
The important thing is that when you sell you should focus on the net price you get at the end of the day, not the “sticker” price.
Find a Professional Investor to Buy Your House Fast
Selling your Houston house to a professional investor is Easy. The hard part is finding a professional investor that’s transparent and trustworthy. There are lots of shady companies, posers, and pretenders out there. How do you find the good guys?
- Professional Investors are Direct buyers. Some companies only pretend to buy your house when in reality they’re just middlemen. They tie up your house with a contract and then hope to find a real buyer to pay more and pocket the difference. When dealing with a professional investor ask for a bank statement as proof they have the funds ready in the account. Also, the biggest telltale sign that they’re a middleman is that they add “and/or assigns” to the buyer’s named in the contract.
- The Best Investors renovate and hold long term. If you want to sell your house as is and get the most for it, you should sell to an investor that renovates and holds long term. Most investors that buy houses are house flippers. They just want to do a quick surface renovation and quickly resell for a profit. Since a house flipper has to pay for renovations, realtor fees, and closing costs plus make a big profit upfront, they can only make you lowball offers. Investors that renovate and hold, don’t have the same costs and they make their money over time. Because of that, they pay you more.
- Trustworthy investors have been around a long time. Real estate investing can attract some fly by night shysters looking to prey on people. The good guys have experience and have been around a long time. Their success leaves clues with positive reviews and a good reputation. They always use a reputable title company to close their deals. If an investor tries to convince you that you don’t need to close at a title company, RUN and find a trustworthy investor instead.
Meet with an Investor and Get An Offer For Your Houston-Area Home
Once you’ve identified a trustworthy and professional investor, they will want to walk the property to assess its condition. Unlike when you sell with an agent, you can show the house in its current condition because the investor will buy it as is.
Also, you won’t need to show it to dozens of potential buyers. Once they’ve reviewed the condition of the property, a professional investor will send you an offer to buy your house in 24 hours. Without sounding like a broken record, remember that the price offered is the price you get as there are no commissions or repairs.
A conscientious professional investor will also be flexible with your timeline and let you close on the date that makes the most sense for you. If you’re looking to close lightning fast, an investor can close as soon as the title company has the title work ready (as little as 7 business days). Or if you need time to get things in order, the investor can make the closing fit your plans.
Sign Closing Papers of Your Home and Get Cash
Unlike selling with a real estate agent, investor offers don’t come with inspection and financing contingencies that give regular buyers outs from the contract. For that reason, once you’ve signed the contract and the title company is ready to go, you can close on the house and get your cash.
The closing is a pretty quick process for the Seller. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes. You will sign the closing statement, the deed to the new owner, and some simple disclosures. Then you’re done.
The title company will ask you if you want your money sent via wire or cashier check. If you get it via wire, you will have the money in your account the same day. If you get a cashier’s check, the bank will sometimes hold the funds for a few days, especially if the check is for a large amount.
Move On In Your Life After Selling Your Home
When the closing is done and the cash hits your bank account, you get to do the best thing of all: Move on to the next chapter in your life. Whatever situation made you sell the house is now behind you and you can start fresh.
No more being behind on mortgage payments or property taxes. No more problem tenants or evictions. The problem property that was dragging you down is your problem no more. It’s time to turn a new leaf.
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Pros and Cons of Selling Your House to an Investor On As-Is Condition Near Houston
Selling your Houston house fast in its current condition to an investor can be a great option for some Sellers. For others, it might be a good fit. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider the pros and cons of selling to an investor.
Pros of Selling Your Houston House to a Professional Investor
- Professional investors will buy your house AS IS. You don’t need to worry about making repairs or even cleaning the house. You can simply sell and go.
- Investor offers are GUARANTEED. Unlike offers from regular buyers, investor offers don’t have any financing or inspection contingencies. Also, investors don’t need appraisals.
- Investors buy homes that need substantial repairs. The overwhelming majority of regular buyers use financing. If your home needs serious repairs, most mortgage companies will not finance it. Professional investors can pay cash or have bank financing lined up that isn’t dependent on the condition of the property.
- When you sell to an investor you can close FAST. If speed is important to you, no buyer will be at the closing speed of a professional investor. Since they have the cash ready, they can close as soon as the title company is ready. Regular buyers need 30-60 days to close and you may not have that much time if you’re behind on payments.
- Investors are more FLEXIBLE with closing timelines than regular buyers. Since investors don’t plan on living in the home, they can be more flexible and work with your schedule. Regular buyers are usually moving from somewhere like another house or apartment and need a place to stay.
Cons of Selling Your Houston House to a Professional Investor
- Investor offers are NOT a good fit for homes in great condition. If your house is well-maintained and in great condition, you would be best served to sell it with a real estate agent.
- Selling a house to an investor prioritizes speed over price. The best benefit of selling to an investor is the speed they can close the deal. If you prioritize getting the maximum possible price and have enough time to get it, you should consider selling with a realtor.
Infographic: Side by Side Comparison of Home Selling Options in and Around Houston
|For Sale By Owner||Real Estate Agent||Professional Investor|
|Days to Close||60-90+ days||45-75+ days||7-10 days|
|Price||24% Less than Mkt||Market Value||10-15% Less than Mkt|
|Commissions||3% of Price||6% of Price||ZERO|
|Closing Costs||4-5% of Price||3% of Price||ZERO|
|Repairs||Owner Responsible||Owner Responsible||No Repairs|
|Contingencies||Inspect/Financing||Inspect/Financing||NONE – Guaranteed|
|Time to Sell||2-3 months||1-2 months||24 HOURS|
|Fall Through?||Yes||Yes||No – Guaranteed Sale|
|Home Condition||Average||Excellent||Avg or Needs Repairs|
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Why You Should Choose Signature House Buyers For Selling Your Home Near Houston In No Time?
Now that you’ve evaluated all the pros and cons of the top ways to sell your Houston home you’re ready to take the next step. If you’ve decided that the best option for you is to sell your house fast to an investor, you have an important decision to make. Which company should you sell your house to? There are at least 6 great reasons why you should choose to sell your Houston home to Signature House Buyers.
- You will get more money for your house because we can afford to pay more. At Signature House Buyers we renovate and hold our properties long term so we can pay you much more than a house flipper or middleman. Since we don’t plan to resell anytime soon, we don’t have the same costs they do which means we can make higher offers and you get more cash.
- We don’t charge commissions or fees of any kind. With a Signature, House Buyers offer what you see is what you get. No smoke and mirrors and no illusions. When you sell to us, you won’t have to pay any commissions or fees of any kind.
- You don’t have to fix a thing – not even clean. When we buy Houston houses, you don’t have to make any repairs or even clean the house. You can just move on and leave the repairs and cleaning to us.
- We have decades of experience buying Houston houses like yours. Unfortunately, the real estate investment space has a lot of shady, fly-by-night characters in it. We have been buying houses for decades and have an impeccable reputation in the community.
- You are not selling to a mega corporation. In the last few years, we have seen the emergence of iBuyers. These are mega corporations backed by venture capitalists that seek to control the real estate market. When you sell to Signature House Buyers you are selling to a family owned company, not some nameless, faceless corporation.
- We care about the community. At Signature House Buyers we are on a mission to improve our community one house at a time. We want to provide a nice, healthy and clean home for our friends and neighbors to live in.