Moving is rarely stress-free. During this busy time, don’t gloss over the important step of vetting your moving company. Watch out for these red flags. The Basics Aren’t in Writing Be suspicious if your movers don’t provide a written cost estimate or say they will figure out the charges after loading. Think twice if your movers—or a broker who works with movers—gives you an estimate without inspecting your stuff. Does that estimate seem low to you? Is it low compared to other written estimates? Furthermore, watch out if your movers ask you to sign blank documents or claim you have more possessions than the estimate says. Their Details Aren’t Clear Be wary if the company does not have a local address or doesn’t identify themselves when you call them. Do the movers say their insurance will cover your stuff but they don’t ask you to itemize or value your belongings? Are these movers even authorized to be movers? You can look up the company in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Registered Mover Database. Consider checking with the Better Business Bureau, too. They Didn’t Share Required Information Movers and moving brokers are required to give you a copy of the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet and the “Ready to Move” brochure. Did you receive them? Significant Payment Required Up Front Are the movers asking for a large deposit or cash before the move? Some sort of deposit may be required but it shouldn’t be an enormous sum—or ever required in cash. Talk to your REALTOR® about how to make your move as smooth as possible. Your REALTOR® has the knowledge and skills to help you make informed decisions.
Good news: A seller has accepted your offer, and you’re one step closer to owning your dream home. You’ve now entered the option period, your time to scrutinize the property—and cancel the transaction if you choose. This is the time to consider hiring an inspector to take a closer look at what you’re buying. Here’s why: Inspectors Are Thorough Inspectors must take extensive training to be licensed in Texas. They follow strict rules and are required to use the Property Inspection Report Form promulgated by the Texas Real Estate Commission. Though there are some limitations to what inspectors can evaluate, they will assess the home’s structure, electrical systems, AC and heating, plumbing, appliances, and many other aspects. Inspectors Find Things You Might Overlook Inspectors will always find issues, even in brand-new construction. But at least you know about the problems and can choose how you want to deal with them. For certain deficiencies an inspector discovers, you may want to hire a specialist such as a structural engineer, plumber, or electrician to further evaluate the condition. Inspections Help You Make Decisions If the inspection uncovers big surprises, you may want to ask the seller to make repairs or lower the sales price. The seller may agree or refuse—or continue to negotiate. If things aren’t going the way you want, you could decide to walk away—if the option period hasn’t expired. There’s Something Worse Than Finding Problems No one likes it when an inspector finds deficiencies in a home. As a buyer, you want a home in the best condition possible. Sellers also don’t like news of problems with the home. But everyone benefits from this knowledge. An inspection reduces the likelihood of surprises down the road. A happy and informed buyer is less likely to complain or sue the seller after the sale. Ask your REALTOR® if you have questions about home inspections, the termination option, or other parts of your real estate transaction. Your REALTOR® can help you sort through your options so you can achieve your real estate dreams.
Real estate transactions often involve large sums of money and emotional decisions, so it’s no wonder people get stressed. Consider these strategies to help you move through the process with ease. Clarify Your Goals What is your main motivation for buying or selling? Clarity helps you avoid anxieties brought on by distractions. For example, if your top reason to move is more space for your family, you won’t face a difficult decision when you tour a house with beautiful features but no more space than your current home. Get Time On Your Side When possible, build in enough time to avoid spur-of-the-moment decisions or unrealistic deadlines. Yes, external factors like a job relocation or a hot market can necessitate quick responses, but there’s a difference between being prepared to act and setting arbitrarily short time frames. Remember, a successful transaction requires coordination with the other party and providers such as title companies, inspectors, surveyors, and others. Just because you can move quickly doesn’t mean everyone else can meet that timeline. Focus On Positives You may experience a few bumps on the path toward your home purchase or sale. Simply being aware that surprises may pop up can relieve some pressure when they do. When challenges do arise, balance out those concerns by remembering the positives of moving, such as fresh opportunities, a beneficial transaction, and new friends. The best way to avoid stress when buying or selling a home is to work with a REALTOR®. Your REALTOR® is the professional who can guide you through the steps to achieve your real estate dreams.
Congratulations! You have received an offer—or maybe more than one—to purchase your home. Before you say yes, review the terms. Remember: while price is certainly important, an offer is more than just a number. Consider these factors when working with your REALTOR® to decide what to do. Does the Timing Work for You? You need to move to your next address. You might be buying another home yourself. An offer that works with your timetable will be more appealing than one with a quick turnaround or that is otherwise inconvenient. Buyers may even be willing to temporarily rent your home back to you after the transaction closes. Has a Buyer Offered To Pick Up Some of Your Costs? Buyers may sweeten the deal by offering to pay for some of the sellers’ closing costs. Though that amount is not part of the purchase offer, it increases your bottom line. How Much Will They Put in Earnest Money and the Termination Option Fee? Some buyers will show their interest with a large earnest money payment. They may also include a large option fee, which you can keep if the buyer chooses to terminate the contract. Are There Other Factors at Play? There are many aspects of an offer that can make a deal more or less appealing to you, such as factors related to appraisals, surveys, financing, termination options, and more. Your REALTOR® can help you sort through the criteria that matter most to you and can help you find the best offer for your home. When you hire a REALTOR®, you have an advocate for closing the best deal possible
Sure, you could try to sell your own home. You could gather as much market data as possible and try to determine the best asking price. You could decide what else you might do—paint or landscape or remodel?—to maximize the property’s appeal and value. You could get the word out to as many people as possible that your home is for sale. You could field all calls from buyers and their agents, schedule showings, and answer people’s questions. You could assess offers and make counteroffers. You could figure out how to respond to the buyer’s requests and questions, and keep on top of deadlines. You could research how to avoid missteps that would lose you money, put the transaction at risk, or lead to a lawsuit. Yes, you could do all that and eventually close the deal … or you could hire someone to make your life easier. By hiring a REALTOR®, you get a trustworthy, qualified professional helping you with your home sale. Your REALTOR® knows the ins and outs of your local market and can guide you to a successful closing. With exclusive access to the most accurate market data and more than 150 real estate forms, your REALTOR® will ensure you have the information and tools you need to accomplish your goal. Your REALTOR® also has professional contacts in the industry who can help you with every aspect of the transaction. You won’t have to wonder what is happening or what comes next. Explaining what’s going on is all part of the job. Selling your home is not only the largest financial transaction you’ll ever do—it can be one of the most stressful and complex ones as well. Why go it alone when you can have an advocate on your team? Your REALTOR® is here to help and bring you peace of mind.
You and your REALTOR® can make a great team. But your REALTOR® can’t read your mind. Help your REALTOR® find the best options for you by sharing what you’re looking for and offering feedback. State Your Priorities Tell your trusted real estate professional about your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and dealbreakers. Your REALTOR® can find available homes with the features that matter to you. You and your REALTOR® can also discuss the best ways to meet your goals. If privacy is important to you, your REALTOR® could search for larger lot sizes, properties near undeveloped land, or even homes with tall fences or fewer neighbors. If you have plans for a growing family or multi-generational household, your REALTOR® can find homes with more space or remodeling potential. Discuss Your Budgetary Guidelines Your REALTOR® is an expert in the local real estate market and can show you options in your price range. Your REALTOR® may also provide you information about assistance programs that could help you. You Don’t Need To Have All The Answers That’s why you hired a REALTOR®! Ask your REALTOR® about any aspect of your home search or purchase that you don’t understand. But remember: your REALTOR® adheres to a strict Code of Ethics and may not be able to answer some questions, especially ones that involve opinions instead of facts, ones that deal with legal issues, or ones that involve areas outside the expertise of your REALTOR®. In those cases, your REALTOR® can often suggest impartial sources for you to explore. By hiring a REALTOR®, you have a professional on your side dedicated to helping you succeed in your transaction. Your vision and your REALTOR® ’s expertise are a winning combination to help you find a home you’ll love for years to come.
You love the wood floors, chef’s kitchen, and spa-like bathroom. But remember that there’s more to a property than features and looks. Here are additional items to consider before you make an offer. Will It Be Loud? That idyllic street you saw on a Sunday open house might turn into a commuters’ cut-through during the week. Or a nearby grade crossing might prompt frequent train horns in the middle of the night. Visit the home at different times on different days to get a sense for what the noise level is like, and consider asking current neighbors about sources of significant noise and traffic. How Old Is That Really Expensive Thing To Replace? The seller’s disclosure notice may alert you to known issues with major appliances and systems, but those sources won’t tell you that the HVAC or roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. Knowing the age of certain items can help estimate when they need to be replaced. A home inspector can likely give you information about whether certain systems are deficient, but don’t count on an inspection to reveal how much life is left in a component. In some cases, the installation date may be available or visible. Can I Do It My Way? Homeowners associations can benefit property owners but they come with rules and regulations that must be followed. Be sure to review all documents from an HOA before you commit to a purchase. Likewise, city codes and ordinances restrict what you can do with your property. You don’t want to find out after you close that you can’t park your boat trailer in the driveway or paint your house your favorite shade of red. Will the View Change? That view of the hills or lake or city skyline can be a huge selling point. But will that feature remain? If you’re buying in a master planned community, check with the builder to see if there are plans to develop something that may obstruct the view. Otherwise, you can look into the area’s zoning to understand whether that scenic view might be jeopardized. Keep in mind that development plans and zoning are subject to change in the future.
When preparing for a sale, homeowners often focus on curb appeal and interior staging to entice buyers. Staging outdoor areas—decks, patios, and other gathering spots—can also add to your property’s appeal. An inviting outdoor space encourages buyers to see it as an extension of the indoor space, adding virtual square feet to the home. Wash Everything Start with a clean space. Use a hose, power washer, or damp cloth to get rid of pollen, cobwebs, wasp nests, and similar unwelcome things. If you have a deck, pergola, or other wooden feature, give it a fresh coat of stain. Are your chairs rusty or rotted? Replace or remove them. Make sure cushions are free of mold and mildew. Soften Your Space Hard materials, such as wood or concrete, can be cold or unwelcoming. Add an outdoor area rug— preferably one that adds texture and color—and accent pillows to seating. Is there a side to your space that overlooks a street, air conditioning unit, or similar unwanted view? Hang an outdoor curtain or sunshade. Light Up the Night People don’t only use their outdoor space during the day—especially in Texas. Install outdoor string lights, decorative lanterns, or solar powered lighting to illuminate your space. Place small, battery powered lamps on tables to brighten corners or add ambience. Liven Up With Plants Whether it’s flowers or succulents in pots, vines climbing a post, or well-groomed bushes, plants add appealing textures and colors to your space. Even a vase of bright artificial flowers is better than nothing. These tips can help you improve or transform your outdoor space into a place where buyers want to spend time. For more advice on preparing your home for sale, talk to a REALTOR®.
REALTORS® work in your area every day, helping you and others achieve real estate goals. Whether the transaction involves residential property, land, commercial property, or rental property, REALTORS® are trusted professionals you can count on. But REALTOR® associations, brokerages, and individual agents also work in your community to make positive change. Volunteering More Than Money REALTORS® know that making a difference sometimes takes more than writing a check. That’s why they not only donate money but also their time to countless initiatives, such as: Habitat for Humanity builds Blood drives for area hospitals Food drives for food pantries Disaster relief during hurricanes and floods Meal delivery for first responders during the pandemic Backpacks and supplies for low-income students Clothing drives for homeless and women’s shelters Toy drives during the winter holidays. These are only a few examples of how REALTORS® are improving the city you live in. 100 Years of Positive Change During its centennial festivities, Texas REALTORS® celebrated hundreds of members across Texas who give back to their communities in myriad ways. See all the winners of the Acts of Kindness Award at texasrealestate.com/100. Your REALTOR® helps you achieve your real estate dreams and makes your community a better place.