In less than ten years, the Houston population has increased from just over 2 million people to over 2.3 million people. With the population on the rise, you can bet that there are prospective homeowners in search of a place to call their own.
It can be daunting to sell your home without a realtor, but it’s a completely viable option to list your home for sale by owner in Houston!
All it takes is a little know-how, some preparation, and access to a Multiple Listing Service (or MLS), and you’ll be well on your way to selling your home.
Read on to find out how to prep your Houston house to sell it yourself!
Set Your Asking Price
Determining your home’s value can be tricky, especially if it’s been a long time since you purchased it. Factors such as local development and even time of year can affect the amount you can get for your home.
In 2017, the Houston Chronicle reported that spring was the best time to sell a home in Houston but also the most competitive. Spring sees the most houses on the market and while that means that buyers have far more options, that competition can actually drive up your asking price. Alternatively, you may sell your house a bit faster in the fall because buyers are limited, but you won’t be able to inflate your asking price.
Inflation aside, how do you find your home’s base worth? Begin with regional worth. In Houston, $200,000 can get buyers just over 2,000 square footage on average.
However, that number is bound to change from neighborhood to neighborhood. Round up some sales numbers in your own neighborhood from the past year and compare those homes to yours in terms of size, modernity, and amenities to get a better sense of where your home stacks up in your own neck of the woods.
Remember, your asking price will be partially determined by the work you’re willing to put in during your preparation. There’s a big difference between a home being sold as-is that needs tons of work and a home that has been updated, even if they’re roughly the same size.
Before you list your home, you need to get it ready for photos and viewings. There are different steps to follow if you aren’t moving out before listing, which we will discuss below.
Whether or not you’re moving out beforehand, there are certain steps you should consider following to increase the value of your property.
Consider the kinds of minor repairs and updates you can (and should) do that could increase your home’s value. Minor repairs can include:
- Repainting shutters and doors to improve curb appeal
- Performing light landscaping to improve curb appeal
- Replacing appliances
- Replacing fixtures like cabinet handles, ceiling light covers, and faucets
- Repainting vibrant walls a neutral color
- Cleaning or replacing carpets or other flooring
Minor repairs are meant to modernize your home and increase the visual appeal at little cost to you.
Major repairs go beyond the aesthetic of your home and into the inner workings. Some homeowners don’t want to go through the hassle of overseeing major renovations or construction and opt to sell their home as-is. Keep in mind that this approach will require you to lower your asking price and may narrow your pool of potential buyers to the adventurous few who are willing to tackle a “fixer-upper.”
Major repairs can include:
- Replacing part or all of the plumbing
- Replacing part or all of the electrical wiring
- Reinsulating part or all of the home
- Renovating an entire room, such as the bathroom or kitchen
- Tearing down or putting up internal walls
- Building an addition onto the house
While you’re making these decisions, get a home inspection. This will answer any questions you may have about the state of your plumbing, electrical wiring, and other internal workings of your home.
Extra Preparation for Lived-In Homes
When you’re selling your home after moving out, you have a clean slate to work with. What do you do if you still need to live there until the sale is complete?
First and foremost, you’ll need to declutter. A cluttered, messy space actually causes negative emotions like anxiety and irritability, and you don’t want your home to evoke these feelings in potential buyers! Get rid of the mess to elevate your home to showroom quality.
Speaking of showroom, why not use your own furniture to stage attractive living spaces? Clean out abandoned spaces in your home and redistribute some of the pieces you own to demonstrate the way these spaces can be used. This may mean sacrificing a bit of comfort or convenience but it can be beneficial to give potential buyers a visual representation of your home’s versatility.
Finally, take down the personality a notch. This includes peculiar or distracting art or photographs, but it also includes anything that is highly valuable to you. The latter is to protect your personal belongings while also avoiding the awkward moment when a potential buyer asks you to leave behind a piece or fixture that you absolutely love.
What to Include in Your Listing
Since you’re not using an agent, you’ll need to put together your listing on your own. This isn’t a hard process once you’ve gathered all of the right information and visuals!
First, let’s talk photography. Take high definition photos (or hire a professional to do it for you) during a time of day that the natural light is ample but not glaring. Include at least one photo of each room as well as a shot of the front of the house and the backyard.
If it’s within your budget or skillset, make a video tour of your home. This can create a more full sense of what the home looks like and how it flows than photos alone, which is really helpful for buyers who won’t be able to view the house in person before making an offer.
Include square footage of the property and the home. If possible, create a floor plan with the dimensions of each room so that potential buyers can start to get a sense of how their own furniture would fit in the home.
If your home has any unique architectural details or you’ve recently updated any of the rooms or appliances, do a little bragging! Highlighting the special features is a great way to make your home stand out.
Finally, talk about the perks of your home’s location. This can include both conveniences and local attractions.
For example, if you have easy access to public transportation, grocery stores, schools, or shopping centers, these are things you should include, as they add to the appeal. If you’re a mere five minutes away from the Houston Museum of Natural Science or the Houston Zoo, throw that in there, too!
Why Use an MLS?
Now that your home is prepped and your listing is ready to go, it’s time to start selling! But the question is, how do you get the word out?
You could try things like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. You could dig a signpost into your front lawn and hope a potential buyer will drive by and make an offer. You could call up all your friends and ask them to call up all of their friends until someone finds someone who needs a home in Houston.
Or you could use an MLS and let your listing shine like these beauties.
When you sign up to use an MLS, you’re doing yourself a huge favor. A Multiple Listing Service will take all of that information you’ve compiled and put it out there on some of the top real estate search engines in the nation.
With Blue Match, that’s not all you get. For one flat fee, we’ll list your home across the web, alright. We’ll also help you with pricing analysis, manage all of your documents and contract, show your house to potential buyers, and even help you close the deal.
With us, you don’t have to do tons of footwork to understand how to negotiate and how to draw up your contract because we’ve got agents who are available to help you seven days a week. In other words, you’ve got all of the perks of using an agent at a fraction of the price!
List Your Home for Sale by Owner in Houston Today
If you’re ready to list your home for sale by owner in Houston, you’ve come to the right place. We love Houston, we love selling houses, and we’re revving our engines to get your home on the market and sold in 90 days or less.
What are you waiting for? Get started today!