Are you looking to sell your home in Houston? Fear of the unknown can cause home sellers a high level of anxiety, especially when the housing market is in flux. Knowing what to expect can help you to craft a solid plan and take confident steps forward when listing and selling your home in the Houston market.
Together with local expert and HomeLight network real estate agent Shawn Manderscheid, we’ll look at some of the quirks of the local market. Manderscheid, who sells properties more than 56% quicker than the average agent in the Houston market, knows how to close the deal efficiently. We will help you be informed, consider your approach, and proceed with selling your property in Houston.
No matter what changes, there’s always pretty steady growth in Houston; there’s consistency. There’s not a massive influx or mass exodus.
- Shawn Manderscheid Real Estate AgentCloseShawn Manderscheid Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Metropolitan Currently accepting new clients
- Years of Experience 25
- Transactions 811
- Average Price Point $426k
- Single Family Homes 707
How should I price my Houston home?
If you plan to sell on the open market, pricing your home right is a crucial step in the process. Doing so will place you in solid competition against similar listings in your area while also netting you the best possible price for your property.
In the current shifting market, sellers in Houston have several strategies to consider.
Pricing to sell for the most money
If selling for the highest possible price is your goal, aim to be on the market at the end of the year. Homes listed in September and sold in December net an average of 7.37% more than average, based on HomeLight data aggregated from 2014 to 2021. March and April are also good times to consider listing, as homes sold in June or July sell for 3%-4% above the yearly average.
Pricing to sell quickly and still get the best possible proceeds
If you’re looking to sell your home fast, the summer months are likely your best bet. Homes listed in April and May and sold in July or August sell an average of 7-8 days sooner than if you listed in any other month.
Deciding when to list and for how much
An experienced real estate agent can help you price your home through a comparative market analysis or CMA. This is a report that agents use to calculate the value of a home by evaluating its size, location, features, age, and other details in relation to similar nearby properties that have recently sold.
Curious about what your home might be worth right now? HomeLight’s online Home Value Estimator tool can provide you with a preliminary estimate of your home’s worth.
Regardless of your strategy, Manderscheid cautions that the local market is not known for being a get-rich-quick environment. This can be good news for homeowners because “no matter what changes, there’s always pretty steady growth in Houston; there’s consistency. There’s not a massive influx or mass exodus.” This steadiness, supported by a thriving business environment in the city, keeps the local market on a reasonably even keel.
Should I accept the first offer on my Houston house?
“My advice would be to take any offer seriously,” says Manderscheid. Whether or not you’ll want to push back or negotiate with the buyer will depend on hyperlocal, recent sales trends, so consult your Realtor® to discern promising offers and know what latitude market conditions may or may not allow.
“Even if your first reaction is that [the offer] is far from the list price, try not to be emotional or take offense,” says Manderscheid. “A first offer is not indicative of how high a buyer will go, either.” Approaching any offer with patience and professionalism may help you to get closer to your asking price than you thought possible based on a buyer’s initial ask.
Manderscheid adds that the longer your home is on the market without a drop in list price, the more aware of this buyers become. “We make adjustments of about five percent,” he indicates, each time a seller positions to lower their list price. So if your home has been listed for weeks or even months without a price drop, brace for offers that may reflect a lower ask.
How much will I make selling my Houston home?
How much you will make selling your Houston home depends on a number of variable factors. To determine how much you will make, let’s look at the overall cost of selling a house and what specific expenses you might face.
Cost to sell a house in Houston
The cost to sell a house in Texas generally averages about 7% to 8% of the final sale price. This estimate includes real estate agent commission, escrow, and assorted fees (some of which are negotiable with the buyer). However, the 7% to 8% does not include your mortgage payoff.
To illustrate how this might look, if you sell your Houston bungalow home for $325,000, the seller’s costs could range from $22,750 to $26,000. Let’s take a look at some of these estimated expenses in more detail.
Common expenses for home sellers in Houston
Here are some typical costs you may incur when selling your Houston home.
Prepping your home for sale
- Home repairs: $500 to $45,000
- Staging: $78 to $109 per hour, or about $7,765 for a 2,000-square-foot home
- Professional cleaning services: $160 to $200, based on a 2,000-square-foot home
- Paint for interior spaces: $1.10 to $2.80 per square foot (plus material)
- Landscaping work: $3,000 to $15,950
- Pre-listing inspection, if desired or needed: $279 to $400
Before deciding to make any large repairs or attempt major renovation projects, it’s wise to consult with your real estate agent. A proven agent will know what needs to be fixed and what can be left alone.
Real estate agent fees in Houston
Agent commissions are one of the larger selling costs when selling a home. In Houston, Realtor® fees average around 6%. Based on our $325,000 Houston bungalow home sale example, you can expect to pay around $19,500 in agent commissions. A typical commission split might look like this:
- $9,750 for the listing agent
- $9,750 for the buyer’s agent
At first glance, this may seem like a significant expense, but partnering with an experienced real estate agent can make a big difference in your final net proceeds and your entire selling experience. HomeLight’s transaction data shows that the top 5% of agents across the country sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average agent. If you make an additional 10% selling your Houston home with a top agent, that can more than make up the cost of Realtor® fees.
Try HomeLight’s Agent Commissions Calculator to get an idea of how much you might pay in Realtor® fees in Texas.
Possible seller concessions in Houston
Negotiations with a buyer can result in additional indirect costs related to seller concessions or buyer incentives. However, many Houston agents will tell you that a lower price is better than a seller concession.
A concession occurs when a seller agrees to use part of the proceeds from their home sale to cover some, or all, of a buyer’s closing costs. The amount of these costs will depend on your selling situation and what’s happening in your Houston market.
Some common seller concessions or buyer incentives in Houston might be:
- Home inspection fees: $300 to $500
- Buyer’s home warranty: $450 to $850
- Covering certain closing costs: $26,000-$27,625
Closing costs and additional fees in Houston
Closing costs are fees associated with a home purchase that buyers and sellers pay at the close of a real estate transaction. The average seller closing cost total in Houston is around 8% to 8.5%.
Based on our example bungalow home sale price of $325,000, a Houston seller might pay the following in closing costs:
- Escrow fee: $3,250 to $6,500
- Homeowner’s association dues: $10 to $600 a month, depending on location
- Mortgage loan payoff: Ask lender (Texas state average is $176,736)
- Reconveyance fees: $50 to $65
- Reconveyance recording fees $10 to $30 for the first page
In multiple-offer scenarios, Houston buyers might pay:
- Title insurance premiums estimated at around $2,200
- Title search fees estimated at around $100 to $200
Property taxes are typically not included in closing costs. Prorated property taxes on a $325,000 home could be as high as $5,882.50, or 1.81% of the actual sale price.
At-a-glance home selling cost example for Houston
|Selling expense||Example cost||% of home sale price|
|Prepping your home for sale||$3,250||1%|
|Real estate agent commissions||$19,500||6%|
|Closing costs, taxes, fees||$16,250 to $32,500||5%-10%|
|Total selling cost example||*$39,000-$74,750||12%-23%|
*Based on a home price of $325,000, not including the estimated mortgage payoff
Be aware that additional fees may apply if you have unpaid property taxes or unpaid Homeowners Association (HOA) dues.
HomeLight’s Net Proceeds Calculator can help you estimate the cost of selling your home and the net proceeds you might earn from the sale.
What do I have to disclose when selling a house in Houston?
Disclosures are governed by state statute, and a seller’s disclosure form is required in the sale of previously-occupied single-family homes in Texas. For a deep dive into the Texas Disclosure Form, visit our story on the topic.
Texas is what some call a “buyer beware” state, meaning that most real estate contracts include “as is” language. Be sure to disclose information on the seller’s disclosure notice to the best of your knowledge, but educate yourself about things that may not be required disclosures, as well.
Two versions of the seller’s disclosure forms are legally accepted in Texas. One is available from the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC); the other is maintained by Texas Realtors® and can be supplied by your Realtor®.
Sellers in Houston are required to complete one of the approved disclosure forms. You’ll be prompted to fill out information about your property in detail, including features of the home, its systems, and potential hazards or needed repairs.
Both versions of the form specifically ask the seller to disclose a number of items, including the presence or condition of the following:
- Gas or electric stove(s) or fixtures
- Natural gas lines
- Pool and/or pool equipment
- Rain gutters
- Appliances and hookups
- Smoke detectors
- Water and waste systems (sewer, septic, city water, well)
- Garage or carport
- Hazardous materials or conditions (lead-based paint, wood rot, termite infestations)
- Legal, zoning, annexations, or use compliance concerns
- Deaths in the home as a result of property issues
- Malfunctions or defects in the roof, driveway, ceilings, electrical and plumbing systems
- Issues related to structural integrity such as a cracked foundation
- Flood risks or water damage
A full page of the Texas seller’s disclosure form is dedicated to flood-related issues; be prepared to include detailed information if you have ever filed an insurance claim related to flooding or if your home is located in a designated flood zone. You can also check your address against a current map of floodplains from the City of Houston.
“Section 5.008 of the Texas Property Code lists the statutory exceptions to the seller’s disclosure notice requirements,” according to the Texas Realtors® website. To learn about whether your specific circumstances exempt you from the disclosure requirements, consult your real estate agent and/or a real estate attorney licensed in the state of Texas.
What documents do I need to sell a home in Houston?
Anyone selling a home in Houston needs to fill out paperwork that is standard for home sales in Texas. Many forms are available on the TREC website, but others may need to be supplied by your real estate agent.
Chances are, your agent will take the lead in pulling together the necessary documents for closing. You can expect them to prepare paperwork that will likely include the following:
- Copy of the purchase agreement
- CMA (this is the competitive market analysis completed by your agent)
- Closing statement (list of costs associated with the sale of your home)
- Signed deed (to legally transfer the title of your property)
- Bill of sale
- Affidavit of title (this shows you legally own the home and that there are no liens on the property) and/or mortgage payoff statement
- Title report (showing clean title and reflecting that there are no taxes owed)
- Loan payoff information
- HOA documents (if applicable)
- Survey results (showing property lines and boundaries)
- Home inspection results
- Proof of renovation or repairs (if negotiated during sale; also include documentation of major repairs like a new roof)
- Correction statement and agreement (if the buyer requires changes or needs to recover lost documents in the future)
- Seller’s disclosure notice
If applicable, your agent may also include:
- Homeowner warranty information
- Relevant legal documents, if you are selling an inherited property
- Closing disclosure (may be required by the buyer’s lender)
How can I prepare my Houston home before the sale?
There are a number of factors to consider as you prepare to sell your Houston home. You will want to find the Goldilocks balance of time and money investments for overall repairs and landscaping, and fixes that might be needed to be ready for the home appraisal, home inspection, and showings.
What repairs to make — or not make — before selling
This all comes down to what the buyer and seller agree to, so walk through the home with your real estate agent before listing to discuss the needed repairs you may be aware of – as well as those you may have overlooked. Focusing on the right fixes can optimize your sale.
To prepare for the home appraisal
Lean on your agent’s expertise in advance of the home appraisal, which is a critical step in the closing process. Ensuring your home appraises for its agreed-upon sales price will depend on recent comparable sales in your immediate area. Read up on tips for sellers at this stage of the process here.
To prepare for the home inspection
The inspection may be one of the most stressful stages of the home-selling process. You’ll feel like your property is under a magnifying glass – and it is. There are things you can do to prepare, like addressing any known major issues. In addition, consider these small steps:
- Have your HVAC unit serviced – this is often a relatively low cost and can ensure optimal operation in advance of having it inspected.
- Ensure the inspector will have access to all areas of the property (either plan on being home during the inspection or unlock things like exterior buildings, gates, and crawl spaces).
- Check your smoke detectors to ensure they are all working properly. This is a quick and easy way to prepare that will speed along the rest of the inspection.
Stucco is a common building material in the Houston area. While it is popular and attractive, you may consult your agent about whether issues with the stucco in your home may cause problems.
“This is even [an issue] in homes that are built within the last ten years,” Manderscheid says, citing that such a repair can cost as much as $30,000. If repairs are needed, your agent is likely connected to a trusted “Rolodex of top service providers” and can coach you through the best possible way to proceed.
For more tips on preparing for the inspection, visit our Seller Resource Center page on the topic.
To prepare for showings
Showings are when the rubber really meets the road in terms of selling your home. A deep clean is a wise expenditure in advance of listing photographs and showings alike: you want your home to look its best online and in person.
- Ensure landscaping is clean.
- Clear clutter from the front yard and/or porch area (this may include your beloved seasonal decorations – a blank canvas is usually best).
- Give your front door and/or shutters a fresh coat of paint, if needed.
- Replace damaged screens on front windows and/or the front door.
- Check porch lighting to be sure bulbs are working and bright.
For additional tips on preparing for showings, read our 13 Tips for Showing Your House that Appeal to All 5 Senses.
What if my Houston home needs repairs I can’t afford?
An experienced agent will know how to help you find a solution to any selling situation, even a home that needs repairs you don’t think you can afford. Top agents often know and work with local contractors, have connections with cash investors, or may have knowledge of bridge programs to help you repair your home and sell it for a higher price, allowing you to repay the funds after the sale.
“Any house is sellable without repairs,” Manderscheid stresses. “The question is, how much will you stand to lose because you didn’t do the work upfront?”
Focusing on the right repairs before selling can help maximize the return on whatever you can spend. Discuss with your agent what “must-haves” buyers are looking for in your area. Manderscheid adds that your agent can guide you and advise you on “where to spend your attention and focus, and what to do or not do to prepare for the listing.”
If you are crunched for time or own a property that needs a complete overhaul, you can also request a no-obligation quote from a platform like HomeLight’s Simple Sale, which will let you compare a no-obligation cash offer with what a top agent in your market might be able to get for your home. We’ll share details about cash offers and other selling options later in this post.
What are some tips to market my house for sale in Houston?
- Pay for a professional cleaning service before photography and showings
- Check trees on the property for signs of oak wilt and, if necessary, consult an arborist
- Partner with your real estate agent to highlight your home’s unique location and strengths
For more tips on selling your property in Houston, our blog covers this ground in How to Market Your House for Sale.
When is the best time to sell my house in Houston?
For an in-depth look at the best time of year to sell your home in Houston, have a look at our recent article on the topic.
You’ll also want to be aware of the latest market trends, so be sure to look at HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator and consult your Realtor® about what’s happening in your specific neighborhood or suburb. If your home is located in Houston proper, it may be helpful to know the Super Neighborhood your property is in to best understand your area’s hyper-local trends and quirks.
What are my home-selling options in Houston?
The main options to sell a house in Houston include:
List with the help of a real estate agent
A great real estate agent will provide guidance and expert advice throughout the process of listing and selling your home. An experienced agent can help you set an appropriate selling price, provide preparation and presentation tips, will know the best marketing strategies for your market, and will work to find the best buyers. A top agent can help eliminate hassles and headaches and save you time and money.
“This will be one of the biggest financial transactions of your entire life,” Manderscheid stresses and adds that some buyers get caught up in the aesthetics of a home or whether it “checks the boxes” on their family wish list. He mentions more nuances to consider: “flash flood areas, historic districts, and noise from major boulevards,” among them which may be easy to overlook once you fall in love with a property.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), about 90% of home sellers work with a real estate agent.
Sell by owner (FSBO)
This option, called “for sale by owner” or “FSBO,” is less common. Only about 7% of sellers take this route, according to NAR.
Most FSBO sellers are looking to avoid paying a commission to a seller’s agent, also called a listing agent. The total commission for a home sale normally falls between 5%-6% of the sale price, which the listing agent will split (typically around 50-50) with the buyer’s agent. FBSO sellers still need to pay the buyers’ agent, meaning they save about 3% of their sales price overall.
Statistically, properties sold FSBO sell for less than agent-listed homes. According to a recent NAR report, FSBO homes sold for a median price of $260,000 compared to a median price of $318,000 for agent-assisted sales.
If you feel up to the challenge or just want to learn more about the FSBO process, see our story: How to Sell a House by Owner in Texas.
Sell directly to a cash buyer
If you need to sell your home fast or just need a low-stress transaction — perhaps to sell an inherited home or a distressed property — another option is to work directly with a property investor or house-buying company rather than list on the open market.
Some examples of cash buyers include:
iBuyers: Instant buyers, known as iBuyers, are real estate technology companies that buy homes. These companies, such as Opendoor, Offerpad, and RedfinNow, have front-facing websites where customers can request near-instant virtual offers on their homes. iBuyers allow sellers to skip repairs and showings and tend to provide cash offers that are closer to market value than other types of home investors and flippers.
Simple Sale: Simple Sale is a HomeLight platform that provides a cash offer to buy your home, which allows you to skip repair costs, showings, and agent commissions. Simply provide a few details about your property and you’ll receive a no-obligation all-cash offer in as few as 72 hours. If you accept a Simple Sale cash offer, you can close in as little as 10 days. It’s one of the fastest, most convenient ways to sell a home in Houston.
We Buy Houses investor groups: We Buy Houses operations typically buy homes at a discounted rate and generally seek out homes in need of significant repairs. These companies can help sellers cash out quickly, and many will cover a seller’s closing costs.
If you are considering a cash offer from an investor group, vet the company thoroughly. The level of experience, integrity, and customer service you experience can vary. Some are established franchises that strive to maintain consistent standards. Others are small groups or individuals that may not have a proven track record. Check reviews, read testimonials, and research the company’s presence and performance in the market.
And, of course, read any buying agreement carefully before signing.
How can I find a top-performing real estate agent in Houston?
HomeLight can connect you to the top-performing agents in your Houston market. This free tool analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs.
Our data shows that the top 5% of real estate agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent.
What are the most common mistakes Houston home sellers make?
- Not deep-cleaning the home before showings
- Poor quality listing photos
- Failure to address curb appeal (messy landscaping, etc.)
For a list of more common seller mistakes, see our list of what to avoid.
Ready to sell your house in Houston?
When you’re ready to list your home, choose a real estate agent whose experience and expertise you can trust. HomeLight’s Agent Match can connect you with top-performing agents in Houston who have the local experience and market knowledge to successfully guide you through every step of the home-selling journey.
Header Image Source: (sepavone / Depositphotos)
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- "Disclosure Requirements," Texas Realtors® (May 2018)
- "Seller's Disclosure Notice," Texas Real Estate Commission (September 2019)
- "OAK WILT IN HOUSTON, TEXAS," BioGreen Tree Care
- "Highlights From the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers," National Association of Realtors (November 2021)