Whether you need to make your older pool shine again, highlight your neighborhood to community-focused Houstonians, or finally figure out flood insurance, these successful agents have a combined 11,462 completed transactions and the local experience to sell your Houston home quickly and for the best price.
We’ve rounded up some of their favorite Houston selling tips which they kindly shared for no extra charge—read on for the secrets to a successful home sale in H-Town!
Highlight the local school’s selling points in your marketing campaign.
Tim Sojka at Keller Williams Premier Realty
Tim is a SFH expert, having sold 82% more single family homes than the average agent.
“In the Houston suburbs, the most important things are the schools. People don’t just buy homes, they buy neighborhoods.
“I had two homes that were right across the street from each other, both built by the same builder with the exact same square footage…But one home sold for twice what the other one sold for—simply because of the ISD (independent school district) they were assigned to.
“There’s always something you can point to—a recent school remodel, the best athletic facilities. Every school has something about it that’s special. Find it, latch on to it, and market it like no tomorrow.”
Amp up your Houston home curb appeal: Think power-washing and pops of color.
Angelina Keck at Angelina Keck Properties
Angelina is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and sells 70% more properties than the average Houston agent.
Angelina shares her best curb appeal techniques that make a lasting impression on buyers:
- Use black mulch versus red mulch.
“Red mulch doesn’t look good with anything. We recommend black mulch. There is a company called Cowboy Trucking in the west side of Houston, and they are amazing. They’ll come and deliver, for free, the mulch you order in your driveway and then you can just put it where it needs to go. And it’s a lot cheaper than going to Home Depot or Lowe’s and buying a pallet full of mulch.”
- Power wash your driveway and sidewalks.
“You can buy a pressure washer on Amazon for around a hundred bucks. I have one that I lend out to my clients and it’s actually really satisfying to power wash. You can take an ugly gray, black sidewalk and all of a sudden it is gleaming white.”
- Pick a pop of color for your front door to keep your home in buyers’ memories.
“I like a cute pop of color on the front door, if it’s not a clear glass door. You basically want a contrasting color to the brick or the paint color of the house. I like a Greek blue, robin’s egg blue, red, or I’ve even seen yellow look great. It helps people remember the house, especially in neighborhoods where all the houses are similar.”
- Rinse down your driveway to enhance your evening pictures.
“An evening shot is always nice, especially if the home has really good outdoor lighting. Enhance it by hosing down the driveway and walkway and take dusk pictures. The effect looks amazing.”
Invest in flood insurance to protect your home and ease buyers’ minds.
Sara Gordon at Gordon Ford Properties
Sara has over 32 years of experience and sells homes 50% quicker than the average Houston agent.
“If there’s one piece of advice I would give every homeowner in Harris County, it would be to get flood insurance. I don’t care if your home has never flooded, or if you’re outside the flood zone, or if water has never come close to your house. If a major storm parks itself on top of your house, your home is very likely to flood.
“And if you’re not in a floodplain, flood insurance is not expensive. It’s $450 per year. If your house floods, it’s catastrophic. You’re talking about $150,000-$200,000 dollars to repair your house on average. Out of the 300,000 homes we had flood during Harvey, less than 20% of those homeowners had flood insurance.”
Inspect the stucco on your home to avoid closing delays.
James Krueger at Krueger Real Estate
James has over 10 years of experience and is a Townhome expert, having sold 66 more townhomes than the average Houston agent.
“One type of inspection that’s extremely key to the Houston market is stucco inspections. Inside the Loop they did a lot of these townhouses with stucco and they’re beautiful.
“The problem is stucco and humidity don’t go that well together. So, if the stucco’s not done right, which we have seen quite a bit of, then they have to go back in and tear out that stucco wall.
“It can cause a lot of wood rot underneath the structure. And so they have to tear all the structure off, replace the wood, put a new structure on, and make sure that there’s proper ways for that moisture to get out of the stucco. And a lot of that’s with a weep screed.
“If I have a seller with a stucco home, I’m definitely going to warn them that this may happen. I’ve got a seller right now that opted to have this inspection ahead of time, and the quote just got back at $25,000 to repair it all. It’s going to give that buyer peace of mind when purchasing that property.”
Compete with new-builds by making small design updates to your home.
Dawn Fore at RE/MAX Universal
Dawn has over 28 years experience and is a SFH expert, having sold 72% more single family homes than her peers.
“I am competing against new home construction every day. For buyers, a home purchase is so emotional and they’re looking at these new homes and the models and that’s what we’re up against. And I don’t see that going away any time soon.
“So, when we list resale homes, we have to be conscious of the pricing of new homes and look at not just the condition of the home we’re putting on the market—the age of major items like the roof and air conditioning—but also the colors and finishes of the home.
If the home has those shiny brass fixtures that were popular 15 years ago, we’re removing it and replacing it with a bronze or brushed-nickel finish. It changes the home so much.”
“In the kitchen, we’re aiming for lighter colors, primarily granite or sometimes quartz countertops. Backsplashes, of course, offer a lot of options. But the appliances—if they’re old white appliances, it’s difficult to compete with a new build and will need to be priced accordingly.”
Make your closets look larger with simple organizational hacks.
Renee Buckhoff at RE/MAX Elite Properties
Renee has sold 68% more homes than the average Houston agent, with over 704 transactions under her belt.
“One of the tips I tell people is ‘Make sure there’s nothing on the floor in your closets.’ When a buyer opens the door of their closet, they look down first and then up. That floor needs to be clean of anything because if it’s got stuff on it, it suddenly makes the closet look smaller.
“The same with a pantry. Stock your pantry like you would at a grocery store, with labels facing out and everything organized. There are small wow factors that do not cost a dime for a seller to do, but make a big impression on a buyer when they open that pantry and see it organized. It makes it feel like there’s more space.
“You want the buyer to think, ‘I want to live here, I want to live like this.’ When closets are messy, the message that they send is that the seller doesn’t have enough room for all their stuff so I, obviously, as a buyer, am not going to have room for all of my stuff either.”
Update your older pool so buyers see it as an asset.
Lance Loken at The Loken Group
Lance is a top-selling Houston agent, having sold 85% more properties than his peers.
“A pool is absolutely advantageous in the Houston market. The challenge for sellers is that the return on a pool investment is next to nothing. We usually equate it to $15,000-$25,000. Regardless, if you don’t do everything you need to do when prepping the pool, it may come back as being a deterrent from the sale of the home.
“For instance: you can have this really awesome home, and you go out to the backyard and the pool needs to be replastered, which will cost about $5,000-$7,000, and then the buyer’s going to automatically come back and probably subtract $10,000 off the home or tell you to re-plaster the home anyhow. And it just detracts from the overall appearance.
“For homes that have pools that are 8-10 years or older, they need to look at re-plastering the pools as well as potentially updating them, just like you have to do with the indoors. If you want to get top dollar for your home, those are some of the key components as well as making sure that the pump is in great working condition. And if it’s heated, make sure the heating mechanisms are working well.“
Avoid appraisal snags by pricing your home accurately.
Dixie Hightower at RE/MAX Experience
Dixie has sold 77% more homes than the average Houston agent and has over 28 years of experience.
“We help sellers understand what an upgrade is, versus what a maintenance item is, and how that determines the value of their home. If you’ve added a lot of landscaping—several thousand dollars worth of landscaping—that’s an upgrade. And if you’ve put on a new roof or you put in a new hot water heater, HVAC, those are maintenance items.
“So that’s kind of how I start talking to sellers about their home. I make sure that I pull true comparable homes to determine the price of the house. If the home has a pool, then we pull other homes that have pools to compare with.
“We had four offers come in on one house and we knew that they were probably all a little above appraisal amount, so we had to choose the best offer for that home, not necessarily the highest. If we took the highest offer that came in, then down the line it didn’t appraise, we would have had to renegotiate the contract or we could have lost the deal altogether.
“So we try to avoid that upfront by selecting the offer that we feel is the true value of the home.”
Use your agent’s network and local knowledge to hire top professionals.
Judy Hayes at RE/MAX Rewards
Judy is a Certified Distressed Property Expert and has over 10 years of experience.
“We have a ton of resources and we like to be a one-stop-shop for our clients. Obviously, social media is a great way to find a contractor. But we, for instance, have local Kingwood recommendations in our area in Northeast Houston.
“So if I don’t know someone that has a particular niche, like a window person or whatever they may need, we can go out and ask our title companies. We can ask everybody in the industry that we know or other real estate agents, ‘I need some windows replaced in the Kingwood area, who do you recommend?’
“So if I don’t know someone, I know somebody who does. And we certainly like to give them lots of options.”
Navigate your Houston market with a top agent
Who you choose to work with in selling your home is ultimately up to you. But a top Houston real estate agent is your neighborhood’s expert on all-things real estate and will be there to guide you in the right direction, from your first phone introduction until the final closing signature.
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Editor’s note: Agent quotes have been edited and condensed for brevity and clarity.
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