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THINKING OF SELLING YOUR HOME YOURSELF?

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For sale sign outside a family house.

Most people hire a real estate agent to sell their home. In fact, 91% of Texans did so in 2020, according to research by the National Association of REALTORS® . If you are considering selling your home on your own, make sure you know what you are in for. The process can be complicated and the stakes high. Here are just a few of the many reasons a REALTOR® is the best choice to help you sell your home.

NOBODY KNOWS THE MARKET BETTER THAN A REALTOR®

REALTORS® are engaged every day in buying and selling real estate. They know what factors help a property sell quickly and for the highest price. They also understand what causes homes to languish on the market. A REALTOR® will help you make the best decisions to realize your goals.

“Not all real estate agents are REALTORS® . Only REALTORS® pledge to follow a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a high level of real estate knowledge. When you are thinking of selling your home, talk to a REALTOR®

A REALTOR® CAN HELP YOU GET READY TO SELL

Wondering what updates to tackle before putting your home on the market? Unsure how to price your property? What you decide could lead to tens of thousands of dollars in gains or losses. A REALTOR® brings a wealth of experience to help you optimize your sale in these and many other areas. You won’t have to figure out on your own what disclosures are required, which forms to use, and other important considerations.

REALTORS® MAKE THE WHOLE PROCESS SMOOTHER

It’s exciting when your home goes under contract. But there’s a long road from accepting an offer to successfully closing a sale. A REALTOR® is your trusted resource to guide you the rest of way. A REALTOR® can also help you deal with surprises that pop up with appraisals, inspections, insurance, your loan, and dozens of other steps required to successfully sell your home.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES

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YOUR TAX BILL MAY DIFFER FROM PREVIOUS OWNERS’ AND CURRENT NEIGHBORS’ TAX BILLS

You might try to gauge your future tax bill on what previous owners or current neighbors paid, but your bill could be significantly higher. Those others may qualify for exemptions you don’t meet, such as ones for homeowners aged 65 or older or homeowners who are disabled. Also, their property taxes may have been kept in check with a homestead exemption that provides a 10%-per-year cap on increases in the appraised value. Once ownership changes on the home, though, the assessed value may jump substantially

“No one wants to think about property taxes. But understanding your rights and responsibilities can ensure you pay no more than your fair share. Here are some aspects of property taxes to keep in mind”

MAKE SURE YOU APPLY FOR EXEMPTIONS AND SPECIAL USES

Exemptions lower your taxable value. A lower taxable value means your tax bill will be lower than if you don’t have exemptions. But you have to apply for them. A house you use as your principal residence qualifies for a homestead exemption that reduces the taxable value of your property and caps the amount your taxable value can go up each year. There are exemptions for homeowners 65 or older, homeowners who are disabled, homeowners who are disabled veterans, and others. Some farm and ranch properties qualify to be appraised based on agricultural uses, which often is lower than the market value of the land.

THINK YOUR APPRAISAL IS NOT ACCURATE?

If you believe the appraisal district appraised your home incorrectly, you can protest. Many districts have an option to try to settle a protest informally prior to a formal hearing. If the formal hearing with the appraisal review board does not go your way, you may be able to appeal the decision to state district court, an independent arbitrator, or to the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

Information about the property tax process, exemptions, and protests can be found on the Texas Comptroller’s website, comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax, epcad.org and on many county appraisal district websites.

WHICH MORTGAGE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

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ADJUSTABLE VS. FIXED

One key decision is whether to select a fixed- or adjustable-rate loan. A fixed-rate mortgage keeps the same interest rate for the life of the loan; your monthly payments of principal and interest will not change. Because of this stability, fixed rate mortgages can help you plan your finances far into the future. They also can be attractive when you’re able to lock in a low rate in a volatile market. An adjustable-rate mortgage typically offers an introductory period—for example, five years—with a rate lower than you could get with a fixed-rate loan. After this period, the rate adjusts annually based on the financial markets. Adjustable-rate mortgages can be a less expensive option if you don’t plan on living in a house for very long. You can also take advantage of falling rates without refinancing. Of course, if rates climb, you could owe more in later years.

“When shopping for a mortgage loan, one size does not fit all. It’s important to understand your options and how they will affect your budget”

HOW LONG?

You may think that a 30-year mortgage is your only option, but 15-year mortgages are also available to many borrowers. The overall cost of a mortgage will be less over 15 years than 30 years—the shorter term means less total interest—but the monthly payments are higher. If you can afford to pay off the mortgage sooner, a 15-year loan might be a better choice. However, the lower monthly payments of a 30-year loan could let you use money to pursue other financial goals.

FINDING YOUR LOAN

These are just a few of the options available to finance your home purchase. The mortgage that’s right for one buyer might not be right for another. Be sure to talk to your lender about your life and plans to make sure you get the loan that is best for your situation.

THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU SELL

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IS IT WORTH YOUR TIME AND MONEY?

Before you update your 1970s bathroom, know that you may not recoup all your remodeling costs when you sell. Some remodeling choices actually make it harder to sell a home, such as materials on their way out of style. Other upgrades may be necessary to attract any reasonable offers at all. Additional factors are the condition of nearby homes for sale, the price range of the home, and how much current conditions lean toward a buyer’s or seller’s market.

“Putting your home on the market is exciting. It can be nerve-wracking, too. How do you sort through all the decisions and options? Here are
some considerations to keep in mind”

WHAT HELPS EVERY HOME

No matter the size, age, price, or location of your home, it pays to make sure it’s clean, uncluttered, attractive, and free from minor nuisances. New paint and a few plants go a long way to making a positive first impression. On the other hand, sticking doors, an overgrown lawn, or dripping faucets can turn buyers off before they give your home a fair chance.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS

Perhaps no factor is as important as your asking price. A too-high number may dissuade offers and leave the property languishing unsold, while a lower one may spark a bidding war that drives offers higher than you had dared dream. Elements outside your control may also dictate price, such as market conditions and time constraints to sell.

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