Property owners are free to sell "For Sale by Owner," or FSBO, in Texas. This means you do not need to use the services of a Realtor or other real estate agent, but you need to understand the importance of fair housing laws, how to make important disclosures and have firm understanding of the sales process, or you could be making a big expensive mistake.
Pros and Cons of Using a Realtor to Sell Your Home in Texas
Local Realtors understand the market in Texas and have access to the local multiple listing service for listing your home. A local Realtor can help you price your home so that it is competitive with the current marketplace in your part of the state. If you are concerned about the expense of a Realtor's commission, understand that there is no set percentage for a Realtor's commission in Texas. Typically, as it is around the count, agents will offer to list a property for a six percent commission, with around half of that amount going as a "broker's co-op" to a buyer's agent.
Fair Housing Laws and Disclosures
FSBO sellers often do not understand the risks of violating federal Fair Housing laws. It is illegal to word advertising in such a way that violates the laws, or refuse to negotiate or to sell to people based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap. The penalties for violating these laws are severe in Texas as they are elsewhere across the country. Disclosing existing conditions in a home, or disclosing the possible existence of lead-based paint in a home built before 1978 is also important.
Knowing Your Local Market
Texas is a big state with a wide variety of markets along the coast, on the dry prairies and in the hill country. Understanding the nuances of your local market and bringing your property to market may not be as easy as it appears. Knowing how to prepare your home for presentation, being available to show the property and knowing how to negotiate and prepare a counter offer is often beyond the skills of many would-be sellers. Buyers can be finicky and will want to shop around extensively before placing offers, according to Broker Roxanne Seibert of Garland, Texas.
Using the Right Forms
The Texas Real Estate Commission offers state-approved real estate forms online. If you are selling your own property, you should use Texas-approved forms, such as a purchase contract, which will provide you with more protection than generic forms found online. The state's Seller's Disclosure of Property Condition form is also available on the site, which you should utilize with any potential buyers.
Based in Lone Tree, Colorado, Keith Olsen has been writing business-related articles since 2008. A former executive in the newspaper and franchise industries, he is a real estate broker and author of "Absolutely the Best Career Exit Strategy." Olsen earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from the University of Denver.