Advice for Consumers

Welcome to the Advice for Consumers blog, where you'll find tips about buying, selling, and leasing property, and so much more.
  • There’s a simple thing you can do to put yourself in a powerful negotiating position: If you want something, don’t care about getting it. Does that sound crazy? Can you see yourself not caring about your dream home, the one you can see yourself blissfully happy in for years to come? Don't misunderstand me. I'm not suggesting you don’t try to get the house. Not caring means you sit down with your Texas REALTOR® and put together a data-driven offer that makes sense for your situation. Then you divorce yourself from the outcome. Not caring—removing the emotion—makes your decisions easier because you’ll be assessing objective criteria. Either the seller meets your price or he doesn’t. Either he agrees to make a repair or he doesn’t. You won’t win every negotiation this way, but you’ll be less likely to pay more than you wanted to or compromise on something that you’ll regret. There’s no line in the contract that says, Check this box if you really want this house. Focus on the particulars of the deal without caring about the outcome. It’s easier said than done.

  • You’ll consider several criteria when purchasing your first home, but have you thought about how easy it will be to sell later? Things like location, features, and nearby amenities—the same criteria you’ll consider—can affect a property’s resale value. You like it, but will they? If it’s your first home, you may only plan to stay in it for a few years. And while you may be willing to buy a house that, for example, is located on a busy street or close to railroad tracks, ask yourself, “Will future buyers feel the same way?” Keep the next buyers in mind Once the home is yours, think about how to improve or maintain the home to appeal to future buyers. This can include things like upgrading bathroom or kitchen fixtures, improving the landscaping, or using paint colors that have broad appeal. Ask an expert If you have questions about whether a property will be easy or hard to sell in the future, talk to a Texas REALTOR®. He or she can offer advice about purchasing a home you love that will also appeal to the most buyers when you’re ready to move.

  • Sure, you could handle all the tasks necessary to manage the rental property you own. Before you make that commitment, ask yourself the following: Do you know the laws pertaining to rental property? Do you know when you're required to change locks, what you can deduct from a security deposit, when you can access the property, and where smoke detectors are required? There are also fair housing laws to consider, rules concerning applications, and more. Will you be available when problems arise? Do you know what to do? What will you do when there's a plumbing problem or the AC doesn't come on? What if there's a burglary? What are your options if the tenant stops paying rent or leaves before the end of the lease? What happens if there's a death at the property? Here's something else to consider .... Do you know enough about the market to set the rent at the optimum amount? If you ask too much, you'll lose money waiting for a renter who will never materialize. Ask too little and you'll lose money month after month. You'll also want to keep up with the market so you know when to raise rents and what to ask the next time you have tenant turnover. Fortunately, you can hire a Texas REALTOR® to handle all of the above for you. Your REALTOR® can also collect rent, market your property, and a take care of other tasks that come with being a landlord. To find a Texas REALTOR® to manage your property, ask friends for a referral—or you can use the Find a Texas REALTOR® search on texasrealestate.com.  

  • Staging your home is a great way to enhance the appeal of your property to buyers. Home-staging and lifestyle expert Tori Toth shares some tips for homesellers. Add natural touches Take a cue from the geography surrounding the home and use natural elements that reflect that area. You want to add plants and flowers to soften spaces and subliminally remind buyers that life grows here. Rearrange furniture Moving furniture to open traffic flow can make a room feel bigger, or arranging it to create a conversation area gives the space purpose.  Set the mood with lighting A house that's illuminated says, "Come on in." Open your blinds and curtains to let in natural light, and put the maximum allowable wattage in fixtures to boost illumination. Accessorize the entryway Add strategic pieces—a table lamp, artwork, mirror, decorative box—to create a statement when welcoming people into a home. Get more tips, including a free home-staging video series, at toritoth.com.

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