Seller's Guide

We Know the Austin Area Real Estate Market.

The Austin area is unique and diverse. Each community has its own character. Each neighborhood appeals to a different buyer. To obtain the highest possible sales price for your home, the marketing must reach the right buyers with the right message. We have the network and experience to do this.

We Have the Creative Talent to Showcase Your Home.

The old adage, "You can't judge a book by its cover" is passé today. This is a fast-paced, image-oriented society in which we live. First impressions really do count! Every piece of information on your property, whether it be a brochure, the wording in the Multiple Listing Service, a presence on the Internet, or a well-placed advertisement, must show your home in the best possible light.

During all phases of a listing from the initial paperwork and promotion through the very last details of the closing, we personally attend to all of the details. As a result, the large majority of our transactions come through referrals and repeat business.

Real estate photo

Not sure if your home is ready to sell? We have free money for market-ready improvements! Get fronted the cost for home improvements with no interest - ever. 

Pricing your home is both an art and a science. Achieving the optimal price is the result of both objective research into comparable properties and a gut feeling about your property and the current market.

The right price should:

  • Attract buyers
  • Allow you to earn the most money possible
  • Help you sell as quickly as possible

The simple fact is, price is the number one factor that most homebuyers use to determine which homes they want to view. And it's important to remember that, although the price is set by you, the value of the home is determined by the buyer. Try to avoid allowing your enthusiasm to impact your better judgment - overpricing is a common mistake that can cost you in the end.

The Importance of Proper Pricing

  • Faster sale and less inconvenience
  • Exposure to more buyers
  • Increases Realtors® response
  • Generates more advertising/sign calls
  • Attracts higher offers
  • Means more money to seller
  • Avoids being "shopworn"

What really matters is how your home stacks up against the others currently offered for sale and recently sold in your neighborhood. Buyers will be comparing.

Common Reasons for Overpricing

  • Over-improvement
  • Need
  • Purchasing in higher-priced area
  • Original purchase price too high
  • Lack of factual data
  • Bargaining room
  • Move isn't necessary
  • Assessed value
  • Emotional attachment
  • Opinion of family and neighbors

Dangers of Overpricing

  • Most of the activity on your home will occur in the first few weeks. Pricing a home properly and then creating immediate urgency in the minds of agents and buyers is critical.
  • Buyers who have seen most available homes in their price range are waiting for the "right house" to come on the market. That's why if a house is priced right, it will sell quickly. The buyers are there waiting for it.
  • Don't start with a high price and the assumption that you can reduce it later. By the time you decide to lower the price, it may be too late, as interest will have alreadywaned.
  • A major cause for concern is appraisal problems; overpricing can lead to loan rejections and lost time.
  • Even if your home is nicer than other homes in the same area, your house won't be picked for viewing if you set the price too high.
  • Buyers and agents become aware of the long exposure period and often are hesitant to make an offer because they fear something is wrong with the property.
  • Attracting the wrong buyers.
  • Fewer potentially qualified buyers will respond.
  • You might help sell similar homes that are priced low.
  • You could lose money as a result of making extra mortgage payments while incurring taxes, insurance and unplanned maintenance costs.

The Role of a Real Estate Agent in Pricing

  • Provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA), a comparison of the prices of recently sold homes that are similar in terms of location, style, and amenities. A CMA is performed by comparing previously sold homes in the area, and currently active homes to know your competition.
  • There is no "exact price" for real estate
  • We don't tell you what we think your home is "worth".
  • The market determines value…together we determine the price.
  • You determine the price based on the factors you control:
        - Marketing time
        - Financing alternatives provided
        - Condition
        - Exposure method
  • Keep in touch with market trends and keep up to date with market activity of comparable homes.
  • Estimate your net proceeds.
  • Help to determine offering incentives.

An agent has NO control over the market, only the marketing plan. Never select an agent based on price.

Multiple Listing Service

Your home is immediately listed on the Multiple Listing Service which updates a daily catalog of homes for sale through its member brokers and an online computer network, available to its members, with photos and descriptions of all listed properties. We personally submit a photo and the descriptive elements of your home to ensure that you have the best possible representation on the MLS.

On the Internet

All of our property listings are online under Featured Listings on our website as well as on all local websites that subscribe to the Multiple Listing Service. Research from the National Association of Realtors indicates that more than 80% of home buyers now begin the buying process online. Our website includes the most advanced tools available, including Active Maps and automatic email notifications, to give buyers the most reason to keep coming back.

For Sale Signs and Brochure Boxes

Immediately our distinctive "For Sale" sign is placed on your property along with a brochure box containing photo/property information flyers.

Photo Flyer

As quickly as possible after receiving your signed listing contract, we prepare and print a professional color flyer. We make a point of having flyers for all of our listings available at each of our open houses.

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions.

The exterior of your home often determines how buyers will view the interior, so:

  • Make sure your front entrance is clean and inviting.
  • Paint or replace your front door if it's faded or worn.
  • Add some paint to shutters, trim and any other outside features showing signs of wear.
  • Add vibrant plants and put down some fresh mulch.

Accentuate the Positive.

"How we live in a home and how we sell a home are often two different things." Try to see your home with a fresh perspective and arrange each room to bring out its best attributes, including:

  • Keep windows and floors clean.
  • Replace faded wallpaper and glue any areas that have come away from the wall.
  • Repair worn woodwork.
  • Repaint scarred or dirty walls in a neutral color.
  • Steam clean carpeting or replace it, if necessary.
  • Repair loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers, broken light switches and other minor flaws.
  • Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers.

Try to see your home with a fresh perspective and arrange each room to bring out its best attributes, including:

  • Open draperies and curtains to let the light in during the showing.
  • Remove all unnecessary clutter from your attic, basement and closets to better display spacious rooms (consider storage or a garage sale to dispose of extraneous items).
  • Arrange all your rooms neatly and remove excess furniture. Keep fresh, clean towels in the bathroom. Use candles or air fresheners to make the room smell pleasant.

Put Your Home in the best possible light.

Strategically lighting your home, even during daytime showings, can create a cozy mood and highlight positive attributes of each room, so:

  • Avoid the use of overhead lighting that makes rooms look washed out and lifeless.
  • Be creative and arrange lamps to help smaller rooms seem larger, and large rooms seem more intimate.
  • Use lighting to highlight the "living areas" of your home, such as a pair of chairs near a fireplace, or a table in a breakfast area.

Inside:

  • Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep decorative objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items.
  • Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. If it hasn't been used for three months…put it away!
  • Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, pictures, etc. (A sparse kitchen helps buyers mentally move their own things into your kitchen.)
  • In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops. Keep only your most needed cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc., in one small group on the counter. Coordinate towels to one or two colors only.
  • Rearrange or remove some of the furniture if necessary. As owners, many times we have too much furniture in a room. This is wonderful for our personal enjoyment, but when it comes to selling, we need to thin out as much as possible to make rooms appear larger.
  • Take down or rearrange certain pictures or object on walls. Patch and paint if necessary.
  • Review the house inside room by room. Paint any room needing paint, clean carpets or drapes that need it, clean windows.
  • Leave on certain lights during the day. During "showings" turn on all lights and lamps.
  • Have stereo FM on during the day for all viewings.
  • Lockbox--#1 Importance: "If we don't have it, they won't show it."

Outside:

  • Trim landscaping to reveal architectural detail (bottom of windows, etc.). "If they can't see it, we can't sell it."
  • Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., into the garage.
  • Check gutters and/or roof for dry rot. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.
  • Look at all plants…prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows. "You can't sell a house if you can't see it." Plants are like children-they grow so fast!!
  • Weed and then bark all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized. Remove any dead plants or shrubs.
  • Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys, etc. (Put them in the garage).
  • Check paint condition of the house-especially the front door and trim. "Curb appeal really works!"

In General

Try to look at your house "through the buyer's eyes" as though you've never seen it or been there before. Any time or money spent on these items will bring you back more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale.

Nine Minute Showing Drill

Occasionally you will receive a call to schedule a showing to take place within the next few minutes. The following is a checklist for this type of panic:

  1. Sound: Turn off the television and tune the radio (low volume) to a soft rock, middle of the road or classic rock station.
  2. Sight: Turn on every light in the house (day or night) and open every drape and blind (day time only).
  3. Odors: Heat some frozen pastry slowly in the oven or heat a pan on the stove and then drop in a few drops of vanilla.
  4. Kitchen: Wipe kitchen counters, place dirty dishes in dishwasher.
  5. Bathrooms: Wipe counters, flush and close toilets.
  6. Living/Family Rooms: Hide magazines, newspapers, and games; remove clutter.
  7. Bedrooms: Straighten beds. Hide clutter under bed (not in closet).
  8. Exterior: Put away toys and clutter. Keep walk clear.
  9. Children & Pets: They are a distraction, so send them outside.
  10. Goodbye: Sorry, but this is the single most important thing you can do in a showing to help sell your home! Even if the showing agent insists that it is okay to stay, you must leave. Buyers must get emotionally committed to your home to buy it and they cannot become emotional about "their new home" if you, the current owners, are "hanging around." Please, at the very least, go into the backyard. Even better, go to the store.

Which items will add value to your home and help with resale when the time comes to sell?

The answer is: “Only the ones that future buyers will also want and be willing to pay for.”

As a general rule, choosing the functional over the merely cosmetic and choosing neutral over unusual or exotic will pay at resale. Taste and current trends can also affect the value of an update. Unusual colors have a limited appeal.

Which updates will add the most value to your home?

  • Update your kitchen and/or bathrooms. Whether you need a minor or major remodel, updating the kitchen or bathrooms in your home will yield a high return on investment. Stay timeless with your updates, but also pay attention to trends. 
  • Increase usable space. Add an extra bathroom, upgrade or expand your kitchen and/or master bedroom suite, add more closet space, or convert an unused space to a more functional space, like a spare bedroom to a home office or basement into the ultimate hangout space.
  • Lighten and brighten your rooms. Paint rooms white or with a light color paint to neutralize your space. Add skylights, windows, or French doors.
  • Revamp the exterior. Updated landscaping will draw in buyers before they even walk through the door. Keep your shrubs, trees, and grass trimmed and tidy. Add a splash of color with vibrant plants or by painting the front door an eye-catching color. Consider a focal point like a flagstone walkway or a water feature. 

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The HZG is a dynamic team of tenacious problem solvers operating with authenticity & integrity. Our creative process honors the potential in people & properties.