Are you looking to sell your home in Austin? Fear of the unknown can cause home sellers a high level of anxiety, especially when the housing market is in flux. Knowing what to expect can help you to craft a solid plan and take confident steps forward when listing and selling your home in the Austin market.
Together with local expert and HomeLight network real estate agent Hillary Smith, we’ll look at some of the quirks of the local market. Smith, who has sold 100% of her listings and does so more than 43% faster than the average Austin agent, knows what it takes to get the job done. We will help you be informed, consider your approach, and proceed with selling your property in Austin.
How should I price my Austin home?
If you plan to sell on the open market, pricing your home right is a crucial step in the process. Doing so will place you in solid competition against similar listings in your area while also netting you the best possible price for your property.
In the current shifting market, sellers in Austin have several strategies to consider.
Pricing to sell for the most money
End-of-year listings have historically garnered the highest sales prices in the Austin market. HomeLight data collected between 2014 and 2021 show that homes listed in September and sold in December net 7.25% above the average price.
Pricing to sell quickly and still get the best possible proceeds
If you’re looking to sell your Austin home fast, listing in April and selling in July is likely your best bet. HomeLight data show that homes listed in April sell seven days sooner than if you listed in any other month.
Deciding when to list and for how much
A top agent will also help you price your home through a comparative market analysis or CMA. This is a report that agents use to calculate the value of a home by evaluating its size, location, features, age, and other details in relation to similar nearby properties that have recently sold.
Curious about what your home might be worth right now? HomeLight’s online Home Value Estimator tool can provide you with a preliminary estimate of your home’s worth.
Should I accept the first offer on my Austin house?
“It’s very property-specific,” says Smith of the Austin market. Different neighborhoods, school districts, and property types garner different levels of competition. Whether or not you’ll want to seriously weigh your first offer will depend on hyperlocal, recent sales trends, so consult your Realtor® to discern promising offers from those that don’t warrant your time.
How much will I make selling my Austin home?
How much you will make selling your Austin home depends on a number of variable factors. To determine how much you will make, let’s look at the overall cost to sell a house and what specific expenses you might face.
Cost to sell a house in Austin
The cost to sell a house in Texas generally averages about 7% to 8% of the final sale price. This estimate includes real estate agent commission, escrow, and assorted fees (some of which are negotiable with the buyer). However, the 7% to 8% does not include your mortgage payoff.
To illustrate how this might look, if you sell your Austin bungalow home for $325,000, the seller’s costs could range from $22,750 to $26,000. Let’s take a look at some of these estimated expenses in more detail.
Common expenses for home sellers in Austin
Here are some typical costs you may incur when selling your Austin home.
Prepping your home for sale
- Home repairs: $500 to $45,000
- Staging: $78 to $109 per hour, or about $7,765 for a 2,000-square-foot home
- Professional cleaning services: $160 to $200, based on a 2,000-square-foot home
- Paint for interior spaces: $1.10 to $2.80 per square foot (plus material)
- Landscaping work: $3,000 to $15,950
- Pre-listing inspection, if desired or needed: $279 to $400
Before deciding to make any large repairs or attempt major renovation projects, it’s wise to consult with your real estate agent. A proven agent will know what needs to be fixed and what can be left alone.
Real estate agent fees in Austin
Agent commissions are one of the larger selling costs when selling a home. In Austin, Realtor® fees average around 6%. Based on our $325,000 Austin bungalow home sale example, you can expect to pay around $19,500 in agent commissions. A typical commission split might look like this:
- $9,750 for the listing agent
- $9,750 for the buyer’s agent
At first glance, this may seem like a significant expense, but partnering with an experienced real estate agent can make a big difference in your final net proceeds and your entire selling experience. HomeLight’s transaction data shows that the top 5% of agents across the country sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average agent. If you make an additional 10% selling your Austin home with a top agent, that can more than make up the cost of Realtor® fees.
Try HomeLight’s Agent Commissions Calculator to get an idea of how much you might pay in Realtor® fees in Texas.
Possible seller concessions in Austin
Negotiations with a buyer can result in additional indirect costs related to seller concessions or buyer incentives. However, many Austin agents will tell you that a lower price is better than a seller concession.
A concession occurs when a seller agrees to use part of the proceeds from their home sale to cover some, or all, of a buyer’s closing costs. The amount of these costs will depend on your selling situation and what’s happening in your Austin market.
Some common seller concessions or buyer incentives in Austin might be:
- Home inspection fees: $300 to $500
- Buyer’s home warranty: $450 to $850
- Covering certain closing costs: $26,000-$27,625
Closing costs and additional fees in Austin
Closing costs are fees associated with a home purchase that buyers and sellers pay at the close of a real estate transaction. The average seller closing cost total in Austin is around 8% to 8.5%.
Based on our example bungalow home sale price of $325,000, an Austin seller might pay the following in closing costs:
- Escrow fee: $3,250 to $6,500
- Homeowner’s association dues: $262/month average in Austin
- Mortgage loan payoff: Ask lender (Texas state average is $176,736)
- Reconveyance fees: $50 to $65
- Reconveyance recording fees $10 to $30 for the first page
In multiple-offer scenarios, Austin buyers might pay:
- Title insurance premiums estimated at around $2,200
- Title search fees estimated at around $100 to $200
Property taxes are typically not included in closing costs. Prorated property taxes on a $325,000 home could be as high as $5,882.50, or 1.81% of the actual sale price.
At-a-glance home selling cost example for Austin
|Selling expense||Example cost||% of home sale price|
|Prepping your home for sale||$3,250||1%|
|Real estate agent commissions||$19,500||6%|
|Closing costs, taxes, fees||$16,250 to $32,500||5%-10%|
|Total selling cost example||*$39,000-$74,750||12%-23%|
*Based on a home price of $325,000, not including the estimated mortgage payoff
Be aware that additional fees may apply if you have unpaid property taxes or unpaid Homeowners Association (HOA) dues.
HomeLight’s Net Proceeds Calculator can help you estimate the cost of selling your home and the net proceeds you might earn from the sale.
What do I have to disclose when selling a house in Austin?
Disclosures are governed by state statute, and a seller’s disclosure form is required in the sale of previously-occupied single-family homes in Texas. For a deep dive into the Texas Disclosure Form, visit our story on the topic.
Texas is what some call a “buyer beware” state, meaning that most real estate contracts include “as is” language. Be sure to disclose information on the seller’s disclosure to the best of your knowledge, but educate yourself about things that may not be required disclosures as well.
Two versions of the seller’s disclosure forms are legally accepted in Texas. One is available from the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC); the other is maintained by Texas Realtors® and can be supplied by your Realtor®.
Sellers in Austin are required to complete one of the approved disclosure forms. You’ll be prompted to fill out information about your property in detail, including features of the home, its systems, and potential hazards or needed repairs.
Both versions of the form specifically ask the seller to disclose a number of items, including the presence or condition of the following:
- Gas or electric stove(s) or fixtures
- Natural gas lines
- Pool and/or pool equipment
- Rain gutters
- Appliances and hookups
- Smoke detectors
- Water and waste systems (sewer, septic, city water, well)
- Garage or carport
- Hazardous materials or conditions (lead-based paint, wood rot, termite infestations)
- Legal, zoning, annexations, or use compliance concerns
- Deaths in the home as a result of property issues
- Malfunctions or defects in the roof, driveway, ceilings, electrical and plumbing systems
- Issues related to structural integrity such as a cracked foundation
- Flood risks or water damage
“There’s a really significant section dedicated to flood disclosure,” says Smith – you’ll be asked to go into some detail here. “There’s a whole page about it.” Be prepared to include detailed information if you have ever filed an insurance claim related to flooding or if your home is located in a designated flood zone.
“Section 5.008 of the Texas Property Code lists the statutory exceptions to the seller’s disclosure notice requirements,” according to the Texas Realtors® website. To learn about whether your specific circumstances exempt you from the disclosure requirements, consult your real estate agent and/or a real estate attorney licensed in the state of Texas.
What documents do I need to sell a home in Austin?
Anyone selling a home in Austin needs to fill out paperwork that is standard for home sales in Texas. Many forms are available on the TREC website, but others may need to be supplied by your real estate agent.
Chances are, your agent will take the lead in pulling together the necessary documents for closing. You can expect them to prepare paperwork that will likely include the following:
- Copy of the purchase agreement
- CMA (this is the competitive market analysis completed by your agent)
- Closing statement (list of costs associated with the sale of your home)
- Signed deed (to legally transfer the title of your property)
- Bill of sale
- Affidavit of title (this shows you legally own the home and that there are no liens on the property) and/or mortgage payoff statement
- Title report (showing clean title and reflecting that there are no taxes owed)
- Loan payoff information
- HOA documents (if applicable)
- Survey results (showing property lines and boundaries)
- Home inspection results
- Proof of renovation or repairs (if negotiated during sale; also include documentation of major repairs like a new roof)
- Correction statement and agreement (if the buyer requires changes or needs to recover lost documents in the future)
- Seller’s disclosure notice
If applicable, your agent may also include:
- Homeowner warranty information
- Relevant legal documents, if you are selling an inherited property
- Closing disclosure (may be required by the buyer’s lender)
How can I prepare my Austin home before the sale?
There are a number of factors to consider as you prepare to sell your Austin home. You will want to find the Goldilocks balance of time and money investments for overall repairs and landscaping, and fixes that might be needed to be ready for the home appraisal, home inspection, and showings.
What repairs to make — or not make — before selling
This all comes down to what the buyer and seller agree to, so walk through the home with your real estate agent before listing to discuss the needed repairs you may be aware of – as well as those you may have overlooked. Focusing on the right fixes can optimize your sale.
“It probably won’t be profitable to fully remodel a kitchen,” Smith confesses, “However, there are little things you can do to dress up a home,” she says and adds that she has successfully flipped properties together with her husband. Smith’s background in interior design also helps her to work with sellers to transform spaces on a budget before opening the doors of a home to prospective buyers.
“My goal is never to make them spend more money,” she offers that a coat of paint or rearrangement of furniture, or other thoughtful touches, can help to make the right first impression without remodeling entirely.
Be mindful of your horticulture
Smith provides the hyper-local tip of assessing any significant trees on the property. “In some cases, I recommend an arborist,” she explains, because of the devastating impact oak wilt can have on Austin properties. Knowing whether this is something you’re up against can help ensure your overall listing and sales process goes smoothly.
To prepare for the home appraisal
Lean on your agent’s expertise in advance of the home appraisal, which is a critical step in the closing process. Ensuring your home appraises for its agreed-upon sales price will depend on recent comparable sales in your immediate area. Read up on tips for sellers at this stage of the process here.
To prepare for the home inspection
The inspection may be one of the most stressful stages of the home-selling process. You’ll feel like your property is under a magnifying glass– and it is. There are things you can do to prepare, like addressing any known major issues. In addition, consider these small steps:
- Have your HVAC unit serviced – this is often a relatively low cost and can ensure optimal operation in advance of having it inspected.
- Ensure the inspector will have access to all areas of the property (either plan on being home during the inspection or unlock things like exterior buildings, gates, and crawl spaces).
- Check your smoke detectors to ensure they are all working properly. This is a quick and easy way to prepare that will speed along the rest of the inspection.
For more tips on preparing for the inspection, visit our Seller Resource Center page on the topic.
To prepare for showings
Showings are when the rubber really meets the road in terms of selling your home. Smith’s biggest piece of advice: “It has to sparkle as much as it can; it needs to be deep cleaned. It needs to smell good.” People make up their minds within seconds, she says, stressing that first impressions are everything.
A deep clean is a wise expenditure in advance of listing photographs, as well; you want your home to look its best online and in person.
- Ensure landscaping is clean.
- Clear clutter from the front yard and/or porch area (this may include your beloved seasonal decorations– a blank canvas is usually best).
- Give your front door and/or shutters a fresh coat of paint, if needed.
- Replace damaged screens on front windows and/or the front door.
- Check porch lighting to be sure bulbs are working and bright.
For additional tips on preparing for showings, read our 13 Tips for Showing Your House that Appeal to All 5 Senses.
What if my Austin home needs repairs I can’t afford?
An experienced agent will know how to help you find a solution to any selling situation, even a home that needs repairs you don’t think you can afford. Top agents often know and work with local contractors, have connections with cash investors, or may have knowledge of bridge programs to help you repair your home and sell it for a higher price, allowing you to repay the funds after the sale.
“I always give sellers a range of what the comparable sales are,” Smith explains, as a starting point to discuss repairs and the correlating list price. “I give them an as-is price,” she explains, and then offers options for “if we do this, this, and this.” This way, sellers on a budget can select what they’re willing to invest in; Smith coaches them on what fixes are likely to earn the strongest return.
If you are crunched for time or own a property that needs repairs you can’t afford or don’t want to tackle, you can also request a quote from a platform like HomeLight’s Simple Sale, which will let you compare a no-obligation cash offer with what a top agent in your market might be able to get for your home. We’ll share details about cash offers and other selling options later in this post.
What are some tips to market my house for sale in Austin?
- Pay for a professional cleaning service before photography and showings.
- Check trees on the property for signs of oak wilt and, if necessary, consult an arborist.
- Partner with your real estate agent to highlight your home’s unique location and strengths.
For more tips on selling your property in Austin, our blog covers this ground in How to Market Your House for Sale in 2022.
When is the best time to sell my house in Austin?
For an in-depth look at the best time of year to sell your home in Austin, have a look at our article on the topic.
You’ll also want to be aware of the latest market trends, so be sure to check HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator and consult your Realtor® about what’s happening in your specific neighborhood or suburb. On the whole, Austin’s real estate market is seasonal, seeing the most activity in summer months.
I learn something every single time because each transaction has multiple variables. Every property is unique. That [knowledge] can make the transaction as smooth as possible for all parties.
- Hillary Smith
Real Estate Agent
Real Estate Agent at HomeSmith Realty
- Years of Experience
- Average Price Point
- Single Family Homes
What are my home-selling options in Austin?
The main options to sell a house in Austin include:
List with the help of a real estate agent
A great real estate agent will provide guidance and expert advice throughout the process of listing and selling your home. An experienced agent can help you set an appropriate selling price, provide preparation and presentation tips, will know the best marketing strategies for your market, and will work to find the best buyers. A top agent can help eliminate hassles and headaches and save you time and money.
“I learn something every single time because each transaction has multiple variables,” explains Smith. “Every property is unique.” And the more experienced your agent, the more likely they are to be prepared to handle your sale with speed and professionalism – even if you encounter hiccups in the process. “That [knowledge] can make the transaction as smooth as possible for all parties.”
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), about 90% of home sellers work with a real estate agent.
Sell by owner (FSBO)
This option, called “for sale by owner” or “FSBO,” is less common. Only about 7% of sellers take this route, according to NAR.
Most FSBO sellers are looking to avoid paying a commission to a seller’s agent, also called a listing agent. The total commission for a home sale normally falls between 5%-6% of the sale price, which the listing agent will split (typically around 50-50) with the buyer’s agent. FBSO sellers still need to pay the buyers’ agent, meaning they might save about 3% of their sales price overall.
Statistically, properties sold FSBO sell for less than agent-listed homes. According to a recent NAR report, FSBO homes sold for a median price of $260,000 compared to a median price of $318,000 for agent-assisted sales.
If you feel up to the challenge or just want to learn more about the FSBO process, see our story: How to Sell a House by Owner in Texas.
Sell directly to a cash buyer
If you need to sell your home fast or just need a low-stress transaction — perhaps to sell an inherited home or a distressed property — another option is to work directly with a property investor or house-buying company rather than list on the open market.
Some examples of cash buyers include:
iBuyers: Instant buyers, known as iBuyers, are real estate technology companies that buy homes. These companies, such as Opendoor, Offerpad, and RedfinNow, have front-facing websites where customers can request near-instant virtual offers on their homes. iBuyers allow sellers to skip repairs and showings and tend to provide cash offers that are closer to market value than other types of home investors and flippers.
Simple Sale: Simple Sale is a HomeLight platform that provides a cash offer to buy your home, which allows you to skip repair costs, showings, and agent commissions. Simply provide a few details about your property and you’ll receive a no-obligation all-cash offer in as few as 48 hours. If you accept a Simple Sale cash offer, you can close in as little as 10 days. It’s one of the fastest, most convenient ways to sell a home in Austin.
We Buy Houses investor groups: We Buy Houses operations typically buy homes at a discounted rate and generally seek out homes in need of significant repairs. These companies can help sellers cash out quickly, and many will cover a seller’s closing costs.
If you are considering a cash offer from an investor group, vet the company thoroughly. The level of experience, integrity, and customer service you experience can vary. Some are established franchises that strive to maintain consistent standards. Others are small groups or individuals that may not have a proven track record. Check reviews, read testimonials, and research the company’s presence and performance in the market.
And, of course, read any buying agreement carefully before signing.
How can I find a top-performing real estate agent in Austin?
HomeLight’s Agent Match platform can connect you to the top-performing agents in your Austin market. This free tool analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs.
Our data shows that the top 5% of real estate agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent.
What are the most common mistakes Austin home sellers make?
- Not deep-cleaning the home before showings
- Poor quality listing photos
- Failure to address curb appeal (messy landscaping, etc.)
For a list of more common seller mistakes, see our list of what to avoid.
Ready to sell your house in Austin?
When you’re ready to list your home, choose a real estate agent whose experience and expertise you can trust. HomeLight’s Agent Match platform can connect you with top-performing agents in Austin who have the local experience and market knowledge to successfully guide you through every step of the home-selling journey.
Header Image Source: (Daniel Lee / Unsplash)