Believe it or not, there is an etiquette to buying and selling a
home, some unwritten rules that we would love to share with you to make the
process easier for all involved.
Money - do you know how you intend on buying this property?
If you have not spoken to a lender yet or gathered all the money under
your mattress, please do not look for a house. You need to make sure you
have what it takes to purchase real estate. We can recommend a lender to
you and it's a quick process that will not slow you down.
Time - Realtors and Sellers do not have all the time in the world
so please show up on time for your scheduled showing or call us at least an
hour ahead of time if you are going to be late. We usually have other
appointments to get to and the owners would love to return to their home as
soon as they can. Do not linger through rooms and study family pictures.
Take a quick look and see if this is a house that can stay on your short
list to return to for a 2nd showing.
Children - kids are very excited to look at homes and explore and
investigate but owners do not like returning to their homes with beds out of
order and things moved around on dressers. Please do not let your children
terrorize the cat or pull the fish out the tank and please keep them close to
you during the showing.
Just Looking? - Again, Realtors are very busy and always go, go,
go. It is very upsetting to tell an owner that the person they just spent
8 hours cleaning their house for is only looking or not planning on buying for
a few years. Please know your plans and be courteous when scheduling a
showing to see a house.
More Photos? - Realtors usually take pictures of every room for
their advertising online and some owners get very uneasy when a prospect starts
taking pictures of their home or belongings. Please ask the Realtor for
permission before snapping more photos of the property.
Disclosure - Too much information is appreciated! We want to
know about the leak in the roof or the toilet that doesn't flush. We want
to know that you are 6 months behind on your payments. When you list the
property, please tell us everything about your life in the home and experiences
you have had with repairs and mortgage payments and neighbors. We don't
want any surprises when the inspection takes place.
Honesty - Be honest with us on your plans. We have had
sellers back out of a contract at the last minute because they decided to stay
in the house. Make sure that you want to sell before we spend the time to
advertise and market the property and offer it to buyers.
What Stays? - Make sure to tell us about a light fixture that
doesn't stay or the curtains and blinds. Anything attached to the
property is supposed to stay upon closing so we need to know your plans before
we start showing the property.
One of the most common misconceptions we see as Realtors is the idea that a Tax Assessed Value is the same as the appraised value, also known as the Fair Market Value. This is not the case and often affects the offers we receive on listings. The truth is, the county assesses values on property based on a neighborhood or concentrated area and not an individual property. They also do not assess the value every year, but rather every 2-5 years because of the size of the area and the available team to make such assessments. Brewster County, for example, is the largest county in Texas and covers a wide range of territory. The option for the county appraiser to reach every single property to assess a value each year would be impossible. Most of the time, the properties are assessed at 80-90% of the Fair Market Value. Realtors and Licensed Appraisers actually visit the properties when they determine the Fair Market Value. After measuring the square footage and comparing the home to other sales and listings in the immediate area, a Fair Market Value is determined. This is the true value of a property because it is more specific. When buyers make an offer, instead of looking at the county’s assessed value, they should be asking their Realtor for comparable sales in the area of similar properties and make their offer based on that. It is very frustrating in our jobs when we have buyers telling us the value of the home is too low because the county has it $30,000 less than the list price. The facts are usually that the county hasn’t probably assessed the value in a few years, has never seen the inside of the home, they don’t know about improvements to the property or the neighborhood, and they do not have access to sales information since Texas is not a disclosure state. Sales in our area, and the state, are not reported to counties or taxing entities. Our advice is to ask for the comparables for nearby sales of similar property before making your offer. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Do not rely on the county assessment.
Spring has finally arrived here in west Texas after a hard winter of ice storms and cold weather. Flowers are in full bloom and trees are leafing out. The sweet smell of the agarita bushes in my yard fill the air each morning. Big Bend, Terlingua, and Study Butte have never been greener. Some parts along highway 118 look like a golf course with patches of bright yellow flowers and bluebonnets lining the road and fence lines. It's a great time of year to visit the area!