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.
  • When preparing to buy or sell a home, you might search online real estate portals or keep an eye on local real estate news, but there's a better source of real estate data. Thanks to the Data Relevance Project—a partnership among local REALTOR® associations and their multiple listing services, the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, and the Texas Association of REALTORS®—you can get a firsthand look at what's happening in your market. The 2016 Texas Real Estate Year in Review Report includes information on 25 metropolitan statistical areas across the state, often with county-level data, as well. Learn how home prices have changed, the number of active listings, how long homes stay on the market, the amount of housing inventory, apartment rents and vacancy rates, and affordability figures—all for your area. This data can help guide your housing or real estate decisions and make you a more informed consumer when it comes time to consult with a local REALTOR®.

  • It doesn’t take much to change a buyer’s impression of a home. Add some peeling paint, a leaky faucet, and dirty dishes in the sink of an otherwise appealing house, and suddenly the buyer crosses that property off his list. Just as minor imperfections can turn off a buyer, a few small actions by you can make your home seem even more appealing. Fix conspicuous problems. You want to put your home’s best foot forward. If you can’t afford to remedy all the problems with the house, at least fix obvious ones. A buyer will notice the rotten porch railing or cracked window pane on a casual walk-through. Show the owner’s manuals. Sure, everything’s available online, but you still need to know the model number of your oven, dishwasher, and microwave when something breaks. Showing buyers that you’ve kept that information suggests that you’ve taken care of other things related to the house. Make an effort outside. Short grass makes bare patches less obvious, and a few bags of mulch around trees and in flower beds can work magic on an otherwise lackluster yard. Add in a planter of colorful flowers by the front door, and you’ve added significantly to your curb appeal. A little effort goes a long way with buyers, so ensure your home makes a great first impression. 

  • There are more than just logistical challenges when you move with children. Many kids feel emotional about leaving their friends or old home behind. Here are some common challenges kids face when moving and ways to help them feel more comfortable in their new place. When your child is nervous about a new school … Coordinate a tour of the school well before she starts so she can get familiar with the building. See if you can also introduce her to teachers and a few classmates so she’ll have connections on her first day. When your child is upset about leaving friends behind … Put together treats your child can use to remember his far-away friends. Include a photo album, frames, and other mementos from your child’s hometown. When your child is worried the new city won’t have familiar activities … Get your Texas REALTOR® to help you find out where your child can participate in the hobbies she enjoys. Whether she likes to play soccer at the park or take art classes after school, your Texas REALTOR® should be able to point you in the right direction for kid-friendly activities in your new location. Check out more tips for smoother moves, including buying, selling, and leasing information, from texasrealestate.com.

  • There aren't many people who ask their REALTOR® to find them a house that backs up to railroad tracks or sits under a flight path. Buyers tend not to be attracted to homes on busy streets or next to a large business developments. That's where the laws of supply and demand can work in your favor. When lots of people don't want something, the price is cheaper. So if you want to get in a neighborhood that's a stretch for your budget, you might consider homes with a so-called undesirable quality. That could also help you afford a larger or nicer home than you would otherwise find in your price range. You might even decide that some of these perceived drawbacks are actually benefits. For example, the noise and activity of a busy elementary school across the street will turn off many buyers, but consider how convenient the playground—and the school itself—would be for your young kids. Airplane noises go hand in hand with quick trips to the airport. A busy street may help you get where you want to go faster, too.  If you want to explore properties that are more affordable due to factors that turn off some buyers, talk with your REALTOR® about your options.

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