Selling a Home As Is in Texas (A-to-Z Guide)
Even though the information on this web page is provided by a qualified industry expert, it should not be considered as legal, tax, financial or investment advice. Since every individual’s situation is unique, a qualified professional should be consulted before making financial decisions.
This guide will inform you on how to go about selling your house as is and clarify various aspects of this endeavor.
Besides learning how selling a house as is works and what selling a house in “as is condition” actually means, you will find out three different ways to do it, the extent of legal liability, and how to reduce it according to Texas law.
These insights have been learned by me from buying houses as is in San Antonio, TX for over 20 years.
I’m Danny Johnson. My company, Danny Buys Houses, has bought hundreds of properties in San Antonio. Each was bought as is.
Ready to learn what happens when you sell your house as is? Let’s get started!
What Does It Mean to Sell a House As Is in Texas?
Selling a house ”as is” means selling without any warranty as to the condition of the house.
You are letting buyers know that you will not be making any repairs to the house. They will have to close on the house in its current condition.
In a normal real estate transaction, a buyer will ask for repairs be made or concessions given in lieu of repairs after the home is inspected.
By including an “as is” condition clause in your contract, you are informing them this will not be possible.
This does not preclude them from still getting the house inspected. It just means they will not be able to have you make those repairs.
Can You Sell a House As Is in Texas?
Absolutely! Yes, you can. I will cover the requirements to do so shortly. But first, the real question is whether many buyers are willing to accept buying a house as is.
Won’t they pass on houses that need repairs they know won’t be fixed before closing? Some will pass. But some will not.
The key here is that plenty of people are more than willing to buy houses as is.
The trade off is usually that they want to buy the house below market value in order to accommodate the cost of repairs they will be required to make.
However, they will require you to thoroughly inform them about the problems with the house. Let’s talk about what Texas law requires to be disclosed when selling a house as is.
What Do Texas Real Estate Disclosure Laws Require?
You should always disclose anything you know to be wrong with the house.
Surely you aren’t required to disclose that a toilet got clogged once. But how do you know what you are legally required to disclose?
Disclosures for selling real estate in Texas are spelled out in the Texas Property Code Section 5.008.
None of what is mentioned here is to be considered legal advice. You should always consult with an attorney and the property code.
To save you the time and headache of reading the property code, I’ll spell out the key points here.
- You do NOT have to disclose if the house had “a death by natural causes, suicide, or accident unrelated to the condition of the property.”
- You do need to disclose any structural problems, for example when selling a house with foundation issues.
- You do need to disclose conditions considered hazardous — when selling a fire-damaged house, selling a house with water damage, lead pipes, polybutylene pipes, mold problems, lead paint, radon, asbestos, termite damage, failed septic system, or unpermitted work.
- You do need to disclose whether you are selling a house in a flood zone or it has been previously flooded.
Just in case you were wondering, no, you do not have to disclose a haunted house, fracking, or previous bed bug infestations.
Of course you need to disclose known problems, “to the best of your ability” according to the Texas Real Estate Commission’s (TREC) Seller’s Disclosure Notice form.
The seller’s disclosure form gives you dozens of checkboxes to spell out whether you know about a defect or not for different aspects of your house. I highly recommend you look over it.
At the time of writing this article, the statute of limitations for breach of contract in Texas is four years. This means the period during which you may be liable for failure to disclose known issues.
Should I Sell My House As Is in Texas?
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “should I sell my house as is or fix it up?”
There are several pros and cons to consider when making this decision. Let’s cut through the clutter and get down to what really matters.
Why sell a house as is? Here are the top reasons hundreds of people have sold to me over the years.
Pros of selling your house as is:
- You avoid the hassle of finding, working with, and paying for contractors.
- You can have the house sold much sooner, especially if you sell to a Texas cash home buyer.
- You can avoid tough negotiations from picky buyers because of items found by a Texas home inspector.
- You can avoid having a professional inspection done by the buyer (which is something that will need to be disclosed to other buyers if the original buyer backs out).
- In many cases, you will not even need to clean the house out. You can even leave stuff behind when you sell your house as is to a cash house buyer.
- Avoid publicly showing that you are selling your house (you know, because of nosy neighbors).
Cons of selling your house as is:
- You likely will not get as much money as you would if you fixed it up and sold it traditionally.
- You will be limiting the pool of potential buyers.
- You will likely have to do the legwork to find your buyers.
You might be surprised, if you do the math, that what you spend in real estate commissions, contractor and material costs, property taxes and insurance payments all often add up to cost you more than the discount required for a Texas real estate cash buyer.
I know it as I’ve found myself scratching my head and wondering why I dealt with a house for over a year when I could have sold it as is quickly and made more money than I ended up with. Doh!
Here is a more thorough analysis of estimated closing costs for sellers when selling a house in three different ways that we will discuss below.
How to Sell a House As Is By Owner Without an Agent in Texas
You do not have to sell your house by using a real estate agent if you don’t want to. You can sell For Sale By Owner (FSBO) or sell directly to a cash house buyer.
According to the National Association of Realtors survey, For Sale By Owner transactions accounted for 10% of all homes sold. That’s tens of thousands of house sales.
Typically, when wanting to sell as is, you’ll want to sell directly to a professional house buyer, otherwise known as a real estate investor.
How to Sell a House As Is, Fast and For Cash Directly to an Investor
Before I jump into the steps to selling your house to a real estate investor, let’s talk about who these people are.
Who Are Cash House Buyers?
Cash house buyers can be anything from an individual real estate investor to a large hedge fund that purchases houses.
They are always looking to buy investment properties in Texas, and they often prefer fixer-uppers because acquiring and repairing one is cheaper than buying a rental property that is already move-in ready.
Typically, you will be working with a local house buying company to sell your house as is for cash.
Real estate investors in Texas usually operate as small businesses and provide more personalized service.
They specialize in common real estate situations that many Texas homeowners find themselves in. These are usually one of the following:
- Facing foreclosure
- Past due property taxes
- Selling a house in bad condition
- Selling a house in divorce process
- Selling an inherited house
- Selling house for job relocation
- Selling a house with a tax lien
Here’s what it will look like to sell your house as is to a home buyer in Texas.
- You make contact and tell them some basic information about your home
- They schedule and come out to see the house, which usually takes about 30 minutes
- They calculate what they can offer you for the house
- If you agree to a price, you will sign a real estate purchase contract
- The house buyer will send the contract to a local title company in Texas along with their earnest money
- The title company does the paperwork and prepares for closing
- You come in and sign at closing, or the title company sends someone out to get your signature, and you get the proceeds of the sale wired to your bank account.
You might have noticed there are no steps above for a professional inspection or hiring an appraiser.
Most house buyers perform their own simple inspection while at the house with you and do their own research to determine the value of the house.
This is really nice because you can avoid the delays these types of procedures typically cause for the sale of a house.
There are many benefits to working with a local cash home buyer.
Pros of Selling Your House As Is Directly to an Investor
- Quick sale (many house buyers can close within a matter of a few days).
- Get a cash offer (this allows you to avoid inspections and lender underwriting).
- No Realtor commissions (typically a seller will pay 6% of the sales price to sell a house when using a Texas real estate agent).
- No closing costs (many cash house buyers will agree to pay all closing costs).
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when selling a house to a cash house buying company. There are a few considerations you should be aware of.
Cons of Selling Your House As Is Directly to an Investor
- The offer will be lower than the market value of the house.
- You aren’t represented by a professional who is obligated to prioritize your best interests.
While not obligated to prioritize your best interests, these small businesses usually only stay in business when operating ethically.
Finding the Best Cash House Buying Company
A quick way to find the best cash house buyers in your area is to do a Google search.
It takes a long time for a website to show up at the top of the search results so you are more likely to find house buyers that have been in the business for a while.
Search terms you can use to find these house buying companies are (swap out San Antonio with your town or city):
- we buy houses San Antonio TX
- sell my house fast San Antonio TX
- sell my house for cash San Antonio TX
- cash house buyers in San Antonio TX
- iBuyer companies in San Antonio TX
Once you locate several house buyer websites. Look for an ‘About Us’ page. You want to find cash house buying companies that have information about the person that owns and operates the company on this page.
You probably don’t want to work with a company that doesn’t show who is behind the business. Choose one or several with people that you would feel comfortable working with.
Let’s look at several ways to determine whether a house buyer is ethical.
How to Choose an Ethical Investor?
In order to avoid getting scammed by a real estate investor, there are several things you can do to protect yourself.
First, ensure the company has a Better Business Bureau accreditation. While not a complete guarantee, this can be a great sign the company operates above board.
Even if they do not, check their profile for bad customer reviews on Better Business Bureau, Google, Yelp, and similar platforms.
You can do a Google search for the company name and the words “reviews” after. If you search “Danny Buys Houses reviews”, you will see reviews for my business to get an idea of what can be found easily.
Next, make sure they have been in business for at least 3 years. This is a good amount of time to make sure they’ve built a track record.
If someone just started, you won’t know how they operate because so few people have worked with them up until that point.
One of the most reputable companies that meet this criteria is HouseCashin.
By requesting a cash offer on your home, you can have your house sold either to HouseCashin or to one of up to five reputable local investors whose offers you will compare and choose the best one.
In case you’re not sold on selling your house to a cash house buyer, you can still find a regular house buyer yourself.
How to Sell a House As Is by Listing It by Owner
As mentioned previously, there are a lot of people that choose to sell their house on the open market without intermediaries. This is normally referred to as listing the house For Sale By Owner.
If your house needs a lot of repairs, this is really not much different than reaching out directly to cash house buyers.
This is because this is mostly what you will be attracting through listing the house for sale while still in disrepair.
If the house does not need a lot of repairs, advertising the house online is a good option. But where will you list it?
Where Can You List a House For Sale by Owner?
Thankfully, there are a lot of places to list a house for sale on the internet.
I put in the time to run some searches on each to find how many houses were for sale by owner in San Antonio, TX at the time of writing this article. Most of the websites had 10 or fewer for sale in San Antonio! That stinks!
The exceptions were ForSaleByOwner.com and Zillow.com.
ForSaleByOwner.com had 27 for sale by owner listings. They even have a free option to list your house on the website. That’s pretty cool.
Zillow had 55 listings in San Antonio. Zillow is the largest real estate website in the world. They get a ton of traffic, meaning your listing will be seen by more people.
I personally prefer Zillow to list houses for rent and for sale and have had great success.
Facebook’s marketplace is also a great place to list your house for sale. Almost everybody is on Facebook. Why not add a listing for the house and get even more eyeballs on it?
Let’s quickly look at the benefits and downsides of listing your house “as is” by owner.
Pros of Selling Your House by Listing It by Owner
- No listing agent commissions. When commissions can run on average $30,000 for a $500,000 house, it’s not chump change!
- You are in control of everything. You post the pictures you want to post. You set the price you want to set.
- You can market to non-investor buyers in hopes of making top dollar. You might get lucky and find a buyer that wants to remodel a house the way they want it and is looking for one that needs repairs.
Cons of Selling Your House by Listing It by Owner
- In most cases, your buyer will have their agent whose commission (about 3%) you will still have to pay. Here is a detailed analysis of FSBO closing costs.
- In most cases, your buyer will need financing to buy your property. Getting a loan requires a long application, approval, and underwriting process taking weeks.
- You aren’t represented by a professional who is obligated to prioritize your best interests. Just as when selling to a cash house buying company, you won’t have a professional representing you and your interests.
- If you don’t know what you are doing, you can lose time, money, and get sued for failing to properly disclose problems with the house. Be careful!
How to Sell a House As Is in Texas with an Agent
If you have felt the tension that comes with considering having to handle the sale of your house yourself, you’re not alone. Selling a house can be very stressful.
There are just so many things to know. The uncertainty of what you will experience can be overwhelming. That is why many choose to sell their house as is with a real estate agent.
Who Are Real Estate Agents?
Real estate agents are trained real estate professionals that specialize in real estate advertising and transactions. That’s a fancy way to say they help people buy and sell houses.
Real estate agents have fiduciary responsibilities to their clients. This means they are looking out for your best interests.
Agents must meet certain guidelines to become licensed in the state of Texas. This is all controlled by the Texas Real Estate Commission.
It is not simply a matter of telling people you are a real estate agent and starting work. These are trained professionals who know the ins and outs of real estate transactions.
An agent can help you sell your house as is by listing the house in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is a listing directory available to licensed agents where most houses are bought and sold.
The agent will also guide you through the proper way to sell as is to ensure you are complying with disclosure requirements.
Pros of Selling Your House As Is with a Real Estate Agent
- You are more likely to get a higher price for your home. This is simply because more people will know that it is for sale when it is listed on the MLS.
- You will be represented by a real estate professional who is obligated to prioritize your best interests. They are working for you, not themselves or the buyer.
Cons of Selling Your House As Is with a Real Estate Agent
- You will be responsible for paying the agent commission. This is normally 6% of the sales price and goes to pay your agent and the agent of the buyer. Here is a more detailed analysis of the cost of selling a house with a realtor.
- You might have to wait several months for your house to sell. The agent is helping you find a buyer by organizing an open house and using other marketing strategies, but many times it is just a matter of listing the house and waiting for an interested buyer.
- Most buyers will have to get a loan. Application, approval, and underwriting may take a few weeks.
How to Choose an Ethical Real Estate Agent?
Choosing an ethical real estate agent is similar to finding an ethical contractor. It is a matter of asking around for recommendations from others that have used agents.
If you have noticed “for sale” signs in your neighborhood with an agent’s name on the sign, you can start looking for who is listing a lot of houses in your area.
Texas real estate agents tend to specialize in specific neighborhoods and areas of town. You want to find the one that specializes in your area.
These agents tend to have long track records and will nearly guarantee you will not be scammed.
The Texas Attorney General has a page on their website that details common real estate scams. Have a look over these to ensure you do not wind up being taken advantage of.
I hope that the knowledge I acquired while running my company, Danny Buys Houses, helps you find the best way to sell your home as is.
Whether you want to sell your house very quickly to a cash house buyer, list the house yourself or with an agent, you are armed with the info you need to succeed.