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7 Curb Appeal Tips for Selling Your Home in Fall

From HGTV: Shannon Petrie

1. Spruce Up Your Lawn

While brilliant fall foliage can automatically make your home look more attractive for selling, that doesn’t mean you can slack off on lawn maintenance during this season. Keep falling leaves at bay with frequent raking and patch up any brown spots in the grass.

2. Plant Fall Flowers

Once your lawn is looking its best, spice it up with a splash of color. As your summer plants start to fade, replace them with vibrant mums or other colorful flowers.

3. Highlight Your Front Door

Making your front door the focal point of your home’s exterior is a good tactic no matter what time of year you decide to sell your home. During the fall, a simple wreath of fall foliage and flowers can add an inviting touch. A fresh coat of paint in a vivid red can also make your entrance stand out.

4. Clean Up the Exterior

When fall rolls around and the trees shed their leaves, your home becomes more exposed, making its exterior appearance extra important. Before putting your home on the market, pressure wash the exterior and clean the windows. If the paint is chipped or faded, applying a fresh coat will do wonders to revive your home’s appearance.

5. Clear Out All Gutters

Staying on top of yearly and monthly maintenance lets buyers know you care about your home’s upkeep. During the fall, be sure to clear your gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris, which will protect your home from water damage.

6. Add Outdoor Lighting

As the days get shorter, it becomes increasingly important to provide potential home buyers with a safe path to your front door. Use decorative lights to illuminate walkways, and install flood lights or lanterns to brighten up entrance areas.

7. Keep Decorations Simple

While subtle fall decor – a wreath on the door or pots of seasonal flowers – will make your home look inviting and fresh, going overboard will distract buyers from your home itself.

Save your scarecrows and spooky Halloween decorations for another year.


It Pays to List Your Home in Winter Months

It can actually pay off to list your home for sale IN THE WINTER!

A recent Redfin study found that the average seller can net more during the months of December, January, February, and March than those that list from June to November.

With limited inventory and homes selling quickly in our current market, listing now can be a great opportunity.

Pricing and staging become very important during these months, as it is harder for listings to appear as “fresh” as they can in spring months when the flowers are blooming and sun is shining. Creating a sense of warmth with lighting and painting can help buyers feel more connected to what your home has to offer.

It is suggested that listing at market value is the best approach

Tankless Water Heaters

I have had many clients over the years ask which is better, tankless or tank water heaters.

Bottom line seems to be: they’re efficient but not necessarily economical.

“Gas tankless water heaters, which use high-powered burners to quickly heat water as it runs through a heat exchanger, were 22 percent more energy efficient on average than the gas-fired storage-tank models in our tests. That translates into a savings of around $70 to $80 per year, based on 2008 national energy costs. But because they cost much more than storage water heaters, it can take up to 22 years to break even—longer than the 20-year life of many models. Moreover, our online poll of 1,200 readers revealed wide variations in installation costs, energy savings, and satisfaction.” (Consumer Reports Magazine)

Disclosures for Renters

I was recently asked if  a landlords need to provide a disclosure for renters entering into a lease agreement.

Official answer is, “No”.  The Texas Property Code does not require a landlord to fill out and provide a disclosure for renters.

However, the more information a renter has about the functionality of a property, the better.

The property owners that we manage homes for complete a form called the Owners Notice Concerning Condition of Property Under Property Management Agreement.

We have found the form useful to alert renters of the location of things such as air filters, smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, etc.

The property owner also may use the form to provide alarm codes, HOA information, etc.

At time of lease agreement is the perfect time to provide the form and include for the new renters as part of their Move In packet.

New law regarding property tax rates

Author: Mark Lehman

In Lehman’s Terms

American poet Carl Sandburg once reflected on the creeping of fog, how it “comes on little cat feet.” That type of stealth is fine for the weather but not for Texas property-tax policy.

Many Texans get sticker shock from their property-tax bills. They get an even bigger shock when they discover that their local taxing jurisdiction—municipality, county, school district—raised tax rates without their knowledge.

Members of the Texas Legislature have heard the outcry from Texans. You want a more transparent process and stricter requirements to approve tax-rate increases. This year, legislators took a major step to address this issue.

Effective Jan. 1, 2016, a local taxing unit must have a supermajority to approve a property-tax rate increase. That means at least 60% of the unit’s members must vote in favor of the increase. Furthermore, all property-tax changes will be posted in an easily accessible and consumer-friendly manner.

This new law didn’t get a lot of attention last session but could have a significant impact on your wallet. Taxing jurisdictions will no longer be able to hide behind voice votes, simple majorities, and ambiguous public notices to increase tax rates.

Each year tens of thousands of Texans show up at central appraisal district offices to protest the values assessed on their property. But almost no one attends the budget hearings where property-tax rates are set. This new law enables citizens to take a more active role in setting their tax rates and helps them understand why their elected officials feel a rate increase is necessary.

We know taxes are necessary for communities to fund government services. However, increases should be done in a judicious, transparent manner—not approved in a stealthy manner, creeping up on little cat feet.

Mark Lehman is vice president of governmental affairs at the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

National Association of Realtors- Call to Action

Congress is currently considering creating a tax on all potential homeowners and consumers looking to purchase or refinance a mortgage.

By increasing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s credit risk guarantee fees to fund transportation programs, Congress would in turn disturb our housing recovery.

Now is not the time to raise the cost of purchasing a home.

The National Association of Realtors opposes this tax and believes that it will place burden on consumers, specifically low and moderate income borrowers as well as first time home buyers.

The Homeowner Tax Relief Proposition

Texans for Prop 1: The Homeowner Tax Relief Proposition:

On November 3, you will have a chance to vote YES on tax relief for all Texas homeowners.

Proposition 1 will increase the statewide homestead exemption to provide much needed property tax relief for Texas homeowners.

Details of Prop 1:

Prop 1 will increase homestead exemptions by $10,000, lowering your home’s taxable value.

It will ban taxes on home sales permanently, meaning that local governments cannot impose another tax on homeowners.

Prop 1 will provide savings to those living on a fixed income, such as seniors and those with disabilities.

Make sure to vote YES on Prop 1 on Nov. 3rd!