How To Sell An Abandoned House In Houston

If you’ve been holding on to a house that no one is living in or inherited a property years ago that is sitting vacant, you should think about selling your house. Besides running the risk of your property being considered abandoned by the city, your vacant home could be subject to a number of problems and unwelcome visitors. Maybe your home isn’t there yet, but the longer your house sits empty, the easier it is for these issues to happen.

By selling your abandoned property, you won’t have to worry about maintaining a vacant house and all the problems that come with it. But how do you go about selling an abandoned house in Houston? Continue reading to learn more about the reasons to sell a vacant home and how to go about selling your abandoned house in Houston below. 

Abandoned House In Houston And How To Sell It

abandoned house in Houston Texas

Reasons to Sell an Abandoned House

There are some obvious reasons why you should sell your abandoned house, for instance, to avoid maintenance and upkeep and from having to pay utilities and taxes. But there are some other reasons to consider selling your abandoned house in Houston that you may not have even thought about.

A home left vacant is vulnerable to several things that can turn into more significant problems down the road. Here are a few other reasons you should consider selling an abandoned house in Houston that you may be surprised to discover.

Crime Magnets 

Vacant properties are known to attract crime. An empty house is an easy place for drug activity and to conceal weapons. Sadly, serious violent crimes such as sexual assault, robbery, and murder sometimes occur in or around abandon buildings and lots. 

Depending on what area of Houston your vacant house is located in, there may be other abandoned houses in that area, creating a bigger neighborhood issue. When a whole area is affected by blight, it symbolizes no one cares about the community, telling onlookers that the area is ungovernable and the risk of being caught is low. 

For the other residents living there, it makes them less likely to go outside and monitor the area. The elderly are particularly fearful when their neighborhood continues vacant property. When a house is left empty and isn’t maintained, criminals see that as an easy hideout or place to conduct illegal activity.

Health Effects

When a house is left vacant, certain things can go unnoticed, causing health effects to neighbors or anyone entering the house. Things that could go wrong in your home and affect your health would include:

  • Sewage issues in the house
  • Stagnant water in the yard causing a breed ground for mosquitoes
  • Unnoticed gas leak creating fumes or a fire hazard 
  • Carbon monoxide 
  • Pests like rats, mice, raccoons, and bugs-can make people susceptible to diseases

Besides these unhealthy things that could go on in the house or around the property. Vacant homes are said to affect people’s mental health too. As mentioned earlier, neighbors living by vacant properties are less likely to go outside, even getting less outdoor physical activity because of safety concerns. Being afraid of your surroundings can lead to anxiety and depression.  

Squatter Problems 

Investopedia defines a squatter as “a person who settles in or occupies a piece of property with no legal claim to the property.” So if you own an abandoned house in Houston, squatters can secure a right to legally occupy your abandoned property if they establish themselves there and take care of it.

In Texas, a squatter must continuously possess the property for 10 years before making a possession claim. So leaving a property vacant can make it susceptible to squatters living there and eventually keeping the residence if you don’t take any actions to claim ownership. For a squatter to claim ownership involves passing five distinct legal requirements, but it’s a scary thought that someone could take over your property if you’re not keeping a close eye on it.

Property Decline 

Normal wear and tear happen to houses, and when you’re not living there, it’s easy for little things to become bigger problems. When an abandoned house is left to the elements quickly, the home can start deteriorating. Houston is known for hurricanes and flooding, every time bad weather comes through, will you rush out to this vacant property to board it up and then come back to access the damage? After any bad weather, you may need a new roof, replace broken windows, and remove water-damaged flooring and carpet. If the house is empty, it’s hard to justify replacing these things every time damage occurs. 

However, when properties aren’t maintained, it leaves things to decline and cause bigger problems. Say a pipe bursts and is flooding the house, how soon would you figure out you have an issue? Or say a storm does come through causing some roof damage, you could easily have a leaky roof or an entry for critters to come into your house. It’s hard to know what’s going on if you don’t live close by or aren’t really keeping an eye on things.

Property decline can also include lawn care. If the abandoned house isn’t getting proper lawn maintenance, you may have tall grass, out of control weeds, trash, and a breeding ground for pests and bugs. An unmaintained yard signals to squatters and people doing illegal activities that no one is living in the property, allowing your house to be susceptible to unwelcome house guests. 

Ongoing costs

Besides all the other reasons to sell an abandoned house, ongoing costs are a pretty big one. 

Some ongoing costs you would be paying for if you hold onto the property would include:

  • Property taxes
  • Utilities- if turned on
  • Possible city violations- fines for an unsafe structure, illegal use, high grass, and others

Besides that, if you are trying to maintain your abandoned house, you are probably paying for lawn maintenance, general repairs, a security system, pest control, and electricity for outdoor and indoor lighting. Unless you have plans to live there, it doesn’t make sense to continue putting money into an abandoned house in Houston. 

Now that you understand all the reasons why you should sell your abandoned house in Houston, it’s time to take the next step and figure out how to sell a vacant property.

How to Sell an Abandoned House in Houston

Here are three steps to get you started on selling your abandoned house.

Step 1: Assess The Properties Current Condition

Before you list your abandoned house, it’s important to get a good idea of its current condition to help you decide what to list the property for. Though other homes in the area may be going for a higher price per square foot, your abandoned house may not be in the same condition as those homes. 

The best way to get a good idea of what condition your abandoned house in Houston is in, is by hiring a home inspector to come out to evaluate the property. Home inspections usually cost $325 in Houston and give you a comprehensive idea of what all needs to be done to the property. After getting that, you will need to decide if those repairs or renovations are something you’re going to invest in to sell your abandoned home. A few things to remember if you do plan to make the renovations:

  • Account for the time it will take you to complete all the repairs before listing the property. If you need to sell quickly, doing renovations may not be feasible. 
  • Secure the abandoned house. If you plan to make repairs to the house, make sure the home is secure. Get a security system, set up cameras, and make sure to lock windows and doors. Unfortunately, abandoned houses being renovated can be subject to break-ins to steal tools, copper tubing, lumber, and appliances. 
  • Hire professionals. Some contractors may try to cut corners by not pulling necessary permits to do renovations to the property. This could cause you legal trouble down the road if they do unpermitted work. 
  • Make a budget. Depending on what all needs to be done to your abandoned house, renovations can start adding up quickly. Remember to get estimates and make a budget for all the home repairs. You should even have a little extra set aside for unexpected expenses. By making a budget, you may find out all these repairs cost more than what you have available to spend or want to spend on a house you plan to sell.

While doing general assessment and figuring out your budget, you may realize you’d rather not invest any more money into this abandoned house or deal with the hassle of home repairs. Which is understandable, but are there people out there that buy abandoned houses in Houston? 

The good news is that there are people that purchase abandoned houses in as-is condition but they won’t be traditional buyers. 

Typically traditional buyers aren’t looking for fixer-uppers, and banks usually won’t finance a home loan if the property is in bad condition or needs a lot of repairs. They see that as a risky investment. 

So, you will need to find an as-is buyer who purchases property with cash. Since the buyer uses cash instead of bank financing, they are not subject to the mortgage company’s approval guidelines.  

Step 2: Set Asking Price

Once you figure out the abandoned house’s condition, it’s time to determine an asking price. But pricing is different for vacant homes, which leaves you asking the question- ‘what should I list my abandoned house for in Houston?’ 

As tempting as it may be to see what popular real estate websites estimate for your property, those usually are not accurate assessments. Really the best way to get a true valuation is to hire a real estate appraiser to come to look at your abandoned house. A real estate appraiser will look at recent sales information for similar properties, the home’s current condition, and the house’s location. This unbiased assessment gives you a good idea of what your abandoned house is worth and what your asking price should be. 

Keep in mind this price could be low, especially if a lot of work needs to be done to the property. The next homeowner will have to invest their time and money to get this abandoned house in better condition. But just remember that’s the trade-off- you won’t have to deal with the stress or hassle of this abandoned home anymore and save thousands of dollars on renovations. 

Step 3: Decide How To Sell

The third step in selling an abandoned house in Houston is deciding how you plan to sell the property. The three common ways you can sell an abandoned house would include: 

  • With a realtor
  • FSBO- For-Sale-By-Owner
  • To a homebuyer
Realtor

Hiring a real estate agent to sell your abandoned house would put the selling process in someone else’s hands. An agent would handle all the aspects of selling the property- listing, marketing, showings, and negotiating, just to name a few. 

The only thing to keep in mind is that agents charge a 5-6% commission for their services. And you may already be taking less for your abandoned property, but you will be taking even less than that after your agent gets paid. 

Realtors can be good at negotiating closing costs, but sometimes buyers may ask you to pay some or all of the closing costs, which could eat into your profits even more.

All things to consider when hiring a real estate agent to sell your abandoned house in Houston. 

FSBO

Selling by owner is always an attractive option, especially after hearing how much a real estate agent stands to make from the sale of your home. If you don’t live close to your abandoned house, this could be pretty tricky though- selling your property on your own. Sometimes you may need to be there to let people inside for showings. And since you’re doing things on your own, it will also be your job to advertise, market, answer phone calls, schedule showings, negotiate, hire a real estate attorney, and get documents together. For a lot of people, selling by owner proves to be more overwhelming than they otherwise thought. 

man selling his abandoned house in Houston to a cash home buyer
Home Buyer

When selling an abandoned house in Houston, working with a homebuyer is an excellent option. Homebuyers are real estate investors who purchase properties in as-is condition, which is ideal for selling an abandoned house. All of the steps of listing and hiring an agent or selling by owner aren’t necessary. A real estate investor buys your abandoned house directly from you, elevating months of uncertainty that come with listing a home.

Their process is also fast since they pay in cash, which is great if you’re looking for a quick home sale. Cash buyers like Very Fast Home Buyers can make you a fair cash offer within 24 hours and close on your house in as little as 2 weeks. 

And since you’re selling directly to them, there are no agent fees, and they even help pay closing costs. 

Selling an abandoned house to a home buyer takes the stress and hassle out of the selling process. 

Conclusion: 

There are so many reasons why selling an abandoned house in Texas is a good idea. Besides saving money on upkeep and maintenance, you won’t have to worry about people breaking in or squatters living in your property anymore.

Deciding how you would like to sell your abandoned house doesn’t have to be hard either when you can easily work with a home buyer like Very Fast Home Buyers. 

If you’re interested in getting more information or learning about their company, contact their team today. They would be happy to answer any questions you may have and give you an offer for your abandoned house in Houston. 

Kevin Sun

Kevin is a real estate investor dedicated to helping homeowners sell their properties quickly and without the stress and hassle of a traditional listing.

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