Steps For Selling A Duplex In Houston, Texas

Selling a duplex can be quite complicated compared to listing a traditional home. Not only will there be the challenges handling current tenants but also several rules and regulations in Texas that you need to follow to complete a legal sale. 

While there is a great deal of time and effort involved with selling a duplex, there are ways for a seller to complete it in a timely manner.

To get the process started, check out these important steps to sell a duplex in Houston, Texas.

Tips For Selling A Duplex In Houston, Texas

Residential duplex house with concrete drive way and green lawns in front

What is a Duplex?

A duplex falls into a group of properties called multi-families. Before delving into how to sell a duplex, let’s verify what type of property you own. 

Types of residential properties:

  1. Townhouse

A townhouse or townhome appears as a single owned detached home but is attached to other townhouses. These properties can be stacked vertically and also be referred to as row houses. Townhouses are typically not considered multi-family properties.

  1. Duplex

A duplex is typically a house divided into two apartments. Each has separate entrances and are usually connected. Though they are attached, duplex homes do not share any common area.

  1. Triplex

A triplex is identical to a duplex; the only difference between a duplex and a triplex is three living spaces instead of two. 

  1. Quadplex 

A quadplex, also known as a fourplex, is like a duplex and triplex but has four living units.

Whether selling a duplex or multifamily property, both involve taking similar measures to sell. Let’s take a look at what steps you will need to use to sell your duplex fast.

Steps to Sell a Duplex in Houston

Step 1: Review all Leases and Tenants Rights

This step is significant if you are using your duplex as a rental property. To put your duplex on the market, you will need to review each unit’s rental agreement. If you plan to sell the home with tenants remaining in the property, potential buyers will likely have a few questions for you regarding leases and occupancy. These questions include the terms of any remaining contracts, the rent amount and what it includes for each unit, lastly, if any security deposits are being held.

If you plan to sell your duplex without tenants, keep in mind that there are rules in the State of Texas regarding lease terminations without cause. If the rental agreement is a month-to-month lease, the landlord must provide a 30-day notice to the tenant when there are changes to the contract. Likewise, on a year-to-year lease, the landlord can not sell until the term of the lease ends. And, unless the lease requires specifically, the landlord does not have to notify the tenant that the lease isn’t being renewed. 

When it comes to understanding the terms of your lease and the laws for your area, it is always best to seek the advice of a lawyer.

However, as soon as you consider selling your property in Houston, it would be helpful to notify your tenants in writing your intentions. The notification should contain the date you intend to list the property and what preparations your tenants should make before a showing. For example, instructions would include- no dirty dishes in the sink, please have the unit neat and tidy, and if there are any dogs they need to be put in their crates. Also note how much notice you will give before a showing (48 hours), and how you will be in touch either through text, email or by phone. By being upfront with your tenants, hopefully, this will make them more cooperative during showings and moving out. 

Step 2: Prepare the Property and Do Necessary Repairs

When selling your duplex, you must make sure it is prepared for prospective buyers to view. In most cases, multi-family homes are seen as investments, so buyers will want a deal if the duplex they are investing in needs work.

When preparing the property to be viewed, ensure all the doors and locks on the duplex are working correctly. Few things look worse to a prospective buyer than fidgeting with a faulty lock or struggling with a troublesome door. 

If there are designated parking spots on the premises, make sure that they are clearly defined and in good condition. 

Finally, don’t forget about curb appeal. Simply dressing up the front door, sweeping the front entry or walkways, and general lawn care can help make a great first impression.

If you need some help preparing your duplex, you could always hire a professional; the average rate for a handyman in Houston is around $50-$100 an hour, not including materials. 

Step 3: Have Documents Prepared and Ready

Another important aspect of selling a duplex is making sure all necessary documents are prepared and ready for potential buyers to view. Some of these documents include:

  • Remodeling Receipts
  • Warranties
  • Age of roof documentation
  • HVAC System Documentation

Up to date roofs and HVAC systems are important to buyers. Having a record on hand showing the age of these home components can help you be one step ahead of other sellers.

Financial documents and current leases are also crucial to prospective buyers. Buyers like to know the net operating figures, including income from rent and expenses (such as repairs and insurance), as well as current lease information. Having all these figures and documents ready before a buyer ever takes a look at your property will help you be one step ahead.

Step 4: Do a Home Inspection Before Listing 

Real estate professionals usually recommend that a seller have a home inspection done before listing their property. Also important to note, Texas law requires sellers to disclose any known material issues or defects in the house

When hiring a home inspector, make sure that they are a licensed professional real estate inspector in Texas. Typically, the cost of hiring a home inspector starts at $250+ depending on the square footage of your property. 

Though hiring a home inspector is an extra expense, it is good to conduct a general inspection of your duplex before listing. A general inspection assists the owner with the opportunity to fix any problems before prospective buyers get the chance to see it. Also, an inspection will give buyers some peace of mind when considering buying your duplex.

Step 5: Figure out How You Plan to Sell

When selling a multifamily property like a duplex, you have a few options on how you can go about listing and selling your property. If you consider hiring a real estate agent, keep in mind that it is important to hire one with experience selling multifamily properties. A few things you can ask your potential agent to test their knowledge would be:

  •  How much notice do you provide tenants?
  •  How do you have a successful showing on an occupied property?
  •  How would you handle tenants who refuse to cooperate?

 These questions can help weed out agents who may not be a good fit for your listing. 

The downside of hiring an agent is the realtor commissions totaling 6% off your sale price. Your agent receives 3% and the buyer’s agent gets 3% as a commission as well. Commissions can definitely eat into your profits. To avoid commissions, at least on your end, you may decide to sell by owner instead.

Selling your duplex yourself isn’t a bad option, especially when you’re saving 3% on realtor commissions, but there is some work involved if you decide to go down this path. You will have to be available for showings, notifying your tenets of walkthroughs, and marketing your duplex. A few expenses that you will likely incur selling your duplex yourself would include hiring a photographer for professional photos and listing services. Photographers can cost anywhere between $125 to $300, and listing services range from $50 to $2000. Also, keep in mind that you will still pay closing costs and likely have fees from using a real estate attorney or title company.

A man and a women hand holding a money bags and a model home

Step 6: Find a Cash Buyer

The easiest way you can go about selling a duplex is by finding a cash buyer. Selling to a cash buyer is different than listing your home or selling by owner. Cash investors buy duplexes as-is, so there is no need to do any repairs or updates. Furthermore, since they would be the buyers, it isn’t necessary to hire an agent or list and market your property. There are no commissions or closing costs involved, and they are typically prepared to purchase with tenants in the property. 

If you have a duplex or multifamily property in the Houston area that you are interested in selling, give Very Fast Home Buyers a call. They are a local home buying team that can get you a cash offer within 24 hours. They purchase properties in any condition and with any circumstances. For more information about how it works, visit their website, or feel free to give them a call today.

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