Sellers in Austin have the upper hand. Austinites know this by now. And if you’ve bought a house in central Austin before, you know that it can be a frustrating process as a buyer, especially if you’re trying purchase a house under $350,000.
I recently looked up homes that have sold in east Austin (zip code 78702/78721) under $350,000 and the majority of the sales went to cash buyers. At first, I thought ok that probably makes sense. Many of these homes may be teardowns or extreme fixer-uppers. It’s hard to get financing from a bank/lender for a teardown, and the most common option is buying it with cash. But as I did more research, it appeared that many of the homes just needed cosmetic work and maybe a few repairs here and there. This was work that many first time buyers would be more than willing to take on to live a little closer to downtown. So, why may a seller go with a cash offer over your financed offer?
3 main reasons why sellers sell to cash buyers vs. somebody with financing:
A Quick Close.
When you go through a bank or local lender for a home loan, it can take an average of 35-45 days to close. The advantage with cash is they can close in under a week, and that means the seller gets paid quicker. Trust me; I understand the allure of that! I mean, as an agent, I will get paid sooner as well. I really do get it. BUT sellers, think it through. If you can help somebody get into their first house by waiting a few more weeks, wouldn’t it be worth it? Read those letters that the buyers often attach with their offers. If you don’t have anyone too excited about your home, then by all means, sell to the cash buyer. BUT if you get a love letter written about your house with a very qualified buyer, think it through!
It’s a Done Deal. So, They Think.
Do you know why it can take 35-45 days to close on a home? Because the buyer is pre-approved by the lender and now it will take more time to sift through paperwork to make 100% sure the buyer can move forward with the loan. This probably sounds very scary. Umm, of course I’m going to go with the cash buyer?! The lender and their underwriter aren’t 100% sure yet? Don’t fret! Research the buyer’s lender. Your agent will know who has a good reputation and who is known for dropping the ball on a deal. Some lenders get a lot more information up front from buyers and because of this, are much safer choices. Also, remember a cash deal can fall through as well. They still have the option to back out. If they’re investors who can’t get their numbers to work on a deal, they have little to no attachment to your house.
An Appraisal is Not Required.
If you buy a house with financing, your lender/bank will require an appraisal on the home. An appraisal is an estimate of a property’s value. Banks and lenders need to ensure the property is in good condition, and actually worth what the purchaser is buying it for. If an appraisal comes back too low, there will be some issues! I wrote an article about appraisals that would be beneficial to check out if you don’t know what could go wrong during this process. If you purchase a house in cash, there is no appraisal required, and it’s one less thing a seller needs to concern themselves with.
Although it can seem like a no brainer to go with a cash buyer, I think it’s important for Austin sellers to know their options and think of the pro’s and con’s when they sell. I understand that some sellers are in a time crunch and need to sell quickly for many different reasons. Sometimes going with the safest bet is best for you and your family. This article’s intent is to inform buyers and sellers so they can get a better understanding of the buying and selling process.
Affordable housing in Austin is getting harder to come by, and it’s important that the people think about how we can help control the situation in any way that we can. Let me know if you’re interested in talking about this more. Check out these other articles I wrote that may help you understand Austin’s housing market: