The pandemic has significantly impacted the US real estate market and ushered in new rules for buying and selling homes. With home buyers scheduling walkthroughs via Zoom and Facetime much has changed from the pre-pandemic scenario.
The pandemic-hit economy has forced the real estate market to become an ultra-competitive seller’s market which looks intimidating. All of this has made buying and selling homes quite challenging both for the buyers and the sellers.
A unique aspect of the pandemic is that it has hit the real estate economies of different US states differently. With the home buying rebounding from the COVID-19 crisis the Texas real estate market has become the hottest than ever.
In such a dynamic landscape, real estate brokers working in the new normal can help buyers and sellers with useful insights. Hence, we asked a few influential Texas brokers a crucial question:
In the current hot real estate market, what is your advice to buyers and sellers.
Related: Hard Money Lenders in Texas
1. Chandler Crouch, Owner/Broker At Chandler Crouch Realtors (Fort Worth)
This is an unprecedented real estate market and my advice to buyers and sellers is: “It’s time to move.”
If you’ve ever thought about selling your home, this is the market to do it because you’re going to be able to get more money than you ever thought was possible. It’s simply because of the basic economic principle of high buyer demand and a low supply of sellers that’s driving up sales.
This market may seem intimidating to be on the other side as a buyer, but what’s so extraordinary is that money is “on sale“ with some of the lowest interest rates ever. If that’s not enough to motivate you to jump into this current market, just look at how fast this economy is changing.
There’s a consensus that we’re at the beginning of an inflationary period, in which it’s always best to park your money in tangible assets. Real estate is the far superior option right now.
My advice to homebuyers is to invest as much as you possibly can in a house. The more valuable the home, the more it will appreciate. If you’re financing the house, it’s important the amount of money you are going to save in interest is massive compared with any other time.
If you’re waiting for prices to go down or for a so-called bubble to pop, I’ll just warn you now that waiting is futile. We’re not in a bubble and prices will not go down in Texas.
The market will change again eventually, but we will not see a downturn in prices. We will see double digit appreciation reduce to single digit appreciation, but we’ll still be appreciating.
My advice is to sell your house. Buy a house. Invest now. Invest as much as you can.
2. Rogers Healy, Owner + CEO At Rogers Healy and Associates Real Estate (Dallas)
If you are a buyer, my advice is to not give up. Keep powering through, and don’t like losing what you think is your dream home, deter you from actually finding, and winning the offer, for your dream home.
Being a buyer in today’s real estate market is like waiting in line for the brand new iPhone. Except imagine there is a limited supply, and for every iPhone, there are 50 people interested. Get creative with your offers. Figure out what the seller wants, and target your offer in that regard. It doesn’t just have to be with the highest price offer.
This is a seller’s market, so, as a seller, you are in a completely different position. In most instances, you can sit back and watch the bidding wars begin. The luxury home price point has an interesting trend that is currently brewing. Homes that would typically be on the market for over a year are selling in under 30 days.
A trend that is pushing luxury properties over the edge includes making minor updates. Something as simple as planting new flowers or adding a new light fixture to the entryway can help a homeowner picture themselves there.
Also, make sure you find a trusted Real Estate Agent to help you with your journey. This is a new landscape for all of us, but we are all learning how to navigate these new times.
3. Debbie Warford, Owner & Broker At Home Solutions Realty (Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex)
BUYERS, forget about getting a home under contract the “traditional way” Why? 60% of the listing agents already have a buyer for the seller’s house the second they put the home in the MLS. This is a higher number for homes under 400k.
If I was a buyer in Texas. I would submit an offer like this: This is an example for a home that is listed for 400,000. Your Agent Submits the offer for 400,000. In special provisions, have your buyer’s agent say, “Buyer will pay 3% of the commission owed to the Listing Agent at closing. If this offer is accepted by 5pm tomorrow. After 5pm (put in date) this offer is null and void.”
Here is what this means to you at 3% on a 400k home you will be paying an additional 12,000 at closing however, you will most likely have to pay more than 12,000 if you stick around and negotiate. It is a way for you to offer something to the seller to get your full price offer accepted without having to wait several days and get bid up several times.
SELLERS, You are definitely in the driver’s seat. Just make sure, if you drive the price up to high, the buyer will have to walk away. Yes, you might get to keep the earnest money however you might have a bigger problem now.
If the buyer was getting an FHA Loan, that home appraisal stays with the home for 6 months. So you would not be able to accept another buyer’s offer that was getting FHA. Financing or the old appraisal comes into play. Best advice here is when the listing agent enters your home into the MLS, there is a category of what type financing the seller is willing to accept. Only choose Conventional or Cash.
If a buyer agent sends in an FHA offer afterward. You can say your agent can say the seller is accepting FHA or VA Loan types per MLS Listing.
4. Tanika Donnell, Broker-Owner At Tanika Donnell Realty (Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex)
Buyers should absolutely seize the opportunity to take advantage of the lower interest rates that we now have in this market.
Yes, the market is HOT right now, however, the longer a buyer waits, they may price themselves out of a home that they can purchase right now. This delay will equal missing out on future equity growth by waiting.
Even if they cannot purchase their dream home, they should still buy something that fits their current budget so that the ability to invest works to their benefit for their dream home in the future.
Ideally, a buyer must be prepared with their down payment & closing cost amounts saved, their credit scores in an acceptable range which is usually 600 and above and flexibility in their criteria for searching for a home & location.
I would also highly recommend they partner with an experienced real estate agent that can help navigate through this tumultuous market.
We will connect them to lender partners and will provide expertise regarding comparable homes and strategies for submitting offers.
If a homeowner is contemplating selling their home, now is the ideal time to capitalize on the low inventory and high demand that we are experiencing in the housing market.
In preparation for the sale, a homeowner must start by assessing current their home condition and where they will go once they sell their property.
The following questions must also be answered:
Will they be renting, upsizing, downsizing their home, or moving out of state?
Contacting a lender to understand their options will be critical for success.
It is also a great idea to partner with an experienced & seasoned real estate agent early on to help facilitate this process as well!
They also need to decide if they want to sell their property “as-is” or put any time and effort into updating the property.
There are various ways in which they could sell their home anywhere from For Sale By Owner or even a IBuyer program but ideally, they should reach out to an experienced real estate agent who specializes in their area.
Even though the market is ON FIRE, Sellers still need to have a true assessment of what the market value is of the home.
We as Realtors know the ins and outs of the housing market and how to market and dissect a contract to explain the pros and cons and advantages to them as the seller.
5. Sarah Lyons, Broker At Century 21 Judge Fite Company (Fort Worth)
In the current hot real estate market, my advice to a buyer is to remain optimistic and prepare for plan B, C, and even D.
We have seen a 56% reduction in listings since this time last year in Tarrant county. This and other factors have led to an increase in demand. The days of getting a “good deal” are not now. You will receive historically low interest rates which allow for more buying power however.
When you find a home that meets your needs the goal is to be in it to win it! Set your offer apart by having attractive terms for the seller.
Sellers want the lowest risk and the highest net offer. Offering a free temporary lease after closing, a shorter inspection period, higher earnest/option money, waiving financing or appraisal contingencies, and paying for items that are traditionally seller expenses are just a few ways to add up to a winning offer.
The best way to win a house however, is to find one before it hits the market. A top notch REALTOR will work to find a home that meets the buyer’s needs before it goes on the MLS by reaching out to homeowners directly or through their sphere of influence.
In the current hot real estate market, my advice to a Seller is to pick the right REALTOR who will put in the work to get you the most return. Just like with most things, you get what you pay for. In an industry with a low barrier of entry and everyone seeming to get their real estate license, picking the first person you know with a license is not always the best choice.
Making sure to select an agent that has the experience, connection, and know how to do the work to maximize your return is key. You want a partner that will work for your best interest, guide you through the risks and set up the proper expectations through the selling process.
It is important when selling to prepare up front to maximize your return. I spend a lot of time with my sellers before going on the market making sure we do the little things to get the maximum return on investment.
Decluttering, staging, having the house deep cleaned, windows professionally cleaned, and freshening up landscaping can make a big impact on the bottom line for relatively little cost. Finding out their ideal timeline and advertising those as our preferences can help minimize the stress of moving and make it easier to compare offers.
In order to minimize the inconvenience of showings, especially when the sellers have little kids and pets, I normally have them plan a weekend getaway for when we go to the market. I normally put the listing active on Thursday mornings and host a big open house on Saturday. We review the offers on Monday and make a selection.
6. Eric Bramlett, Owner & Broker At Bramlett Residential (Austin)
The pandemic has accelerated the market and we describe it internally as “The Post-COVID Boom.” Everyone has been homebound due to the pandemic and there’s a renewed focus on personal living space.
Many companies have announced that remote work will continue indefinitely, so a home office is now very important and many home buyers can live anywhere in the US that they would like to.
Our advice to buyers is to be patient and decisive. The market is incredibly competitive and most homes receive multiple offers, many times 10 or 20+ multiple offers. When you find a home that you want to offer, it’s very important to present a strong offer in order to have a chance of winning.
Likewise, it’s important not to make a rushed decision and end up in a home that isn’t right for you. Buyers need to be ready to “watch, wait, then pounce.”
Sellers are in the strongest seller’s market that I’ve seen in my 18+ year career. Pricing is very tricky, though. Because buyers are conditioned to expect to pay over the asking price of homes (and sometimes far over asking price), sellers that price too high end up with no offers and eventually sell for less than they would have if they’d priced the home correctly.
It’s important that sellers price their listings correctly and then wait through the first weekend before reviewing offers, in order to give all potential buyers time to put their offers together.
7. Matthew Teifke, Owner & Broker At Teifke Real Estate (Austin)
My advice is- always think long term. As a buyer or a seller and try to focus on not getting swept away in the current times. Focus on the fundamentals and your goals. Look at the jobs and where they are coming from to understand the future of the values in your area.
Real Estate is a get rich long game and it works. Buyers be patient but ready to move quickly when you find an opportunity. Have your inspectors, lenders, appraisers ready to roll day 1 of signing the contract as people are delayed and it’s never good to delay closings that were originally committed to.
Sellers be patient the market is slowing a little in Austin so don’t panic if your house doesn’t get multiple offers in 1-5 days. Price the house right by utilizing an expert and don’t get greedy and list it at crazy numbers. Number 1 – have a plan on what to do with the money and don’t just sell to sell. Think long term, work with experts, get creative and go get it!
8. Laura Weisman, Broker and Founder at Living Houston Real Estate (Houston)
In this current post-pandemic market, the first thing buyers and sellers need to do is remember not to make decisions based on a sense of urgency or emotion. Yes, the market is hot in certain areas, and anytime the real estate market is fluctuating, the press loves to bring attention to it. This might make you feel like you are missing out or need to jump on the bandwagon, and that is not always the case. Make sure to partner with a competent real estate agent that isn’t driven by commission and can genuinely weigh out all of your options so you know if you’re making the best decision — long and short-term– for your specific situation.
Because the current market in most areas is a seller’s market, this makes for much-needed strategy on both sides of the transaction. Sellers need to make sure NOT to try to take advantage of the market and over-price their home. Even in a crazy market, an over-priced home typically won’t sell. If the condition of a home supports it, pricing on the high end of the spectrum can work out well, but OVER-pricing is a different story — and usually doesn’t wield the results the seller was looking for.
If you are a buyer, the most important thing you can do is hire an experienced realtor with a good reputation in your market area. With all the multiple offers going on properties right now, not only do you need an agent that can craft an exceptional offer that will beat out the others, but having an agent represent you that knows other agents in the area can sometimes get you better chances of having your offer selected.
It’s definitely time to think outside the box if you’re looking to get great results and take advantage of this unprecedented time with the real estate market.
9. Michael Brombacher, Real Estate Broker at Brombacher & Co. (Houston)
In the current real estate market, buyers will need to be patient. If you’re lucky enough to find a home that fits most of your lifestyle needs then you will want to be aggressive. If you sleep on it then someone else will sleep in it. Submit a strong offer, but only go as high as you’re comfortable with. Remember there will be more listings soon. Also, I would recommend you don’t fall in love with the home, as unfortunately, there is a chance you may not be picked as the winning offer.
Sellers should be optimistic but realistic when pricing their homes. Even though homes are selling above market price, there have been issues with comps. If you are accepting an offer far above your list price, then make sure the terms and proof of funds protect you in the case of a low appraisal. Make sure the Buyer is waiving the appraisal contingency and also provides proof of funds to cover any differences. It was only 6-12 months ago where these prices would make any Seller happy. We have seen some Sellers become unrealistic, when just a few months ago they would have been ecstatic to sell at these numbers. You may not get hundreds or tens of thousands over list, but you probably won’t need to make many inspection/repair concessions.
10. Leesa Harper Rispoli, Broker/Owner At Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper (San Antonio)
My advice to buyers…Be patient!! Don’t have “buyer’s remorse”. New inventory is coming onto the market daily. Builders are releasing new lots and this helps availability and gives the buyer more choices. However the buyer must be ready to put in an offer. An their offer should be the best they can afford. With today’s market buyers are usually not asked for best and final offer. The buyer usually will get strong offers and will begin to negotiate one of the offers. Having a cut off time for receiving offers is common as well. So buyers should take pictures and good notes on all of the properties they are shown and decide quickly when they see a property they really like. Buyers must understand they will not find a property that has 100% of their wish list items.
My advice to investors are ….CASH is KING. Working with professional full time sales agent is a MUST. In today’s market investors can not risk working with a sales agent that is not versed in the trends and movement in our fast paced market.
My advice for sellers…Sellers need to select a professional real estate sales agent that can get them across the finish line….SOLD and CLOSED. They should evaluate sales agents by their online reviews , marketing plan and the agent’s list to sold ratio. Sales agents should be able to help the seller navigate our fast and tight market and explain the worthiness of offers. The highest offer may not be the best offer. This means sellers need to understand they are usually selling their home at a premium price. They should not be greedy and price their home way over the value. Buyers today are smart. They understand they are paying a premium but they are not STUPID. They are not just throwing money at an offer that is not somewhat reasonable.
11. Chad Bradshaw, Owner of Limitless Realty Group (San Antonio)
When the pandemic hit, people were standing in nestegg of emotions wondering how the COVID-19 lockdown was going to impact their overall living conditions in terms of functionality and locality. Over time, people wanted to move but were unable to of course. This pent up lack of movement caused the ultimate ripple effect we’re seeing today in this post-pandemic real estate market in terms of reflecting what appears to be an overwhelming amount of buyers vs. sellers appearing to be inversely proportional to our typical “buyers” market. This is the best definition of a sellers market anyone in the industry or consumer alike has ever witnessed in our lifetimes.
Today’s home buyer needs a charismatically knowledgeable leader and great communicator as a real estate agent here in San Antonio, Texas. There are ways to ensure your buyers are competitive, but you better have a good agent who can make your offer stand out among the rest. At Limitless Realty Group, they have helped 40 families get into homes over the pandemic period. Chad Bradshaw who is their top producing agent and founder, says he has been telling prospective buyers that, “if they don’t have a tenacious spirit to keep looking at homes after they get outbid by another offer on the table, then maybe they should stay out of the market as long as they can until the dust settles, or maybe they need more “buying power”. In the post pandemic season, we’re seeing shortages surrounding the fundamental reasons of supply and demand. The market appreciated because fewer homeowners were either able to move due to job loss, or were afraid of exposing themselves to COVID-19 (for those who were employed and wanted to move), yet in the end the demand for homes (aka people looking to make a move into a new home) remained the same.
As we come into the last quarter of 2021, the San Antonio real estate market continues to thrive for sellers because for the first time in history, more homeowners than ever before have the ability to cherry pick the best play of hand in the cards they are dealt in terms of multiple offers for the same home. However, some sellers are risking their play of hand by overpricing their home even in a seller’s market this is something Limitless Realty Group agent says, “If I can convince my sellers not to over price their home let the buyers bid the home up if that’s what the market wants, the market gets.”
Moving into 2022 with the lessons again learned by some of the most reluctant buyers and sellers anyone of us have ever seen, it’s a great place to invest into real estate from either position.
12. Megan Phelps, Broker/Owner At Phelps Realty Group (Fort Worth)
Navigating the real estate market in 2021 has been challenging to say the least! Who would’ve thought a pandemic would bring out buyers in droves and create so much competition? There is so much information I could share with buyers and sellers that it is too much to condense down into one article… but in short, I would say patience and persistence is key!
Buyers wanting to purchase homes need to be prepared for competition. The best houses are being snatched up quickly with multiple offers, generally well over list price. In DFW, we have seen many homes sell for 10% over the listing price. Being fully pre-approved is absolutely critical, and so is working with an honest, experienced realtor who can guide you based on what they’re seeing day to day in the market. Be as patient as you can and know that it may take several offers before you get one accepted, even if your offer is phenomenal. In positive news for buyers, we are seeing a little cooling off as of late July/early August. This is historically the case with the end of summer and as parents are preparing to send their children back to school. Will this last? Hard to say… but there is a window of opportunity!
My advice to sellers is to be realistic with your pricing and don’t get over confident. The 2021 market is changing rapidly, and you have to follow the sales data closely so you don’t fall behind the curve. A great agent will help you prepare your home to maximize the value and help you establish a price that will encourage buyers to look and make offers. Also, be prepared for the possibility that you could have many people coming through your home (especially true for homes in the $100’s and $200’s). Sometimes booking a weekend getaway helps relieve the stress that comes from multiple showings a day, especially considering we’re still in the midst of COVID-19.
Working with an educated and experienced agent is important, but equally important is someone who has strong relationships within the business! We rely on our fellow co-agents inside and outside of our brokerage to keep us informed on new listings coming to the market so that we have more opportunities for our clients. Stay focused on your goals, be realistic, and follow advice… in doing so, you should ultimately have success!
13. Josh DeShong, Founder and CEO At Trelly Group (Dallas)
In the current hot real estate market, buyers need to be patient and sellers should have urgency to capitalize on the inpatient buyers who are being driven by FOMO surrounding the market and inflation fears.