Carlotta's Real Estate Corner

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        EMAIL ME        4225 Research Forest Dr. # 101, The Woodlands, TX 77381     Phone: (281) 363-2500     Fax: (281) 363-2740
I live and practice real estate in The Woodlands and the surrounding areas. I have worked with so many families over the past 20 plus years and learned so much about the process and what makes or breaks a deal. My mission in this blog is to be frank and honest about things people need to know in order to be successful in either selling or purchasing their home. Some things are hard to hear as a seller but need to be heard. Same goes with buyers--so, welcome to my corner.
Lately, homes are listed and sold by 3rd day on market.  Some are OP (option pending) by the time they hit the market.  My buyer clients are upset by this and dont get it!  Heres the deal---realtor offices have weekly meetings and talk about "coming listings" or "pocket listing's.  Those realtors have buyers and get a first chance, often seeing them prior to posting the listing online.  IF you get a good offer and if  the seller accepts it, the deal is done!  Another question I am getting---Arent sellers taking too low a price if it sells this quickly?  The possibility of that exists but overall, if the home was priced right, per the comparable homes that closed in that specific area within last 3-6 months, the quick sale is not because they priced too low----it is because there are not enough homes on the market and there are lots of buyers currently.   The buyers (and their realtors) are scanning the market for new listings many times a day.  When a new listing appears everyone makes an appt and some homes are seeing over 12 showings in a day---not unusual that an offer or sseveral would come in.   The  number of showings we see in a day currently on a new listing equates to a week or two in our previous market.    Bottom line,   if you are going to sell your home this year---now would be a good time to interview realtors.   The skill and experience of a savvy realtor will be in your best interest!
 I live in The Woodlands and my experience of 23 years selling homes in this area gives me the knowledge and assurance to say that we have never seen the inventory of available homes so low.  And its not just one price point, it is across the board. New home builders are putting homes up as fast as they can but its not fast enough.   When you are checking the listings daily and homes listed last week are OP this week, it means something.   More buyers than sellers.  So, just yesterday, a client asked me if he shouldnt wait for more homes to come on the market---In my opinion, with all the relocation coming our direction and the lack of inventory we are already experiencing, you can expect prices to escalate from here. So, the answer is not to wait, if you find the right home, purchase now.  You might say, I'll wait to put my home on the market until prices are even higher but remember this--if your current home lists for more $, so will the next home you purchase cost more.   These go hand in hand.    Let me get back to my original statement--- We need listings!  Call me, lets get your home on the market-------
When you are looking at listings daily and they go to Option Pending in a week or less, the buyers may outnumber the sellers.   Let me be clear though---this only applies if its a trend, certain houses will go quickly because they in the right location, priced correctly and in remarkable condition.  If you are looking regularly at specific neighborhoods, and homes are there one day and gone the next---it is a sellers market.   Home prices will go up when there arent enough homes for sale.  Note the market statistics on a month to month basis in your area, you should have a 6 month supply of inventory, when the numbers fall down to 3 months or less on available homes--A Sellers Market it is! 
 This question is being asked over and over....  the answer is a high-volume YES!   I am living through a situation here in The Woodlands where we are offering on a house, 2nd day on market and 4 offers including mine are in the running.   We offered a bit over list---we lost the house.   This has happened to me 4 times in the last month.   In fact, one family is now under construction with a new home due to not being able to get an accepted offer....that one family endured 2 times of offering and losing out on the house.   Honestly, I have not seen this type situation in my career here.   The bottom line is -------  there are not enough listings on the market.   When this occurs, in an active market, sellers are waiting each day for listings to hit the market, then many are looking/offering at once.   It is a sellers market in The Woodlands and IF you are considering a sale in the next year,  do it now AND be prepared for it to sell quickly if it is priced right, staged well and in sparkling condition. 
When trying to get the best (highest) price for your listing or trying to get the best (lowest) price for your purchase, there are some things to avoid.   Lets begin with ---this is a business decision, not an emotional one! If someone gives you a lowball offer on your home, dont get upset, counter with the right amount and see where it goes.  Sellers often take it personally and decide not to counter----bad idea.   The buyer could be unemotional and not wanting to leave anything on the table--it costs nothing to counter back and let it go where it goes.  Example:  I have had a buyer come up $20K in the 2nd offer to then purchase the home. Next, know the amount that you will take and be prepared to go there--if a buyer offers the amount you decided to take, seal the deal and breathe a sigh of relief--showings are over and you can begin the process of moving ahead.   I have seen sellers want to wait on the next offer to see if they can make a little more on the sale---bad idea.   Take the right amount when it comes and be happy you got it.  Finally, think hard before walking away from a deal over $1-2,000., does that make sense?  How much will that affect your overall deal, whether it is payments on a mortgage or $ in the bank?   Remember to weigh everything and don't lose sight of your goal. 
Happy Negotiating!
Ok,   I have just gone through an interesting situation with a listing of mine----nice home w pool in better than average location.   All things would point to a quick sale in the current marketplace.  I had the home professionally staged and professionally photographed.   Realtor Open House rendered great comments too.   After 83 days, no offers and they decided to take it off the market and re-list later......  What happened during the course of the time it was on the market-----many showings declined.   Also, a price reduction is called for when the market place shifts---if your home compared to others is listed higher and doenst look as good, you must adjust the price----the market dictates price, not the upgrades in the home or the amount of money you have in the home.   Tough facts, but reality just the same.
Bottom line-------if your home is priced right and you are 100% available for showings PLUS the condition is good to excellent---your home will sell.    Let me be the bad guy here---------you must show your home each and every time a request for showing happens--the one you try to rearrange or put off because you dont feel like leaving, could be your buyer!
I am embarrassed to admit that I was not informed on home warranties until a few years back----what I have found is that I'm not the only one who has just ignored them and moved on.  So, here is the scoop---They are very beneficial for a home that is not new, keep in mind that new construction has the builders warranty for up to 2 years.   However, when purchasing a resale one issue crossing buyers minds is---how old is the A/C?  the water heater?  the appliances?  and when will they break and cost me an arm and a leg?   Good questions and the fact is they will break at some time during the life of the home.   Home warranties are for that situation!  You pay for home warranties by the year, usually around $350-400.   They have core coverages, advanced coverages, pool and spa coverages etc.  You pay a service fee when trades come out, usually about $60, and your home warranty pays for the repair/replacement.  There are so many home warranty companies to choose from --- you can go to to get a list to ck out.    Here is the take-away---this is insurance for breakdowns in your home---look into it---can save you a bundle!!
First,  I need to apologize for falling off the happens and in my case, it was a back episode with a pinched nerve---really awful and kept me from working, driving, and of course, blogging for a bit.   However, I am back and lots to say about listing your home and why to do it now, instead of waiting.
Homes are selling in our area,  I had 6 listings a couple months ago but have none now---they all sold!!  Not the situation last year this time, so I am asking everyone that is on the fence about whether to do sell now or wait it out............List your home now---we need the listings, we are actually low for this time of year in The Woodlands and surrounding area.   I am waiting to hear from you---lets get started..........
Talk about a tough question---this is it.  I have heard..,  "My sister is a realtor in town and I am going to use her when I find the right home" or  "I don't need a realtor, I can look it up on HAR, list my home on HAR and not have to pay the commission".   And, "the commission is too high".......  OK, straight talk----ONLY use your family member or good friend as a realtor if they are full-time realtors, knowledgable in the area and you are comfortable with them on a professional level.   Remember, your realtor has to be able to handle the transaction and there will be parts of it that require firm talk, sensitivity and judgement calls.  Personally I am very straightforward on issues like staging the home, its presentation to possible buyers, availability for showings, etc.  I say what needs to be done, not what you want to hear, necessarily.  Next, "the commission is too high" is an everyday discussion in the life of a realtor.  With internet companies offering LOW rates to list your home online and let you handle everything, it has blurred the effectiveness of a hands on, full time realtor.  Please make sure you understand what everything means.   The paperwork alone is daunting, and understanding all of it takes training year after year.  Marketing a home today is a true strategy and requires time, effort, training and full time scrutiny.  Every word about the home, every picture of the home, follow up of showings, doing regular studies on the neighborhood to determine changes in the buying climate that indicates needed changes on your homes' marketing/pricing, and all this before we begin the process of negotiating price, inspections, repairs, deadlines, etc ----------there is value to what a professional realtor adds to the process of selling your home.   Bottom line---  Choose a full-time realtor with experience in the area and one who listens to you and values your opinion in the mix.   This last part is about comfortability, its very important too, as you join together to become a business partnership to market your current home and possibly find your next one.......
This is a tough situation and it does happens, unfortunately, it happens often.  Now, my first advice here is to remember what the objective is-----to sell the house, key word here is house........not your home.   Sellers need to change their way of looking at their home, from the minute the sign goes in the yard, it is not their home anymore, it is a new product on the market.  So, when someone makes an offer on the house, it is not a personal comment on their home but an opportunity to sell the product at a mutually agreed on price.  You need to counter at a reasonable amount you will take and let them respond.   Remember that negotiations go both ways---they might need an earlier move in date, could be a real need for closing costs help, etc.    Never be the reason you don't find out what the buyer will actually pay.  You could be surprised and in a good way!   Bottom line, always make a counter offer!
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