It is not unusual for our Houston real estate market to slow down toward the end of the year, and take a bit of time to get going again the first couple months of the year. Even though our winters are not cold, sometimes it seems like the real estate engine is having trouble turning over the first 6 weeks or so of the year. (I grew up in Indiana, where cold winter mornings generally made cars hard to start â€“ especially if they sat outside all night long. So that is the where my analogy is coming from. For those who have never experienced a bitter cold winter morning, that example probably went right over your head and didnâ€™t make a bit of sense!)
Every single January, I feel a little bit of panic rising in my throat as I watch the contracts that come across my desk slow down. And every year I have to remind myself over and over that this is â€śnormalâ€ť for the time of year. Things will pick up when spring is in the air.
So, this blog is as much a note to myself as it is a note to other agents and sellers out there who are finding their homes sittingâ€¦.and sittingâ€¦.and sitting through the fall and winter months with little activity. It can be discouraging for both the seller AND the agent. We donâ€™t slow down on our marketing efforts even when the market slows. But we cannot produce buyers that donâ€™t exist.
Since about the 2nd week of January I have noticed a marked uptick in the showing activity on my listings â€“ which tells me there ARE buyers out there. They are starting to stir. They are starting to look, and I am so encouraged! Few are actually putting pen to paper and committing to a purchase just yet. I hear this over and over from agents in my network, and I know I am experiencing this with my listing inventory.
Much of the buyerâ€™s hesitation may be due in part to the uncertainty with the oil and gas business, since that is also a big part of our Houston economy. Even buyers with secure jobs are being more cautious and waiting a little longer to make a purchase decision. But those folks who NEED to move WILL move. Homes that are priced correctly and show well WILL sell. Those that are overpriced or do not show well will continue to sit on the market.
So to my fellow agents and sellers out there, myself included, do not let our current market stress you too much. Spring is just around the corner! Price your homes well. Get a professional stager. AND a professional photographer! Make/suggest necessary repairs to eliminate negative distractions. Do what you can to make your homes and listings shine!! This is what it takes to compete in a slower market. And in the meantime, stay calm and sell on!