While COVID cases are on the decline again, home sales seem to be following that same pattern as buyers hit the pause button on their home search. Following over 12 months of a buying frenzy that pushed home prices 20-30% above the market, buyers seem to be fed up with multiple offers and overpaying for homes, so we have seen a lull in sales.

               There are multiple other symptoms that seem to have hit our housing market since the COVID buying frenzy of 2020 and 2021. In addition to Buyer fatigue, Sellers seem to be holding off on putting their homes on the market because inventory levels remain at an all-time low. For the buyers that are out there looking to buy a home, the search is excruciatingly slow, like in Spring Branch, where I only see 2 new listings a day! In the Katy market, inventory levels of active homes for sale remain under 200.

               So, you would think that it is a Seller’s advantage out there with only a few homes to choose from, but there is some inventory that has been sitting, so buyers appear to be particular about their home selection again. Another symptom of buyer’s fatigue is that I have seen more homes fall out of contract after a multiple offer bidding war. Buyers seem to be offering above list price to get a home under contract but then pull out quickly due to buyer’s remorse. Perhaps they are feeling the pressure of overpaying for a house and they are wanting to back off until they have more options.

               The last symptom, (although I am sure there are many others that I have not covered) is the impact on rental properties.  Rental properties seem to be leasing immediately with over 20 applications within a week. Not only are we seeing companies hiring and relocating families into Houston again, but many homeowners that chose to sell their home while prices were high, found it difficult to buy a home in a Seller’s market, so they resorted to a rental until this COVID market cooled. The COVID market has cooled, but with inventory levels remaining at an all-time low, relocation on the rise, and many homeowners waiting for more inventory, we should see another surge of home sales in 2022!

By Sherry Campbell

Homeownership is part of the American dream, but once you purchase a home, it is important to maintain it so that it will retain its value. Just like we perform routine maintenance on our cars, we should perform routine maintenance on our homes.

               Below are some Fall maintenance tips for your home:

If you need the name of a contractor to assist you with any of the above, feel free to call an Energy Realty agent. We are your partners throughout the life of your homeownership.

By Sherry Campbell

After 498 Days on the Market, Energy Realty Repositioned a Million-dollar Home and Sold It with Multiple Offers in 43 Days!

My neighbor came to us frustrated after his beautiful home sat on the market for over a year when he hired a big brokerage.

“My seller contacted me after trying to sell this home for 498 days. After I evaluated the house, I professionally staged and photographed the property adding some of my proven marketing techniques that included both 3D Walkthroughs using Matterport technology and a Lifestyle video. I changed the presentation but did not change the price and as a result, we received multiple offers in just over a month! “

How Did We Transform This Home Sale Into A Big Success?

It comes down to Presentation or Price.

First, We Addressed the Challenges

– The seller built a big house on a little lot with no backyard
– The house lacked ambiance and the patio was small
The interior of the home is too big and hard to visualize the use of space

Then, We Provided Solutions

The Result

My client’s home had 7 Showings and 40 visitors through the open house which resulted in multiple offers and selling just above list price.

Watch More About What My Client Had To Say

My Seller thought he had to hire an agent from a big brokerage to get this type of marketing but I showed him that he could hire someone like me from a smaller brokerage. “He was impressed with the Lifestyle Video, in addition to the 3D (Matterport) Walk-Through“

We discussed his next project where I advised him to shrink the interior and make his patio outdoor space larger. I will sell all his homes!

If Your Home Is Not Selling, Contact Energy Realty To Evaluate Your Home’s Presentation And Price.

Go to calendly.com/energyrealty/consultation to schedule your free 30 minutes Home Presentation & Staging Consultation!

               On Friday, October 8, Energy Realty decided to try a different marketing campaign and hold a company-wide Open House on a Friday afternoon based on data coming from the internet that October 8 was the best day of the year to buy a house!

               How is it that I have been a Realtor for over 15 years and I never heard this before? I have been searching the internet now and found several articles about this October 8 phenomenon, and I found so much information on it—amazing! I even found an article in Insider magazine on September 10, 2015, that stated, “According to new research, the best month for buyers is October. And the best day of the week is Monday. And the single best day on the calendar is October 8.”

               As I perused the internet for more information, the single factor that stood out is the one that Money Magazine revealed, “Buyers who closed their purchase on October 8 paid, on average, 10.8% less than what RealtyTrac estimated their homes were worth.”

             If the discounted price isn’t reason enough to buy a house, then I had to think of another reason why October is the best month to buy a house. My theory is that most buyers want to move before the holidays so they can settle into their new home, and the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving. It takes 30-45 days to close on a house, so if you go under contract by October 15, you are moved in by Thanksgiving.

             Don’t worry if you missed the deadline on October 8 because you still have time to find your dream home and close before the end of the year. Texas home sales typically increase during the last quarter as buyers hurry to take advantage of the Homestead Exemption on Property Taxes by closing before January 1. Remember, you have to own and occupy your home by January 1 in order to claim Homestead Exemption for that tax year.

             Home sales have been revving up again since September, but inventory remains low and buyers are fatigued with bidding on homes with multiple offers. Across the nation, we are seeing the buying frenzy slow down and buyers settling down to a more realistic price opinion. No one wants to overpay for a home if it isn’t necessary, so sellers will need to understand a realistic price opinion for their home as well.

             Call an Energy Realty agent today for a complimentary price opinion.

20 months after COVID-19 changed the landscape of how we live, work and play, how much has changed? 2021 has been a roller coaster of optimism and doubt again as the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpasses 40 million due to the Delta Variant.

               At the beginning of summer, most of the major oil companies had planned to have all employees back in the office by October, and that is on hold once again. While we are seeing a trend of people going back to the office, we are also seeing what CNBC labels as “The Great Wait” as many large companies like Goggle have delayed the return to the office until January 2022 –two years after COVID hit the U.S.!

               The schools have all re-opened and have stopped virtual classes, but parents are approaching this new normal with caution as more children are contracting COVID across the United States. While we are all anxious to return to our normal life before COVID, this “New Normal” may be here to stay.

               Energy Realty is preparing a survey to send to our sphere of clients to understand how housing needs in Houston have changed since COVID-19. It is clear that the suburbs like Katy, Cypress, Fulshear, and Sugarland remain more desirable than housing in the City with little to no green space, but it will be interesting to see if this will shift again once employees are forced to return to the office.

               The other big question is, how many employers will ever return to the office, versus continuing to allow employees to work from home.

               According to the Houston Agent Magazine, we saw a decline in housing sales and inventory levels in August, but now that we are past Labor Day, we hope to see the Fall market pick up again. When I checked a few days ago, the number of homes for sale on MLS in Katy was down to 250 again—a drop of 100 homes!!

               August is back to school month, so the decline was expected. Let’s see what happens in the next few months as everyone adjusts to the expectation that COVID may be here to stay.

By: Sherry Campbell

Sellers ask me this question all the time—do open houses sell listings? Old school Realtors will always respond that open houses only benefit the open house hosts so they can find buyers, but my response is always, “I sell 30% of my listings through open houses!”

               What has changed? First of all, buyers today look for homes themselves on multiple online sites, including HAR, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.., and they need the convenience of visiting homes without the hassle of scheduling with an agent. Open Houses make it easy for a buyer to visit a home without scheduling an appointment.

               Secondly, I look at an Open House as being open for business. If I am open, a buyer may walk in the door, but if I am closed, this may be a missed opportunity. As a listing agent, my job is to bring as many buyers to the house as possible to increase the odds of finding the right buyer.

               The third and last reason that I am a huge proponent of open houses is that the old school method of attracting open house visitors is with an open house sign.  Before open houses were advertised online, visitors only came in from the signs, and they often knew nothing about the house or price before visiting. Today’s open house visitor has more than likely seen the price, photos, and size, and they decided to stop because they are already interested. Look for the orange Open House signs every weekend because Energy Realty agents love open houses!

By: Sherry Campbell

If you’re new to home buying or homeownership, you may be a little bit confused about the must-haves and the nice-to-haves in home protection. Home warranties and homeowner’s insurance come in several varieties. They share some common features, but they’re definitely not the same thing. Let’s look at some of the similarities and differences between these two products so you understand your responsibilities as a homeowner and choose the products that best suit your needs.

What’s the Same?

Both home warranties and homeowner’s insurance involve paying a monthly or annual premium for protection for a specific amount of time. Both will protect you financially by covering certain kinds of damage to your home. When you make a claim, you will be charged a deductible, which is generally customizable with both products. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

What’s the Main Difference?

Home warranties, while they’re commonly referred to as policies, are not insurance plans. Insurance plans of every variety are heavily regulated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a body made up of representatives from all 50 states. Regulations vary from state to state, but the NAIC sets rigorous standards that states must adhere to. Regulations stem from a historic act of Congress, the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945. The NAIC performs an important consumer protection function.

Compared to homeowner’s insurance, home warranties are the wild, wild west. Every home warranty company sets its own rules, just like every Italian restaurant makes its special version of marinara sauce. It’s up to consumers to protect themselves when they purchase a home warranty by understanding the specific terms of the plan they select. Careful comparison shopping is a must when it comes to home warranties.

The other primary difference between home warranties and homeowner’s insurance is that one is mandatory for any homeowner who has a mortgage. The financial institution that lends you money to purchase your house will insist that you carry homeowner’s insurance as a condition of borrowing. You have a choice, on the other hand, about purchasing a home warranty.

You Get Different Kinds of Protection

Homeowner’s insurance comes in two basic forms: liability insurance and property insurance. Your mortgage company will require you to carry both kinds. But property insurance is the type that’s analogous to a home warranty. So we’ll compare the two.

Both property insurance and home warranties protect against damage to your home. But for the most part, they cover different things. Homeowner’s insurance protects you when your home is damaged by such factors as fire, wind, and fallen tree limbs. Home warranties protect you if certain appliances and systems in your home need repair. Let’s take one example to illustrate the difference.

Let’s say a water pipe in your house breaks and the carpet in your home is damaged in the process. The property insurance section of your homeowner’s policy will cover the cost of replacing your carpet. It won’t cover the cost of replacing your faulty plumbing. By contrast, a home warranty plan will pay your plumbing bill (up to the limits of your policy). But it won’t pay for you to replace your carpet.

Property insurance also covers your possessions if you are burglarized and damage to your home if you are vandalized. Home warranties do not offer that protection.

Coverage Type and Deductible Options

Both home warranties and homeowner’s insurance allow you to tailor certain policy features to suit your needs. For example, with a home warranty, most companies allow you to select coverage for systems, appliances, or both. Some offer pre-set packages, while others let you pick and choose the items you need to be covered. If you own a pool, you can elect pool repair coverage. Homeowner’s insurance companies also permit you to add “riders” to your policy to cover items that are not normally covered in a basic policy. If you keep a lot of expensive jewelry or antiques in your home, it’s a good idea to look into adding riders to your policy, so you’ll be fully protected.

Many home warranties and all homeowner’s insurance companies allow you to customize your deductible. In the case of a home warranty, the deductible you pay is actually a service call fee. Home warranty deductibles generally range from $60 to $125. Homeowner’s insurance policies usually offer deductible choices between $500 and $2000, but some policies establish your deductible based on a percentage of your home’s value. Choosing a higher deductible will bring the cost of either type of policy down.

Know Your Coverage Limits

With a homeowner’s policy, you can generally choose your coverage limits. Your mortgage lender will require that you carry insurance that meets or exceeds the fair market value of your home. If you live in a home that wouldn’t necessarily fetch a high price on the market, but would cost a great deal of money to rebuild—such as in the case of a historic home that features high-quality or unique craftsmanship—it’s best to choose coverage limits that exceed your home’s value. There are two types of property insurance: Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost Value (RCV). Here’s the difference. Let’s say your home suffers a catastrophic fire. If your home features expensive but older appliances, ACV would cover the cost of buying a used gourmet fridge or stove. RCV would cover the cost of purchasing a brand new stove with the same features as your old stove. Similarly, if your home features elaborate plaster molding around your light fixtures, ACV coverage would pay to have a store-bought product installed in your home. RCV coverage would pay out enough for you to hire an expert plasterer to rebuild your molding to its original spec.

Home warranties, by contrast, usually have very specific limits around how much they will pay out to repair or replace specific items like a washing machine or heating system. Often those limits will not cover the entire cost of replacing an appliance or system. That’s why you should carefully study the coverage limits of any home warranty. RCV coverage is not an option with home warranties. Furthermore, many home warranties limit the total amount they will pay out in a single policy term, which is usually one year. It’s up to consumers to decide whether a home warranty is worth the price. The good news is that home warranties cost less than homeowner’s insurance. A comprehensive systems and appliances plan could cost you as little as $500, while the average cost of homeowner’s insurance on a $250,000 home is around $1400. Of course, that includes both liability and property insurance. Home warranties provide no liability protection. But they do cover items not covered by property insurance. That’s why many homeowners decide to carry both.

Get Some Expert Advice If you’re new to homeownership, your realtor can be an invaluable resource, helping you make smart financial decisions throughout the home buying process. For example, you may be able to negotiate with a home seller and persuade him or her to include a home warranty in your purchase and sale agreement. That’s a growing trend but not all sellers follow suit. In addition, realtors often have relationships with homeowner’s insurance companies and can steer you in the direction of a great agent. Financial advisors are also typically well-versed in insurance. Your home is likely one of your largest financial assets and a financial advisor can help you protect it and afford it. And that’s what home warranties and homeowner’s insurance are all about.

Source: Money.com

All summer the news continued to report that home sales were hot and that every housing market across the United States was seeing multiple offers, with many above the asking price, and while the temperatures continued to soar, suddenly the housing market cooled.

                I do not usually gauge Houston’s market against the rest of the United States, but in this case, I noticed more articles about the housing market cooling, so I was curious. What caused this abrupt cooling? Then I remembered that the market tends to cool around the middle of July to August as everyone goes on vacation in the heat of the summer….and people are vacationing in record numbers this year!

                I am by no means saying that it is a Buyer’s market, but we have seen home sales slow in the last 30 days while inventory levels steadily increase in every market, including Katy, which now has over 350 homes on the market, a 75% increase.

                So what happens now? Just this weekend, the Energy Realty team saw a surge in showings and Open House visitors again, so the timing may be right again for home sales to resume the fast pace we saw in the first half of the year. With the Delta variance on the horizon, people are returning from vacation and getting kids ready for school again.

                Typically, home sales pick up again towards the end of August or after Labor Day weekend, so stay tuned for a second wave of buyers hitting the market this fall. If you just listed your home in the last 30 days, don’t jump ship yet—it is still a good time to sell a home, and as long as some big event doesn’t change the direction, we should stay in a seller’s market for another 1-2 years.

By: Sherry Campbell

Why does everyone think that painting wood cabinets white is the best fix for updating and selling a home?  While I agree that white cabinets are timeless, I have seen some homes where the painted white cabinets lessened the appeal.

               When I started selling real estate 15 years ago, HGTV was not as hot and buyers did not expect move-in ready homes all the time. Today, it is very apparent that a remodeled home will not only sell faster, but it will also capture a much better return on the sales price for the Seller.

               While I never intended to wear the hat of an interior designer when I sell homes, I have found that after remodeling at least 5 homes after Harvey that I have a knack for it. Since a lot of my clients live overseas or in different states, they have come to rely on me to advise on what needs to be done to sell their homes for the greatest return.

               Earlier this year, I recommended $10k of updates to remodel a home under $400k, and it resulted in 26 offers (15 above asking price) and a net gain of $30k more for my seller. Yes, I did paint old oak cabinets white on this one!

               I just listed a home that most companies advised painting these gorgeous Alder cabinets white, and I insisted that we keep the natural wood color and add grey Quartz counters and a modern white backsplash, and the results are phenomenal.  Since I just went on the market, I can’t share this success story yet, but I will share the before and after photos and you can tell me what you think.

Schedule now: https://calendly.com/energyrealty/free-20-minute-interior-design-consultation⁣⁣⁣

The rain has cooled temperatures in Houston and may have caused a slight cooling in home sales, but we are still in a Seller’s Market, despite what appraisers are reporting.

                I recently was up against multiple offers for one of my buyers in Katy, and the offers came in well over 10% above the asking price!  We thought we had the upper hand when we agreed to waive the appraisal contingency (the buyer was willing to purchase the home even if the appraised value was less than the Contract price), but it seems like all the other buyers also waived the appraisal.

                As the saying goes, a home is worth what buyers are willing to pay for it, and in today’s market, the homes that are offering outdoor space and are move-in ready are commanding a higher price than what the current market indicates. In real estate terms, this is an appreciating market.

                The stumbling block in this market is that the appraisals have not caught up with the market yet, so we are seeing appraisals coming in 10%-20% less than our Contract prices. Many appraisers are not seeing the sold comparisons to support this recent surge in prices, and there is not enough supporting evidence for them to factor in an appreciating market yet.

                Appraisal issues on home sales may continue for another 6 months until the pending contracts turn to sold, so buyers today must have considerable cash reserves in order to compete in today’s housing market. Remember, the bank will only give a loan based on the appraised value of the home, so if the appraisal falls short, you will need to bring additional cash to the table.

                In the meantime, I continue to watch the inventory levels in Katy and the Energy Corridor, and the inventory seems to have increased by about 30% since May. In the Spring, we saw inventory levels drop to a one-month supply, but we are now closer to a 2 month’s supply of inventory in the suburbs of Houston.

                As inventory levels go up slowly, the forecast is that interest rates on home mortgages will inch up as well; however, coming up from all-time lows, low-interest rates will keep mortgage payments affordable despite rising home prices.

By: Sherry Campbell

We use cookies and tracking technology in connection with your activities on our website. By viewing and using our website, you consent to our use of cookies and tracking technology in accordance with our Privacy Policy.