In celebration of Women’s History Month, I wanted to reflect on my journey to becoming the Broker Owner of Energy Realty.
Having traveled the world with my family in support of my husband’s career for over 10 years, in 2004, I found myself in Houston and decided that it was time to venture into the real estate profession again while my children were at school.
Raising children and managing a household are no small feat, and having been both a Stay at Home Mom and a business owner, I can honestly say that raising children is not only my greatest accomplishment, it has also been my greatest challenge, and may have prepared me for becoming a business owner.
What started as a part-time gig, quickly exploded into a full-time career as I realized that I had a gift for helping people, and that extended into real estate. As a woman though, having a career while raising children is not easy, and I applaud every woman out there who has overcome the obstacle of being the main caregiver at home while maintaining a career.
One of the traits that makes me a great Realtor is that I am a master at juggling multiple tasks at the same time, and I acquired this skill as a mother. This is one of the reasons why 65% of Realtors are women, and Real Estate has become a woman-dominated business.
My vision of Energy Realty was simple—someone needed to open an office on Eldridge Parkway, and one day I decided that would be me. At first, I was terrified at the prospect of committing to opening an office with the added expenses of rent and hiring a full-time employee to answer phones and assist me! My children were either married, in college, or finishing high school by this time, so I had the time to invest in opening a real estate brokerage, and I have never been afraid of hard work.
Little did I know that what started as a concept to build a small brokerage where I trained agents to be professionals rather than knock on doors, would grow into a Boutique Brokerage where agents started knocking on my door to join the Energy Realty team.
Today, I have grown Energy Realty to a team of over 40 Realtors, most of who are women, and I am preparing to open a second office in Katy.
I had a dream to do real estate better and be prominent in the Energy Corridor. Today, Energy Realty sells more homes in the Energy Corridor than most large brokerages and you can see a sea of orange signs in the Energy Corridor. Watch out Katy because the wave of orange signs is coming your way.
By: Sherry Campbell
The Katy inventory today has exceeded 100! As I predicted last month, the inventory levels are creeping up in all markets as the weather warms and more sellers prepare to list their homes in what is considered the selling season. Watch my Monday Market Update video for an explanation of what we are calling 1-2 months’ supply of inventory!
We have all been on the edge of our seats as predictions that mortgage rates would increase held true and interest rates exceeded 4% on a 30-year mortgage in some cases, but the war in Ukraine caused another shift in rising mortgage rates. While the prediction is that this war will cause interest to rise again, the immediate reaction was a drop in interest rates last week by .25-.50%! This was great news for some of our buyers just going under contract, and they locked their rates quickly.
While the war in Ukraine may have been good news for interest rates, we should approach this with solidarity as it is not good news for the rest of the world. Again, Houston is seeing a positive impact as oil prices catapulted over $100 a barrel for the first time in 8 years, but the rest of the United States is feeling the impact of higher prices at a time when inflation was at an all-time high.
How will this impact the real estate market? Time will tell, but the prediction is that the war in Ukraine will push the cost of goods even higher, making housing affordability even higher across the United States. In our local market, we are seeing a surge in relocation as oil companies staff up again in Houston in response to surging oil prices. This is good news for our real estate market.
People ask me about my opinion on the real estate market all the time, and my typical response is, “Unless something happens around the world to change that.” The war in Ukraine is another example of how quickly a market can shift in reaction to a world event. Stay tuned for my Monday Market Updates for a brief update on my real view of what is happening in Houston’s real estate market.
By: Sherry Campbell
As I type this update, there are only 89 homes actively for sale in Katy! That is an insane low inventory, and we are experiencing similar low inventory and pent-up demand in the Energy Corridor as well.
This market is fully in favor of the Seller, and buyers are forced to overpay for homes as well as offer appraisal waivers, giving up any rights to renegotiate if the house does not appraise for their offer price. Crazy!
The last time I saw the housing market this crazy was before the oil price crash of 2014. My advice is Buyers Beware! A home purchase should be a long-term investment, not just a place to live. If you are forced to overpay for a house in this market, it could be another 5-7 years before you gain value back if prices stabilize any time soon.
We call this a speculative market, which is not typical for Texas. A speculative market is more typical for California or Florida, where buyers are willing to pay above the market, based on speculations that the market price will only go up. The truth is that none of us know for sure where the market will go, so it is a gamble.
For now, I am advising buyers to be cautious and wait for more inventory. Like any market, it is about supply and demand, and the demand is far greater than the supply right now. Most sellers wait to put their house on the market in the Spring or early Summer because they think that is the best time to sell. As a result, we should see a lot more homes come on the market by March and it won’t be such slim pickings for the buyers. If you are thinking about selling your home, I advise that you list your house now before inventory levels rise. Strike while the iron is hot!
By Sherry Campbell
Before COVID, Katy was one of the fastest-growing suburbs in Texas, but since COVID, it has exploded. With less than 100 homes on the market, inventory is at an all-time low, and prices are at an all-time high.
If a house is in good condition and priced well in Katy, it will not only receive multiple offers in the first few days, buyers are willing to pay up to 20% above the list price.
So why is Katy so appealing for homebuyers? Energy Realty has been selling homes in Katy for over 10 years, and it has been a prime community for oil & gas employees for its proximity to the Energy Corridor. For years, homebuyers could purchase a home in Katy for about $100,000 less than the Energy Corridor.
However, since COVID, the appeal of living in the suburbs has reversed Katy’s pricing, and homes are now often selling at a higher price in the Energy Corridor. Below are my top 5 reasons why Katy is one of the best suburban communities in Houston:
- Top Schools in Houston—Katy ISD offers some of the top public schools in Houston and unlike some other suburbs, the ratings are consistent across the neighborhoods. You rarely find a home in Katy zoned to a bad school.
- Diversity and Culture—With its close proximity to the Energy Corridor, Katy is one of the most diverse communities in Houston. Many oil & gas employees choose to live in Katy, so you can meet and mingle with people from around the world.
- Parks and Recreation—Katy is home to multiple parks that encompass the natural terrain of Houston, including George Bush Park, so residents have access to multiple hike and bike trails as well as parks for kids to play. Katy is also home to Typhoon Texas, one of the largest water parks in Houston.
- Fun and Flavorful Dining—In addition to world class dining and shopping at La Centerra, Katy is now home of Houston’s second Asia Town. You can find some of the top Asian restaurants and grocery store in Katy now!
- Best Hospital and Medical Care—You no longer need to drive downtown to the Medical Center to find the best medical care in Houston. Katy is home to the Westside Medical Center, and you can find Children’s Hospital, Methodist, St. Luke’s, and Memorial Hermann– all the top medical centers in Texas!
Energy Realty is pleased to announce our upcoming expansion into the Katy market so we can continue to offer top-notch real estate services in a more localized format. Stay tuned for more news on our latest location!
By Sherry Campbell
December was a great month for all of us to take a break from the bidding wars to buy homes and the desperate hunt for a home for our buyers in a dwindling inventory market.
The article in the Houston Agent Market confirmed my predictions for December—both buyer traffic and new listings declined in the month of December as people took a break for the holidays. With Omicron hanging over our heads as we went into the holidays, that holiday lull was greater than expected as buyer traffic dropped 12.5% from 2020 and new listing traffic dropped 10%, according to the Houston Agent Magazine.
Let’s face it though—we all needed the break! 2021 was a record year for home sales and leases, and definitely a record year for Energy Realty! While the seller’s market was very appealing for sellers, buyers struggled to find homes in one of the lowest inventory markets Houston has ever seen, and in most cases, buyers were forced to overpay for homes. I work closely with some of my agents, and it was a common theme to hear their buyers offering up to 10% above a list price (this should be the market value) AND signing appraisal waivers.
Buyers overpaid for homes in 2021, pushing values in the suburbs like Katy up 20%! We have not seen this kind of appreciation since 2013 and 2014, and this kind of appreciation is usually unheard of in Houston.
The Energy Corridor market came to life in 2021 as oil prices headed to values higher than we have seen since 2014, but the appreciation and demand in this market have still not reached the demand of the Katy market. With the price of oil lingering in the $80’s, we should see the Energy Corridor continue to rebound in 2022.
What is happening in the inner city? The appeal of townhomes and inner-city living with less space and more people took a hit since COVID but seemed to come to life towards the end of 2021. Let’s see if Omicron slows that market down again, or if buyers once again move towards the appeal of the urban lifestyle.
It is still too early to predict 2022, but January has kicked off with a bang! Energy Realty re-opened our office after a short holiday break on January 3, and I feel like someone rang the bell and we are off to the races!
by Sherry Campbell
Tis the Season….to take a break and enjoy the holiday! If you have been looking for a home to buy that is updated, well-priced, and has great outdoor space, the inventory is at an all-time low and it has been slim pickings!
Just as I stated last month, buyers are fatigued with looking for homes and bidding against multiple buyers, and it has created a strange reaction of buyers offering above list price then terminating the contract. A warning to sellers—the highest price is not always the best offer!
Buyers: don’t assume that just because a home has been on the market for over 30 days that there is something wrong with it. Ask your agent to look at the archive and inquire why the Contract fell through. If there are previous inspections, ask to see the inspection before making an offer so you have the full picture of what you are looking for. Many of these homes are only stigmatized by jumpy buyers that terminated for no reason.
Inventory levels are at 1.8 months supply in Houston, and in the suburbs like Katy, those levels are even lower. As we speak today, there are only 130 homes for sale in all of Katy! As reported in the Houston Chronicle article in this newsletter, home sales were down in October, but rebounded in November, right before the holiday season started. This rebound in home sales caused another 5% increase overall.
We expect to see the fast-paced market continue into 2022 with Sellers maintaining an advantage as there are more buyers than homes for sale. Stay tuned for our predictions for 2022, but we are heading into the new year with great optimism. With oil prices at the highest price since 2014, Houston home prices should continue to appreciate well into 2022, despite the Omicron variant looming over us this month.
Will interest rates go up? Possibly, but we’ve seen them go up and then back down again, and with the 30-year fixed mortgage rates below 4%, it is still a great time to buy a house if we see some inventory come on the market. I know buyers have been anxious with little to choose from, and sellers are on the fence about the best time to list their homes. For now, I am just advising that we all take a break and enjoy the holidays! Happy Holidays everyone!
By Sherry Campbell
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:
- Furnace: As the weather cools, it is time to check your furnace and make sure that it is running properly and that there are no gas leaks. A licensed HVAC contractor can service for around $75-$150. You should also change all the HVAC filters at this time.
- Gutters: As the leaves start to fall, they can fill and clog your gutters, so do a quick gutter check and remove all debris. You can do this yourself if the height of your home can be accessed by a ladder, or ask your lawn maintenance crew to take care of this.
- Smoke Detector Batteries: Check your smoke detector batteries and change if necessary. Fire code also requires a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home, so it is a good time to make sure that this is working and up to date.
- Fertilize Lawn: Before your grass goes dormant, this is a good time to add a winter fertilizer so it comes back healthy in the spring. If you like your lawn to stay green in the winter, consider a winter rye grass. You can spread either one yourself with a hand spreader. Not only will you enjoy a green lawn all winter, winter rye grass also provides soil stability in the winter and dies back in the spring, allowing your warm weather turf to flourish.
- Check Windows: Check all your windows for drafts and seal where needed to keep your home warm this winter. We are fortunate that Houston does not get cold very often, but when it is cold you will feel it.
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.
BEFORE | BIG BROKERAGE
AFTER | ENERGY REALTY
The seller contacted me after trying to sell his home for 498 days with a big-name brokerage. I evaluated the house and determined it needed to be professionally staged, with more attention to detail with the photography, and at this price point, two of my most important proven property marketing techniques, 3D Walkthrough using Matterport® technology and a Lifestyle video.
The key distinction in my approach was I transformed the presentation but did not change the price. As a result, my client received multiple offers in just over a month!
If Your Home Is Not Selling, Schedule your FREE 30-minute Consultation to Evaluate Your Home’s Presentation and Price
How Did We Transform This Home Sale Into A Big Success?
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
I focused on the interior of the home and called it a Suburban interior with a lot of space and low maintenance.
We provided complimentary staging and staged the patio to create an ambiance.
I rented modern furniture and had my staging team transform the interior to help buyers visualize the space better.
“At the million-dollar price point, I thought I had to go with a giant brokerage but you [Sherry] proved me wrong.“ – Sonny
Professional Property Marketing
We also turned on our property marketing machine by promoting the house through social and digital marketing, video marketing, multiple private showings, and open houses, and leveraging our local and national agent network.
A Big Brokerage doesn’t always mean better!
“The photos and brochures were so much more professional. The lighting and everything, it was beautiful. Especially looking at them side by side. Sherry’s work was amazing!”
Professional Photos & Brochures
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.
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 boutique brokerage but with more expertise and firepower.
We discussed his next project where I advised him to shrink the interior and make his patio outdoor space larger. From now on, I’ve earned his trust to sell all his homes!
“I’ve learned my lesson, from now on every home I’m going to sell is with Sherry!“
Watch More About What My Client Had To Say
If you’d like to work with a boutique brokerage with proven presentation, pricing, and marketing techniques, schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation to get started today!
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.