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West Houston Market on the Road to Recovery

Energy Realty just hosted the first annual Energy Corridor International Festival last weekend to help remind residents and local businesses why the Energy Corridor is a great place to live, work, and play. Overall, the festival was a great success as many local businesses came out and shared their food, culture, services and product on a beautiful sunny day, and the live performances and DJ created a lively atmosphere.

                This was a grass roots effort pulled together by myself and other volunteers, Amy Dukes of Energy Corridor Living Magazine and Barbara Denson, author of the Gary the Go-Cart series. As residents of the Energy Corridor, we have seen businesses and neighborhoods hit hard by first the downturn of the oil industry and second by Hurricane Harvey, and we want to revive this community again. Our hope is that this annual event will continue to grow every year and become as popular as White Linen Nights in the Heights.

                While driving through the neighborhoods that were hit hard by the release of the reservoir in 2017, I am happy to see that the neighborhoods have come back to life and are beautiful and pristine again for the most part.  As a result, the home sales in these neighborhoods and the Energy Corridor have picked up again, although the market still remains saturated with a 9 month supply of inventory.

                We are finding that in order to compete in a market full of remodeled flood homes that are often priced below pre-flood value, homeowners have to update and freshen their homes to sell, even if they did not flood. In 77077, there are 294 single family homes on the market;  205 in 77079; and 1147 homes for sale in Katy! That’s a lot of homes to choose from, so buyers can be picky right now.

                As the memory of Harvey slowly fades away and the neighborhoods look better than ever, the desire to live in the Energy Corridor will far outweigh the risks of flooding and this area will come back stronger than ever! At the same time, as oil prices continue to stabilize in the $60’s and are predicted to go up to $70/barrel in a year, the empty office spaces will start filling up again, and home values should follow this trend.

                There are great things happening in West Houston and I am excited to be in the middle of it!

 We live in a fast paced society, and every day there is an announcement for anew  being online program designed to give us instant gratification and hopefully make our lives easier. We no longer want to drive to a store and even buy groceries-we want to log online, make our selections and have everything delivered to our doorstep, even at a higher price. We pay for convenience.

However, is this the right way to sell a house? I grew up to believe that a home is the largest purchase we make in our lifetimes, and they should be long term investments. IBuyer programs offer a quick and easy solution to sell homes with guaranteed cash offers to prospective homesellers, but at what cost? Compass and Opendoor just received $400 million a piece to expand their IBuyer practice and Keller Williams, Quicken Homes, and even Zillow have jumped on the band wagon.

I relate these programs to the car owner that changes their car out to a new car every 2-3 years, knowing that they won’t make any money on the car, but they will get that shiny new car and not ever have to deal with major repairs. Perhaps todays seller only wants to move on to the next best thing quickly with little hassle, but I advise every homeowner to carefully consider their options before choosing to sell to an IBuyer.

The IBuyer today is similar to “We Buy Ugly Houses”. These programs will take the house off your hands quickly with no hassle-you don’t need to paint, clean, stage, -de-clutter, or re-arrange your schedule to allow for showings. Big advantage, right?  Based on my research, these IBuyer programs charge on average 6.5% to sell your home, and they pay the homeseller less than market value! You are basically selling your home to an investor who plans to do the clean up and repairs you did not want to do, then sell your home for a higher price. The total loss on your home through this program could be 10-30%.

Today, the IBuyer program may only appeal to less than 10% of the population, but as more homesellers jump on the band wagon, this will lead to lower comps in the market and lower overall home equity. Tell your neighbors to be careful when approached with these type of programs, because selling your home through this program could drive prices down in your community.

Selling a home was never meant to be quick and easy-it should be strategically planned and marketed properly to maximize the return on your investment.  Seller Beware!

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1111 Eldridge Pkwy, Suite 200
Houston, TX 77077