Blanco County News
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Texas Ain’t Like the Others
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 • Posted February 19, 2008 10:00 PM

If you think watching the national news will give you any conclusive evidence as to the state of the Texas real estate market, think again. Texas isn’t like the rest of the country. If you live in Texas, you already know that. If you plan on moving here, then listen up.

Across the country, the media is reporting signs of a housing slowdown. The bubble may not be bursting, per se, but experts predict a soft landing for much of the real estate industry. While this may be true for parts of the country, it may not necessarily be true for those who live in Texas. According to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, Texas added more than two million people between 2000 and 2005. That is the second-largest increase, next to California. Domestic migration is helping to drive Texas’ real estate market. But unlike California, our homes are reasonably priced, with moderate appreciation. In terms of housing, Texas is an affordable state and let’s face it, people want to live here.

Even with all the talk of a market slowdown, particularly on the East and West coasts, or as markets return to normal levels, how can you be sure what to expect here at home? You can’t. The market is unpredictable, varying from state to state, city to city, even neighborhood to neighborhood. There is little you can do to change the laws of supply and demand. But whether you’re a buyer or seller, understanding the basics of the markets will help you in a real estate transaction.

Seller’s market

A seller’s market essentially means that there are a wealth of buyers for the number of homes listed. Typically in a seller’s market, homes sell more quickly and pricing is at a premium. As a seller, it’s unlikely that you will have to entertain too many contingencies. However, if the market is leaning your way, don’t take it for granted. There are still mistakes you might make.

No matter what market scenario you are faced with, be sure to set a fair asking price. Over inflating your home’s value may cause it to languish on the market. No one wants to purchase a home that may be seen as a bad bargain. Although the pendulum is swinging your way, consider making necessary improvements to the home and sprucing it up with a bit of curb appeal. It’s also important not to procrastinate. If you are ready to sell but are waiting for the market to peak, you may miss the boat altogether. The real estate market is unpredictable. If you’re anticipating a peak, you may find yourself in a valley.

If you’re a buyer in a seller’s market, be prepared to act fast. Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan and obtain a conditional approval letter. If your offer is competing with other offers, this can give yours strength. Be ready to put down earnest money down on the property. The amount you put down is a good indication of your commitment to purchase. You may also have to make concessions to the seller, such as agreeing to the seller’s closing date, or risk losing the house to another buyer.

Buyer’s market

A buyer’s market occurs when homes are in plentiful supply, giving potential homebuyers more options and power. If you are selling in a buyer’s market, understand that buyers may be few. From granting contingencies to reducing your original price, prepare to be flexible. Consider offering incentives, such as an allowance for exterior paint or new carpet. You might also think about getting your home inspected before putting it on the market. If a buyer finds something wrong with the property, they may just move on to another instead of negotiating the repairs or waiting for them to be completed. You should also get serious about staging your home to sell. First impressions can make or break the deal. It’s important to help buyers focus on your property’s best features.

Buyers have a significant advantage in a buyer’s market because sellers are more open to negotiations. But again, don’t take this type of market for granted. Know what you are looking for before you start your homebuying search. Don’t attempt to bully sellers with outrageous contingencies or unreasonably low offers. With the help of your Texas Realtor, you can negotiate a transaction that benefits both parties.

Selling and buying property can be challenging, but your Texas Realtor can guide you through the process. From determining the type of market you are in to negotiating the terms of the deal, your Realtor will be a valuable asset to you. For more on buying and selling property in Texas, I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.

For services, contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000 or lightfoot@moment.net.

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