Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before.
This week, we talked with Donna Dagley, the vice president branch manager for Coldwell Banker United in Sugar Land.
Houston Agent (HA): As many agents in Houston will attest, the housing market has turned for the better in 2012. Can you speak to how that change in the market has altered the negotiation process for agents?
Donna Dagley (DD): The buyers can no longer ask for everything. Your buyers have to be very realistic in their offers, because if they come in too low, the seller is very offended and does not want to negotiate at all; so, you have to counsel your buyers.
Today, we can have many buyers come to the front door and they think they’re going to get the deal of a century, because they read the newspapers and hear things on TV that the national U.S. market is better. But often, they don’t understand that in the Houston market, and the suburban areas where we are specifically located, how much better the market is, so they come in with stars in their eyes that they’re going to get a million dollar property for half a million dollars.
Many times, it is just taking some time and educating buyers, getting them out in the market and letting them see what they can get for their money. It is definitely an education process. And so many times, buyers say, “Oh, I want this house, but I’m going to think about it for a few days.” They come back and that house is gone; they realize, “The agent is not yanking my chain!” That the agent is telling them the truth about the market being much stronger and inventory is moving quickly.
HA: And speaking of the market, can you talk a little bit about some of the factors behind Houston’s housing ascendence?
DD: A lot of it has to do with how our job market being very, very strong here. The oil industry is booming, and I think that has a lot to do with it. We also have really good schools in the suburbs. I think that’s part what’s driving people to the suburban locations, such as Sugar Land/Katy – we have excellent school systems out here – so people with families are coming to our master planned communities in these areas.
They can get more house for the money in the suburban neighborhoods than they can being inside Houston, and so I believe all of the these factors are part of what is driving people to where they are willing to make that purchase.
HA: At the end of the day, what do you do to make sure your office is providing the highest level of service for your clients?
DD: The clients are always the most important people to us; if we don’t have clients, we don’t have business. So, we have to look at their needs. We have to listen to our clients, and I think that’s what some agents fail to do, is listen to the client’s wants and needs. You, as the agent, can’t have your own agenda. So you do have to listen to their needs, and then try to match their needs to what is available and work with them. That is, to me, the most important thing – clients come first.
Coldwell Banker United has very experienced agents, and we do continued training all the time in our company, so our agents do know they are updated on contracts, all of the legalities and changes in this industry, because we know that it changes all the time. So then, our agents are very well trained and very knowledgable, and then they’re going to look in the best interest for their clients and customers.
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