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 Cindy LaPeer, the broker/owner of Home Solutions Real Estate, based in Spring.
Cindy LaPeer (CL): It depends if you are a buyer, seller or investor. From my perspective, the market is very busy. My buyers are having a hard time finding the perfect house, because the good ones are gone before they can write an offer, and my sellers, for the most part, are happy because their homes are getting a lot of showings right away. The only problem I can see is our lack of inventory in certain places, which is not necessarily a bad problem to have if you are a seller!
There are always places that will do better than others, but I would say from what I’ve seen, it is definitely an exciting and changing market. I hear the same thing is true in the Inner Loop and in Katy, so that’s a pretty good indication that overall we’re making a comeback to a seller’s market or at least a more balanced one.
HA: After you’ve found properties for your buyers or interested buyers for your sellers, what are your goals for the negotiation stage of the transaction?
CL: My main goal is providing excellent service for my client. After that, it depends on the market. In the Woodlands, for instance, where inventory is low, the seller has the upper hand, so I have to help my client make informed decisions when making the offer, negotiating it or accepting it. Negotiation is trying to make a fair deal, not the buyer trying to trump the seller anymore or vice versa. I help negotiate an agreement where everyone feels good about it at the end of the day and where no one feels taken advantage of or that their needs weren’t met.
HA: How do you ensure that all your clients’ needs are being met?
CL: I am available to meet my clients’ needs as much as possible For example, after signing a contract with a builder, I continue to be there for follow up appointments, walkthroughs and so on. For my sellers, I send them weekly updates in addition to our normal everyday conversations. I go to all of my closings, or if I can’t go for some reason, I have another agent go so my clients feel supported. I’m available by text, email or phone call, and I follow up with title companies and the loan officers and really try to stay on top of it and follow all angles.
I meet clients’ needs by staying involved, because this is what I do, this is what I know and people depend on my knowledge and experience when making one of the biggest decisions in their lives. So, it is very important to just be there and to answer questions like, “Do you understand what the seller or builder is referring to? Do you understand what the survey is showing you? What the inspector is saying?” It doesn’t matter how many times they’ve bought or sold a home; there’s always something to learn.
Also, social media is awesome; you have to be on there and contributing. It has done wonders for my business. I’m not trying to sell anything when I participate in social media or when I respond to a message board. It’s simply to provide information, answer questions based upon my professional experience and be that go-to person who isn’t going to try to sell them something. It’s not all about sales that’s for sure. It’s about providing information, facilitating informed decision-making, making sure people’s needs are being met, and treating all parties in the transaction fairly.