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 Mark W. Levin, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty who has been working in the real estate industry for 17 years.
Houston Agent (HA): HAR’s new bilateral agreement with AMPI, Mexico’s real estate association, is getting quite a bit of attention from Houston’s real estate professionals. Do you foresee foreign homebuyers playing a bigger role in Houston’s real estate landscape in the coming years?
Mark W. Levin (MWL): Yes. The foreign buyers have been purchasing real estate in Houston for many years, and most of them have taken advantage of the low interest rates and the great deals on properties in certain sought after neighborhoods in Houston.
With the current real estate market moving in a positive direction, there are many great deals to be had. Many foreign buyers have the means to make solid purchases with cash, and because of this type of purchase, they are able to secure great deals on beautiful homes. Properties that are listed in certain areas, for example priced at $400,000, find a cash offer for $325,000, a great deal; and, many sellers will rather secure a sale with a cash offer to avoid the waiting period of traditional financing.
Foreign buyers bring a tremendous overall bigger role in the Houston real estate market and within the next few years, there will be more and more sales from foreign buyers. Only time will tell.
HA: Syndication is also a topic that receives consistent attention from real estate agents. Does syndication on sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com play a role in your office, or have you found other methods of online marketing that work just as well?
MWL: With the social media today playing a huge role in the methods of marketing a property, more and more agents are using any and all avaialable social sites to advertise, market and promote their listings. Sites such as Zilow, Trulia and Realtor.com are just a few sites that are utilized in today’s real estate market.
The traditional way of advertising a property on the local multiple listing service site and the Sunday paper are still being used, however, with new technology and sites like Facebook, LikedIn, TexasRealtors.com, personal agent websites and company websites, agents have many available methods of online marketing to use. In my professional opinion, an agent today should utilize every and all available means to promote their listings and give their clients the best service they expect and deserve.
As technology changes, it is important that we as real estate professionals become informed and change our thinking of the way we do things to promote and market a property. With all the new gadgets such as iPads, smartphones, etc., it is easy to direct a potential buyer to a property we have for sale via any one of the many available websites. The more promoting and marketing an agent can use to sell a property the better opportunity the property will sell faster. Besides the available websites, it is still very important to price a home correctly. With a combination of many things available to agents today, success of selling a home will be great.
HA: Finally, one of our featured blogs on buyer’s remorse caught readers’ attention. How do you ensure that your clients are satisfied with their new home?
MWL: I often work with first-time buyers who, after months of looking at homes and finally making an offer and securing a home for purchase, get nervous and get what we call buyer’s remorse. From my many years of experience, the most common thing amongst these buyers is change. First-time buyers have a tendency to become very scared, even though they can afford the home and what in the long run it will cost them. As a professional, I empathize with the buyers and sit down with them and explain to them all their options and provide a calm positive approach to explaining to them the many benefits of homeownership.
A serious buyer will most often get nervous a few days before closing, however, after the papers have been signed and ownership is obtained, buyers are always happy knowing they made the right decision. It takes a very strong and dedicated real estate professional with experience to walk the buyers through the entire purchasing process. After many years in this industry I have made it a point to always inform my clients and make certain they are happy with their decision. At the end of the day, buyers remorse is more of a nervousness as anytime something new happens in one’s life – we all get a bit nervous. Change is positive and so is homeownership.