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 Cyndi Berg a Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene in Spring who, prior to attaining her real estate license, worked in home automation design for 10 years, a role that allowed her to work with homeowners, homebuilders and fellow designers.
Houston Agent (HA): Syndications sites, such as Zillow and Trulia, grow more and more popular with each passing month; have you found much success with syndication and online marketing, or have you found other methods more successful in finding new clients and closing sales?
Cyndi Berg (CB): Statistics show that 9 out of 10 buyers do their homebuying research on the Internet before ever calling an agent. While the majority of my Internet leads still come from our local MLS, HAR, and out of my own online marketing, all of my listing are featured on syndicated sites like Zillow and Trulia to reach the relocating clientele.
HA: We’ve written a number of stories recently about how Houston has one of, if not the, hottest new construction markets in the U.S. What are some of your strategies in selling new construction, as it returns to the housing market?
CB: Builders have great promotions and incentives to buy their homes. This can really work out great especially for first-time homebuyers. They walk in to a move-in ready home generally with a lot less outlay of cash, because a lot of builder’s have programs that will help the buyer cover closing cost. Three out of that last five homes I sold to first-time buyers were new homes.
HA: The housing market in Houston is undoubtedly on the rise, but there remain homeowners from the boom years who are still underwater on their mortgages; what would you recommend to clients who were interested in buying a home, but were still underwater on their current mortgage?
CB: First, they should call a Realtor and make sure that they can’t sell their house and cover what they owe. Yes, there are definitely still areas in Houston that have not recovered, but those homeowners do have another possible option – the lease market in Houston is good. A recent article indicated that Houston has seen some of the highest rent spikes in America, so those homeowners could become a landlord and lease their homes.