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 Brandey Heckeroth, a Realtor with Heritage Texas Properties – Royal Oaks. This year marks Heckeroth’s 14th year in the real estate business, and her sales volume is roughly $40 million a year, primarily focusing in the Inner Loop out to West Houston. She has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including Heritage Texas Properties’ No. 1 Company-wide Top Producer for 2012.
Houston Agent (HA): Last month, Houston marked two straight years of positive sales. Why do you think that is? And do you see this continuing for much longer?
Brandey Heckeroth (BH): Houston’s an incredible place to start with. But with the enormous amount of oil and gas relocation coming in, and also our cost of living and what you get for your money here, I think it’s highly desirable compared to the majority of the other cities. I definitely see this trend continuing for the next couple of years.
HA: Do you use any syndication sites, such as Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com? Which ones do you use? What are the benefits of them?
BH: The only one that we effectively use is Realtor.com. I don’t personally post stuff there, but I know our company is really big on that. I am not crazy about Zillow or Trulia. Realtor.com has more access to a real picture of what the real estate market has to offer here in Houston. I’m not quite sure where the information on the other two sites come from, but I’ve had situations where there’s been quite a bit of inaccurate information on Zillow and it’s been a little frustrating when we’re trying to educate our clients on the market, and they’re looking at Zillow as a reliable source. There’s a discrepancy in what they’re reading and what we’re telling or showing them from the HAR site.
I think the syndication sites are great. It’s just how your business is structured and who your target market is. If you’re looking to target people who are very in tune and involved with the Internet, that tends to be a must. Where you’ve got people who are not as apt to use the computer or do not have time to do the research online will tend to shy away from that.
HA: How quickly are homes going under contract in your area? Why do you think that is? And how long do you see this trend continuing?
BH: Homes are going under contract very quickly! It’s a beautiful thing. Depending on the price point, I primarily work in the luxury market, which is the $750,000 and up. On average in here, we used to run anywhere between three and six months and it seems to have cut back from between a few weeks to six to eight weeks.
As mentioned above, I think a lot of this is due to the oil and gas relocation and our proximity to the oil and gar quarters and energy corridor here in Houston. There’s still, from my understanding, for most of the oil and gas companies, they’ve got anywhere from 12 to 24 months of relocation still cycling through, and I don’t think we’ve even hit the halfway point with them.