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 Realtor Randall Martin of Intero Real Estate Services in Houston. He serves as the 2013 Chair of the NextGen Realtor Group (NRG), the Houston Association of Realtors’ (HAR) official Young Professionals Network. He is Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR) Certified, and his areas of expertise include Pearland, Neartown, Inner-Loop, Houston, Pasadena, League City, Dickinson, Friendswood, Missouri City, Deer Park, La Porte, Clear Lake and surrounding areas. Prior to his career in real estate, Martin had nine years of customer service experience as a restaurant manager for Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen.
Houston Agent (HA): Homebuyers have many things to consider when looking for a new residence. Based on your experience with clients this year, what ranks among the top considerations?
Randall Martin (RM): I noticed two things that stood out amongst the rest this year: schools and condition of the home. A lot of buyers were asking to be in specific school districts. Schools always play an important role; however, I just noticed it mentioned more in 2013 than in years prior. Whether buyers have children, plan on having children, or plan not to have kiddos, they should consider the school district when buying. It will affect resale value.
Buyers were also looking for move-in ready homes this year! Many buyers can look past paint, cleanliness, and cosmetics, but they didn’t have to. I think this is because prices were rising and buyers expected good value for their money. Move-in ready homes with neutral paint, etc. took the cake! Many first-time buyers don’t want to spend extra money cleaning and fixing a home after they purchase
HA: During 2013, Houston had one of the busiest housing markets in the nation. Do you believe we will see this same amount of activity in 2014? Why or why not?
RM: I think we will see a continued steady market. Sales were crazy in the spring and summer of 2013. It was almost like a shark feeding frenzy! I saw the hype slow down a little after the summer. However, slowing down doesn’t mean dropping off! November showed record lows in housing inventory. That means there is still competition amongst buyers out there.
I will say to expect a good, strong market in 2014. Interest rates will be interesting to watch too. If they start to rise, the market might change some over the next year. We might see a rush of buyers again.
HA: Are you noticing an improvement in Houston’s foreclosure market from the beginning of the year? Why do you think that is?
RM: Years ago, we had a lot of short sales and foreclosures. We never “bubbled” and that always kept us in good shape. I will say that I’m filtering through less and less foreclosures in the home searches – and that is a good thing. People are being smart with their investments. With a rise in market values, more people were in better shape to sell outright rather than giving in to foreclosure. I’d say our foreclosure market did, and continues to, improve.