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 Jennifer Brown, a 15-year veteran of the Woodlands market. Jennifer has closed more than 800 transactions in North Houston, and her team is consistently among the top in the region.
Houston Agent (HA): We couldn’t help but notice in all the different stats that we track that the cost of rent has gone way up in Houston, with the demand for rentals being what they are and the economy being where it is. Are you noticing that those rising rents are pushing more consumers to consider home ownership?
Jennifer Brown (JB): There is a definite trend in consumers renting considering homeownership, and that’s probably because of the rising rents. Because of the shrinking inventory, landlords have been increasing their rents, and though people are moving into the area who are willing to pay those higher rents, we’re finding that the rising rents are spurring some consumers to really check out buying a house and what it would cost them a month.
We’ve found that many of those renters can actually purchase a home, even on a 15-year mortgage, for less than what they’re renting.
HA: When you are showing homes to your clients, what kinds of things do you like to focus on, both when it comes to the home and when it comes to the client’s reaction to the home?
JB: When we’re selling homes, what we’re doing is helping people really determine what it is that they want, and so obviously, the first thing we set up is establishing the budget, and from there, we’re really focusing on what’s driving them. There’s the home aspect of it, but there’s other questions that need to be answered in terms of location – things like where you’re going to commute to.
We have to get those questions out of the way. Do they have kids, for example? We’ll have to look at neighborhood amenities, such as where do the kids play sports, what kinds of sports are the kids into – and, depending on if they’re local or if they’re transferring here, there’s a little bit more work to do in determining that. A local knows exactly what they want, so it’s a little easier for us, but if they’re transferring in, we’ve got to do a better job of deciding, or helping them decide, what area to concentrate on, because Houston’s a big city. We have to narrow it down, and then I think what we’re looking at when we get into that part of looking for a house, it’s probably so much easier than it was a decade ago, because really, it’s so Internet-driven.