Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before. This week, we spoke with Megan Ray, a Realtor associate with Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty.
Houston Agent (HA): Zillow recently unveiled a new “Coming Soon” listing feature, which allows agents to promote properties prior to putting them on the market. This has spawned a larger conversation about the implications of pre-marketing homes in the industry has a whole. Have you seen this trend of “Coming Soon” listings, and how do you feel about it?
Megan Ray (MR): I see this new Zillow feature as pre-marketing and not a pre-selling tool. When I have a new listing coming on the market, I share it immediately with my firm and fellow colleagues. This is not new, and agents have been doing this type of “networking” for a long time. This feature in Zillow is just a more formal way of doing so. Zillow is one of the main real estate websites for homebuyers (and agents for that matter). It is accessible to anyone, so fair game to all. Ultimately, the house will still be put in MLS on the date and at the sales price stated in the listing agreement. Our market is fast and furious now, and real estate resources should be keeping up with it.
HA: One of our recent features discussed popular features in new homes. What features are you seeing buyers demand in new homes?
MR: My clients seem to be gravitating toward clean lines (i.e. simple/minimal but not lacking quality). White and gray are everywhere. Innovative, sleek appliances are becoming more available and less expensive. You can now have a steamer/microwave/oven all in one saving counter and cabinet space. Open kitchen and family room is a must. Efficient windows, AC units and insulation are all top priorities living in Houston. Buyers have also started to focus on lighting fixtures and even cabinetry hardware. These are small and inexpensive items than can add an abundance of character to a room. Built in wine storage is always a plus.
If I can note one thing for a must in new construction, it is to have an elevator shaft, which is becoming more common with our abundance of multi-level homes. This is tremendous for resale, and a terrific option to install an elevator for the buyer down the road.
HA: Real estate is an extremely time consuming industry; time management is key to a successful career. What are some methods you've employed to best manage your time?
MR: Oh boy, this is a day-to-day struggle! Our job is around-the-clock and can easily suck you in. Before I know it, it’s been a month straight and I haven’t put my phone down for less than an hour. I believe in working smart (well, try to at least). I usually sit down on Sunday night, look at my calendar (yes, I still love a physical planner) and draft a game plan for the week. I have a dry erase board in my office with all my listings, buyers and pipeline. My board is a great visual and constantly reminds me of my priorities.
I have recently discovered that it’s alright to ask for help. I pride myself in servicing my clients to the best of my ability. The administrative side of our job is time consuming, and can take away valuable time that should be spent with clients. When service suffers, get help!
Lastly, exercise keeps me sane.