How Harvey has impacted the real estate investment world: A Q&A with Brian Spitz from Big State Home Buyers

by Rincey Abraham

Brian Spitz opened up Big State Home Buyers 14 years ago after accidentally stumbling into the real estate investment world before planning to start law school. Through Big State Home Buyers, Spitz works with homeowners who need to sell their homes off-market, generally within a short time period. After Hurricane Harvey last fall, the number of homeowners needing to take part in that quick turnaround in sales increased dramatically. See how Spitz views the real estate investment market in Houston now and how the market looks now. 


Q: Can you provide a little bit of background on Big State Home Buyers?

Big State Home Buyers handles homes that need major repairs, or were inherited, or if a buyer is going through a major life event. We will buy their homes, fix any problems with the title and help the owners with short term needs like providing money to move. Then we’ll either resell the house to investment companies or other people who are looking to build a portfolio.


Q: How does Big State Home Buyers compare to other real estate investment companies?

We are not a typical agency. We represent both sides of a transaction and unlike an agent, we don’t advocate for one side or another officially, but the people selling the home have a lower advantage. We try to bring solutions to people and that sometimes means not selling to us. We care a lot about what happens to people.

We also have internal title experts. We use title companies to open and close files, but our clients tend to need more work. We can handle that internally to speed up the process. We are also generally more polished and have received the BBB award seven years in a row.

We are in a rogue industry. We bring a lot of professional service to an otherwise lawless realm.


Q: What are some of the biggest myths about the short sale business?

The biggest myth is that it is easy. Back in 2008 when the market crashed, there was nothing but short sales. But since then, there has been a 20 percent decline in foreclosures. The likelihood of being upside down on your home is less common.

Also, the bank is not really on your side and the bank does not want your house. Banks are not in the home buying and selling business, but they can take you down a rabbit trail that leads to you losing your home.


Q: What adjustments or changes have you seen to the investment side of real estate since Hurricane Harvey?

After Harvey, everyone wanted to know what was going to happen to the market. But it almost didn’t skip a beat. The market recovered so quickly because it is so strong and the financial markets are strong.

What it did do is bring in people from other markets to invest. I think that as we make it through this season and hopefully don’t have another major natural disaster, the market might explode even more.


Q: Now that we are halfway through the year, how does the market look in Houston so far? Are there any trends or demand for a specific type of home or price range?

The flood-related issues are mostly behind us. The people who needed to sell their home because of the extensive flood damage have already done that. There is also growth in people who want to sell their homes in the $250,000 to $400,000 range.

Also, I think that people are looking for more convenience and someone that can keep them from going down the traditional route. We can close a transaction within days when it typically takes three weeks. People usually only buy and sell a home a few times in their life, so they don’t know what makes one agent or company better than another. They rely on their intuition and referrals. So a single good or bad impression can influence their future choices. The most important thing for any agent or company to do is demonstrate how they can make the process better for their client because people don’t know and we take that for granted.

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