False Expectations In The Real Estate World.

I have written about the headache that Realtors have trying to put a price on a listing, a price that makes sense; and therefore can be rationalized when talking with the seller, potential buyers and buyers’ agents. The task is getting to be hazardous in a hot market when real estate pros are using all kinds of bizarre strategies and tactics to yield the best deal for the owner while forging for themselves a reputation of superhero.


The one scenario, or what I call a gimmick, that has been in vogue the last two years or so, consists of putting a price on a property well below what the listing agent perceives to be today’s market value, in order to create a bidding war that may result in multiple offers well over the asking price.

This technique sometimes works to the benefit of the seller, and always works to the benefit of the listing agents. They can brag in the media that they are so darn good that they get top dollar (like 10-20% more than the list-price) for their listings. Obviously a bunch of would-be sellers are supposed to be so impressed by the performance that they will want those superheroes to list their homes and duplicate the magic.

Between you, me and the rest of the world, I have a hard time understanding how reasonable home sellers can fall for such a deceptive marketing formula! I mean, if you have a $315k home which may go for $340,000 in a “sellers’ market” and you list it at $300k, it does not take an eagle to predict that the house will likely sell around the same $340,000 or so. Hello?

Such edgy way to do business, in my opinion, is not only dangerous but is creating lots of unwelcome side-effects. Let’s deal with these two points, one at a time:


When we play games with the market, the market can play games with us. Real estate is not an exact science. If you deliberately underprice a property, there is no certainty that the gimmick will work every time. When it does not, the seller (and the perspiring agent) may be faced with a nasty dilemma or how to respond to clean offers just matching the asking price. At the high-end, you never can count on a host of qualified buyers fighting over a property. Often, there is only one candidate writing a bid, and he sure does not want to pay a dime more than he has to. Also, after months of madness in the marketplace, mostly due in many areas to a record low inventory, many are the buyers who are emotionally exhausted. They keep on writing offers and get rejected time after time, losing to the one buyer who cannot live without that particular home, at any price. The excitement of trying to buy can quickly become the discouragement of over-negotiating and coming up empty. Most buyers are no longer willing to play games. Sellers beware.

Unwelcome side-effects:

Not all sellers, on the advice of their agents, underprice their home in order to get more. The great majority of the sellers list their homes at market, if not a bit over; makes sense. The problem is that, even though they are told by their agents that the listing price is indeed on the high side, lots of sellers, intoxicated by ads suggesting that some brokers routinely sell homes 5 or 10%, sometimes 25% over asking, fully expect that they too will get a heck of a lot more than the advertised price. It’s contagious.

One humble and practical piece of advice to Realtors out there: When you think of a price (rational or not) for a listing, be sure to have a good, clear talk with the seller, to explain what your strategy is and what he/she can reasonably expect in the way of offers. Not a bad idea to repeat the explanation again & again. Nothing is more deceiving than a false expectation, in fact, it’s a relationship killer. You want a win-win, not a lose-lose. The time to prepare the minds and set up the stage for what’s coming is before you jot down the price on the listing contract. Good luck!

Have a Real Estate Question?

Having the right real estate agent can make a huge difference in the buying or selling of a home. Have a question about real estate, or need help with research, or other assistance? Send your question anytime, day or night. Please be as specific as possible with your question. The more information you provide, the better we can respond to your request. You can jtrump@kw.com, or call me, your North Texas Home Hunter, directly at (214) 609-7123.



Questions To Ask Yourself Prior To Buying A Home


If you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home. There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of the space

What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number. Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 19.5% by 2018.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 11.2% by 2018.

Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line

Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

For professional real estate services, call The North Texas Home Hunter @ (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com


Why Fall Can be the Best Time to Sell Your Home.

Winter weather is approaching and I get questions from prospective sellers as to whether they should wait until spring to put their homes on the market. I have even had some Flower Mound, TX sellers that are currently listed ask whether they should pull their homes off the market. They think nothing is going to sell over the holidays or during the winter months. Wrong!

In Flower Mound, TX, homes sell all year long. We have a rapidly expanding retail industry, amazingly rated schools and a city that makes top ten lists for safety, security, education and income. Guess what? The DFW market creates job transfers at all times of the year, and people want a place to raise their family. People living in apartments tend to think they might like to be in their own home before the holidays. Other buyers with school age children think moving over the Christmas holiday is a fine idea so their children can change school zones at the break. Others think buying a home is the right thing to do any time of year or when the idea strikes.

first frost_06So since buyers are going to be out looking in the fall months and over the holidays and into the winter months they need homes to view. Having your home on the market at this time of the year gives you an edge. That edge is that buyers are more serious and if they like your Flower Mound home, chances are they will make an offer. Do you want to miss out on that? Plus with other sellers thinking that homes do not sell over the winter you will have less competition therefore increasing the chances for your Flower Mound home to sell. You will also have less competition from those homes with absolutely gorgeous lawns, gardens and beautiful swimming pools. All yards look pretty blah in the late fall and winter months in Flower Mound!

These are all good reasons Why Fall Can be the Best Time to Sell Your Home.

In you are in Flower Mound, TX and are interested in selling your home, now is the absolute best time. The trees are just beautiful and the crisp fall air makes people want to get out and look at homes. Call Jim Trump to schedule your appointment now.

For professional real estate service, contact The North Texas Home Hunter at (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com for your FREE home evaluation.


Don’t Overprice Your House. Just…….Don’t.

One of the biggest challenges when selling a home is deciding on the asking price, which is often the battle between Realtor and seller. Realtors are always talking about the importance of pricing a home correctly but many sellers feel the best strategy is to price it high because “you never know, you might get lucky” or “you can always lower the price, but you can’t raise it” and “I want to leave room for negotiation!”

CaptureOverpricing your home will lead to your house selling for less and taking longer to sell than it would have had it been priced lower from the start. If a house is overpriced, buyers may not even come to see the house, let alone make an offer! Weeks will pass and the seller will find herself/himself having to drop the price in order to chase the market. But by this point, those initial buyers that visited the house have likely moved on, and new buyers that come to view the house after a price drop will see that is has been on the market for some time, will see the price drop and will wonder why it hasn’t sold. There will be less of an urgency to make an offer than if it was a brand new listing. On top of that, buyers often see a price drop as a sign of weakness and they will make lower offers thinking the seller might be desperate. It is still a sellers’ market; however, todays buyers WILL NOT purchase an overpriced house!

The first two weeks on the market is the best time for a seller to get an offer because buyer activity is at its peak and sellers’ leverage is at its strongest. Don’t be tempted into overpricing your home in hopes that you just might get that one buyer who falls in love with your house and who doesn’t care about price…this is unlikely to happen. The best strategy is to price your house at or just slightly above market value, and I mean just slightly. If you’re lucky, you just might create a bidding war and sell it for over asking price.

In order to navigate this market, and for a free home valuation, contact me. (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com.


Fannie Mae Agrees! Hire A Professional To Sell Your Home


Do you really need an agent to sell your house in today’s market? Here’s what Fannie Mae suggests to sellers on the Know Your Options section of their website:

“Select how you’ll market and list the home (e.g., with a real estate agent or for sale by owner). There are pros and cons to each, but unless you are experienced at selling homes, it usually makes financial sense to get professional help. Homes sold by agents typically sell at a higher price and spend less time on the market. An agent will also help you determine the best pricing for the house, they’ll market the home, and they’ll be your advocate throughout the process.”

Let’s go over the points that they made:

  • Homes sold by agents typically sell at a higher price
  • Homes sold by agents typically spend less time on the market
  • An agent will help you determine the best pricing for the house
  • An agent will market the home
  • An agent will be your advocate throughout the process

If Fannie Mae says using an agent probably makes sense, perhaps you should interview an agent before putting your house up for sale. Makes sense.

For professional real estate service, contact The North Texas Home Hunter @ (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com


DO NOT DELAY!! Move Up To The Home Of Your Dreams!

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to the home they have always dreamed of. Prices are still below those of a few years ago and interest rates are still below 5%.

However, sellers should realize that waiting to make the move while mortgage rates are increasing probably doesn’t make sense. As rates increase, the price of the house you can buy will decrease.

Here is a chart detailing this point:


U.S. City Growth Is Slowing, But Suburbs Are Still Booming!

While cities are still outpacing suburbs, the gap is closing

The United States’ biggest cities grew more slowly last year as suburban areas population closed the gap, according to figures released by the U.S. Census on Thursday, suggesting that city-dwelling Americans may be looking to the suburbs again. While city growth overall is still outpacing the suburbs, the gap between the two is shrinking after several post-recession years in which downtowns and older urban cores around the U.S. saw significant population increases.

“The slowing growth in these urban cores and the increasing gains in the suburbs may be the first indication of a return to more traditional patterns of city-suburban growth,” said University of New Hampshire demographer Ken Johnson.

Of the 51 largest metropolitan regions in the U.S. in 2013, just 18 of them saw faster growth in cities than suburbs in 2013, compared with 25 in 2012.

The new Census figures show significant growth in suburban areas in the South and West. Almost all of the fastest-growing cities with a population of 50,000 or more were suburbs of major cities like Dallas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Nashville and Houston.

Texas suburbs saw the largest growth between 2012 and 2013, especially in areas around Austin, a city millennials have moved to in recent years for its tech jobs and cultural opportunities. The U.S.’s fastest growing city is San Marcos, whose population grew 8% in 2013. Cedar Park and Georgetown were also in the top seven fastest-growing cities, and all three Texas cities surround Austin.

“What you’re seeing, particularly outside of the northeast, is the growth of the ‘boomburbs,’” says Andy Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College. “But you still have substantial growth in the cities. Both are happening.”

Many of the nation’s biggest cities still saw the largest population increases, led by New York City, which added 61,440 people and remained the country’s largest with a population of 8.4 million. Houston, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Phoenix made up the top five in terms of population increases. One curious outlier was Chicago, the nation’s third-largest. Its population in 2013 grew by just 5,900, or 0.2%, to 2,719,000. That was smaller than the 8,600 it gained in 2012. In Chicago’s suburban Cook County, population growth was stable, and it increased in the city’s outer suburbs. Johnson points to Chicago as possibly suggesting an end to rapid city gains over suburban growth.

Historically, Americans have moved from downtown city cores to suburbs as they got older, had children and needed more space. Suburbs grew three times as fast as cities from 2000 to 2010, according to an analysis by William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. But the recession quickly reversed that as many older Americans felt frozen in place and decided to stay put, temporarily halting that city-to-suburbs flow. At the same time, those in their 20s and 30s have flocked to downtowns in that same period, often lured by jobs and the ease of commuting in an urban area.

Since the recession, city growth has largely outpaced suburban growth. From 2011 to 2012, city populations increased by 1.13% while suburbs increased by 0.95%, according to Frey. The new Census numbers show cities growing 1.02% and suburbs growing 0.96%.

But Frey says the U.S. is a long way off from the kind of suburban sprawl it witnessed throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Many of those living in cities have likely decided to stay put for good, Frey says, or are still financially unable to move or buy a house.

“We may never see that kind of suburbanization again,” he says.