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Gearing up for the prime selling season

Lowest inventory in years a boon for sellers

Created date

March 21st, 2014
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Dallas real estate agent Jane Clark advises her clients to list their homes when the grass is green—literally.

“March and April mark the beginning of the peak selling season,” says Clark, a Keller Williams agent with 14 years of experience. “Many buyers start looking at homes as early as spring break. They want to find a house and close in the summer months before school starts.”

Spring is also a time when companies approve relocations, creating another stream of buyers.

“Not only are there more buyers, homes tend to show best in the spring when the leaves are out and the grass is green,” she says. “It’s a good time to sell, particularly this year when inventory is so low.”

Low inventory, higher prices

According to a recent report from the Texas Association of Realtors, the inventory of Dallas homes decreased to 2.4 months during the last quarter of 2013, meaning it would take that long to sell the existing supply of housing inventory if no additional homes were listed. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites 6.5 months as a balanced market.

“We’ve now seen year-over-year increases in both sales volume and price every quarter for more than two years,” says Dan Hatfield, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “Demand for Texas homes is strong and enduring.”

House prices are up, too. The average sales price in Dallas during the fourth quarter of 2013 was $248,875, up 13% from the year before.

“Demand for Texas homes in 2014 should continue,” says research economist Jim Gaines. “It’s possible that a shortage of inventory could inhibit sales volumes. The steady price increases we’ve seen recently should help alleviate that, enticing more sellers into the market. But buyers should continue to expect to compete for desirable properties.”

‘Coming soon’ sells it

LeMoyne Ellis thought about listing her one-story townhouse in Plano periodically for several years, but the uncertain real estate market in 2010 and 2011 gave her pause.

“I wanted to move to Springs, [an Erickson Living community in North Dallas], but the housing market was pitiful,” says LeMoyne. “Once it improved, I thought, ‘That’s it. I’m going.’”

LeMoyne didn’t realize how much the market had rebounded until she contacted Clark, an Erickson Living-preferred real estate agent.

“Jane put a sign in my yard that said ‘Coming soon,’ as I was getting ready to list it,” says LeMoyne. “I’d never seen that before, only the ‘For sale’ signs that go up once it’s officially on the market. Sure enough, another [agent] showed the house, and I got an offer for my full asking price before a ‘For sale’ sign ever went in the yard.”

LeMoyne moved into her two-bedroom, one-bath Harrison-style apartment home at Highland Springs in November 2013. 

“Once the market turned in favor of sellers, I didn’t want to piddle around,” says LeMoyne. “The timing was right.”

Homes should sparkle

As in LeMoyne’s case, Clark advises prospective sellers to be prepared for a flurry of activity once they list their house.

“Everything has to be in place before you put it on the market,” says Clark. “That means making any necessary repairs, decluttering, and staging the home so that it sparkles.”

Clark says it’s not unusual to receive multiple offers as buyers compete in bidding wars.

“Homes that are in good condition and priced well are going fast,” she says. “Sellers have the advantage, particularly at this time of year.”