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Gearing up for the prime selling season

Lowest inventory in years a boon for sellers

Created date

March 21st, 2014
photo of a house

“Location, location, location,” may be the first mantra in most real estate transactions, but when it comes to selling your house, timing is a close second.

Houston real estate agent Lisa Hudgens says sellers can list their home at any time of the year, but early spring tends to yield the best results.

“Homes show better in the spring when the sun is shining, the grass is green, and the leaves are out,” says Hudgens. “It’s also when buyers are out in full force.”

Hudgens, who’s been a real estate agent for 18 years, advises her clients to list their homes in March or April.

“Many families start looking at homes in the spring, hoping to close on the house and be settled before school starts,” says Hudgens. “It’s also a time when relocations are approved, creating another stream of buyers.”

Presentation is key

Haskell and Marilyn Silkwood listed their house in The Woodlands with Hudgens in March 2013. Their 2,500-square-foot, three-bedroom home generated interest as soon as it hit the market.

“It was a good time to sell,” says Haskell. “We had a number of people come through the house and received a nearly full-price offer in May.”

The couple moved to Trace, an Erickson Living community in West Houston, settling into a two-bedroom Franklin-style apartment with a patio.

“My wife had her mind set on Eagle’s Trace for seven years,” says Haskell. “The community’s carefree lifestyle appealed to her. Once I came on board, the sales team at Eagle’s Trace put us in touch with Lisa Hudgens.”

Hudgens, an Erickson Living-preferred real estate agent, has been working with prospective Eagle’s Trace residents for two years. She’s well versed in all aspects of the moving process, from staging a home to signing the final documents.

“Preparing your house for sale is the number one thing to do before you list it,” says Hudgens. “It needs to be crisp, clean, and in pristine condition. That’s where staging comes in. Sellers should declutter and remove extra furniture so the house is ready to roll once it hits the market.”

In Haskell and Marilyn’s home, Hudgens moved around a few furniture pieces to take advantage of the natural flow of the house. Haskell says the house showed well as a result.

“The Houston housing market is hot right now,” says Hudgens. “You could put your house on the market today, and it could be gone tomorrow. Sellers need to be prepared for a quick sale.”

Projections for 2014

If year-end results from 2013 are any indication, the Houston real estate market will stay on the fast track.

“The Houston housing market had its best year on record in 2013,” says Chaille Ralph, chairman of the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). “[Positive growth] hinges on having homes to sell, and the local inventory is running extremely low.”

According to a report from HAR, December 2013 marked the 31st straight month of positive home sales. Prices increased 10.3% from the year before, and inventory dropped to a record low of 2.6 months.

“Demand for Texas homes in 2014 should continue,” says Jim Gaines, a research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “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.”