Realtor: Houston buyers should act quickly in ‘frenzied market’

By Fauzeya Rahman  – Reporter, Houston Business Journal

Mar 27, 2018, 8:11am


Longtime Houston Realtor Amy Bernstein knows speed is the name of the game for buyers in today’s market with a tight inventory supply. Bernstein, who founded Houston-based Bernstein Realty in January 1985, expects to see that frenzied pace carry on throughout the spring and summer, and she’s ready for it.

Bernstein, who ranked ninth in 2017 on HBJ’s residential real estate agents list by sales volume, spoke with Houston Business Journal about what she’s seeing in the world of Houston real estate.

What’s keeping you busy these days?

The market has really picked up, in all areas of Houston. It’s really busy and inventory is very tight. The new pace is very active, when buyers see what they want they need to act swiftly. We must act very swiftly as well, to get offers in on the property to not get beat from another offer.

What neighborhoods do you have your eye on?

Inside the Beltway – Memorial, Tanglewood, the Heights, Galleria.

How does Hurricane Harvey impact the housing search?

It’s the number one question people want to know – how did a home fare during Harvey? Harvey remains on people’s minds and is the number one concern today.

What are you seeing?

In some of the markets today, homes are selling within the first week, if it’s priced correctly. Typically homes are getting two or three offers and people are coming in at asking price, or close to it. The shorter the days on the market, the closer to asking price (the offer). In some instances, there have been bidding wars.

Why do you think that is?

I think there’s confidence in the economy and a fear of interest rates rising. Many people that were on the fence are wanting to get off the fence before interest rates climb.

How high do bidding wars typically get?

It just depends. On a $500,000 home, about one to two percent (above asking price)

What else can we expect to see in the next few months?

A more frenzied market, with a lack of inventory in both new construction and older homes. It’ll carry forward through the active spring and summer market. I think people know where they want to be, will stay on top of the market and try to land a house. Some are willing to stretch their budget, some are convicted in their budget and will just be patient and wait.

There’s always a house for everybody, but people have to be patient. Chasing it too hard is never a good thing.

What are you most excited about regarding Houston real estate?

The fast paced activity. People feel confident in the real estate market and are excited to be moving.

What are some challenges this year?

Really just the lack of inventory. Sometimes (a buyer is) excited about a house and can’t get it or get beat out by other offers. Homes have to be priced right or in great condition. If it’s not fixed up, it needs to be priced accordingly, allowing the new buyer to do those updates.