Q&A: Northwest Austin Realtor offers advice for the modern real estate market

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Laurie Flood is a Northwest Austin realtor backed by Keller Williams Realty. She works with both home buyers and sellers.

Some Austin homeowners have received messages and calls from people offering to buy their homes. Is this a scam? What is the top priority for selling in today’s market?

This is not necessarily a scam, because these people will buy their home (or know someone who will buy). Unfortunately, they are only looking for a “deal” and are not going to pay full market value for it. Now, more than ever, sellers should strive to do whatever they can to maximize the sale price. Anything that isn’t overpriced sells quickly, but I’ve never seen such a big difference in selling price between similar homes. Homes that truly grab the buyer’s attention receive a lot of bids and have a much higher price tag than those that can only get one or two bids and sell them for much less. Proper home preparation, combined with great photography, staging, and marketing, can easily raise the final sale price by 10% over a similar home.

How accurate are the market estimates provided by home inventory websites and phone apps? How do realtors work with such information?

These estimates are even more distant than ever. In a very stable market they can usually be in the range of 5-10% of the value of most homes. In this dynamic market, home prices are less predictable. If there are five competing bids for a home for sale, then the selling price is likely to be higher for a similar property that has received only one bid. It is not unusual to see a 10% difference in selling price for similar properties. Computer algorithms cannot predict the cause of a discrepancy the way an experienced realtor can. Realtors don’t spend too much time processing these automated values. It’s just raw data and objective opinion. Home is where people spend most of their time and have a much more subjective value. An experienced realtor can not only understand why one property may be more attractive to buyers than a similar one, but they can also help the seller prepare their home in a way that will appeal to most buyers.

Austin’s real estate market is experiencing record growth, but are there any warning signs of a “housing bubble” that could burst? What are the implications of this?

There are always concerns about the bubble, but the reason for this sprawl – more people want houses than there is room to live, and builders cannot meet demand – will not disappear anytime soon in fast-growing countries. Austin. Because of this, I expect it to be more of a plateau or small drop, rather than a significant drop in prices. I recently looked at home prices in Austin over the past 30 years and the largest year-on-year price drop we’ve seen was just over 1%. This included the dot-com bubble and the subprime real estate bubble, which were significant developments in Austin.

Due to recent price increases, I expect to see a slowdown in price growth in the future. Plus, there has been an increase in inventory in Northwest Austin over the past week or so that we haven’t seen in months, so buyers have a lot to look out for. Competition for affordable housing is still tough, but not as intense as it used to be.

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