AP NEWS

Heed advice when moving to Houston during peak season

May 12, 2019

Now is the time of year when many people tend to relocate. In fact, May through September is commonly known as peak season for relocation, with June, July and August seeing the heaviest activity. This is because those are the months when kids are generally between out of school, which makes an ideal time for moving.

But, moving during peak season can also be met with a few challenges.

For starters, it means that there will likely be more competition from other home buyers who are also in the market.

According to Charles Allerhand, a broker with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene, people who are relocating to Houston don’t always realize how quickly the market moves.

“Our market has a lot of momentum, so people who are moving here have to get in the mindset that the homes they like will not have a long shelf life,” said Allerhand. “They have to get into buying mode and decision mode quicker than they might in the region of the country where they are moving from, because they are not used to the aggressive market that we have here.”

He added, “The most heart-breaking thing in relocation, is when someone comes here to look at homes, and they drag their feet and end up losing the one that they saw their family and themselves living in and building a life together.”

Not only do relocation home buyers need to be emotionally ready to move forward fairly quickly on a property that they like, but they must also be financially ready to do so.

Allerhand stressed the importance of home buyers going through the mortgage preapproval process prior to coming to Houston for their home-finding trip. This lets them know exactly how much house they can afford, so that they are staying within their home-buying budget.

Not only that, but being preapproved for a mortgage lets listing agents and home sellers know that the buyer is actually qualified to purchase the property.

“Many times, even to make the appointments to show a property, we need to prove that the home buyer is preapproved for a mortgage. And, can be a pleasurable experience if they use the right lender, because it helps them make the buying process a more confident one,” said Allerhand.

He also said that people who are relocating often have misconceptions about Houston or incorrect information about the market here. His advice is for the client to make sure that they are using HAR.com to search for properties, since that is the same one being used by the agents.

“When they use other random websites, they get information that is not accurate, which can be disheartening,” he said.

John Osterhaus is a Realtor with Heritage Texas Properties. He said that the Houston area is inching toward a more balanced market, meaning that it is neither a buyer’s nor a seller’s market. As such, he said that he tries to educate his relocation clients about the Houston market at the very onset of the process.

This is especially important in a city as large and spread out as Houston, where the real estate market is very area and neighborhood specific.

“I start the conversation by asking them if they have had any experience in Houston, and whether they know anybody here, and what they know about the city,” said Osterhaus. “Then we talk about where they will be working and some of the different areas and suburbs.”

He added that relocation buyers should always work with a Realtor who is experienced in the area or areas that they are interested in seeing, otherwise it would be a disservice.

In terms of the availability of properties, he said that although inventory tends to increase during peak season, that buyers shouldn’t assume that properties will be more negotiable or sit on the market for a longer period of time.

“If a property is in good condition and in a good location and priced right, it’s still going to go within days of hitting the market. So, for a relocation buyer, it’s really about being proactive and having a proactive agent who will keep on top of everything for them before they move,” said Osterhaus.

He added, “So, my advice for people who are moving here is to be patient and be persistent, because it is going to get more competitive as we move further into the busy buying season. So, just trust the process and trust your Realtor.”

Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit “On the Move” at blog.chron.com/onthemove.