The Distinctive Collection: More Than a Name!
The Distinctive Collection: So Much More Than a Name
It seems like every real estate brand in the world is taking their logo and slapping some kind of luxury tag on it, but is it actually different from their normal services? Some of them are, some of them aren’t. Here at BHGRE Senter, REALTORS we are building a different real estate experience for all of our clients. Not only do you get world class real estate representation, but the Better Homes and Gardens brand allows us to deliver lifestyle content, products, services, and continue to provide value to our clients before, during, and long after your transaction is complete with us. The Distinctive Collection program adds another layer for our luxury clients.
When you are considering listing your luxury home ask yourself if their luxury program can do all of the following:
- Is there a nationally branded website that is specifically promoted to luxury buyers both locally and around the nation?
- Do you get access to recent luxury lifestyle and home trends from celebrity designers?
- Do you get a special discount to a celebrity designers luxury product line?
- Do you have a utility and moving concierge to give you additional discounts to services and products you’ll need for your move?
- Do you have a digital magazine published every quarter that features amazing listings around the globe, including your own here in Abilene?
- Do you get a robust paid advertising package and not just have your home sit on a few websites?
- Do you get 65 years of Abilene real estate experience to guide your decisions?
- Do you have 100 years of lifestyle content from Better Homes and Gardens delivering value to you?
When you have a home that qualifies for The Distinctive Collection the answer to all of these questions is YES! To see the latest blog and magazine from The Distinctive Collection click here.
If you’re looking for world class representation to sell your luxury property in Abilene give us a call! For homes like no other there is a program like no other. Building a real estate experience that brings you value beyond your transaction is our mission, and we’d love to tell you more about all the benefits we can bring to you. Our work never ends to continue to deliver the premier real estate experience in Abilene and The Big Country. Contact Us!
See you on our next blog!
Shay Senter – BHGRE Senter, REALTORS President & Owner
Abilene Housing Insights: March 2022
Abilene Housing Insights – March 2022
For those that tuned in last month you’ll remember we saw what I called an abnormal sales price increase simply due to low sales volume and as a function of the properties closed rather than any actual further increase in property values. You’ll see that reflected here with the median sales price dropping back into the ranges we’ve seen for last 8 months. While prices are up year over year that is because we did not see prices start to strongly increase until April of 2021. While prices are expected to rise through the end of the year it will be at a more typical rate of 4-5% as opposed to the 15-20% increases we saw through 2021.
The other big news impacting the housing market is of course the drastic increase in mortgage interest rates. Rising above 5% for the first time in several years, and that will continue to rise through the end of the year as the Fed takes measures to control inflation. While these are still great interest rates it is still a significant increase of the record low interest rates buyers were getting for Abilene homes for the past two years. The chief economist from NAR has also weighed in on the subject and you can see his quick take below:
One of the most important factors is that while agreeing with the general price increases that I support in the months to come he also predicts a reduction in overall sales of homes. I believe this will echo what we see for Abilene homes as well. Let’s not be confused though. It is 100% still a seller’s market and will remain so through the rest of the year. However, the balance is starting to tip and buyers can expect a slightly less frustrating process as we head into the summer. Rising interest rates combined with record high home prices will finally help slow down the unprecedented buyer demand we’ve seen for the past 12-15 months while buyers were rushing to take advantage of those record low mortgage rates.
The biggest advice I can give buyers is that you can’t lowball your offer. You need to come in strong if you want to expect to have your offer accepted. The biggest mistake I see sellers making in the market right now is overvaluing the impact of a sellers market on their home value. Sellers also can not be lazy with making their home show well. If the home doesn’t show well, and buyers can’t see good pictures of it online, your home will get passed over for those that are more favorable to them. While homes are selling at higher prices than they ever have you can still overprice your property. Buyers have shown a very strong preference towards purchasing homes that are move-in ready, and updated. They are willing to pay 5-15% above the asking price on those updated and ready to move-in homes. That same willingness is largely absent when it comes to non-updated homes and homes that need work.
There is opportunity there for the seller that is willing to do some work, and also for home flippers in general. The home buyer that has the willingness and ability to do some updates to some of the more tired properties will absolutely see the return on their investment in both short and long term scenarios. Buyer burnout is real. Both for REALTORS and the clients looking at homes for sale in Abilene. Be kind to your REALTORS and buyers! Our full-time REALTORS are standing by to show you any homes for sale or commercial properties in Abilene. Contact Us or call the office at (325) 665-5574 if we can guide you to your real estate goals!
I’ll see you next month for our next housing update!
-Shay Senter, BHGRE Senter, REALTORS President
Our Favorite Abilene Restaurants
Abilene Favorites – Restaurants
We’re kicking off a series of our Abilene favorites here at BHGRE Senter, REALTORS. Today we’ve got some of our favorite restaurants around town! Coming up with a couple of top choices is no easy task when we have so many great places to eat here in Abilene.
“Their spring rolls are amazing, and I have too many favorite entrees to list!” –Diane Schmahl
“The jalapeno poppers, jumbo shrimp, and rice are some of my favorites.” –Diane Schmahl
“Beautiful location with great food and cocktails.” –Pam Yungblut
“The food is always great, the staff are friendly and attentive, and the owner will often check-in personally to make sure your meal was good.” –Carol Englerth
“Copper Creek is unique to Abilene with an upscale dining experience and regular specials made by their chefs. The owners, managers, and staff are all top notch!” –Sharla Wallace
“We love the food, the people, and the atmosphere.” –Pam Yungblut
“This is an amazing addition to Abilene to kick back while enjoying great food and entertainment. Love all the owners and staff!” –Sharla Wallace
Perini Ranch Steakhouse
“Whether it’s a great steak or tasty grilled chicken; Perini’s is the place to go. The sides are amazing and I love the Texas atmosphere!” –Kam Zinsser
“Perini’s is famous for their steaks, and for good reason!” –Pam Yungblut
Cypress Street Station
“Delicious food, and one of my favorite lunch spots.” –Peggy Manning
“Wonderful Italian food! It’s quaint, friendly, and a hidden gem in Abilene.” –Peggy Manning
“When it comes to downtown this is one my favorite places for both the food and the atmosphere!” –Pam Yungblut
Jay’s BBQ Shack & The Shed Market
“BBQ is tough competition around here, but these two are tied for most delicious offerings here in Abilene. A top tier BBQ experience, with many specials offered regularly. I can’t get enough!” –Shay Senter
Galveston Seafood Company
“They bring the coast out here to West Texas, and it’s delicious!” –Judith Puryear
“Locally owned with so much history in Abilene. It’s one of my favorite places for home cooked foods!” –Judith Puryear
Larry’s Better Burger
“A local Abilene legend. Make sure you try the steak sandwich.” –Judith Puryear
“They have something for everyone – vegan, carnivores, foodies, and picky-eaters alike! The menu is small, but extremely high quality. Their European-style espresso is the best in town. Their teas, rotating house-brewed beers, local mead, and good wine make it a delightful location for any time of day or event!” –Lydia Bundy
The Gap Cafe
“A great gem in Buffalo Gap! The staff is super friendly with great food for both breakfast and lunch. The baked goods are delicious to eat in or take home.” –Richard Barto
Hickory Street Cafe
“It’s not just a spot for a ladies lunch, the food is great!” –Patty Knight
Abilene Housing Insights: February 2022
This is an interesting month to look at. First, when you look at that median sales price – wow! There are a few things I want to talk about here.
- The total number of closed sales, while higher than last February, is still much lower than what we see in more active months. For example busier months in the spring and summer will often see 240+ closed sales.
- While we have a median price that is $25,000 above what has been typical the last three quarters it’s important to realize that prices have not seen another big jump.
- Inventory of lower priced homes is at very unhealthy levels. Pre-existing, smaller homes have never had less inventory in Abilene than we see now.
- This creates the situation above where the only homes to buy are larger and new construction homes at higher price points, but it’s not that the prices of individual homes have increased, it’s simply a function of the available inventory.
Prices are still at all time highs. Property in Abilene, TX has never been more valuable than it is now. The demand for pre-existing homes in the sub $200,000 price range is very high, and many buyers are being forced to look to the rental market because they can not afford the more expensive inventory that is available. This has been a problem around the country for years now, and the drastic price increases we saw last year have put unprecedented pressure on those trying to buy their first homes. The good news? Abilene is still a bargain when you compare it to averages across the nation. The average price nationally remains about 65% higher than our prices here in Abilene.
Buying demand has been relentless as buyers who can afford to be in the market are working to lock in their interest rates and purchase a home before interest rates continue to rise throughout the rest of 2022. We’ve already seen interest rates rise through Q1 of 2022, and all indications point to that continuing the rest of the year. Buyers for Abilene homes continue to find themselves competing against multiple offers and having to pay slightly above the listing price to be the winning offer. Thankfully we do not, and have never, seen the craziness in larger markets of buyers putting in offers $70,000 over list price and still not being the winning offer. The last year has been a frustrating, and at times, demoralizing experience for buyers. It has never been more important to have a full-time REALTOR on your side operating in our market on a regular basis to get into homes and to guide you in crafting a winner offer.
For our sellers out there. It’s a great time to sell property. Values are at all time highs and many Abilene home owners are sitting on unprecedented amounts of equity in their homes. This is equally applicable to rental properties, and we’ve seen many property owners cash in on these profits. Call our office for a free consultation on any homes you have an interest in selling to see what kind of profit you could be sitting on! The biggest tip I can give anyone trying to sell a home right now is that you still need to put your best foot forward. Prices have never been higher, and if you want that buyer to pay top dollar for your home it still needs to be well taken care of and in good shape. You can’t just throw a property on the market in mediocre condition and expect to get top dollar for it. What you can expect is that doing an upgrade or two and making sure the property is clean and shows well will be worth your investment in the final sales price. We have a program that can provide several thousands of dollars in upfront funding to help you get these improvements done and you simply pay it out of your closing proceeds when we sell your property at a higher price!
A few final snapshots of our Abilene housing market here on March 15, 2022.
- There are 158 active listings in Taylor County
- There are 58 active listings between $150,000-$300,000
- There 216 properties with pending contracts
- There are 12 listings over $1,000,000 currently active
Until next time!
Shay Senter – BHGRE Senter, REALTORS President
Let’s Talk Advertising
It’s important that clients understand there is a difference between listing their property and having it marketed. Proper advertising greatly increases the exposure of your property and the number of potential home buyers that will see it. Spend a few minutes with Shay Senter as he discusses various aspects of the advertising process and how we will promote your home to generate the best chance for the highest offer!
22 Truths About a Real Estate Career
There are two problems I find worrying with our real estate industry and those pursuing a real estate career.
- It is far too easy to get a real estate license, the classes in no way prepare you to actually work as a REALTOR, and the general public believes the job to be an easy way to make money.
- This is compounded by, in my opinion, too many offices that sugar coat the image to reinforce this belief so that you sign up and start paying their fees.
These are the 22 truths you need to understand when thinking about becoming a REALTOR and interviewing brokerages. Original article can be found here: https://www.inman.com/2021/01/25/14-truths-your-recruiting-broker-probably-didnt-tell-you/
1. Being a real estate agent is NOT about selling houses
Although being an agent is a sales-oriented profession — you are, after all, helping clients buy and sell homes — it’s more about building a business.
The difference between selling homes and building a business is radical: If you focus solely on sales, your income will fluctuate wildly based on market conditions, the number of hours you invest, the whims of your clients and so on. The bottom line: The moment you stop selling, your income abruptly comes to a halt. If you build a business, however, you can also build a life.
Ironically, I had been a Realtor for 12 years before someone explained this to me.
2. This is NOT like HGTV
What happens on HGTV stays on HGTV — it will not be coming to any locale close to you any time soon. Having an addiction to home-oriented shows is not a criteria for becoming an agent — it simply means you have too much time on your hands. I have heard so many agent candidates say, “I just love looking at houses.”
The truth is: This job is about looking at your client while they look at houses to gauge their responses. What you think about any given property does not matter one iota.
In fact, after you have shown a fussy pair of buyers their 12th home in one day, you may get nauseated over the thought of going through one more front door.
3. There is a significant lag between starting and actually getting a paycheck
Some statistics estimate it may be six months after starting before you get your first paycheck, and depending on your proficiency, it could be even longer. Keep in mind that you can only start real estate activities after you have your license, so you should factor in the time it takes to obtain your license.
In fact, you might be in that group of “lucky” individuals who do not manage to sell anything at all. You need to make sure you have a significant financial cushion or the support of someone who loves you enough to support you for as long as it takes for you to “launch.”
4. Brokers want their money upfront
Although you might not be making any money, you can count on the fact that your broker is. Brokers stay in business by charging desk fees, training fees and more. Additionally, you will need to front funds for licensing, MLS dues and any related association fees. Want additional training? That will usually be on you as well.
5. Once we have you signed, you are basically on your own
My first broker was fond of retelling his inaugural experience as a new agent: He showed up in the office in his suit, was shown to a desk, handed a copy of a phone book and instructed, “Start calling.”
In-house training has improved. Although many recruiters tout their training programs, the truth is that it is focused on the contract for many companies because brokers do not want to end up in court.
When I joined a well-known sizeable area brokerage (20 years ago), I sat through a week of classes with a hundred or so other new recruits. Once we “graduated,” we were on our own, and I quickly discovered that there were no more classes.
The information, training, accountability and coaching I needed to hone my skills and build my effectiveness as an agent was more available from outside organizations such as Brian Buffini or Tom Ferry, often at a hefty price tag.
6. You will not automatically get access to free leads
Larger, effective real estate teams typically have a serious investment in lead generation built into their organizations. Why? Because they know that their brokerages will not be providing the types of leads they need to grow their businesses.
The truth is, you may never get free leads. Most leads come in through Zillow or other lead gen sources and go directly to the agents paying the subscription fees. Unless your office has a dedicated lead generation team that hands out leads to agents, you will be on the hook for generating your own leads.
7. You will never see 100% of any commission check
Even if you work for one of those companies that insists they have 100-percent splits, you will end up paying for “transaction fees” or some other fee designed to generate income for the brokerage.
There is no free lunch. You might even be a broker working for yourself and banking your entire commission check — and then paying for marketing, lead generation, administrative support, and on and on. Real estate is a very expensive business to be in, and a significant chunk of every check goes toward keeping the machine going.
8. Not all Realtors make tons of money
Most barely make enough to earn a decent living. According to the National Association of Realtors, Realtors’ median gross income was $49,700 in 2019, an increase from $41,800 in 2018. In our region, approximately 86 percent of agents sell six or fewer homes a year (data from TrendGraphix.com).
Although many agents might look successful from the outside, many are mortgaged to the hilt, drive fancy leased cars and live paycheck to paycheck. Many agents rely on an additional source of income to stay afloat, such as a spouse or partner.
9. Job 1 is not what you think it is
Any business, whether a bakery selling bagels or a litigating attorney, is only as successful as their ability to produce a steady flow of “customers.” Long before you start mixing ingredients or standing before a judge, you must figure out how to attract clients. You could have the best pastries in town, but if no one knows you are there, it’s a moot point.
As is the case for any successful business, Job 1 is developing a flow of leads. Job 2 is learning to manage those leads and convert them into clients effectively. Job 3 is going out and getting more leads.
10. Real estate is a hyper-competitive arena
Translated, other agents will take your clients and think nothing of it. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and just because you have a great set of ethics does not mean everyone else out there shares your values.
11. This is NOT an easy job
It will probably be the most challenging job you have every had. The emotional stress is very high because the stakes are so large. Whereas you might be able to punch a clock in some industries, as an agent, you are a self-employed person working for your clients. You will quickly discover there is no “off” button.
Agents who succeed in the long term spend a massive amount of time on the front end of their businesses, and there are no shortcuts. Even once a practice is up and running successfully, a serious amount of work goes into keeping it running smoothly.
Additionally, you will need to master a wide range of skills, including prospecting, managing clients’ expectations, and becoming a marketing expert, a crisis management counselor, housing expert, and so much more.
12. Successful agents master fundamentals
Successful agents rely on flawlessly executed scripts to succeed. This requires hours of practice and roleplay. It also requires hours and hours on the phone. Literally. It’s dull, laborious work punctuated by hang-ups, insults and the occasional friendly person on the other end of the line. Underscore “occasional.”
13. You will NOT be your own boss
Many choose to become Realtors because someone told them they would become their own boss. That is one of the cruelest cons on the planet. In a regular job, you typically have one boss or supervisor. As an agent, every client is your boss.
If you happen to be working with a large number of clients, you have an equally large number of bosses. In fact, if you think about it for a moment, a high percentage of homes you will sell will involve a couple, which means two bosses per transaction. Ironically, those two may have very different ideas of how they want you to perform. Remember, they are hiring you to perform a service for them, so they will have hopes, dreams and expectations.
14. Your schedule will not be as flexible as you think
Many get into real estate because they believe it gives them freedom and flexibility they never had in their 9-to-5 job. Yes, you might be able to attend preschool graduations and other things that happen in the middle of the day. And yes, you will be on call 24/7, work weekends, meet with clients in the evenings when they are off work, occasionally need to bolt from your home to deal with an emergency and other situations you haven’t even thought of yet.
15. Clients will not necessarily be enamored with your efforts
This business has morphed dramatically over the years. One of the most devastating changes has been the shift from a service-based industry to a commodity-based reality. Regardless of whether they like you as a person, today’s clients love themselves even more and will do what they can to get the best deal possible — even at your expense.
Real estate is also one of the few careers where your clients will frequently believe they know more about the process than you. You might develop a permanent red mark on your forehead from all the face-palming.
16. Get a box of Kleenex, and keep it handy
This business can be brutal, and it’s not for the timid or easily offended. Your best friend or family member might end up using another agent. You might spend hours and thousands of dollars trying to sell a home that ends up being withdrawn, effectively flushing your efforts down the proverbial loo.
You might spend countless hours showing homes to clients, only to have them sign a deal with someone holding an open house or a new home developer, effectively shutting you out of any compensation for your efforts.
We just had a long-term client, on a whim, sign a listing agreement for one of their properties with an agent they discovered had the same unusual last name — even though they already had a signed listing agreement with us. As you can imagine, it did not end well.
You might also discover that friendly people can get extremely unfriendly very quickly when large sums of money are involved.
17. Every real estate transaction comes with potential liability
Selling lumber at a big-box store? Low liability. Selling a home to a couple of first-time buyers? High liability. Think about it this way: There are thousands of attorneys out there who would like nothing more than to get a bit settlement from your E&O insurance company for any “mistake” you may have made during the transaction.
In case your recruiter forgot to mention it, the cost of the insurance is one more expense you will need to pay upfront — and the cost of insurance is going up.
18. There is a massive amount of details and paperwork
As litigation increases, the complexity of the documentation increases. When I sold my first home, the contract was one side of a legal-sized page.
Now, the purchase contract in many states is over 12 pages and, in states like California, the mandatory disclosures are over 80 pages in length.
As an agent, you need to be able to explain any clause on any page at any time. Factor in 40-plus page long Home Inspection Reports, Termite Reports, Roof Inspection Reports, Natural Hazard Disclosures, Preliminary Title Reports, and the paperwork can be overwhelming. Miss something or incorrectly explain a clause? Read No. 17 above.
19. The moment you get everything learned, the state or board will change the rules
Every time a real estate case is tried, local associations examine their contractual documents to ensure their forms cover any new regulations.
Factor in new forms for COVID-19, geological hazards, natural disasters — just when you get your knowledge of the documentation dialed in, you can guarantee it will change. Don’t have the time to familiarize yourself with the new documentation fully? Read No. 17 above again.
20. Recruiters are very seldom good agents
Let’s face it — if recruiters were actually great real estate agents, they would be out earning much more as a top-producing agent. The fact they are not, speaks for itself. Most recruiters are paid a base salary and a spiff for each new agent they sign. It is a highly competitive arena with recruiters trying to out-promise and out-produce each other.
21. You are a statistic
It takes countless calls to get someone to sign and find the diamond in the rough who will eventually turn into a top-producing agent. Most recruiters utilize the “spaghetti theory” — if you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, eventually, something will stick.
In other words, they know that the number of recruits that make it to top-producing agents is so low, they have to recruit constantly to keep the pipeline filled.
Additionally, the yearly turnover rates in real estate offices are very high, so recruiters have to hire many agents every year just to remain static. It is a numbers game, and top recruiters understand those numbers very well.
A recruiter does not really care if you succeed or not — they just know that if they hire a specific number of agents every month, a set percentage will wash out, a smaller percentage will actually stay for up to five years, and a minute percentage will turn out to be a mega agent in the rough.
22. Not every brokerage is a fit for a new agent
Some new agents would be best to start on a large real estate team instead of fending for themselves in the depths of the office agent pool. Those who want to be solo agents should look for offices that resonate with their values and ideal working methods.
Virtual brokerages may not be a good match for those who want to be in an active, collaborative environment, while those who want to work on their own may not need to pay for desk space and some of the perks found in larger brick-and-mortar offices.
Having been a Realtor for over 20 years, I have experienced many ups and downs, seen some unbelievable and even bizarre things, weathered through the foreclosure crisis, pandemic and, in spite of it all, beat the odds.
In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing my recruiter never explained the ups and downs of the business to me: I might never have become an agent and would never have experienced what has become a truly fantastic career and life opportunity.
Abilene Housing Insights – January 2022
Taking a look at Abilene housing statistics for January 2022. A few things to clear up from the start.
- We didn’t see prices really start to rise until around April of last year. So while you see the reported increase here it’s important to note this is right in line with the median price we’ve had for a few quarters now.
- Listing inventory is down dramatically through the end of January and beginning of February. We’ll talk about that more in a minute.
- I forgot how terrible of a closing month January was last year. 181 sales isn’t very strong either yet it’s still up 23% from what we saw last year. Typically we see 230-260 sales a month.
Interest rates have begun their rise and we saw them go above 3.5% for the first time in quite a while. Interest rates are expected to continue to rise and be above 4% by the end of the year. You can see in the image below how quickly the interest rates start to make a significant impact on the payments people can afford, and this will be a key factor in keeping housing prices from rising at the rates we saw in 2021.
Rising interest rates continues to drive the unprecedented buyer demand for housing as buyers are looking to take advantage of the lower interest rates before they rise further. While home sellers can expect a slightly more tame market in 2022 it is absolutely still a sellers market, and home owners are enjoying high amounts of equity in the new values of homes both here in Abilene and around the country. Give us a call to get a free market analysis and the profit potential on your home!
While buyers are trying to take advantage of the low interest rates it’s still an ugly market out there for them. As I write this there are 227 homes in all of Taylor county listed as active or in their option period. If you narrow that down to only Abilene the number shrinks to 195. If I again narrow that price range between $150,000-$300,000 there are only 92 listings in the entire market!! If you remove the homes that are currently in their option period it’s a painfully low 55 listings in the entire market in our most high demand price range. The overall listing count doesn’t tell the whole story when the price range that 65-70% of our sales takes place in has so little available.
Buyers in that price range have a lot of challenges to face, and making an offer that is aggressive without being irresponsible is key. Our BHGRE Senter Roadrunners are standing by to help you navigate this crazy market and craft your offer to be a winner! Call us if we can help you with any residential or commercial property needs in the Abilene area.
I hope you enjoyed this quick look at Abilene housing! Until next time,
President – BHGRE Senter, REALTORS