According to the The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, last month there were 2.1 months of housing inventory in Dallas County. This figure might make a buyer panic and pressure their Realtor to find them hip-pocket listings. Is this smart? Are buyers overlooking great deals for those hip pockets? Let’s take a look at a perfect example of an off-market sale.
The moment we spotted this adorable Tudor cottage at 5841 Morningside Avenue, with no days listed on the market, we just had to dig a little deeper. The home is beautifully updated, nicely staged, with a great attic room, and an ivy-covered back patio arbor. It’s perfection, and priced at only $600,000, it would have been an excellent Saturday Six Hundred. But, it’s already pending.
“It went in a day, and we had two back-up contracts,” Virginia Cook Realtor Jennifer Friedman Ackerman said. “When I got the listing, I knew it would be highly desirable. It’s in the Stonewall Jackson school district, great for a family with one child, and perfect for an empty nester, or a young couple.”
So how do these hip-pocket deals work?
Sometimes a seller has three dogs and four kids and doesn’t want to deal with people in and out of their homes for weeks or perhaps months. Then there are clients that due to social status, celebrity, or wealth, don’t want to put a public face on their personal business. However, it’s the dynamic Realtor network that fosters the hip-pocket sale. No profession is more highly networked than real estate. Put three Realtors from three different brokerages in a room, and everyone in Dallas is connected. At Monday morning meetings, agents share upcoming listings, and it’s where a lot of hip-pocket deals start.
But, are buyers missing the bigger picture by prodding Realtors to find them off market listings?
“I think buyers have become accustomed to wanting to see homes that are coming soon, so they can be ahead of the game,” Ackerman said. “There’s a misconception that if something has been on the market for a while, it’s not as desirable. Everyone is overlooking what is on the market.”
Remember, inventory is at 2.1 months. That translates into the simple fact a significant number of homes are on the market for over 30 days.
“Buyers and sellers seem to believe that something must be wrong if anything is on the market for over two weeks,” Dallas City Center Realtor Britt Lopez said. “It’s unrealistic. The market is balancing out. We started slowing down last fall, and in January we saw price reductions for the first time in four years. The Internet allows instant access. Everything happens so fast we begin to think that is reality and assume real estate should move just as fast.”
With that 2.1 months of inventory figure, should buyers be worried? The Real Estate Center data shows a .1 percent increase in inventory between March of 2016 and March of 2017. In March of 2015 inventory was only 1.9 percent. There are plenty of homes out there.
While the hip-pocket will always be with us and has its place, a lot of Realtors are not advocates.
“The number one thing is to work for the seller to get the most money for their home as well as the quickest possible sale,” Lopez said.
“I’m not a hip-pocket fan,” Dave Perry-Miller Realtor Keith Callahan said. “Sellers always try to convince me they want to go hip-pocket, but I convince them it’s not the best way to serve their needs. The biggest and widest net you can throw will return the best price.”
We live in a world of instant gratification, competition, and wanting to win. That may be why the hip-pocket is appealing to so many buyers. Thinking you’ll get a better deal with a hip-pocket listing is not always the case.
“I’ve had my buyers get great deals because others are overlooking homes that have been on the market a while,” Ackerman said. “I think it’s a matter of being proactive and positioning yourself with a connected agent. I would not focus on what’s coming on the market. I’d take a good look at what has been on the market for a while.”
Buyers will always want to know about hip-pockets and want to be first in line for a new home listing, but our advice is to give those homes that have been on the market over 30 days a look. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years. She’s been a professional writer for 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying music at The University of Miami. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap. Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com