Writer: Jerrica DuBois
2 min read August 2023 — The North Texas housing market is in a state of flux. The increasing influence of technology continues to shift consumer preferences while making a swathe of information readily available to potential buyers, sellers and realtors.
To help explain the changes underway across the Metroplex, Invest: sat down with Chris Harden, broker and owner of RE/MAX Four Corners, and Eric Stanley, president and COO of Bright Realty. They shared their views on the impact of technology within the industry, fluctuations in demand, popular home features and amenities as well as the current state of real estate in North Texas.
How is technology impacting the operations?
Chris Harden: The biggest shift we are seeing is the pace of information and our reaction time to the consumer. Consumers want information fast, and often it involves questions about the particularities of the market as the No. 2 growth state in the country. We have gone into business with Inside Real Estate to develop our own artificial intelligence to incorporate into our business. That has freed up a lot of time for our agents but they are still on hand to answer any more complex questions.
ChatGTP is a very popular resource right now. We are able to utilize these new technologies for a better client experience. For example, we are able to create blog posts with everything ready to go in less than a minute. We can find information on a city, discover why people would or wouldn’t want to move there and send the information straight to a client on-the-fly. The pace at which we are able to react has drastically changed our client experience. Consumers are loving this tool.
Eric Stanley: Gone are the days when people worked their standard 40-hour work week and disconnected from work when they left the office. As technology continues to advance, work has become increasingly accessible 24/7. The ability to send and receive emails from our phones means we can remain in constant contact with our colleagues and clients. That can really be a challenge because there is less time to decompress. While it’s good for our clients to be in touch, it is a very critical balance that we need to strike.
How does RE/MAX Four Corners take a personal approach to client experience and doing business?
Harden: Clients choose RE/MAX Four Corners because they know our brand – they like us, know us and trust us, and those are the people who are going to work with us. We personalize information to reflect what they are looking for when they sit down with us. We can find the information that is catered to their needs – what local school options look like, for example. We take a more personalized approach to a client as opposed to communicating the national market lens. Our economy is very micro – it is based on a city or a neighborhood. Real estate is neighborhood specific, which is why our strategy is so important and effective.
How is Bright meeting current demand?
Stanley: It goes back to basics. As long as job growth is happening, people will need places to live. And quality will fundamentally ride out any difficult economic time, which is exactly what we bring. In this region we’re fortunate because houses and apartments don’t last long on the market. Occupancies are still full in many of our units, bumping along at an average of 98% leased. Although we are not pushing rents like we were 18 months ago, we are still making efforts to increase them. We experienced some rapid growth during the pandemic, but it was not sustainable, and the market saw a few bad deals made during that time. If bad deals are getting done, then the end of the growth is near. Ultimately, it’s cyclical and we are hopeful it turns toward a positive direction. It’s just so hard to predict right now.
What features or amenities are consumers looking for in a home today?
Harden: Smart technology is increasing in popularity. We are seeing solar coming in different forms, such as Tesla solar cells and water softener systems. Builders in our area are introducing green products, such as living landscapes on the roof. A healthy, green home is a priority. While the quality of a home built today is not the same as it used to be, the energy efficiency is much greater. We get countless questions about energy efficiency today.
While there are trends, our service is personalized. For instance, with first-time homebuyers, we have discussions about their future, as 95% of first-time homebuyers will live in that home for five to seven years. They will grow and have a family, and they will eventually grow out of that home. We look at a home as a financial move. For the next five to seven years, this is a financial tool that you will move beyond. When it comes time for that next move, we want you to have great footing for your next financial investment.
What is your analysis of North Texas real estate right now?
Stanley: With regard to Bright Realty, we build projects with a long-term mindset, which informs the design and operational decisions. We recognize the unique nature of our market, owning 2,400 acres with about 500 acres left to develop. Our reputation and ability to deliver high-quality projects are crucial components of our brand. We don’t pursue one-off deals far from our core market, and that reputation and quality control are the most important elements for us.
Despite an overall slowdown in job growth, North Texas remains a hub for industries such as tech. This puts the market in a strong position, which attracts large corporations to relocate their headquarters to the area. For instance, Toyota brought over 25,000 employees when they relocated to the region, and the attraction of such well-paying jobs continues to bolster the real estate market.
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