March 16, 2021

Hot Trends: lessons from the Texas winter storm and new precautions in Real Estate

The Texas winter storm disrupted the reality of the Southern states of the USA. Not only they weren’t used to such low temperatures and snow for many days in a row, but also the cities’ infrastructure wasn’t prepared for that kind of weather. Therefore, this unusual climate event left severe consequences, like power and water outage, vehicular accidents, burst pipes, and boil water advisories. In this month’s Hot Trends, Real Estate IQ’s CEO, Steve Liang, shared learned experiences and best practices to winterize properties.

But infrastructure wasn’t the only thing affected by the winter storm. It also hit hard on the Real Estate market. In North Texas alone, home sales fell by 8% in February, since the city’s economy practically shut down for a whole week. Many things were happening at home, so it was impossible to keep the work pace too. On the whole, there was a little bit under 7,000 single-family home purchases in said area, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center and North Texas Real Estate information systems.

The city lost half its workforce due to power and water outages. And for realtors, mortgage companies, lenders, and their clients, the reality is about to get messier. Things that were scheduled to happen didn’t happen. But they were only delayed.

Steve Liang, Real Estate IQ’s CEO and National Speaker

However, it’s expected that, overall, the market remains strong throughout 2021. The inventory has been down, and it’s causing home prices to go even higher. While total sales were down in February, median home sales prices hit an all-time high, up 14% from a year ago to $302,920. This rise is more than double the median North Texas sales price a decade ago, and, as Liang pointed out, that’s something that happens every 20 years on average, not 10.

What did we learn from the winter storm?

Liang invited fellow Real Estate IQ investors to share their experiences and asked them to think about the teachings the storm left. Kevin Kromminga was the first to advise investors to conduct a thorough inspection in new homes. “I have to be careful with houses I intend to buy from now on because I don’t know the damages to the pipes or if the water has been shut off. At this time, it’s essential to be very thorough in the inspection because you could do twice as much damage to the home just by turning the water on.”

Rewatch the Hot Trends webinar with Steve Liang!

Juan Valdez supported the inspection idea and warned about the moisture behind carpets and in hidden places. But above all, he remained optimistic: “If nothing else, this winter storm gave us a perspective on being a little bit more prepared. Maybe from now on, people who have rental houses might develop some list to give their tenants with preventive measures and steps to take if this happens again.”

Lastly, Jason Madden praised the possibility to film walkthroughs for the insurance company, and Becky Kromminga encouraged us to be on good terms with our contractors. “As an investor, it’s great if you have a relationship with plumbers and other contractors because they’ll come to you first.”

Real estate events.

How to winterize a property?

The winter storm that hit the Southern states of the USA isn’t something that happens every day. In fact, none of the investors recalled a similar event since at least 1983. However, it’s critical to have a long-term memory. This way, we might avoid dealing with the same damages and costs if this happens again.

That’s why we came up with a list of things to do to winterize properties:

  • Talk with your family about what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued.
  • Have your vehicle winterized before the winter storm season.
  • Keep handy a warm coat, gloves, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets for each household member.
  • Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes.
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes.
  • Ensure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements are clean and in working order.

Disclaimer: The blog articles are intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing in the content is designed to be legal or financial advice.