Agent story: How Reisha uses Homeward to modernize her real estate business
“When I started in real estate, Austin was just a town. Now it’s a full-blown city.”
Reisha Lacey has seen a lot of change during her eighteen years in real estate.
Although she’s originally from Chicago, Reisha has called Texas home for over twenty years. She’d always been interested in pursuing a career in real estate, but friends or relatives had talked her out of pursuing her dream multiple times while in Chicago. After moving to Austin, she decided to make her dream her reality.
Eighteen years later, she’s carved out an award-winning career as a realtor at Realty Austin. Given her experience moving across the country, Reisha is particularly passionate about helping clients relocate from one area to another. While the process can be overwhelming, she’s living proof that a change of scenery can sometimes make a world of difference.
Serving clients in a booming metro
The market Reisha works in today is almost unrecognizable compared to the market she started her career in nearly two decades ago.
In the past twenty years, Austin has solidified itself as a legitimate hub for American tech companies. Other cities in Texas have seen similar success, but Austin has managed to stay true to its unique vibe as a city. The impact on the real estate market has been profound.
“The influx of tech workers, particularly people relocating from California, has led to super high demand and low inventory,” says Reisha. “Prices have doubled and tripled since I started working with clients. Builders just can’t build new homes fast enough.”
Many markets across the country experienced a surge in demand over the past few years, but Austin’s has been unbelievable. “Each home was getting 30-60 offers over their first weekend last year,” says Reisha. “With interest rates going up in 2022 it’s slowed down a little. It’s still a seller’s market, but buyers now have a bit more time.”
Helping clients buy and sell houses in a red hot market brings unique challenges. Fortunately, Reisha’s been well-positioned for success.
Leveraging technology and continually learning
“I’m at a company with superior technology now,” explains Reisha. “With this market the last few years and such low inventory, I’ve had to adapt and learn different ways of doing my job.”
When competing with dozens of offers, speed and flexibility are both critical. If you can’t make a compelling offer quickly, your client will never win the home they want. For Reisha, adapting her approach has meant rethinking her entire team:
“For example, I’ve always had one go-to lender. But he hasn’t seen much business from me in the last two years, because he doesn’t have a solution that fits my client’s needs in this market. I’ve virtually changed my entire team.”
Although she still leverages her long-standing relationships where possible, the demands of the past few years have forced changes. Reisha’s goal as an agent is to guide her clients through every step of their homebuying journey, which means she has to stay on top of trends and have a wide variety of tools at her disposal.
Reisha’s willingness to try new approaches led her to Homeward. Her agency started exploring Homeward in early 2020, right as the pandemic kicked off. After some due diligence, she quickly realized that Homeward’s services stood out from what typical lenders were able to offer.
“Many of these lenders can help buyers, but they don’t have a full program where they can help my clients sell their existing homes,” she explains. “They don’t have the ability to help my clients buy the house they want with cash, sell their old home, then buy back the new home.”
“Without Homeward, a typical experience would be listing a home and getting it under contract. After the option period, we’d go out and look for a home, but it would be contingent on the sale of their existing home. That contingent offer just isn’t as strong. But with Homeward, Homeward puts a cash offer in for my client. It’s more competitive and far more appealing, especially if you’re in a multiple offer situation.”
That’s a compelling advantage, but it’s not the only reason Reisha relies on Homeward as a strong option. She works with Homeward because it creates a better experience for her clients. “No one wants to move twice if they can help it. Using Homeward alleviates a lot of stress for my clients because they don’t have to be in their home when they’re trying to show it.”
Reisha’s found Homeward to be such a good fit for many clients that she’s even recommended Homeward to clients moving out of Texas.
“I had a client who was an advanced skier, and she was moving to Colorado. I referred her to an agent in Colorado, and since Homeward operates in Colorado I also recommended Homeward to her. That agent had never used Homeward before, but she used a Homeward Cash Offer.”
Although this client’s offer was one of eight on the property, the strength of her cash offer made it the most appealing option. She won the property and moved in a few weeks later.
Winning homes and growing her business
Buying a home in Austin within the past few years hasn’t been for the faint of heart. Reisha has found that her years of experience and her diverse toolset have enabled her to serve clients and grow her business in every market.
“I’ve used Homeward with over a dozen clients in the past two years,” says Reisha. “Most of the time, I suggested Homeward because we were submitting offers and we weren’t winning the bidding war. Homeward’s cash offer made us more competitive. It made all the difference, especially for the many first-time homebuyers I’ve worked with.”
Helping her clients succeed in purchasing a home is rewarding. But Reisha has also seen the benefits in her own life and business.
“The last two years were especially hard with the low inventory and high demand. I don’t know if I would have gotten even half of those clients under contract and into new homes if I hadn’t been able to use Homeward.”
As she thinks about the future, Reisha is confident that she’ll continue to rely on Homeward as a critical tool for clients. “It will still be attractive to take your time, find a home to buy first, then turnaround and sell your existing home. It’s always going to be a more appealing option. It really takes the pressure and stress out of the experience.”