The Ralph Bivins Project – Podcast Guest: Cathy Treviño

RALPH BIVINS: Welcome, this is the Ralph Bivins Project. We’re here today to talk about real estate. You may be wondering. Is now a great time to buy or a great time to sell? What about mortgage rates? And prices? Are they going up or going down?

We’re here today with Cathy Treviño. She is the chair of the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), one of the largest real estate associations in the nation and probably in the world. Cathy, thanks for being here. This is kind of a mid-year thing that we’re doing today. We are halfway through 2023, and we still have a lot of time to go in the year. How do you and the others in the business, the members and the brokers in the HAR feel about what is happening in the market?

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CATHY TREVIÑO: Thank you, Ralph, for having me back on the show, it’s always a pleasure. I love to answer questions I know that consumers and members of the association want to know. I can’t believe the year is half over. It has truly flown by. And the market has definitely changed from the way it was at this time last year. So, what we are seeing is a market that is beginning to become more normalized. We are going back to pre-pandemic numbers. And when you really look at that, you see that we are actually surpassing the record-breaking years of 2018 and 2019.The market is actually thriving well right now and we are very optimistic that it will continue.

You know, everyone has been concerned about interest rates and what is happening with the economy, the high inflation rates and all those things.  But the good thing about all of this is the fact that we are getting an opportunity to go back and level off our market. The past two years with COVID was a hyper-market. It was not a true apples-to-apples market. It was even a superficial market, I might call it. Those were really good years when it came to real estate. The government had to do something to improve the economy. They put in a lot of good things for buyers and renters, so a lot of people bought homes at record-low mortgage rates.

RALPH BIVINS: But a lot of people live in homes with a 2.75 to 3 percent mortgage and they say, hey, I don’t want to sell.  Freddie Mac’s latest mortgage rate report was 6.8 percent. People can’t afford a house that’s nearly as nice as they have at that rate. They want to stay put.

CATHY TREVIÑO: That is something we are looking at. A lot of homeowners are staying in their homes longer – and rightly so. To go from a 2.8 percent mortgage to about 7 — and add in the likely increase in the price of a home — is a double whammy.

On the flip side, though, there are always people who need to move – because of a new job, a transfer, relocation, upsize or downsize. And we are seeing a lot of this activity. We have to educate consumers and agents to talk about this. Last year, homes were flying off the shelf. But we’re not in that market anymore. Agents have to work harder and realize that homes will likely be on the market longer. But the field is more level, and both buyers and sellers have more room to negotiate.

RALPH BIVINS: I wanted to talk to you about something that I know you are an expert in. I guess crooks are everywhere. I know you, the Texas Realtors and HAR are working to protect people from them. But how do criminals make their way into the real estate business and steal people’s money? What do people have to look out for when they run into bad people?

CATHY TREVIÑO: Unfortunately, there are bad folks out there around almost every industry who take people for granted and steal their money. Cyber crime is a huge issue that a lot of companies experience.

Last month, actually, I took part in the Texas Realtors E&O Task Force – E&O meaning errors and omissions. Every broker has to carry errors and omissions insurance to make sure that if someone at the company makes a mistake or the firm falls victim to a crime or lawsuit, most of the time, E&O insurance will cover this or help with the cost of these things.

There are all kinds of insurance policies that brokers should make sure they carry. And cyber insurance is one that they should have as a rider on their E&O policy.

One of the things were are experiencing right now is this. Criminals are coming in impersonating buyers, sellers, title companies, even Realtors. We are looking at this from every aspect and making sure to educate our members to understand and see the types of things that criminals are doing so they do not become victimized.

Because so many transactions are being done online, wire fraud is becoming very common. Criminals manage to insert themselves into legitimate transactions by capturing email in communications between buyers and sellers. Then, they impersonate the title company and can make changes in wiring instructions that change the rules of transaction and cause serious problems. What’s worse, they use emails that look virtually identical to the real documents. This happened to one of our agents. The bank caught the fraudulent transaction, but it was a very complicated issue to rectify. It took a year to rectify, and it was a real mess.

In September, we will be presenting a Realtor safety month with lessons on how to avoid a variety of problems. In the meantime, our message is: Stay vigilant.

Click Here (Spotify)  or Here (YouTube) to Listen to the Entire Podcast

Cathy Treviño biography

Cathy Treviño is an accomplished and dedicated professional in the residential real estate industry. With more than 26 years of experience and 21 years of management expertise, she has established herself as a respected leader in Texas. She serves as the 2023 Chair of the Board for the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), a regional vice president for Texas Realtors and is on the board of directors with the National Association of Realtors (NAR). She is also a broker in Texas and Oklahoma. Cathy is  employed as managing broker of Texas for LPT Realty.

Aug. 13, 2023 Realty News Report Copyright 2023

Hear the podcast with Ralph Bivins and Cathy Treviño on Spotify or YouTube


LISTEN: THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast with Cathy Treviño, chair of the Houston Association of Realtors

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The Ralph Bivins Project is produced by Realty News Report

Listen on Spotify: Ralph Bivins with Cathy Trevino, chair of HAR

Listen: on YOU TUBE to the Ralph Bivins Project podcast with Cathy Treviño




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