Worthy Convos: Adrianne Huff Holland on Investing, Staging, and Remodeling in Fort Worth
Adrianne Huff Holland, an agent at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, accepted her calling as a real estate professional very early on. Born into a family in the industry, she was raised in the business and knew it wasn’t what was portrayed on the Bravo channel. With a background that includes experience in banking, specifically lending services, Holland’s clients benefit from her know-how, positioning her as a rising star in Fort Worth’s residential real estate scene.
How would you summarize the real estate market in 2021?
It was a time of movement for real estate while it was a time of lockdown in almost every other element of our lives. I was helping many of my clients, refinance homes that they had purchased from me in the past. Many people choose to escape city life envisioning wide open spaces and acreage as the future for their family. I had clients also opting for long term rentals and relocating their families to exotic locales like Hawaii, Mexico, and South America because online learning was available to children and employers were allowing remote and flexible work schedules. According to National Association of REALTORS ®, In the first week of 2021, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.65%. In the first week of 2022, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped to 3.22%.
It’s early but any predictions for this year?
The great migration is still going strong both nationally and in our local DFW market. Many of my clients are leaning on my local market knowledge to help them capitalize on the equity they have built in their homes. Clients are looking to move from expensive areas to less expensive communities where their buying power is greater. Speaking of communities, master planned communities like Walsh are becoming popular where there are amenities like workout facilities, classes, workspaces, pools, and recreation on-site. I have been active in the Walsh community for the past two years and have really fallen in love with the residents and seen the benefits that the residents have enjoyed from still having that sense of community despite being in lockdown. I have also seen a baby boom! I think with all this time in lock down many career-focused individuals that were putting off having a family have chosen to have children and are looking to upsize. This inverse relationship has also held true from the millions of Baby Boomers that are looking to down-size as retirement is on the horizon. Fort Worth offers so many opportunities for amazing active living communities for citizens over 55. Fort Worth has also seen in an influx of those moving from other states for our great weather, affordable housing, favorable tax rates, and economic development.
What makes real estate a good investment strategy?
I think this depends on the persons goals. Some of my clients are buying a home or property simply as an investment and others are purchasing knowing that they are purchasing only for the value of their own enjoyment. One example of this might be a pool. A couple of years ago, a pool was considering to not be the best investment. During the pandemic, pools became a very hot commodity, but for clients that purchased homes with pools, I have been told that they may not want to own a pool again due to the upkeep. A pool really is a completely personal decision, and this extends to other amities like outdoor kitchens, size of yards and even number of stories of a home. A question I ask frequently is if the purchase is a short term or long-term investment. I do not believe in the idea of a “forever home”. As we age our needs and lifestyle changes, and our homes should change with us but buying in an area with schools and access and timing to work or infrastructure is always something I point out. Most importantly, what is the life cycle of the neighborhood? Is the neighborhood new or old? Is it in a cycle of change or is it stagnant? A great realtor should be advising their clients on all these points to help them make the most informed decision for them.
What is your best piece of advice for the homeowner who might be looking to sell?
A seller should ALWAYS depersonalize. This means removing personal photographs or mementos. The home should read like it has been staged. If the seller can afford to stage or the agent can help with these costs, it is always very advantageous. I pre-walk a home with a client and create lists of repairs of items that need to be repaired in order of importance. I will cover the cost of minor repair items like touch up. I always advise my sellers to have the HVAC serviced and make sure that all appliances and items are in working order and to have them repaired prior to listing. A very deep cleaning is paramount! Baseboards, ceiling fans, bathrooms, clean linens, windows, air vents, etc. People ask me what I look for when I enter a home. If a home is dirty, it tells me that they have not repaired major items.
And let’s not forget the buyer. What wisdom do you have for someone on the hunt?
I tell my buyers that I am not looking at a home for the pretty things, but I am looking at the home for what it is- meaning cracks, rust, signs, or leaks, and especially drainage issues. I tell all my clients that I would much prefer to talk you out of a home and lose a sale than to sell you a home that I think you will be unhappy with later. North Texas has clay soil, so we do have a lot of settling. This is in part due to the periods of dry weather and times of heavy rain. I think the best time to look at homes is when it is raining or has been raining for days. You will see a home in its true color. Also, rugs can hide problems and so can objects. If there is something that is out of place, let’s look under it. Weird smell? Let’s try to investigate it. I also tell my clients that the more inspections, the better. I would rather have a client spend money during an inspection and pass than purchase and regret it later. I am here to be a guiding light for my clients and a sounding board in all situations.
You’ve also remodeled your own properties. What has that process taught you?
This one made me chuckle as I also say you can have a remodel fast and cheap, but you cannot have a remodel or ground up built fast, cheap, and perfect. I advise clients on this a lot as my services extend past brokerage. I look at every home as a unique being. What does this home need to best serve its occupants? Does it just need paint and carpet or a full remodel? I have an extensive list of craftsmen, contractors, tradespeople, and architects that I recommend, but with any remodel or build project, the answer is to keep extensive notes, document with pictures, over budget and prepare to have a lot of patience. Patience is key as one project never goes exactly according to plan. One of the services I do offer to clients is General Contracting services where I can oversee a project from beginning to end. At any one time, I am advising or working one to three projects in this capacity.
When you’re not helping clients, where do you like to spend your time in the city?
I have been a home body the last two years, but I am really looking forward to the Rodeo this year. My boats are getting shined, my hat is getting steamed, and I went to Leddy’s and The Desert Rose in the Cowgirl Museum last week for some western wear. I have tickets for three performances already lined up! In the meantime, you will find me walking my disabled dog, Harley, who is 17, around the Trinity Trails and Clearfork in his stroller. We are also building a house at Cline Park in Walsh, so I’ll be documenting it on social media this year – all the ups and downs.
Although she prefers burnt orange to purple, Hannah Bush is happy to call Fort Worth her new home. She began freelance writing a few years ago to break up the monotony of her 9 to 5, and to prove to her parents that she’s making good use of her journalism degree. When she’s not hanging out with her cat, Hannah can likely be found on a patio with her husband, talking about her cat.