Lis­ten­ing with her Eyes

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Therealdeal -

Real­tor Sandy O’Bier looks for what makes clients’ eyes light up

L ocal Real­tor Sandy O’Bier said 23 years in the pro­fes­sion has taught her to lis­ten with her eyes.

“I love help­ing peo­ple make good de­ci­sions, whether to buy, rent, or sell, but I’ve learned to lis­ten with my eyes. Peo­ple may say one thing, but you can tell by how their eyes light up that a house may not be any­thing like what they thought they wanted,” she said.

O’Bier, who works for Hot Springs Realty, is a na­tive of Hot Springs and has lived in the Spa City all her life ex­cept for when she

at­tended col­lege out of state.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, she taught in pub­lic and pri­vate schools for a num­ber of years.

“I think I bring to the ta­ble a love of Hot Springs. If I wasn’t sell­ing real es­tate, I’d be work­ing for the tourist bureau. I think we have ev­ery­thing. My hus­band and I could have moved any­where, but we love the lakes and the schools.

“I grad­u­ated from the Hot Springs schools and my chil­dren went to the com­mu­nity col­lege here, which I think is the most af­ford­able col­lege. I be­lieve that so strongly it makes it easy for me to sell it,” O’Bier said.

With years of ex­pe­ri­ence sell­ing real es­tate in the Hot Springs area, O’Bier said homes are a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive here than in some other parts of the state, but the re­turn on the in­vest­ment is also higher.

“Your ini­tial in­vest­ment is a lit­tle bit higher. We’re a tourist town, a national park, a spa, so your ini­tial cost is a lit­tle higher, but when you re­sell it, it all bal­ances out.”

She said she is also ex­cited to see in­ter­est rates ris­ing “be­cause it gets peo­ple off the fence,” and stop wait­ing to see how low they may go.

“I worked with one cou­ple for three years and on July 16, they de­cided it was time to buy. Noth­ing has changed; the mar­ket wasn’t sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent, it’s just that there is an ur­gency now as they wait to see what is go­ing to hap­pen,” she said.

O’Bier said the hard part of be­ing a Real­tor is hav­ing to tell some­one they may be “up­side down” on their mort­gage.

“Real­tors don’t make the mar­ket, we only in­ter­pret it. It’s re­ally hard when some­one bought in 2005, 2006 at the height of the mar­ket to tell them they might be up­side down if they put prac­ti­cally noth­ing down. It’s hard when peo­ple are up­side down, when they’ve bor­rowed against their house over and over, but I don’t make the mar­ket, I merely in­ter­pret it,” she said.

And, while the in­ven­tory of avail­able homes in the area is good, O’Bier said she be­lieves there is an over­sup­ply of more ex­pen­sive homes.

“Un­for­tu­nately we don’t have a lot of in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives mov­ing to Hot Springs re­cently. Those higher-dol­lar homes – $300,000 and up – we have an over­sup­ply.

“Also, in cer­tain school dis­tricts, peo­ple want to buy three- and four-bed­room, twobath homes for un­der $100,000, but those are hard to find. Over­all, though, I think we still have a strong sup­ply.”

O’Bier said she would tell a young cou­ple shop­ping for their first home that if they find one they like, to buy it be­fore it’s gone, and cou­ples still have some good fi­nanc­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able

“Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment is a zero-down pro­gram and it still ex­ists. A per­son’s credit scores have to prove they are re­spon­si­ble, and the Farm­ers Home Ad­min­is­tra­tion can help peo­ple who may have been slow (pay­ing) on a cou­ple of things get a home at 3.5 per­cent in­ter­est.”

In a nor­mal mar­ket, O’Bier said a home is still a per­son’s best in­vest­ment, but there is no guar­an­tee that a home will ap­pre­ci­ate in value.

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