By Holly Henbest

I’m often asked, “What is happening in real estate?” It’s such a broad question and could be answered a million different ways, so today I’m going to give you a little update on things I’ve been paying attention to.

NAR Lawsuit
Last month, I shared my thoughts about the recent NAR lawsuit and what I foresee changing should the proposed changes get approved. Because I covered it so much last month I won’t go into detail here, except to re-iterate that I don’t foresee much change in terms of the experience for the buyer and seller. There will be some initial messiness as Realtors will be tasked with dealing with a new process of how some information is communicated from Realtor to Realtor and some potential nuances in crafting offers, but ultimately, I don’t think much will be that different. Also, keep in mind that the press loves a catchy scary story, so don’t listen to all you hear and read. Talk to a professional and experienced Realtor who you can trust to get your questions or concerns answered and keep in mind that Realtors are just like any profession – there are good ones and not so great ones. Just like doctors, lawyers, teacher, etc. There are great ones and ones you’d never work with again, so it’s important to partner with a Realtor you can trust to guide you and ensure you understand how you’re protected.

What is an iBuyer? They are companies that buy homes direct from sellers at a discounted price and then re-sell them. Zillow dabbled in this for a brief time and other companies like Open Door and OfferPad became very popular.

While these companies still exist and are still providing this service, which can be great for someone who is in a desperate hurry to sell their home or their home would struggle with passing inspection or some other extenuating circumstances would make this convenient, their foothold in the marketplace has dramatically decreased. The volume of both firms is 90% below their peak sales in March 2022. I think this is an excellent example of how there are trends in real estate, but ultimately buyers and sellers return to rely on a trusted Realtor to support them in their purchase or sale.

Smaller Home Sizes
When I first started in real estate in 2006, there was a trend towards bigger homes, then as the economy shifted in 2008, we started to see a shift towards smaller homes. Smaller homes became much more in demand in 2011 as people looked back on the market crash and wanted to be more conservative with their spending. Then when the pandemic hit, we saw home purchases lean in the other direction. People wanted more rooms for working and schooling at home, so we saw a shift to bigger homes. Well, the shift back to smaller homes is here and no surprise with people trying to conserve on their pricing due to the continued higher interest rates. Newer construction has paid attention to this trend and the median size of new homes has been cut by 4% in the past year to 2,179. The census shows that is the lowest reading since 2010.

Kitchen Trends
Did you renovate your kitchen and make it white and now you’re worried it’s not on trend? Don’t worry, white will always be a beloved kitchen color. It’s clean, bright, and can be made more trendy with accents. Although it’s being reported that white kitchens are phasing out a bit, but if you look at kitchens over time, a white kitchen has always been popular; it’s very consistent. Green has been a very popular color for kitchen cabinets, and it’s being reported that wood will soon take the second spot in popularity to white.

What’s most important is that your kitchen fits in with the overall aesthetic of your home. If your kitchen is white and the rest of the home is moody dark colors, then it’s not going to look good. Another shifting trend is open shelving. No one loves an open shelf more than I do, but that trend is diminishing because ultimately people want more storage and don’t want to worry about their shelves always looking staged. So, if you’re thinking about adding open shelving, you might want to add it to a small niche area like a bar or another space in your home. Whenever possible, go for more storage.

Paint Trends
Yes, gray is still okay! It became the “it” color in 2010 and the focus was on cooler colors with a starker feeling. However, gray is now trending towards warmer undertones. Gray is still considered a good neutral, but many designers suggest using it in moderation, warming up your space with other colors and trending away from a fully monochromatic feel. If you have gray and want to make it “trendier,” then add muted colors or other neutrals to warm up the space and make the gray just one of the layers of color. Ultimately if you love it, then it doesn’t matter. Keep in mind that trends change about every 10 to 15 years, but you can always transition a neutral much easier than those famous red walls in the early 2000s.

Curb Appeal
Yes, it matters! Keep your home up to date with paint. Not only will it look better, but it will protect your home. Paint serves a very important role in preserving your wood trim, stucco, and other building material surfaces, so keep up with your paint schedule on the exterior and make sure you don’t forget your wood doors and surfaces under patio overhangs. I see overhangs and trim pieces in dilapidating condition regularly and they could have had a much longer life if they had just been painted.

Also, pay attention to your plants. Are they overgrown and need trimming? Do you have water drips sticking out of the ground, but no plants? Now is a good time of year to evaluate your plants and see what plants need to be added or replaced. Sometimes if they’ve become too overgrown, it’s time to just replace and start over. Like all things when it comes to updating your home, if you keep up with projects along the way, then when it is time to move, there won’t be as much to do to get ready and you will have been able to enjoy the improvements along the way.

I hope you’ve found this information helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions for future articles, please let me know. You can reach me at 480-266-8785 or [email protected].

Holly has been a Desert Ridge resident since 2000 and has been a Realtor since 2006. She is the leader of The Henbest Team with Realty One Group. Holly is ranked in the top ½ of 1 percent of Realtors in Arizona and is a certified luxury marketing expert. She has been ranked #24 in the Top 50 Realtors by the “Phoenix Business Journal” for the past several years and recognized by “So Scottsdale!” magazine as a Real Estate Superstar for 2019, 2020 and 2021. She’s also been the #1 ranked realtor at Realty One Group/North Scottsdale for the past several years. Learn more at