HUMBLE, Texas - Houston's housing market is as competitive as ever.
Realtor Nicole Lopez is looking for a competitive edge when it comes to listing and selling homes across the Houston metro.
"I’m the taco lady," joked Lopez as she stood next to her real estate sign planted in the front lawn of an Humble home. Below Lopez's contact information hangs a white sign with black lettering that reads, '$250 in free tacos with the purchase of this home'.
"Let’s be honest, everyone in Texas loves tacos. And so, it’s really been the 'taco the town'," said Lopez as she laughed at her own joke. A real estate agent in Houston for the last eight years, Lopez said she's willing to try anything if it sparks a sale.
Lopez started advertising tacos with the purchase of a home four months ago. People have snapped photos which have been shared on social media. The posts have garnered thousands of likes and shares.
"Yeah, so kind of the farthest away that we’ve been requested for an interview is a Toronto, Canada radio station called me and was like, 'please tell me this is real'."
The signs are real, but do they work?
The home featured in the social media posts, a 1,700 square foot home in Cypress which is listed at $170,000, is "under contract and they are super excited for their taco party at the end of this month," said Lopez.
The incentive comes with fine print, explained Lopez. "So, in Texas it’s illegal to offer anything above $50 in terms of a referral or a client gift. So what we’ve done, is we’ve actually partnered with our sellers and they’ve agreed to offer a $250 credit. So they can take it in terms of closing costs, or if they really want the tacos, we can make sure they have tacos at closing as well."
So, if the home buyers does want the tacos, Lopez and the home seller arrange for $250 worth of tacos to be purchased at the nearest Torchy's Tacos.
"People have really taken to the tacos," said Lopez. "We don’t plan on ending it any time soon."
According to its annual report, the Houston Association of Realtors reports the Houston real estate market set new records by the time the sun set on 2017. Single-family home sales for the full year rose 3.5 percent compared to 2016, the previous record year. However, as 2018 gets underway, the supply of housing remains constrained.