Roger Martin and Life in the Loop


Dec. 29, 2012

Houston Real Estate - Healthiest Market in US, per Trulia

Houston real estate healthiest in nation per Trulia

On December 21, 2012, Jed Colko, Chief Economist with Trulia named Houston the healthiest real estate market in the nation.

Houston earned top marks because we have...

  • Strong job growth (as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics).  This factor drives housing demand.
  • Low vacancy rates (as determined by the U.S. Postal Service).  Our vacancy rates are low enough to encourage new construction, but not so low that inventory and sales are restrained.
  • And low foreclosure inventory (as determined by RealtyTrac), because foreclosures tend to drag down a recovery.

Based on these three factors, the Houston real estate market is the Number One Healthiest market in the country!  As real estate professionals, we deal with this great market every day.  But it is wonderful to have it confirmed by outside sources.

Roger Martin

Dec. 28, 2012

3743 Harper St - SOLD in Southside Place

3743 Harper St

3743 Harper Street is a traditional 2 story brick home in Southside Place.  The home has hardwood floors, new double-pane windows, a recent HVAC system, and updated kitchen and baths.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $797.500
  • House Size: 2,032 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 7,000 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Buyer Represented by: Roger Martin
  • MLS #60006467

>More Great Southside Place Homes for Sale


Dec. 28, 2012

6442 Buffalo Speedway - SOLD in West University Place

6442 Buffalo Speedway is an exquisite French Traditional-style home, with 4 bedrooms and 3.5. Features include a grand spiral staircase, a downstairs master suite, a stone fountain, and a European-style courtyard.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $1,250,000
  • House Size: 5,042 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 7,500 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 half
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS # 50120835


  • Grand three-story spiral staircase
  • Hardwoods, crown moldings, travertine
  • Downstairs master suite
  • 2nd floor den, bedrooms, and baths
  • 3rd floor game room
  • Three-story elevator
  • Island kitchen with granite counters, stainless steel appliances
  • European-style courtyard with fountain

>More Great West U Homes for Sale


Dec. 18, 2012

4029 Southwestern Street - SOLD in West University Place

4029 Southwestern Street's stone-and-stucco turret-style entry opens to an elegant and understated home. Features include a pool, stone floors, high ceilings, crown molding, and neutral colors.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $1,320,000
  • House Size: 4,390 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 7,750 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 5 Full
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS # 67042754


  • Grand entry hall with spiral stair and backyard views
  • Crown molding and neutral colors throughout
  • Upstairs game room
  • Master suite with sitting area and study
  • Master balcony with stairs to backyard and pool
  • Heated salt water pool with spa and rock waterfall
  • Gourmet kitchen with granite counters and professional-grade appliances

>More Great West U Homes for Sale


Dec. 11, 2012

Susan Paul, Former West U Teacher, Publishes Book

Tunes for Teachers, by Susan PaulCongratulations to Susan Paul, teacher extraordinaire, who has just published her first book titled “Tunes for Teachers”!

I first met Susan Paul when my son Christopher was in second grade.  She was then – and still is – one of the most creative people I have ever met.  Among the teachers and parents of West University Elementary School, Susan Paul was known for her ability to create topical ditties and songs on the spur of the moment - and on any topic.  Who else would have made up songs about metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous rocks?  I kid you not.  Now she has published those ditties in her first book "Tunes for Teachers".  Counting her years as a primary teacher at West University Elementary School, Susan Paul has been teaching early childhood students for over thirty years.  In addition to teaching kids, she also teaches teachers.  Susan Paul has spent five years providing professional development to teachers with the Houston Independent School District.  Now she has founded STRIDES Educational Services to serve both teachers and students.  For teachers, Susan offers consulting, coaching, and professional development.  But children (and especially gifted and talented children) remain her heart’s work.  STRIDES serves up storytelling sessions and a private Preschool offering enrichment for four-year-olds.

Susan Paul as the Cat In The Hat, STRIDES Educational Services

And just ask Susan about her birthday parties and tea parties!  Using costumes, props and puppets, Susan brings our favorite children’s stories come to life. These story-book characters entertain the kids while teaching important life lessons.

So well done, Susan Paul - we are proud of you and your accomplishments!

Roger Martin


Posted in Our Schools
Dec. 11, 2012

Roger Martin Visits Santa Clause at Edloe Deli

Roger Martin meets Santa Claus at the Edloe Deli in West University PlaceYes Virginia, there really IS a Santa Claus.  And Roger Martin spotted him at the Edloe Deli this week.  But who is who?  Roger is the white-bearded gentleman who is NOT wearing the red suit.  Santa is the other guy.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Dec. 3, 2012

Holiday Tasks for Real Estate Agents

Holiday Tasks for Real Estate Agents

As real estate agents, we are well aware of the cyclical nature of our business.  Few folks start their home searches during the busy family holidays.  And existing clients rush to close their houses by year-end, driven both by the desire to spend the holidays in their new home, and by the wish to capture their tax credits.

Inevitably, this natural cycle leads to a “hole” in our real estate schedule.  What are real estate agents to do?

Don’t fret.  This slack time in the real estate market is the perfect opportunity to get the jump on next year’s business.  Here are some suggestions…

  • Draw up your list of active clients.  Put it in writing – which will insure that no one slips between the cracks.  Send cards or drop off thoughtful client gifts.  Be personal, not pushy.
  • Update your contact management list with current emails, phone numbers, etc.  This is the perfect time to collect mailing addresses - think of all those holiday cards you receive.
  • Review your personal marketing campaign.  If it worked, do it again.  If it didn’t, make changes accordingly.  If you didn’t get around to it, schedule it now.
  • Take care of all your routine healthcare checkups.  Visiting the doctor, the dentist, and the gynecologist now will free up your time later when the market is busier.  Keep exercising – it keeps your brain from turning to mush.
  • Read all those business books you haven’t gotten had time for.  Swap insights with a friend.
  • Circulate to all the holiday parties you can.  Be sociable – the exposure will serve you well in the long run.
  • And yes – relax and spend time with your families.  After all, they are the reason we do this.

Your clients will come back just as soon as the holidays are over.  As a real estate agent, you must be prepared to hit the ground running when they are.  Giving yourself the gift of preparation could just be the best gift of the holiday season!

Roger Martin


Dec. 1, 2012

701 Bering #804 - SOLD in the Galleria

701 Bering #804 is a townhome with one bedroom, one and a half baths, and a loft. The combined living/dining room features two-story windows flanking a wood-burning fireplace, and the unit has a brick patio attached as well.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $169,900
  • House Size: 1,154 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 1
  • Bathrooms: 1 full, 1 half
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS # 75066009


  • Open floor plan with combination living/dining room
  • Updated kitchen with solid surface counters and a Bosch dishwasher
  • Downstairs half bath
  • Spacious master down and loft upstairs
  • Large walk-in closet and full bath
  • Two car garage
  • Excellent location in the Galleria
  • Quiet complex, unit is close to the pool

>More Great Galleria Homes for Sale


Nov. 27, 2012

The Houston Economy – Bucking National and International Trends

Jobs - US vs HoustonAs usual, the recent symposium by the Institute for Regional Forecasting answered many questions about the Houston economy – and raised others.  This was the last lecture by Dr. Ted Jones, the Chief Economist at Stewart Title.  Thanks to Dr. Jones for plugging the gap between the exiting director of the IRF, Dr. Barton Smith, and incoming director, Dr. Robert Gilmer from the Federal Reserve.

As before, the economic information is mixed.  The Houston economy is doing stunningly well.  We are creating jobs at an annual rate of 3.5%, well above the 3% threshold for a recessions and twice that of the US as a whole.  Jobs in the Houston Metropolitan Area have now surpassed their previous record, and gains are predicted for next year across all categories, including medicine, oil and gas, petrochemicals, shipping, and construction.  And remember, that is before the much-anticipated re-opening of the Panama Canal brings the markets of a second entire hemisphere through our Port of Houston.  Houston is, therefore, stronger and better diversified than ever before.

Dr. Jones was quite bullish with regard to Houston real estate as well, citing historically low interest rates and a tightening supply.  He stated that real estate currently has “the best return in 12 years.”  However, the US as a whole is creating new housing at only half the rate needed to meet predicted population growth, and Dr. Jones predicted that housing and buildable raw land may soon become increasingly pricey.

So the Houston economy is doing fine.  The storm clouds on the fiscal horizon come from both national and international problems.  Congress has yet to deal with the looming Fiscal Cliff.  Which means that businesses and investors cannot make sound decisions because they do not know what their ground rules will be.  Dr. Jones also pointed out that over the last thirty-five years, the recovery from each subsequent recession has been weaker and weaker.  And he said that Europe has now slipped back into recession.

So once again, my crystal ball is quite cloudy.  How the robust Houston economy will respond to national and international forces is still an un-answered question.  As for us here in West University Place, I can testify for certain that the inventory of real estate properties is uncomfortably low.  Homes are selling at an impressively brisk rate and ignoring the year-end holidays.

So we look forward – cautiously – to next year.  We are happy to see Dr. Robert Gilmer taking the helm at the Institute for Regional Forecasting, and look forward to his take on the Houston economy in the spring.

Roger Martin

Roger Martin Properties

Nov. 27, 2012

The Golden Mean in West University Place Homes

The Golden Mean in West University Place Homes

Thanks again to my friend Mallory Agerton, for explaining why West University Place homes are pleasing to the eye.  Turns out, our architecture conforms to classical (and artistic) proportions!

 "What is the secret ingredient in a West U Bungalow?

(Hint: You studied about its creator as a kid in math class and probably didn’t even know it!)

There is something delightfully charming about the older West U brick bungalows.  As an artist, I find them beautifully proportioned. Frequently the craftsmen who built and designed them followed the proportions of the Golden Mean, a ratio discovered by Pythagoras and used extensively in the Parthenon and many other famous buildings.  The Golden Mean is the ratio of 1 to approximately 1.618   I have done a little sketch of the house across the street showing how often the Golden Mean is used in its design. To do the sketch I used a tool called Golden Mean calipers, which divide distances in a ratio of 1 to 1.618. However when I am out for my morning walk I don’t actually perform calculations to decide if a house is pleasing, I just notice that it feels right.  So the next time you are out for a brisk walk this fall, I hope you will appreciate the classic brick bungalows on your block.

In the sketch, I have labeled four places the Golden Mean occurs. The lengths corresponding to “A” are 1.618 times longer than the lengths corresponding to “B”. These places are:

  • Length of roofline to total height of the house
  • Width of upper left window to height of window
  • Division of roof horizontally by center peak of front porch over front door (This occurs often in bungalows in the placement of a front porch in an asymmetrical design.)"

Mallory Agerton, Mallory Agerton Fine Art