Roger Martin and Life in the Loop

 

Oct. 29, 2011

Young Scientists at Johnston Middle School

Teaching from Space - Johnston Middle SchoolAt Johnston Middle School, what do you get when you mix three things – some bright young minds, several NASA space professionals, and a bunch of real-life scientists?

What you get is an explosion of ideas!

Last year, Johnston Middle School hosted a live discussion with two astronauts in the international Space Station.  This year, the students (and their sibs from Parker Elementary) have the opportunity to design real-life experiments which astronauts will perform in the microgravity of space.  Student experiments can range the gamut from crystals and bacteria, to aquatic life, DNA, tissue samples and plant growth.

Each student is given an opaque container about the size of a cigar or a test tube.  This is their "laboratory". Three tiny ampoules are sealed inside the container.  At specified times, the astronauts will break open the ampoules and shake up the contents.  The same experiment will be performed here in our normal earth gravity, and the results will be compared and analyzed once the space flight is over.

So what do you get when the astronauts mix three things in space for our student experiments?

We are not at all sure yet… but stay tuned for Johnston’s Mission One to the International Space Station!

For additional information, please contact the SSEP Coordinators Lanena Berry (lberry1@houstonisd.org) or Amber Pinchback (apinchba@houstonisd.org).

Roger Martin

Posted in Our Schools
Oct. 24, 2011

Roger Martin - Realtor of the Week

Roger Martin, of Roger Martin PropertiesThanks to the Houston Chronicle, who has named me REALTOR OF THE WEEK.  See the article below..

West University home to Roger Martin and his company

By JUDE PATRONELLA, Homes Correspondent

There is no place like home and work in West University for Roger Martin, who established his full-service real estate company in the small city surrounded by Houston in November 1989. It has been a major presence there ever since.

Now about to celebrate the boutique real estate company’s 22nd year in West University, Martin said the company’s first office in West University was on Edloe Street across the street from West University Elementary School’s playground. He could watch his son playing from his office window, and his wife Ann Ayers Martin worked nearby as a geologist.

Later, Martin moved the company to the old bank building on Edloe and remained there until tropical storm Allison flooded it. His next move was to another location on Edloe, next door to the Edloe Street Cafe and Deli, where Martin holds Tuesday evening get-togethers on the cafe’s patio just to relax and enjoy camaraderie with clients and West University friends and neighbors.

Throughout the years, Roger Martin Properties has grown and maintained a small-town atmosphere and the sophistication of a larger firm. Its success and service is known in the city of Houston by the company’s specialization inside Loop 610, including West University, Southside Place, Bellaire, the Museum District, the Texas Medical Center, Southampton, River Oaks, Southgate, Tanglewood and the Memorial Villages. Roger Martin Properties also helps clients sell and buy homes in outlying areas of greater Houston.

“I was destined to work in real estate. My first real job when I was a teanager was working for a Realtor, mowing yards in Midland... and while attending college I was very involved in the housing co-op movement,” said Martin, who began his real estate career in Autsin after graduating from the Univeristy of Texas with a bachelor of arts degree.

“I have been very fortunate to have excellent Realtors and staff associated with the company. I finally convinced my wife to join the company as office manager several years ago. Now my wife and I finally convinced our son, Christopher, to join our staff at Roger Martin Properties. He recently graduated from the University of Tulsa. Together, Ann and Christopher are working to enhance the company with new and advanced technology.”

“We will do whatever it takes to assist people with their residential needs,” said Martin, who has helped people move their belongings and given them rides to and from the airport. “Over the years we have grown with our customers and become good friends with them. Many have repeated business and referred new clients because they know we are dependable in our service and an excellent source of information. Our office is always open for our clients and friends to drop in and have a cup of coffee with us.”

Thanks again to the Houston Chronicle for this article!

Roger Martin

Sept. 10, 2011

"Rising Tide" by John M. Barry

Rising Tide by John M BarryHere in Houston, we know all about natural disasters.  We know how to clean up after them.  We know how to feed people who have lost everything.  We know how to take care of people while they get back on their feet.

It hasn’t always been like that.

In the teeth of the Mississippi Flood of 2011, we visited some friends in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  At the time, everyone was anxiously watching the news to see if the great spillways would be opened, diverting flood waters from the Mississippi to the Atchafalaya.  They were.  One of our friends gave me a book titled Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America by John M. Barry, 1997.  It made fascinating reading – especially against the backdrop of the 2011 flood.

John M. Barry is an absolutely gifted writer – able to make dense, complicated issues as gripping as a detective novel.  His vivid descriptions of the people, places and events of this enormous natural disaster rival only the stories about the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston.

The Mississippi River drains 31 of the 48 contiguous states, so a system-wide flood has national impact. At one point during the disaster, the river was one hundred miles wide and over thirty feet deep.  There were 40,000 refugees from one county alone, lined up on an eight-foot wide strip of levee.

Scientific in-fighting, political back-room deals, and social engineering - this book has it all.  This is not an “easy read”, but it is an excellent one.

Recommended by Ann M.

Posted in What West U Reads
Sept. 4, 2011

Lighting Tips - How to Light Up Your Home!

Lighting, Page 1 CroppedWhen preparing your home for sale, keep in mind these lighting tips, taken from a Ballard Design catalog, include some great suggestions on fitting shades and chandeliers to the furniture and rooms that they illuminate.  For example…

  • Add together the length and width of your room.  If your answer is 24 feet, then a 24 inch chandelier will be perfectly proportioned to the space.
  • Multiply the length and width of the room, and multiply the result by 1.5.  This number is the total wattage you will need to adequately light the room.
  • My personal favorite rule of thumb is that all chandeliers should be at least seven feet from the floor.  This allows tall people (like me!) to pass safely underneath.

A great-looking house is important in today's real estate market, so check out the “How To” section of the Ballard Design website, for more problem-solving decorating tips.

Roger Martin

Sept. 1, 2011

2633 Pemberton - SOLD in West University Place

2633 Pemberton Drive is a New England style home that was built in 1940 and updated in the 1990's.  Architectural details include alcoves, niches, crown moldings, plantation shutters, coved and vaulted ceilings, working fireplaces, a round window, and a bay window with a window seat.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $1,108,000
  • House Size: 2,674 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 9,450 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 3 or 4
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS #1,150.000

Features

  • Hardwood floors
  • Island kitchen with granite
  • French doors and windows
  • Two-car garage with workshop downstairs and studio upstairs

>More Great West U Homes for Sale

 

Aug. 31, 2011

Housing Market Stabilizing

There are clear signs of the housing market stabilizing, both in our daily real estate transactions and in published economic sources. The following analysis is exerpted from an article by the Federal Reserve Bank of Texas.  The emphasis in the highlighted sections is mine.  TRM

Housing Market Stabilizing“…When will the housing market stabilize and support the economic recovery? We suggest that new home construction may stabilize and start recovering slowly within the next year or so. Our econometric results also indicate that national house prices may hit bottom late this year or in early 2012 and then recover slowly…

The most recent house price and construction run-up exceeded levels recorded during the 1990’s economic expansion, when unemployment rates fell even lower and income grew faster. Why is this? Standard econometric models [of supply and demand] … simply cannot explain the surging house prices and building seen in the mid-2000’s.

Our research suggests the missing factor is mortgage credit standards, which, with other factors, determine whether potential homebuyers qualify for a loan. More people qualified for a mortgage during the so-called subprime boom because lenders eased the minimum down-payment ratios, maximum debt-payment-to-income rations, minimum credit scores and other criteria…

During the subprime boom, construction of single-family homes surged to a high of 1.8 million units per year, far above the 1.1 million units required to cover population growth and physical depreciation of structures. Construction then collapsed, falling roughly 75 percent from the peak by mid-2009… [I]n June 2009, housing permits picked up somewhat, aided by a series of federal tax credit programs, many aimed at first-time homebuyers… Before expiring, these tax credits temporarily boosted home transactions, partly by shifting sales forward, although the housing market’s fundamental weakness remained…

Affordability has [since] improved, and the impact of the supply overhang may be overstated because deeply underwater and foreclosed homes are concentrated in a handful of states, including Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada. With job growth expanding in areas where less overbuilding occurred, housing starts will likely pick up in states such as Texas. Additionally, as the economic recovery continues, the pace of household formation is likely to rise, bolstering demand. On balance, many forecasters see single-family home construction recovering slowly to around 500,000 units next year from an annual rate of 400,000 in early 2011…

The housing sector contributes to gross domestic product growth directly via new home construction and indirectly through consumer spending. In the early and mid-2000s, the contribution was large. When the subprime bubble burst, housing exerted a substantial drag on the economy. The loan losses and increased uncertainty that accompanied the bust also slowed the economy by impairing the ability of financial intermediaries and securities markets to provide finance. Although the short-run outlook for the housing market is uncertain, it appears that new home construction and house prices at the national level will stabilize and start slowly recovering within the next year or so.”

Exerpted from When Will the U.S. Housing Market Stabilize? By John V. Duca, David Luttrell and Anthony Murphy, Feberal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Vol. 6, No. 8, August 2011.

Roger Martin

Aug. 30, 2011

Lost Dog!

Louie the Lost DogWe are looking for Louie who went missing on the afternoon of Sunday, August 28, 2011.  The City of West University Place always does an excellent job of finding and returning missing animals in our city, but Louis has apparently escaped them this time.

Louis is a German Shorthair/Labrador mix.  He has the pointed nose, short hair, and slim arched tail of the pointer side of his family.  He has the black coloring and flop ears of his Labrador relatives. Louis is ten years old - his snout is entirely white, almost back to his eyes.  He has white on his chest, and a touch of white on his paws.  Louis is a neutered male, medium in size, VERY friendly, and all his shots were updated on 6/9/2011.  He is the most intelligent dog we have ever owned, and full of mischief.  This little Houdini has managed to squirm his way out of every collar or harness we have ever strapped on him. Then he goes to town taking the collars off of other dogs.

Louis went missing from Mercer Street, in the City of West University Place. Our yard backs up to Poor Farm Ditch, which in turn feeds into Braes Bayou. If he went south, it is possible that he could go quite a distance along the banks of the bayous – which would also keep him away from traffic and major intersections.

Clearly, Louis is too old to meet the usual criteria for a cute, adoptable young animal.  So if you see a lost dog matching this description, PLEASE call me at 713-661-2300.

Thanks!

Roger Martin

Aug. 19, 2011

Tiny Boxwoods in West U – Now for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Tiny Boxwoods in West University PlaceOur newest West U restaurant, Tiny Boxwoods, is now in operation for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yay!  I have sampled the breakfast – our menu items were creative and delicious, especially the breakfast pizza.  The setting is serene and lovely, as one would expect from ace landscapers like Thompson + Hanson.  I look forward to trying Tiny Boxwoods new lunch menu.

Roger Martin

Posted in Where West U Eats
Aug. 19, 2011

3330 Las Palmas - SOLD in Highland Village

3330 Las Palmas #6 is a fabulous 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath upgraded condominium in Highland Village.  The home has two outdoor spaces - a rear courtyard with BBQ and bar, and a side yard.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $206,000
  • House Size: 1,046 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 1
  • Bathrooms: 1.5
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS #88795015
  • Garage: 2

Features

  • Brazilian mahogany floors
  • bay window, crown moldings
  • Marble counters, cherry cabinets and stainless appliances in kitchen
  • Private courtyard and side yard

>More Great Highland Village Homes for Sale

 

Aug. 18, 2011

Neighborhood Watch - Burglary in Sunset Terrace

Neighborhood BurglaryOur inner city communities are well-policed and secure... Most of the time.  But it is important for us all to maintain a neighborhood watch on the homes in our communities.This photo, taken from TV Channel 13 on Saturday, shows a police officer at the scene of a local burglary. A friend of ours (another real estate agent) was leaving her home in Sunset Terrace to come to our office.  She never got here, because she stopped to report this burglary in progress at her neighbor’s house.

This is the second time that that particular home has been burgled this year, and there have been other similar incidents in the neighborhoods fringing West U.  The officers told our friend that an organized gang is responsible for these crimes.  The gang members ring the front doorbell – if no one answers, they jump the fence and kick in the back door.  So far, no one has been injured, but one gang member was caught on camera carrying a gun.

The customary safety of our neighborhoods can lull us all into a false sense of security.  Complacency is dangerous, so please be vigilant.  Call the police if you notice anything at all out of the ordinary.  They can piece together small clues (the color of a car, a partial license plate, a general make and model, etc) from multiple sources to make a coherent picture.

In addition to keeping a neighborhood watch, it is also a great idea to register on the City of West U’s website for their Code Red emergency notification program.  The City will notify you by email, phone or text if there is something dangerous happening in West U.  This security service is HANDS DOWN one of the best benefits of living in West U.

Stay safe!

Roger Martin