Roger Martin and Life in the Loop


Feb. 16, 2012

Agriculture Science in the Inner City

Agriculture Science in the Inner City

Since the City of Houston is so urban, you might think that we don’t have strong Agriculture Science or FFA programs in our local schools.  Not so at all!

Agriculture science is Big Business in Texas.  According to the Texas Farm Bureau, 77% of the total land area of Texas is still involved in ag production.  In fact, Texas leads the nation in the number of farms, amount of land in farms, and the production of sheep and lambs, cattle and calves, goats, wool, mohair cotton and hay.  As a whole, an increasingly high-tech agriculture industry generates $81 billion a year for the State of Texas.

So despite our urban environment, our schools have very strong FFA (Future Farmers of America) programs for their agricultural science students.  Our two nearest high schools, Bellaire and Lamar, are a case in point.  Ag classes are available to all the students as electives.  The kids can raise smaller animals (such as the bunnies above) in their homes.  But they are prohibited by ordinance from keeping larger livestock within the city limits.  HISD therefore maintains a special Ag-Science Barn outside the city limits at Beltway 8 and W. Airport.  Larger animals such as steers, hogs, sheep and goats live at this barn.  Kids exhibit their animals around the state, including the San Antonio, Fort Worth, Houston, and Harris County Livestock Shows.  At these shows, the horticulture students also do a variety of presentations, including herb gardens, bonsai and floral arrangements.

But the kids are not just learning about “sows, plows, and cows”.  Every student is essentially an independent businessperson.  As such, they learn to budget, prioritize, and set goals. They develop leadership skills, while managing both time and money.   The most successful FFA kids earn college money by selling their livestock at local auctions.

So check out our student Live Stock shows – admission is free to the public, and the very active FFA Booster clubs will be selling delicious BBQ.  And you don’t have to buy an entire animal to contribute – you can always just “add on” to another bid.  And all of it helps the agriculture science kids.

Roger Martin

Feb. 15, 2012

Real Estate Photos - Avoiding Converging Verticals

Many thanks to our Guest Blogger, Pei Zuan Tam, who has contributed the following article on real estate photos...

Real Estate Photos - Avoiding Converging Verticals - Front Hall - CroppedExactly what are "Converging Verticals"?  When a photo is taken with the camera tilted upwards or downwards (in other words, not perfectly level), the vertical lines of the walls tend to converge at a vanishing point.  This effect is called Converging Verticals. Converging verticals can induce a feeling of vertigo in the observer, as shown in this photo of a front hall.Real Estate Photos - Avoiding Converging Verticals - Gotham - Cropped

Converging verticals can also give the illusion of unscalable heights, making viewers feel they are not welcomed.  In this example, the photographer deliberately shot the building from a lower position on a super wide angle to give it a highly dramatic and looming impact – an atmosphere perfect for Gotham City but not for a home you want to buy.

Real Estate Photos - Avoiding Converging VerticalsWhen we photograph your home, we deliberately avoid converging verticals to project a feeling of stability, serenity, and rest. Getting perfectly vertical lines is the most basic principle by which a real estate photograph is judged, because this type of shot creates the best response in potential buyers.  This is a challenging process, because the constraints of space in many houses often require the photographer to shoot from a lower or elevated position - a perfect condition to produce accidental converging verticals.  True professional photographers are aware of the emotional impact of converging vertical lines.  They will always use a tripod to place the camera at a perfectly level position. They also use advanced tools such as tilt-shift lenses or post-processing computer programs to counter the effect of converging verticals when a challenging angle is unavoidable.  The goal is always to photograph your home to its best advantage.

Pei Zuan Tam

For more information, contact
(860) 329-1689 or see my work at

Feb. 9, 2012

Open House Jewelry Thief Caught

Open House Jewelry Thief Caught!WE GOT HIM! The Open House Jewelry Thief has been caught.

This update is just in from the Houston Association of Realtors.

"Don't Mess with HAR REALTORS!

We have just received official confirmation that the open house jewelry thief has been arrested in Dallas. He reportedly had four outstanding warrants, including two in Dallas, one in Garland and one in West University Place. It was only with the combined effort and involvement of our members and law enforcement that we were able to identify him, which ultimately contributed to his arrest. This just goes to show you the strength of the REALTOR® community"

Thank you to all the vigilant members of the real estate profession who helped to identify and track this thief.  Special thanks also to Matt Burrus, Chief Communications Officer with the Houston Association of Realtors.  Matt coordinated information among the many real estate assocations and police departments involved.

I am glad that our Open House Jewel Thief has been caught.  He is a repeat offender, and I personally find his story to be very, very sad.  But he must not be allowed to prey on our innocent clients.  Not on my watch!

Stay safe, everyone!

Roger Martin

>More on "Open House Thief Strikes in West U"


Feb. 8, 2012

Open House Jewelry Thief Strikes in West U

Open House Jewelry Thief Strikes in West University PlaceAn Open House Jewelry Thief struck one of my listings about two weeks ago.  This brings up a very important aspect of selling your home -- namely Open House safety.

While holding public open house on a Sunday afternoon, I encountered a thief helping himself to my clients' jewelry. The thief ran off, and luckily no one was hurt. This Open House Jewelry Thief has been identified as a serial offender, and the police are currently searching for him.

An open house is really a great marketing tool. It allows agents and the public to actually get a first-hand look at your home. The open house gives real estate professionals the chance to determine if your home matches the needs of their clients.  Potential buyers can have the luxury of looking around the home and yard to see if it meets their family’s needs and lifestyle.

Still, there are steps you can take to prepare your home for an open house. You will want to make sure that all your valuables, such as jewelry, medicine, laptops, fancy electronics, or the like, are safely stored.  It is best to store these items off-site.  But if you must keep them in the house itself, make sure they securely locked up and out of sight.

Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of all the people walking through an open house are legitimate.  They are only interested in the home itself.  But it only takes that one bad apple to mess things up for everyone.  As your real estate advisors, we're quite happy to help you find ways to minimize the risks.  Consult with your agent about any safety concerns!

And we must all be on the lookout for this Open House Jewelry Thief.  Be vigilant - and stay safe.

Roger Martin

Jan. 30, 2012

6333 Buffalo Speedway - SOLD in West University Place

6333 Buffalo Speedway is a stunning Country French home on an oversized West U lot.  The home is warm and inviting and is updated with a recent roof and an emergency generator.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $2,699,000
  • House Size: 8,241 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 20.000 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4 or 5
  • Bathrooms: 5.5
  • Listed by JoAnna Ide
  • MLS #47057750


  • Grand entry, spiral stair, music room
  • Banquet-sized dining room w/ French doors.
  • Pool, balconies, spa, gardens
  • Courtyards with fountain
  • Master bath has steam shower and spa tub
  • Full guest quarters

>More Great West U Homes for Sale


Jan. 6, 2012

Jo Anna Ide - Realtor of the Week, Houston Chronicle

Congratulations to Jo Anna Ide, who was named REALTOR OF THE WEEK by the Houston Chronicle.  See the article, below...

Education foundation of Realtor’s career

By JUDE PATRONELLA, Homes Correspondent

"Whether leading her college football team onto victory as a cheerleader, attaining a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a Ph.D., working as a principal in an elementary school, and now as a Realtor - Jo Anna Ide has been successful in all endeavors.

"A native Texan from Texarkana, Ide moved to the Bayou City to attend the University of Houston. She met Roger Martin, broker/owner of Roger Martin Properties, while working as principal of West University Elementary School. He would bring his clients to talk with Ide about the School. Martin also worked with the PTA and served on a number of projects with Ide.

"'I always wanted to work in real estate, and when I decided to become a Realtor, my immediate decision was to join Roger Martin Properties. He is a wonderful broker, very well respected, and runs a great company,' said Ide, who went on to earn her Texas real estate broker license and several of the industry’s designations.

"'It was an easy transition from being a school principal to selling real estate. Many of my clients have been parents I worked with at West University Elementary and even a few clients were children in the school while I was there.'

"Having lived in West University before moving to River Oaks, Ide specializes in the sale of homes inside and around Loop 610. She’s listed and sold homes in West University, River Oaks, Memorial and other close-in areas. Ide is willing to travel to outlying communities in greater Houston or elsewhere to help her clients.

"Her first sale in the beginning of her real estate practice was a home in River Oaks that sold for $700,000. Ide’s smallest sale was a little house for $125,000 and overall, she has sold homes in all price ranges up to $3 million during her 12-year career in real estate.

“'I am an extremely hands-on person and ‘what you see is what you get’ from me in attaining a smooth transaction in closing. I’m all about relationship and feel practically married to the families and individuals I work with while going through transactions with them,' said Ide, who never thought she would leave working in Education and now realizes real estate is all about educating clients.

“'It’s important that I know all about the neighborhoods and surrounding areas where I am listing and showing properties. I have to stay up to date on current developments, statistics and much more so I can pass information on to my clients. Also, I am continuing my education because there are often new laws and regulations and I want to know how they apply to my profession.'

"Ide feels if she does a good job in helping her clients and maintains good friendships with them, they will want to work with her again. She loves people and enjoys the challenge of helping buyers find their dream home and assisting people in the sale of their homes by professionally promoting listings in publications and on several sites on the Internet. Ide’s joy is seeing people happy at the end of their transactions."

Well done, Jo Anna!

Roger Martin 

Dec. 19, 2011

5413 Blossom St - SOLD in Rice Military

5413 Blossom St is a free-standing patio home in Rice Military.  This 3 beroom, 3.5 bath home is ideal for those who like to entertain and/or office at home.  The chefs' kitchen has double ovens, an island range, and a bread warmer...all in top stainless steel! The refrigerator is included, and there's even a wine 'fridge and second sink in a pass-through to the dining room. The master bathroom has separate jetted tub and shower. Large closet in master and coffee bar with space for a small 'fridge. A generous fenced-in yard rounds out this gem in Rice Military.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $345,000
  • House Size: 2,201 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 2,186 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 3.5
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS #66775480


  • Bamboo floors
  • New carpet on third floor
  • New glass in master shower

>More Great Rice Military Homes for Sale


Oct. 31, 2011

The Drought vs. Your Trees

Drought vs. Your TreesRecently, my homeowners are seeing a new problem – the drought is costing us a lot of trees.

This is something of a cycle.  Here in Texas, the extended drought has drastically weakened the root systems of our shade trees. Then the big autumn storms finally blow through, bringing us much-needed rain. However, the storm winds can bring down these drought-weakened trees.  At times, we can be talking about a lot-line to lot-line root ball, which can pack  a lot of damage.

So check any trees on your lot carefully.  Oaks, in particular, have shallow roots and may be more at risk.  Pine trees, with their deeper tap roots, may be less affected.  Take note of any shade trees that appear stressed, dead, or are leaning suspiciously.  Watch for trees whose root systems extend under your structures.  If you see warning signs, it is a good idea to have your trees evaluated by a professional – before a really big problem occurs!

For help in the City of West University Place, Craig Koehl, West U’s Urban Forester can be a valuable resource in evaluating drought-stricken trees.

Roger Martin

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 ( or Amber Pinchback (

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