Roger Martin and Life in the Loop


April 16, 2012

Houston Housing Market - Inner Loop Strength

Houston Real Estate Market - Inner Loop StrengthThe Houston housing market has been showing exceptional strength in our inner loop neighborhoods, according to Tanya Rutledge, of the Houston Chronicle.

"The Houston-area housing market is strongest inside Loop 610 - even if no one is yet ready to call it great.

"People aren't writing multiple offers on hoods of cars at night by flashlight or anything like that, but the pace is quickening," said Ralph Atkinson, a broker/associate with Greenwood King Properties who does a large portion of his work inside the Loop...

"While there is some sense of urgency among buyers inside the Loop - where the median home price per square foot increased 0.4 percent to $171.70 between 2010 and 2011, according to the latest Crawford Realty Advisors real estate analysis commissioned by the Houston Chronicle - it has not completely shifted to a seller's market.

"Data compiled by Crawford Realty indicate the Inner Loop market accounted for 5.7 percent of home sales in the greater Houston area last year.

"'If a property is well-priced, realistically priced, it is selling, 'Atkinson said. 'Some people have flights of fancy on prices no matter what the market, but with a drop in inventory recently, the market is in very good shape.'

"In the West University Place subdivision inside that enclave city, the median price per square foot increased 2.8 percent in 2011 to $284.48. Sales activity in the 1201-home neighborhood stayed fairly steady, with 52 sales in 2011, compared with 59 in 2010..."


April 3, 2012

Fun in West University Place - Our Parks and Recreation Facilities

West University Place Parks and Recreation FacilitesIn West U, we LOVE our parks!  The City of West U says it best:  our city parks are Your Key to FUN in West University Place!

  1.  Judson Park, at 4201 Judson, has lighted tennis courts, playground equipment, a picnic deck, and a concrete walking path.

  2. Colonial Park, at 4130 Byron, has a family-oriented, zero-depth swimming pool with water play features and lounges for sun-bathing.  The park also features a sand volleyball court, a concession stand, a large party deck, a multi-purpose party room, two lighted tennis courts, a playground, a pavilion, and a concrete walking/jogging track.

  3. Wier Park, at 3012 Nottingham, has playground equipment, picnic tables, two lighted tennis courts, and a basketball court.

  4. Whitt Johnson Park, at 6540 Wakeforest, has playground equipment, a gazebo, picnic facilities, and lighted basketball courts.

  5. The Youth Athletic Fields, at West U Elementary School, have four lighted baseball fields, three lighted softball fields, and three soccer fields.

  6. Friends Park, at 3771 Rice, is designed specifically as a passive park.  The park enjoys a lush landscape with ample seating, several seating arbors, a paved walkway, and a clock tower.

  7. The Community Center and Senior Center, at 610 Auden, is the location of various recreation classes and programs.  There are rooms for parties and gatherings available for rental.  The library is operated by Harris County.

  8. The Scout House, at 6108 Edloe, adjoins the West U Elementary playing fields, and is primarily a scout meeting place during the week.  It is available for party rentals on the weekends.

  9. Huffington Park, at 6204 College, has playground equipment, a shade arbor, game tables, and picnic tables.

  10. The Recreation Center, at 4210 Bellaire, has a heated, indoor fitness and instructional pool.  This pool is where swim teams and adults swim their laps.  There are racquet ball and squash courts, and rooms full of cardio and weight equipment.  Exercise classes are held here, as well as leisure classes for children and adults.  Classes range from chess to cheerleading to computers, and include gymnastics, ballet, tap dancing, yoga, and more. There is a walking/jogging trail, a children’s playground, and athletic fields.

  11. Liberty Hill, atCollege at Northwestern, is the gateway entrance to the neighborhood, featuring a large sculpture titled Children at Play.

Some of these parks date to the founding of West U – others have been lovingly developed in recent years.  But whatever your recreation choice, there is a park or recreation facility here for everyone to have fun in West U!

Roger Martin


March 31, 2012

Jo Anna Ide - HAR Top Producer 1st Quarter 2012

JoAnna Ide, Sales Associate with Roger Martin PropertiesContratulations to Jo Anna Ide!  The Houston Association of Realtors has named Jo Anna a Top Producer for the first quarter of 2012.  Jo Anna is a Broker Associate at Roger Martin Properties, and she is recognized for her work with home sellers.

Well done, Jo Anna Ide!

Roger Martin


March 30, 2012

3502 Gramercy St - SOLD in Braeswood Place

3502 Gramercy is a traditional red brick home located on a large, cul-de-sac lot in Braes Heights.  The home was custom-built in 1994 and updated in 2010.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $770,000
  • House Size: 3,482 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 6,318 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4 or 5
  • Bathrooms: 4.5
  • MLS #36232974


  • Full garage apartment
  • Granite countertops and brushed nickel hardware in kitchen.
  • Mature live oak trees
  • Dog run and putting green

>More Great Braeswood Place Homes for Sale


Posted in
Feb. 18, 2012

West University Elementary Principal Issues Warning

West University Elementary School Principal Issues Security WarningOn February 14, 2012, West U Elementary School Principal John Threet posted this warning on the school's website:

"Dear Parents:  This morning a car belonging to one of the Beehive parents was broken into while the parent took her child to class.  The vehicle window was broken and a purse was stolen.  The car was parked on Goode Street right in front of Beehive.  Beehive personnel contacted the City of West University Place Police Department who are investigating this incident.  Just before the Winter Holidays, we reported an increase in these type of crimes in our area.  One of our teachers experienced the same thing when her vehicle window was smashed and her purse stolen at a nearby shopping center.  Please do not leave any valuables, especially your purse, in plain sight when you come into the school or to a store. Take your purse with you.  I was told by a police officer that crooks will watch for women entering schools or shops to see if they are carrying their purse.  If not, the criminal will look to see if it is in the vehicle where it can easily be stolen.  Please also keep a watch out for suspicious vehicles or people during morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal.  Please report any suspicious activity immediately to the West University Police Department or the school office.  As I always tell teachers, if it doesn’t like right, it probably isn’t.  If all of us are more alert, we can hopefully serve as a deterrent for anyone attempting any other crime in our community.  Sincerely,J ohn Threet, Principal"

FYI, we business owners along Edloe have also seen the same problem.  In fact, a woman's purse was stolen from our parking lot on Saturday, February 4, 2012.  West U is a wonderful, safe community -- but we musn't let ourselves become complacent.  Be sure to take purses, laptops and cell phones with you when you leave your vehicles.  And thank you, Principal Threet, for your timely warning.

Roger Martin

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