Roger Martin and Life in the Loop

 

June 30, 2009

Be Prepared for Hurricane Season

June inprepare for hurricane season in Texas.

On the Texas Gulf Coast, we all know what June means -- It is time to get prepared for hurricane season! Here are some tips from FEMA to help you plan. I have added a few of my own from recent experience!

  • Secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protections for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8" marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Have plenty of water and nonperishable food available.
  • Fill your car up with gas; have a full tank.
  • Find your flash lights and have extra batteries available. Better yet, purchase some wind up flash lights. Have candles and matches available too!
  • Fill up your bath tubs with water.
  • Stock up on good books to read and include a board game to entertain the kids!
  • If you have a power generator, do not use it in your house or garage.  Fumes often kill more people than the storm does.
  • And don't forget to plan for petcare!  Your pets need food and water, too.

For additional information go to www.FEMA.org. Hopefully this season will be a mild one for Texas!  But it is always best to be prepared for hurricane season.

Roger Martin

June 22, 2009

Fly the American Flag in West University Place!

Fly the American Flag in West University Place

You have probably seen the City of West University Place erupting in American flags several times a year.  Patriotic colors appear all over our neighborhood during the major flag holidays (Presidents Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day) and for special events such as the Houston Marathon.

These American flags are provided by the Rotary Club of West U, both as a service to the community and as a way to fund the club's many community and education projects.  For an annual tax-deductible contribution of $50, club members place an eight-foot tall flag in front of local homes and businesses.  Currently more than 1,400 American flags fly proudly throughout our city and the surrounding neighborhoods.  After the holiday, club members remove the flags and store them until the next event.

If you would like to give your family and neighborhood this patriotic gift just drop a check by my offices at 6115-A Edloe or download the subscription form from the club website at www.westurotary.org. and go to Fund Raisers in the left column.

Thank you for supporting the Rotary Club of West U.

Roger Martin

June 7, 2009

CODE RED for West University Place

Code Red, a West University Place emergency notification service

I have just helped another neighbor sign up for the Code Red program sponsored by the City of West University.  So I am double-checking with all my friends to make sure they are aware of this valuable free service.

Throughout the Hurricane Ike recovery, Code Red called us regularly with advisories on the drinking water, trash removal, electrical repairs, availability of ice, etc.  The notices will go to cell phones, land lines, and email.  These calls have been enormously helpful to us during the restoration of critical city services.

If you would like to receive these updates, go to the City's homepage at http://www.westu.org/ and choose "Click here to Sign Up" for Code Red.

Please pass the word about this important city service to your friends and neighbors.

Thanks!

Roger Martin

June 6, 2009

Protesting Property Taxes

Lecture by Paul BettencourtGot questions about protesting property taxes????  I recently hosted a lecture by Paul Bettencourt, the former Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector.  The audience was made up of a mix of real estate professionals and property owners, who all joined in a lively discussion.  Here is the resulting article from the Houston Chronicle....

Class in Session - by the Houston Chronicle

June 5, 2009

"... In his ongoing quest to provide agents and clients of Roger Martin Properties with pertinent information that will be of help in real estate matters, broker/owner Roger Martin recently hosted a function covering Houston market trends and property tax protesting with guest speaker, former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt.

"'Real estate is highly localized, and you may find your new appraisals surprisingly high. I certainly did here in West University,' said Martin, who invited owners of residential and commercial properties and numerous real estate professionals to hear Bettencourt and participate in discussion. Bettencourt said 'the downturn in the economy makes it one of the best years to protest property appraisals...'"

By Jude Patronella, the Houston Chronicle.

Click here to see the full article "Class in Session".

I have to say, even I learned a lot about protesting property taxes at this event!

Roger Martin

March 11, 2009

The Houston Economy - Changes in the Energy Industry Changes - by Forbes.com

Houston Economic Update - Federal ReserveThe oil industry, from drilling and exploration, to equipment and petrochemial plants, is a lynchpin of the Houston economy.  Forbes.com discusses the impact of energy industry changes on the City of Houston...

March 10, 2009

"... The biggest problem facing Houston today revolves around the energy industry, which represents to this region of well over 5 million what finance does to New York. Already lower energy prices, along with the global slowdown, have taken a dent in job growth. Just last week, the Texas Workforce Commission reported a 0.7% employment increase for the area in 2008, compared with a robust 3.5% the year before.

Bill Gilmer, a verteran economist who covers energy for the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve, reports that proposed new taxes and regulations plus falling prices have started to decimate the domestic oil and gas industry. Over the past year, he reports the number of rigs in operation across the country dropped from 2,000 to some 1,300.

"The impact of this on Houston's energy econmy, Gilmer suggests, will be servere, and it will drag the region and much of Texas down with it. 'We are talking about a Texas recession now without question,' he says. 'I lived throught the Jimmy Carter era before, and now it's deja vu.'

"Of course, some high-end jobs in energy will remain, particularly for those who work on massive new projects overseas, like in Saudi Arabia. Instead, the biggest hits will affect the production sector, which until recently was a prodigious creator of high-wage blue-collar jobs. Over the coming years, the production downturn could devastate places like western Texas, the Dakotas, Louisiana, California's Kern County and anywhere else that produces American crude and gas.

"Indeed, it may turn out to be one of the great ironies that the Obama adminstration, which campaigned earnestly against our 'dependence on foreign oil,' will in the end make us more so..."

By Joel Kotkin, Forbes.com

I certaiinly home that the robust Houston economy can survive these structural changes to the oil and gas industry.  To read the full article, click here.

Roger Martin

Feb. 1, 2009

Update on The Houston Economy

Houston Economic Update - Federal ReserveIn a February 2009 publication, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas had this comment about the Houston economy.  "... Houston housing missed the boom and bust in prices that hit many other parts of the country. But it was hurt by the dramatic 2007 tightening of credit standards after the subprime mortgage market blew up and will be hurt further as job and income growth slide..."

So right now, it is still some good news, some bad news for the Houston economy.

Roger Martin

Jan. 1, 2009

Roger Martin - HAR Top Producer 2008

Roger Martin, of Roger Martin PropertiesThanks to the Houston Association of Realtors, who has named me one of their 2008 Top Producers for my work with real estate buyers.  And gracious thanks to my clients, without whom this whould not have been possible.

Roger Martin

Jan. 1, 2009

Roger Martin - HAR Top Producer 4th Quarter 2008

Roger Martin, of Roger Martin PropertiesThanks to the Houston Association of Realtors, who has named me one of their 2008 4th Quarter Top Producers for my work with real estate buyers.  And thank you to all my wonderful clients.

Roger Martin

Oct. 19, 2008

Southside Place Offers Small-Town Ambiance

Southside Offers Small Town AmbianceI was recently interviewed by the Houston Chronicle, which published the following article about Southside Place...

Southside Place is a community of about 430 homes tucked within the bustling Bellaire commercial district. Residents love their 'small town in a bit city' so much, few ever leave.

'It's a tight community in the sense that people move in and they don't move out,' said Roger Martin , owner of Roger Martin Properties. 'It is a lovely small-town community, and residents like the small-town feel.'

'Everybody knows everybody,' Martin said...

In 1924 Southside Place was a soggy, barren field outside the city of Houston. It was without trees, shrubs or anything else to suggest the beginnings of a community.

When developer E.L. Crain established the subdivision, he knew he needed something to sttract people to the area, which at the time was considered the country. In the middle of Southside Place, Crain built a park with a swimming pool.

The opening of Southside Place attracted people who longed for the larger-size lots and the chance to build a home away from the city. They liked the idea of the park and swimming pool, around which many of their community activities were to be centered. These amenities still hold true today and are the main reasons buyers are attracted to Southside Place.

'Residents love the access to the park and that they don't have to go across any major roadways to get there,' Martin said. 'The neighborhood is easily accessible to (Texas) Medical Center and downtown ...'

By Heather Nicholson, the Houston Chronicle

Thank you, Heather, for a great description of Southside Place!

Roger Martin

Sept. 28, 2008

Hurricane Ike Recovery

Despite Houston's vast size, we really pulled together as a community during the Hurricane Ike recovery.  It was a neighbor-helping-neighbor effort, and I am proud of my city.  We real estate professionals did our best to help as well - I personally coordinated the cleanup for about ten of my clients, who were out of town.  Here is a report from the Houston Chronicle....

September 28, 2008

People Pull Together Throughout City During Tough Times

Real Estate Industry Reaches Out to Help With Recovery After Hurricane Ike

"Once again professionals working in all phases of the Houston real estate industry are going full speed to provide clients with all types of volunteer service to help in the recover from Hurrican Ike ... just as they did after Tropical Storm Allison.

"... Roger Martin, broker/owner of Roger Martin Properties, said his office on Edloe is high and dry.  He said the phones are working and they have high-speed Internet access, WiFi, television, air conditioning, cold drinks and hot coffee.

"'We are warned during this recover period to use only reputable contractors to fix and clean our properties,' Martin said. 'Over the years, I have used many such workers, and I am happy to share contact numbers. For example, if you have suffered structural damage, I know several reputable engineers.'"

By Jude Patronella, the Houston Chronicle

Houston, we showed our best face to the world during the Hurricane Ike Recovery.  And I am proud to have been a part of that.

Roger Martin