Roger Martin and Life in the Loop

 

Aug. 25, 2009

Houston's Real Estate Market - It's Baaaack!

A free Market Snapshot Report monitors real estate activity.

Yes, the kids are back in school. But that’s not the only thing that’s different!  Our real estate market is back!

Our market in West University Place has gotten REALLY active in the last couple of weeks. Houses that sat around for months (or even years) are now under contract. And new listings are coming on the market daily.

And who are these buyers? Some are folks transferring in or out of town, of course. But more importantly, we are seeing local residents trading up and down within the city. That is the single most optimistic yardstick I have seen since the mortgage crisis hit.

So if you (or anyone you know) have been sitting on the sidelines waiting and watching – you might want to reconsider. Things are moving fast right now. To monitor the new activity, just go to my website at www.rogermartinproperties.com and sign up for a free, individualized real estate Market Snapshot Report (shown above).

Roger Martin

Aug. 25, 2009

West University Team Wins Little League World Championship!

The 2009 Little League World Championship Team from West Unviersity Place

When it comes to parades, I am a bigger kid than any of you!  So you can count on me to be putting out the West U Rotary flags to line the parade route for the winners of the 2009 Little League World Championship!

As most of you probably know by now, this West University Place team of 14, 15 and 16-year old local boys is coached by Dean Doxakis.  The Senior Division All-Stars defeated teams from around the world to earn their title in Bangor, Maine.  What an accomplishment!

Our home-town parade starts at 6:30pm at University and Rutgers, and ends at University and Auden.  There will be flags, floats, a West University Place fire truck, and (of course!) the 2009 Little League World Championship team!

Be there or be square!

Roger Martin

Aug. 25, 2009

Bank of Houston Salutes Roger Martin

Larry Massey and Roger Martin prepare real estate loan documentsMany thanks to the Bank of Houston, who graciously acknowledged Roger Martin on page 9 of the August 25, 2009 Village News.  The text says...

Larry Massey, Executive Vice President, works with Roger Martin (right), Roger Martin Properties, to assist one of Roger's clients in a home purchase. Bank of Houston-Medical Center is happy to salute Roger Martin this month for his extraordinary effort in helpimg West university area home buyers.

Roger, good job keeping the local real estate market moving.

Larry Massey bills himself as a “relationship banker”.  Like me, he believes that superior customer service leads to long-term business. Yes, we are sitting in my conference room in this photo. I ask you, when was the last time you had a banker willing to bring YOU the papers you need to sign?  That is the kind of service Larry delivers.

Thank you Larry Massey and the Bank of Houston!

Roger Martin

July 1, 2009

Surviving the HEAT WAVE in West University Place

100 degree heat is giving us a heat wave in West University Place, TX.

July is upon us!  And we here in West University Place are doing our best to survive the resulting heat wave.

As a real estate professional, I like to give my clients this important heat wave survival tip:  Don't overload your air conditioner in this extreme weather!  Most residential air conditioners can only cool a maximum of twenty degrees.  This means that during hundred-degree heat, your home may only cool down to around eighty degrees.  That is as good as it gets.  Don't make the mistake of turning the thermostat "way down".  Typically that just freezes the unit and causes damage.  Lower the thermostat a few degrees at a time until you reach a comfortable temperature.

If you need a licensed heating and cooling expert, please give me a call! My rolodex has a solid group of skilled vendors to help you survive this heat wave.

Roger Martin

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