Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before. This week, we spoke with Robyn Jones, the broker/owner of Robyn Jones Homes.
Houston Agent (HA): Advertising is an important part of staying relevant in real estate, and, according to our Truth About Agents survey, nearly one-third of Houston agents are expected to increase their marketing budgets over the next year. What marketing methods do you prefer and are you expecting to expand your efforts over the next year?
Robyn Jones (RJ): My preferred method of marketing is the internet. Houston is such a large oil and gas city, not to mention the influx of healthcare facilities and the underlying businesses that support these industries. These businesses are bringing people in from all over the world, so you need to have a considerable presence online, including social media, a well put together website that takes SEO into account and, of course, a presence on the relevant real estate and housing websites.
That said, we still have physical marketing campaigns in place to appeal to local buyers and sellers, specifically direct mailing, which we’ll be increasing our budget for over the next year. It is still an effective way of reaching local consumers.
HA: To build your real estate business, which is often driven by referrals, networking is essential. What are some tips you would give to more rookie agents about networking with other professionals and potential clients?
RJ: Networking has been crucial throughout my entire career. I first learned the importance of networking as an entertainment executive. Every job I got from Capitol Records to Paramount Pictures was through strong networking.
When I made the move to real estate, I relied on the same networking skills – and it has been vital to my success. As newcomers to Texas eight years ago, my husband and I didn’t know anybody. We joined a country club so he could golf and we could meet people; we introduced ourselves to our neighbors and children’s friends’ parents; we talked to people at restaurants while we waited for a table.
The key to networking, and this is what I would tell a young agent, is to just be friendly, outgoing and open. Let people know you are in Real Estate in an enthusiastic, not pushy manner. Stay in touch with people.
HA: Houston has suffered recently from a low inventory, but builder confidence was up in June, according to a new report from the National Association of Home Builders. Where do you see construction heading in the next year?
RJ: One of the great things about the Houston market, unlike other markets in the Country that are already built out, is the lack of inventory can be solved by building out. Builders and developers are accommodating the huge growth in the Houston area by creating master planned communities, expanding existing subdivisions and creating new subdivisions. We’re seeing huge cow pastures and empty acreage turn into to high end subdivisions and master planned communities. These new communities all needs schools, teacher, hospitals, restaurants and shopping. All of these people need somewhere to live. The Builders cannot keep up with demand in this area.
At some point construction will slow down, but it likely won’t be for another five years or so. Right now so many big companies are in the midst of locating offices or headquarters to the Houston area, which will continue to bring in peripheral businesses like supermarkets and retail stores, which will continue to drive construction in the near future. So, the new construction will get saturated at a certain point, but I don’t think it will be for a few years.