Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before. This week, we talked to Bob Christian, a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties and team leader of Bob Christian and Assoc.
Houston Agent (HA): Life as a Realtor can be very demanding, and it can be especially tough if you have a family. How do you strike a sound work-life balance?
Bob Christian (BC): If you are not careful, being a Realtor can take over your entire life. Sometimes, we forget that it is that perfect balance that allows us to be happy. If we are not happy with our life and family, then it’s not going to matter if we are successful in real estate or not. My personal happiness comes from being able to spend quality time with my family and friends. Of course, there are some times during the year where real estate eats up the majority of my time. That is why when things start to slow down, I make it a point to re-focus on what is most important. I also don’t let myself forget that even though I am the one holding the license, I could not do my job and retain that balance without my wife. For a family with five kids, this is definitely a group effort.
HA: When introducing a client to a new neighborhood, it’s important to sell them on not only the property but the area itself. What kind of research do you do to make sure you’re fully prepared to showcase a neighborhood?
BC: One of the things I like to do for clients that are new to the area is to take them on an orientation tour after we fully discuss their new home criteria and questions. I like to do this before we ever start booking appointments so that a client will now not only have a good idea of where each neighborhood is located, but they will also now understand the basic amenities available to them as well as the potential drive time for employment. This approach also helps me to quickly eliminate entire neighborhoods that would not have worked for certain buyers, giving us more time to focus on what will work.
HA: A recent report from CoreLogic found that rising home prices in Houston are helping to push some struggling homeowners out of negative equity. Have you noticed this trend, and how, if at all, is it affecting your business?
BC: Absolutely! In this market we are seeing a swing from what was an $85 and $90 per sq ft. market to the $115 and up area. This added to a complete lack of inventory is sending prices through the roof. The good side to that is that since we have always been so conservative in our values versus the rest of the national market, we are still nowhere near being overpriced. This increase in value has definitely caused people who may have been in a negative equity situation to see a drastic improvement in their position.