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 Kandice Gremillion, a broker associate with United Real Estate.
Houston Agent (HA): Houston’s booming energy sector has brought on a wave of new development in the city. Is there any fear of a future land shortage because of commercial building?
Kandice Gremillion (KG): Well, in our area of West Fort Bend County we do have quite a bit of affordable land yet to be developed. In the coming years, I see that factor putting a great amount of pressure on the county with the rapid growth we are seeing.
I would say my primary concern is to make sure we as Realtors work with our elected officials as well as the public to make sure the development that does come our way is done in such a way that it enhances the area for everyone. Also, we need to be mindful of our natural resources, chief among them water. Our water resources are still very precious, and we are still in a drought situation. I believe Texas as a whole needs to address conservation of our water supply, and that goes hand in hand with utilizing the monies from Prop 6, which was passed last year. This legislation is so important to Texas and growing areas like Houston, in particular. We need to make sure that our elected officials use that money to put the proper projects in place to handle the strain of additional growth and make sure we have enough clean, affordable water for years to come.
Right up there with water issues is transportation infrastructure. Many of the roads in the undeveloped part of the county are narrow, dark and have no shoulders, and our aging infrastructure as a whole needs to be maintained. With new development, it is more important than ever to find a way to fund them. Our bond debt is maxed out, and we must have new funding for transportation projects. This year, there is another initiative on the ballot on November 4. It is Proposition 1, and it is a very vital piece of legislation, which allows for an estimated $1.7 billion toward transportation projects in the first year alone, all with NO NEW FEES, TAXES OR DEBT!
HA: As a fifth generation Texan, what do you think it is that makes Houston such an appealing market right now?
KG: Houston has always been lucky in that we have had a strong economy because of the energy business. In the years since the oil embargo hit us hard, Houston has diversified, and is one of the best places to start your own company. That and the energy business has kept our economy strong when the rest of the country has faltered. More importantly, Houston has been able to keep our housing affordable, and we did not experience the huge real estate bubble other places did. Affordable housing, great cultural experiences like ballet, theater, concerts and the like, as well as mild weather, all make it a desirable place to live. Also, having no state income tax doesn’t hurt, and Texas has always been a business friendly place to be.
HA: Fort Bend Neighborhoods has active accounts on both Twitter and Facebook. How effective have you found including social media in your business plan?
KG: I could probably do more with both of them, I am most active on Facebook. I admit, I don’t have the time to devote to it that might make it a bigger part of my marketing plan, but I feel that it does help me to stay somewhat connected with my friends, their friends and former clients (who are now friends!). I have to say I find twitter hard to get into; I guess I’m just too wordy to say what I want to say in 140 characters! All that said, I have closed deals from contacts on Facebook.