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 Betty Bezemer, a Realtor with Keller Williams.
Houston Agent (HA): You’re not only a leader in Houston real estate, but you also make an effort to be an active leader in your community. How important is it to your business to have those leadership roles, and is it something all agents should strive for?
Betty Bezemer (BB): Each real estate needs to forge their own path, and when you start analyzing your true grit and find that helping others is one of your inherent passions, then you’re naturally going to drift towards things like community involvement. I have always felt as though I stand on the shoulders of those that have come before me, and when I was new to the industry, I looked at what the successful people were doing, which was getting involved. I went to events and to area organizations, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I became friendly with people and forged relationships that later turned into business. So, naturally, my recommendation to people entering the industry is: find something you’re passionate about, become affiliated and give back. And when you get involved, don’t go looking for clients, go looking for relationships.
HA: You have consistently earned top producer status, earning recognition from local associations and Keller Williams. What are the pillars of your long-term success?
BB: I was very fortunate to be raised by a father who had a strong work ethic, which translated well as I became an adult. Furthermore, education, and continuing education, is key. You need to learn the industry and then keep up with its changes, because real estate is always in a state of flux. Buying or selling a house is such an important transaction that clients want to know they’re working with the best, and that’s what I shoot for. I want people to be confident in my ability to find them or a new home, or sell their current home. One of the ways I do this is by identifying my client’s goals, find out what they’re trying to achieve and why, and then I leverage that information to help guide them in the decision making process.
Additionally, I think it’s important to be both compassionate and nurturing and, even more importantly, honest. When you’re an agent, it can be scary to turn down business, but if an agent and a buyer or seller aren’t on the same page in terms of expectations and values, then it can be hard to find success. Sometimes the best move you can make for yourself and the client is to say, “I don’t think this is a good fit, here is who you should go to…” Set yourself up for success.
HA: The latest Case-Shiller home price report found that Houston prices are well out pacing that of the nation’s. What affect, if any, has this had on first-time homebuyers in the area? Are they struggling to keep up with the increases, or do you think there are still enough affordable properties in the area?
BB: Houston has such a wide demographic profile, so great question. In order to answer, you have to look at the average sales price in the Houston metro area, which is somewhere around $270,000, as well as what you can get for that amount of money here as opposed to somewhere else. You also have to consider that Houston’s area is made up of five different counties, and in each certain buyers can receive USDA financing, which can help get people into homes at, literally, zero down. Houston has diversified since the late 80s and we’re not as dependent on oil as we once were, so the job prospects are much better than they have been in previous decades, which is good for incoming homeowners.
Now, of course, in some areas, like Katy and The Woodlands, prices tend to trend a bit higher, but there are still places, especially in the periphery of the city, where homebuyers can find wonderful properties with appealing price tags. The big issue I see most people running into is a lack of inventory. Affordable properties are selling so quickly that builders have trouble keeping up, which is pushing people into apartments. But rents are skyrocketing, so people are still looking to buy.