NEIGHBORS OF THE WOODLANDS
Q&A Session with Louise, Louise & Associates
What are the most important attributes that a buy or seller should be looking for when choosing a realtor?
Experience in real estate and knowledge in the marketplace are what I’d say at the two most important things. You want an agent who knows the in-and-outs of the neighborhood because there are a lot of pit-falls like commercial developments, construction, etc. that might effect the value of the home they are wanting to purchase. Houston has no zoning laws, so there are several neighborhoods in-and-around Houston that have buildings, storage facilities, shopping strips that pop up around the neighborhood that could effect the future selling potential. Hence, the master-planned communities around Houston. George Mitchell had the foresight in __ year to develop The Woodlands of the __ square radius in the most upcoming northwest area of Houston. It was well designed taking into consideration the topography; therefore, creating the specific areas for the parks, recreation facilities, golf courses, etc. Each neighborhood is well thought out with the intricate greenbelts, churches, schools, roads and housing, making it what we know of today as The Woodlands.
Is the criteria different when you are looking for a realtor to sell as opposed to when you’re buying a house?
Truthfully, it could be. Real estate is ever-changing. Today, you find many teams within one company, and each team has buyers agents, maybe that work exclusively with buyers. They also have transaction coordinators, sometimes a marketing professional…all the “behind-the-scenes” people to help with the every day responsibilities to make a seamless transaction.
For the most part, a realtor could list or sell. We are all licensed to do both.
When I started in the late-80s, everyone was an individual agent and listed and sold homes. Some agents preferred working with buyers rather than listing homes, but for the most part, we all did both.
Fast-forward 25 years, there’s more of a team concept now. More realtors have formed teams to, not only increase production, but to be able to work with many more than a few people at a time.
When reinvesting in your home, how do you prioritize best resale value and create a budget when you know it’s not your forever home and you do plan on putting it on the market in the future?
When you purchase a home, and you know it’s not your forever home, I’d recommend certain improvements first over others. The best improvements you could make are first the kitchen and bathrooms. That’s what catches the buyer’s eye. Improvements could be updating the tile on the backsplash or in the shower, buying new appliances in the kitchen or faucets in the bathroom. These can go a long way, but they can also be the most expensive upgrades, so sometimes buyers don’t want to take on that expense. Next would be flooring. Then, updating the walls with a fresh coat of paint is always a great idea. The last thing I’d recommend would be the landscape. The first impression is always a lasting impression.
Many people choose to buy or sell with agents who are personal friends of theirs. What’s your opinion on this? What are some of the negatives and positives about this?
Most importantly, I’d say, it depends on your relationship with that person. Not everyone can work well with friends or family members. You wouldn’t want to hurt your personal relationship by working together. It can be hard at times for people to look at you as a professional in your field and take your advice. It’s hard to tell your best friend that his/her house smells like a dog. But, if that house stinks, the house stinks! Period.
In all the years that you’ve been doing real estate, do you have any really funny or embarrassing situations that you can, or want to, share?
Of course! We all do. We could write a book!
One of the most embarrassing ones would be when I fell down the stairs while showing a new client – on the first day! It had been raining, so we all took off our shoes, and my socks slipped on the new carpet on the stairs. I even almost pushed his child into him!
I may have also walked into a house (or two) and heard the shower running. We quickly turned around, walked out and came back in a half an hour!
I’ve taken clients to the wrong house before. Sometimes, agents don’t always have signs on their listing, so driving up to the wrong house, I could say that’s happened!
Next month, we can talk about Louise’s biggest “ah-ha” moment!