House Hunting in Houston

Actually, it’s house hunting in Katy, but that doesn’t have quite the same alliteration to it and unless you’ve been to the Houston area, you may not have heard of the blossoming, booming western suburb.

I spent two full days with my favorite Katy real estate agents, Ruth Sayers and Chris Glapa, who in my day when I was their age would have been called yuppies. But in this day, Ruth and Chris are nearly young enough to be called my children. With an eye for organization and thoroughness, Ruth handed me a clip board with a stack of listings she had picked and I had picked and we weeded through the rows of houses narrowing down neighborhoods, school districts and I-10 access routes.

Some houses were a tad too close to the freeway system (meaning the back yard was directly adjacent to the ramp onto the freeway), some houses were more work to make habitable then what I have the energy for, and almost all houses are in some process of being purchased or merely minutes away from it. This is in large part due to the energy industry in the Houston region and the research and development going into oil and gas. In the last year, the Houston region has opened over 112,000 jobs. With its focus on oil and gas, people are relocating to the region and my family and I are going there for the same reason.  (My husband, Mike, works for DCP Midstream.)

As a consequence, however, housing inventory hasn’t kept pace with job creation but builders are hammering like mad to accommodate people who are in the market to buy a house. All house hunters, if they want a place to call their own, are acting quickly and decisively.

The adjectives quick and decisive, though, are at odds with my naturally anxious and perfectionistic inclinations, and so in the beginning while I agonized over an offer to buy, other families were already moving into the house that I placed stars by on my clipboarded list. After the first day, when I had narrowed my choices down to two, I sat with Ruth and Chris writing down the pros and cons of each home, both of which had only been on the market for a few days. When I finally flipped a coin and picked House A, the owner had already accepted an offer to buy. It was the same story with House B.

By the end of the second day, I had picked House C and D. I did an admirable job of keeping my “this is ridiculous” thoughts to myself when both of those options were closed doors to me, too.

Now, I’m home and my husband and I are back to perusing photos of homes on Zillow,, and my agents’ website knowing that dim photography lighting puts a flattering face on anything. And while I will fight against my perfectionistic and anxious tendencies, especially when it comes down to plunking down six figures for the next 30 years of my life, Ruth and Chris have a template offer at the ready to expedite to a seller’s agent as soon as I utter the words “this looks like a nice place.”

houston house hunting


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