Betsy Vanderbrouk "sold" her first house as a young teenager, and instantly she was hooked. Vanderbrouk grew up observing her Realtor mother negotiate high-end residential real estate transactions, and what she learned made an indelible impression. At the age of 14, and with her mother out of town, she successfully matched a buyer to a house and enlisted her mother's working partner to list the property and finalize the offer. Vanderbrouk's mother was stunned — but pleased — and paid her a $40 commission, an important learning experience on the value of up-front, clear negotiation (even with your mother) that she never forgot.
Since her "official" real estate debut in 1993, Vanderbrouk has achieved top-tier production and a reputation as a hard-working team player with top-notch organization, marketing, and, of course, negotiating skills. Loyal clients become good friends and add their friends and family members to her growing referral network, confident that they will receive Vanderbrouk's signature excellent care and service.
Vanderbrouk combines market knowledge and technological know-how with a genuine regard for her clients' preferences and concerns. She always steps up and does whatever is necessary to help clients achieve their objectives, whether they are graduating to a bigger home for their family, are empty-nesters looking for something sophisticated and easy, or are first-time buyers just beginning their real estate experience.
No stranger to relocation on a personal level, Vanderbrouk and her family relocated to London for two years with a corporate move in the early 1990s. She understands that moving a family entails far more than just finding a house, and gives focused attention and care to every aspect of a client's move into or out of Houston.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Vanderbrouk graduated from Chatham Hall in Virginia and the University of Arizona. She lived with her family in Piney Point Village for more than 20 years and taught at the St. Francis Children's Center for six years. Betsy is the mother of two adult sons: Christian, who lives in New York City with his wife and two young boys; and Peter, who lives in Zurich with his wife and two very large dogs. She enjoys cooking with family and friends, teaching baking classes to children, and "traveling anywhere," but especially to New York and Switzerland to visit her family.
We chatted with Vanderbrouk to find out more about her work and what drives her.
CultureMap: What inspires you?
Betsy Vanderbrouk: I am inspired by the opening or closing of a chapter in peoples lives, and the promise of an exciting new chapter that is yet to unfold. I love being part of that transition and helping to make it as comfortable as possible. So often through the sale or purchase process, people find that the end result may be different from what they initially anticipated, and I prepare them for that possibility.
CM: What's one piece of advice you would give to people looking for their dream home?
BV: Everyone has a different idea as to what a dream home is, and that is why it is also exciting. I remind my buyers to be open to things they never thought could be appealing. My very first sale was a dear client who told me that they wanted a historic house in an urban setting; their purchase was a brand new construction home in a much more suburban area. They simply had never entertained the idea. When they wandered into the house, their faces lit up and they fell in love.
CM: And advice to those who are selling?
BV: The very first thing I do with my sellers is I begin to refer to their home as a house. Buyers buy homes, sellers sell houses. A sellers' home is made up of all those wonderful memories that will go with them to their next home. We look at their house through the eyes of a buyer and consider what we need to do to position the house for a successful sale.
CM: Sum up Houston in three words.
BV: Vibrant, welcoming, home.
CM: What do you consider your "special skill"?
BV: I love listening to both buyers and sellers and being able to make concerns about a property or transaction disappear. All too often, the fix is a very easy one and the home the buyers were ruling out quickly rises to the top of the list. I love finding that sweet spot in the negotiating process where our offer, or response, is the one that makes the whole deal work out for everyone involved.
CM: What's one thing people might not know about you?
BV: After a full day of terrific houses and wonderful clients, my dogs and I can usually be found in my kitchen, cooking with my family and friends. Whether we are creating a big, involved dinner or something quick and casual — or even a bit of solo late-night baking — I find that time in the kitchen brings people together in a special, relaxed, and joyful way.
CM: Finish this sentence: "It's a good day when..."
BV: Closing day is always a good day! It's a good day when buyers and sellers are happy at closing and are laughing about the good times past and the good times to come in the home they both love, telling tales of neighbors, exchanging phone numbers, and providing names of favorite tradesmen.
Betsy Vanderbrouk is a Realtor with Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty. Click here to learn more about her and her listings, or contact her at 832-236-9999 or Betsy.Vanderbrouk@Sothebyshomes.com.