Whether you are buying or selling in Houston, Karen Harberg is all you need to know. Harberg joined Compass in June 2020 after 30 years in real estate, and is rated among the top one percent of agents in Texas by Texas Monthly and is consistently acknowledged as one of Houston's top real estate professionals by the Houston Business Journal, H Texas Magazine, and Real Trends.
In every real estate transaction, Harberg endeavors to do the right thing for each individual involved. "I see helping people buy and sell homes not as a job, but as a calling," she says. "I truly care about people, so honesty and sincerity are my top priorities in each transaction."
Repeat referrals and a prodigious customer retention rate are a testament to her work ethic.
When not at work, Harberg spends her time with her beloved husband, children, and grandchildren. She currently volunteers her time as a member of the board of directors of the Jewish Family Service, as a current member (and two-time president) of the Women's City Club, as a member of the advisory board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (and former member of the JDRF board), and as a member of the Bunker Hill Elementary School Community Improvement Team.
She previously served on the Community Improvement Teams for Frostwood Elementary School and Spring Branch Middle School, and is a former member of the board of trustees of Congregation Beth Israel.
This H-Town native is a role model for businesswomen of all ages and is passionate about giving back to her community. Her unstoppable energy, knowledge of all things Houston, and captivating personality make her one of the Bayou City's most outstanding Realtors.
We chatted with Harberg to find out more about her work and what drives her.
CultureMap: What is your favorite part about being a Realtor?
Karen Harberg: The people aspect — I have the opportunity to meet all kinds of people I might not have met in another profession. I enjoy working with first-time homebuyers as well as seasoned buyers and sellers moving through the transitions in their lives: buying bigger homes as their families grow and their needs change, scaling down when they become empty-nesters, or just finding the "right size" home. My clients become friends and my friends become clients.
CM: What does your dream home look like?
KH: My dream home would have modern, clean lines and open-concept interiors with intimate spaces. An ideal home would include adult spaces, children spaces, and family spaces. To me, the kitchen is the heart of the home. I love to cook and I love to have my family and friends in the kitchen with me while I am cooking and creating memories.
CM: What is your favorite thing about living in Houston?
KH: Access to all the available performing arts and sports. Houston offers something for everyone: the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, The Alley Theatre, Stages Theatre, and large and small live music venues, to name a few! Did you know that Houston has more theater seats than any other city in the United States other than New York City?
My other favorite part about living in Houston is access to the incredible healthcare available at the Texas Medical Center (TMC). There is every kind of specialist you could possibly ever need and I can speak to most of that from personal experience. The TMC has no equal in the world.
Of course, there is a plethora of amazing restaurants in Houston, in every genre imaginable and with multiple options in every category.
CM: What is the No. 1 thing buyers should keep in mind?
KH: Patience! The right property will present itself. Be deliberate and understand what you can buy and what you want to buy may not be the same thing. Work with a professional lender to get your financing in order so you understand the process from a financial perspective from the beginning. The goal is to find 85 percent of your wish list, as 100 percent may not exist. When you find that 85 percent, you can fine-tune the rest to your personal taste.
CM: What is the No. 1 thing sellers should keep in mind?
KH: Do not put your house on the market until the house is market ready. Buyers are watching HGTV and assume that sellers are watching it too, so getting your house ready for the buyers' eyes is critical. This includes decluttering, painting, staging, making minor repairs, and landscaping.
Price your home to the current market — not last year's market and not next year's market, but the current market — so your home doesn't help the neighbor sell his property while your property remains on the market.
CM: What is one thing people may not know about you?
KH: My hobbies are cooking, baking, traveling, and exercising. My first career (before becoming a Realtor 30 years ago) was as a registered and licensed dietitian. My husband and assistant have created a YouTube channel that allows me to showcase my cooking and kitchen skills.
See Karen Harberg's latest listings here, or contact her at 281-546-9444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.