From 1993 Rookie of the Year to recurring member of the Circle of Excellence and the Hall of Fame, native Houstonian Jana Giammalva maintains that the secret to her success is selling what she knows. Her extensive knowledge of the city stems from a lifetime of community involvement and professional networking.
"The fun of this business is who you meet," she says. "People I've met at open houses have become lifelong friends."
With an energetic and attentive style of service, Giammalva treats every client as if that person were her only one.
"I love working with out-of-town buyers," she says, "promoting the city and introducing people to the neighborhoods I've lived and worked in all my life."
A consistent top producer in sales and listings, she sells from Montrose to the Beltway, specializing in the West University, Southampton, Afton Oaks, Tanglewood, Briargrove, Larchmont, River Oaks, Bellaire, Braes Heights, and Memorial/Spring Valley areas, as well as emerging downtown markets.
Giammalva's strength lies in knowing the existing inventory and current market trends. She gains clients' trust through her organizational, analytical, and negotiating skills. Dedicated to her profession, she has established a consistent and loyal customer base.
A graduate of St. Agnes Academy and the University of Texas, she began her career in commercial real estate before moving into residential. Active in the community, she has participated in fundraising for such charities as Covenant House, The Center, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, March of Dimes, and St. Joseph's Hospital. She served on the board of the Society for the Performing Arts, is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Houston, an an active member of The Forest Club of Houston. Currently she is an active member of Bevo's Beautification Council, a University of Texas group working to continue to beautify the grounds of 40 Acres.
We chatted with Giammalva to find out more about her work and what drives her.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Jana Giammalva: I come from a family of real estate — from my father, sister, and cousins, it's in our blood. When I was a child, I always loved looking at houses with my parents. Coming home from the University of Texas one weekend, I was looking at a well-known luxury magazine from the 1980s on our family coffee table and saw Martha Turner's ad and said, "I want to be just like her one day."
CM: What's one piece of advice you'd give to people looking for their dream home?
JG: You're going to be excited, but also be patient. You will know when the right thing comes along, whether it's the first house you see or the 50th house you see. Follow your heart and look to your real estate agent for guidance. My niece just bought her first house and she said, "we could have never done it without you!"
CM: And advice to those who are selling?
JG: Listen to your Realtor, they are the experts. Isn't that the reason you called them? Price accordingly, as you do not want to follow the market downwards but want to be the front leader. Follow the rules of decluttering, repainting, and refreshing. If it needs new carpet, do it, and above all give the home its best curb appeal, because that is the first impression the buyers, see whether online or driving by. I always say 5 gets you 10!
CM: Sum up Houston in three words.
JG: That is hard, because as a native Houstonian I love so much about this city. But I would have to quote from the sculpture sign of my talented artist friend David Adickes that's situated above 8th Wonder Brewery in EaDo: "We Love Houston."
CM: What do you consider your "special skill"?
JG: Reading people. I have a good intuition and I can already tell what home would fit someone's needs before they walk in the door.
CM: What's one thing people might not know about you?
JG: I am deathly afraid of heights. I stand back when I show high-rises and enjoy the view from afar, but I am destined to live in one. City life is the place for me!
CM: Finish this sentence: "It's a good weekday when..."
JG: I am walking into a closing, but an even better weekend day is when your mother calls and says everyone's coming over for dinner tonight. Then I race to get there. Family and friends and faith in God are my life structure — I would not be where I am if it was not for their love and support.
See Jana Giammalva's latest listings here or contact her at 713-858-6968.