Once the official seat of the Texas government, Houston has a new title: the capital of southern cool. The city’s Inner Loop includes a cluster of vibrant, eclectic communities as unique as the properties within them. These neighborhoods’ cultural clout and proximity to Houston’s bustling downtown gives local homeowners an edge when it’s time to stake a ‘for sale’ sign on the front lawn.
Yet savvy sellers know it takes more than a yard sign to sell a home. In an area where architecture, pricing, and ambiance vary block by block, it takes an experienced hand and local know-how to turn your ‘for sale’ sign to ‘sold’.
We curated a list of the top 10 real estate agents with expertise in the most notable Inner Loop neighborhoods. With each agent profile, we detail their specialties, along with tips on how to snag a top-dollar home sale.
The Greater Heights
The Greater Heights district includes Houston Heights, known simply as the Heights. The neighborhood offers Houstonians a suburban lifestyle just northwest of Houston’s bustling downtown district. Celebrated for its Victorian architecture and maple leaf-covered sidewalks, the Heights features historic homes with wrap-around porches reminiscent of sweet tea and southern hospitality.
The district draws aspiring move-up homebuyers who tend to stick around once they settle in — a wise choice given appreciation rates. The Heights’ home values continue to climb, spiking 16% in price per square foot between 2014 and 2019, from $261.63 to $303.86. Atlanta real estate agents who specialize in selling the Greater Heights know how to position these appreciating homes to win the highest sale price possible.
Years of experience: 6
Neighborhood specialties: Heights, Montrose, Upper Kirby
Typical listings: From drone photography to home staging, Sorrell’s custom marketing strategy keeps her listings from languishing on the market. Her properties sell more than 49% quicker than the average Houston agent. Recent sales include a 1920s Heights bungalow that landed a buyer just six days after going on the market.
Top tip for Inner Loop sellers: Sorrell notes that Houston doesn’t regulate property zoning, and finding the right comparables for pricing can prove tricky: “Determining value in communities like this is a fine art, and if your agent doesn’t have that art perfected … you may miss the mark.”
Years of experience: 10
Neighborhood specialties: Heights, Oak Forest, Washington Ave, Montrose, Upper Kirby, West U
Typical listings: Compean, whose listings sell 56% quicker than the average Houston agent, specializes in a wide variety of single-family homes, such as a modern three-story in the Heights and a 1940s-era craftsman boasting original wood flooring.
Top tip for Inner Loop sellers: Compean warns that incorrectly pricing your home can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. He notes that pricing changes from block to block. And while Compean sees some Inner Loop homes selling quickly, there are times when he thinks the seller could have garnered more if the owner had listed at a higher price.
“The Inner Loop of Houston isn’t like the suburbs where you can just plug in a neighborhood and spit out a price per square foot that you can apply across the board,” he says. “It’s much more detailed than that.”
Years of experience: 17
Neighborhood specialties: Heights, Shady Acres, Oak Forest
Typical listings: Kinne’s listings sell 47% faster than the average Houston agent, thanks in part to savvy marketing; he hires a staging consultant and pro photographer for every listing. Kinne’s recent Inner Loop sales include a 1920s Houston Heights bungalow and a 3-story Timberbrook townhouse.
Top tip for Inner Loop sellers: Kinne advises Inner Loop sellers to get rid of anything that would distract buyers from the house. “Declutter. Donate. Sell. Give away,” suggests Kinne. He tells his clients to remove clutter from closet shelves and style the space like a boutique, arranging clothes hangers two inches apart. Organize pantry items for an appealing presentation. And don’t forget the exterior. “I want your outdoor space looking like a home and garden magazine,” Kinne says.
Years of experience: 21
Neighborhood specialties: Heights, Rice Military, Cottage Grove
Typical listings: An expert at single-family home sales — Espinoza works with 83% more single-family homes than the average Houston agent — he also negotiates land transactions with builders. Espinoza’s most memorable listing? A 20,000 square foot corner lot in the Greater Heights. The listing included two existing houses on the parcel, but Espinoza struck a deal with a buyer who wanted to redevelop the property. It sold for $400,000 more than the seller expected.
Top tip for Inner Loop sellers: Espinoza advises sellers to take a step back and look at their home from a buyer’s perspective. He says to keep your competition in mind, price your home competitively for the area, and make your house shine. Espinoza’s philosophy: “[Selling your home is] a price war and a beauty contest.”
Years of experience: 15
Neighborhood specialties: Heights, Rice Military, Montrose
Agent accolade: Sellers rely on their agents for a fast sale. Inderrieden guides his clients to the closing table sooner than most — his listings sell 50% quicker than the average Houston agent.
Top tip for Inner Loop sellers: Keep personal belongings out of sight, advises Inderrieden in a YouTube clip. “Hide your valuables,” he says. And don’t forget to squirrel away any weapons, medication, pets, and adult items, he adds.
Midtown, Montrose & Rice Military
Just west of downtown Houston, Midtown homes range from new 3-story single-family homes to million-dollar lofts. Pedestrian and public transportation-friendly (the area boasts three METRO rail stations), Midtown’s attracts a younger demographic who appreciate the area’s nightlife. Midtown homes list for just shy of $400,000 on average, at $235 per square foot.
Adjacent to Midtown, Montrose enjoys a reputation for hip eccentricity. You’re as likely to pass a tattoo parlor on a neighborhood stroll as you would a traditional Colonial home on a shaded, tree-lined street. Homes in the historic neighborhood, established in 1911, range in value between the upper $200,000s to the upper $800,000s, with a median sold price per square foot of $222.31.
Years of experience: 20
Neighborhood specialties: River Oaks, Midtown
Typical listings: While Tahri has sold 66% more single-family homes than the average Houston agent, he also specializes in Inner Loop townhomes and condos. Tahri’s neighborhood sales include a stately brick condo near the upscale River Oaks Shopping Center and a Midtown townhouse a mere block away from Baldwin Park.
Niche negotiator: Tahri has the chops to navigate sensitive transactions such as distressed sales — he’s completed specialty REO and short sale certifications.
Years of experience: 12
Neighborhood specialties: Midtown, Montrose
Agent accolades: Krueger has garnered 95 five-star Home Light reviews from loyal clientele. He credits personalized client service for his success. Krueger also flexes his negotiation prowess as a Certified Negotiation Expert.
Bellaire & West University Place
Known for its excellent schools and small-town suburban vibe, Bellaire is a city within Houston that straddles a southwest section of Interstate 610. Bellaire homes appraised for anywhere from $400,000 to $1 million in 2019, with a sold price per square foot of $245.32.
Adjacent to East Bellaire, West University Place (or West U) consists of upscale housing, attracting the upper-middle class set. One of the most expensive Houston neighborhoods, West U home values range from the upper $700,000s to the mid $2 million. The median market value for a West U abode landed at a cool $1,488,500 in 2019.
Years of experience: 10
Neighborhood specialties: Bellaire, West University
Agent accolades: Whitespeare provides sellers with comprehensive guidance, garnering him client accolades. “He even power washed the outside of the house to spiff it up,” notes one client. Another satisfied seller remarked, “He was always accessible and invaluable in staging, market knowledge, timing, when to hold an open house, and all of the details in selling a home. When the inspection detected a roof leak, he assisted me in finding a reliable contractor to promptly fix it.”
Years of experience: 15
Neighborhood specialties: Texas Medical Center, West University, Rice Village
Agent accolades: Sellers choose Keck for her personable demeanor and skilled negotiating tactics. She completes 17% more sales than the average Houston agent, and her experience shows. One client praised her “knowledge of the market, friendly and charismatic qualities, professionalism, and focus on the details,” adding that Keck’s work “keeps me as a return client.”
East Downtown, or EaDo, maintains an urban city feel by intermixing the old with the new. Properties include warehouses converted to living spaces, artist lofts, and new condo developments. The average EaDo home lists for $397,024, with a price per square foot of $186.
Years of experience: 16
Neighborhood specialties: EaDo, Greater East End
Typical listings: With family ties to the southeast area of the Loop, Ramirez knows the neighborhood better than most. His recent Inner Loop listings include a Cozy 1940s cottage in the East End and a traditional two-story abode minutes away from the University of Houston.
Top tip for EaDo sellers: Ramirez advises EaDo homeowners not to undervalue their homes when setting a listing price. Furthermore, he advises homeowners to hang onto their properties if possible as home values in this hipster hood are destined to rise. “You have a gem,” he says, adding that EaDo and east end redevelopment isn’t ending anytime soon. “You have an opportunity to sell [your home] for a good price.”
Takeaways for selling a home inside the loop
If you’re an Inner Loop homeowner looking to sell soon, note these key takeaways we learned from Houston’s top real estate agents:
- Houston doesn’t restrict zoning, equating to mixed-use developments and eclectic districts. These unique and distinctive neighborhoods add character, but variation also contributes to valuation challenges. Similar homes from different neighborhoods (even if only a few blocks apart) may have vastly different appraised values.
- While high-tech marketing methods such as 3D tours and drone videos impress buyers, traditional methods — decluttering, sensible staging, and a squeaky clean showing — are still non-negotiables for attracting the highest bid on your home.
- Each Inner Loop neighborhood has a unique vibe — from upscale modern architecture to vintage main street shops. Successful listing agents leverage a neighborhood’s unique benefits to snag the highest buyer bid.
For a successful Inner Loop sale, hire a top Houston agent
Our real estate experts agree: The Inner Loop’s eclectic blend of neighborhoods require seasoned, hyper-local listing agents, not out-of-area novices. When it comes to selling your greatest asset, trusting a local expert is your best bet for garnering the highest bids in the least amount of time.
HomeLight’s transaction data analysis reveals that the top Houston real estate agents sell homes for more money (102% of list price compared to the average agent’s 97%) and in less time (40 days on the market with a top agent versus 71 for the average agent) than their peers.
To track down experienced Inner Loop listing agents, plug your address into HomeLight’s Agent Finder. We’ll crunch the numbers to match you with three top-ranked real estate agents who specialize in selling homes in your Houston neighborhood.
Header Image Source: (Jessica Tan / Unsplash)