Living Livingston with Lisa Cruse - EP0013

AboutĀ Lisa Cruse

Lisa, Real Estate Agent brokered by Keller Williams Realty Northeast, provides real estate services for home buyers, home sellers, and investors in Livingston, Texas and surrounding communities. Ask Lisa about amazing opportunities for lake property? Contact Lisa today at 512-696-8444 or emailĀ [email protected].Ā Search amazing lake homes located on Lake Livingston, and set up a private showing today.

Additional Service Areas:Ā Livingston, West Livingston, Wolf Creek, Coldspring, Stephen Creek, Point Blank, Onalaska, West Tempe, Blanchard, Carlisle, Sebastopol, Riverside, Huntsville, Shepherd, Goodrich, and Polk County.

Lisa Cruse

City, State, Country
Livingston, Texas

Company Name
Keller Williams Realty Northeast


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Episode Transcription


[00:00:00] Intro/Outro: Welcome to the Survive Scale Soar podcast, hear and learn through the success of others, how to build the life and business you deserve. Learn to overcome failure, and what it means to seek out to become the best possible version of yourself. And now here's your host, coach, entrepreneur, husband, and father, and author of the number one bestselling book, Survive Scale Soar, Jeremy Williams.

[00:00:32] Jeremy Williams: Welcome back. This is Jeremy Williams, and you’re tuning in to the Survive Scale Soar podcast. The podcast for the entrepreneur built by entrepreneurs. Today,  I'll be joined by Lisa Cruse, Real Estate Agent brokered by Keller Williams Realty Northeast providing professional real estate services for Livingston, Texas, and surrounding areas.

[00:00:53] Lisa talks about why Livingston is a great place to live, the current real estate market,  pet peeves, and gives [00:01:00] advice to those that want to start a career in real estate. Before we get started with our guests, a quick reminder if today's episode moves you, makes you think differently, makes you laugh or, you know it may help someone be sure to share.

[00:01:13] And welcome Lisa to the show. Good morning.

[00:01:16] Lisa Cruse: Good morning. Good to see you.

[00:01:18] Jeremy Williams: It’s great to have you on this morning. I know you're up there in Livingston, Texas, and we're going to be talking today about Living Livingston. Lisa, tell me a little bit about yourself.

[00:01:32] Lisa Cruse: I'm a native Texan, seventh generation.

[00:01:34] I was born and raised in Pasadena, Texas. We have that in common. I don't think you were born there, and our fathers have the same profession. I've lived in a lot of regions across Texas, and somehow we ended up in Livingston about 10 years ago.  During that time I got my real [00:02:00] estate license, and that's how we came to know each other through coaching.

[00:02:04] My husband was a teacher, and that's what brought us here; the school district. We've acclimated ourselves.  We have town people that have been here forever, and we have another mix of people that  come here and leave. We have Escapees here, which is a senior development.

[00:02:43] If I have this right, you can come here and get a mailbox, go travel anywhere in the world and they will forward your mail to you. They also provide health and insurance services. It's crazy, but [00:03:00] I bet a good portion of Texas seniors have signed up over there for their services where you can go stay.

[00:03:07] They have a park. You can go stay there too. It’s called Escapees, and they vote here because it’s their home address. It's a service that you wouldn't expect. We have the casino; Alabama Coushatta casino just 15 minutes away.

[00:03:29] Jeremy Williams: Being on Lake Livingston, you get to wake up to some beautiful sunrises, right?

[00:03:32] You're very fortunate to wake up every day and look out on that beautiful, large lake.

[00:03:38] Lisa Cruse: My husband is a photographer, and I'd bet the first five years we've lived here every evening, if it was not raining, he’d run outside and get that sunset. It's a gift from God.

[00:03:57] Jeremy Williams: Lake Livingston is a [00:04:00] unique lake. There's three fairly large lakes in the region. We have Lake Houston which I live on. It's the water source for Houston. It's not really a recreational lake. Every once in a while, you'll see people out boating and dodging the tree trunks.

[00:04:19] It's not boat friendly. You have Lake Conroe, which is the lake where everybody needs to be seen and the big boats. People are out there on jet skis, and it’s highly developed. Then you go to Lake Livingston and that's a huge lake. It almost looks like the ocean, and at some points, you can't even see the other side. It's a great fishing lake. 

[00:04:53] You've been in real estate for five years. You recently were [00:05:00] recognized by your brokerage for a few accomplishments. Tell us about that.

[00:05:06] Lisa Cruse: The one you're probably talking about is an award even by our brokerage that recognizes people that live out the Keller Williams culture.

[00:05:28] The award recognizes those that give from their heart, and do the best they can. Everyday I try to do that. I’ve always said I'm going to be the REALTOR® that answers my phone. I can't believe one of the most important aspects of the business is to answer your phone, yet agents choose not to do that.

[00:06:06] Lisa Cruse: The Judy and Albert Hopkins Memorial award is given ou by our office every year. Five agent including myself were nominated.

[00:06:21] I did not win the award, and being nominated alone was such an honor, and to be standing up there with the others recognized was special because they are the best of the best. 

[00:06:33] Jeremy Williams: I think it says something that this award is not given by the broker rather it’s peer nominated. There are over 250 agents in your brokerage office.

[00:06:47] To be one of those five nominated, that’s a huge honor. You also had a couple of production awards.

[00:06:53] Lisa Cruse: Yes. I was number seven for listing agent in [00:07:00] our brokerage, and I was number six for selling houses. I am proud to have accomplished this too.

[00:07:12] It was my best year since becoming a real estate agent. I probably had a little help from COVID, and I think everybody was impacted. My first year in the business, I was Rookie of the Year. That took me by surprise because I didn't even know what rookie of the year meant. I do now, and I am proud of that accomplishment.

[00:07:33] Jeremy Williams: Yes. You've consistently been a top producing agent in your office.

[00:07:36] As your business has continued to increase, you've been recognized and as your Real Estate Coach, I've witnessed that growth in you and your business. You should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished.. Let's jump into the real estate market. Right now you hear a lot of [00:08:00] wailing and gnashing of teeth about the market, and it's like a shark tank when a listing goes on. You’ve got all these buyers eating each other alive to purchase a home.

[00:08:10] What is your perspective of the market?

[00:08:14] Lisa Cruse: In Livingston, the real estate market remains brisk. We have a good mix of property types. We are an economically poor County, which impacts the people that have lived in the area for a long time.

[00:08:43] Unfortunately, the prices have risen making it harder for them to afford a home. On the flip side, the rental market is very tight. You can't [00:09:00] find them. People are living in converted sheds and tiny homes. On a larger scale, we’ve got a lot of undeveloped forest land..

[00:09:15] We touch three forests in Livingston, and there is a lot of property where people are building barndos. They are being built all over the place. There is also a lot of country land from one acre to 50 acres. Sometimes you will see a big company purchase some of these larger tracts for  investment purposes.

[00:09:43] There is so much untouched land that stretches in and around the lake. Lake Livingston also serves as a water source for the Greater Houston area. Lake Livingston touches Walker County, [00:10:00] Trinity County, and Polk County. Each area around the lake has different kinds of personalities. Whatever personality you want you will find it here. You’ve got the relaxed.

[00:10:15] If you want a little particulars, we have the pretentious, and anything in between. We have golf courses, not like some of those found in the Houston area, and they are a bonus amenity. 

[00:10:36] Jeremy Williams: Livingston is unique, and it provides many different offerings.

[00:10:43] When it comes to real estate, you could buy that postage stamp size lot. You could go buy a hundred acres in the area. You can buy waterfront, or you could buy in the forest. You could buy in a neighborhood, or you could buy rural with a little bit of acreage. [00:11:00] There's a lot of different offerings that we don’t have down here in the city.

[00:11:06] I live on a postage stamp, and that's the only opportunity in my neighborhood. The bonus is you look right out your windows at the neighbors. Livingston is a different type of lifestyle. It's unique and not that far north of Houston. How far north is Livingston from the Houston city limits.

[00:11:28] Lisa Cruse: Bush Intercontinental Airport is an hour and 15 minutes. Travel time to The Woodlands is an hour and 15 minutes.

[00:11:38] Jeremy Williams: Yes, close to many amenities, right?

[00:11:43] Lisa Cruse: Yes. Hospitals and the casino. We don't have a lot of grocery stores here in Livingston. We have grocery stores, but they're small, and sometimes not well stocked.

[00:11:58] If I need to do some serious grocery shopping [00:12:00], I go to Huntsville or Kingwood. I think a lot of people shop online now, so it’s not really a big deal. Livingston is experiencing a lot of growth. Boom out of nowhere. We now have a Chick Fil A and a Starbucks.

[00:12:27] I’m not for corporate stores, and I like the “mom and pop” businesses.I want to keep them thriving, and these businesses are the heart of our town.

[00:12:40] Jeremy Williams: When I visit Livingston, it reminds me of my hometown of San Marcus, Texas before it grew. Now it's got everything.

[00:12:52] When I was growing up in San Marcos, there were a lot of “mom and pop” and family owned restaurants and small businesses. [00:13:00] There's something unique about that feeling and experiencing that type of community. What I’m hearing you say about the Livingston real estate market is it’s somewhat insulated. As you said, the Livingston market remains brisk.

[00:13:16] With all the different real estate offerings and property types, there is a lot to purchase or invest in across Livingston and the surrounding areas. Where do you see all these people coming from that choose to live in Livingston? 

[00:13:33] Lisa Cruse: Predominantly the Houston area.

[00:13:35] Of course, Houston is a huge area. When you say Greater Houston area, that could be Katy, Cypress, Fairfield, Galveston, Kingwood, or Houston proper. It's a big area. I do run across some people that come from further away, but that limits the amount of times that you can come up here and enjoy a second home on the weekends. [00:14:00] For some people, Livingston is exactly where they want to be.

[00:14:05] Jeremy Williams: There's a fairly significant second home market that exists in Livingston, right?

[00:14:12] Lisa Cruse: Yes, and they tend to rotate out much faster than your traditional homes.

[00:14:25] Jeremy Williams: What do you think is the biggest draw? Somebody may be listening to this episode, and they're outside of the state and wanting to come to freedom, and they here about this community of Livingston. What do you think is the biggest draw of why people love Livingston?

[00:14:46] Lisa Cruse: It has a sleepy, hometown. Your local people [00:15:00] know the history and that kind of thing. I think everybody has a different need, or want and a second home to escape to on the weekends, or they want to fish. Some just want a cup of coffee while enjoying a sunrise or set on their back porch overlooking the lake.

[00:15:27] It's different for everybody. I mentioned earlier we have an economically challenged community. We have several homes that have been abandoned. I see them daily, yet they're getting fewer and fewer because investors are snapping them up. There's only so much land around that lake and it's great that people are gentrifying, and making use of what we do have.

[00:15:59] Jeremy Williams: [00:16:00] I want to ask you a couple questions about the value you provide in particular, and then a pet peeve you may have about the real estate industry. First, I want to start by asking you about what you offer as a real estate agent that specializes in Livingston area properties. What is the unique reason, or why do people choose to hire you when either buying a home, selling a home or investing in Livingston, Texas real estate?

[00:16:28] Lisa Cruse: As my business has grown, my name has become more prominent. I've been getting feedback from clients including them who had already made their decision in hiring me after reading reviews and content about my business online. It makes me feel really good to know they sought me out and hired me. I do give a lot of heart and attention to each client.[00:17:00]

[00:17:00] I tend to work a lot of difficult transactions. I don't know why or how I get some of these, yet I get my clients through them with as little stress as possible. When I say difficult, it is anything from there's a problem with the land, or there are heirs involved, or maybe a will that has not been probated or done properly.

[00:17:28] These types of challenges can slow things down. The best thing to do is push through it, and not bail out of the challenge transactions. Sometimes the house is not quite up to snuff.

[00:17:41] Jeremy Williams: I've always seen you over the years as a problem solver. Having those clients with challenging circumstances and being able to get them successfully across the finish line takes a problem solving ability that a lot of people don’t have, or they choose not to have. They want everything to be easy.

[00:18:02] Lisa Cruse: It isn't easy. Sometimes when I'm out in the field with the grass up to my waist and I'm pumping away, or showing in the rain, I think that’s why they don't show that part of the job on HGTV.

[00:18:17] I try to do my best at the problem solving part.

[00:18:26] Jeremy Williams: Yes. I think one of my biggest pet peeves about the real estate industry in general is HGTV. They don't show the things you described. HGTV portrays the role of the real estate agent as someone that walks into a home with clients and writes an offer.

[00:18:38] The house is beautiful, it closes, and you see them move in. End of story. It makes the consumer, or people entering the industry as real estate agent, think this must be easy. And what you share is that it takes hard work. 

[00:18:54] You get out in that tall grass, or it's a thunderstorm and it's hailing [00:19:00] and tornadoes, and you're still out there working. It’s a simple business, not easy. Right? What is your pet peeve with the industry? What is the one that jumps out at you?

[00:19:17] Lisa Cruse: I think it’s the dilemma of buyers not really being ready to buy and jump into the process with their expectations and preconceived notions about the market. I love educating first time home buyers. They're great, but they don't always listen, you know, because there is a lot to the process that can be overwhelming. I provide them bite size chunks as we work through the process. 

[00:19:54] Sometimes I think with the first time homebuyer, “We talked about that.” I really believe people should [00:20:00] hone in on what people are saying in those first few meetings, What they're saying is important. It is difficult and stressful for everybody in this market. Buyers are making offers and not having their offers accepted because of the competition in the market. I recently made an appointment, and the house was only on the market for hours.

[00:20:22] I made an appointment to show a home in Huntsville today, and they were already saying that they’ve received so many offers. I knew my client’s offer was a VA, which can be a challenge in this market. I think we'll just pass. I know you're going to ask me, why is an offer with a VA loan a negative?

[00:20:50] It's not that it's negative. It's that the seller has so many offers to choose from that taking a government loan, in their [00:21:00] perception, VA and even FHA can take longer to close.

[00:21:05] Jeremy Williams: Or even conventional. Any type of financing now, when you're going up against cash offers that are exceeding the sales price by a significant amount, it’s a challenge to win. I had a conversation with an agent the other day that their buyer offered over $120,000, and they still didn't get it.

[00:21:21] Lisa Cruse:

[00:21:21] In my opinion, those Vets earned that VA loan. And by golly, it should bear a little weight, and sometimes it does. Sometimes you'll find a seller that will choose to go with the offer made by a Veteran using their VA loan. I saw this story posted recently on Facebook, and I thought that's awesome.

[00:21:47] Yet, you do see those that get turned away.

[00:21:55] Jeremy Williams: It's unfortunate, and I think they've got to find something to do better for those Veterans [00:22:00] they are the ones that give us the freedom to have what we have. I think there's something that can be done better, I don't know what it is or know who can change that, but I think there ought to be a solution [00:22:11] to help those men and women out at a higher level.

I think you hit on expectations between the customer and the client. I was sharing this the other day with a client. We have our own personal perspective, and then we go into this movie theater that has a thousand different theaters. The movie that is playing is one about our life.

[00:22:38] The first theater you walk into, you watch the movie and it's from your perspective. We're like, yep, that's who I am and what I do. Then you go into the next theater, and the movie is the same movie about you from the perspective of a customer or client. You're like, I didn't think they saw it that way.

[00:22:55] Then you go into the next theater and it's your movie from the perspective of your parents. They saw the entire [00:23:00] movie in a different light. If we're not setting the expectation, and being very clear on those things, perspectives can become tricky waters to maneuver. Like you said, listening is a huge part of communication. If you’re not listening, you’re going to miss something.

[00:23:13] Not listening is going to make the transaction more stressful. If you don’t have that communication with that first time home buyer, it is just going to be a more stressful transaction.

[00:23:26] Lisa Cruse: Yes, I’ve had this happen before. Every transaction is different.

[00:23:34] Jeremy Williams: Every transaction will present a curve ball. We just purchased an investment property. I've never dealt with wind insurance. It was on the coast. Now I know more about wind insurance including WPI2, WPI2e, and WPI8. I know all about those now. I've been in the real estate industry since 2004, and I’ve never dealt with this having not lived on the coast.

[00:23:59] [00:24:00] There's always an opportunity to learn and that's not only for the  seasoned buyer or seller, it's also for the agent.

[00:24:09] Lisa Cruse: Yes, yes, it is!

[00:24:12] Jeremy Williams: Somebody listening to this, maybe they're thinking about how they don't like corporate life, or maybe they're a teacher and they're ready to do something different before they kill the kids.

[00:24:26] They're considering entering the real estate industry. What piece of advice, or what should be the first thing this person does

[00:24:37] Lisa Cruse: Talk to an agent, and talk to more than just one agent. I remember my experience of talking to an agent that said this is too hard. This is a hard business, and you don't want to do this. I internalized this message, and it made me think I could not do it.

[00:24:56] That agent’s message stuck with me for 10 years.. [00:25:00] Overtime, I kept coming back to this desire to be a real estate agent. I thought, you know, I should look at this. I think real estate was perfectly suited for my personality. It's just amazing. I didn't do this earlier in my life, but talk to people in the industry about the good and the bad because there is good and bad in every profession.

[00:25:27] Everybody's not cut out to be a real estate agent. It's not just for outgoing people. We have introverts in our office that are very high producing agents. You should have a love for people and service. The money gets nice. It's a little difficult at first, and the money gets nice.

[00:25:55] Of course like any other business, what you put into is what you get out of it.

[00:26:01] Jeremy Williams: That's all great advice. I think seeking out and having those conversations, and truly understanding what you're getting into before just saying, “Hey, I'm going to become a real estate agent” is sound advice..

[00:26:16] The real estate agent that helped my wife and I purchase our first home said, “Hey, you'd make a great real estate agent”. I said, “okay,” and two months later I was a real estate agent. My story is that I listed a home on the first day I was an agent. I sold it two weeks later to the neighbor in cash that had a [00:26:36] family member move in across the street so they could take care of them. I thought, wow, this is it, this is all I have to do. Then I realized after six months of no closings that something needed to change. It's a simple process. It's not an easy one. Like you said, some people are just not going to be cut out for it.

[00:26:57] I think getting advice from people that are in the industry is important. [00:27:00] Seek out those that are having success like you, and have those conversations. I think these conversations are important before making a commitment. The turnover rates are like 80% fail in the first six months.

[00:27:15] Lisa Cruse: Crazy.

[00:27:17] Jeremy Williams: All right, somebody is listening today and they want to make the  Greater Livingston, Texas area home whether it;s to buy, sell, or invest in real estate, purchase that waterfront dream home, [00:27:35] or it could be some acreage or even a ranch, or maybe it’s buying and holding some raw land, how do they get ahold of you, Lisa?

[00:27:42] Lisa Cruse: Google me, or my phone number is 512-696-8444, or my website

[00:28:02] Jeremy Williams: Visit, and you will find all her contact information there. You can also start searching for properties and reach out to her. I know she's going to be able to help you have a successful transaction. That's whether you're buying, selling, or investing in real estate in the Livingston, Texas area.

[00:28:20] Lisa, I want to thank you for joining me today, giving me some insights, sharing your pet peeves, and giving some sound advice for those that may be considering real estate a business. I appreciate all the information you shared today.

[00:28:35] Lisa Cruse: I had a good time.

[00:28:41] Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening to the Survive Scale Soar podcast. If you heard something that made a difference in your life today, share it with someone that might benefit and subscribe so you don't miss the next episode. Learn more about the host of this podcast and coaching services offered by Red Hawk Coaching by visiting [00:29:00]