San Antonio Realtor Spotlight: Cat Lodge
The CKC team recently sat down with Cat Lodge, a local realtor with Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper Realtors, to discuss her perspective and experience in real estate, especially in new construction. Cat is a second-generation real estate professional with a love of home design, a passion for real estate and a background in communications. Cat works hard to ensure that the home buying and home selling experience is stress free for her clients and their families.
She is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Texas Association of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors and Women’s Council of Realtors who serves the Boerne, Bulverde, Cibolo, Helotes and San Antonio areas. With a degree in journalism from Queensland, Australia, Cat knows how to ask the right questions, communicate effectively and negotiate expertly to get the deal done.
Q&A WITH CAT LODGE
You are originally from Australia – what brought you to Texas?
- I was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, which is near the beaches of the Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef. My husband and I moved to the United States about 13 years ago for his work. He’s a neuroscientist currently working at the UT Health Science Center. We lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for six years before moving to San Antonio, and we absolutely love living in Texas.
- I graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelors degree in Journalism and worked as a sports journalist before moving into corporate communications. After working in corporate communications and taking time off to raise my two boys, I transitioned into real estate.
Can you tell me a bit about your experience in real estate?
- My grandfather was a real estate broker. He owned his own real estate brokerage in a beachside town outside of Brisbane. My father is a small business owner that invests in real estate as a hobby. He buys houses, renovates them and rents them out.
- I worked for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHL Bank). Part of my job was interviewing recipients of the bank’s affordable housing program grants. That program helps lower income families buy a house, and I really enjoyed getting to speak with homeowners excited about buying a home. For many it was the first time they’d ever bought a home, and the excitement and pride they felt was great to write about. I really felt excited for them! I’d say that sparked my interest in helping people buy and sell homes.
- I took a few years off work to raise my kids and later wanted to get back into work in a career that offered flexibility of hours, and was something I had a love for. I love home design, had worked with realtors previously during the home buying and selling process, and felt like it was something I’d be great at.
What about your experience working with custom homebuilders specifically?
- I think custom homes are perfect for the homeowner who doesn’t want a cookie cutter home, someone who wants to customize every aspect of their new home from lot and layout to finish selections. With a production builder you don’t have that complete freedom to choose.When you’re buying a resale home, you have to consider how much life you have left in the roof, the HVAC system, water heaters etc. You don’t have those same concerns with a new construction home.
What’s the price range of most of the homes you have sold?
- The median price of a home in San Antonio is around $200,000. Most of my clients are looking from $250,000 to $500,000 but I do have clients looking up to 1 million.
How many clients are you currently representing?
- I average about four to five buyers at any one time. I want each client I work with to feel like they are getting the attention they would if they were my only client. I make myself available at all times to answer their calls, emails and texts. I let them know at the start that they are never bothering me when they ask me a question. I’ve been on the other side of buying and selling a house, and I behave how I’d have wanted my realtor to treat me.
What, in your opinion, is the best neighborhood to buy in at this time?
- I live in the Vineyard myself, so I’m partial to that area because of the great schools, and it’s location on 1604 right in between I10 and 281. There are a lot of great areas to buy in in San Antonio, though. I recently sold a house to a client in Fair Oaks Ranch out near Boerne. I’m seeing a shift in people living near Stone Oak wanting to move out to Timberwood Park, which is only 10 minutes further out towards Bulverde, but you get a larger lot, lower taxes and exemplary schools.
What are some of the most frequently asked questions (and answers) that you have encountered? What is the most important thing that you communicate to your clients when buying or building a new home?
- When building a home, I tell them to go with a builder that has a great reputation. When buying a resale home, I tell them at the outset that every home has its pros and cons. It’s my job to find them the house with the most pros and the least cons, but to understand that a lot of cons can be fixed. One thing you can’t fix, though, is location.
- People often don’t know that you need to be preapproved to put an offer in on a house. There’s almost no point going house hunting until you’ve spoken to a lender and know what you can afford. The San Antonio market right now is a sellers market. Nice homes that are priced right are selling within days of being on the market, often in multiple offer situations. You must have that preapproval letter ready to go so that when you see the house you want, you can put an offer in on it right away. Of course, one of the greatest pluses to building your own home is that you don’t have to beat out other buyers!
- I usually advise my clients to decide on a location, and then see the homes available there. When I was looking for my current home, I decided what area I wanted to live in because of the great schools and excellent location, and then I only looked at the homes I could afford in that location.
What distinguishes you from other real estate agents?
- I work for an awesome broker in D’Ann Harper. Not only is she an inspiration, but she also provides her agents with a support network that helps us go ‘above and beyond’ for our clients. I utilize a program called Powerhouse Marketing when you are selling your home, which is like marketing on steroids. I do more marketing than the average agent and get maximum exposure for your home. That’s key to getting your asking price in the shortest timeframe possible.
Who is your ideal client?
- I love when my clients know what they are looking for in a home, but are also flexible. All around I just love working as a realtor. I love helping people buy their first home or the home of their dreams. I get as excited as they do when we close on a home, and at the end of the day, I get a lot of satisfaction knowing I helped them through the home selling or buying process and that they had fun while doing it.