During the spring of 2015, Ryan and Robin Nassif were juggling a lot of time-consuming tasks. Both worked at a school, and they were also busy planning their summer wedding. When they decided to buy their first home during this hectic time, they hoped the home-buying process wouldn’t be overwhelming. A friend suggested they call Mandy Lehman at Mariner Realty, and their fears soon disappeared.
“With Mandy, it couldn’t have been easier,” Ryan says. “She listened attentively to any and all concerns we had, was always available for questions—important and unimportant!—and truly felt like a partner and advocate the entire way. We feel so lucky and blessed that we chose Mandy to be our realtor, and we couldn’t be happier in the home she helped us find. Mandy was fantastic!”
Mandy is one of 20 real estate agents on the Mariner Realty team, says Wendy Welsh, a real estate broker and certified appraiser who founded Mariner Realty in 1999. Wendy is proud of her team, which works together to help clients like Ryan and Robin. “We have three agents who are professional photographers, agents with corporate marketing and advertising backgrounds, an agent with a degree in interior design, and we have an agent who is a certified appraiser,” Wendy says. “We have been successful because we all work together so well.”
For example, any homeowner who lists property with a Mariner agent can request a home staging by Lauren Dauzat, a Mariner real estate agent who holds a degree in interior design. This service is provided at no cost to the homeowner. “This is definitely a huge plus we offer at no cost to the seller,” Wendy says. In addition, she says, professional photographs taken by a Mariner team member can help make sales, because many prospective home buyers look at photographs on the Internet while searching for homes.
Likewise, many clients use Internet technology to choose a subdivision or a school district and may fall into what Wendy calls the “kiosk self-checkout mentality.” “Technology has changed the market, the clients, and the tools, but good service is still good service, and our goal is to provide excellent service. A Mariner agent’s goal is to provide more than a sign in a yard, MLS input, and wait for an offer.” She noted that four Mariner agents—Wendy, Kelly Lawson, Zonia Alvarez, and Tracy Boulanger—have been recognized in Texas Monthly as five-star real estate professionals; three Mariner agents—Wendy, Zonia, and Cindy Waters—have earned the distinction of being Dave Ramsey-endorsed local providers.
“We have a lot of service-motivated agents,” Wendy says. Because buying or selling a home can be a complex process, Mariner agents often provide excellent service by explaining details of the home-buying or home-selling process to their clients. “You have to have the heart of a teacher,” she says. This willingness to help clients is especially evident when Mariner agents work with first-time home buyers. “We are really good about laying out exactly what is going to happen, so they know not only how the transaction is going to go, but the steps they are going to take,” Wendy says.
While Mariner agents sometimes assist clients in distant parts of the greater Houston area, a large percentage of the company’s clients wish to buy or sell real estate in the Lake Conroe area. Many are either upsizing or downsizing, so they utilize their Mariner agents’ expertise both to sell their current home and to purchase a bigger or smaller one.
Clients who move to the area from other cities and states are often especially appreciative of the help they receive from the knowledgeable, service-oriented real estate agents at Mariner Realty. Such was the experience of Brian Strom, who moved to the area in 2015 and was referred to Wendy by a friend. Brian wasn’t familiar with the area, but did a lot of searching online. When he found properties that appealed to him, he notified Wendy, who then went to work. “She would send me information on the area, tell me distances and travel time between the home and my office, tell me about the schools and the traffic, what the area is doing, and how it’s growing,” Brian says. When Brian arrived in town, Wendy picked him up at the airport and handed him a portfolio that contained all the properties they planned to view. “By noon the next day, we were putting an offer on the house. The process throughout was very easy. I would, and have, recommended Wendy Welsh to several of my friends and co-workers,” Brian says. “I was very happy that we were able to work together.”
Mariner agents work hard to help their clients, but they also work hard to help their community. “They are all full-time, working to support their families,” Wendy says, “However, their service toward their clients and community doesn’t end at the closing table.” Four Mariner agents are married to firefighters, and one agent is a firefighter himself. These firefighters are often able to identify families and organizations that have legitimate needs, and the agents are always willing to provide assistance. For example, Mariner Realty has been sponsoring a toy drive benefiting Montgomery County Youth Services every December for more than ten years.
“We also came together as a team to do a special dinner at the Conroe House of Prayer, where we fed the homeless,” Wendy says, “and we had the honor of sponsoring a CPS child with the Cut N Shoot Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (HOG).”
It was this teamwork approach that prompted Evan Ballew to join Mariner Realty in 2015. Evan has been a firefighter for nearly six years, and enjoys helping people. He realized, though, he could also assist people by guiding them through the process of buying or selling homes. “We ease the process for buyers and sellers,” he says. “We do it every day, so we know the ins and outs.” He recently found it particularly fulfilling to help an older couple buy their first home. Their rent was so high, they had difficulty saving the money they needed for closing costs, but Evan didn’t give up. “I thought about it and thought about it,” he said. Finally, he found a homebuilder who would help the couple pay part of their closing costs. “I was able to help them fulfill that dream of owning a home,” he said.
Wendy is always happy when she hears Mariner Realty agents tell such stories. “We are partners with our buyers and sellers,” Wendy says, “navigating the realty waters together.”
13185 FM 1097 Rd W #E
Willis, TX 77318