by Bill Baldwin

A few years ago, I heard the artist James Surls describe Houston as “a city that lives on its next risk.” Its next flood, its next hurricane, its next threat of recession. I thought this was a marvelously poetic way of capturing how our complex geographical and economic landscape uniquely positions us as both one of the great global port cities and one that must learn to meet those risks with resilience. High risk, high reward, high resilience.

As we continue to deal with the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget that we are also at the beginning of what is expected to be a particularly busy hurricane season with the possibility of up to 15 named storms. What lessons have we learned about real estate during the pandemic that we can apply to another Memorial Day-, Tax Day-, or Harvey-like flooding event?

The only constant is change. Disruption is, somewhat paradoxically, our new normal. We as licensed professionals must be prepared to pivot at any given moment.

The housing market is highly resilient, but that is no happy accident. It takes good, informed Realtors giving sound, educated advice.

There will always be a tension between private and public interests. Sometimes we have to bear a little bit of a cost for the collective good.

There is no shying away from these subjects. We can’t avoid flooding, we must learn to live with it. Our revised Floodplain Development Ordinance is still in play and continues to be enforced. 

Our regulatory flood risk maps and rating systems will still get an update at the federal and local levels. Falling behind on educating ourselves on these topics isn’t just putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage, it is putting the lives and livelihoods of our clients and communities at undue risk. It is not enough to simply react when the next storm is on our doorstep. We must plan and prepare now so we’ll be ready to meet that next challenge when it arrives.

I hope you will take the time to join me for a webinar on July 28th as part of HAR’s Broker Series on the most important topics impacting our industry and housing market locally this year and beyond. I will once again be presenting on Flooding and the Future of Houston Real Estate as an update and preview of my continued and constantly evolving 2-hour CE course The Realtor’s Survival Guide to Houston Flooding & Floodplains. I look forward to “seeing” you there virtually, but please know that you can always reach out to me with any questions at

Bill Baldwin is the broker/owner of Boulevard Realty. He is also an HRIS Board Member, City of Houston Planning Commissioner, and a past recipient of HAR’s John E. Wolf Service Award. He currently teaches two TREC-approved courses for HAR.

Houston Real Estate After Harvey: Where are we today?
This webinar will provide Houston-area Realtors with an understanding of where we are in the wide world of flooding and flood risk as we approach three years after Harvey. In addition to reviewing the state of funding and infrastructure for resilience, we will also review regulatory changes like the revised Seller’s Disclosure and City of Houston Floodplain Development Ordinance, focusing on how they affect your daily real estate practice. We will also discuss pitfalls that arise for tenants and homeowners because of inadequate flood risk and claim history disclosure.

Date: July 28
Time: 10 – 11 a.m.
Investment: FREE