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Home Girl

As both a home buyer and busy realtor in the Heights, Brittany Zalman is all over one of Houston’s hippest ’hoods.

Area realtor and newlywed Brittany Zalman’s roots in the Heights go all the way back to her grandpa, who was born there in 1925.

“I can look, but I can’t touch,” says Brittany Zalman as a cheeseburger passes her table at Onion Creek cafe in the Heights. Fitness-minded Zalman, 28, may not take advantage of all the treats this hot ’hood offers, but, as both a new homeowner and a realtor specializing in the area, she does reap its rewards in many ways. After four years of slumping or flat sales, lagging behind similarly trendy districts like Montrose, average prices are up here more than 10 percent since this time in 2012, to nearly $400,000.

The bubbly Zalman—with fashion sense that’s professional yet bright, a la Michael Kors by way of Tory Burch—and her banker husband Chase married last year and just purchased their first home here amidst the craze. But she’s far from new to the neighborhood. “Chase and I looked at two houses in the suburbs,” she says, “and we ran back to the city as fast as we could.” Both relish their proximity to parks, bike trails and Downtown. She especially loves Anytime Fitness, and he’s a Liberty Kitchen fan. Zalman says the greatest appeal of all is that, despite being in the middle of everything, the area—characterized by its Victorian-style architecture, good schools and quaint mini-downtown shopping and visual-arts section—has managed to retain a “great neighborhood feel.”

Perhaps it’s no surprise the physically disciplined realtor—she’ll actually start entering fitness and body-building competitions in the fall—tackles her job with similar commitment. “Prices are up,” she says, “and it is definitely a seller’s market,” noting that bidding wars, larger down payments and extending offers on multiple properties are the new normal. “Looking in a competitive market can be stressful for buyers, and being right there with them, I too feel that stress. But throughout the process, they become friends. The greatest reward is when you finally help them find the perfect home.”

Zalman’s Hots
BYOB restaurants, organic spray tans, the Theater District, leopard print

Zalman’s Nots
Chain restaurants, tanning beds, watching TV, squatters, snake print