Today we’d like to introduce you to John and Jihye Deveau.
Jihye and John both started out at the Big 4 accounting firm KPMG out of college. After several years John left to get his MBA at Rice and then transitioned into M&A, and Jihye left to work in industry, transitioning into a finance role on the trading floor at Phillips 66. They reconnected by running into each at the airport parking lot of all places while both of them were traveling for work. Who knew a decade later they would be married with two kids and doing what they are doing now. John had been investing in real estate for years and also happened to be at a wedding at Sara’s Inn in 2007.
Given the uniqueness of the property, John had his eye on it, and so when it came on the market in 2014, they had it under contract before anyone else even had time to make an offer on it. Jihye then transitioned from her finance role in the corporate world to being the General Manager for the Inn, and with the afforded flexibility that this role offered she was able to pursue getting her real estate license in 2015. During the next couple of years, the real estate business started growing so fast that they hired a GM to run the Inn so that Jihye could focus 100% on being a top-producing Realtor, finishing in the top 1% of all Houston agents by 2018.
During this time, John also got his license, and given the number of transactions he had already personally been involved in, the two of them quickly became a dynamic duo known as the Deveau Realty Team. They discovered that doing what they love doesn’t mean less work or less stress, but they enjoy the day-to-day rhythm of it, the people they meet and get to serve, the happiness they see on their faces at closing, and the lifelong relationships that have resulted from it.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Deveau Realty Team – It’s amazing how much of the real estate business is based on referrals. Starting off we had a lot of knowledge, we had the personal experience of buying and selling many times, and we even had insights you don’t learn from the real estate licensing course, with John’s background in construction and being a CPA. What we didn’t have starting off was any transaction history on HAR.com, no homes with our sign in the front yard, no pending transactions to boast about, etc.. So when walking into a listing appointment with a potential seller who is interviewing multiple agents, and you don’t have a folio showing “here’s a list of other homes I sold recently,” it makes for a hard sell.
So starting off was the same for us as most realtors – friends and family clients. I think what helped us gain momentum is how well we served those first clients we had. They didn’t just become past clients we never heard from again. They became our advocates, letting others know that we were a team that went above and beyond what you typically expect from a realtor. And we’ve kept to that standard with every client we’ve worked with. Whether it’s negotiating a multiple offer deal at 10PM on a weekend night or spending an hour at the City of Houston permitting office to see whether a building set-back line on the survey would impact our client’s ability to put in a pool, it’s doing the things we weren’t expected to do that resulted in our referral business continuing to grow.
Sara’s Inn – I think running a boutique Inn has a unique set of challenges. There’s unexpected things that can just ruin your day (like the time the bathroom sink above the parlor room leaked, resulting in the entire parlor ceiling having to be ripped out), and then the everyday challenges related to staff scheduling, maintenance items, etc.
No business is exempt from having obstacles and challenges. What is important is to remember why you do what you do and to always focus on what you love about the business.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Deveau Realty Team is a full-service real estate team, helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. With negotiation skills, business acumen, and experience in everything from accounting and pricing strategy, to remodeling and business ownership, the Deveaus know the ins-and-outs of real estate. Through all of the negotiations, paperwork, and decision-making, the Deveau Realty Team also knows that this is the most exciting time of their clients lives – and it should be enjoyable and relaxing. That’s why the Deveau Team gets referral after referral – they are able to take care of the difficult part of the business so the client can relax and, yes, even enjoy the process.
Sara’s Inn is Houston’s longest running Inn / Bed & Breakfast, going on 33 years, and also it’s largest, with 15 rooms and suites. The Inn boasts a picturesque parlor room adorned with historical furniture, a large dining room and covered pavilion that are used for events such as bridal and baby showers, parties, and intimate weddings. Sara’s Inn has hosted guests from around the US and over 35 countries. What sets Sara’s Inn apart from other Inns and bed and breakfasts is that it truly is one-of-a-kind. The Victorian Inn is painted in a myriad of historical colors and is the only “painted lady” Inn in Houston. The Inn has the best breakfast in town and provides guests that home-away-from-home feels. Each room is designed different and it has several truly unique rooms, such as the Man Cave, Floral Suite, and Paradise Suite.
What were you like growing up?
John is a native Houstonian and Jihye grew up in South Korean until she was 13, at which time her family immigrated to the states. Although as kids, we grew up on opposite sides of the globe, we had similar interests and behaviors. We both were active in sports, particularly track, straight-A students and we both started working in the family business at an early age (which is probably why we both have very strong work ethic). Although we didn’t meet until post-college, turns out we had similar interests as young adults, as we both majored in Accounting, both studied abroad and both backpacked Europe while in college (turns out it was even during the same Summer).
- Address: Sara’s Inn – 941 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008
- Website: www.saras.com; www.deveaurealty.com
- Phone: Sara’s Inn – 713-868-1130
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarasinnontheboulevard/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeveauRealty
TK Images for all the photos that are of Sara’s Inn. Stills by Garcia for the photo of John & Jihye.