Sue Berk is one-half of the husband and wife team of Berk Walters Homes. With her husband, Brad Walters, the company builds new construction luxury houses in the Dallas area — especially the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Devonshire, Midway Hollow, and the Bird Streets.
How long have you been in real estate, and what led you to this career?
On and off for 30 years. I started my career in marketing and advertising for Fortune 500 companies. I got into real estate in a roundabout way. I was working at Texas Instruments and had just bought my first condo in North Dallas. I wanted to renovate it and could not get a contractor to do the work. The engineers at TI told me, “Do it yourself!” Some of them helped me out by showing me how to change out a light fixture, and I also learned how to tile by myself. I ended up renovating the entire condo myself in my spare time (paint, tile, wallpaper, etc.). I was featured on The Discovery Channel on a show called (ital)Interior Motives.(end ital) I love being creative, and custom home building allows me to combine creativity, project management, and finance. It is the perfect career for me.
Now that you’ve been a real estate professional for a while, if you could go back in time and give yourself any advice, what would it be?
Buy houses/lots in Midway Hollow and especially The Bird Streets! They were so cheap 20 years ago!
What is the best thing about being a builder?
I love so many things about being a builder. Seeing my vision come to life. Picking out all the tile, paint, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and more. That is my favorite part — being creative. But I also enjoy working with so many of my subcontractors. They are good people, mostly Hispanic, and it’s satisfying to see them do good work. They really are masters at their craft. I only wish I spoke Spanish!
What is your outlook on the Dallas market?
I honestly do not see it slowing down. I sort of wish it would because the traffic from all the new people moving here is insane. And it’s also getting more and more expensive to find lots and to pay for raw material and labor. But it is an exciting time to be a builder in the Metroplex. I love coming up with new designs and new ideas. Dallas is very cutting edge when it comes to new construction and design.
Can you give us a fun fact about yourself?
I grew up in South Africa, and I lived in Israel for a year during my junior year of college. So, I consider myself an immigrant, although most people do not realize it because I have an American accent. I believe that travel is the most important thing anyone can do — to learn about other cultures so you can understand their point of view.