WCE Grads Build Homes, Shape Communities

Published on October 8, 2009

Entrepreneurial Sisters and WCE Grads Build Homes, Shape Communities

For sisters Rosario, left, and Cindy Romero, helping families own a home drives business approach. Both credit the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at UH Bauer College for providing foundation for home building career.

For sisters Rosario, left, and Cindy Romero, helping families own a home drives business approach. Both credit the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at UH Bauer College for providing foundation for home building career.

For Cindy and Rosario Romero, both 2006 graduates of the Cyvia & Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, everyday success means giving people a place to call home. While still in school, they founded their company Home Art Construction on the belief that every person should have access to safe, comfortable living at an affordable price.

Now, named Builder of the Month by the City of Houston Hope Newsletter, Home Art Construction shows two Houston communities that you can still live within your means without having to live outside your comfort zone.

For the Romeros, going into the real estate business was a logical choice. Their father is an architect with more than 30 years experience, and their mother is a real estate agent. The idea for Home Art Construction came about when the Romero siblings were still attending high school in Mexico City. Their dream was to come to the United States to start their business, and choosing the right business school was an integral part of that decision.

When they arrived in Texas, it was Bauer College’s Wolff Center that attracted the sisters to the University of Houston. As students, the Romeros drafted the business plan for Home Art Construction while honing their natural entrepreneurial abilities.

There could not have been a better time to be a student in the Wolff Center, Cindy Romero said. It was a true privilege to be able to seek the expert advice of her professors and mentors.

“We were able to ask about our business issues as they were happening,” she added, “issues that we might have had to figure out on our own later down the road.”

In the same way her classroom experience rounded out her business, her business helped enhance her classroom experience.

“Going through the growth of our business while we were in school helped us understand what we were studying,” Romero said. “Instead of reading and hypothesizing, we could actually think about things in a real-world context. The two experiences – starting a business and being in school – really complemented each other well.”

The business took off when Home Art Construction invested in two development tracts in North Houston. The two communities were within walking distance to schools and qualified for the City of Houston’s down-payment assistance program. With the majority of residents in the area being Spanish-speaking, Cindy and Rosario felt like they could make a big impact.

They built the developments from ground up with each lot featuring a custom-designed home – distinctive of the company’s brand. When you walk into one of Home Art’s homes, you notice right away the tall ceilings, rounded corners, granite counters, custom tile and unique lighting accessories. According to Home Art Construction, it’s details like these that turn a place to live into a place to call home.

For many customers, living in a Home Art Construction property is a luxury they never imagined possible.

This is best illustrated by the story of a young couple who recently bought a home, Romero says. When they came to her, their home was in such need of repair that they feared for the safety of their new baby. The baby had finally started to crawl, and the mother insisted on holding him anytime they were inside for fear that he might get hurt on the exposed, damaged floors.

Coming to Home Art Construction, they were able to take advantage of the City of Houston’s down-payment assistance program and invest in a nice home in which to raise their family.

“They tell me they feel blessed, which makes me satisfied,” Romero said. “They are finally happy and comfortable where they live. When we see how happy our customers are, it makes our work worth it. We know that we are not just building houses – we are changing lives as well.”

By Lori Reichardt