Houston Real Estate Blog

Should I Use a Real Estate Agent to Sell My House?

Why hire an agent

Selling your home is a huge undertaking and you want to get the best possible price for your home as quickly as possible. You may think that paying commission to a Realtor seems like  a loss of profit, there are benefits for hiring a professional to help you sell your home instead of For Sale by Owner (FSBO).

Price

Doing the work on your own to sell your home is not a good substitute for an experienced Realtor who knows the business, local market and the process. You gain their experience in determining the best price you should list your home at. Your Realtor will provide current information on what is happening with your competition in the marketplace.

Marketing

Listing your home with a Realtor gains exposure for your home through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). An MLS is an invaluable source to which all things real estate go. A FSBO will not be listed on an MLS. If you sell on your own you may attract a buyer from a Craigslist ad or someone driving by. But if you list with an agent you take advantage of being exposed to a pool of thousands of buyers. Which way do you think would have a better chance of selling?

Negotiations

You may think that selling on your own will save you six percent of the sales price by not paying commission. But consider this...most buyers will work with a real estate agent to look for a house. If you are not going to pay the buyer’s agent a commission, you are losing  all those potential buyers. If you do pay the buyer’s commision, the buyer is represented by and agent and you are NOT. Who is going to have the upper hand in negotiations?

Final Thought…

...

Custom Home Without the Custom Price Tag in Katy!

Drop what you are doing and take a look at this amazng home! Artfully updated! Not an inch of this home has been overlooked!

Our Featured Listing this week is 3315 Gibbons Crest in the highly sought after Waterstone Subdivision!

Impeccably updated & upgraded home in sought-after Waterstone won't last at this price! Only plan that offers brick and stone exterior with 3-car garage & BALCONY. No carpet ANYWHERE: modern engineered wood in bedrooms, closets, staircase and gameroom, ceramic in the entry, kitchen baths. Gourmet kitchen with dark cabinetry, granite counters and stainless appliances (all included). Two story entry leads to grand living room with contemporary fireplace.

Living Room

Kitchen

You will not find a more gorgeous home for this price! Priced well under $300k, this one will not last long! Follow the link below for more details: 

Waterstone Home For Sale 

...

How to Get Your Kids Excited About Moving

Change is good! Possibly you have found your dream job in your dream town finally getting what you have worked so hard for. Or perhaps you are sick and tired of [insert extreme weather here] and want an alternate climate. Maybe you just want to be closer to someone, or something that you care about

How do you get the kids on board with the move? Here are a few ways to make the transition easier and maybe even a little fun for the kids.

Getting Kids Excited About Moving

Accentuate the Positive 

If you are moving from an area that has harsh Winters and shorter Summers to a more tropical climate, you can point out to the kids that now they can play their favorite sport, go swimming, or generally be outside nearly year-round. Going in the other direction? SNOW. Play up the snowmen, snowball fights, and ice castles that can and will be made.

Do your Research

Is one of your children really in to a particular activity? Make sure that you have information on all of the local versions of that. Do they play an instrument? Check out the the local age-appropriate music scene. Maybe your child follows a certain sport religiously. Get some tickets and root, root, root for the home team!

Compromise

Never underestimate the power of giving in a little to get a lot. Younger kids are a little more resilient and adaptable. It is a little tougher for the older ones. Teenage years are tough enough, so presenting this as an opportunity to re-invent themselves may do the trick. Is there a particular style of dress or hairstyle that you have been resisting? Give...

How to Add Value to Your Home

Often, we get the question “What can I do to increase my home’s value?”. A few simple things can make the world of difference.

First Impressions Matter

First Impressions Matter

Curb appeal is important. It is the first impression that buyers will get of your home. Making sure that the yard is clean, manicured, and the screens and shutters are free from disrepair goes a long way. Power washing the facade and the driveway, and adding a little color with some seasonal flowers and mulch goes a little further.

Make sure your home is clean. Really clean. Messy homes bring forth images of potential maintenance problems. If you never change your AC filters, the units won’t have as much life left on them as they should. Dirty dishes in the sink, and overflowing garbage left out for extended periods of time indicate a potential pest problem. Essentially, if you don’t take care of what can be seen, one can only imagine how neglected the items that can’t be seen are. Hire a professional service to make your home shine and have everyone pitch in to keep it that way.

De-clutter your home

Less is more. People need to be able to see themselves in your home as their home. Photos of your family are what makes your house yours, but detract from the Buyer’s ability to see themselves there. The same is true for overly personalized items. Collections, trophies, and personal keepsakes should be packed away until you find the perfect spot in your new home.

Paint

This is an area where a little can go a long way. Tastes differ, so neutralizing bold and dramatic colors will serve...

Perfect Starter Home for Less Than Rent in Cy-Fair ISD!

Stockwood Front View

This adorable two bedroom, one bath home is a perfect starter home for a small family. The home has been completely updated with premium laminate throughout the living areas and bedrooms. Tile adorns the bathroom. The cozy kitchen has been upgrades with new stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. The dining nook is the perfect spot to sip your morning coffee as you look out the bay windows out onto the landscaped front lawn. The bathroom has been completely remodeled with new cabinets, tub, granite countertops and designer tile. Backyard has plenty of room with a deck and covered patio. Commuting will be a breeze with quick and easy access to Beltway 8 and Cypress Creek Parkway. Located in Harvest Bend Village, minutes to Willowbrook Mall and tons of dining options, this home is a must see!

Stockwood Living Area

Click here for more information and photos of this adorable home!

More homes in the Willowbrook area.

...

Beautiful Mason Lakes Home in Katy, TX

This week's featured listing is a three-bedroom, two bath home in highly desired Mason Lakes subdivision in Katy, TX.

Zoned to Katy ISD, this home is located just north of Interstate 10 off the Grand Parkway at Clay Road.

This split floor plan home has been beautifully upgraded with hand scraped laminate flooring in all the living areas and bedrooms. The island kitchen is tiled and boasts granite countertops, tile backsplash and black appliances. The spacious living area has an open feel with vaulted ceiling that are repeated in the Master Bedroom.  Master features en suite bath with separate shower and soaking tub. Plenty of space is provided with the elongated sink, vanity and walk-in closet. Privacy is a bonus with the gorgeous french doors leading into the office/study. Large backyard is perfect for entertaining.

Front View

 Kitchen

Follow the link below for more photos and details.

21526 N Boundary Peak Way

Call 936-714-6913 to schedule an appointment to view this or all Katy TX Homes for Sale today!

...

Immaculately Upgraded Home in Houston's Energy Corridor

Take a look at this beautiful 3 bedroom home in Houston's Energy Corridor just reduced to $278,000!

Our latest featured listing is 1726 S. Kirkwood Dr. in the Country Village Subdivision. 

Energy Corridor Home for Sale

Get the best of all worlds! Right in the middle of one of Houston's hottest, most sought-after areas this completely remodeled 3 bedroom home has it all! Remodeled Island Kitchen with premium maple cabinetry and high end beveled granite countertops. New Energy Efficient windows throughout the home keep utility bills low. Heating and Air Conditioning systems replaced in 2015 with upgraded energy efficient units. Fresh paint throughout the home with modern designer colors (including garage). Brand new plush carpet just installed. Wood-look tile in downstairs bedroom. Updated master bath suite with granite countertops, framed mirrors and modern fixtures + Separate tub and shower. Two-inch faux wood blinds throughout. Lovely back yard with lots of trees and tile patio. Great curb appeal with brick exterior and spanish tile roof + long driveway. Fabulous location within minutes of City Centre, Memorial City Mall, and nearby West Houston Medical Center!

Kitchen

Living Room

This is the home that you have been looking for! Follow the link below to see more photos and get additional details:...

7 MUST KNOW Things Before Purchasing a Home

Thought Bubble
You have started to think about buying a home. Wonderful! Buying a home is a big investment. Before you jump into home ownership, make sure you are ready with these seven important things to know before buying a home.

1. Improve Your Credit Health

No one has perfect credit. Whether you have great credit or bad credit, we all have room for improvement. Having responsible credit habits will go a long way towards building your credit health.

Lenders like to see that you pay back your debts so it is extremely important to pay your bills on time, not just credit cards, but all your monthly bills such as cell phone bills, rent and utilities. Lenders also like to see that your credit utilization ratio is below 30 percent. Credit utilization ratio is the amount of outstanding balances on your credit cards divided by the sum of each card’s limit. A low ratio suggests that you are using credit responsibly which in turn adds to your credit health.

Be careful to not open too many new credit accounts. A hard inquiry, or hard pull, takes place every time you apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage. It can lower your credit score by a few points. It may not seem so bad but when a lender sees multiple hard inquiries within a short timeframe you may be considered a high risk customer that is short on cash with a lot more debt coming.

While not opening new credit card accounts is important, it is significantly more important to keep your old credit card accounts open even if you no longer use them. Not only does it affect your overall age of your credit history but it could also increase your credit utilization ratio.

2. Figure out...

5 Awesome Things to do in Spring and The Woodlands This Weekend

Just North of Houston, The Woodlands and Spring area is an extraordinary place to live, work, and play! With so much to offer singles, couples, and families alike-here are just a handful of options for this weekend!

 Chili Cookoff

Chili and Gumbo Cookoff

Saturday, January 27th All Day and Night!
19940 Kuykendahl Rd. 
Spring, Texas 77379

It is that time of year again! Bareback is holding their 3rd Annual Chili and Gumbo Cookoff! Come out and enjoy some of the best chili and gumbo that you have ever tasted, and indulge in their newest addition...a DESSERT category! Gates open at 11am, and all ages welcomed until 6pm, when the venue turns 21 and up. Admission is $5 at the gate and all proceeds go to the Spring Texas Music Fest’s Vehicles for Vets Program. Check out those Artists!

LEGOology

The Children's Museum of The Woodlands

Saturday, January 27th 11am-2pm
4775 W Panther Creek Dr #280
The Woodlands, Texas 77380

Calling all Engineers and Scientists to explore Lego®ology, the study of Legos®. Kids (big and small) will be navigating through Science concepts, such as geology, simple machines, and chemistry, using Legos® as tools. The cost of admission is $6 for adults and children 1 year and older. Purchase Tickets Here.

 GLOW

GLOW...

7 Reasons Why Your Home Didn’t Sell

So you tried to sell your home in Houston and it didn't work out - you hired an agent who listed your home on the MLS and then ... crickets. You are rightfully concerned and might be wondering why. There are 7 probable reasons why your Houston home didn't sell:

House

Your Home Was Priced Incorrectly

There's a good reason why your home's price is first on this list. When you price your home above its true market value, the chances of a sale are severely impacted. No matter how pretty or how masterfully marketed, an overpriced home will struggle to sell. Or worse, it will help sell the competition because in comparison other homes will look like a good value. Don't misunderstand my point: If your home's upgrades are nicer than average, you should try to maximize the sales price within the range of prices in the area. However, what you shouldn't do is price it above that level. 

Prospective Buyers can't Access Your Home

All the greatest marketing in the world can do is to get a prospective buyer interested in looking at your home.  But until they get to see it, there’s no hope for an offer. Lose lengthy prior notice requests, restricting showings to weekends only etc. Make your home as easy to access as possible and maximize your selling chances. 

Your Home Doesn't Show Well

The way your home is presented to prospective buyers during showings is crucial in getting that offer. Lose the clutter, give every room a purpose and arrange the furniture to allow for pluses in your home to show and shine. Or you can hire a staging pro and have them do it for you. Staged homes sell faster and for more money. Presentation is all about giving Buyers a glimpse of what their life in the home might be like.

Your Home has Been Overcustomized...

Stablewood Farms Cypress Home for Sale under $200k

Our Featured Listing this week is a three-bedroom, two and a half bath home in highly sought-after Stablewood Farms in Cypress, TX.

Zoned to Cy-Fair ISD, this home is located just north of Hwy. 290 off Huffmeister Rd.

The open floor plan features laminate wood flooring downstairs. Custom cabinets, tile backsplash and all black appliance adorn the kitchen. Gather your family at the breakfast bar or around the table in the breakfast room for a quick morning breakfast. You will love dining in the evening in your formal dining room. Enjoy solitude in the comfort of your master suite which boasts a separate soaking tub and shower, double sinks, and walk-in closet. Snuggle together in the upstairs game room for family movie night. This home is the perfect home for a growing family!

Front View of 15535 Echo Stable

Interior View of 15535 Echo Stable

Follow the link below for more photos and details.

15535 Echo Stable Ln.

Call 936-714-6913 to schedule an appointment to view this or all Cypress Homes for Sale  today!

 

...

Houston Real Estate Market Remains Resilient After Harvey As Home Prices Rise 3%

At the start of 2017, the Houston economy was showing positive signs due to the recovery of the struggling energy sector. As oil prices stabilized around the $50/barrel mark employment numbers improved. The stronger job market resulted in an increase in demand for properties for sale and rent in the Houston Area and the real estate market reaped the benefits.

 

WTI Crude Oil Prices - 10 Year Daily Chart

In late August, Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented rainfall and flooding to the Houston area. As a result, the local economy was disrupted as companies put hiring on hold. At the same time, the supply of available properties was reduced overnight and the demand for unaffected homes to buy or rent skyrocketed. Houstonians banded together, helped each other in this time of need and showed the world what it means to be #HoustonStrong.

Just 45 days later, home sales recovered and the rental market hit record territory. The Houston real estate market ended the year on a positive note entering 2018 with plenty of momentum.

Houston Real Estate Market Key Points in 2017

According to the latest report released by the Houston Association of Realtors:

  • Sales of all property types in 2017 totaled 94,726 units, a 3.5-percent increase over 2016’s volume.
  • The average price of single family homes rose 2.9 percent to $291,340 while the median price increased 3.8 percent...

Modern Med Center Condo in Prime Location

Welcome Home!

Our Featured Listing this week is a one-bedroom condo in a gated community in the heart of Medical Center 2255 Braeswood Park #147 offered for sale at $149,900!

Braeswood Park Condos for Sale

Nestled off of Kirby and Main, it is all about LOCATION! Braeswood Park is a community with mature trees, exercise room with state-of-the-art equipment, and a sparkling pool. A short commute to the Med Center, Rice University, or Reliant Stadium you will have the best of Houston in your backyard! This one bedroom Med Center condo features granite countertops in the kitchen and the bath, wood-look flooring in the living areas, a large bedroom, and walk-in closet, and so much more! Ample parking within the complex and close proximity to Metro makes getting around a breeze for any type of commuter. 

Braeswood Park #147

Braeswood Park Medical Center Condo for Sale

Follow the link below for full photos and details: 

Medical Center Condo for Sale

Call us at 713-952-3200 to schedule an appointment to view this or any other Houston Medical Center condo for sale today!
...

Best Things to Do this weekend in Cypress, Texas

The weekend is here and it brings with it the age old question: What fun things could we do together as a family? That's why I have put together a handy list of the Best 5 Things to Do with your family in Cypress Texas. Let's dive right in!

The Boardwalk at Towne Lake

The Boardwalk at Towne Lake

You'll always find something to do at The Boardwalk.  Go boating in your backyard, enjoy dining at waterfront restaurants, lakeside concerts, casual shopping and experience wellness on the water.  From weekly events for the family to enjoy to specials offered by retailers and restaurants, The Boardwalk at Towne Lake is Northwest Houston’s premier attraction. The Boardwalk at Towne Lake is conveniently located at 9945 Barker Cypress Rd. 

For info on upcoming events, visit The Boardwalk at Towne Lake

Houston Premium Outlets

Houston Premium Outlet Cypress

Experience the ultimate shopping extravaganza at Houston Premium Outlets. The vintage style mall offers 145 designer and name-brand outlet stores. Relax at the outdoor courtyards or stroll from shop to shop along the covered walkways providing an all-weather shopping experience. Just off Hwy. 290 West at 29300 Hempstead Road, you will enjoy upscale outlet shopping from a wide range of retailers...

Top 5 Neighborhoods to Purchase in Cypress Texas

Our clients often ask us where should they buy in Cypress, Texas so we have put together a list of the top 5 newer neighborhoods in the Cypress, Texas area.

Alder Trails

Alder Trails is a 155-acre community with two lakes with gorgeous walking trails. The community offers residents prime location just off Barker-Cypress Road between Queenston Boulevard and Cypress N. Houston. Alder Trails is near highly acclaimed Cy-Fairbanks ISD schools and surrounded by restaurants, shopping centers, entertainment venues, medical facilities and more. Homes range from the $200s to $800s.

Search Alder Trails Homes for Sale

Bridgeland

Bridgeland is a masterfully planned community of 11,400 acres in northwest Houston located at Hwy 99 & 290. Centrally located in the community is the Lakeland Activity Center, with a resort-style pool, tennis courts, playground, fitness center and spacious community center. Residents can enjoy an abundance of activities such as a disc-golf course, fishing, dozens of parks and nature trails, Water Haven Spray Pad and use of canoes, kayaks and other recreation equipment. Upcoming, 20-acre community park will feature an enclosed dog park, a basketball court, canoe launch and a skate park. Additional tennis courts, picnic areas, walking trails and pavilions also are planned for the park, as well as a new splash pad, playground and heated lap pool, which will be open...

Top 5 Spring Neighborhoods for Newer Homes

Our clients often ask us where should they buy in Spring, Texas so we have put together a list of the top 5 newer neighborhoods in the Spring, Texas area.

Gleannloch Farms

Gleannloch Farms

Gleannloch Farms is a master planned community nestled 30 miles northwest of Houston, Texas along the newest extension of The Grand Parkway. Residents of Gleannloch Farms can take advantage of three recreation centers with pools and sports facilities, take in a round of golf at the prestigious Gleannloch Pines Golf Club, or take a riding lesson at the Equestrian Center. Gleannloch Farms is zoned to Hassler Elementary, Doerre Intermediate, and Klein Cain-all Exemplary schools in the highly-sought after Klein School District. With homes starting in the lower $200’s to $1.7 Million, there is something for everyone in Gleannloch Farms.

Search Gleannloch Farms Homes for Sale

 Auburn Lakes

Auburn Lakes is master planned community North of Houston, Texas that strikes the perfect balance between seclusion and convenience with it’s mature trees, walking trails, lakes, and easy commuting to Houston, Texas and The Woodlands, Texas. Auburn Lakes residents enjoy access to Augusta Pines Golf Club- a full service private membership club with fine dining restaurant, and an 18 hole champion golf course. Auburn Lakes is zoned to Exemplary schools in the acclaimed Klein School District-French Elementary, Hildebrandt Intermediate, and Klein Oak High School. Homes in Auburn Lakes start at the low $300’s to the $800s+.

Search Auburn Lakes...

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Potential homebuyers are always cautioned to be aware of mortgage lending standards and the difficulty they might face when trying to obtain a mortgage. Credit availability is expanding, making it easier to get a mortgage now than it was a year ago. The market is still tight however, and homebuyers should be prepared to shop around until they find a lender who is offering something that will meet the needs of their family.

Mortgage lending companies have high standards so it is important to make sure you and anyone else who will be included on the mortgage have their credit in check. The mortgage market is strict because lenders do not want to be put in a situation where they are forced to repurchase loans that are not paid on. They also do not want to end up in a litigation situation due to loan issues.

What Has Happened to the Number of Mortgages?

Due to the strict nature and requirements of the lending companies, the number of mortgages given out has significantly dropped. A report by the Housing Financial Policy Center at the Urban Institute showed that about 6.3 million fewer mortgages were given out between 2009 and 2015. The reasons behind this statistic are strict regulations and policies. These mortgages would have been granted if the lending standards where more reasonable.

Mortgage companies rely on calculations to determine if a home buyer will become delinquent on their payment. They will not give you a loan if you are too much of a risk for them. Credit history has a huge impact on this decision since lenders can see how often you pay back your debts. The history they receive is extensive. This view into your financial past causes lenders to take less risk when lending to you for your mortgage.

The Effect on the...

Common Things to Look Out for Before Buying Your Dream Home

Common Things to Look Out for Before Buying Your Dream Home

It is easy to become overwhelmed when you enter the home buying market. Friends, family, colleagues, and even acquaintances will give you their opinions if you are a first time home buyer. While most of them are looking out for your best interest, they are not fully aware of what is happening in the housing market.

It is important for you to be prepared and have your own questions ready. No matter what other opinions you are getting, you are the one buying the home and your comfort level will help make your final decision. Here are three important questions to ask before you purchase a home.

1. Why am I Buying a Home?

Regardless of the finances, it is important to think about what made you want to buy a home in the first place. Usually the reasons don’t have to do with money. Instead, home buyers are focused on how the house will impact their family in the future. A study done by the Joint Center for House Studies at Harvard found there are four reasons people buy a home. Those reasons include schools for your children, a safe environment, more room for your family to grow, and control of your own space.

These factors are the most common reasons people look to buy a new home. When you ask yourself why you are looking to purchase a home, do any of those factors come up? Spend time with your spouse or family members who are involved in this decision and determine why you want a home in the first place. Creating this list will help when searching for a home and can help your real estate agent find the best home for your needs.

2. What is the Trend with Home Values?

Our current economy and housing market is strong. That means home values and mortgage rates are increasing....

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?

There has been some discussion recently on home prices in relation to mortgage rates. Some believe if there is a rapid rise of mortgage rates, home prices should decrease. Logically it makes the most sense for the price of the house to drop when interest rates are rising, but this is not always the case.

This theory of home prices decreasing is typically discussed by future home buyers. As a buyer you would like to think if you are paying higher rates on your mortgage, you should be able to see a decrease in cost somewhere else. Unfortunately, these rates are rising because the economy is in better shape. As the economy succeeds, incomes rise, rates go up, as well as the price of the home.

A recent study by the John Burns Real Estate Consulting found mortgage rates have very little impact on the cost of the home. The housing market and price increases are affected by things like job growth in the area and rising wages. Coincidentally, these same factors are causing the rise in the mortgage rates since people can afford to take out more.

Bottom Line

As the economy progresses and strengthens, mortgage rates and home prices will fluctuate. It is a misconception as rates increase, home prices will decrease. Advances in the economy have shown that rates and home prices are more likely to increase together.

...

Why You Should Consider Selling in the Winter

Selling In Winter Attracts Serious Buyers

The season you sell your home can have an impact on how much you get for your home and how quickly it sells. The season that has the most success in selling homes is spring. This is a good time of year for families moving to new school districts and is also more convenient weather for moving. Because of this trend, most people will recommend waiting to list your home until after the winter is over. Avoiding the winter is a huge misconception in the housing industry and can cause homeowners to miss out on opportunities.

Selling in the winter can give you a few advantages. There will be fewer houses on the market since most people assume winter is a bad time to sell. This gives your home more attention. Potential buyers are always looking no matter the time of year. Keeping your house on the market in the winter might bring the right buyer to your door. Real estate agents also tend to be less busy during these months and commit more time to getting your home sold.

Studies have shown winter buyers are buying because they need to move right away either for a relocation or personal situation. They will want to close quickly and allow for a much smoother sale.

Bottom Line

If you need to sell your home right away, or have some time but want to see what is out there, consider listing in the winter. Most homeowners who are going to sell will list their home in the spring, making for a competitive market. The winter allows buyers who are in a hurry to move consider your home and sell for more money than you would have in the spring.

...