Inner Loop Newsletter June 2016 Edition

Its June in Houston which means the end of school and prime buying and selling time for many families looking to make a move. A big factor in many families move decisions are area school rankings, but many times an areas affordability doesn’t quite match up with local school rankings. Check out the article below to learn about the most affordable areas with the best schools and don’t forget, if you’re looking to make a move this summer, give Texas Real Estate & Co. a call!

This Houston ZIP code with great schools offers the most bang for your buck

School-bus-back-of-bus-with150415Both buyers and sellers know that a highly ranked school system is like gold. Sometimes, however, a neighborhood’s affordability doesn’t match up with the best schools.

Online real estate investment firm HomeUnion did the digging and found the most affordable ZIP codes for each major metro area that also boast acclaimed schools.

The study analyzed median home prices and schools ranked in the 80th percentile or higher by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Katy ranks No. 13 out of 31 and takes the title in Houston, where an 89.8 school rating will cost you a median $202,000 for a home in the 77450 ZIP code.

“The quality of public schools is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a home, especially for families,” says HomeUnion CEO Don Ganguly in a release. “In many cases, homebuyers are willing to pay more to be located in a neighborhood with highly ranked schools, even if it means downsizing into a smaller home.”

A San Antonio home in 78259 will run you a pricey $227,000, but that No. 16 spot comes with schools rated 89.8. That’s the highest school score in Texas and is a tie with Houston.

Plano shows up as Dallas-Fort Worth’s best bet. ZIP code 75023 is ranked at No. 12 out of 31, with a median home price of $201,000 and a school score of 81.1. If you’re house hunting in Austin, keep an eye on 78705. Its 87.8 NCES score and $187,000 median home price puts it at No. 7 overall and the most affordable in Texas.

Article from: http://houston.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/05-20-16-affordable-homes-good-schools-homeunion-katy/

Old New Hope Church Site in First Ward Marked Up for Townhomes

1221-crockett-listingThe Texas Revolution-themed southeast corner of Goliad and Crockett streets looks to be getting blanked out to make way for more townhomes in the increasingly formerly industrial section of First Ward between Sawyer St., Washington Ave., and White Oak Bayou. Chris Andrews  noted the planning commission application asking  the city to chop up the land beneath the former New Hope Missionary Baptist Church buildings into 7 smaller pieces. Also probably getting chopped up into smaller pieces: the structures themselves, which the city’s archaeological and historical commission says may have been among those designed by 1940s African-American church architect James M. Thomas.

The converting church property has been vacant since about 2008, according to the property’s lot-value-only listing from last spring. CitySide Homes appears to have named the spot Goliad Grove; most of the new lots will back up to some of Unique Development’s Summer Street Landing townhomes.

Article from: http://swamplot.com/old-new-hope-church-site-in-first-ward-marked-up-for-townhomes/2016-06-20/

Historic Heights Theater Will Reopen By End Of Year

HeightsTheaterHoustonTXRenovations at the iconic Heights Theater are moving along after the property was acquired by Edwin Cabaniss less than a year ago. The Dallas-based developer known for redeveloping the Kessler Theater in Dallas has announced plans to have the theater up and running by the end of the year. Interior construction began in October and should finish in early fall, reports the Houston Business Journal. According to permits filed with the city, the work is costing around $800k. 

The theater will add to The Heights’ many unique commercial developments, such as Eureka Brewing and space along White Oak Drive. All of the growth in The Heights may be enough to draw the attention of H-E-B: rumors are swirling around the grocer’s interest in a four-acre site in the area. When coupled with the excellent spaces like the future Heights Theater, there’s never been a better time to buy a home (and bike) in The Heights. [HBJ]

Article from: https://www.bisnow.com/houston/news/retail/historic-heights-theater-will-reopen-by-end-of-year-60725

Inner Loop Newsletter – August 2015 Edition

It’s August in Houston and our temperatures are hitting record highs. Despite falling oil prices, the Houston housing market is following the trend, with June seeing more single-family home closings than in any month on record! Check out the article below for more info, and if you’re looking to buy or sell, it’s never been a better time. Give us a call today, and let’s get to work for you!

Houston housing market hits record highs

FOR-LEASEBuyers closed on more single-family homes in June than in any month on record, defying the recent trend of declining home sales amid falling oil prices and weakening job growth, a new report shows.

Houston-area home sales jumped 4.1 percent in June to 7,935 after falling the two previous months and in February, according to a monthly report released Wednesday from the Houston Association of Realtors. The association revised the area’s sales decline in May to 6.6 percent from 4.3 percent.

The median home price — the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — also set a record high, reaching $225,000 in June.

“I think it speaks very well for the health of our real estate market when you have a month in which sales are up, rentals are up, inventory is growing, and you’re comparing it all to the record year of 2014,” HAR chairwoman Nancy Furst said in a statement. “We still expect normalization in the marketplace later this year, and that may well mean these alternating up and down sales months, but the bottom line appears to be that there is no lack of interest in housing in Houston, Texas.”

Months of inventory, the estimated time it would take to deplete the current active housing inventory based on the previous 12 months of sales, increased to a 3.2-months supply versus 2.9 months last June. That is the greatest supply since September 2013, but it remains well below the current national supply of 5.1 months of inventory.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • The time it took to sell a home fell to a record low of 43 days.
  • Single-family home sales tracked on a year-to-date basis were flat in June at 35,632.
  • Townhouse and condominium sales were up 6.7 percent in June at a median price of $161,000.
  • Demand for single-family rental properties jumped 4.6 percent. The average rent was up 4.2 percent to $1,875 per month.

Here’s how sales by price segment activity broke out in June:

Sales activity
Price range                    Change
Less than $80,000              -23.0%
$80,000-$150,000               -16.7%
$150,000-$250,000              16.8%
$250,000-$500,000              10.6%
$500,000 and above            14.9%

Share of sales
Less than $80,000                 3.7%
$80,000-$150,000                 17.9%
$150,000-$250,000               34.9%
$250,000-$500,000               32.4%
$500,000 and up                  11.1%

Article By from Chron.com

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Mortgage News

Mortgage volume last week regained almost exactly what it lost the previous week, as interest rates stopped climbing and dipped slightly lower.

Total applications rose 4.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week that ended Friday, which included an adjustment for the Independence Day holiday, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mortgage application volume is now 22 percent higher than one year ago.

Applications to refinance loans, which are most rate sensitive, increased 3 percent from the previous week, but applications to purchase properties grew a more robust 7 percent. Purchase applications are now 32 percent higher than a year ago.

The moves came as the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 4.23 percent from 4.26 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

“Overall, trends in mortgage applications last week were consistent with the ongoing shift towards a purchase market accompanied by growth in employment and higher interest rates. Although contract interest rates fell by 3 basis points due to economic uncertainty abroad last week, they remain 40 basis points above April levels and the refinance share of mortgage applications fell to 48 percent, the lowest rate since June of 2009,” said Lynn Fisher, the association’s vice president for research and economics.

Higher interest rates in general have energized the adjustable-rate-mortgage share of activity, which increased to 7.1 percent of total applications. ARMs offer lower interest rates, but higher risk for borrowers.

Interest rates took a brief dip Tuesday, as investors fled to the safety of the U.S. bond market, amid continued economic turmoil in Greece. By the end of the day, however, bond yields, which rates loosely follow, were regaining ground. Most lenders did not reprice rates lower, as there is simply too much volatility in the market. Wednesday’s scheduled release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting only adds to the uncertainty.

“Volatility is the only safe bet,” wrote Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. “For the past three business days, that volatility has generally left mortgage rates in better shape, but until we see a more stable change in market behavior, it’s safer to treat such days as “lock opportunities” as opposed to promises of further improvement.”

Diana Olick cnbc.com


Brian Striegold is the Branch Manager of NRL Mortgage in the Galleria area. He specializes in Conventional and Jumbo loans going straight off of Fannie Mae’s guidelines as well as FHA with no crazy overlays like many other banks. Brian has been in the business for over 13+ years is also a host on Real Estate U on KPRC AM 950 iHeart talk radio every Sunday from 10 am to 11 am. Give him a call today to see why he has been ranked among the highest in customer service helping many people attain their goal of home ownership; he can be reached at 281-833-9424.

BrianStriegold

Title News

The New Requirements – OCTOBER 2015

The new Closing Disclosure in October, the real estate industry is also preparing for new requirements made by lenders of service providers associated with the closing process.

In addition to the new software platforms being used to collaborate in preparing and delivering the Closing Disclosure to the borrower, lenders are also requesting new documentation from title companies to participate in closing federally insured loans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), consumers and investors have increased pressure on lenders to know more about the service providers they do business with. To help meet this need, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) created Best Practices, a tool to help title agents implement and document the safeguards to ensure that closing activities meet all applicable laws and regulations, as well to meet the Bureau’s expectations for protecting consumers during a financial transaction.

Title companies adopting Best Practices start by reviewing current written policies and procedures. Providing the company’s documented Best Practices is a way to tell a lender about the processes and procedures we follow to protect their money and ensure a compliant real estate closing.

The ALTA Best Practices Framework has been developed to assist lenders in satisfying their responsibility to manage third party vendors.

Contact Wanda Reyna with South Land Title for additional information and updates with the new Closing Disclosure requirements for all closing transactions.

“DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE because EXPERIENCE MATTERS”

Wanda Reyna

Branch Manager/Escrow Officersouthland
2400 Augusta Drive, Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
(713) 587-2025
Fax (713) 587-2026
Cell (713) 447-5265
WReyna@southlandtitle.net
www.southlandtitle.net

Inner Loop Newsletter March 2015

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

Wishing you and yours a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! In the spirit of the luck of the Irish, we wanted to share more good news coming out of the Houston Housing market. Check out the article below to learn more about how, despite the current oil prices, home sales in Houston are stronger than ever! Cheers!

Houston real estate defies the doomsday oil bust visions: Home sales still jumping as job losses mount

The Houston housing market shrugged off the frightening free-fall in oil prices and racked up a very strong January.

The Houston Association of Realtors reports 4,032 single-family homes were sold in January, up 6 percent from January of last year.

The bright news for January sales comes as Houston energy companies have laid off thousands of employees and oil rigs are being mothballed. A sharp drop in oil prices — West Texas crude has fallen from $100 a barrel last summer to less than $50 a barrel today — has darkened the outlook for the Houston economy.

oldpricesspeculationBut so far this year, the Houston housing market has failed to comply with the negative forecasts.

“There’s a lot of speculation about oil prices, but the nice homes that come on the market continue to sell,” says Houston Realtor Natalia Arjona of Re/Max The Woodlands and Spring. “Some people panic a little bit, but the demand continues to grow.”

Arjona says a few homes are even getting multiple offers when they hit the market, although that’s not as common as when home sales were on fire last summer.

“When oil prices drop, the Houston economy is OK. When oil prices are high, the economy is booming,” Arjona says.

Home prices hit record highs for a January in Houston. The single-family average price increased 7 percent from last year to $259,969 and the median price climbed almost 7 percent to $190,000, the Realtors association reported.

January is typically a slow month because the holiday season constricts the home market at year-end. There aren’t many sellers putting their homes up for sale the week before Christmas and there aren’t many buyers, either. That makes January pretty dead. It takes a while for home sales to rekindle.

But January of 2015, despite the decline in the energy industry, turned out to be the second-best January on record for Houston, falling behind only January of 2007, according to the Realtors association.

 “January was a strong month overall for the Houston housing market, but we still expect to see sales cool as a result of lower oil prices and the limited supply of homes,” says HAR Chair Nancy Furst of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. “We’ve already started to see declining townhome and condominium sales.

“Coming off a record year, this normalization should give homebuilders an opportunity to create new inventory, with existing homes entering the market in the spring and summer months, which is traditionally the most popular time for owners to sell.”

Future Less Certain

The Houston Association of Realtors, which includes 29,000 Realtors working in Houston and the surrounding area, has projected a 10 to 12 percent decline in home sales in 2015. The forecast was developed by former HAR Chairman Ted C. Jones, the chief economist of Stewart Title.

marketfailedJones says the Houston economy will slip back in 2015, after being a national leader in job growth in 2014 when Houston gained 120,000 new jobs.

“Right now, my forecast is we will drop down from 120,000 jobs to 65,000 in 2015,” Jones says.

Home builders ran behind in constructing new houses to keep up with the demand as the city’s population grew in the recent energy boom. That made the inventory of single-family homes shrink to record lows. Houston has only a 2.6 months supply of homes for sale, which is near a record low. The National Association of Realtors reports a 4.4-months supply of homes for sale nationally.

Houston is coming off its strongest year ever with 73,573 home sales in 2014. With the softening local economy, many realty experts are looking for slower sales this year.

But so far — based on these January numbers — the slowdown has not yet occurred.

Ralph Bivins, former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is founding editor of Realty News Report.

Article from CultureMap Houston. By Ralph Bivins

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Mortgage News

A sharp jump in mortgage rates last Friday took its toll on home lending, leaving mostly high-end home buyers on the playing field.

Total mortgage application volume fell 1.3 percent week-to-week on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending March 6th, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The fall was driven by a 3 percent drop in applications to refinance. Refinance volume is now at its lowest level since January and accounts for just 60 percent of all applications. Refinances had seen as much as an 80 percent share of all applications in recent years, as rates dipped and home buying stalled.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose two percent for the week and are two percent higher than a year ago. The slight increase, however, was largely due to higher-end home buyers. The average purchase loan size last week soared to $294,900, the highest level ever recorded on the MBA survey. The median price of a U.S. home sold in January was $199,600, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“The record high average loan size indicates that the strength of the market remains at the high end. We have not yet seen an influx of first-time homebuyers,” noted Michael Fratantoni, chief economist for the MBA.

A stronger-than-expected February employment report last Friday pushed interest rates higher, as investors now expect the Federal Reserve to increase its lending rate by mid-year. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 4.01 percent, the highest level since the week ending January 2, 2015, from 3.96 percent, with points increasing to 0.39 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans, according to the MBA.

Interest rates edged back a bit Tuesday, as the stock market sold off, but 4 percent may be the new normal now for 30-year fixed rate loans, with the expectation that they would move higher later this year. While these moves may seem small, they can take away significant purchasing power, especially for lower income borrowers using small down payments. With home price gains accelerating, and still tight supply of homes for sale, home buyers are especially sensitive to every potential penny lost or gained.

www.cnbc.com


Brian Striegold is the Branch Manager of NRL Mortgage in the Galleria area. He and his team are excited to roll out a 580+ credit score FHA, USDA and VA program for his Real Estate partners. They specialize in Conventional and Jumbo loans going straight off of Fannie Mae’s guidelines as well as FHA with no crazy overlays like many other banks. Brian has been in the business for over 13+ years and is a preferred lender for many top builders and Real Estate firms serving all of Houston. Brian is also a host on Real Estate U on KPRC AM 950 talk radio every Sunday from 10 am to 11 am. Give him a call today to see why he has been ranked among the highest in customer service helping many people attain their goal of home ownership; he can be reached at 281-833-9424.

BrianStriegold

Inner Loop Newsletter February 2015

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

It’s February in Houston and Texas Real Estate & Co. is feeling the love! Someone else who is sharing the love with Houston is Forbes magazine, who in a recent article named Houston America’s number 1 city! Check out the article below to read more.

Houston named America’s No. 1 city by top national magazine: Oil bust no matter

downtown-Houston-skyline-at-dusk_103425Houston has landed the No. 1 spot on Forbes‘ latest annual list of America’s Fastest-Growing Cities.

“Thanks in large part to the boom in horizontal drilling and fracking, which has helped the Houston metro area add a whopping 667,800 new jobs since 2005, the energy city is an economic powerhouse: Its 4.5 percent year-over-year job growth rate is the nation’s fastest,” the Forbes report notes. “Jobs at major corporations like ConocoPhillips and Halliburton help boost the median annual pay for college-educated workers to $71,900, fourth among America’s 100 largest metro areas. Add to that an economy that grew at a 3.52-percent clip last year alone.”

The Houston metro area is expected to create 63,000 jobs in 2015, Forbes reports from stats offered by the Greater Houston Partnership. As well, some 1,500 corporate relocations or expansions have come to Houston since 2009, leased 20,000 or more square feet of office space or invested $1 million or more in capital improvements.

“In the past four years, greater Houston grew by half a million people — half from moves, half from births,” the Forbes study notes. “Population growth means housing demand, and realtors sold more than 425,000 homes in the last five years, amounting to a home-closing rate of one every six minutes, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

“What’s more, jobs boost construction, which is why last year Houston topped our list of “Building Boom Towns“: Metro areas with the most new construction.”

houstonoilForbes attributes exports as the driving force, beside oil, behind the boom, noting between 2009 and 2013 the value of Houston’s exports grew 74.5 percent, making the metro area the nation’s top exporter. Even though the falling price of oil is expected to slow Houston’s growth, the city’s economy should “chug along” with the rest of the country, the report says.

“When oil prices are low, Houston’s economy grows,” Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, tells Forbes. “When oil prices are high, Houston’s economy booms.”

Houston is joined by four other Texas cities to give the Lone Star State half the moving-and-shaking cities in the Top 10.

Austin is ranked No. 2 on the list, followed by Dallas at No. 3, Fort Worth at No. 8 and San Antonio at No. 10. Strong population growth and unemployment levels under 5 percent are propelling the cities’ expansions, the report notes.

After Texas, the Golden State has the next greatest number of metro areas on the list with three: San Francisco at No. 7, San Diego at No. 16 and San Jose, No. 17.

The methodology behind the study began with taking the country’s 100 most populous cities and their surrounding suburbs and ranking the areas on six metrics. Estimated population growth for 2014 and 2015, year-over-year job growth for 2014, 2014 gross economic growth rate, federal unemployment data and median annual pay for college-educated workers determined the final results for the 20 fasting-growing metro areas in terms of population and economy.

Forbes’ 20 fastest-growing cities in the 2015 report are as follows:

1. Houston
2. Austin
3. Dallas
4. Raleigh, N.C.
5. Seattle
6. Denver
7. San Francisco
8. Fort Worth
9. Charlotte
10. San Antonio
11. Phoenix
12. Salt Lake City
13. Orlando
14. Cambridge, Mass.
15. Oklahoma City
16. San Diego
17. San Jose, Calif.
18. Las Vegas
19. West Palm Beach, Fla.
20. Nashville

Article from CultureMap Houston. By Barbara Kuntz

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– Real Estate News

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates have risen for a second straight week yet remained near historically low levels.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage jumped to 3.76 percent from 3.69 percent last week. The average rate is still at its lowest level since May 2013.

The rate for the 15-year loan, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, increased to 3.05 percent from 2.99 percent last week.

A year ago, the average 30-year mortgage stood at 4.33 percent and the 15-year mortgage at 3.35 percent. Mortgage rates have remained low even though the Federal Reserve in October ended its monthly bond purchases, which were meant to hold down long-term rates.

The recent rise in mortgage rates has come as bond yields have jumped from record low levels. Mortgage rates often follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has climbed back over 2 percent. Bond yields rise as prices fall.

The 10-year note traded at 2.08 percent Wednesday, up from 1.99 percent a week earlier. It traded at 2.09 percent Thursday morning.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.6 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.97 percent. The fee was stable at 0.5 point.

For a one-year ARM, the average rate increased to 2.45 percent from 2.42 percent. The fee remained at 0.4 point.

Abcnews.com.


Brian Striegold is the Branch Manager of NRL Mortgage in the Galleria area. He and his team are excited to roll out a 580+ credit score FHA, USDA and VA program for his Real Estate partners. They specialize in Conventional and Jumbo loans going straight off of Fannie Mae’s guidelines as well as FHA with no crazy overlays like many other banks. Brian has been in the business for over 13+ years and is a preferred lender for many top builders and Real Estate firms serving all of Houston. Brian is also a host on Real Estate U on KPRC AM 950 talk radio every Sunday from 10 am to 11 am. Give him a call today to see why he has been ranked among the highest in customer service helping many people attain their goal of home ownership; he can be reached at 281-833-9424.

BrianStriegold

Inner Loop Newsletter January 2015 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

map-2014-txreco

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

Providing outstanding customer service is my number one goal. If you know someone who is thinking of selling or buying a property, please refer them to me and I will provide your referral with the service difference my clients have come to expect from me.

We are proud to announce that we successfully sold 502 properties and leased 130 properties in 2014. We look forward to a prosperous 2015 for both you and our team.

Thank you for your support.

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Mortgage Rates Back to Long Term Lows After Fed

Mortgage rates fell again today, and while the move wasn’t big, it was enough to bring most lenders back in line with the best rates from two weeks ago. Those have the added distinction of being the best rates since May 2013. At these levels, 3.625% is widely available as a top tier conforming 30yr fixed quote and a few lenders are quoting 3.5%. Even if your lender isn’t, you can likely choose to pay higher upfront costs in exchange for the lower rate. This is neither good nor bad, but simply a matter of personal preference. You can divide the upfront cost increase by the monthly payment savings to determine how many months it would take to break even on the additional expense. If the trade-off makes sense to you, it makes sense. If not, stick with the higher rate.

http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com

Brian Striegold is the Branch Manager of NRL Mortgage in the Galleria area. He and his team are excited to roll out a 580+ credit score FHA, USDA and VA program for his Real Estate partners. They specialize in Conventional and Jumbo loans going straight off of Fannie Mae’s guidelines as well as FHA with no crazy overlays like many other banks. Brian has been in the business for over 13+ years and is a preferred lender for many top builders and Real Estate firms serving all of Houston. Brian is also a host on Real Estate U on KPRC AM 950 talk radio every Sunday from 10 am to 11 am. Give him a call today to see why he has been ranked among the highest in customer service helping many people attain their goal of home ownership; he can be reached at 281-833-9424.

BrianStriegold

Inner Loop Newsletter December 2014 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

Ambitious Heights restaurant rises from the dead: Once shelved project brings unique 3-day cooking method

By Eric Sandler 12.3.14 | 3:48 pm

Liberty-Kitchen--OysterA once shelved fried chicken restaurant has been given new life in the Heights. F.E.E.D. TX, the restaurant group responsible for BRC, Petite Sweets and Liberty Kitchen, has revived its plans to open a dedicated fried chicken joint.

“We took over the lease at Church’s,” executive chef/onwer Lance Fegen tells CultureMap. Specifically, it’s the Church’s Chicken location that’s catty-corner from Revival Market at Heights Blvd and 6th Street.

Originally known as Lee’s Chicken and Donuts after partner Lee Ellis, the group had planned to open the concept in the space behind the original Liberty Kitchen, but it wasn’t viable. Fegen says that they haven’t decided on whether to keep the original name or call it something else, but it will open quickly.

“We’ll probably be rolling in March,” he predicts.

3daychickenWhatever it’s called, the restaurant will give a permanent home to the fried chicken that’s served as a Wednesday special at Liberty Heights and Sundays at Liberty River Oaks. As described by chef Travis Lenig, the chicken takes three days to prepare thanks to a combination of brining and soaking in buttermilk for a distinctive texture and flavor.  

Already home to The Chicken Ranch and The Bird House and nearby to Funky Chicken and Barbecue Inn, The Heights has become Houston’s home for great fried chicken, which just goes to show you can never have too much of a good thing.

Article from Culturemap Houston

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Mortgage News

Long-term mortgage rates have reached their lowest level in more than a year, giving families an opportunity to secure cheap home loans, according to data released Thursday.

On the back of “underwhelming” economic news, the average rate for the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage just dropped to 3.89%, the lowest reading since May 2013, according to a Thursday report from federally controlled mortgage-buyer Freddie Mac FMCC, -1.67% The rate is now about half a percentage point greater than the near-record-low hit last year.

While the market is unlikely to see long-term rates revisit last year’s bottom, current low levels may stick around through January, giving families a chance to lock in affordable monthly home payments, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie’s chief economist.

Marketwatch.com.

Brian Striegold is the Branch Manager of NRL Mortgage in the Galleria area. He and his team are excited to roll out a 580+ credit score FHA, USDA and VA program for his Real Estate partners. They specialize in Conventional and Jumbo loans going straight off of Fannie Mae’s guidelines as well as FHA with no crazy overlays like many other banks. Brian has been in the business for over 13+ years and is a preferred lender for many top builders and Real Estate firms serving all of Houston. Brian is also a host on Real Estate U on KPRC AM 950 talk radio every Sunday from 10 am to 11 am. Give him a call today to see why he has been ranked among the highest in customer service helping many people attain their goal of home ownership; he can be reached at 281-833-9424.

BrianStriegold

Inner Loop Newsletter November 2014 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

The Houston Chronicle selected Tiffanie Purvis as their premier agent of the week in last Sunday’s edition. The topic Ms. Purvis chose to discuss is her involvement in the current Real Estate Market as it relates to her work with Builders. She works diligently to locate suitable land for their new construction development sites and then sells the finished product. Ms. Purvis’s topic is supported by the referenced article below. Ms. Purvis said, “I am looking forward to staying busy”.

Premier Agent Spotlight: Tiffanie Purvis loves working with clients -and it shows.

By Rebecca Maitland, homes correspondent | October 31, 2014

tiffaniechronTiffanie Purvis, owner/broker, Texas Real Estate & Co, is warm, friendly, hardworking, and an aggressive Realtor who has created her own niche in the real estate market.

And at 36, she has accomplished much in the 16 years she has been in real estate.

Many people ask how she has over 150 listings, especially in this fast-moving market.

“The majority of listings are from builders that are upcoming listings, just being planned and will be rolling out throughout the rest of 2014 and into 2015,” Purvis said.

Purvis works with many builders in new construction, and provides an important service to them.

“One of the hardest things to find in Houston today is land to build on. So I find the land for builders, and they build and I list the homes as they are being built,” Purvis said.

She also helps builders and architects on the design of the homes.

Purvis lists the homes, sometimes before they begin being built or when they are under construction.

Helping clients see a home in pre-construction is definitely a skill, which Purvis has honed successfully.

builderhousesPurvis’ firm is a full-service company. When builders have an investment opportunity, she is there to help put the dollars together, helps find the land, provides the study on the planning, attends meetings, walks them through the purchasing process as a Realtor, and assists in the design.

Purvis obtained her real estate license at age 19, while she was still in college earning her business degree at the University of Houston.

After graduation, she was employed by a boutique construction firm, and served as the in-house real estate broker.

“When I was working with this firm, I learned everything about construction, it was hands-on learning. This knowledge allows me to work successfully with builders today,” Purvis said.

Purvis’ clients appreciate all of her experience, especially those considering an older home and renovations, as well as those looking for new construction.

“I love what I do. I enjoy working with my clients every day, and my clients say it shows,” Purvis said.


Houston real estate to remain hot in 2015, report shows

Posted on November 3, 2014 | By Nancy Sarnoff

houseforsaleBuyers should expect the competitive market for housing to continue into 2015, an economist said Monday in a quarterly real estate report.

“Developers are building homes about as fast as they can, but continued shortages in labor and vacant developed lots are keeping homebuilders from increasing production even further,” Jim Gaines, an economist with the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, said in a statement. “Combined with higher home prices and tougher lending standards, the Texas housing market will remain very competitive for homebuyers into 2015.”

Houston-area home prices shot up 7.4 percent in the third quarter as housing inventory remained at historic lows, according to the Texas Quarterly Housing Report, which is compiled by the Real Estate Center using statistics from multiple listing services in nearly 50 markets throughout Texas. The report includes data for single-family home sales.

From July through September, 23,645 homes sold throughout this area, an increase of 1.35 percent over the same period in 2013. The median price during that time was $198,700. Housing inventory fell to 2.9 months.

Across Texas, 80,851 single-family homes traded hands during the quarter, up just slightly over a year earlier.

Inventory across the state was up to 3.7 months from the previous quarter, but down from 2013. The statewide median price was $188,900, up 6.8 percent.

“The third quarter of the year is typically a much slower sales period — summer is over, school has started and families are staying put for the upcoming holiday season. That was not the case this year,” Dan Hatfield, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, said in a statement “Texas home sales continue to slightly exceed last year’s levels. If this trend continues, 2014 will surpass 2013 to become the second-best year ever for Texas real estate.”

The report below details housing activity across Texas markets.

TX Housing

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
1540bw23rd
1540 – 1542 W 23RD
2208Hutchins
2208 HUTCHINS
6623letein
6625 – 6627 LETEIN ST
Five stunning, traditional freestanding homes in Shady Acres! Great heights area location.
Freestanding 2 Story, 3/2.5, 2-car garage home designed to be architectural & exquisite, inside & out. This intelligently designed floor plan boasts high ceilings and custom finishes.
For Sale: $410,000
MLS# 81352941
MLS# 83490421
For Sale: $414,900
MLS# 68694310
$375,000 – $390,000
MLS# 17884559
MLS# 90632453
MLS# 17263046
– Real Estate News

Mortgage News

Mortgage rates in the U.S. declined, remaining at a 16-month low as more affordable borrowing costs fuel an increase in refinancing.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.92 percent, down from 3.97 percent last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement today. The average 15-year rate dropped to 3.08 percent from 3.18 percent, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company said.

Homeowners are rushing to cut their monthly payments as rates hover at the lowest levels since June 2013. Refinancing applications jumped 23 percent in the week ended Oct. 17 to an 11-month high, the Mortgage Bankers Association said yesterday. The refinance share rose to 65 percent of home-loan applications from 59 percent.

Article from: Bloomberg.com

Brian Striegold is the Branch Manager of NRL Mortgage in the Galleria area. He and his team are excited to roll out a 580+ credit score FHA, USDA and VA program for his Real Estate partners. They specialize in Conventional and Jumbo loans going straight off of Fannie Mae’s guidelines as well as FHA with no crazy overlays like many other banks. Brian has been in the business for over 13+ years and is a preferred lender for many top builders and Real Estate firms serving all of Houston. Brian is also a host on Real Estate U on KPRC AM 950 talk radio every Sunday from 10 am to 11 am. Give him a call today to see why he has been ranked among the highest in customer service helping many people attain their goal of home ownership; he can be reached at 281-833-9424.

BrianStriegold

Inner Loop Newsletter September 2014 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

If you’re looking for a sweet treat to help keep you cool this month, head over to local Heights ice cream shop, Fat Cat Creamery. Pop in for a scoop (or two!) and enjoy this delicious indulgence that’s made from local ingredients. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.fatcatcreamery.com.

She waits for ‘wow’ when you taste her ice cream

‘Fat Cat’ shop owner says the name was the easy part
By Lindsay Peyton | May 20, 2014

622x350Sarah Johnston’s reasons for opening Fat Cat Creamery were simple enough.

“Ice cream is my favorite food,” she said.

One night, she was sitting with friends craving the cold confection.

“We realized the Heights doesn’t have an ice cream shop,” Johnston said. “Jokingly or not, I said I should open one.”

Now, Johnston, 35, is the proud owner of Fat Cat Creamery, scooping up servings of small-batch ice cream made with local ingredients. The shop, 1901 N. Shepherd, is named after the late “Fat Cat,” who was her pet.

“He was the greatest guy, and I wanted to honor him,” she said. “I thought coming up with a name would be the hardest thing, but it was the first thing that came to my mind.”

The rest of the journey was more challenging. While it was only a whim that started Johnston researching recipes and learning to make ice cream, the venture became more serious when she rented commercial kitchen space.

“It ended up being a ton more work and a way bigger commitment than I ever thought,” she said.

Johnston was already busy with her job in real estate marketing, but that did not stop her from pursuing her plan.

“I stopped going home and started making ice cream,” she said. “I was probably looking for a bit of a creative outlet. And it seemed like the neighborhood needed it.”

Johnson, who is married, found it difficult to transition from a home kitchen to a commercial setup. She had to learn how to make big batches. Other chefs sharing the space helped her.

“At first, they all tried not to laugh at me,” she said. “Then, they taught me a few key tips.”

Johnston started selling at local shops, including Antidote coffee shop and Revival Market.

“The response was really big and really surprising,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow. I might be onto something.’ At least I had some customers. It was ‘go’ time.”

Morgan Weber, co-owner of Revival Market, believed in Johnston.

“She reminded me a lot of myself when we were first starting out,” he said. “We were trying to do something special and something different, and I saw that in Sarah too.”

Johnston brought her first batches in for review at the market.

“She would bring us little pints of ice cream for us to try to get our opinions,” Weber recalled. “From the start, she was paying attention to all the details that were important to us.”

Owning her own ice cream parlor was Johnston’s ultimate goal.

“But starting out, it seemed like an unattainable dream,” she said.

Then, she found the perfect spot – an old grocery store that was under renovation.

Johnston signed a lease a year ago and spent months preparing to open her business. She committed to Fat Cat Creamery full time last summer. She also hired a production manager, Courtney Blackmore.

The store opened Dec. 14. Now Johnston not only has a storefront but also her own kitchen to make ice cream.

“We do a lot of updated takes on the classics,” she said. “We have an amazing vanilla. I’m a vanilla girl; so getting our recipe right was really important to me.”

622x350bThe Cat’s Meow Mexican Vanilla is a customer favorite.

“It has a really developed, old-school burnt-sugar flavor,” Johnston said.

Other popular varieties are the Waterloo Strawberry Buttermilk and the Milk Chocolate Stout.

The shop always has at least 10 flavors, and the menu also includes ice cream sandwiches, malts, shakes and push-pops. The cost is $3.50 per scoop plus tax, with a $1 charge for each additional scoop.

Johnston is dedicated to using local ingredients and biodegradable packaging. She buys milk from Mill-King Market and Creamery.

“It’s absolutely exceptional milk and heavy cream,” she said.

She uses eggs from area farms.

“Using that milk and those eggs makes all the difference in the world,” she said.

Johnston has a number of loyal customers, including original supporter Morgan Weber.

“We’ve stopped in several times and love it,” he said. “She’s done a great job.”

Johnston likes her niche in the neighborhood.

“I love seeing the reaction of people when they taste something and say, ‘Wow,’ ” she said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.fatcatcreamery.com.

Article from Chron.com

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
1540bw23rd
1540 B W 23RD
TaliaHeights
TALIA HEIGHTS
6623letein
6623 LETEIN ST
Stunning, traditional freestanding home in Shady Acres! Great heights area location.
Beautiful Southern Style 3 & 4 bedroom Homes by Talia Homes. Stylish gated community of 23 homes centered around a large period-style fountain. This intelligently designed floor plan boasts high ceilings and custom finishes.
For Sale: $410,000
MLS# 81352941
For Sale From: $390,000
www.taliaheights24thandlawrence.com
From: $389,900
MLS# 17263046
– Real Estate News

More People Are Looking To Buy Homes in Houston

One of the many benefits having a low interest rate environment is many people are looking to buy homes again. This is mainly due to fact that having low interest rates allows people to get higher mortgages with lower monthly payments. With more people looking to buy homes in Texas, many home buyers, real estate investors and mortgage providers are seeing this as the precursor to a new real estate boom in Houston. Whether the current real estate boom continues or not, there is no doubt that this is an excellent time to take a mortgage out, get a home loan or invest in real estate in Texas.

Brian Striegold is the Branch Manager of NRL Mortgage in the Galleria area. He and his team are excited to roll out a 580+ credit score FHA, USDA and VA program for his Real Estate partners. They specialize in Conventional and Jumbo loans going straight off of Fannie Mae’s guidelines as well as FHA with no crazy overlays like many other banks. Brian has been in the business for over 13+ years and is a preferred lender for many top builders and Real Estate firms serving all of Houston. Brian is also a host on Real Estate U on KPRC AM 950 talk radio every Sunday from 10 am to 11 am. Give him a call today to see why he has been ranked among the highest in customer service helping many people attain their goal of home ownership; he can be reached at 281-833-9424.

BrianStriegold

Inner Loop Newsletter August 2014 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

Every time I pass by Sparkle’s Hamburger Spot on my way to Texas Real Estate & Co., the little blue shack catches my eye and I can’t help but stop by for a cheeseburger and fries.

Burger Friday: Sparkle’s Hamburger Spot

sparklesWhen you’re looking for an easy meal that will surely hit the spot, you should definitely visit Sparkle’s Hamburger Spot. On the corner of Dowling St. & Leeland St. is a little blue shack that’s hard to miss and a burger joint with cheap eats that you can count on.

This hip spot has ice cream shakes that are the real deal, reprehensible onion rings, a funky al fresco picnic table vibe and most of all, insanely yummy burgers that are cheap and great to eat. Here’s the breakdown of it all.

Price: $4 Cheeseburgers, $5 Chili Burgers, $1.50 Onion Rings, $1.50 French Fries, $2.50 Milkshakes

With everything made to order, be prepared to wait. You can have a seat at the blue picnic tables and get a great view of the downtown skyline. This griddle-cooked burger is notable not just for its impressive size and the handmade quality of its wildly irregular; inch-thick beef patty–which slopes and corners in erratic fashion–but also for its excellent seasoning. Just enough salt pop and pepper bite offset the beefiness of the well-done, crusty patty. Well-done doesn’t mean dreary and juiceless at Sparkle’s, either. The condiments are applied with a judicious hand, too, so they don’t overwhelm. This is a classic example of a sandwich that’s more than the sum of its parts.

For $1.50, it can buy you some eccentric steak-cut fries with real-potato texture and a light dusting of red-peppery seasoned salt or it can get you a handful of wide-cut onion rings that are greasy, glazed and delicious. Additionally, you can pay with Master Card or Discover if you find yourself short of cash.

(Sparkle’s Hamburger Spot, 1515 Dowling St. @ Leeland, 713-225-8044. Mon-Fri 6am-7:30pm; Sat 7am-5pm. Closed Sun.)

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
1540bw23rd
1540 B W 23RD
TaliaHeights
TALIA HEIGHTS
1703patterson
1703 PATTERSON A
Stunning, traditional freestanding home in Shady Acres! Great heights area location.
Beautiful Southern Style 3 & 4 bedroom Homes by Talia Homes. Stylish gated community of 23 homes centered around a large period-style fountain. Modern 3 story home with downtown views from the rooftop deck.
For Sale: $388,500
MLS# 81352941
For Sale From: $400,000
www.taliaheights24thandlawrence.com
From: $429,900
MLS# 59105523
– Real Estate News

Home Loan Basics: Home Equity Line of Credit

There are many types of home equity loans available to homeowners. Cash out refinance is popular where you can refinance your mortgage and get a lump sum of cash. However, you are committing your equity all at once with home equity loans, in return for a potential lifetime repayment! Another option is a home equity line of credit?

This is a rolling credit agreement where you use the credit when you need it, rather than take it immediately in a lump sum and then ask yourself “What next?”

Home Equity Line of Credit

With rolling credit offered by a home equity line of credit you can use your credit whenever you like. You pay no interest until you actually use it. With regular cash out refinance deals or home equity loans, you are paying interest immediately. Even if you don’t spend a cent for two months you will still be paying two months interest – not so with a home equity line of credit!

If you spot something you would like to buy, and then buy it using your line of credit. That is when you start to pay interest – when you actually spend the money, not when you are allocated it. So how would you use an equity line of credit? Here are some examples to show you how works.

Home Equity Loans

Some lenders will issue you with a debit card. When you visit a restaurant, you can pay with the card. When you want to purchase items from a store – likewise. Fundamentally, whenever you want to spend money, you use the card or checks that may be provided and your expenditure is charged to the line of credit.

You are charged interest on what you spend, and once you have spent the total credit associated with it you must continue with your repayment- just as with a credit card. Whether you take a home equity loan such as this, or seek another means of making use of the cash you have tied up in your equity, is immaterial.

The point is that finance such as home equity loans is available, and a home equity line of credit has earned through the equity you have established on your home. There is no reason why you should not use that equity as you believe you should.

Article By: houstonmortgagepros on August 18, 2014

BrianStriegold

Washington Corridor Newsletter February 2014 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

It’s March in Houston, which means the start of patio weather and all things Rodeo! If you’re like us, and could use a break from all the bar-b-que and fried foods, don’t miss out on Coltivare for your next night on the town. This fresh new Italian restaurant in the Houston Heights is the creation of Revival Market Chef Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber. Located on White Oak Blvd, Coltivare specializes in traditional Italian and is sure to rival any of the competition for best Italian restaurant in town! Coltivare Pizza & Garden, 3320 White Oak, 713-637-4095. Dinner 5-10 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 5-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 5-9 p.m. Sundays; closed Tuesdays.)

Coltivare takes fresh approach to Italian

ColtivareRestaurantOn Wednesday, I was on the sidewalk in front of Coltivare at 4:47 p.m., waiting for the doors to open at 5. That’s not where you’d usually find me during the first few days of a restaurant’s life, since I think that it’s hard to tell much at that point.

But having seen Coltivare’s opening menu online, my brain was doing backflips. I just had to taste for myself. Right away.

I’m delighted I jumped the gun. Much of the food from chef Ryan Pera and crew tasted even better than I had imagined. If the kitchen follows this trajectory, Coltivare will challenge Da Marco and Osteria Mazzantini for honors as the best Italian restaurant in town.

What makes the food so special here is not just its very Italian simplicity, but its stirring sense of place. The shaved-fennel salad bursts with Houston’s winter citrus, and its soft avocado and wheels of ripe red jalapeño speak to our collective palate. Good olive oil and a multidimensional burst of aromatic Tellicherry peppercorns brings the whole thing to attention.

That salad works beautifully with a Gulf Coast version of brandade: a “bycatch baccala” of the day’s outlier local fish (vermilion snapper, in this case) cured in salt and then whipped up with potatoes into a soft cloud topped with a bronzy crunch of fine bread crumbs. Its fish flavor was delicate but clear, and the textures, when scooped up with grilled country bread, just riveting.

ColtivareRadishI loved the purity and bite of raw local radishes to dip in soft cultured butter that had a beautiful milky bloom, followed by a dip into coarse Galveston sea salt. What a great starter or palate cleanser that is, and very much of the subtropical winter moment.

Swaggery-salty cotechino sausage, coarsely ground over at sister establishment Revival Market just a few blocks down White Oak, came to the table with a charry, blistered crust that made the casings snap hard. Underneath lay a cushion of the tiniest al dente lentils (a time-honored Italian accompaniment to this cooked pork sausage), underscored by a vivid swoop of pureed butternut squash – an ingenious seasonal swap-out for the traditional mashed potatoes or polenta.

Cotechino with lentils is considered to be a lucky New Year’s dish in Italy, so it’s a perfect fit for the first month of 2014. Even more so in tandem with a salad of pickled butternut squash strips, thin, smooth shards interlaced with Brussels sprouts leaves, walnuts (not very Houston, but what the heck) and the tiniest, airiest croutons. That irresistible, sharp savory note? A dark mince of roasted and balsamic-pickled shallot.

I was curious to try Coltivare’s take on garum, the ancient Roman fish sauce that was used not just as a seasoning but a mask for foods that were heading south. Not that it’s used that way here: cut with a briny edge of capers, the salty sauce gave a brisk lift to poached mussels. You’ll need some cushiony focaccia bread from the wood-burning oven to sop up the garlicky juices.

MeyerlemonPizzaThat same focaccia dough makes a base for Coltivare’s wood-fired pizzas, and the smidgen of sorghum molasses in the dough makes the blistered crown glaze up as shiny as glass. The surface textures fascinate, and a sparingly applied topping of thinly sliced Meyer lemons, goat cheese, olives and rosemary simply sang. I’m persuaded that Meyer lemons are a woefully under-used pizza ingredient.

The pizza tweak yet to be made is an interior layer of uncooked dough that subverts the overall textural effect. I’m not sure what the fix is – a more pulled and thinned-out central base, or adjustments to oven temperature or cooking time? – but when the issue is resolved, this pizza will be magnificent. It goes against the serious Neapolitan current now in play to stand on its idiosyncratic own.

Of the pastas I tried, my favorite was an elemental spaghetti with Parmesan cheese, black pepper and olive oil, all melded into a voluptuous whole by a spoonful or two of starchy pasta cooking water. It’s the quality of the ingredients that made this dish shine: the fragrance of the peppercorns; the bloom of the serious parmigiano; the roundness and fruit of the olive oil. Utterly simple and perfect.

RicottaGnocchiCasarecce twists with oxtail sugo had a deep sherry-vinegar tang that interested me but which seemed to need something to balance it, to talk back in some way. Fat little ricotta gnocchi got a hard pan-sear that left their undersides charry, and the bitterness of wilted mizuna leaves and sweet note of balsamic set them off.

This first time out, I passed on the big-deal plates of whole wood-roasted fish, pork collar with clams and the like in favor of sampling widely from the vegetables and salads that are done so well here. Roasted cauliflower gets an agro-dolce spin with golden raisins and tiny pine nuts, cut by a licorice-y twinge of fresh tarragon.

And charred radicchio, the deep red, bitter green I learned to love in the Veneto, came with shaved bottarga (fish roe) cured in-house at Revival Market, its oceanic pull countered by a burst of lemon. Unforgettable stuff, crowned with translucent shards of Parmesan and a gleaming white anchovy.

Even the rustic desserts fell neatly into place, from the free-form pastry crust of a wood-roasted pear crostata to a wedge of pleasantly gritty polenta cake livened with citrus segments, then softened with a puff of whipped cream and a thread of thyme-flavored honey.

The wood-clad room itself is warm, welcoming and casual, with an open kitchen and all its bustle. The staff is well-drilled on the menu, and Revival Market co-owner Morgan Weber prowls the floor like a proud father. The wine list by Jeb Stuart won’t be in effect until the liquor license comes through, so for the present it’s BYOB.

And despite the fact that Coltivare has jumped on the no-reservations bandwagon, you won’t necessarily have to languish for eons in a sidewalk or vestibule line. Weber and company promise that if you call once the doors open, they’ll put your name and phone number on a list right along with the folks who are physically present. When your name comes up, they’ll call you and give you five minutes to claim your table.

It’s somewhere between democratic and Darwinistic. And with food like this as the reward, I’m not too proud to show up at 5 p.m. and stand on the sidewalk.

(Coltivare Pizza & Garden, 3320 White Oak, 713-637-4095. Dinner 5-10 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 5-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 5-9 p.m. Sundays; closed Tuesdays.)

Article from Chron.com By Alison Cook

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
1219Spring
1215, 1217 & 1219 SPRING ST
1219 Available
TaliaHeights
TALIA HEIGHTS
27 SINGLE FAMILY HOMES – 2 Under Contract
1803Johnson
1802, 1804 & 1806 GOLIAD – 1802 Under Contract
Modern Freestanding Downtown style home. Open floor plan with tall ceilings and views of the Houston Downtown skyline.
Beautiful Southern Style 3 & 4 bedroom Homes by Talia Homes. Stylish gated community of 23 homes centered around a large period-style fountain. Stunning three story contemporary Townhouse in Sawyer Heights. The property features 3 bedrooms or loft option, 3 full & 1 half baths, open chef kitchen on the second floor.
For Sale From: $349,900
MLS# 10749640
MLS# 91813675
MLS# 72244347
For Sale From: $375,000

MLS# 24339448
MLS# 10009721
MLS# 37515764
MLS# 86910317
MLS# 26901704
MLS# 28214144
MLS# 49906741
MLS# 16329647
MLS# 64973849
From: $365,000
MLS# 68272041
MLS# 91132525
MLS# 28465818
– Real Estate News

New homes bigger than ever. Can we really afford them?

Upper class luxury home with intricate stonework and brickI’m dismayed that the single-family homes built this spring were bigger than ever before.

The Census Bureau says the average size of a new home reached 2,642 square feet in the second quarter, topping the previous record high of 2,561 square feet in the first quarter of 2009.

During the recession, contractors were building smaller new homes, and it seemed we were back on a more responsible path when it comes to where we hang our hats.

Not anymore.

In 1972, the average size of new, single-family homes was 1,660 square feeet. Why do we need an extra 900 square feet today?

We don’t. And I fear the housing crash didn’t teach us anything about the hazards of overextending ourselves to buy too much house.

During the early 2000s, too many people spent too much money on homes they could barely afford. Then when one thing went wrong during the recession, such as losing a job, the house went from barely affordable to a financial burden.

The notion that those homes were a great investment — perhaps a family’s only investment — evaporated as tens of thousands of dollars in equity disappeared overnight.

It’s also important to remember that a bigger mortgage isn’t the only way big homes drain your finances.

The larger the house, the more you’ll spend on utility bills, maintenance, homeowners insurance and property taxes.

The costs add up, and add up very quickly.

They leave you with less money to set aside for emergencies or to invest in retirement accounts and college funds.

This is what being house-poor is all about.

Home builders are like car companies; they make more money when they convince us to buy bigger, flashier models.

So their goal is to get us to commit as much of our incomes as they possibly can to housing.

To commit too much of our incomes to housing.

I worry that this kind of stat indicates they’re succeeding.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why larger, more lavish homes are tempting.

I only have one bathroom in my row home, and I would love to have a guest room with bathroom en suite, or at least a half bath downstairs.

The granite counter tops and Viking ranges in some of these kitchens are drool-worthy for someone like me who makes three meals at home a day. I would use the heck out of them.

I’m as impressed as the next guy with soaring foyers, two-story stone fireplaces and rolling back yards.

But do I want to pay for it? No way. Because to do so would stretch my budget to its limits, and that’s not something anyone should do when cheaper and more affordable homes are on the market.

I bought my home in 2007. It was smaller and worth less than what a banker told me I could afford, and despite a Realtor pushing me toward bigger homes (with bigger lawns and roofs and property taxes), I’m glad I bought this 1,160-square-foot place.

During the recession, I lost a few clients and made less money, but I could still pay for my home’s mortgage plus the supporting bills.

Even now, when its value and my work have rebounded, it’s hard for me to think about moving, no matter how loud the siren call of that extra bedroom may be.

I grew up in a 2,000-square-foot home where all four kids shared one bathroom. This much space to myself is like a luxury in comparison.

I don’t want to get caught up in a bigger is better movement. Because, when it comes to our finances, it’s just not.

Article From: Interest.com By: Jen A. Miller

BrianStriegold