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

Washington Corridor Newsletter January 2014 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

I can’t wait for the opening of this new Cantina! The Heights keeps getting better and better with visionaries like Ken Bridge.

Ken Bridge Opening New Cantina Concept at White Oak and Studewood

elcaminoI am convinced that Ken Bridge has figured out a way to subsist on thousands of micro-naps during the day, like Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock. It’s the only way I can think of how Bridge must manage the handful of restaurant concepts he’s successfully grown throughout Houston. His company, Delicious Concepts, owns all four locations of Pink’s Pizza, Shepherd Park Draught House, modern diner Lola and the new Witchcraft Tavern & Provisions, the craft beer-and-burgers spot which replaced his pan-Asian restaurant, Dragon Bowl. He’s even responsible for consulting on and creating other menus at restaurant not his own, like the new Outlaw Dave’s Worldwide Headquarters at I-10 and Washington, owned by radio personality Outlaw Dave and Duane Bradley.

Almost all of Bridge’s restaurants are in the Heights, a neighborhood he’s been committed to for years. So it’s only fitting that Bridge is taking over a piece of local history: the old blues club once called Redi Room (and more recently, the Heights Sports and Social Lounge) which has been vacant for several years.

It sits next to the Conoco station at 602 Studewood, directly across the street from Fitzgerald’s and the Heights’ own Little Woodrow’s. Catty-corner is the third location of BB’s Cajun Cafe. And soon, a cantina from Bridge will open in the spot where the Conoco and the Redi Room currently stand.

When reached for comment on the new restaurant, Bridge simply said: “It’s true that I’m in fact hard at work on the next phase of my community service.”

_MG_0015sWhile Bridge says that there’s no concrete name for the restaurant yet, he’s been addressing it as El Camino — in homage to his own 1965 Chevy El Camino.

And unlike the shotgun-style Shepherd Park Draught House or cozy confines of Witchcraft, expect big things out of “El Camino” once it opens, says Bridge.

“I will actually be adding on to the existing Conoco building and adding about 5,000 more square feet of restaurant and outdoor patio space.” He admits to being chagrined about having to demolish the old Redi Room, but when has time not marched on in Houston?

In an August 2012 article in The Leader, Charlotte Aguilar wrote of Bridge: “In just six short years, Bridge’s restaurants have become emblematic of the rebirth of the Heights.” Bridge demurred, giving credit to restaurateurs such as Gary Mosley, who owns and runs “The Creeks”: Onion Creek, Dry Creek and Cedar Creek.

Mosley proved that the Heights “is a place where fast casual restaurant choices can thrive,” Bridge told Aguilar. With the intersection of Studewood and White Oak once again invigorated — increasingly known now as the White Oak corridor, a small but busy concentration of bars, restaurants and an important music venue — I have no doubt Bridge’s latest concept will thrive too.

By Katharine Shilcutt Mon., Jan. 7 2013 at 10:00 AM

Article from: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2013/01/ken_bridge_opening_new_cantina.php

– 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

SNMC Incorporates HERS Energy Audits for Green Appraisals

Quality assurance is important when it comes to spending the extra money to incorporate green upgrades in properties. Not all “green” upgrades or builders are equal; many basic measures for energy efficiency may not create a substantial energy reduction on your energy bill. How can a homeowner make sure they are getting the best bang for their buck? A HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Audit can substantiate the energy savings and energy efficiency of properties, so it may be worth the extra estimated $500 for the cost of the audit. HERS Audits can also provide valuable insights (before the work is started) regarding the best efficiencies to include in your energy upgrade package. For instance, they can make certain recommendations for the amount of insulation, types of windows, building performance with and without solar, to effectively plan costs and upgrades.

Another attribute a HERS Audit can offer is the HERS Index, or a miles-per-gallon, measurement for your home’s performance. The HERS Index ranges from over 130 (average home in the US) to below 0 (a Net Zero home that produces as much energy as it uses). The HERS Index can be an important selling tool if you are planning to sell your home in the future.

SNMC’s qualified green appraiser panel members (over 75 trained appraisers in three regions) now use the HERS Audit and HERS Index to measure the level of performance and energy savings and apply the energy savings to the value of the home. This information works as a certified measurement that supports the owner in documenting accepted energy performance modeling for higher valuations and to enhance a future resale or rental of the property.

For more information contact us to find a local HERS Auditor on our list of preferred contractors.

SNMC2420 Washington Avenue, Houston, TX 77007
Allen Harry, NMLS #259568, Co. NMLS # 3116

Washington Corridor Newsletter New Year Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

If you live in Houston and have not tried this upscale restaurant then maybe a visit to this restaurant with it’s beautiful terrace could be your New Year’s treat and you and your family or friends could go and experience this one of a kind store & restaurant. This general store/restaurant has a full bar which is rare to the Heights and offers many southern style dishes.

Heights General Store has a Southern twang

From Chron.com | By Alison Cook | December 4, 2013

HeightsGeneralStoreOneA fitting dish for this rare cold weather is chef Antoine Ware’s spin on Frogmore Stew, a Carolina Low Country classic served under one of its aliases – Beaufort Stew – at the new Heights General Store.

Ware’s dish departs from the classic Frogmore shrimp boil in its brothiness, its very Gulf Coast red-pepper kick and its bright burst of tomato flavor. Beautifully cooked whole Gulf shrimp are joined in the bowl by classic chunks of potato, corn (here, a young cob slightly too charred on the grill) and sausage (in this case, a wonderfully smoky andouille that Ware makes in-house).

If you like gumbo, I’m betting you’ll love this Frogmore/Beaufort variant in its stewy Ware-influenced guise. It was served so hot I had to wait for it to cool down a bit, and the red-pepper quotient warmed me up even more. Somehow the sausage and potato gave the delicately cooked shrimp plenty of wintry substance.

Heights General Store owner Alli Jarrett is from South Carolina, and she used the “Beaufort” designation (pronounced “byoo-fert”) as an homage to one of her favorite coastal cities there. She and New Orleans native Ware – a popular veteran of Catalan and Hay Merchant – seem like a good culinary fit, and their opening menu has a Deep Southern bent that’s surprisingly rare in Houston.

Besides the Frogmore/Beaufort shrimp stew, there’s a buff-colored puree of She-Crab Soup that has the tantalizing aroma and oceanic flavor-edge of long-simmered crab shells. It’s another antidote for cold weather, although I confess to gulping over the $12 price tag for a regulation-size bowl.

HeightsGeneralStoreTwoThere’s very crisp fried chicken, brined and buttermilk doused, served with equally crisp green beans and a wonderful square of mac-and-cheese that is really more of an elegant macaroni gratin. I ordered some braised greens on the side and was glad I did. They had a tart snap that mellowed the bitterness, as well as just the right porky note.

What there isn’t: good wine by the glass or bottle to go along. The list as it stands is grim and could stand some professional attention. In time-honored dry-precinct Heights fashion, you must join a “private club” to be able to drink beer, wine or cocktails. (It’s quick and painless.)

The wood-and-industrial upstairs dining room and bar look relatively Spartan, but the look is up to date enough that it’s hard to remember that this is the former location of Harolds, the midcentury menswear fixture in the Heights. Downstairs is a grocery and specialty market that stocks everything from Texas cheeses to Ware’s prepared foods to cans of Campbell’s soup. That’s where breakfasts and lunches are served, in hard-looking booths or at a counter under your basic supermarket fluorescent glare.

OK, so Heights General Store may not have the visual charm nor the fleshed-out artisanal wares of Revival Market, its spiritual predecessor about 20 blocks away. But it’s a start, and I’m eager to see what the Ware and Jarrett partnership will bring. I already like the looks of their brunch menu, which happens to be served on Saturdays, too. Here’s hoping that Beaufort Stew is just a taste of things to come.

Holiday bonus: After a meal here, you can prowl 19th Street’s eclectic assortment of shops to gawp at the Christmas windows. Highly recommended.

(Heights General Store, 350 W. 19th, 713-360-6204. Restaurant hours: Dinner 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays; 5-10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PICTURES

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
1219Spring
1215, 1217 & 1219 SPRING ST
Under Contract
TaliaHeights
TALIA HEIGHTS
27 SINGLE FAMILY HOMES
1803Johnson
1802, 1804 & 1806 GOLIAD
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: $375,000
MLS# 24339448
MLS# 10009721
MLS# 37515764
MLS# 86910317
MLS# 26901704
MLS# 28214144
For Sale: $365,000
MLS# 68272041
MLS# 91132525
MLS# 28465818
– Real Estate News

The ‘Bucket’ System for Organizing During Tax Time

One of the most-hated times of year is Tax Season. We dislike letting go of money, yes, but we also dread tracking down the necessary documents and scraps of paper. If you are like many Americans, who start to think about filing taxes sometime between ”in like a lion” and “out like a lamb,” perhaps you could use some advice on getting your house in order.

You’ll want to organize your documents into three “buckets.” Depending on your circumstance and organization style, you can get as detailed as you need. These can be three boxes with more specific files inside, three accordion files holding various categories or months within, or three roomy file folders. (You can use actual buckets if you like, but we don’t recommend it).

Label your “buckets,” putting related documents within.

1) Income

  • W-2s
  • Pay-stubs
  • Bonus documentation
  • 1099 forms for freelance work

2) Expenses/ Deductions

  • Medical receipts
  • Charitable giving acknowledgment
  • Business expense documentation
  • Childcare receipts
  • Interest paid forms

3) Investments

  • Bank statements
  • Investment reports
  • Tax documents
  • Dividend notices

If you are considering software or online tax preparation services, you have many options of varying cost. Depending on your income, you may be able to file free online with programs like TurboTax or TaxAct. Most people with simple returns will pay a small fee to file with these services. They may offer a free federal return and require payment to file the state return. Be sure to do your research on these programs, keeping in mind security, accuracy, and the features you prefer.

As you sort through your documents, filing them in their respective “buckets,” you’ll want to keep last year’s tax return handy. It will help you compile a check-list of important deductions or investment documents you will need for the current year.

Of course, you will do better next year. You’ll start early. You’ll start tomorrow. You’ll start right now. Hang on to those good intentions and quickly label your three “buckets” for next year before the moment is gone. As the mail comes in through the coming months, you can throw things into the appropriate file. You will be less likely to procrastinate next year, knowing everything is already together, waiting for you.
SNMC“A friend of a friend is someone we would like to know. Our satisfied clients are our best resources for new business. In this very competitive business of real estate mortgages, service makes the difference. Our service is second to none and has earned us a valuable source of referrals. Please give us an opportunity to earn your business. We are confident you will be very happy!”

2420 Washington Avenue, Houston, TX 77007
Allen Harry, NMLS #259568, Co. NMLS # 3116

Washington Corridor Newsletter November 2013 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

Lights in the Heights is right around the corner. Please calendar it and let’s make this year the best ever.

It’s Lights in the Heights® time again!

This Year’s Route is Bayland and Woodland Streets and will be held on December 14th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM

It’s that time again to start thinking about Lights in the Heights®!
Lights in the Heights® began 26 years ago as a neighborhood holiday festival of music and open houses along Bayland Avenue and the Norhill Esplanade. The original idea came from a resident’s visit to New Mexico where they were smitten by beautiful displays of luminaria. Throughout subsequent years, the event became a venue for neighbors to meet and celebrate the holiday season. That first year approximately 1000 luminaria lined Bayland Avenue from Houston Avenue to Studewood. Residents took baked cookies to open houses for friends and visitors to enjoy. Early on, only a dozen or so musicians performed on porches. Today, over seventy entertainment groups volunteer their time and talent for this event. Unique in its venue – neighborhood porches and yards- and it’s all volunteer organization. Lights in the Heights® is now a part of many residents’ holiday memories and traditions.

This year, Lights in the Heights® will take place on Saturday December 14th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. We are scaling back the event considerably this year. There will be no food vendors or activities on the Norhill Esplanade. The Route is much shorter this year and will begin at Watson and end at Florence. Please see the Route Map under General Information. Additionally all posted and non-posted parking restrictions will be enforced as will laws regarding public intoxication and underage drinking.

Lights in the Heights® merchandise will be available on-line beginning the week of Thanksgiving.  For more information on all Lights in the Heights® activities, please contact Terri Guerra, Event Co-Chair ; Glen Sementelli, Event Co-Chair; or Tim McConn Event Co-Chair.

Article From: lightsintheheights.org/

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
1803Johnson
1803, 1805 & 1807 JOHNSON
2206Hutchins
2206 & 2208 HUTCHINS
Goliad1920
1920 GOLIAD A & C
  • Stunning three story contemporary Townhouse in Sabine and Washington East. The property features 2 bedrooms plus Loft or option for a third bedroom, 3/1 baths, open Chef kitchen on the second floor.
  • Freestanding 2 Story, 3/2.5, 2-car garage home designed to be architectural & exquisite, inside & out, appealing to buyers who want to live in a modern, unique residence that will provide an elegant lifestyle.
  • 3 story single family patio home with private driveway and roof top terrace. 3 bedrooms, hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances!

For Sale From: $350,000

MLS# 93382889
MLS# 33895117
MLS# 18649745

For Sale: $374,900

MLS# 51220482
MLS# 68694310

From: $362,800
MLS# 91813675

– Real Estate News

Home loans still flowing despite shutdown

glass_mortgage_smThe budget crisis in Washington hasn’t made it impossible to get a mortgage, as many had feared.

The biggest concern was with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-owned companies that own or back nearly 90% of all new mortgages.

Fannie and Freddie buy home loans from banks and mortgage companies that make them. Some loans they keep and others they package and resell to investors as bonds, guaranteed against default.

To qualify for purchase, loans must “conform” to Fannie and Freddie’s rules, which is why most mortgages are called “conforming loans.

One of those rules requires lenders to verify a borrower’s income with the Internal Revenue Service.

But the IRS isn’t verifying incomes during the shutdown, which could have brought the entire mortgage lending process to a grinding halt.

Fortunately for us, Fannie and Freddie recently announced they were temporarily waiving that requirement.

“We’re issuing this guidance to help ensure the continued smooth operation of the mortgage market during the temporary shutdown of the federal government,” Dave Lowman, executive vice president of single-family business at Freddie Mac, said in a news release.

Whew.

Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, is already pushing applications through the system without confirming incomes through the IRS.

“For the most part, we really don’t expect any disruption to the origination or closing of government or conventional loans,” Tom Goyda, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, told us.

Indeed, Goyda said applications were still being processed and approved for FHA and VA loans – the two most popular types of government-guaranteed mortgages.

Once the shutdown is over, Goyda said Wells will go back and check the incomes of all borrowers with the IRS.

“Every borrower whose income is part of the calculation in the application does need to sign, date and have a fully executed form” to do that, Goyda said. “We’ll go ahead and process those once the IRS is back up and running.”

Article from interest.com
By: Mitch Strohm, October 12th 2013

SNMC“A friend of a friend is someone we would like to know. Our satisfied clients are our best resources for new business. In this very competitive business of real estate mortgages, service makes the difference. Our service is second to none and has earned us a valuable source of referrals. Please give us an opportunity to earn your business. We are confident you will be very happy!”

2420 Washington Avenue, Houston, TX 77007
Allen Harry, NMLS #259568, Co. NMLS # 3116

Washington Corridor Newsletter October 2013 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

Hmmm… Yummy. I am always happy to hear about Austin based restaurants coming to Houston, especially to the Heights!! No other place in Houston feels more like Austin than the Heights to me. Guess I am not the only one. “Keep Austin Weird” and I mean that in a good way for those of you that don’t get to Austin often.

Torchy’s Tacos Keeps Expanding, but It Just Got Torched in Houston

TorchysTacosTorchy’s Tacos, which began several years ago out of a trailer in Austin, is busy with expansion plans. A new spot in Allen opened a couple of weeks ago and, per the Dallas Biz Journal, the SMU location has a sign out front promising it will be “opening soon.”

And the Lakewood Advocate reported Torchy’s is also planning a new spot in the Casa Linda Shopping Center, although it won’t open until possibly the end of summer.

But Torchy’s move into Houston got a little touchy recently.

Alison Cook of Houston went to the Torchy’s hoping to “replicate an idyllic interlude” that she experienced under the oaks in Austin at the original Torchy’s. But she found sub-par tacos and a manager willing to fight to the death to get his menu back from her (he’s just “organized”).

Well, Torchy said “bring it” in the comment section of the negative review, and then offered a free taco to any Houstonian who brought a copy of the post.

See, commenting on blogs isn’t a waste of time. Get to writing people. Channel that hostility.

The comments in the post got everyone pissed and throwing tacos at each other and bitching about how Austin is too “weird” to have good tacos anyway. Then they started boasting about their city’s new tag line: Keep Houston Normal.

Article from Dallas Observer by: Lauren Drewes Daniels

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
1803Johnson
1803, 1805 & 1807 JOHNSON
2206Hutchins
2206 & 2208 HUTCHINS
5500Feagan
5500 FEAGAN
Stunning three story contemporary Townhouse in Sabine and Washington East.  The property features 2 bedrooms plus Loft or option for a third bedroom, 3/1 baths, open Chef kitchen on the second floor.
Freestanding 2 Story, 3/2.5, 2-car garage home designed to be architectural & exquisite, inside & out, appealing to buyers who want to live in a modern, unique residence that will provide an elegant lifestyle. Absolutely wonderful 3 bedroom, 3 and 1/2 bathroom condo. Each bedroom with a bathroom. Approximately 2739 sq ft of luxurious space featuring hardwood floor, tile, and carpet.
For Sale From: $350,000
MLS# 93382889
MLS# 33895117
MLS# 18649745
For: $374,900
MLS# 51220482
MLS# 68694310
For Sale: $470,000
MLS# 69716114
– Real Estate News

Put it in Reverse

coupleHave you heard about reverse mortgages, but wondered if they were for you? If so, here’s a rundown on what they are and whom they can benefit.

They are called reverse mortgages because instead of an individual paying a lender, the lender pays the homeowner while repayment of the loan is deferred. Sometimes they are also called life mortgages. A reverse mortgage differs from other loans in that to qualify, there are usually no income requirements or credit checks. Additionally, the state of your health can not affect your participation.

Typically, borrowers 62 and over who own their homes outright are eligible for reverse mortgages. These loans can be a huge benefit as they convert some of the homes equity into tax-free money without your selling the home or relinquishing the title. The money from a reverse mortgage can be used any way you choose: for monthly living expenses, a vacation, remodeling, or any other financial needs you have.

There are often four payment choices in reverse mortgages:
1) Lump sum
2) Monthly amount for a set period
3) Line of credit
4) A combination of any of the above

The amount of money you can receive may be affected by your areas lending limit, your homes value, interest rates, and your age (or the age of the youngest spouse). Your reverse mortgage repayment typically is deferred to when your home is sold, you move out, or upon the death of the last surviving borrower.

Many people of retirement age own their homes outright but cant afford to maintain their retirement without the assets tied up in their homes. For those individuals, a reverse mortgage may be the perfect solution. But keep in mind that interest accrues over the entire life of the loan, and will have to be repaid after your home is sold. The good news is, as long as you live in the home and pay the property taxes, you can never outlive a reverse mortgage. If you’re interested in a reverse mortgage, give me a call at PHONE NUMBER. Ill be glad to go into more detail. And as always, there’s no obligation.

SNMC“A friend of a friend is someone we would like to know. Our satisfied clients are our best resources for new business. In this very competitive business of real estate mortgages, service makes the difference. Our service is second to none and has earned us a valuable source of referrals. Please give us an opportunity to earn your business. We are confident you will be very happy!”

2420 Washington Avenue, Houston, TX 77007
Allen Harry, NMLS #259568, Co. NMLS # 3116

Washington Corridor Newsletter September 2013 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

I am very happy our city is continuing to improve our parks. If you work hard you should have places to go to relax and enjoy your time off.

Eleanor Tinsley Park getting a facelift

EleanorTinsleyAdditional plans for the revitalization of Buffalo Bayou Parkwere laid out in a press release this week. Work on the park has already begun in earnest, with the timeline laid out on the Buffalo Bayou Park website.

And now Eleanor Tinsley Park is getting a new addition.

On Wednesday, a press release from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Silver Eagle Distributors announced that the beer distributor was kicking in $2 million for work to be done around the park, especially in the “big bowl, the event meadow where major gathering are held inside the park. This is where the main stage is located for Free Press Summer Fest, and where Freedom Over Houston’s musical acts are stationed.

Work on the Bud Light Amphitheater will be finished by spring 2014, according to the press release.

The gift from the largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the country will also bankroll the Skyline Overlook, redesigned parking spaces and an improved garden area, according to the release.

The aim is to create Houston’s own version of Central Park, per the BBP site.

“One comparison we had is Ladybird Lake or Town Lake in Austin,” project manager Guy Hagstette told KUHF on Wednesday. “This is 2.3 miles of linear park. Most cities would, you know, just die to have this kind of parkland at the doorstep of their downtown.”

Omar Afra, editor of Free Press Houston and one of the men behind the annual summer music and art fest, says that the amphitheater work will be a part of the FPSF footprint but that they didn’t have any say in the plans.

“Some changes work for us and some improvements could be problematic,” said Afra. “We were not included in the discussion of the park.”

Afra says what the amphitheater entails is a permanent platform for a concert stage and resources dug out for a production team.

According to the press release sent out this week, The Shady Grove sculpture, art benches and Houston Victim’s Memorial will be preserved and reinstalled in a redesigned and expanded garden in the park.

The entire project will cost $58 million. The project will be complete by 2015.

By Craig Hlavaty | August 8, 2013

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
1219Spring
4510 B INKER
TaliaHeights
2330 RIVERWAY OAK DR
1803Johnson
619 RUTLAND
Modern freestanding homes with a balcony and small yard. 20 foot ceiling in living room. There is a bedroom and full bath on each of the 3 floors. The 3rd floor has a bedroom, full bath and a seperate loft that over looks the living area.
Stunning village builder Louisville plan. Inside you’ll find beautiful well layed out floor plan with open kitchen to the living room. Kitchen with built-in appliances and ample cabinet/counter space. Three-story masterpiece by Fisher Homes boast a 6ft wrought iron fence & manicured lawn. The second floor showcases 12 foot ceilings, wood floors & a large luxurious kitchen/ living/Dining rooms.
For Sale From: $329,000
MLS# 49781409
For Sale From: $299,900
MLS# 70735542
From: $425,000
MLS# 38665344
– Real Estate News

Voters Overwhelmingly Support Increased Mortgage Industry Regulation

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which it created appear to be a lot more popular with voters than some in Congress seem to think it is. Results of a poll released by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) show a very large majority of Americans favor both strong regulation of banks and financial companies and the need for an entity such as CFPB.

In a telephone survey conducted among 1,004 likely voters by Lake Research Partners for CRL and Americans for Financial Reform, regulating financial services and products is seen as either “important” or “very important” by over 90 percent of voters. CRL says that attitude for the most part “transcends differences of age, race, geography, and political party.” Ninety-six percent of Democrats regard financial regulation as important as do 95 percent of Independents and 89 percent of Republicans.

Similarly large percentages, eighty-three percent of voters overall and 75 percent of Republicans, favor tougher regulation of “Wall Street financial companies,” when that conclusion is juxtaposed against an alternative statement that “their practices have changed enough that they don’t need further regulation.” When voters are simply asked to choose between more and less regulation of financial companies, 71 percent side with more, and 20 percent with less. Here, too, the sentiment crosses party lines, with Democrats favoring more regulation by a margin of 85 to 9 percent, Independents by 76 to 16 percent, and Republicans by 51 to 37 percent.

Close to 67 percent of Republicans, along with 89 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of Independents, hold a favorable view of the stepped-up oversight of mortgage brokers, payday lenders, debt collectors, and other previously unregulated industry players authorized by Dodd-Frank.

In the five years since the financial meltdown the anger at Wall Street has moderated and a bare majority, 51 percent, expressed an unfavorable opinion of those institutions but sentiment favoring measures to restrain their excesses seems to be growing. Seventy-one percent of respondents expressed support for tougher regulation compared to 59 percent in a similar survey in 2012. .

CRL said voters readily accept the word “regulation.” When an alternative survey question substituted a softer term, 59 percent were in favor of stronger “oversight” and 39 percent opposed it compared to a 71/21 split over the term regulation.

Of those with an opinion, 64 percent supported the need for an agency charged with protecting consumers against dangerous financial products while only 26 percent agreed with a counter-argument depicting the CFPB as an example of expensive, unneeded federal bureaucracy. On the other hand, 40 percent of voters say they have no opinion or have not heard of the agency – an unsurprising result CRL says since the CFPB has been in business for only two years.

Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed reported being deceived or overcharged by a financial company. These responses were more common among voters in their 40s, African-Americans, and middle-income participants but seemed to have little bearing on policy preferences. Support for financial regulation is high among those with and without a bad personal experience.

There was widespread concern among respondents about abuses involving specific financial products and services such a credit cards, student loans, debt collection, and credit reporting, and strong support for additional rules and regulations. Respondents expressed particular concern about payday lenders and credit cards.

After hearing arguments for and against Wall Street Reform, 63 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that Wall Street must be held accountable and prevented from repeating past actions while only 24 percent agreed that the reform law is a “job killer” and likely to do more harm than good.

Support for financial regulation, however, coexists with a widely held view of debt problems as a reflection of personal irresponsibility. When asked to choose, 30 percent of voters point to personal irresponsibility, while 44 percent prefer an alternative statement that “lenders need rules” and should have to provide clear information “so people can make wise choices.” Twenty-two percent said they support both propositions equally.

While voters have mixed views of credit reporting companies, they object strongly to specific abuses. For example, 91 percent express concern about evidence that one in four reports include errors serious enough to cause people to pay extra for credit or insurance, or even to lose out on a job opportunity.

By Jann Swanson
From: Mortgage Daily News

SNMC2420 Washington Avenue, Houston, TX 77007
Allen Harry, NMLS #259568, Co. NMLS # 3116

Washington Corridor Newsletter August 2013 Edition

What’s the buzz on the Washington Corridor?

HoustonRestaurantWeeksWho doesn’t like eating at a Restaurant, especially if eating is for a good cause!

What is Houston Restaurant Weeks? Established in 2003, it is a fun-filled dining event benefiting the Houston Food Bank. Houston Restaurant Weeks is the city’s largest “for-charity” dining event held simultaneously in restaurants in the greater Houston area each year throughout the month of August.

HRW is planned by volunteers so that 100% of funds raised can be donated to the Houston Food Bank.

“Houston Restaurant Weeks gives people in Houston an opportunity to experience Houston’s exceptional restaurants while providing much-needed relief for families suffering from hunger,” said Brian Greene, CEO of the Houston Food Bank. “We are grateful to once again be the beneficiary of this incredible event.”

Participating restaurants make donations to the Food Bank based upon how many brunches, lunches and dinners they sell during the event.

Save the Dates for Houston Restaurant Weeks 2013! August 1 through September 2, 2013.

Benefitting the Houston Food Bank.

Or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/HouRestaurantWk

– YOUR Inner Loop Real Estate Team FEATURED LISTING!!!!
5500Feagan
5500 FEAGAN
112oldbridge
112 OLD BRIDGE LK
619Rutland
619 RUTLAND
This home is PERFECT! Absolutely wonderful 3 bedroom, 3 and 1/2 bathroom condo. Each bedroom with a bathroom. Approximately 2739 sq ft of luxurious space featuring hardwood floor, tile, and carpet.
Renovated home in Gated Community is a one of a kind. Home features granite counters, Travertine floors, Cedar Pergola, Solid wood 10 panel doors, French Drains. Plus much more. Three-story masterpiece by Fisher Homes boast a 6ft wrought iron fence & manicured lawn. The second floor showcases 12 foot ceilings, wood floors & a large luxurious kitchen/ living/Dining rooms.
For Sale: $499,900
MLS# 69716114
For: $154,900
MLS# 12449978
For Sale: $425,000
MLS# 38665344
– Real Estate News

Housing affordability drops to lowest level in more than four years

houseforsaleThere’s a down side to the housing market’s recovery: More people now can’t afford to buy a house.

Only 69.3 percent of new and existing homes sold in the second quarter of 2013 were affordable to households with the U.S. median income of $64,400, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

That’s down from 73.7 percent in the first quarter, and it’s the first time this housing affordability measure has fallen below 70 percent since late 2008.

The median price of homes sold in the second quarter was $202,000, compared with $185,000 for the same period a year ago, according to NAHB.

“Home values are strengthening at the same time that the cost of building homes is rising due to tightened supplies of building materials, developable lots and labor,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.

“Together with rising mortgage rates, this contributed to affordability slipping to the lowest level in more than four years,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

This problem could get worse, Crowe hinted, if Congress limits the mortgage interest deduction as part of tax reform and ends federal support for the secondary mortgage market, “both of which play enormous roles in keeping home ownership affordable.”

The most affordable major housing market in the U.S. was Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, where 92.8 percent of homes sold in the second quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $70,800. The least affordable major market? You probably guessed it — San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif., where only 19.3 percent of homes sold were affordable, even though families there have a median income of $101,200.

SNMCArticle from Bizjournals.com

By:
Washington Bureau Chief