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Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Houston Furniture Bank

April 6th, 2017 will go down in the Houston history
books as belonging to the Houston   hfb pic 2Furniture Banks grand re-opening after a devastating fire in 2015 destroyed all of the Furniture Banks assets and a place for them to call home. The fire could destroy the physical items but not their giving spirits. A mere year or so later, in a honorary ceremony on this beautiful Thursday, Mayor Sylvester joined to officially cut the ribbon on this brand new location, donation and outlet center. HFB has served over 100,000 individuals in need
over the first two decades and currently HFB PIC 8assists 150 needy families a month turning their empty spaces into homes. Children will no longer have to sleep on the floor or eat off of a cardboard box. The families of this city are the future of this city and everyone needs a safe, comfortable place to grow and feel nurtured. The founder of the Houston Furniture Bank, Oli Mohammad, shares “Furniture is a critical stepping stone to improve living conditions and elevate an individual’s personal pride and dignity.”  HFB’s goal is to increase their outreach this year to 500 families assisted a month, and Nino Properties is honored to be a part of this effort. There are many ways you can help. The Furniture Bank will pick up your gently used:

  • Beds, Dressers
  • Living Room Sofas, Chairs, Recliners, Lamps
  • Dining Room Tables, Chairs, Rugs
  • Kitchen Utensils, Pots and Pans, Dishes, Place Mats
  • Working Appliances
  • Sheets, Towels
  • Toys, Home Accessories

HFB PIC 4 Another feature The Furniture Bank is also very proud to offer is their Mattress Recycling Program. Almost 650,000 mattresses are dumped into Houston landfills each year, enough to fill two Reliant Stadiums. The Furniture Banks goal is to recycle and refurbish 10,000 mattresses each month while providing income to help others. One of the HFB’s trucks will even come pick it up and transport your used mattress for you, saving our environment while providing for Houston’s families in need.

You can also help by giving your time, just as valuable as any monetary donations. There are many ways to volunteer at the Furniture Bank, from the DIVAS program (Decorating Interiors Volunteers at Your Service) who decorate homes for families as nominated by their caseworkers. Helping in the outlet center and warehouse, and of course donating your gently used goods.

Nino Properties is proud to be a part of this remarkable charity and look forward to the upcoming growth and positive change to the city of Houston the Furniture Bank strives for.

For more coverage on The Houston Furniture Banks big day, read more here:

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Furniture-nonprofit-debuts-new-warehouse-11056571.php?t=f73ffd1caa

Source: Houston Chronicle

Neighborhood Spotlight: Downtown Houston

If you’ve lived in Houston long enough than you’ve had the opportunity to see the complete transformation of Downtown. At one time, Downtown was a place for business… and that’s about it.  If you happened to find yourself there on a weekend it was essentially a ghost town, but what was only a place of business is now trending to be not only the place to work, but also live, eat and drink in Houston.

Thinking of heading to Downtown? Here are the places to check out:

Live.

Downtown Houston is home to a number of fantastic mid to high rise apartments, condos and town homes – some new and some old but made new. The Star Apartments are the latest “old but made new” apartments to the neighborhood and if you have an appreciation 20170208_124423for history and charm then you will really appreciate The Star. Not only does the building boast some lovely turn of the century architecture – unique arches, large windows, tray ceilings – but also the building’s history is intertwined with what makes Houston…well Houston. Originally built in 1915, The Star became the home of the Texas Company or what is now more widely known as Texaco, Inc. Moving from Beaumont, TX  the then oil and energy hub of the US, Texaco, Inc. was one of the first oil companies to move their headquarters to Houston. This move started the trend for other oil and energy companies (more than 3,700) to follow and eventually converted Houston into what is today: the Energy Capital of the World.

Rents at The Star start in the $2,000s without taking into consideration current specials. If you’re interested in renting or want to find out more click here. Average rents neighborhood wide for a is $1,971 according to Rent Jungle and the average list price is $437,071.

We didn’t forget…it’s Valentine’s Day! Because it’s the day of L-O-V-E we are offering some discounts for you to “treat yo’self.”  Renting? – get $300 cash rebate for lease signs at any of the properties above.  Listing a property? We’ll list for as little as 4.75%.  Purchasing? Get 25% of commission applied to your closing costs. To receive any of the following, all you have to do is register here.

Happy Valentines Day

Other notable living spaces in the Downtown area are: One Park Place, The Rice, Market Square Tower and SkyHouse Houston.

Eat.

Another fun fact about Houston is that we are the most diverse city in America… translation we have food fare representative of pretty much every culture you that you can think of and downtown Houston doesn’t let you down. Thanks to Super Bowl LI, we have Xochi – the PLACE to go for all things Oaxacan food. Not exactly sure what ‘Oaxacan’ is? … initially me either. Allow me to enlighten you.  Oaxaca is a city located in the southern Mexico so if you’re thinking you’ve tried every Mexican food there is a chance you might Tlayuda_5385stand corrected. Chief Chef of Xochi Hugo Ortega is the master mind creator behind the Xochi project and according to Eater Houston offers Oaxacan specialties such as mole sauce, barbacoa, roasted pork and various “dishes that feature edible insects.” (Mmmm… protein?) Tluyada (pictured left – courtesy of Xochi) is also one such specialty cuisine you can find at Xochi. Tluyada is basically Oaxacan pizza – a large crunchy tortilla with beef, pork, cilantro, jalapenos to name just a few of the topping options.

Other downtown places to dine include:  Irma’s Original (Mexican food) and Irma’s Southwest Grill (more Mexican food), Charlie’s BBQ, Tout Suite and Honey Moon (for all things Cafe fare), and The Conservatory (‘underground beer garden and food hall’), Phoenicia Market (International grocery market and deli)

Drink.

One does not simply dine in downtown Houston, there’s also a number of places to score drinks – whether it be a coffee or a cocktail. And while you’re out having a good time you can also contribute to charity by ordering a food or beverage at downtown Houston’s OKRA Charity Saloon. OKRA stands for “Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs.” Essentially a few like minded and savvy restaurant owners got together and decided to contribute their talents and restaurant experience to do a little good in the community. Charity-Saloon_web_800x600

(Photo Courtesy of Downtown Houston)

While social enterprises are currently en trend and have been for the past few years what OKRA has developed is probably my personal favorite brand of enterprise giving.  Each month OKRA selects a number of local Houston charities to support and 100% of proceeds go to the “winning” charity. Who chooses the winner you say? The power is yours… you purchase, you get a ticket and then vote on the charity you desire to support by submitting your ticket. Simple as that. Since it’s opening in 2011, OKRA has raised $855,215.58. In addition to it’s charitable pursuits OKRA also offers a storied venue.  It’s located at the address of the first official saloon of Houston and functioned as a saloon from 1882 up until Prohibition. Scandalous! So have a drink, support your local community and appreciate the history at OKRA.

Other downtown dives to check out: Public Services Wine and Whisky, Pastry War, Reserve 101, Hearsay, Gastro Lounge, Flying Saucer

Sources:

http://visual.ly/houston-texas-energy-capital-world

https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-houston-rent-trends/

http://www.xochihouston.com/

http://friedokra.org/

A New Home Buying Force: The Single Woman

Can anyone say, “I am woman, hear me roar!”? According to the latest National Association of Realtors (NAR), single women are the second largest home buying group behind married couples. The data shows that women make up 14% of the home buyer market – a percentage that accounts for a third of overall home ownership growth since 1994.  With a median age of 32 and an average income of $49,500 it seems “all the single ladies” are taking the plunge into owning their own home ahead of their single male counterparts who only account for 7% of the home buyer market. In an article released by NAR, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun stated, “Single women for years have indicated a strong desire to own a home of their own, as well as an inclination to live closer to friends and family.  With job growth holding steady and credit conditions becoming somewhat less stringent than in past years, the willingness and opportunity to buy is becoming more feasible for many single women.”

So why all the single woman home buying? Here are just a few reasons women are deciding to make their purchase single:

Investment in the Future

One reason cited for home purchase is the investment opportunity.  Though women are still making about 20% less than single men, women are more than ever in the place where they can invest independently in their own home. In an article by Quicken Loans, James Phillips, a single woman from Houston said, “I want to give myself the stability, the investment, and the legacy.”

Renting no more

The high cost of renting is also pushing single women to purchase. In spite of Class A apartment rents being at an all time low in Houston – currently averaging at $1,420 rent rate per month, many women still don’t believe this offers greater advantages over buying. Ashley Beggins another single Houston woman said, “I’m currently renting, but want to buy. I feel like home owning offers me stability. I’m throwing money away and renting is not an investment into my future.”

Ms. Independent

Women (and men for that matter) are marrying at a later age. The Census Bureau reports the average marrying age for women is between 26 and 27 and 28 and 29 for men. Also, according to an article from National Mortgage News, “The share of households with married couples dropped 0.4% year-over-year in 2015.”  Rather then marrying first and purchasing later single women are doing the reverse.  Gone are the days where the scarlet letter phrase “Jane Doe, a single woman” were included on the purchase contract. Single women not only have the means to purchase a home on their own, but also culturally it’s a lot more acceptable then it used to be.

Single woman graphic

Sources:

https://www.quickenloans.com/blog/trending-single-women-buying-homes

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2016/06/02/pay-attention-single-female-home-buyers

https://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/marriage/data/acs/ElliottetalPAA2012figs.pdf

http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/origination/the-link-between-education-and-homeownership-deepens-1077428-1.html?utm_medium=email&ET=nationalmortgage:e6689537:482191a:&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=daily%20briefing-may%2010%202016&st=email&eid=9cdc3e1ad3ee0e7b32239dcbbe139069

 

top 3: 2017 home design trends

Only 4 more days until we ring in the New Year. In home design, white & gray continued to trend as well as shiplap, industrial type pieces and subway tile. What will 2017 home design bring?

1. Terracotta

Terracotta will make a comeback by warming white and neutral spaces with its reddish-orange earth tones. Matte finish tiles in hexagonal shapes or laid in unique patterns will be a new statement maker in the upcoming year.

Terracotta-devolkitchens.co.uk

Photo via DeVol

Terracotta-xsurfaces.com exquisite surfaces

Photo via Exquisite Surfaces

2. Colors – Green and Blue

More natural hues that evoke a sense of serenity and calm will be on trend for the upcoming year. With all that is going on in life and in the world this is not at all surprising. The Pantone Color Institute states, “The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.” For this reason Pantone has dubbed “Greenery” the 2017 color of the year. The color choice is symbolic of our need for reflection and a slower pace.

Blue, in particular Navy and Cobalt blues are also expected to make wide appearances in home decor in 2017.

hereford

Photo via Eclectic Trends

deep-blue-bedroom-design

Photo via Homedit

3. Escape spaces

We will continue to see spaces and corners away from digital distraction designed into our homes. Reading corners, craft rooms, tranquil bedrooms – spaces where we can spend less time in front of a screen and more time relaxing will become ever more popular.

reading-nook-painted-gray-blue-with-built-in-cushions-and-antler-light-754x1024

Photo via Remodelista

 

3 real estate trends in 2017

With Christmas around the corner and 2016 coming to a close, thoughts of what the New Year 2017 will bring abound.  Also, as President elect Donald Trump prepares for White House many, whether positive or negative, expect to see shifts in the economy – particularly in regard to his famed industry of real estate.  So what does the future year hold for real estate? Here are the top 3 trends experts are predicting in 2017:

gup8mcvssf0-max-boettinger

Low mortgage rates no more

Since the recession mortgage interest rates have remained steadily low. According to Freddie Mac, the lowest average mortgage rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage in 2016 was 3.44% - an historically unheard of rate and not one that is expected to stick around. Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner told Inman news, “I don’t believe we’ll see any pullback until after the inauguration, but even the best-case scenario suggests that the historically low rates that have been in place for the last few years are firmly in the rear-view mirror. My forecast is for the 30-year fixed rate to rise above 4.5 percent by year’s end, and worst case scenario knock on the door of 5 percent.”

What does this mean for a buyer pocket book? An increase from the average mortgage rate of 3.7% to 4.5% as Gardner predicts would cause an annual increase of $1,104 on a $200,000 loan. So if you are looking to buy a home, now is the time.

More Millennial home buyers

Whether the reason for delayed home purchase is due to a combination of educational debt and/or the Recession one thing is for sure – the Millennial or Generation Y will be purchasing in 2017. According to Realtor.com, 33% of first time home buyers next year will be in the 18 to 35 age range. On top of that these Millennial home buyers will not be purchasing what is typically categorized as entry level housing. Senior vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae, Doug Duncan told Inman news, “Builders are seeing millennials, whose first home they are purchasing used to be the first move-up home, sort of leapfrogging that entry-level…they’ve just delayed buying until they could get the house they wanted, the more mid-sized or first move-up house.” Other delays of purchase until now also point to Generation Y’s slower income appreciation and the fact that they have taken longer to “settle down” marry and have children. The Washington Post reported, “the average marrying age for first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men; in urban areas such as New York and Washington, those averages are higher.” Millennials just haven’t been in a rush to make larger commitments at an earlier age like previous generations – and purchasing a home is one such commitment. Until now.

_vnps7qegwk-stepan-vranyA continuance of low inventory – a Seller’s market

Housing inventory will continue to be low in 2017. In a healthy market, 6 months is typically the mark of real estate inventory; however, the National Association of Realtors reports housing supply across the nation remains at a 4.3 months supply. Continued scarcity of inventory will likely lead to rising home prices and greater seller leverage in the market. On the other hand, the increasing mortgage rates predicted next year might also discourage existing homeowners from selling. Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American poses an interesting question, “How do we address the fact that the existing homeowner, the largest single source of housing supply, has a built-in, financial disincentive to make that supply move?” Selling a home with a mortgage interest rate of 3.5% and purchasing a new at 4.5% making the “move up” home less appealing for current homeowners.

Current Houston Stats as of December 14, 2017

Source: The Houston Association of Realtors:

CATEGORIES NOVEMBER 2015 NOVEMBER 2016 CHANGE
Total property sales 5,676 6,890 21.4%
Total dollar volume $1,420,028,031 $1,827,990,565 28.7%
Total active listings 33,298 36,151 8.6%
Single-family home sales 4,651 5,706 22.7%
Single-family average sales price $262,811 $281,671 7.2%
Single-family median sales price $205,000 $222,000 8.3%
Single-family months inventory* 3.4 3.6 0.2 mos.
Single-family pending sales 5,019 5,799 15.5%

* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.

Article Sources:

“8 experts predict what the 2017 housing market has in store” https://www.inman.com/2016/12/06/8-experts-predict-the-2017-housing-market/

“Monthly Average Commitment Rate And Points On 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages Since 1971” http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.htm

“Realtor.com® Forecasts Post-Election Economy to Result in Higher Mortgage Rates While Housing Delivers Slower Gains in 2017”http://news.move.com/2016-11-29-Realtor-com-Forecasts-Post-Election-Economy-to-Result-in-Higher-Mortgage-Rates-While-Housing-Delivers-Slower-Gains-in-2017

“5 Real Estate Trends to Watch in 2017” http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-real-estate-trends-to-watch-in-2017-2016-11-15

“10 Real Estate Trends to Watch in 2017” http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/11/22/10-Real-Estate-Trends-Watch-2017

https://www.har.com/content/mls

 

Houston Housing Market Yields Positive Results for the Second Consecutive Month

The Houston housing market yielded positive results for the second consecutive month; increasing sales volume on the high and low ends of the housing continuum, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

According to HAR’s latest forecast, an estimated 5,916 homes sold in the month of October, an increase of 1.2 percent year-over-year. Similarly, the housing month supply boosted to 3.8-months—a remarkable growth, but lower than the 4.5-month supply of inventory from a year ago.

Average single-family sales price increased 2.2 percent to $277,904 over October 2015, while the median home price rose 6.3 percent year-over-year to $218,000—the highest median price for an October, HAR reported.

“The Houston housing market continues to demonstrate its strength by holding steady in the midst of a weakened energy sector and uncertainty about the presidential election,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga. “Even without those influences, autumn traditionally marks a period of slower sales, so we are extremely pleased to see the market keeping pace with last year’s record levels,” stated Arriaga.

Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 6,589, while total dollar volume increased 1.4 percent to $1.86 billion in comparison to $1.84 billion from October 2015. All housing segments saw a decline in the month of October, except homes priced between $150,00 and $450,000, HAR reported.

Overall, Houston’s housing market yielded positive results; the median price of a single-family home climbed to a record high, and inventory levels saw a slight increase, reaching the highest level for an October. All in all, the Houston real estate market remains sustainable.

5 Home Repairs You Should Consider Fixing Now

Home RepairIt might be tempting to put off fixing the leaky roof in your home or clean out the clogged gutters, but not attending to these repairs could cause substantial damage in the long run.  It’s important to be proactive and regularly check your home for any disrepair, as there are repairs that should not be put off.

Here are five home repair projects that should be fixed immediately:

Leaky Roof

Are there water spots on your ceiling? If so, it’s important to assess the leak and have it fixed immediately. Not doing so could result in mold growth, home structure damage, or electrical wires or cable damage.

 Blocked Gutters

Clogged gutters can wreak havoc in your home if left unattended. To prevent damage to your home’s exterior, foundation, or landscape, it’s important to clear your rain gutters from debris like leaves and twigs on an ongoing basis during rainy and windy seasons.

Mold

Is mold plaguing your home? Whether it is the ever-present shower mold or a more “toxic” mold, it’s important to be preemptive and treat any mold aggressively, as exposure to damp and moldy surroundings can cause various reactions to the human body.

Clogged Dryer Vent

Lint and debris will build up in your dryer hose and vent duct over time, creating a potential fire hazard in your home. Reduce the possibility of such danger by thoroughly inspecting your dryer vent periodically. Doing so could save you some cash by improving your dryer’s efficiency.

Damaged Decks

Has your wooden deck seen better days? Are your deck boards worn or missing flashing? If so, consider bringing in a professional to assess the deck to avoid any costly repairs, or in a worst-case scenario a full overhaul.

If you have any of the mentioned home repairs, it’s recommended you act fast and begin taking action immediately. Not doing so could cost you in the long run.

Source: 12 Home Repairs That Are Way Too Risky To Put Off

Houston Housing Market Shows Signs of Cooling in September

The Houston housing market showed signs of cooling, as single-family home sales showed signs of decline in September, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

According to HAR’s latest market report, an estimated 6,652 single-family home sales were sold in September, a change of 1.3 percent year-over-year, allowing the housing inventory to boost to a 3.9-months supply of a 3.5-months supply from a year ago.

Single-family median price rose 4.8 percent to $219,990 over September 2015, while the median home price boosted to $277,849—the highest recorded for a September, HAR reported.

“With home sales ahead of where they were at this time last year – a record sales year – in a market that continues to suffer energy-related job losses, I believe we’re doing well,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga. “Inventory is still moving in the right direction, and consumers that were not buying homes in September accounted for strong rental activity throughout the month,” Arriaga reported.

Month-end pending sales totaled 6,501, an increase of 10.5 percent when compared year-over-year. Total active listings rose 11.6 percent when compared year-over-year to 37,955. All housing segments saw a decline in the month of September, except homes priced between $150,000, to $250,000, HAR reported.

While no outstanding gains were seen throughout the month of September, the average price of a single-family home climbed to a record high, and inventory levels saw a significant increase when compared year-over-year.

Nino Properties Receives Commitment to Excellence Platinum Award

Nino Properties Receives Commitment to Excellence Platinum AwardNino Properties is pleased to announce its recent recognition for exceptional customer service at the 2016 Cartus Global Network Conference, held October 3-4 in Washington, DC at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Each year, Cartus, a trustworthy leader in the relocation industry, recognizes industry-leading service providers for their outstanding commitment to their customers and clients worldwide.

Nino Properties was named a winner of the Global Network Commitment to Excellence Platinum Award, the highest-level award a supplier can achieve through service performance. This award recognizes a supplier’s measurable commitment to excellence and is presented to Global Network service providers who have distinguished themselves by achieving critical performance metrics.

“We are delighted to receive such prestigious award for the fifth consecutive year, and be recognized for our company’s hard work and dedication in providing exceptional home finding services to the greater Houston metropolitan area,” said Gloria Nino, president and CEO of Nino Properties.

The entire staff at Nino Properties is grateful to have received such prestigious award and be honored by colleagues.

5 Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Home

5-Fall-Maintenance-Tips-for-Your-Home-.jpg

Photo Credit – FreePik

As days begin to get shorter and cool temperatures become the norm, consider tackling your fall maintenance checklist to help ease your way through the cold weather.

These five maintenance tips will help keep your home in tip-top shape.

Upkeep Your Shrubs and Trees

Conserve your garden’s beauty by caring for your shrubs and trees. Trim trees accordingly and remove any bare branches to avoid falling limbs during harsh winter storms.

Clean Rain Gutters and Downspouts

Avoid causing any damage to your home by doing some preventative maintenance to your gutters and downspouts. As twigs and leaves begin to pile up, consider removing any debris, as clogged gutters during the rainy season can drastically damage your home’s roof or siding.

Clean outdoor fixtures

Change out any burned-out light bulbs and clean any outdoor fixtures with a solution of soapy water. A little cleaning can provide more light and make your outdoor lighting more attractive.  If you’re short on time, grab a duster and dust away, this will make a huge difference.

Repair and Seal Cracks Around Your Home

Avoid any pesky rodents or creepy crawlers from invading your home by patching small holes and covering large gaps with heavy-duty hardware. Remember the onset of cold weather might cause rodents and critters to seek food and a warm shelter.

Weatherize Your Home

Increase your home’s comfort level and reduce energy costs by filling all gaps and cracks with weatherstripping products, such as silicone rubber, by tightening up drafty areas around windows and doors.

Consider these easy maintenance tips to get your home prepped and ready for the fall!