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Houston Housing Market Shows Signs of Recovery in August

housing market

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The Houston housing market showed signs of recovery, as mid-range homes and a growing housing month supply showed positive trends in August, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

According to HAR’s latest market report, an estimated 7,914 single-family home sales were recorded in August, a change of 8.2 percent year-over-year, allowing the housing inventory to boost to a 4.0-months supply from a 3.5-months supply from a year ago.

Single-family average sale prices rose 2.4 percent to $289,519 over August 2015, while the median home price boosted to $225,000—the highest recorded for an August, HAR reported.

“August proved to be a strong month for the Houston real estate market, which was welcome news after the slowdown in July,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga. “It’s possible that summer vacations meant consumers put home buying on the back burner in July, but whatever the cause, home sales appear to once again be moving at a healthy pace,” Arriaga reported.

Month-end pending sales totaled 7,359, an increase of 10.1 percent when compared year-over-year. Total active listings rose 12.4 percent when compared year-over-year to 38,056. All housing segments saw gains in the month of August, except homes priced under $150,000, HAR reported.

Overall, the Houston monthly housing market showed sustainable market conditions despite mixed conditions.

3 Mortgage Loan Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Are you an eager first-time home buyer interested in purchasing a home? With enticing mortgage rates at or near record lows, it’s important to do your due diligence when choosing your mortgage loan.

Buying a home can be an exhilarating experience, especially for first-time home buyers. Consider these helpful tips to ensure a smooth mortgage process.

Evaluate Your Debt to Earning Ratio

Before applying for a mortgage loan, evaluate your overall debt. Remember that debt reduces your ability to borrow money. Therefore, if your overall monthly debt obligations is greater than 36 percent, your liabilities (i.e. car payment, student loans, credit cards, etc.) can negatively affect your ability to qualify for a loan or limit the amount of mortgage that you can borrow. It is advisable to pay off a portion of your debt before moving forward with your mortgage application.

Assess Your Credit Score

Having less than a stellar credit score because of past credit mistakes can significantly stall your home buying process. In many cases, it might take up to two years for your credit to improve. Bankrate suggests paying off any outstanding debt and cleaning up your credit score at least six months before purchasing a home, as credit scores are among the most important factors when qualifying for a mortgage loan.

Calculate All Expenses, Including Down Payments, Mortgage Insurance, and Closing Costs

Home buyers are required to put down approximately 3.5 to 5 percent of the purchase price, dependent on their income and credit score. If a home is valued at $250,000, you can expect to have a down payment of roughly $8,750. Another cost to consider is Mortgage Insurance, also called PMI; lenders typically require you to purchase Mortgage Insurance if your down payment is less than 20 percent. Similarly, closing costs make up roughly 3 percent of the purchase price, thus, if your home is valued at $250,000, you can expect to pay an additional $7,500. All in all, it’s imperative to evaluate all monthly housing costs and make a sound decision when purchasing a home.

Bottom line, it’s important to do research, assess your household cash flow, debt, and lifestyle, and look at the long-term picture of what the obligation means over time. It is pertinent to make the right decision, for it can drastically affect your lifestyle.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is a brief synopsis of general mortgage tips. If you are seeking mortgage advice, please contact a certified mortgage lender.

Houston Housing Market Showed Signs of Weakening for the Month of July

The Houston housing market showed signs of weakening as July marked the first sales decline in six months; drastically dropping 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 7,204 homes sold in the month of July, a decline of 8.8 percent year-over-year. Contrastingly, the low sales volume allowed for the housing month supply to increase to 4.0-months—a noteworthy increase, but less than the 4.1-month supply of inventory from last year.

Average single-family sales price decreased -0.5 percent to $292,316 over July 2015, while the median home price rose 4.4 percent year-over-year to $230,000—the highest median price for a July, HAR reported.

“We never like to see a decline in home sales, but it’s helpful to remember that our comparisons each month are to a record year in 2015,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga. “July was the first time in several months when even mid-range housing saw declines. It’s hard to identify a single cause for the drop in sales, whether it’s a possible trickle-down effect of falling oil prices or prospective buyers holding out, but Houston’s housing market is still healthy overall, and HAR will continue to monitor conditions as we transition into the fall months,” stated Arriaga.

Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 7,979, while total dollar volume decreased -9.0 percent to $2.37 billion in comparison to $2.61 billion from July 2015. All housing segments saw a decline in the month of July, mainly homes under $79,999, HAR reported.

While no outstanding gains were seen throughout the month of July, the median price of a single-family home climbed to a record high, and inventory levels saw a significant spike, reaching the highest level since November 2012. All in all, the Houston real estate market remains viable.

Moving With Children: Finding the Best School for Your Family

Moving with Children: Finding the Perfect SchoolWhether you’re moving cross-country or to another side of town, moving with children takes a lot of planning and effort. But, finding the perfect school closest to your dream home, adds a whole new dimension to the move.

If you’re planning to move to a new area, it’s important to assess the schools that surround your favorite neighborhood or dream home prior to purchase. For this reason, we’ve compiled some tips modified from a realtor.com article that will help you find the best school for your kids:

Tip 1: Research Using the Internet

Begin your preliminary research by visiting the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics’ webpage. Editor and Writer, Kori Ellis from SheKnows indicates that NCES’ site is the primary federal entity that offers publications, reports, district profiles, statistics and other tools to help you find the most adequate school for your children.

If you’re looking for additional resources, Ellis suggests using comparison sites such as SchoolDigger.com and GreatSchools.org—these sites offer a variety of information regarding standardized test scores, school environments, parent reviews and more.

Tip 2: Talk to Your Real Estate Agent

Once you’ve narrowed down the selection of homes, consider talking to your real estate agent about schools. He or she can guide you through the school process by giving you a better overview of the surrounding schools.

Tip: Start your search by using our school search tool.

Tip 3: Visit Your Choices of Schools

Upon narrowing your choices of schools, consider setting up a time to tour the schools and talking to principals, teachers, or administrators. Be sure to develop some questions prior to your meeting. Realtor.com recommends the following questions:

  • “What is the school’s disciplinary policy?
  • How does the school monitor students’ progress toward meeting grade-level standards?
  • Is free school busing available?
  • Is there an active parent organization?
  • How is technology used to support teaching and learning at this school?
  • What extracurricular opportunities are available for students?”

Before you decide to make your next move, evaluate your school options and look at the long-term prospectus of what it will mean to choose a specific school district over time. It is pertinent to make the right choice, for it can drastically affect your kids’ lives. When debating what school best fits your children’s lifestyles, make sure to consider the tips mentioned in this blog.

Another Record Month for Houston Housing Market

The Houston housing market showed sustainable market conditions in June, as mid-range homes and a growing housing inventory showed positive signs of hope, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

According to HAR’s latest market report, an estimated 7,696 home were sold in June, allowing the housing inventory to boost to a 3.7-months supply of a 3.2-months supply from a year ago. Additionally, on a year-to-date basis, home sale rose 2.7 percent ahead of last year’s numbers.

Single-family home prices increased 2.5 percent to $230,538 in June, while the median home price boosted to $300,178; the second highest recorded for a June, HAR reported.

“We continued to see solid buying activity among middle-range housing in June,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga. “Even though sales overall leveled off compared to last June, volume is up for the year, and we anticipate a sufficient supply of inventory and low interest rates to draw more home buyers into the market in the weeks ahead” reported Arriaga.

Month-end pending sales totaled 7,801, an increase of 8.6 percent when compared to a year earlier. Total active listings rose 13.8 percent when compared year-over-year to 35,857. All housing segments saw a decline in the month of June, except homes priced between $150,000 to $499,999, HAR reported.

All in all, the Houston housing market showed sustainable market conditions despite mixed conditions. On a year-over-year basis, inventory grew; and the mid-range and average home price reached a record high while single-family home sales remained the same.

 

 

 

Top Home Amenities Tenants Tend to Look For

rental amenities

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Wondering how to attract quality residents to your rental property? Keep your property on the cutting edge by paying attention to the trends in rental property amenities. According to NMHC/Kingsley Associates 2015 Apartment Resident Preferences Survey, there are 10 community and home amenities that residents tend to search for.

These include:

Top Community Amenities

  • Parking
  • Pool
  • Fitness Center
  • Secured Community Access
  • Recycling

Home Amenities

  • High-Speed Internet
  • Walk-in Closet
  • Soundproof Walls
  • Patio or Balcony
  • Washer/Dryer in Unit

Additional deciding factors include proximity to grocery stores, eateries, work/office, public transit, bars, schools, and college/university among others.

When analyzed at the local level, specifically Texas, tenants tend to favor properties with smart thermostats, online rental portals, and bookshelves.

What amenities are you discovering to be in high-demand? Share your thoughts below.

Houston Housing Market Shows Positive Signs of Growth

The Houston housing market showed positive signs of growth as May’s home sales were up 10 percent versus May 2015, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

According to HAR’s latest monthly report, an estimated 7,343 contracts closed in the month of May, an increase of 3.6 percent year-over-year, allowing the housing inventory to rise to a 3.6-months supply of a 3.0-months supply from a year earlier.

Single-family home prices declined 0.5 percent to $290,931 over May 2015, while the median home price held steady at $225,000, HAR stated.

“We are seeing more normal market conditions for this time of year and that is the direct result of more plentiful housing inventory for buyers,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga. “A year ago, the supply of homes was historically low, which increased buyer-side demand and pushed up pricing. These are the fundamental forces of supply and demand, and with more available housing and an easing of prices, we look forward to a healthy pace of sales throughout the summer,” conveyed Arriaga.

Month-end pending sales totaled 8,286, an increase of 15.6 percent when compared year-over-year. Total dollar volume for properties rose 7.3 percent to $2.39 billion in comparison to $2.23 billion from a year ago. All housing segments saw a decline in the month of May, except homes priced $150,000 to $499,999, HAR reported.

Overall, the Houston housing market continues its positive trajectory, growing in all categories with total dollar volume, single-family homes sales, and average pricing all up when compared year-over-year, the HAR reported. All in all, Houston’s housing market should see sustainable market conditions as a demand for housing continues to increase.

Moving Checklist: Tips for a Smooth Move

flowers - moving checklistThe preparation that comes with a move can seem just as overwhelming as the actual, physical move.  Carefully planning your move will enable you to have a hassle-free relocation experience.

Consider using the moving checklist below to make your move a smooth transition.

Moving Checklist

6-8 Weeks Before Move:

  • Research moving companies and obtain at least three estimates in writing.
  • Create a checklist of businesses and services you will need to contact to change your address—don’t forget to include your online accounts as well.

4 – 6 Weeks Before Move:

  • Start the moving process by doing a first round of donations of unnecessary items to a local charity of your choice.
  • Consider having a garage sale and using the extra cash for your moving expenses.
  • Begin packing seasonal items and rarely used objects, storing them in a vacant room or basement.
  • If you have children, consider contacting their local and future schools to transfer all needed paperwork.

4 – 2 Weeks Before Move:

  • Purchase moving supplies such as boxes, packing tape, labels, and box cutters. Don’t forget to buy mattress bags and packing bubble wrap for your dishes and other fragile items.
  • Device a box-labeling system and code boxes accordingly. Remember to have a master list of your inventory.
  • Check-in with your moving company of choice and double check that your insurance is up-to-date to cover your valuables.

2 – 1 Weeks before Move:

  • Transfer all home subscriptions to your new home.
  • Gather important paperwork, jewelry, and family heirlooms and setup a plan to safely transport them to your new home.
  • Create an inventory list of high-ticket items and photograph them before your moving day.
  • Turn off utilities one day after your move-out date, and set up utilities in your new home one-day before your move-in date.
  • Pack a suitcase with a week’s worth of clothes.
  • Check to see if you accumulated any additional donation items and take them to your charity of choice.
  • Once you completely move out, thoroughly deep-clean your home and do a final walk through of the property.
  • Take a sigh of relief and enjoy the beginning of a new chapter in your new home!

5 Decorating Tips for Summer

Rethink your home décor and bring the colors and feelings of summertime into your home with these five easy-to-do decorating tips.

Decorate with Stripes

Brighten up your seating arrangements or table décor by incorporating summery striped tablecloths or cushions. Get your DIY on by using painters’ tape, fabric paint, and canvas drop cloth to create custom-made designs.

Add a nautical touch to your floral arrangements

Add a nautical touch to your summer floral arrangements by adding oyster shells or sand dollars to your flower vase for instant coastal charm! Swap your typical vase for a spiral nautilus shell for a step up.

Add a natural element to your home decor

Add a natural element to your space by decorating with succulents. Adding simple plants to your home will not only add a pop of color but also freshen your surroundings while making your design feel complete.

Set a colorful table setting

Consider swapping your plain dinnerware for a splash of summertime color and pattern. Use fun elements such as bright floral, tropical, or nautical-theme dishes paired with your regular dishes for an all-time summertime look.

Swap your art

Revitalize your walls with colorful art. Pick a readymade art piece or create original artwork that compliments your space.

Summer is the perfect time to dive into creative home décor projects—try these simple summer décor tips to liven your space today!

The Houston Housing Market Maintains a Steady Balance in April

Houston Real EstateThe Houston housing market continued it’s delicate balance in April, as median home prices rose to an all-time-high, and overall single-family home sales volume held firmly, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

According to the latest report by HAR, an estimated 6,310 contracts closed in the month of April with the housing month supply increasing to 3.6-months.

Single-family average sales prices declined -0.1 percent to $278,544 over April 2015 while the single-family median sales price increased 3.3 percent year-over-year to $217,000.

“There is little to complain about in the April HAR sales report, especially when you take into account the fact that we are comparing current home sales to the Houston housing market’s record 2015 performance,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga. “Indicators continue to point to more sustainable market conditions, as mid-range homes sell well, and consumers find that they have more homes from which to choose than they did at this time last year,” state Arriaga.

Month-end pending sales totaled 8,213 while total dollar volume for properties decreased -1.6 percent to $2.02 billion in comparison to $2.05 billion on a year-over-year basis. All housing segments between $150,000 and $500,000 saw gains in the month of April, except the low and high ends of the market, HAR reported.

Overall, the Houston housing market showed sustainable market conditions despite mixed market figures and continued instability within the energy industry. All in all, a demand for housing should carry on as Houston continues to be a desirable destination.