This is good advice for the first-time homebuyer, and it is a good review for seasoned buyers.
“A house is probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. And, if you can avoid these missteps, chances are you’ll be happy with the home you choose. Are you gearing up to buy your first place? Shopping for a home is exciting, exhausting and a little scary, especially in this market. In the end, your aim is to end up with a home you love at a price you can afford. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, many people make mistakes that prevent them from achieving that simple dream. Arm yourself with these tips to get the most out of your purchase and avoid making 10 of the most costly mistakes that could put a hold on that sold sign.
1. Not knowing what you can afford.
We learned from the subprime mortgage mess, what the bank says you can afford and what you know you can afford or are comfortable with paying are not necessarily the same. .”
via HOUSTON – KATY AREA REAL ESTATE BLOG.
Thanks to bumped seats on a flight in Johannesburg in 2002 (we confirmed our return seats twice), my husband and I got a mileage voucher. The next year, we flew from Dubai to Kenya, then traveled to Tanzania by tour. We signed up for a no-frills safari-tenting tour. Oh, what a trip! We timed it for the return of the wildlife to the Serengeti. Our small tour group sat in a mini-van right in the middle of the zebras, wildebeests, etc. That was only one highlight of that trip…
Best Vistas of the World: Serengeti – Bing Travel: Serengeti
“The Maasai name for the Serengeti is “Serengit” — it translates to “endless plains” — and this section of Africa is so vast that it seems to dwarf the herds of 2 million wildebeest, gazelles and zebra that migrate twice annually in a giant circle, the largest mammal migration in the world. Covering 12,000 square miles, the Serengeti stretches from southwestern Kenya to northern Tanzania.”
via GOTTA TRAVEL.
Author: Your Houston News – Kevin Koloian
The Katy-Area Economic Development Council began a study in May aimed at establishing a recognizable ‘brand’ for the Katy area. Called the Placemaker Initiative, the stated goal is to “create an engaging gateway to a unique identity for the greater Katy Area.”
With as much community participation as possible, the council hopes to understand how Katy residents view themselves. “It will be more than just a slogan, but also who we are and what we stand for, all the distinguishing characteristics about Katy and what separates us from other communities,” said Lance LaCour, president and CEO of the Katy-Area Economic Development Council.
The Nashville based marketing firm ChandlerThinks was hired to lead the project. It previously worked with 45 other cities across the United States on similar projects. “Through some of the work the committee did, they realized that we needed to establish a more unified brand that included the city of Katy and the three county area,” LaCour said. “Part of the reason for that is due to the fact that people in Katy live in different political jurisdictions like Cinco Ranch and the city of Katy.”
The branding will be evident through signs welcoming people to Katy at key entrance points and expand the theme to major intersections. “The branding process will give businesses a stronger identity to market to the Katy area,” LaCour said. “It will also build a stronger sense of place for Katy.”
Currently the survey is asking greater Houston residents via email their perception of Katy, LaCour said. The project should be finished in October. The marketing plan will then be developed and the br
via Katy Real Estate and Events Blog.
Author: The Katy Times – Benjamin Newland & Tracy Dang
The Texas Department of Transportation said construction of direct connectors between Interstate 10 and Grand Parkway is on schedule and should be complete by the end of this year. One connector would take travelers on the Interstate 10 westbound lanes to the Grand Parkway southbound lanes. The other would take travelers on the Grand Parkway northbound lanes to the Interstate 10 eastbound lanes.
Public information officer Danny Perez said the connectors will cost roughly $29 million, but the investment may prove worth it for area drivers who face the traffic at the intersection. “The addition of these ramps will significantly help the flow of traffic, by reducing the traffic volumes at the current SH 99/IH 10 frontage road signalized intersections,” Perez said.
“Many motorists who currently go through the signalized intersections will now have an uninterrupted flow from the current SH 99 corridor to and from IH 10 east of SH 99,” he said.
Although the intersection was closed for three consecutive weekends in July, it remained opened last weekend. Closures will be posted at http://traffic.houstontranstar.org/construction/construction_report.aspx.
In addition, TxDOT is constructing main lane decks to connect Grand Parkway South to the northern section of the road as a part of Section E, which will extend Grand Parkway to Highway 290.
“Excluding the two direct connectors that will be complete by the end of this year, all additions to the current SH 99 corridor will be tolled,” Perez said.
However, he emphasized that none of the existing portions of Grand Parkway will have a toll.
via Grand Parkway Project Moving Along as Planned | Katy EDC.
MLS Press Release: “HOUSTON HOME SALES RISE AGAIN IN JULY
The second consecutive monthly increase is still attributed to slower than usual home sales in 2010 following expiration of the tax credit HOUSTON — August 16, 2011 — What do you get when you compare seasonal summer home buying in a single month to the same month a year earlier shortly after a home buyer tax credit expired? If its July 2011 in Houston, Texas, its a nearly 17 percent increase in home sales. Last years third quarter slowdown in home sales continues to make this years generally typical real estate activity appear slightly more positive than it otherwise would be considered. July marked the third time in 2011 that sales volume entered positive territory. It also saw the average price of a single-family home reach its highest level for a July in Houston.”
via HOUSTON – KATY AREA REAL ESTATE BLOG.
Tara-Nicholle Nelson, a Broker in San Francisco, is one of my favorite real estate/mortgage bloggers. Here is what her article in Trulia.com has to say about minimizing the risk in home ownership.
“Not so long ago, in a not-so-distant land, owning a home was thought of as the safest ‘investment’ around. Fast forward to the present day, and home ownership seems super scary to many people who can afford homes, and would like to own them, but are paralyzed by the fear of buying a lemon, or having a mortgage catastrophe.
Here are 4 simple steps to minimize the risk that you’ll become the main character in a homeownership horror story.
1. Stick with a fixed-rate mortgage. Recent data shows that adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, are increasingly popular, rising from 9 percent of the mortgage market in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 12 percent in the first quarter of this year. This might seem crazy to some, but in financially aggressive crowds, the lure of low, 3 percent#ish# interest rates on ARMs is enough to overcome any qualms. As well, today’s ARMs tend to have lower lifetime interest rate caps and require payment of principal, so they don’t adjust as violently as the subprime interest-only and option ARMs that contributed to the foreclosure crisis.”
Continue: 4 Steps to Minimize the Risk of Owning a Home:
via Katy Real Estate and Events Blog.
“Finding work may not be quite that simple, but it sure seems that way. While the nation’s job growth has limped along since the economic recovery began two years ago, the Lone Star State is enlarging payrolls in Texas-size fashion.
From June 2009 to June 2011 the state added 262,000 jobs, or half the USA’s 524,000 payroll gains, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even by a more conservative estimate that omits states with net job losses, Texas’ advances make up 30% of the 1 million additions in the 34 states with net growth.”
Continue: Texas bucks national unemployment trend – USATODAY.com.
One of the first things homebuyers look for in a home is crown molding. Many homes look unfinished when there is no crown molding…
“Crown molding makes it to the top of most remodeling lists because it adds charm and value to a home, not because people enjoy spending a Saturday trying to get the corners just right. Luckily, there’s a simple way to beat miter-saw frustration. Trimroc molding from Canamould Extrusions is a lightweight polystyrene foam coated in hard plaster. It cuts smoothly with a handsaw, and, as This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows here, it goes up in a flash with joint compound. No coping, no tricky angles, and ragged joints disappear with a dab of mud. So in just a weekend, you can upgrade a plain room to an elegant space—and still leave plenty of time for the rest of your list”
Continue: via HOUSTON – KATY AREA REAL ESTATE BLOG.