Community of the Week – Aliana in Richmond, TX

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Aliana has garnered numerous awards from best model park design, best special events, and 15th top selling community in the U.S. plus more. It’s no wonder so many buyers inquire about this unique master planned community. Just south of Katy and north of Sugarland; Richmond has its very own jewel!

All the comforts and amenities a home owner could imagine are included in this community. From a clubhouse, ballroom, swim center, children’s area and activities, fitness center, tennis court, to almost every quality builder in the Houston market has helped create outstanding value at Aliana. With elegance and master design, builders crafted homes suited to today’s family.

Perry Homes, J. Patrick, Plantation Homes, Ryland Homes, and Darling Homes are all part of this fantastic community. Most builders offer homebuyer incentives through the end of the year. If you desire a distinctive home and lifestyle in the heart of Richmond – I invite you to a hosted tour to see miles of hiking trails, beautiful neighborhoods, and a signature community that you’ll fall in love with! http://www.alianahouston.com/brochure/#/1/

Jewel Johnson, Realtor®

Champions Real Estate Group

832-800-4760

www.jeweljohnson.com

http://www.har.com/jeweljohnson

Miramesa in Cypress, TX is Hot…Hot…Hot!

Miramesa in Cypress, TX is Hot…Hot…Hot!!!

Yesterday, we talked about the Houston housing market and some areas that are doing quite well.  Today I would like to highlight one of those areas.  Cypress is growing by leaps and bounds, plus there are still many areas that are undeveloped.    Retailers are flocking to the area to open shop for future residents, new schools in the Cypress-Fairbanks school district are in place ready to accommodate students, plus companies are considering moving their businesses to the area.

One community that buyers are raving about is Miramesa at Canyon Lakes West in Cypress.  Miramesa, situated in an 1800 acre master planned community boast, a family-friendly lifestyle, plenty of amenities to keep the family busy, proximity to shopping and major highways.  Premium home builders moderately priced homes feature three-car garages, waterfront homesites and large lots from 50’ to 70’.   From walking trails, exercise equipment, kiddy splash pads, dog park and clubhouse to swimming and volleyball, Miramesa has it all!

The twelve new home builders include Gehan, Censeo, K. Hovnanian, Perry Homes, Ashton Woods, Lennar, Meritage, David Weekly, Anglia, Westin, and Century.

Call me for a personal tour of Miramesa!

Jewel Johnson, Realtor

Ph. 832-800-4760

info@jeweljohnson.com

www.JewelJohnson.com

 

 

Houston’s Real Estate Market

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Houston’s Real Estate Market is still robust, in spite of the oil industry fall-off in 2016.  Some areas fared better than others, but overall home sellers and home buyers still benefited.  Home sales did great in these areas:

Tomball

Texas City

Sienna

Near West End

Medical Center South

Katy Old Town

Hockley

Richmond

Cypress

Champions

There are “hot-spots” in the market where sellers will see greater pricing and lower days on the market.  The Cypress area is doing very well.  Several new homes builders have seen record home sales in 2016 and predict 2017 to be just a robust.  Re-Sales have experienced fewer days on the market and an increase in sales prices.

It is always a great time to buy or sell property in the Houston market.

Contact me today for your FREE Market Analysis!

Jewel Johnson, Realtorhousing

Ph. 832-800-4760

www.JewelJohnson.com

info@JewelJohnson.com

 

 

Homebuying and Technology for Today’s Consumer

Home Buying and Technology for Today’s Consumer

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Home buyers today are doing more to educate themselves on the market.  With the assistance of technology and online tools at their disposal, handling more of the home buying task themselves is a significant advantage. However, the process is still very complicated, especially for the first-time homebuyer.

There are key areas where technology can benefit the home buyer or seller.   Just be sure to assess practical considerations such as; interest rates, the condition of the market – is this a good time to buy? (although, it’s always a right time to purchase a home!), what financing options are available and which ones do I qualify?

The major areas where due diligence, technology, and information can help home buyers become more informed on the process and secure the best deal on their transaction.

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Finding a Home

There are many sites available for consumers to search home listings and for the home buyer, this is golden!  Websites such as Realtor.com and HAR.com (in the Houston area) are updated in real-time and offer the most accurate information.  Consumers have an opportunity to custom tailor their search options and target a specific zip code, community or school district they desire plus many other options.  You can do your research on pricing options, future neighborhood value dynamics, and scheduling showing appointments.

Be careful with sites such as Trulia, Zillow, and others as their listings may not be up-to-date and you will spend a lot of time inquiring on properties that sold.  A licensed real estate agent could be of service with this.

While it is true that consumers have some great tools to help facilitate the transaction, there are still some technical and legal aspects that a licensed real estate agent will be able to help navigate.

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Finding Financing Options

The home buying transaction is one of the largest single financial transaction in a person’s life.   Being knowledgeable about the process will save the homebuyer from a confusing event.  From doing your due diligence to finding out how much home you can afford, knowing your credit situation and score, considerations such as; are you a veteran & the options available, are you a public servant (teacher, police officer, firefighter) – financing proposals may be available.  There are many types of loans – FHA, conventional, 30 years fixed, 15 years fixed and more.

Bankrate.com is a great place to start.  They offer information on various types of loans, mortgage rate trend analysis, mortgage lender reviews and a mortgage calculator to help you figure your monthly payment.

A licensed real estate agent can help save tons of time by explaining the mortgage process and helping you find a lender that you will be comfortable working with (if you do not already have one). The lender will guide you through the process, but you can always ask your Realtor® for assistance.

In any event, it is important for the home buyer to realize that buying a home is a legal process that has many layers.  Whether you attempt to go at it alone or hire an attorney or licensed real estate agent; make sure to do your research so that you make an informed decision that will benefit you for years to come.

Anyone can buy a home without a real estate agent, but since the seller is normally the one who pays the commission. why would anyone not want an agent helping them?

Jewel Johnson, Realtor®, Champions Real Estate Group, Ph:  832-800-4760, www.JewelJohnson.com

Summer Home Improvement Ideas

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1.    Make Your Home Green – There are several smart ways to make your home eco-friendly.  When homeowners consider going “green” the misconception is “I have to invest a considerable amount of money and time.”  That is not necessarily true.  With just a few minor adjustments your home can be eco-friendly!

a.     Change light bulbs to energy-efficient light bulbs such as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).  According to Energy.gov, they use less energy than traditional bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. The Home Depot carries a great selection of energy saving bulbs.  My favorite lighting source that cut my electricity cost is Cree, 60 Watt Equivalent Daylight LED light bulb.  The bulb is Energy Star certified and can last over 20 years (3 hours of use daily) and uses 83% less energy than standard LED bulbs.

cree light bulb

b.    Next is to upgrade your thermostat – The Ecobee 7-Day Smart Wif-Fi Programmable Thermostat has remote sensors that deliver the appropriate temperature to the room that matters most.  It senses whether you are home or not, the weather outside, plus your homes unique profile.   Homeowners report saving up to 23% on their electric bill.  The Ecobee is Energy Star certified.

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c.    Secure water sources – replace faucets, chalking, and check for leaks.  KOHLER makes some of the best consumer products.  Their kitchen faucets, shower heads, and toilets offer outstanding functionality and water-saving features.  For gardening and lawn maintenance the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while are rain barrels!  With water use restrictions and municipals rising prices, this is an incredible time to invest in a renewable water source program.  Homeowners are now harvesting rainwater to save money and protect this natural resource.  Furthermore, your plants and trees will greatly benefit from a natural water source.  The type of water you use in your garden and landscaping affects the health of this ecosystem.  Water from municipalities can sometimes be too harsh and disrupt the balance of the soil. Ace Hardware.com carries a nice Fiskars 58-gallon barrel that is sturdy and economical.

kholer faucet

2.    Invest in routine A/C maintenance – has your air conditioning unit inspected by a licensed HVAC specialist.  Make sure the unit is functioning properly and efficiently.  Also, hire an energy auditor.  During the audit, your heater, A/C, water heater and insulation will be checked to make sure they are functioning properly.  Plus, replace filters inside your home every 2 to 3 months to allow your system to operate at peak performance during the summer months.

3.    Pressure wash, sidewalks, driveway and siding.  A clean exterior speaks volumes and gives your home a newer appearance.  Make sure to use detergents specifically for the pressure washer you are using.  For siding or brick avoid seams, gaps around doors and windows.
Just a few simple projects this summer will offer your home better functionality, curbside appeal and energy savings.  In the event you decide to sell your home, these practical tips can net extra money on the transaction.
For all your real estate needs – call Jewel Johnson, Realtor® (832) 800-4760 or info@JewelJohnson.com
http://www.JewelJohnson.com

Buying and Selling a Home is Complex

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When it comes to the nature of a real estate transaction, there is more than meets the eye.  Each and every transaction is unique within itself.  If the seller or buyer does not have proper representation, the process promises to be very cumbersome and overwhelming for some.   A professional real estate agent/Realtor® will facilitate a seamless process from start to closing and beyond.  Look for a professional you can trust to guide you through the process and provide exceptional service.

Whether this is your first real estate transaction or your fifth, laws, forms and other variables are bound to have changed from year to year.  From loan requirements to transaction closing rules, a Realtor® has the knowledge to guide you through the process.

Ready to sell your home?  Call me for a Free Market Analysis!  Jewel Johnson, Realtor®, Champions Real Estate Group – (832)800-4760

www.JewelJohnson.com

House Hunting Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend is a great time for house hunting.  Memorial Day weekend offers tons of opportunities to visit homes on the market.  With open houses, builder events and eager real estate agents ready to assist – you are bound to find the house of your dreams!  However, you must come prepared.

I’ve put together this handy-dandy list of things you can do to have a pleasurable home shopping experience:

  • A pre-approval letter from a lender.
  • Your “need and want” list.
  • Schedule a blocked time slot with your Realtor®.
  • Bring your patience! Have fun it’s going to be an enjoyable process.

If you are a homeowner or real estate agent hosting an open house this weekend, feel free to share your information in the comment section of this post.

Happy Memorial Day!  Jewel Johnson, Realtor®, Champions Real Estate Group (832)800-4760.

It’s Time to Buy a House

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I purchased my first home when I was in my early twenties, purchased my second home at the age of thirty, and my third home at the age of forty.  Every decade the market was much different from my previous home purchase experience.  Although, one thing remained constant – the fact that I did my research.  In every instance, I sought to make an informed decision about the housing market.  From housing trends, mortgage rates, to lenders reputations; I desired to be well-informed in every aspect of the market.

Aliana - trails

Houston’s housing market continues to be strong even though the energy industry has taken an economic hit.  Inventories are good for existing homes and builders are offering great incentives for new builds.  Mortgage rates varied this week in Houston, 30 year fixed is about 3.95% for FHA and 15 year fixed is about 3.99% for FHA (according to Mortgage Daily News 5/28/16).

There are many housing options in the Houston market today.  Whether you’re in a market for a single family home in an established neighborhood or a new build, a Realtor® can help you navigate the terrain.

For all your real estate needs.  Call Jewel Johnson (832) 800-4760.

Just Listed! Tomball $155,000

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WELCOME HOME!

11827 Skydale – Tomball, TX

Beautiful 2 story home near Hwy 249.  Situated in a cul-de-sac with a spacious back yard, kitchen has tiled backsplash, custom light fixtures & ceiling fans throughout.  Close to Willowbrook Mall, Shopping, Silverado IMAX Theatre and other entertainment venues.  Welcome Home! Contact Jewel Johnson, Agent – Champions Real Estate Group 832-800-4760.

 

Renting vs Buying a Home

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Renting vs Buying a Home

Source – Yahoo Finance by Mandi Woodruff

According to an article by Mandi Woodruff with Yahoo Finance, “the cost of renting and buying varies so widely across the U.S., you have to take reports like these with a healthy dose of salt. In some metro areas, like San Antonio and Phoenix, it’s actually much cheaper to buy a home than rent.”

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But the reality is that the cost of renting across the country is on the rise, straining the budgets of many renters. In the largest 25 metro areas in the U.S., rents increased by 5.5% in 2013, eating up more than 40% of the average renter’s household income, according to Trulia. Most financial experts recommend spending less than one-third of income on housing.

“Once [rent] is over 30%, that’s when you start getting into the danger zone financially,” says Helen Stephens, a certified financial planner in Dallas. “And the problem when you’re renting is that you may be in a lease for a year, and at the end of that year your landlord has the right to raise the rent on you.”

For renters who aspire to own a home one day, the biggest hurdle they’ll face is mastering cash flow — ensuring that the money coming in can not only cover their bills, but also leave them with wiggle room to save. Unfortunately, today’s renters have a lot less capital to work with than existing homeowners. According to FINRA, 74% of renters earn less than $50,000 a year, vs. 60% of homeowners who earn more than $50,000.

From Rent to Mortgage

Another challenge facing prospective homebuyers: the daunting down payment — typically 20% of the homes purchase price. And Stephens advises her clients to build up an emergency maintenance fund of at least a few thousand dollars in case any unexpected repairs are needed once they’ve moved in.

As for the best place to save for a down payment, Stephens recommends a regular bank account. Banks are offering paltry interest rates on savings now, but it’s a wiser option than investing it in the stock market, she says.

“I don’t believe in investing money in the market that you’re going to need for the short term,” she says. “I know it may not earn much [interest] in a bank but it is secure and it’s for a very targeted expense.”

Preparing financially isn’t the only step to homeownership. Buying a house is a complex, long-term endeavor that requires a lot of mental prep work. In a FINRA survey of more than 25,000 homeowners and renters, 40% of renters answered a basic question about 15-year and 30-year mortgages incorrectly, compared to just 19% of homeowners.
“No one should buy a home if they can’t understand basic finance,” says Ilyce Glink, author of “100 Questions Every First-time Home Buyer Should Ask”. “The quick way to bankruptcy is to buy a house you can’t afford, get locked into mortgage payments, real estate tax bills, and maintenance and upkeep expenses.”

Glink has written dozens of articles available for free with tips for first-time homebuyers. But even she recognizes that homeownership isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, renting just makes more sense.

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“Choose renting if you don’t know where you’re going to want to live in five years, if your employment situation isn’t stable, and if you can’t currently set aside 20% of your after-tax income into a savings account,” she says. “You might also choose renting if you’re currently dating someone and hope to be in a long-term stable relationship that involves living together because otherwise you might buy a condo that’s too small for your expanding family.”

For more information on purchasing on home contact us anytime!

Jewel Johnson, Realtor®

Champions Real Estate Group

832-800-4760

www.jeweljohnson.com

http://www.har.com/jeweljohnson