Sunday, December 13, 2015

I want snow and mountains this year!!

I find it difficult to get into the mood for Christmas as temperature and topography in Houston fail to excite at this time of the year. I want to see mountains and snow. That usually means having to travel to Oregon or Colorado. Why can't Texas create artificial mountains? Why can't they dump artificial snow on them? Where is that Texas can do spirit? If Dubai can create this in the desert, why can't Texas do the same here?  Here is an indoor ski resort in Dubai.

In eastern China, where it rarely snows and temperatures are mild, there are dozens of indoor ski resorts like this.

In Seoul Korea, artificial mountains with amazing waterfalls were built.

Time for Houston to develop the next world wonder!!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Hogan-Allnoch Building was recently torn down. For years it was home to a dry goods retailer.

I personally love these old buildings but I also recognize you can't stop progress. This building will now be turned into a parking lot for at least two years. New owners have eyes on developing a boutique hotel/restaurant in  couple of years.
Too bad no affordable residential development is being planned instead.  This property was owned by the city and recently auctioned off for the amount of 3 million. My guess is with the way parking rates have been going up, they should be able to recoup their entire investment within a year. Am I right? $25 bucks to park is nuts!!

The Hogan-Allnoch building,1319 Texas Ave Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, in Houston.
No one showed up at last week's public auction to sell the Hogan-Allnoch building, which is now likely to become a parking lot.
County commissioners wanted to tear it down and use the land as a parking lot, but preservationists persuaded them to give someone a chance to buy it.  The county owns the four-story, 50,000-square-foot building at 1319 Texas Ave.
 ( Michael Paulsen / Chronicle ) Photo: Michael Paulsen, Staff / Houston Chronicle
The Hogan-Allnoch Building was recently torn down. For years it was home to a dry goods retailer. Photo: J.R. Gonzales

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fastest Growing Counties in the Country?

Houston-area counties among fastest-growing in U.S. in 2014, Census data confirms

Harris County added 104,517 new residents in 2014 — more than any other county in the U.S. — but other Houston-area counties grew at a much faster rate, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Fort Bend and Montgomery counties are among the top 10 nationwide when ranked by percentage growth.

The data comes from the Census' 1-Year American Community Survey results released Sept. 17. The 1-Year ACS results track demographic changes year to year for states, counties, cities, towns and places with more than 65,000 residents. Explore the county-level data with the interactive table embedded below this article. Click the column headers to sort data hierarchically

Fort Bend County's population grew from 652,365 in 2013 to 685,345 in 2014, a growth rate of 5.06 percent, ranking it No. 4 by percentage growth, according to the data. Montgomery County added 19,810 residents, bringing it to 518,947 in 2014. Its 3.97 percent growth rate ranked the county No. 7 nationwide.
Much further down on the list are Galveston, Harris and Brazoria counties, which rank at Nos. 55-57. They grew 2.42 percent, 2.41 percent and 2.39 percent, respectively.

The Houston metro area grew from 6,313,158 residents in 2013 to 6,490,180 in 2014, adding 177,022 new residents — the most of any metro area nationwide. That equates to an average of 485 new Houston-area residents a day, including babies born here. When ranked by percent growth, the Houston area's 2.8 percent rate puts it at No. 9 among large metros and No. 10 among all.

The fastest-growing metro area in Texas was the Midland area, which grew by 7,747 residents to 163,470 residents in 2014 for the third-fastest growth rate of 4.97 percent. The Winchester, Virginia, area northwest of Washington, D.C., came in No. 2, growing by 7,321 residents to 134,221, a growth rate of 5.77 percent, and by The Villages, Florida, area, which grew by 7,294 residents to 114,350 for a growth rate of 6.81 percent.

Texas grew by 1.92 percent in 2014, adding 508,765 residents and growing from a population of 26,448,193 in 2013 to 26,956,958. Texas' 1.92 percent growth rate tied it for the second-fastest growing U.S. state or territory with the District of Columbia, which added 12,444 residents in 2014, growing from 646,449 residents to 658,893 residents. Only North Dakota grew at a faster rate, 2.2 percent, adding 16,089 new residents in 2014 and growing from 723,393 residents to 739,482 residents.

For comparison, the entire United States grew by 0.86 percent in 2014, adding 2,728,217 residents to grow from 316,128,839 in 2013 to 318,857,056 in 2014.

More detailed demographic information from the Census — down to the neighborhood level — is set to be released this coming December.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Time to sell? Dave Ramsey gives good advice

4 Signs Now’s the Right Time to Sell Your Home
Not sure when to sell your house? If you’ve been on the fence, we’ve got good news: It’s a great market for sellers! Limited inventory continues to drive home prices up, and the latest data from the National Association of Realtors shows that 46% of recently sold properties spent less than a month on the market.
Of course, the decision of when to sell your home isn’t solely based on market conditions. You have to take your personal situation into account—and that’s where expert advice comes in handy.
We asked Linda Domis, a Los Angeles-area real estate Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) with 38 years of experience, to share her advice.
“Now is a great time to sell,” she says. “Longer days during daylight saving time mean more hours for buyers to look at property. With less stress, buyers can think about a move more comfortably.”
Here are a few other things to keep in mind before planting a For Sale sign in your yard.
You’re Out of Debt With Cash in the Bank
If you didn’t have all your financial ducks in a row your first time around the home-buying block, you probably learned a few things the hard way. Like the fact that Murphy can smell broke from miles away. If it can go wrong, it will! Put those lessons to good use and be a money-smart home buyer the next go-round!
Start by taking a hard look at your finances. If you’ve paid off all your nonmortgage debt and have three to six months of expenses in your emergency fund, that’s a good sign you’re financially mature enough to purchase a home again.

You’ve Got Equity on Your Side
When the housing bubble burst, home values plummeted, sending many mortgages underwater. Thankfully, the tide has turned: According to CoreLogic, 89% of homes with a mortgage ended 2014 with positive equity. If you’re not sure where your equity stands, ask an experienced real estate agent to run a free comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine an approximate value for your home.
Linda says it’s worth the sale “if your home has recovered enough value to provide at least 20% equity for your next purchase.” Why is 20% the magic number? Because putting 20% or more down on a home keeps private mortgage insurance (PMI) at bay.That could save you hundreds of dollars each year!
Your Home No Longer Fits Your Lifestyle
Another factor to consider is how well your home meets your everyday needs. Perhaps you could use another bedroom (or even two) to accommodate your growing family. Or maybe your kids have all moved out and you’re ready to downsize.
“Empty nesters can really benefit from selling now while rates are low,” Linda says. “It’s very freeing to sell a large home, pay cash for a smaller one, and invest the rest in your retirement.”
Whether you’re sizing up or down, make sure your mortgage fits your budget. Dave recommends keeping your monthly payment to 25% or less of your take-home pay on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
You Can Actually Afford the Move
Don’t get so carried away by the excitement of your next home that you forget to account for the cost of leaving your current one. Hiring professional movers? Save up cash to cover the cost of packing up and hauling your stuff away.
You should also invest a little to get your current place ready for prime time. Linda recommends focusing your home-improvement dollars on these areas:
  • Paint: “Paint is the number-one investment when upgrading,” she says. “Buyers love the look—and smell—of fresh paint.”
  • Curb appeal: You only get one chance to make a first impression. Linda suggests a three-pronged approach: “Plant flowers, trim shrubs, and paint the trim.”
  • Kitchen and bath: “You don’t need expensive appliances or countertops, but new faucets and fixtures go a long way,” she says.
Want a bonus tip that doesn’t cost a dime? Clear out the clutter. “Neat closets and tidy shelves make your home look larger!” Linda added.

Make the Right Choice for You
There’s no single formula for determining when to sell your house. Partner with a pro you can trust to provide honest advice so you can do what’s best for you and your budget. A good agent puts service before sales—but knows how to get things done when it’s time to sell.

Looking for a pro to guide you in the right direction?  Give me a call at 281-652-1212 to discuss your future plans