Suburbs… Not just for families anymore!

June 18, 2010

I was reading a great article about the new younger buyer and their new affinity for living in the ‘burbs. This hits close to home as my market (am a Realtor) is the sprawling western area of Houston known as Katy, Richmond and Sugar Land.

Buyers today are looking beyond the usual urban landscape for a place to call home. Luckily, Houston has quite a few wonderful areas with fabulous communities, low cots of living, top quality of life and all just a few minutes drive from Houston proper: Katy, Sugar Land, Pearland, The Woodlands, Cypress, Summerwood and more.

The article can be found at Inman news and it makes for good reading.

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Senate approves extending Closing date for Tax Credit Buyers

June 18, 2010

by christiborden

WASHINGTON, D.C. (InmanNews.com) – “The Senate approved an amendment to the recent tax credit bill in which homebuyers who were under contract by April 30 will receive an additional three months to finish closing and claim the homebuyer tax credit.

“Extending the deadline from June 30 to September 30 will allow lenders to clear the backlog of 180,000 homebuyers nationwide who qualified for the tax credit.

“The amendment does not extend the deadline for homebuyers who do not have a contract in place.”

If you are waiting to close and are in need of required Flood Insurance, this is a very good thing because the delays due to non-issuance of policies will directly affect many buyers at this time. I am very grateful that the powers that be have recognized the bottleneck of files in underwriting caused by the flurry of buying activity as the credit contract deadline approached and are working to relieve this pressure to close by the end of June. Someone up there is finally thinking of the consumer…..


Q.What is the big deal about Master Planned Communities anyway?

June 13, 2010

by christi borden, realtor

A. I just finished writing an offer for a client and he and others always ask me what makes Cinco Ranch or other master-planned communities so special, i. e. more expensive and more elusive than other housing options in the Katy/West Houston Area.

One word explains it all… security. And not in the usual sense of the word from a personal security standpoint. I actually refer to security as it relates to your financial investment in your home. No Realtor with any sense will guarantee a buyer that his or her home will appreciate in any area in the United States or at least they should not – even in an area with a pretty darned good track record like ours.

All we can do for our clients when advising them as their buyer’s representative in a real estate transaction is to inform and disclose all we know that could have a positive or negative impact on the value of their property and the value of the quality of life. There are so many variables to the process that no one can predict what will happen so we have to look at the past to help us understand the future.

As Houston is not a city with proper Zoning for residential areas, developers (the really good ones) take it upon themselves to master-plan or self-zone their developments with one goal in mind: helping their residents enjoy their lifestyle while retaining property values. This is a good goal and some do it better than others. One of the reasons the South Katy market has consistently been one of the hottest markets in Houston is our developers have taken their role seriously and have created award-winning and world-renowned communities such as: Cinco Ranch, Grand Lakes, Seven Meadows, Cross Creek Ranch, Firethorne and even the older areas like Kelliwood and Green Trails. Richmond and Fulshear are also areas with great new communities such as: Lakes of Bella Terra, Fulshear Creek Crossing and Weston Lakes.

So how much difference does a neighborhood make when comparing similar houses? Well, it could mean more available amenities to improve quality of life, a Home Owner’s Association that has stringent rules and enough capital to take care of the community, and when you plan to sell in the future: the difference of a quicker sale for top dollar or an extended stay on the market and less than you hope to sell for in the future.

When searching for a home in the Katy market, make sure your Realtor knows the area well because “where you buy” is often more important than “what you buy”, which makes for very big deal… indeed.