Katy, TX – Cinco Ranch Does it Again! in Katy, TX – # 1 in sales in US

March 24, 2010

by christi borden

 According to a report by the PR Newswire – March 23, 2010 –  Newland Communities’ Cinco Ranch in Katy (sprawling suburb 20+ miles west of downtown Houston) was the nation’s top-selling master-planned community for new-home sales in 2009, according to a survey by RCLCO, an independent real estate advisory firm.

“With 887 net new-home sales in 2009, Cinco Ranch topped the RCLCO study, moving up from second place in 2008. Sales in the 7,600-acre community were up 14%, making it one of only four communities on the top 10 list to report a positive new-home sales gain from 2008 to 2009. Telfair, another Houston community by Newland Communities, was ranked fourth, up from sixth the year prior, with 450 new-home sales, a 9% sales increase over 2008 levels.”

 Interestingly, Newland held 5 spots in the top-selling 15 for last year: Cinco Ranch, Telfair, Eagle SpringsTeravista and FishHawk Ranch, No other developer has held such a record and continues to be the leader in not only sales but resident satisfaction.

The Cinco marketing folks have recently changed their campaign to, “Cinco Ranch, Your Comfort Zone”. At a time when the economy across the nation has people skittish about real estate, this is a brilliant approach. Buyers need to feel comfortable or safe when making a home purchase. This has never been truer than for the relocation buyer – who may only be here for a year or two before moving again and needs to place his/her family in the safest area in terms of resale value. Although there are many choices out there, one must really look to the strength of the community and the developer along with the actual builder when considering a purchase. Buyers understand this as do the Realtors that serve them. No amount of incentives or give-aways can change the fact that community is so very important in our area – not just in terms of resale values but also quality of life. If you research the sales data for area builders, you will note that many of them are being kept afloat because of the strength of the very communities in which they build.

 “Newland’s sales success at Cinco Ranch can be attributed to the product diversity our homebuilders offer, the proven established track records of these communities, and a highly focused marketing approach that speaks to our customer needs,” McLeod continued.
Houston’s strong showing in the RCLCO study underscores the fact that the city is a bright spot in the national economy.

 RCLCO has been releasing its top-selling MPC rankings since 1994.

About Newland Communities
Newland Communities is the largest private developer of planned communities in the United States. With a legacy that began in 1968, Newland specializes in comprehensive residential and urban mixed-use master planning with expertise in leading large-scale single and multifamily new-home communities. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Newland and its affiliated companies are currently developing and managing nearly 40 projects in 14 states. www.newlandcommunities.com

 About RCLCO

RCLCO is an independent real estate advisory firm, providing market and financial analysis and strategic planning services to a broad spectrum of clients including developers, corporations, financial institutions, institutional and private investors, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations around the globe.


Local Custom Builder Partner Retires…Two Buyers Benefit!!!

March 16, 2010

 

by christiborden

Masterpiece Custom Builders: Launching a new generation in home building and celebrating a much earned retirement.

Have we got a deal for you!

 Masterpiece Custom Builders is offering two Inventory Homes for immediate and BELOW MARKET VALUESale in Lakes of Bella Terra as part of their company’s special celebration!

 Gordon Boyle, original founder of Masterpiece Custom Builders has announced his impending retirement, entrusting the future success of his company to his long time friend and partner, Greg Stephens, a master builder in his own right. Greg will carry on the Masterpiece name and tradition of building award winning Custom Homes in Lakes of Bella Terra and other communities in the West Houston area, maintaining the integrity of workmanship while adding to their design capabilities and product line.

This retirement announcement has prompted Masterpiece to offer for special Sale selected Inventory Homes in selected communities at Below Market Value prices during their restructuring process!

 Included in this offer are two Custom Homes in the Lago Verde section in Lakes of Bella Terra:

These homes are 100% completed, ready to move-in, fully warranted and Masterpiece is ready to “make a deal” to liquidate inventory!

If you have not committed to a Custom Home in another community, I invite you to stop by and visit Lakes of Bella Terra.  With interest rates still very low, the economy on an upswing, and construction costs for future new homes on the rise,  there has never been a better time to take advantage this “once in a lifetime” opportunity!

 HOW DO I GET THE BEST POSSIBLE DEAL DURING THIS BUILDER’S CELEBRATION?

Contact me right away for more details regarding this special event at 832-368-5953 or email me, Christi Borden at christi@christiborden.com. We have Sales Experts on site and the builder, Greg Stephens is available for private showings.

 Custom Home Sales Leader – Christi Borden, Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors     www.ChristiBorden.com


Prudential Gary Greene, Top Fundraiser Again for Sunshine Kids in US!

March 16, 2010

Prudential Real Estate Network Raises $1.3 Million for The Sunshine Kids in 2009

by christiborden

The Prudential Real Estate Network raised more than $1.3 million for The Sunshine Kids (SSK) foundation in 2009. SSK is a national non-profit organization dedicated to serving children with cancer. Established in 1982 in Houston, TX, The Sunshine Kids Foundation provides a variety of programs, free-of-charge, for children receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across the United States, Canada, and Mexico – like trips to Colorado, Hawaii, Washington DC and other great places. Visit www.SunshineKids.org to learn more about this amazing organization.

Throughout the year, Prudential Real Estate Network members participate in many fundraising activities including golf tournaments, auctions, bake sales, and the Listing Program – where our agents voluntarily earmark portions of their commissions earned through their real estate sales. These programs, among many others, help support The Sunshine Kids.

Expressing his gratitude to the Network at the 2010 Sales Convention, G.W. Bailey, SSK executive director and Movie/TV star, said, “In a most challenging market you found it in your heart to raise $1,304,841 in 2009.”

Congratulations to the top fund-raising company, Houston’s own Prudential GARY GREENE, REALTORS who donated more than $338,000 to the foundation.

Our next great fundraiser in West Houston is the Katy Sunshine Fest in Katy, TX on Thursday, April 22, 2010. This annual event will blow the socks off of last year – which was attended by over 600 invited guests and raised over $ 30,000 for The Sunshine Kids.

The fun event kick’s off with a fantastic Fashion Show and is followed by a great evening of music, food, friends, fun and more importantly… fundraising! We will offer a great silent and live auction as well as raffle prizes. We have 6 fabulous area restaurants providing food and drinks. While we do not charge admission, we ask for a $ 10 donation at the door and hope that our guests come with hearts and wallets open for the kids.

If you would like to sponsor this great event or would like information on attending, please contact me christi@christiborden.com .

See you there!


Tax Credit Deadline Fast Approaches….

February 18, 2010

Deadline  rapidly approaching for Tax Credits for first time home buyers and home sellers considering moving up. Should you make your move?

Call me for a free, no-obligation consultation to see if you can benefit by making your move now versus waiting until later this year.

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009’s tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified move-up home buyers ends April 30, 2010. You can purchase by June 30, 2010 but must have a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010.

 The first time buyers tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence also ends April 30, 2010. A purchase completed by June 30, 2010 (with a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010) may qualify.

It usually takes 30 to 45 days from the moment we find the right home to the exciting day you get your keys. That means that we should start the home search process at this time. If you send me your basic criteria for your dream home (area, price, size, # of bedrooms/bathrooms, features, garage space, school requirements, etc.), I can create a complimentary client web page that will send you a list of properties that meet your criteria. You can then pick your favorites and we can schedule a private showing of these homes. Once we find your perfect home, we will run a market analysis of this property as it compares to recent sales to help you determine a fair offer price. We assist with all negotiations, attend your inspections, watch over and coordinate all aspects of the transaction (opening escrow, appraisal, survey, HOA documents, Title Commitment, etc.) to help ensure a smooth transaction.

Historically low interest rates, historically low housing prices in most areas and great values in the move up home market make this the perfect time to act. Call me for a free consultation to run the numbers for you. Don’t miss out on the great values!

Christi Borden, Realtor

832-368-5953

christi@christiborden.com

www.ChristiBorden.com


What are your rights under Foreclosure?

February 17, 2010

Are you at the stage where you feel you have nowhere to go but give up? There is a place to go for answers. You do have certain rights and you need to know them.

The Texas Real Estate Center located at Texas A&M University in College Station is a wonderful source for the consumer and real estate professionals alike.

There is currently a terrific guide to inform homeowner’s of their rights when they fall under the dark cloud of foreclosure. Click here to view this great consumer information.

Going through financial crisis is hard enough without knowing where to turn. If you need questions about the process, be sure to talk to your bank, to your attorney and also to a Realtor as there may be alternatives to Foreclosure.


Most Popular Online Pages on Texas Real Estate Center Site

February 9, 2010

Click here to view the RECON – Texas Real Estate Center’s report on the most popular online publications. This site is an incredible resource for anyone interested in what is happening with regard to real estate in the Great State of Texas.

As of January, here were the Center’s most popular online publications as determined by total visits:

  1. Obtaining a Texas Real Estate License by Judon Fambrough — 1,887 visits.
  2. Ag-use Exemption: Fact or Fiction” (revised Jan. 2010) by Judon Fambrough — 1,294.
  3. Austin–Round Rock Market Report by Edith Craig, Beth Thomas, Kory Merten, Kelly Beevers and Kristen Wiehe — 1,012.
  4. Monthly Review of the Texas Economy by Ali Anari and Mark Dotzour — 965.
  5. Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington Market Report by Edith Craig, Beth Thomas, Kory Merten, Kelly Beevers and Kristen Wiehe — 742.
  6. Hints on Negotiating an Oil and Gas Lease by Judon Fambrough — 653.
  7. Texas Rural Land Value Trends 2008 by ASFMRA — 649.
  8. San Antonio Market Report by Edith Craig, Beth Thomas, Kory Merten, Kelly Beevers and Kristen Wiehe — 599.
  9. Easements in Texas by Judon Fambrough — 557.
  10. Priority of Mortgage and Tax Liens” by Judon Fambrough — 534.

Posted from the RECON from TAMU Real Estate Center.


Update from Katy Independent School Distrist (KISD) Trying to Clear Up Misconceptions about the Attendance Boundary Modifications (ABM)

February 4, 2010

From the District:

“We have received feedback that many of you are not able to make out your subdivision on the map that was provided in the e-mail that was sent out earlier today. We do not have a map with street names at this time; however, below is a listing of neighborhoods that are under consideration for Attendance Boundary Modification.

If your neighborhood is NOT listed below, then you are NOT under consideration for Attendance Boundary Modification.

LUZ 66 Highland Trails
LUZ 66 Kelliwood Enclave
LUZ 66 Kelliwood Gardens
LUZ 66 Kelliwood Lakes
LUZ 66 Kelliwood Place
LUZ 66 Kelliwood Trails
LUZ 66 Lake Forest
LUZ 66 Lakes of Buckingham
LUZ 71A Alexan Downs Apart.
LUZ 71A Kelliwood Pointe
LUZ 71A Kelliwood Terrace
LUZ 71A Willow Park Greens
LUZ 71B Meadow Ridge
LUZ 71C Park Hollow
LUZ 71C Park View
LUZ 76C Bayou Crossing
LUZ 77A Fairways at Kelliwood
LUZ 77A Greens at Willowfork
LUZ 77A Kelliwood Greens
LUZ 77B Arbor at Willow Fork
LUZ 79B Canterbury Village
LUZ 79B Meadow Glen
LUZ 79B Residences at Cinco Ranch
LUZ 79B South Park
LUZ 79B Summer Point
LUZ 79C Canyon Gate
LUZ 79D Estates at Willowfork Greens
LUZ 79D Kelliwood Greens
LUZ 79D Kelliwood Park
LUZ 79F Saddlebrook Crossing
LUZ 79G Park Trace

——————————————————————————–

Attendance Boundary Modification

It has come to our attention that there are several rumors running rampant through the community regarding the ABM. These rumors are inaccurate and we regret the unnecessary stress these rumors are causing some of our district families. Modifying attendance boundaries is a sensitive issue and accurate information is essential. We would like to take this time to address some of these rumors:

Rumor 1) An e-mail is currently circulating in the community stating that all of the neighborhoods under consideration for ABM will be attending Taylor High School next year.

FACT: The map below indicates in yellow which neighborhoods are under consideration for ABM at this time. While the ABM recommendation to be discussed has some neighborhoods currently attending Cinco Ranch High moving to Taylor High School next year, the district has not considered moving any neighborhoods from Seven Lakes to Taylor. The district is, however, considering moving some neighborhoods from Seven Lakes to Cinco Ranch.

Rumor 2) It has also been circulating in the community that high school students who may be moved from their current high school to another and participate in athletics may need to sit out one year for eligibility per UIL rules.

FACT: UIL eligibility will not be an issue. In fact, the district has been studying scenarios resulting in the least disruption to students. It is anticipated that current high school students will remain unaffected by the ABM. In other words, students currently in the 9th – 11th grades will stay at their current high school until graduation. In addition, families with younger siblings will have the opportunity to attend the same high school as the older sibling, as long as they both attend at the same time.

Living in a fast growth district comes with many opportunities, and some challenges as well. We understand that with an issue as emotionally charged as ABM, there are those who will take advantage of the situation and use it as an opportunity to spread misinformation. Unfortunately, this does nothing but cause anxiety in the community. Thank you for looking to us for accurate information and please continue to send e-mails to communications@katyisd.org so that we can have the opportunity to address these rumors and help separate fact from fiction.”


Top 10 list of “Must-Haves” in Today’s New Home!

January 29, 2010

Ris-Media recently published an article about their opinion of the top 10 items or features that top the list for today’s buyer. Click here to read this informative article.

However, one must always remember that real estate is local and the items may vary from area to area. In our market of Katy, TX and surrounding suburbs west of Houston, many of the features listed are the same but there are subtle changes and reasons for those changes.

The Ris-Media list is as follows:

1. Large kitchens, with an island.

2. Granite countertops.

3. Energy-efficient appliances

4. Home office/study.

5. Main-floor master suite.

6. Outdoor living room.

7. Master suite soaker tubs.

8. Stone and brick exteriors.

10. 2-car garages.

We live in an area where the average buyer moves about every 4 to 5 years as opposed to the national average of moving every 7 or more years. This is due to the transient nature of many of our residents who are employed with local oil, gas and chemical companies that tend to move their folks around more often than say, a local employer.

When building or buying a home, many of my clients ask me how their selections can affect resale later. I have a two-fold answer to that question. First, how long with they be in the home? If only for a short time (say less than 7 years), then it is best to purchase a home with the most popular features of the time because home trends should not have changed too drastically and those items should still be hot-ticket features that their future buyers will want. Of course, if we are talking about a long-term goal of ownership, it really does not matter what you install because when you move, trends will dictate a completely different set of priorities for buyers and and chances are the home will be ready for an update to accommodate those changes.

In dealing with today’s buyer in our area, I would suggest the following list of must-haves (in no certain order of importance):

1. Master-planned Community: In our area, the developer of a community is many times more important than the actual floor plan or builder of the home. It is easier to change the home to fit your needs than to try to change your community. Choose wisely as this can affect your future sales price and time on the market. Buyer’s who plan to stay only a few years will chose the community with the best schools and best track record for resale. In short, where you buy may be more important than what you buy!

2. Large Kitchens: I agree with this one as it is still a hot item and builders continue to provide incredible choices. Large islands and warm, stained cabinetry with custom touches are all the rage.

3. Granite counters: Yes, granite still rules. I know there are many alternative choices out there but none that compete with cool, hard granite. Buyers love that it is natural and hardy. Perhaps in the Loop Cement, Stainless Steel and other modern materials are desired, but in the ‘burbs, Granite rules.

4. Stainless appliances: still the top choice for today’s buyer but of course, this can be limited by the buyer’s budget. Black is very complimentary to many kitchen designs and we still see White but not often. As for energy efficient models, most builders include this at all price ranges. At the top tier custom level, you see professional grade appliances including warming trays, double convention ovens, convection microwaves and more.

5. Downstairs Master Suite: I realize that those from the North prefer to sleep upstairs so they can open the windows at night and enjoy a cool, gentle breeze. However, down in Houston we live in a much different climate where most days windows are sealed shut and the A/C is blasting cool air to keep us cool and control humidity in our homes. We like a downstairs bedroom because it keeps the kids and their noise and clutter out of sight and away from our tranquil retreat.

6. Study/Home office: this room has taken over the formal living space in almost all but the upper price ranges. People live a more casual lifestyle in our area and this floor plan choice reflects the need for home office space that is functional and not just pretty.

7. 3-car Garage: There are several reasons people request more than the standard 2 car garage: we do not have basements and limited attic space, many homeowners use their garage for storage and we live in a very family-oriented area with lots of teens of driving age and need the space for that extra car(s). Some builders offer tandem or stacked garages as an alternative to three full bays. This is fine but can affect resale if buyer does not want to do the old car shuffle when parking 3 vehicles.

8. Media Rooms: this feature started appearing in custom homes and worked it’s way down to the production homes about 5 years ago and is still a very popular feature. Many builders are adding upstairs mini-kitchens with microwaves, sinks and refrigerators. I do not see this item going away any time soon.

9. Hard Flooring: choices today are leaning away from carpet and toward wood and tile. 3″ wood planks are being replaced with larger planks and are more often hand-scraped and dark. Tile is best if larger than 12″ and many times laid in diagonal designs with natural stone or very elegant stone-like porcelain.

10. Pool-friendly Yards/Outdoor living spaces: Our climate lends itself to long, warm summers with nice breezes… perfect for cooking in our outdoor kitchen and diving into your crystal blue pool. Even if you do not plan to install a pool, it is wise to buy a home with sufficient backyard space to handle a private pool so it is easier to sell later. If you do install a pool, be sure your design matches your home in detail and price range. Popular pool items include: spa, water features, rock features, fire features, outdoor kitchens and fireplaces.

If you are thinking about building a new home, you may want to keep these popular features in mind. No, you do not have to select any of them but if you need to sell in the immediate future, your buyer may want them and that can hit your bottom line.


Katy makes the Gadberry Group’s top 5 position!

January 8, 2010

 

Group, renowned supplier of Household Level Geo-Demographics names their nine most notable high-growth areas in the nation from 2009 and guess what, our wonderful Katy is number 5. Click here to view the entire report.

Katy, Texas

Katy was one of the Top 25 candidates in 2008 and occupies the number five position in this year’s list. The area is second for absolute household change, adding 15,699 households since 2000, and was third for percent household change, increasing from 6,585 households in 2000 to 22,284 households in 2008, or 238%.

Katy tied with Mansfield for highest percentage of children compared to total population at 42%. It is also the most ethnically diverse of this year’s places, with no ethnic group having less than 6% of total households and all major ethnic groups growing more than 150% since 2000.

Those of us who live, work and play in Katy, TX are not surprised. Our growth has remained strong and constant. We are consistently recognized as one of the hottest real estate markets in the Greater Houston Area (which is also one of the hottest in the US).

Why Katy, you ask? What has led to this amazing growth? We have wonderful master-planned communities, terrific access to thoroughfares for your commute to work, close proximity to the huge energy corridor (a major employer in our area), one of the strongest school systems in the State, constantly growing retail, entertainment, dining, shopping opportunities and now, we are currently developing into a major medical area know as the Med-Center West.

So many reasons to love living here… and it is great to be given this national recognition. If you would like to know more about our area, please visit my web site www.ChristiBorden.com  or give me a call 832-368-5953.


Is Now the Time to Invest in Real Estate?

January 8, 2010

I always liked being the center of attention, even as a kid in my grandfather’s restaurant where I frequently accompanied the piano player – probably to the chagrin of those trying to enjoy their food.

I still get the same attention now – without the singing, mind you –  because my business is the business of real estate. When anyone finds out I am a Realtor, the subject of conversation invariably hits on “How is our market?”. I love this, of course, because it is one of my favorite subjects.

In reading today’s Tycoon Report, I came across a blog addressing real estate in Florida and how the economic indicators point to NOW as a terrific time to get off the sidelines and hit the field.

One thing you will note in this article is that the author addresses investment to “hold and lease” – much different from Speculation – which is the type of investing that got us into so much trouble. If you purchase property or any investment for that matter in anticipation of earning money from the short term sale of that property – you are a speculator. While in some areas of the country that gambit has paid off, most have seen  their dreams of instant wealth vanish before their eyes. I am still amazed at people that lost money through investments during the dot.com debacle with the attitude of “easy come/easy go” but when the same thing happened in real estate, they were shocked and felt that they “were done wrong” by some entity and should be “bailed out”. Why did they expect protections for speculating in real estate that they did not expect for stocks? Gambling is gambling, no matter what you wish to call it. While I love a go at the Craps tables occasionally, I promise you that the Pit Boss is not going to give my money back just because I do not know what I am doing!

Let’s take a look at real estate as a true investment without the specter of Speculation hanging over our heads. Purchasing a property to hold and lease no longer takes into account the sole expectation that the property will appreciate (there are no guarantees in this world) but sets the expectation for a reasonable rental income (backed up by factual past rental data for that particular type of property and area) and then perhaps the hope of some accrual of appreciation at the end of the life of that investment (icing on the cake but not the batter itself).

Self-Directed IRA’s could be a good way to fund your investment but you need to know that this is heavily regulated and you would not want to make an improper move that would endanger your IRA protections. I would talk to a Self-Directed IRA specialist before moving in this direction. Also note the words “Self-Directed”, meaning you need to know what you are doing. Hire a professional Realtor to assist with finding the best properties to meet your investment goals. Word of caution: Do not be tempted to jump on the latest Foreclosure just because it looks like a “deal”. There are many factors that go into finding a viable leasehold investment and “deal” is not at the top of that list.

All in all, now is a terrific time to investigate real estate as a long-term investment to add to your diverse financial portfolio. Good Luck!