Found Dogs in Katy, TX – Two Schnauzers!

September 8, 2011

by Christi Borden

Found Two Schnauzer in Katy TX!

These two adorable Schnauzer have been found near the intersection of Coffee Bend and Westheimer Parkway…near Parkway Oaks Subdivision in Katy, TX. They’re clearly someone’s pets, and were taken to the vet by the wonderful person that found them (Karen Edmunson). They had no chips and no tags. The vet is kenneling them for the night, but we MUST find the owners ASAP!


Risotto Milanese… ala Christi

May 2, 2011

by Christi Borden

As promised, this is my version of Risotto Milanese or Milan-style. What makes it Milan-style? I believe it is the addition of Saffron and cheese but perhaps someone wiser than me can answer that question. Regardless, this is my version and I stand by it.

  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots (finely chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, (minced)
  • 1 Cup Abrorio Rice (there is no substitute)
  • 5 Cups Chicken Stock (homemade is best but Swanson’s will do)
  • 1/2 Bottle Dry Italian White Wine (again, use a quality that you would drink. If it is not good enough to drink, it is not good enough to cook with).
  • Pinch of Saffron (expensive but worth it)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated, not the sawdust stuff in the green bottle)
  • 1 TBS Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

First, Combine stock and wine in a microwave container and heat for 5 minutes. The secret to successful Risotto is adding heated liquids to the rice as you go along instead of shocking the rice with cold liquids and not fully releasing the starches that make this dish so deliciously smooth and delightful.

Second, heat oil over medium/high and saute garlic and shallots for 1 minute (careful not to burn garlic). Add dry rice and saffron, and stir for about 30 seconds to warm and to coat with oil.

Now, the magic of risotto begins: Add enough liquid to cover rice by about 1/2 inch, and constantly stir over medium heat until liquid is almost gone. Continue adding more liquid and stirring mixture until rice is al dente (gives slightly when biting but almost cooked through) and creamy. This takes about 20 minutes or so.

Helpful Hint: I stir about every minute so grab a book and the glass of chilled wine and hunker down. If you walk way and do not stir properly, you will not be happy with the results and may burn your rice. Believe me, the results are worth the effort here.

After rice has reached the perfect consistency, remove from heat and add cheese, butter and salt (check for this as the cheese, butter and stock all add salt so it may not be necessary) and fresh black pepper to taste.

There, your Risotto is done and is the perfect dish to serve as you would pasta or potatoes. I sometimes add baby bello mushrooms to this dish but it will change the color and flavor to create a delicious but less delicate side.

E squisito!

I hope you enjoy this as it has become a family favorite!


Have you lost your Parakeet in Katy, TX? We may have found it!

March 15, 2011

Found Parakeet in Cross Creek Ranch, Katy!

by Christi Borden

While my usual posts cover lost or found cats and dogs, we love all of our pets and I have an unusual post today!

A Katy resident has found a beautiful Parakeet in Cross Creek Ranch on March 13, 2011 on Brandy Creek Lane. The bird has a yellow head with yellow and black feathers and a green with bluish tint body.   If you have possible information about the owner, please call Karen Mayr 713-240-8831 or leave your comment here and I will make contact.

Thank you so much and help us get this lovely bird back home.


Dog Found in Katy, TX Area…

February 19, 2011

I regularly post pets that are either lost or found in my area. Please leave a comment here or contact me if you have a lead on the owner so we can get this cute girl home to her family tonight. 

 

We found this young tan with white legs female dog (seemed part Lab) in the front garden. We took turns with the neighbors to go around asking whose it belongs to. (No success)

She is well looked after, very well-behaved, and she seemed a bit disoriented. She stayed with us last night, but we have no room for another dog. She refused to eat but finally a little food, water and a bone (see pictures)

We took it her to CAP as recommended by neighbors. Therefore, I wonder what else could we do, and we all hope she gets back to her home.

We wonder if you would mind posting her pictures in your site

Best regards,

Luis Garcia


Katy, Texas: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways!

January 31, 2011

I am fortunate to live and work in the sprawling western Houston suburb known as Katy, TX, recently recognized as the top community for growth in the Nation by the Gadberry Group. Click link to read more…

There are obvious reasons for my statement and a few that are not-so-obvious:

1. Location, Location, Location: Close proximity to the Energy Corridor, a major area for our top employers. 

2. Terrific Schools: Just search www.katyisd.org to see what our school district and individual campuses have to offer to our residents and their children. (As the mother of a National Merit Finalist and a Semi-Finalist, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of the administrators and their staff.) Thank you Katy ISD!

3. Cost of Living: We still have lots of available land for building and labor is fairly inexpensive so housing is affordable. However, our property taxes tend to be a high but keep in mind Texas does not have a State Income Tax so our property taxes are used to fund our great schools.

4. (Relatively) Easy Commute: Traffic, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and it depends on what you consider an easy commute. Face it, Houston loves its vehicles so the traffic will always be with us. However, with the completion of the I-10 expansion and the Westpark Tollway completion, there are several avenues for timely travel into Houston and beyond. I know some people do not want a commute and are willing to pay higher homes prices to live closer in and perhaps sacrifice a bit on the schools but our many residents feel that the trade-off is worth it.

5. Great Communities: There are so many different neighborhoods available to a home buyer in our area. I tend to call them “communities”  because some of them are larger than many small towns. In fact, Cinco Ranch is currently the number one new home selling community in entire country and has recently acquired 500 additional acres to continue its growth. Katy offers many other terrific choices such as: Grand Lakes, Firethorne, Cross Creek Ranch, Seven Meadows, Kelliwood, Grayson Lakes and more. Our developers have thoughtfully designed and completed their communities with the homeowner in mind. With careful presentation of commercial/retail, beautifully landscaped common areas, abundant resort-style amenities (golf, pools, tennis, hike/bike trails, lakes, etc.), our residents can feel secure that they have made a wise choice with regard to their families’ enjoyment and potential resale value.

6. Quality of Life: Katy offers a true, small town experience with big city features. We have great dining, shopping, and entertainment opportunities for everyone of all ages. We are thrilled to be the lucky recipient of abundant medical care, including but not limited to the new Medical Center’s West Campus: Texas Children’s Hospital, Methodist Hospital, Hermann Memorial Hospital, Christus St. Catherine Hospital and the MD Anderson Radiology Center.

7. Diverse and Interesting: Our area is truly representative of the world’s population. As the destination of choice for most expatriates moving here with their energy sector jobs, you will love our multi-cultural make-up. Our kids grow up with friends from all over the world and so many international buyers (drawn here because of our schools), develop strong ties to our community. I know on my street alone we have residents representing: US, Canada, Africa, India, Russia… and this is one street.

8. Family: Katy is family centric and is a place where you can finally stop, unwind and relax with the ones you love. This is a place where people gather to enjoy everything that a true “community” can offer.  

9. Spirituality:  At one time, this area was known as the “City of Churches” and offers a place of worship for everyone, regardless of your faith.

10. Friendly Residents: I have lived all over US and abroad and can attest that I am living in one of the friendliest places on Earth. This could be one of the reasons so many people keep moving back to Katy, TX. When a family moves away, chances are … they will be back.

Why not drop by and check us out. You just might love it and never want to  leave. For more information, please visit my website www.ChristiBorden.com .

See you in Katy!


Annual Pilgrimage to Jefferson aka Girlfriend’s Weekend Here We Come!

January 11, 2011

In a few short days, my friends and I will head off to Jefferson, Texas for one of my favorite getaways to attend the 11th Annual Girlfriend’s Weekend – a wonderful and wacky mash-up of over 70 authors and 500 or more of the readers who love them… with a bit of camp and kitsch thrown in as only Kathy Patrick  can provide.

Kat is the owner of the Beauty and the Book Salon/Bookstore, Founder of The Pulpwood Queen’s Book clubs, Founder-Organizer-Director and Head Queen of the Girlfriend Weekend and author of the book that started it all, The Pulpwood Queen’s Tiara-Wearing Book-Sharing Guide to Life.

This is my fifth year to make this pilgrimage and you may wonder just what is it, exactly, that keeps me coming back?

As an avid reader, I look forward to meeting and getting to know the authors whose faces peer down at me from the spines of my favorite books. There is something magical about watching and listening to a writer passionately share what inspired their creations. It helps me realize that many of them are really just like you and me… only wittier, more talented and with a much better agent!

While I know why I go, what do the writers get from it? I am not saying it isn’t fun but some of the presenters are just plain famous… widely published authors, well-known and celebrated throughout the New York literary scene as well as in Hollywood and Washington.

Jefferson is a sweet town with lots of local color (and a ghost or two) but what on earth must they think of it and us? What is it that brings them to the middle of NOWHERE for what is surely the most unusual literary event in the world? I would guess that the promotion side of their business is very hard work and tedious. Through all their travels to junkets, book fairs, conventions, etc., could it be that nowhere else are they allowed to fully relax and truly enjoy themselves while surrounded and supported by peers and fans? Could it be the only place where they can get a little silly? And believe me, they do get silly. We all do! That is half the fun and that is the very thing that keeps me coming back, year after year.

With an amazing line-up of talent such as Fanny Flagg, Pat Conroy, Jeanette Walls and 70 plus fabulous authors attending, this could very well be the best event to date. Although this year’s Author Extravaganza is SOLD OUT, I encourage you to check it out and join us next year. It promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience that will keep you coming back for more.

Stay tuned for more posts as I blog live from the event and happy reading!


Top Restaurant Cities in US Named by Esquire… Surprised by Houston?

January 4, 2011

by Christi Borden

Houston, TX - # 7 Top Restaurant City in US

Esquire magazine has just published their list of top food cities in the United States and Houston .. Yes, Houston…came in at number 7. Does that surprise you? If you knew Houston, it shouldn’t?

As the 5th largest city in the US, Houston is probably one of the more diverse cities in our nation and offers so many different nationalities, cultures, and amazing cuisines  that it truly can compete with the finest gastronomic epicenters of the Globe. And the experts agree…

As an avid Foodie, I am particularly thrilled about this recognition. We Houstonians are used to being at or near the Top of many lists and they have not always been positive: Fattest City, Worst Traffic, Longest Commute, Least Attractive, Least Walkable City, etc. There has been such a negative bias against H-Town that it is so sweet to have positive recognition. In fact, as one of the top areas that people are chosing to relocate…Like it or not, it is getting pretty hard to ignore us any longer.  

What type of epicurean experience awaits you when you visit here? First and foremost, you will have to narrow your focus because it would take a lifetime to try them all. The ethnic make up and geographic location of this Port city are truly reflected by the choices available to the lucky diner. We have the most amazing: Steakhouses, Barbeque Joints, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, Soul Food, Cajun, Creole, Seafood, Middle Eastern, Russian, Latin American, Catalan, Indian … Well, you get the idea. You want it… we have it and it is divine.

I have to make a special mention about my favorite… which is Mexican – made authentic and delicious due to our close proximity to the origin of this amazing cuisine. There are so many variations that fall into the basic description of “Mexican Food”, you may need the help of a local to find the one that appeals most to you. I am personally a fan of what is commonly known as  “Tex-Mex”, which tends to be “spicier” and “cheesier” (my word and I am sticking with it) than the South of the Border variety. Pure heaven on earth…

If I am given the choice of one last meal to enjoy prior to departing this sweet earth, I can tell you it will probably be a steaming platter of Grilled Chicken Breasts smothered in a fire-hot Habanero Cheese Sauce at El Jarrito’s Mexican Restaurant in Katy, TX … along with a frozen pitcher of the best Margaritas in the City.

How about you? Any favorites you wish to share? The world is finally watching and for that, we in Houston thank you, Esquire Magazine!

FYI: The  article list goes follows and you can read the entire article here.

1. New York

2. Chicago .

3. San Francisco

4. New Orleans

5. Los Angeles

6. Las Vegas

7. Houston

8. Washington, D.C.

9. Boston

10. Seattle

I welcome you to comment your thoughts and to subscribe to TheBordenReport.


Christi Borden, Realtor receives the “Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®)” Designation

August 6, 2010

Professional negotiation skills a must for all real estate agents helping home buyers/sellers, especially in current market

Christi Borden, a Relocation and International Property Specialist with Prudential Gary Greene in Katy, TX has been awarded the Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®) designation by the Real Estate Negotiation Institute.  The CNE® is earned by real estate professionals by successfully completing formal training in the art of negotiation and persuasion.  Agents who receive this certification are in the top 1% of all agents nationally.

With professional negotiation skills, agents are able to help clients obtain better results in the sale or purchase of their home.  CNE® agents have a powerful competitive edge because of their ability to 1) uncover more information, 2) work collaboratively with others, 3) exchange value during sales/purchase negotiations, and 4) retain control over desired outcomes.  Bottom line, CNE® agents know how to influence and persuade others more effectively than agents without professional negotiation training. 

The Real Estate Negotiation Institute, the leading negotiation training and coaching company in the real estate industry (based in Peoria, AZ) provides the CNE® certification training.  Tom Hayman, the CEO and co-founder of the Real Estate Negotiation Institute, is a professional negotiator with 35+ years of experience, including 25 years with The Procter and Gamble Company, a Fortune 50 company.  Hayman asserts “Any Buyer or Seller who hires a CNE® agent can feel confident that they have the best trained agent in the business.  They will get superior results and have better resolution of any issues when hiring a CNE® agent.”

 For more information call me at 281-492-5984 or visit http://www.theRENI.com.


Home-Buyers Beware: Your Decisions Today Can Cost You Tomorrow!

July 27, 2010

by christiborden

Today is the day! You have spent hours and hours looking for and now think you have found the perfect home, right? Who cares if your Realtor has maybe mentioned a few aspects of the property that might have a negative affect on your market value when and if you sell. You love the home, the price is right and you are certain that any issues mentioned will be minimized in the future. No need to worry about that now, right?

Before you make that leap, please keep in mind that your Realtor should be an expert in the area you are purchasing and should be aware of conditions that could negatively impact your home’s value and marketability. I am not speaking of state required disclosures but simple items that historically have made a difference between identical homes selling quickly and at market value or languishing on the market and selling for far less than the competition.

Why is it that two homes can be in the same community, be of similar size and age, maybe even the same floor plan, and still differ widely as to market value and marketability?

First and foremost, the old mantra of “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION” still stands true. There are simply some location features or benefits that buyers will pay more for and conversely, there are negative features that will drive future buyers away forever. These factors can differ from area to area and what turns off a buyer in the suburbs is simply an unavoidable fact of life in urban environments and visa versa.

Adjacent communities could vary widely in average sales price depending upon the amenities they offer, actual builders constructing the homes and the developer’s reputation for upholding their resident’s market value. A Realtor’s knowledge of the community is crucial to making an informed decision.

In Katy, TX – We have communities that back to one another yet the same home by the same or similar builder will cost thousands more on one side of the fence than the other? Why is that? Strength and reputation of community can affect sales values. And guess what? If the home costs more at purchase, chances it may sell for more than the competition in the future. This is not a given but should be considered if you think saving a little money today is your only consideration.

Items to consider with regard to your lot location that can have a direct negative impact on your future market value: power lines in backyard, backing or siding to a busy roadway, backing to MUD water storage facilities, backing to commercial developement, etc.

Alternatively, favorable features that could be a positive in the future: backing to green space, golf course, lake or water, wooded areas, etc. Most builders or developers will charge a premium to purchase a lot with these positive features but you usually recoup this expense when you go to sell.

So what is a buyer to do? Just take a step back and consider carefully that it is not only the home you purchase but your surroundings as well. And it is far easier to change things you may not love about the home itself than to change things that might be an external detriment down the road.

Ask your Realtor their opinion… and happy House Hunting!


Why has our Buyer Cancelled the Deal? Today’s Home Seller Dilemma…

July 7, 2010

by christiborden

While real estate certainly has its ups and downs (one of the reasons I love it), some of the hardest minutes are those right before I have to call my seller to tell them that their buyer has terminated their contract. Whether it be on the last day of their Option Period* or the day prior to our closing date, it is still a very hard pill to swallow. And for the sellers, it can be devastating.

In this very interesting (read, volatile) real estate and economic climate, this is occurring all too frequently. Why? First and foremost, buyer confidence has certainly been impacted by the economy, worries about tax increases, health care reform costs, job security (or lack thereof) and locally, the issue of the BP gusher in the Gulf. When you come to think of it, with all of those worries, it is a wonder buyers can get out of bed each day, much less commit to purchase the largest financial investment of their lives.

Second, we in the Katy, TX (and much of Houston) markets have to deal with the issue of abundant, reasonably priced inventory (much of it new construction). Buyers will commit to one property, write an offer, agree to a contract price, even go through inspections only to find that their dream home has now come onto the market and all bets are off. Goodbye, Buyer…

Third, I have seen recently quite a few buyers cancel a contract over inspection items that in the past would not have been of great concern. It seems like today’s buyers want a resale home to be perfect in every way – and frankly, even the new homes rarely pass inspection with flying colors. Most if not all inspection deficiencies can be repaired but there have been instances where seller agrees to repair everything and the buyer is still not satisfied. Why is that? I think in some cases it has to do with cultural misunderstandings of how our inspections work here and the grandfather clause for many changes in codes through the years. Another factor may be the lack of an experienced and professional Realtor representing the buyer (who should prepare their buyer for what to expect upon inspection and what may be reasonable or not reasonable to expect a seller to repair). I have actually seen agents send over an inspection list and say to the seller, “Buyer wants you to repair all items”. If the agent had done their work in counseling their client, they would have told them that inspectors are required to inspect with today’s code in mind but sellers are not mandated to bring their homes to today’s standards. This can go a long way in helping keep buyer’s expectations reasonable and could alleviate a lot of frustration on the part of all parties when and if repair items are requested.

So, how do we help our sellers understand that a contract is only as strong as the buyer behind it (or as strong as the buyer’s Realtor and Lender, but that is another story indeed). First, we must truly analyze the offer as to all terms, not just price. Even with multiple offers in hand, remember that the buyer you let go may be the one you wish for 2 weeks down the road.

All parties need to have a back-up plan if the transaction fails. One thing I tell my seller is DO NOT start packing until the inspection is completed and all repair negotiations, if any, are worked out to the satisfaction of all parties. In Texas we have a Termination Option* that allows the buyer a given amount of days after the execution of contract to terminate for any reason, whatsoever, and still retain his earnest money. This is usually the time period that inspections are completed and any repairs negotiated.

Once that period expires, then the buyer is contractually committed to close. Does that mean it is a sure thing? No way! There is also a time frame within which the final loan approval process must be complete and this allows the buyer to be released from the contract with his earnest money in tact if for some reason the loan cannot move forward – loss of job is a great example here.

So what is a seller to learn from this?

  • Please be aware that a contract is no guarantee of a closing.
  • Have a back-up plan so that you do not find yourself homeless if the deal falls out at the end.
  • Be informed: Stay in touch with your Realtor and make sure he/she is constantly in touch with all the parties involved: buyer’s agent, title escrow officer, buyer’s lender, etc.
  • Allow a flexible timeframe between your next purchase and the closing of your current home, even if it means asking for a temporary lease from your buyer or moving your family to a hotel and your household items to temporary storage to allow for closing delays – which unfortunately is more frequent that we would all like. I have seen transactions built on multiple back-to-back closings crumble like a deck of cards which could have been prevented if all parties had left wiggle room in between the closing dates.
  • And if by chance your buyer terminates, it is not the end of the world. Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, repair needed items presented on inspection and proudly put yourself back out on the market … You will find that your next buyer was really the best buyer for you and everything eventually always works out for the best.

Good luck and happy selling!