May 11, 2013

Wall Street investment firms are feverishly grabbing single-family homes, the Washington Post reports

Filed under: Bellaire Business,General News,Real Estate,Uncategorized — Lucie @ 4:03 pm

Institutional investors are taking advantage of cheap inventory, combined with our low interest rate environment, to make double digit returns from renting or re-selling homes. As a result, markets in some places are recovering rapidly — Phoenix, for example, has seen single-family home prices rise 23% in the past year.

From WaPo:

“Clearly the investors are moving markets in some places,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of a popular housing blog. “In some markets at the bottom end, you are looking at 30 or 40 percent gains year to year. That is frightening to me. At some point the music stops. The investors if they get hurt, that is their problem. But invariably a lot of other people will get caught up in that.”

Here are a few numbers to give you an idea of how dominant institutional investors are in this space.

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February 28, 2012

Tax time is coming quicker than you know it!

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December 7, 2011

Design Trends for the New Year!

As I was thinking of taking down the mirrored wall in my small formal dining room convinced that it screamed the ’80s, the decorator smiled.  Not wanting to bluntly contradict me, she whispered as if sharing a secret: “you know, mirrors are coming back…”.  So there you go: a little research on design trends for next year confirmed her statement.  Mirrors are back in all shapes and sizes!  they will help update a room quickly and open up a space. 

The second trend I came across pertains to color: BOLD is it!  Greens, reds, oranges and yellows will add punch and happiness to your mood: a few pillows, bold accessories, a new  lamp shade or even an accent wall is what you need.

Also,  retro is in.  With the above colors mentioned, blending in a retro, vintage or  antique piece is the way to introduce whimsy to your existing decor.  A picture or painting, a lamp or a retro couch can help you achieve the look.

Last but not least, WHITE is the new black…  If you’ve always dreamed of a white leather sofa or want to add white slipcovers to items you already own, don’t be afraid to experiment with that this year.  White is fresh and airy, and you can layer textures to create a white on white elegant decor with a few wood accents to warm it up.  Have fun with your home in the New Year!

November 21, 2011

… and the brick wall came down!!

When we bought  our house 11 years ago, we liked most everything about it except the fireplace surround: floor to ceiling pink(ish) brick, with an elevated brick hearth jetting in about 2 feet into the family room, and a white mantle floating in the middle of the brick wall.  It dominated the family room not only visually but also spatially.  It was a decorating nightmare, especially for the holidays.  After a few years of trial and error I finally found a way to make the room go together and evolve into something we could like.  But today, the brick was taken down!  The result was long overdue:  it looks so much bigger and brought an unimaginable decorating freedom !  I cannot wait to explore the possibilities and create a new, bigger and more inviting space.  I will post before and after pictures when it’s ready.

November 19, 2011

Four reasons to keep your house on the market during the holidays

If you have your home for sale, you need to think twice before pulling it off the market during the holiday season.  Here are some compelling reasons to ponder, courtesy of Mark Heinrich:

1- Everyone else is taking their house off, so inventories typically shrink, giving your home less competition

2- The second most popular time corporations transfer employees is mid-year so their children can transfer schools at mid-year.  Those buyers are looking for homes in November and hgh hormone human December.

3- When does someone’s home show the best?  The holidays are that time when homes are spruced up and beautifully decorated

4- Many buyers want to buy and close before year-end to get the benefit of the homestead exemption.

So if you have been under the impression that now is not a good time to have your home on the market or to list it, think again…  and give me a call!  I am here to help!

October 26, 2011

Data that can help you find a job!

Filed under: General News,Houston General News — Lucie @ 7:49 am


 Texas was responsible for 19.4 percent of the total jobs created nationwide from September 2010 to September 2011, according to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy.

The state’s mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation, followed by construction and the professional and business services industry.

Suprisingly, Victoria ranked first in job creation, followed by Corpus Christi, Laredo, Odessa and College Station-Bryan.

The state’s actual unemployment rate in September 2011 was 8.4 percent. Midland had the lowest rate followed by Amarillo, Odessa, College Station-Bryan and Lubbock!  Time to relocate from here if you are desperately looking for a job!

July 21, 2011

JAWS in Bellaire!

What better sense of creating community than to watch a movie with your neighbors? Join other Bellaire residents on Thursday August 18 at 7:30 PM at the Aquatic Center to watch Jaws (not recommended for kids under 10).  Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in advance at the Rec Center since seating will be limited.  Last fun before school starts, and it will benefit the Patrons for Bellaire Parks.  See ya there!

Dive in Movie

July 19, 2011

Houston Grand Opera: Free Night at the Movies

Filed under: Bellaire Residents,Houston General News,Inner Loop — Lucie @ 11:07 am

This promises to be a fun evening at the River Oaks Movie Theatre on August 2nd!  Order your free tickets by going to the following link:

October 7, 2010

Landlords: How do you screen your tenants?

I get this question from newbies as well as experienced investors!  The answer is don’t jump on the first tenants that answer your ad.  It is better to wait for a tenant that meets your selection criteria than be sorry later.

Those criteria should be set ahead of time so you won’t be accused of profiling people.  For example,  tenants have to be in their current employment for at least one year.  Or they need to make at least for times the monthly rent. 

Then of course, you want to check rental history (call the prior landlords and ask whether they did not break the lease and paid the rent on time): any prior eviction should be a sign for you to run.  Criminal history is another criteria, and you can have as strict a policy as you want on this: after all it is your property.  However, you need to define that policy; and stick to it!

You will also want to check the credit report and look for payment history, collections and the reason behind them.  Some landlords look for a minimum credit score, while other go by the type of events that have undermined the score.   

At any rate, you cannot base your decision on any one criteria but make sure you complete all the checks mentionned above.  Call the employer to make sure the prospectiive tenant is still employed.  I read a story about a landlord that looked at a credit report that was decent, however, it did not have that much credit history or active credit lines on it.  Had he not pulled a criminal background check he would have never known that the reason there was little credit history was because the prospective tenant had spent the past 2 years in jail for aggravated assault.  So do your homework.  Better safe than sorry!

October 5, 2010

Texas Attorney General halts Foreclosures

It seems that the Texas Attorney General has called for a halt on all foreclosures because of the current scrutiny over how foreclosures are processed.  Notices were sent to 27 Texas loan servicers, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The action was taken “in an effort to determine the full harm Texas homeowners may have suffered or could suffer as a result of these business practices,” said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for Attorney General Greg Abbott.  That includes improperly signing the documents that are related to the foreclosure process.  They halted also the sale of properties previously foreclosed upon and all evictions of people living in previously foreclosed upon properties. 

I guess we should see foreclosure listings in Houston stop in the next couple of months…  I hope they will not withdraw properties that are currently on the market and that my investors clients are in the process of buying.