Setting the Mood is Such an Important Element of Selling Your Home

I was showing homes the other day in the early evening. ¬†It is the heat of summer here in Houston so plants can be in distress, yards a bit dry and house hunters lethargic from the humidity. ¬†But imagine walking up to a freshly painted door with great looking hardware and a pop of color in the way of a healthy potted plant. ¬† One of the places Realtors and clients seem to linger is on that front porch while the lockbox is opened for keys. ¬†It is without a doubt a first impression of the upkeep and maintenance of your home. What made me think of showing the other evening was the comment by the client. ¬†They are animal loves as am I, but the scent of candles or fragrance was so strong, the client asked to leave. ¬†There was no point in going any further. ¬†Again, that first impression was that the owners were masking animal odors. ¬†The sad part is that this may or may not be true, but without a doubt the fragrance was so overwhelming, a potential buyer chose to leave rather than continue on. ¬†I have shown many, many homes with animals successfully. ¬†The key is to have a clean, welcoming scent when clients enter. ¬†Set out a few bottled waters during these hot, summer days. The next event on this evening of showings was traffic noise. ¬†Let’s face it, there is no good way to “hide” traffic noise if your home is near a major freeway, railroad or intersection. ¬†While very low background music can be a nice touch, music set to...

Houston is Named the 10th Most Joyous City in the World

Wow! Who knew? In a new study, The Joy Index, Houston ranked 10th in this first ever index. We knew we had a dynamite food scene and awesome museum and theatre districts, but JOYOUS? Come to find out, both those factors along with being the most ethnically diverse city in the country made a big impression in naming Houston to the short list for JOY. Only 3 US cities made the cut! GO Houston!! Created by a collaboration between Bank of America, Conde Nast Traveler, and happiness experts, Shawn Achor and Gretchen Rubinaveler. the joy index, analyzes data from the United Nations and Gallup along with these 6 key happiness factors identified by the experts to create the list: environment, well being, culture, connection, adventure and wonder. The must see landmarks mentioned for Houston are the Buffalo Bayou Cistern and The Museum of Fine Arts. Love that our beloved city is getting the kudos it...

2017 Garden Oaks Spring Fling

Garden Oaks will celebrate it’s First Spring Fling, April 29, 2017 from 4 to 6:30. The 1300 block of Sue Barnett Dr. will host the fundraising event with a Sip and Stroll of gardens, yard art, gardening hints and festive creations. There will be wine and food to partake while checking out the gardens. A children’s zone with bouncy house, food and more. The kids will love the Fairy Houses on the block. More information is coming on ticket prices and sponsors. Funds raised will go to Beautification special projects for the many pocket parks located throughout the neighborhood. Garden Oaks…what a wonderful place to call...

FIRST Annual Garden Oaks Spring Fling!!

Garden Oaks will be celebrating Spring in a BIG way, April 29, 2017 from 4 to 6:30. Sip and stroll to experience the gardens along the 1300 block of Sue Barnett Dr. Who knows, a fairy house…or two may be spotted. There will be wine, delicious snacks, and food to enjoy as well as yard art, garden hints and festive creations along the way. Bring the kids for bouncy house fun, yummy treats and more! This will be a fundraiser for Beautification special projects for the many parks throughout Garden Oaks. Stay tuned for more ticket information to...

New Restaurants abound in the Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and Heights Area

If you are thinking of making a quick stop by Gatlin’s BBQ’s new location at 3510 Ella Blvd, between Garden Oaks and Oak Forest, you’ll have lots of company! The crowds are big and favorite items are quick to disappear. This new location is proving to be a fan favorite. We are so happy to have some of Houston’s finest BBQ right around the corner! Another recent restaurant opening is Southern Goods in The Heights at 623 W. 19th. Very small, intimate bar/restaurant with a new twist on Southern cuisine. At this point, the menu is still limited. We gave it a try in the first few days and will probably wait a month or so to try it again. Next up is KA Sushi, 1901 N. Shepherd. The restaurant has a cool contemporary vibe. Lots of anticipation for a Sushi restaurant in the neighborhood so there will be a wait list for a while. Can’t wait to try it though. Food selections have been earning praise on YELP. On a sad note, Lilo and Ella closed it’s doors recently. The restaurant had been a favorite for me. It was so nice to have something unique and interesting nearby. Hopefully we will see chef Kevin Nadari open a new concept in the near future. Bon...

Single Family Home Sales Decline in February

The Houston Association of Realtor (HAR) announced this week that home sales declined in February for the first time in six months.  The 5.8% year over year decline in single family home sales is right on target with what economist have predicted for the Houston area since the decline in oil prices, related job layoffs, continuation of tight inventory of listings and rising home prices. This could signal the beginning of a more normal real estate market for the Houston area.  We continue to have a very strong market, but the tap on the brakes in February certainly goes along with predictions for 2015.   The number of months of inventory, meaning the estimated time it would take to deplete current listings based on the previous 12 months performance, is up slightly to a 2.7-months supply.  This is still a very strong number.  Nationally, the number is 4.7 so Houston continues to be one of the best markets in the country.  Only time will tell. Personally, I still see continued multiple offer situations and strong demand in neighborhoods near the city.  EaDo (East of Downtown) is a feeding frenzy for homes under $250,000.  With the continued revitalization in this up and coming area, it is not unusual to see sales prices well above the asking price.  It is still an exciting time to be a homeowner in...

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicks off this weekend!

The last week of February brings the western spirit to Houston each year.  Even the newest transplant to our city feels compelled to get a pair of boots.  The rest of us just drag out our best rodeo attire and party with our boots on!  The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the biggest event of the year.  If you live here, you just have to experience it. The trailriders come into Houston today.  Be on the lookout for traffic or just steer (no pun intended!) clear of Memorial Park.  The Chili Cookoff, one of the most popular weekends in Houston, is set for this weekend at Reliant Stadium.  If you love BBQ and a little beer, you just have to go.  The rodeo officially starts Tuesday, March 3rd.  Get ready to Rodeo Houston. ...

The Red Hot Real Estate Market continued in January

Concerns have been expressed for the past couple of months over falling oil prices and the impact it would have on the Houston real estate market.¬† Anyone who lived in the greater Houston area during the 1980’s can remember the downturn and the effect it had on the real estate industry.¬† The good news is Houston’s economy has diversified and is not as oil dependent as it once was. HAR recently released statistics for January 2015 that show continued strength in the red hot Houston real estate market.¬† With over 4,000 single family homes sold last month in Houston, January 2015 housing sales were up 6.1% over January 2014.¬† Most of these sales were between the $250,000 to $500,000 price point.¬† Sales above $500,000 did show a decline.¬† Inventory of homes on the market remain low which is keeping prices from falling. With all this said, several experts in the market are predicting a slow down in 2015.¬† Dr. Ted Jones with Stewart Title sees about a 10% drop in the number of homes sales this year....

A Day at the Park!

Headed to Hermann Park yesterday with family and was it absolutely gorgeous! So many Houstonians were out enjoying our fabulous January weather. Temperatures in the upper 60’s make this the perfect time of year to enjoy a day at the park. Kites were flying high, kids were running downhill at Miller Outdoor Theatre and plenty of paddleboats were out on the water at McGovern Lake. This beautiful 443 acre park is centrally located in the heart of Houston. Walking distance to the Texas Medical Center, Rice University, and the Museum District, Hermann Park provides Houston with not only picturesque green space, but cultural and entertainment venues as well. The Museum of Natural Science, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Zoo, the Japanese Gardens and Hermann Park Golf Course are all popular destinations when planning an outing to the park. Of course, no trip to Hermann Park is complete without a ride on the Hermann Park Mini-Train departing from Lake Plaza. The new and improved train makes several satellite station stops throughout the park making it easier to navigate the various venues during a Hermann Park adventure. So the next beautiful winter day you find yourself with a few hours to spare, pack a picnic and head to the park. You’ll be glad you...