What Builders Need to Know


  1. The face of a builder’s product is the Agent they hire.  New construction is not just another pretty face on the block, nor is your Agent.  Intelligence and skilfulness are what buyers look for when purchasing from a builder.  Unfortunately, some builders are bruised, on account of hiring listing agents that demonstrate poor judgment and do not perform their responsibilities.  This is visible to clients and Agents.  I have encountered many unimaginable situations and as a result am skeptical about bringing clients to a builder where professionalism is compromised by the Agent.  Builders should vie for broad business experience in this versatile market.  Remember, the client comes first, not your listing Agents.
  2. Deed Restrictions:  When you make a sale into a community that has deed restrictions – (when typically the builder is the “Acting Board” until the community exceeds a ownership percentage), you must make sure your buyers are aware.  Typically, docs are passed on to the buyer – within contract terms- by the agent representing them or the builder, if there is no buyer representation.  It is paramount that all parties handling the buyers make aware of these docs and the importance of them.  Some buyers do not actually read their restrictions.  It is important that the buyers are aware of the covenants because they must be willing to live by them.  Some people do not pay attention to the Deed of Restrictions and then break the bylaws after they move in.  Please builders, it’s your agents job to educate your buyers.  If you are not, you are only hurting the parties you are selling.
  3. What happens when an appraisal comes in lower than the sales price of the contract?  First, when you list a home, make sure you know the comps and are using the right ones before you price it.  If it is priced correctly, you should not have a problem when you receive an offer in the market today – most people are  not willing to pay full price.  The offer should be supportive of the comps.  Remember, if both agents interpret comps the same, then there should be an agreement with price.  If not, then you could run into a problem of buying a home where the appraisal does not support the price.  This is happening in today’s market, so be prepared to go back to negotiations.  Most people are not willing pay over appraised value – unless market conditions are extremely competitive.  If a buyer does pay over appraised value, their LTV needs to be within means of the sales price.

This is not legal advice.

Real Estate for the Soul


Where do you go when the soul calls for inspiration, you feel the desire to feed a passion or you want to be surrounded by nature?  For me, that place is Roundtop.  Twice a year, April and September, Roundtop becomes a focal point on the map, holding the largest Antique Festival in the country.  Stretched over 12-25 miles, Round Top is a small town centered around the largest shopping extravaganza one can imagine.  The booths start in Warranton and then continue through Roundup and stretch beyond Carmine to Burton. Over 2500 sellers/booths are filled with antiques from around the country and Europe.  There is literally something for everyone – a little vintage, a little junk and a lot of finds so irresistible and some so expensive, lets just say, you keep walking.

Beside being known for antique week,  Roundtop is a quaint little town about 90 minutes outside Houston.  It’s tucked off Highway 290.  You have to take a small road, state highway 237 – just about 9 miles west of Brenham.  The exit goes to the left.  The pastures are covered in colors of green, fields are filled with bluebonnets and what is typically ranch acreage turns into an antique haven covered in cowboy boot footsteps and chic bohemian fashions.  If you haven’t been there, you must go; it’s food for the soul.

 

How the Election will Impact Real Estate


Article Written by Michele Marano, published Aug 30, 2016

I am not here to poke Washington in the face, but I am writing to let you know how the Presidential election will affect our nation’s real estate market.  One would not typically correlate the two, but when you put the items on the table that encompass an election; a new President, economic security, job security, and national security – the health of our real estate market is directly affected.

First of all, it’s important to understand the meaning of  globalization (go to Wikipedia, if you don’t know).  Globalization does not place our citizens, values or our country’s respect first.  Once you’ve grasped the meaning, it will become obvious to you that globalization does not put our country to work.

First and foremost, jobs in the U.S. drives our economy. Our country has a wealth of resources and jobs are derived from them.   That means oil, gas – and every segment of the energy sector- including coal.  Agriculture, fishing, water, etc., are all resources that create jobs.  In addition, we cannot generate jobs in the U.S. while companies are moving their operations overseas.  Corporate inversion doesn’t work for the American people, it takes away jobs and is used to avoid tax burdens.  It puts the wealth of large corporations above the integrity of our county.  As most of you know, we’ve destroyed our manufacturing and lost more jobs to China- and other countries.  Also, when the flow of immigration floods the lowest income bracket, there is no room for people to advance and it puts downward pressure on workers’ incomes.  This all plays into the downward effects of our economy.

We need a national economy again – not a global economy.  We need prosperity, jobs brought back to the US – manufacturing that operates here.  We need trade deals that puts the U.S. ahead of other country’s’ economies.  We need to use our resources to grow jobs.  We need policies that strengthen our security.  Our country needs to grow its core. Status quo does not make us prosper.  Jobs make us grow.  Jobs grow our economy and a healthy economy allows every American the ability to own a home.  Owning a home is not a privilege.  It’s a part of being an American; people want to work, have job security, economic security and feel safe.  That’s how this election will affect real estate.

Globalization is a movement – a direction in which our current administration has led the U.S; a path where the democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton will likely continue.  Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, does not opt for this direction.  Britain spoke and just removed itself from a globalized union. While our election in the U.S. takes place in less than 100 days, we will find out just how many Americans want to continue down this global path.  People do not purchase or invest in real estate when they are challenged by economics, jobs and security.  Economic challenges come from a lot of areas – income, expenses, taxation, and the uncertainty of it all.

 

Michele’s Real Estate Tips You Should Know


  1. By the Texas Association of Realtors:  “If a seller wants to avoid a possible violation of RESPA, the seller should not insist on a particular title company for the transaction unless the seller is paying for both the owner policy and the lender policy of title insurance.” There are 2 types of policies issued by title.  One is the owner policy and the other is the lender policy.  Most agents don’t understand this and think their seller can automatically select the title company because an owner policy is issued.  This is not true.  Typically, sellers offer to pay for owner policy title when they sell their home, and sometimes builders own their own title companies so they create a condition to make the buyer use their title company.  The title company selected should be one that is unbiased, not privy to either party of the deal.  Rule of Thumb.
  2. What happens when an appraisal comes in lower than the sales price of the contract?  First, when you list a home, make sure you know the comps and are using the right ones before you price it.  If it is priced correctly, you should not have a problem when you receive an offer – in this market, the offer should not be full price.  If it is, you are paying too much if the property has not been reduced.  The offer should be supportive of the comps.  Remember, if both agents interpret comps the same, then there should be an easy agreement with price.  If not, then you could run into a problem of buying a home where the appraisal does not support the price.  This should not happen in today’s market, otherwise you go back to negotiation and most likely the appraised value will be the sales price.
  3. Builders: The face of a builder’s product is the Agent they hire.  New construction is not just another pretty face on the block, nor is your Agent.  Intelligence and skillfulness are what buyers look for when purchasing from a builder.  Unfortunately, some builders are bruised, on account of hiring listing agents that demonstrate poor judgment and do not perform their responsibilities.  This is visible to clients and Agents.  I have encountered unwelcome situations and am skeptical about bringing clients to a builder where professionalism is/may be compromised by the Agent.  Builders should vie for broad business experience in this versatile market.  Remember, the client comes first, not your listing Agents.

GracePoint Homes


One of my favorite builders, GracePoint Homes, brings an exceptional product to the market.  Uniquely set apart from other builders, Gracepoint Homes is all about the buyer, not anything else.  From the professionalism handled by the sales staff to the impeccable customer service, to unparalleled construction, a GracePoint Home is one you will want to own.

GracePoint Homes provides an elegant product, from Spanish styled Villas and New Orleans flair, to bungalow cottages.  Their homes are all so unique which makes their construction almost distinguishable by the grand columns, wrap around porches and carefully crafted architectural detail.

I can assure you a sound, pleasant experience when you visit GracePoint Homes.  GracePoint Homes can be found in many communities in and surrounding Houston communities.

Marion: Located in Shenandoah, starting around 600’s

Lily: Located in Shenandoah, starting around 500’s

Wrights Landing: Located in Spring, TX starting around 250’s

Stillwater: Located in Conroe, TX starting around 400’s

Sienna: Located in Missouri City, near Sugarland, TX starting around 700’s

Grand Marion: Located in the Woodlands, TX startign around 650’s

Lakeside Cove: Located in the Woodlands, TX starting around 700’s

Marionhouses

 

Castle Rock, Solstice Townhomes


If you are familiar with real estate in The Woodlands/Spring area, you’ve probably taken note of the lack of condos and town homes – compared to the variety available in Houston.

Castle Rock, a regional builder, is bringing a new town home development to Harmony.  If you are not familiar with Harmony – it’s a community within Spring -Spring Creek Greenway, which consists of thousands of acres of nature, greenery and a preserve exclusive to its’ surrounding communities.

The new development called “Solstice” will be located just within feet of entering Harmony’s residential community.  The development will offer 2 story units, ranging from 2800 sq ft to 3500.  Each building will have 4 units for a total of 112 on the grounds.  As an owner, you will be part of the Harmony HOA, for $800 per month, which gives you everything from the clubhouse access to recreational activities, planned by the Harmony community.

My Recommendation : Moderate to High 

Considering the price, this would be a good investment property, with little competition for this housing segment type, although all units will need to sell.  Also, for the amount of money you could spend on a single family new home in this area, this would be an ideal situation for someone who doesn’t want to be burdened with maintenance and grounds of a single family home.  The community is offering per-sale pricing which is very moderate for the area.  For additional info, please call 713-899-8420.

DSC04664

 

Michele’s Real Estate Talking Tips


Whether you are a buyer, seller, builder, or agent, tips for you to know:

  1. A contingency contract is not a great idea.  Contingency contracts can affect as many as 4 or more parties.  If you are not able to buy without an immediate sale of your home, you should wait until you can.  A contingency contract requires 100% accuracy for all parties – not only your side. Chances are there will be a delay in a loan, an appraisal, or a number of other issues that will affect all transactions tied to one deal.   If your agent puts  you in a contingency, then it is their job to manage the situation – even when another party falters.
  2. You should have a loan approval before you go out to view homes.  First of all, you should do this as a favor to yourself.  An approval proves your financial capability of purchasing a home.  In addition, it also demonstrates your  “willingness” of going through the process to the parties that will be working with you, i.e. your Agent. Typically an agent will not take you to view homes, until you are approved.  I advise clients to shop on-line prior to an approval and get familiar with locations and pricing.  Then, when the approval is in hand, off we go!
  3. Prepare to take an agent with you when you buy from a builder.  The sales team or the “listing agent” works for the builder and has their best interest over yours.  Remember, this is the law.  Whomever represents the builder is working for the builder, not the buyer.  If you think you can get a better deal with no representation, you’re wrong.  You can try to negotiate yourself, however, if you don’t know what is customary, who pays for what, how much things cost, etc., then you probably won’t know what to negotiate.