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Archive for July, 2015|Monthly archive page

Appraisers, Sellers Closer to Agreeing on Home Values

In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Selling your home on July 28, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Quicken Loans just released its Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) with data as recent as January showing that appraisers’ opinions of home values were only 0.18 percent higher than homeowners’ estimates, according to the index’s national composite.

According to Quicken Loans, this marks the closest the two opinions have been since September 2013. In addition to the value perception gap closing, home values also increased 5.63 percent in January compared to the previous year.

The Quicken Loans HPPI, which evaluates perceptions of the housing market, reports that appraisers’ opinions of home values were 0.18 percent higher than homeowner opinions. This gap has narrowed measurably since the prior month, when the difference was 1.43 percent.

The two value opinions are also closer than the previous year when appraiser opinions were 2.11 percent higher than homeowner estimates.

The report showed appraiser and homeowner opinions on value narrowing in metro areas as well. Despite the trend toward agreement in value, Quicken Loans says appraisers in more than 74 percent of the metro areas evaluated continue to experience higher opinions of home values than the homeowners.

This means homeowners may still have more equity in their home than they realize, with every region measured by the HVI seeing home value gains. And which region marked the largest increase?

The Quicken Loans HPPI says the Midwest was tops across the nation with monthly growth of 2.62 percent and a 9.31 percent annual home value increase.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Do you have any real estate questions?  Give Connie Vallone a call at 713-249-4177 or email .


6 Good Credit Habits for Buyers and Renters

In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent on July 24, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Your credit score has a critical impact on your housing options, and healthy credit is essential to buying a home or renting one. “An important step to finding a home, whether you’re renting or buying, is ensuring that you have a good credit history,” says Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA). “A strong credit score can open doors to better homes and lower mortgage rates.”

To build a good credit history, the ABA recommends adopting these habits.

1. Request a copy of your credit report–and make sure it is correct. Your credit report illustrates your credit performance, and it needs to be accurate so that you can apply for other loans, such as a mortgage. Everyone is entitled to receive a free copy of his or her credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies, but you must go through the Federal Trade Commission’s website at or call 1-877-322-82281-877-322-8228 FREE. Note that you may have to pay for the numerical score itself.

2. Set up automatic bill pay. Payment history makes up 32 percent of your VantageScore credit score and 35 percent of your FICO credit score. The more you pay your bills on time, the better your score. Avoid missed payments by setting as many of your bills to automatic pay as possible.

3. Keep balances low on credit cards and ‘revolving credit. Racking up big balances can hurt your scores, regardless of whether you pay your bills in full each month. You often can increase your scores by limiting your charges to 30 percent or less of a card’s limit.

4. Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed. Keep this in mind the next time a retailer offers you 10 percent off if you open an account. If you need a new line of credit, don’t jump at the first appealing offer; compare rates and fees offered through mail solicitation, on the Internet or at your local bank.

5. Don’t close old paid off accounts. According to FICO, closing accounts can never help your score and can in fact damage it.

6. Talk to credit counselors if you’re in trouble. Using legitimate, non-profit credit counseling can help you manage your debt and won’t hurt your credit score. For more information on debt management, contact the National Foundation for Consumer Credit by visiting

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

For more information on buying a home, contact Connie Vallone at or call me at 713-249-4177.

Boost Curb Appeal in a Day

In Home Upgrades, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home on July 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Sometimes when planning to sell a house, in the name of renovating interior living spaces, updating bathrooms, replacing appliances and adding decorative touches throughout the bedrooms, homeowners leave outdoor curb appeal as a last priority. While of course the inside of a home is important, sellers make a big mistake when they neglect the exterior. Why is a home’s exterior so important? Consider this: Curb appeal is often a potential buyer’s first impression of a home, the very thing that helps him/her decide whether or not to come inside. Whether they’re shopping online or by cruising through neighborhoods, the outside of your property is the first thing they’ll notice. If you’re selling your home or about to, how can you quickly and effectively tackle the outdoor appeal? Here are some key tips for boosting the curb appeal in a way that means quick turnaround and increased home value:

1. Start with the Front Door. Believe it or not, your home’s front door can be one of its most important assets. A new steel entry door consistently ranks as one of the most rewarding projects in home repairs, yielding an increase in home value that’s greater than the costs to install one. Likewise, to make the door especially captivating, consider painting it a bold, pleasing color that will grab attention and add charm. When buyers see a new door that looks attractive, they see another asset that makes your home the one to buy.

2. Make Any Necessary Repairs. Is the driveway cracked or the front doorbell busted? Now is the time to call a repair company or get out your own toolbox to make repairs. Buyers want turnkey, move-in-properties, and that means they want properties with repairs already done. Do the work now to get your home in ship-shape condition.

3. Keep Up with Landscaping. From mowing the lawn to pulling weeds, make sure you’re keeping up with your outdoor landscaping so that your home looks presentable and well cared for at all times. Overgrown bushes and dying plants are a surefire signal to potential buyers that you’re not caring for your home and leaving more maintenance for them to handle.

4. Add Lighting. While most buyers will come visit your home during the daytime, it’s not at all unusual for the most interested ones to also drive by at night to see what nighttime curb appeal is like. Landscape lighting can make all the difference in terms of how a home looks, so make an investment in attractive lighting options that illuminate and add interest to your property. “Solar landscaping lights are a great addition to any yard because they don’t require complicated and expensive wiring,” says Bob Vila. “Remember, though, you get what you pay for—cheap lights won’t last as long and simply won’t look as good.”

5. Touch Up Paint. A fresh coat of paint is just as powerful outside as it is inside, so to update your home’s look, repaint the exterior or at least touch up problem areas. Another idea is to paint the trim a new color that creates either a nice complement or contrast to your home’s overall look.

6. Make Over the Mailbox. You might not think a mailbox matters much, but it’s yet another one of those little details that can add up together to make a strong impression on a buyer.

7. Add Outdoor Furniture. From rocking chairs on the front porch to an outdoor patio set on the back deck, outdoor furniture creates outdoor living spaces that expand your home’s appeal. Look for attractive, durable pieces that will endure weather damage and look good for years to come — whether or not you include these pieces with the home sale, setting them up is a great way to stage your home for greater resale value.

The bottom line when it comes to curb appeal is that a little investment today can add up to big rewards tomorrow. Take the time to update, clean, repair and add value to your property’s exterior now and you will make it more attractive to buyers, not to mention more beautiful to come home to. Use the tips above to get started now.

For more information, contact Connie Vallone at 713-249-4177 or .

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

NEW LEASE LISTING! 1238 Sienna Hill Drive, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 10757804

In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Real Estate Agent, Parkway Villages, Terry Hershey Park on July 9, 2015 at 6:02 pm

NEW LEASE LISTING! 1238 Sienna Hill Drive, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 10757804

1238 Sienna Hill DriveStunning beauty in sought after gated community of Houston’s Energy corridor. Light, bright and immaculate! Kitchen opens to breakfast & family room great for family time or entertaining. Living area features huge picture windows with views to your beautifully lush landscaped backyard with two covered patio areas. Ceramic tile floors in all main living areas, master suite down, game room plus two more bedrooms up, 3 car garage.

HAR Link:

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in West Houston, please contact Connie Vallone with First Market Realty at 713 249 4177  or visit  or .

Which Is Better, a 15-Year or 30-Year Loan?

In Buying a Home, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Investment Real Estate, Selling your home, West Houston on July 9, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Which Is Better, a 15-Year or 30-Year Loan?

The 15-year mortgage offers you a chance to save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. This is because the interest rate is typically lower and amortization is half that of the 30-year loan, which means that the total interest paid on the 15-year note, as compared to a 30-year note, is significantly less because of the shorter borrowing period.

Put another way, a 15-year loan accrues principal much more quickly than a 30-year loan, so you get to own your house in half the time.

However, because you are building equity faster and paying down the loan sooner, a 15-year mortgage requires higher monthly payments.

Get a lender to help you calculate the overall savings of the 15-year loan versus the 30-year mortgage. In the end, though, base your decision on your circumstances and overall financial plan, such as whether you are nearing retirement age and also will have to shell out college expenses for children, in which case a 15-year loan may not be for you.  Remember that your spending habits, budget, and financial goals should all be considered before making a final decision.

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in West Houston, please contact Connie Vallone with First Market Realty at 713 249 4177  or visit  or .