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Archive for September, 2015|Monthly archive page

Homeownership Linked to Happiness

In Buying a Home, Environmentmentally Friendly Homes, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, new homes houston energy corridor, Selling your home on September 18, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Based on data from the OECD Better Life Index, homeownership in the U.S. can lead to higher levels of subjective well-being. Translation: homeownership is linked to happiness.

The Better Life Index gauges worldwide development, zeroing in on quality of life indicators that affect global progress – housing, jobs, civic engagement, health and safety, to name a few. The objective? To answer to the age-old question: How’s life?

At face value, this assessment is dead-on – most agents can attest to smiling faces when first-time buyers become homeowners – but that heightened sense of well-being may be more closely tied to our basic need for shelter, according to Aida Caldera Sánchez and Caroline Tassot, authors of a recent Index analysis. And, when viewed through American Dream-colored glasses, homeownership lends itself to status and independence, qualities that resonate with those seeking to better their lives.

In addition, the Index measures well-being indicators on a regional scale. Housing performs better than all other indicators in 75 percent of states in the Midwest. In the South, housing tops all other indicators in 70.6 percent of states in the region. In the West, housing in just 15 percent of states outperforms other indicators like environment and education. Income trumps housing in 55.5 percent of states in the Northeast – and it is also the dominant indicator in states home to major metropolitan areas, including New York, Illinois, Texas and California.

View this original post on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for winning real estate tips and trends for you and your clients.

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

I am happy to help you buy or sell your home! Call Connie Vallone at 713-249-4177 .


10 Easiest Home Upgrades to Increase House Value

In Home Upgrades, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home on September 8, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Whether planning to sell the house, have it rented out, or simply for personal satisfaction, a little renovation and upgrade is always necessary to help increase its market value. In order to boost a house’s value in the market, it is first important to learn what prospective buyers or tenants are searching for in a house. For most homeowners, the biggest concern is usually the budget required for upgrade, renovation and home maintenance.

The great news is that there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars for home improvements. Just follow these 10 tips for the best home upgrades to add home value.

1. Knock down a wall and go for open concept. Not only will it create an illusion of a bigger space, but it is a home design trend that is very much in demand today. Just make sure to have the wall assessed for possible electrical wires housed behind it before hitting it with a sledge hammer.

2. Make the kitchen area workable. This means making the kitchen area a functional place where you can actually cook a decent meal. Update faucets, fix leaking pipes, buff the counters and repaint cupboards and cabinets. It is not necessary to replace everything with a new kitchen system. Simply repaint worn out furniture and replace outdated knobs with modern handles to make it look more expensive.

3. Brighten up the bath. Bathrooms are among the most important considerations for many tenants and prospective home buyers so it is pertinent to get this area of the house right. Buff up the tiles and replace the faucets, shower heads and toilet seats. There’s no need to replace all the tiles, just those that are cracked and chipped. The trick is to find the right cleaning agent that can help whiten the tiles to make it look good as new.

4. Add more storage. 
If there’s an extra wall or area of the house that does not seem to have any function, add in a laminate closet system or have a carpenter install small built-in cabinets, racks or pantries. Making every extra space of the house functional will help make it look more livable.

5. Turn that extra space into an extra room. A house with a lot of rooms will always look impressive when advertised in the market. If the house has a huge attic, a den, or extra space that can be turned into another room then by all means, fix it up to look like an additional room. Simply add in a built-in closet and a window and it should be good to accommodate.

6. Update the lighting system.
 Still using an old chandelier or unflattering fluorescent lamps? Hire an electrician to place some decorative lighting fixtures or dimmers that will give the house a more modern feel and mask any unflattering curves on the walls and ceilings.

7. Buff the floors.
 The moment a buyer or tenant steps inside the front door the first thing they will notice are the floors. Tiled or hardwood floors need to be buffed till it sparkles. Carpeted floors need a touch of professional carpet cleaning to make it look, smell and feel brand new. Hiring professional cleaners is a small investment compared to the big impact it will make.

8. Apply a fresh coat of paint on the walls or replace an uncharacteristic door with a rustic barn door. Choose modern color palettes to give the house a fresh new look.

9. Add outdoor dining furniture in the front lawn or backyard. These areas can become extended living and dining areas.

10. Hire an electrical and plumbing service to look at the overall state of the house. It is much better to catch the problems early on than find out much later when the problem has already worsened such as replacing the entire plumbing system or rewiring the entire house.

By David Glenn

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

Call Connie Vallone at (713) 249-4177 for all your real estate needs!

Now is Still a Great Time to Buy

In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, new homes houston energy corridor on September 3, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Recently, the media has painted a one-sided portrait of the housing market and real estate industry as a whole. Although we surely have seen better days, now is still a great time to take advantage of low prices and rates, writes Brett Arends on Enough with the negatives-here are 10 reasons from The Wall Street Journal why it’s still a great time for you to buy a new home.

Amazing Deals

Buyers who act fast can still get an amazing deal on a new home purchase. Home prices are down about 30% from their peak, according to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index. We’re still experiencing a buyer’s market, and if you like to take on a negotiator role you can get a great buy at a fantastic price. Don’t wait to catch the bottom-chances are prices will go up before you pull the trigger. Prices are down, and now is the time to capitalize.

Low Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have recently been the lowest they have been in decades. You can get a 30-year fixed-rate loan in the 4% range. Two years ago, rates were about 6.3%. As prices and values go up, so will these rates. Buyers who act now get to take advantage of great pricing and great rates. Why wouldn’t you buy under these ideal conditions?

Tax Savings

Mortgage interest is tax deductible. You can also get a tax break on capital gains when you sell if you itemize your deductions. Any real estate tax is deductible, and come income tax time, this is money you’ll save just by being a homeowner. The more you earn and the bigger your mortgage, the more valuable your tax breaks will be.

You’ll Own It

A simple reason to buy, but you can do anything you’d like to with your own home. Extend walls, repaint or redesign, anything you want to do can be done. Renters can’t say the same thing. Occasionally a landlord may make an allowance, but as a homeowner you never have to worry about going against a clause in a lease. You own it, and you control everything.

Better Homes

When you decide to buy, you are able to narrow down exactly what you want. By putting down more money, you’re also paying for more space and nicer quality living conditions. Money talks in real estate. By making the commitment to buying your own home, you are more likely to get exactly the type of home you are looking for, and that in itself is a luxury.

Risk Capital

Although you shouldn’t view your home as a way to get rich, your home can grow in value as the market rebounds. Once the economy is stronger, real estate prices and values will strengthen with it. After all, “Equity in a home is another way of linking part of your portfolio to the long-term growth of the economy,” reports

Forced Savings

Buying a home is sort of like a forced savings. Instead of squandering money on rent, you are putting money towards something that you will own. You’re paying yourself by building equity for later down the road.

Plenty of Options

According to NAR, the current inventory in the U.S. is around four million homes. This number is below last year’s peak, but well over normal levels. With this many homes on the market, you have quite a few options to choose from. There is definitely more of a chance that you’ll find exactly what you want if you look for a home in a market like this-great prices, great rates and great choices.

This Market Won’t Last Forever

Sooner or later, demand will meet the supply. With the population only expanding, more and more people will start making the transition over to homeowner and the supply of available homes on the market will shrink. Buying a house now is a great step and plan for the future.

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

If you or someone you know wants to buy a home, please call Connie Vallone at

(713) 249-4177 or email .