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Archive for October, 2015|Monthly archive page

Insulation Tips to Keep Heat in, Cold out this Winter

In Buying a Home, Home Upgrades, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Selling your home on October 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm

One of the easiest ways to ward off winter’s chill at home is to increase insulation. And the best time to do it is autumn, before bitter cold sets in. To begin, assess the insulation in your basement, says Tom Savoy, technical director for Insulfoam.

“Up to 25 percent of a home’s heat loss is through the basement,” says Savoy. “Even if you don’t spend time in the basement, it’s crucial to insulate it right to help manage the heating throughout the rest of your home,” says Savoy.

Many homes in the U.S. were built with fiberglass batts between wood wall studs, which are notoriously leaky, providing a bridge for heat to pass through the wall. Such insulation can also trap moisture in the walls, causing that musty basement smell.

A simple solution is adding a layer of continuous insulation to the home’s basement walls using rigid foam boards, such as expanded polystyrene (EPS). Available in home improvement stores, EPS insulation is easy to cut and install using standard tools around the house. Unlike many other types of insulation, rigid foam boards are thin and easy to handle, without messy fibers to clean-up.

To get started, you will first need to figure out how much insulation you will need based on its “R-value.” R-value is the measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat flow, with higher numbers meaning better performance. A quick call to your city or county building department will let you know what R-value is appropriate, and if you’ll need to take anything else into account with your insulation project.

In addition to insulating the basement, another leaky area to check is attic hatches. As heat rises, these hatches often have gaps around them, allowing the warm air to escape. Properly sealing them with weather stripping and adding a layer of rigid foam to the hatch will help keep heat in your living area.

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

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 www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com  or www.vallonehomes.com

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Housing Indicator Approaches Peak Level

In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Selling your home on October 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Consumer confidence in the home buying and selling market bounced back from a recent dip, suggesting continued gradual improvement in housing activity. Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI) increased to 83.8 in September, and The HPSI Good Time to Sell component increased 13 points on net due likely to a strong home price environment coupled with a slight improvement in consumers’ economic outlook. Additionally, the Good Time to Buy component increased 3 points on net as high rental costs may be encouraging more renters to consider homeownership. Although net home price and mortgage rate expectations dipped in September, consumers’ confidence in their employment and financial situations climbed 2 and 3 points, respectively, further suggesting a possible firmer footing for housing.

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index“The HPSI returned near its record high this month, driven primarily by improvement in attitudes about selling a home and strengthening home prices,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “With consumers’ expectations for rental price increases continuing to outpace their expectations for home price growth, many consumers may view homeownership as a more attractive option. This should have positive implications for the housing market, which remains well below historical norms in relation to housing starts. We noted last week that, despite a relatively dismal jobs report, the addition of 8,000 construction jobs, the biggest gain in four months, may be a sign of grudging progress for the supply side of housing. The September HPSI data, combined with the recent increase in construction jobs, are consistent with our expectation for a continued upward grind in housing.”

Fannie Mae’s September 2015 Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI) increased 3 points to 83.8in September following a two-month drop. Four of the six component questions posted net positive gains, most notably with Good Time to Sell increasing 13 points compared to August. Home Price and Mortgage Rate net expectations continued to fall, dipping 2 and 1 points, respectively. Overall, the HPSI is up 3.6 points since this time last year.

The share of respondents who says that it is a good time to buy a house rose 1 percentage point to 64 percent, continuing a positive trend since July’s survey low. Those who say it is a good time to sell rose 5 percentage points to 52 percent, tying June’s survey high. The percent of respondents who say it is a bad time to sell decreased to 36 percent, setting a new survey low.

The percent of respondents who says that home prices will go up over the next 12 months fell to 45 percent. The percent who says that home prices will go down remained constant at 9 percent. The share who expect mortgage interest rates to go up in the next 12 months rose 1 percentage point to 55 percent. The share who say mortgage rates will go down remained the same at 5 percent.

The share of respondents who say they are not concerned with losing their job rose to 84 percent, while the share of respondents who say they are concerned with losing their job fell to 15 percent. The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose to 28 percent, while those who say it is significantly lower rose as well to 13 percent.

For more information, visit www.fanniemae.com

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

So many ways to contact Connie Vallone:

(713) 249-4177     connie@knowsrealestate.com      www.vallonehomes.com       www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com

NEW LISTING! 910 Bayou Parkway, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 35027442

In Buying a Home, Houston Energy Corridor, Terry Hershey Park on October 9, 2015 at 6:46 pm

NEW LISTING! 910 Bayou Parkway, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 35027442

910 Bayou ParkwayBeautiful custom built home. Impressive foyer with spiral staircase opens to dining, formal/study leads to huge family opens to island kitchen with granite. Master retreat downstairs. Wood, marble and tile entire downstairs. Master, family and kitchen all lead to oasis backyard with sparkling pool and spa, huge covered patio and still plenty of yard to play. Double staircases lead to huge game room plus 4 more bedrooms with new carpet. Walking distance to excellent schools – John Paul II & Barbara Bush and moments from Terry Hershey Park.

HAR Link: http://www.har.com/910-bayou-parkway/sale_35027442

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 www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com  or www.vallonehomes.com .

 

Housing Trends September 2015 Newsletter

In Buying a Home, Home Upgrades, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home, West Houston on October 6, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

Please click on this link to view the Housing Trends September 2015 Newsletter http://connievallone.housingtrendsenewsletter.com

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau, Realtor.org reports and other sources.

Housing Trends eNewsletter is filled with local and national real estate sales and price activity provided by MLSs and the National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau key market indicators, consumer videos, blogs, real estate glossary, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, and REALTOR.com local community reports.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the “Home Evaluator” link for a free evaluation report:

http://connievallone.housingtrendsenewsletter.com/dispContent.cfm?loadid=2&loadtype=0

Sound decisions can only be made with accurate and reliable information, and I am happy to be a trusted resource for you. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this monthly eNewsletter, and I look forward to answering any questions you may have and to the opportunity to be your REALTOR® in the future.

Please contact Connie Vallone for any real estate questions – 713-249-4177 or connie@knowsrealestate.com

10 Shortcuts to Make Your Move Easier

In Buying a Home, Home Upgrades, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home on October 1, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Near or far, there’s no shortage of challenges when it comes to moving. Between organizing an entire household, changing addresses and vetting out movers, relocating to a new home can be more hectic than happy. And the biggest stressor of all? Packing.

To help alleviate some of that stress, we’ve compiled a list of clever shortcuts that will ease the burden of packing before (and unpacking after) a move.

1. Find Freebies – Forget buying boxes. Pick up free ones through Freecycle.org or the “free stuff” section on Craigslist, both of which list items by location. If you can, seek out boxes of varying sizes. And skip the supermarket cartons–they may contain food residue.

2. Pack to Unpack – The hardest part about packing is figuring out where to start. When boxing up your belongings, start in the kitchen, which typically houses the most items that are not everyday essentials. When you arrive at your new home, unpack your bedroom first, and leave the kitchen for last.

3. Color-Code – Besides being time-consuming, labeling a box with its contents can give thieves the upper hand as you settle in. To save time and stay safe, assign each room a color and use coordinating colored duct tape. Stick a piece of tape on both the top and sides of boxes so that they can be easily identified when stacked or apart.

4. Bag It – Don’t waste time un-hanging (and re-hanging) closet garments. Group a few hanging clothes together with a zip tie, slide a black garbage bag over them, and make a hole in the top of the bag for hanger hooks. To “unpack,” simply remove the bag and tie.

5. Cover Up – Save yourself a step–and a few extra bucks–by forgoing the mattress cover sold by your mover. Instead, place the fitted sheet you use regularly on your mattress, then cover both sides of the mattress with two older fitted sheets you no longer use.

6. Wrap It – Instead of emptying out the drawers of small-scale furniture, like end tables or corner desks, wrap heavy-duty plastic wrap around the piece of furniture, from top-to-bottom and side-to-side. This will seal the drawers in place and prevent spillage on moving day, and save you hours worth of unpacking time.

7. Tape Under – If certain furniture pieces require disassembly before moving, keep all of the parts together to save time when re-assembling. Place all bolts, screws and small pieces in a Ziploc bag, and tape the bag with clear packing tape to the bottom of the piece.

8. Fill Space – Damage on moving day is often caused by items shifting en route. To make certain your household items stay secure, use socks to fill in ‘dead air’ space, especially in and around breakables like glassware. If you want to save even more time, use t-shirts to wrap larger items.

9. Even It Out – If you’re using a moving truck, even out the weight when loading furniture and appliances to help prevent damage. To make your move as smooth as possible, place the refrigerator in the front right section of the truck and the washer and dryer opposite, front left.

10. Be Secure – No matter how many precautions you take, there’s no fighting gravity. When loading your plastic-wrapped furniture, place the side with drawers against the wall of the truck to prevent them from opening. If your mover provides them, use tie-downs on the side walls for added security.

This post was originally published 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.

 

Please contact Connie Vallone at 713-249-4177 or connie@knowsrealestate.com for all your real estate needs.