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5 Things to Look for in a Neighborhood, No Matter Where You Move

In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Parks, Houston Real Estate Agent, Local Business, Local Events, Real Estate Investment, Restaurants & Shops, Restaurants & Shops, Schools, Selling your home on November 29, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Since relocating is such a major undertaking, it’s vital to thoroughly research your options. This is especially essential regarding an overseas move. Here are five things to assess in a prospective neighborhood to ensure you’ll feel at home, no matter whether your new home is here or abroad.

1. Transportation

One consideration is how you’ll navigate your new surroundings. Find out whether you’ll have access to public transportation or need a car. If you can use public transit, what are the service hours and stops? If you require airport proximity, determine how you’ll get there. Do you currently have a job lined up? If so, calculate the distance of the commute from the neighborhood in question. Will the trip be a cakewalk, or grueling? According to World Knowing, the top-ranked countries with the best transportation systems in the world are Hong Kong, Singapore, the UAE, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, and the UK.

Even if a REALTOR® lists the distance from a house to a public station, the calculation doesn’t always include door-to-door travel time. You may be able to use Google Maps to determine this. If not, the website of a city’s public transit system may provide a clue.

2. Businesses

Before visiting a neighborhood, think about businesses you’ll be frequenting, such as a bank, grocery store, pharmacy and retail shops. Make sure they’re a feasible distance from your prospective home. Also, ensure their customer service is reputable and prices are reasonable. For example, if there’s a grocer nearby, does it stock staples, or only expensive gourmet goods? Where can you find fresh produce?

You may be able to minimize leg work by reading online business reviews. Yelp is expanding internationally, with websites emerging in Europe and Asia. Reviews are also conveniently available via iPhone and Android apps. Local Yelp announces business openings and events in major cities.

3. Schools

If you have children, REALTORS® will tell you that another must-have is access to quality education. Many overseas schools provide bus services, but trip length must be tolerable for kids. In towns where public schools are sub-par, you may want to enroll your children in private school. If so, consider the extra expense of entrance fees, tuition, uniforms and transportation.

Did you know there’s a correlation between the presence of schools and crime? A 2011 study by the University of New Mexico found that elementary schools have a protective effect against property crimes. Middle schools, however, promote drug felonies, and high schools foster both property and narcotics crime. So, regarding school proximity, aim to be close enough for a short trip, though not a hop, skip and jump away.

Concerning school reputation, attend a PTA meeting at a given school. By speaking with other parents, you’ll get firsthand information on the school’s quality. A good school district increases a home’s value, should you wish to sell in the future.

4. Amenities

Is culture important to you? If you’re an avid fan of art, theater and music, this is a consideration. Do you like to frequent restaurants, pubs, or dance clubs? If these are high on your wish list, how close are they to the home you’re debating? If you must travel to a distant town, factor in transit costs.

Also, research proximity to free entertainment, such as parks, museums and libraries. If you’re a sports enthusiast, assess the distance to athletic arenas.

There’s one caveat regarding crime: Steer clear of a neighborhood where bars are prevalent. The study mentioned above concerning schools and crime found that ready access to alcohol promotes violence and vandalism.

5. Economy

Neighborhood decline has telltale signs. Drive through the streets of a potential town, and look for financial clues. Examples of red flags are unkempt parks, littered streets and a prevalence of “For Sale” signs. Are people moving out of the area? Are businesses closing up shop?

Query librarians about the town and whether it’s fiscally sound. Ask if the library has cut down its hours, another clue to a suffering economy. Look for indications that people care about their property and each other. Do houses and landscapes look maintained? Are neighbors interacting? If any seem friendly, ask about their experience of living there.

A Smart Move

Now you’ll be a savvy traveler while exploring a new town. To ensure a successful move, evaluate the local:

  • Transportation
  • Businesses
  • Schools
  • Healthcare system
  • Amenities
  • Economy

Like a good journalist, get detailed information from reliable sources. Invite conversation, and record your observations. Then, make your smart move. You’ll be able to settle down for as long as needed in a wonderful neighborhood, whether that be in the United States or abroad.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends. RISMedia Tracking Snippet *** Do Not Remove *** End RISMedia Tracking Snippet

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Do you have real estate questions?   Contact Connie Vallone at (713) 249-4177 or or visit  or


NEW LISTING! 13910 Briarhills Parkway, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 78474304

In Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Restaurants & Shops, Restaurants & Shops, Schools, Terry Hershey Park, West Houston on May 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm

NEW LISTING! 13910 Briarhills Parkway, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 78474304

Beautiful open floor plan in the heart of the Energy Corridor. Enjoy the privacy and beauty of Terry Hershey Park in your own backyard. This home backs up to the park! All the hard work has been done! New roof 2012, double paned French doors, New AC 2011, Electrical panel/breaker 2012, Lifetime transferable foundation warranty 2011, Ace Dura flow piping transferable warranty, Sprinklers front and back yard, alarm system, fresh interior paint. Needs flooring in bedrooms/wood flooring in need of repair /replacement.

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

Houston Energy Corridor Art Mixer Event June 3rd – The Muir Fine Art Gallery

In Houston Art Gallery, Houston Charity Events, Houston Energy Corridor, Local Business, Local Events, Restaurants & Shops, Restaurants & Shops, West Houston on May 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm


June 3rd 6 pm – 9 pm Energy Corridor Mixer hosted at

The Muir Fine Art Gallery  Muir Fine Art Gallery

John Muir Lockhart

 located in Sycamore Square at 302 Stafford, Houston, 77079   10% of all art sales from this event will benefit Child Advocates

The Muir Fine Art Gallery is located in a quaint wooded square which borders Katy and Houston in walking distance to fine dining in the Houston Energy Corridor.  There is a great sense of community in Sycamore Square.  We opened the Muir Fine Art Gallery bringing some of the finest artists in the US, Europe and Australia to Houston.   Most people have to travel to the Museum of Fine Arts just to catch a glimpse of a renowned artist.  They is why we chose this location.  It is easy access, the art gallery although possessing fine art, has a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The Muir Fine Art Galleries mission statement is to provide quality, authenticated, affordable fine art to both residents of Katy, Houston and international visitors alike.

Hors d’oeuvres / wine to be served.   Lomontes Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar also located in Sycamore Square within walking distance to The Muir Fine Art Gallery will serve shrimp ,  Premium Coffee will be provided by Beans Cafe.    Event is co- hosted by Connie Vallone First Market Realty, Rhonda Runge of Serna Insurance and Debbie Cash of WR Starkey

 Please RSVP to Connie Vallone First Market Realty 713 249 4177 or Teresa Brown Muir Art Gallery 281 497 8009  by June 2nd.

Cigar Towne in West Houston

In Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Local Business, Local Events, Restaurants & Shops, Restaurants & Shops, West Houston on January 14, 2011 at 2:34 am
Four cigars of different brands (from top: H. ...

Image via Wikipedia

Residents of West Houston’s Energy Corridor can enjoy Premium World-Class Cigars at Cigar Towne located in the heart of the Houston Energy Corridor . Cigar Towne is located near  Terry Hershey Park at 1127 Eldridge Parkway #500
Houston, TX 77077 (281) 752-4427

Cigar Towne also offer offers 40 climate controlled lockers, humidors, lighters and cutters of all shapes and sizes.   

Cigar Towne offers more than just premium cigars and accessories.  The store offers a great experience and a great atmosphere.  It is a cigar aficionado’s dream from the oversized leather chairs to a full-size flat screen. You are immersed in a cigar lover’s dream. It does not matter if you are a beginner in the world of cigar culture or have a more refined palate you will enjoy the experience. At Cigar Towne sit, relax and rewind unencumbered by time. Turn the cell phone off and dance in the pleasure of a fine cigar.

As a woman I found the following article by a Psychiatrist a bit alluring. He resurrected the Freudian icon and gives it a new twist,

“The good cigar experience is most sensual; the beauty of the well-made cigar appeals to the eye, the firm construction to the touch and the fragrance (one of the most masculine of aromas) to the sense of smell. And a good cigar can appeal to taste as much as a vintage wine.”  (1994 Cigar Aficionado Opinion: A Psychiatrist’s Prescription by Charles Carluccio.)

Sigmund Freud said two things worth while, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and the second if you do not pay you do not get better.” I do not know about number two but at the Cigar Towne a cigar is never just a cigar.

Cigar Towne  hosts monthly events featuring popular and boutique brands of cigars.  The next event will be January 13th, 2011 featuring La Flor Dominicana cigars.

If you are considering a move to the Houston Energy Corridor or West Houston contact local Real Estate area expert Connie Vallone -First Market Realty at or 713 249 4177.

or visit

Where can I find a good Mexican Grill in Houston’s Energy Corridor ?

In Local Business, Restaurants & Shops, Restaurants & Shops on July 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm


Pablano’s Mexican Grill This is a great neighborhood restaurant located in the heart Houston’s Energy Corridor. For more information and events visit HoustonEnergyCorridor. It is located at 1250 Eldridge #100, Houston Texas 77077 Pablano’s offers fresh mexican food prepared when you order. Friendly fast service. Poblano’s is not a chain it is privately owned and operated and you will find the owners there everyday.

“At Poblano´s, the Motto is “fresh and quality food at reasonable prices” and if we do not have any item on the menu that you are looking for, we will gladly prepare it for you.” This is absolutely true! I like my fish tacos in a hard crunchy shell even though it is not on the menu they come to me exactly the way I like them! And for anyone else out there that is a fish taco connoiesseur these guys do them right – fresh and tasty!

Not only do they offer great food and a full bar they also have lot’s of great entertainment including live music and big screen TV’s with sporting events. During the summer you can sit on the patio and enjoy good food and a cool drink. Pablona’s offers a full bar and they know how to make a good margarita which is in my opinion very important to a good mexican restaurant.

Fridays – Live Music: Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Latin Jazz

Saturdays Live DJ

Happy Hours everyday 3pm – 7pm

They also have a Giant screen pay per view for major sporting events.

At Poblanos you will find the feel of Mexico with our authentic recipes that will leave your experience breathless…
Pablanos Menu

For more information about West Houston’s Energy Corridor visit

Connie Vallone -I live in the heart of the Houstonn Energy Corridor. If you like more information about the area email

or call me at 713 249 4177.

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Where can you find a great cup of coffee in Houston’s Energy Corridor?

In Local Business, Restaurants & Shops on June 2, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Where can you find great cup of coffee  in Houston’s Energy Corridor?

Beans Café is a new coffee shop in the Houston’s Energy Corridor located on Eldridge between Memorial Drive and Briar Forest near Parkway Villages, Briar hills, Lakes of Parkway subdivisions.   The new owner Celia Moore took over “It’s a Grind” coffee shop a couple of weeks ago.   Celia Moore and her daughter Colleen Moore are really bringing back the neighborly feeling the little coffee shop offered in the past.  

The little coffee shop went through and tough period when the first owner sold it but now it’s back on track.  Serving up excellent coffee and a friendly neighborly atmosphere to sip and snack. Throughout everyday you can find the regulars meeting up with friends and many regulars that call this their office away from the office.     

Besides great coffee Beans also serves light breakfast and lunch fare. Breakfast includes bagels, toast, fresh fruit and oatmeal.  For lunch they offer turkey & ham sandwiches, wraps and salads.  Simple good food you can count on every day.  Of course the coffee is why you come  and Celia understands good coffee is essential her supplier is Katz Coffee

If you’re in hurry but you need that cup of java call ahead and Celia will have it ready when you get there!  Great location, great coffee, friendly feelings Bean’s Café will be a local spot to stop in Houston’s Energy Corridor for years to come.  Beans Café 1127 Eldridge Parkway, Houston, Tx 77077   281 920 9620

To learn more about Houston’s Energy Corridor contact

Connie Vallone  Broker Associate Keller Williams Realty

West Houston Real Estate Agent.  713 249 4177 or  or