connie vallone

Posts Tagged ‘West Houston’

How to Find a House Today

In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Investment Real Estate, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home, West Houston on June 22, 2017 at 7:12 pm

This year may be the most difficult in a decade to buy a home, especially for a first-time homebuyer. Prices are soaring in most markets, and for affordable starter homes, the price is rising faster than larger homes.* Supplies are suffering from a three-year inventory drought that also is hitting starter homes hardest. The number of starter and trade-up homes fell 8.7 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively, during the past year, while the inventory of premium homes has fallen by just 1.7 percent, according to Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s chief economist.*

There’s little leeway for mistakes in today’s marketplace. Discipline is essential, and the learning curve is stepped. Buying a home is serious business, and in most markets today, it is the most difficult step in the process for move-up buyers, as well as first-timers.

Here are five tips on house-hunting in today’s marketplace that will put you ahead of the competition and may spell the difference between success and failure.

Hire a specialist. If you had a serious medical condition, you would seek advice and treatment from a medical specialist. Real estate is also a large and complex field. Many brokers and agents specialize in delivering better service to their clients and customers. If you’re serious about finding a home today, hire a REALTOR® who specializes in serving buyers. Look for one with the designation ABR after their name. It stands for Accredited Buyer’s Representative and means that they are REALTORS® who have received specialized training from the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) and have experience representing buyers. Even if you don’t hire a specialist, you should hire a REALTOR®. Not all agents are REALTORS®; REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) who are licensed and abide by NAR’s Code of Ethics. Hiring a REALTOR® with an ABR designation won’t cost you anything, and a professional’s assistance could make all the difference. Above all, don’t try to go it alone today. Last year nearly 90 percent of successful buyers used an agent.**

Don’t start your search until you are ready. It’s a good idea to spend some time online surfing real estate sites and learning about real estate and checking out what’s available; however, you aren’t a serious buyer until you have done all you can to improve your credit, raised the money you need for a down payment, been pre-approved for a mortgage from at least one lender and hired an agent

Make a budget and stick to it. The amount for which your lender pre-approves you is not your budget. Your pre-approved amount is conditional and can change when you apply for a mortgage. Moreover, it does not include many of the other costs of homeownership, like taxes, home insurance and maintenance. Sit down with your agent, make your budget and stick to it. As a rule of thumb, economists recommend you spend no more than 30 percent of your gross income on housing costs. Make a pledge to yourself to stick to your budget. There are few heartaches worse than falling in love with a house you can’t afford or stretching yourself so thin that you are “house poor” for years to come.

House hunt every day. Looking for a house in today’s market is like having a second job. Financially, finding the right home may be even more important to you than a second job. The outcome of your search will determine where you live and how much you spend on housing for years to come. Be proactive with your agent to learn as much as you can about the home-buying process and conditions in your market. Spend time every day reviewing listings and learning about neighborhoods. Drive the neighborhoods in which you are interested and go to open houses to get a feel for the market and to meet listing agents who may have a home that meets your criteria. Check out “coming soon” listings to get a head start on the competition.

Use a selection of sites. Most buyers start their house search on one of the major national real estate sites like®, Zillow or These sites have great features, research and how-to material. As you get more serious about finding a house, increase your selection of sites to include your local multiple listing services, if yours has a consumer site with listings (not all do). Also, bookmark several of the leading local brokerages in your market. Listings may appear earlier on a local brokerage site than a national site, and often updated information like contracts or price changes are posted first on the site of the listing broker who represents the property. Sign up for email updates of listings that fit your criteria.

Be flexible. You may find that you cannot afford to live where you would like, or you can’t afford the size or amenities you want. If those are deal-breakers for you, you may not be ready to buy in your market today—or you might revisit your plans and decide to live a little farther out from the city, buying an older house that you can improve over time. Starting out in a condo might be an acceptable alternative. Chances are prices in your market are not going to decline, and by buying now, you will begin to accumulate equity. Though mortgage rates have risen over the past year, they are still very reasonable by historical standards, which means that the odds are they will continue to rise, rather than fall, in the future. Expand the geography and price ranges on the websites you are using and see what you find.

Sweeten your offer. When you find a house on which you want to make an offer, ask your agent for a comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine its value. Don’t rely on the estimated values provided by valuation tools on real estate sites. Knowing the value is important not just for deciding how much to offer, but also to anticipate how much the house will appraise for. CMAs are based on recent sales of comparable properties, similar to appraisals. Chances are you will be competing with other buyers, including investors who pay all cash. Sellers are not only looking for the best price; they also want an offer that will close on time from a buyer whose financing won’t fall through. Consider sweetening your offer by increasing your down payment and getting more than one pre-approval. Be flexible on considerations like renting back if the owner is a move-up buyer who may need time to find a new home. If you are a move-up buyer, sell your current home before you buy a new one. Most sellers react negatively to offers that are contingent upon a buyer first selling his current home.

Don’t lose your deal. About 23 percent of contracts on homes today have a delayed settlement, and 7 percent of contracts fail to close and are terminated. The leading causes for delayed settlements are issues related to obtaining financing and appraisal issues. Among contracts that were terminated, 25 percent faced issues related to home inspections, and 20 percent had issues related to the buyer’s ability to obtain financing.*** One way to improve your odds for financing is to get more than one pre-approval so that you are ready to talk to a second lender if your first application fails. Most appraisal issues result from appraisals that come in lower than the contract price and buyers must come up with more cash. One way to protect against a low appraisal is to know the value of the house before you make an offer and make a larger down payment than you have to.

Persistence pays off. Don’t despair if a seller selects another offer over yours. Learn from your experiences. A better home may come on the market tomorrow. Last year buyers searched for an average of 10 weeks and looked at a median of 10 homes**, but that’s just a national average for all buyers. If you are a first-time buyer in a hot market, expect your hunt to take longer. Don’t quit when the weather turns cold. Fall and winter can be good times to find a home. There are fewer listings than in the spring or summer, but there’s also less competition, and sellers are usually more motivated.

* McLaughlin, Ralph. (2017, May 22) Don’t Call It a Comeback: How Rising Home Values May Be Stifling Inventory. Retrieved from

** 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. National Association of REALTORS®.

*** REALTORS® Confidence Index: Report on March 2017 Survey. National Association of REALTORS®. Retrieved from

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

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


NEW LISTING! 1035 Orchard Hill Street, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 99732847

In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home, Terry Hershey Park on April 12, 2017 at 6:27 pm

NEW LISTING! 1035 Orchard Hill Street, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 99732847

Beautiful and tastefully updated home on quiet cul-de-sac. Impressive two-story foyer leads to large paneled study, dining area and nice big family room with views to your shady backyard retreat. Spacious updated kitchen and breakfast area. Master retreat downstairs fully remodeled with gorgeous walk in shower. Plus three more bedrooms upstairs. Roof, interior paint, all bathrooms updated, new carpet, new insulation, new lighting, garage door keypad all 2016, 5 Ton Air Conditioner downstairs replaced in 2015. Too many updates to list see online brochure.

HAR Link:

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

NEW LISTING! 11415 Olympia Drive, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 21861486

In Buying a Home, Home Upgrades, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home on September 9, 2016 at 6:27 pm

NEW LISTING! 11415 Olympia Drive, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 21861486

11415 Olympia DriveBeautiful home with recent updates. Huge family room with new wood floors, a fireplace and plantation shutter opens to kitchen with granite countertops and Stainless Steel double oven. Second living area could be study, plus dining area and spacious Master Suite are all down stairs. Nice big backyard with plenty of room to relax and play. All new carpet, freshly painted interior and exterior. Recent Air Conditioner and electric panel. Move in ready and waiting for new owner’s personal touches. Subdivision offers pool, clubhouse and tennis courts.

HAR Link:

If you are looking for Classic Real Estate Services from concept to closing, please contact Connie Vallone by phone (713) 249-4177, email or visit my website at or .

Tips for when It’s Time to Move – Your Parents!

In Home Upgrades, Houston Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home, West Houston on May 26, 2015 at 5:54 pm

It’s one thing to try to move yourself – but as our national senior population continues to expand, many more of you will play a role in planning or moving mom and dad.

One Dallas Real Estate company pitched in to help by partnering with local experts at to host a seminar called “Moving Mom and Dad: 5 Common Mistakes Adult Children of Aging Parents Make and How to Avoid Them.”

Amy Goyer, writing for AARP, described one particular challenge of that decision for her own parents:

“During the transition, it was clear that Mom wasn’t as excited about The Big Move as Dad was. She loved her home and felt moving would be a huge loss. She acknowledged that Dad had most of the responsibility for keeping up the house, but her heart still had a hard time letting go. Sensitivity to her viewpoint was essential; no one wants to be “told” she has to move. We allowed her time to get used to the idea, and that made a big difference emotionally.”

Goyer also said she had some success using an assisted-living locator service, which assessed our needs and discussed housing options.

If moving a parent or parents INTO your home, has a practical 10-step guide that could be very helpful. Among its points of advice is:

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Is there a bathroom available on the floor the older adult is on?
  • Is the bathroom big enough to handle a wheelchair or walker if necessary? For a wheelchair, the doorway needs to be at least 32 inches wide, and preferably 36 inches.
  • Will one of your children have to give up a bedroom? Could a child share his or her bedroom with the older adult?
  • If there’s no extra bedroom, can you convert a living room or den into a bedroom? Can you convert an attic or basement into a bedroom for you or a child and have your parent or relative move into an existing bedroom?
  • Will everyone have a level of privacy they’re comfortable with?

What renovations will be necessary to make your home older-adult-friendly, and how will you pay for it? and

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

New Visa Changes Expected to Help Chinese Buy in U.S. Real Estate

In Buying a Home, Chinese Investors, Chinese Visa, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, International Real Estate, Investment Real Estate, Real Estate Investment, West Houston on January 27, 2015 at 9:56 pm

New Visa Changes Expected to Help Chinese Buy U.S. Real Estate
International investment in U.S. real estate could soar to new heights in 2015, thanks to the reciprocal U.S./China visa agreement that will issue five-year, multiple-entry visas to students and 10-year, multiple-entry visas to business travelers and tourists. The policy changes went into effect Nov. 12.

Among other effects, the new visa agreement mitigates challenges for those investing in property abroad—namely, real estate purchased by Chinese parents for children studying in the U.S. For students participating in four-year degree programs, the five-year extension presents a welcome change.

“Chinese individuals on the fence about investing in the U.S. are encouraged by the new visas,” says Andrew Taylor, co-CEO and co-founder of, a global real estate information platform serving the world’s Chinese communities. “They make a big headache go away.”

Barring outside factors, Taylor predicts at least a 15 percent increase in Chinese investment in 2015. According to the NAR 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, China and Canada have been the fastest growing sources of international clients. Transactions involving Chinese buyers account for 12 percent of total reported international transactions, with many opting for all-cash purchases.

“Mainland Chinese buyers have the highest average price range and pay in cash about 70 percent of the time,” Taylor says. Juwai users report an average budget of $3 million and a median property purchase price of $425,000—well above the overall U.S. median of $199,500. Top areas for real estate investment include New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit and Houston.

For real estate practitioners, the new visa policy imparts an opportunity to carve out a global niche. Chinese clients, like any other client, seek an agent that maintains high standards of professionalism.

“International buyers have an exceptionally strong bond to their agent,” notes David Lauster, real estate specialist, U.S. State Department, in the Sept. 2014 issue of Real Estate magazine. “They display an admirable and long-lasted appreciation for the assistance and knowledge that agent brings to the transaction.”

That assistance and knowledge trumps all – including specialized skill sets. Fluency in a second language, for example, is not necessarily required.

“One of the biggest questions I get is, ‘Do I have to learn Mandarin?’ The answer is no,” Taylor says. “Just do your job well. That’s enough.”

“No special qualifications are needed,” says Noah Seidenberg, broker associate with Coldwell Banker Evanston in Evanston, Ill. Evanston is home to one of Northwestern University’s campuses, which collectively house over 5,000 international students, faculty, researchers, visiting scholars and staff from more than 110 countries. Seidenberg receives inquiries from foreign buyers on a regular basis, particularly during peak enrollment periods at the university.

“The process legally is often not the same in the U.S. as it is when purchasing property and obtaining title in their native country, so there is a period of explanation, walking the person through the steps, much like a first-time buyer,” Seidenberg adds.

With the policy changes propelling an already emerging segment, Taylor recommends taking advantage of the boost with a two-fold approach:

  • Brand services on a global level.
    Make it known that you market listings in China. “Home sellers read the news, and they want the best price. Show them you’re best equipped to get it for them because you are marketing to their largest, biggest spending and fastest growing group of overseas buyers.”
  • Prioritize international marketing.
    Initiate a dialogue by reaching out to Chinese buyers. “Make international marketing a basic part of your business that you attend to every day or week, just like you do with cold calls, mail-outs or community marketing.”

Given the existing correlation between the number of Chinese students educated in American schools and Chinese investment in U.S. real estate, the student visa extension may have a much more immediate impact on the U.S. housing market than the business traveler and tourist visa changes. By taking these steps, U.S. real estate professionals will lay the foundation for long, productive relationships with international buyers.

“Every [Chinese] family has its own situation,” Taylor explains, “but underlying all of them is a faith in the U.S. real estate market and a desire to own their part of it.”

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

Connie Vallone  – Broker Associate First Market Realty

713 249 4177

Echo Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra February 2015 Concert

In Energy corridor music groups, Houston Energy Corridor, Local Business, Local Events, Orchestra, Parks & Recreation on January 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Heart and Soul:
An intimate performance by ECHO patio troubadours

Heart & Soul Echo Orchestra The Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra

Saturday, February 14, 2015
Time: 11:00am
Location: Green Planet Sanctuary
13424 – B Briar Forest Dr., Houston, TX 77077
10:00am – Coffee and Pastries Social

Purchase Tickets
echologowww.houstonenergycorridorhomes. com


In Energy corridor music groups, Fall Festivals in Houston, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Parks, Local Business, Local Events, Local events, Parks & Recreation, Parks in West Houston, Terry Hershey Park, West Houston on September 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Briarhills Market Festival in Houston's Energy Corridor

Briarhills Market Festival in Houston’s Energy Corridor

BriarHills  inaugural community event invites the Energy Corridor residents to come and join the local ambiance at our own Briarhills Park.
The festival features a variety of market stalls offering craft, flea and local business and live music including EHCO Orchestra quartet, children’s moonwalk, face painting and more. Bring your picnic blanket to enjoy your choice of food vendors.
‘Meet and Mingle’ and don’t forget if you are a local ride your bike (less pollution and traffic congestion) Bike Barn will be on board for cyclist support.



Energy Corridor Orchestra Premiers Fall 2014

In Eldridge Parkway, Energy corridor music groups, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Local Business, Local Events, music, orchestra west houston, Parkway Villages, West Houston on April 25, 2014 at 6:35 pm


“ECHO is premiering Fall of 2014.

Echo Energy Corridor Orchestra

Echo Energy Corridor Orchestra

If you play an orchestral instrument, you live or work in the Energy Corridor area, and you are looking for a community group to play with email us at for more information.”

NEW LISTING! 14115 Briarhills Parkway, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 64153494

In Buying a Home, Employers in West Houston, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Parks & Recreation, Terry Hershey Park, West Houston on June 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

NEW LISTING! 14115 Briarhills Parkway, Houston, TX 77077 – MLS# 64153494

briarhills-parkway-14115-001-SmallBeautiful updated home in Energy Corridor – too many updates to list see upgrade sheet. Hardwoods, tile, granite tops, new fixtures, new hardiplank, gutters, driveway, recent zoned Air Conditioner and heater, double pane french doors in dining area and master retreat lead to nice shady covered patio. Huge master retreat with Brazilian wood floors.  Master bathroom totally remodeled with huge shower and jetted tub. Gameroom upstairs looks over to large family room with wet bar that leads to dining area and kitchen. Nice and bright with tons of windows and skylights.

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


New Construction in Houston Energy Corridor

In Eldridge Parkway, Employers in West Houston, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Kickerillo, Local Business, New Construction, West Houston on May 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm

The Parkway by Kickerillo Companies is the newest community in the Houston Energy Corridor.   Custom home builder Kickerillo started taking lot reservations in February 2013.   The guarded gated subdivision will include townhouses and mixture of 55, 60, 70, 80 and 100 foot lots with green belts,  tennis courts and a splash pool.   Located off Eldridge between Briarforest and Westheimer the neighborhood borders the south side of Kickerillo’s Lakes of Parkway development.

This exiting new development will offer luxury new construction by one of Houston’s premier home builders in Houston’s Energy Corridor one of Houston’s hottest real estate markets.

If you are looking to buy a home in Houston’s Energy Corridor I am a local expert living and working in the area more than 15 years. I can help you purchase new or existing construction.

Connie Vallone First Market Realty 713 249 4177  or