Author Archives: Victoria Upton

Fall is the Best Time for Buyers!

With the cooling weather comes a cooling real estate market. Fall (and eventually winter) is a slow season, but that makes it the best time to buy a new home thanks to several factors.

Sale Prices Drop

According to RealtyTrac’s analysis of more than 32 million home sales over 15 years, most people who buy a home in fall (primarily in October) pay 2.6 percent below the market value. This is a result of the slow real estate market and less competition. Sellers are usually worn out by this time and want to focus on the holidays, so at this time they are more willing to sell at a lower asking rate. Buyers also have less competition from other bids since most families are already settled in their new homes before school.

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Why to Buy a New Construction

Recently, more and more buyers have been gravitating towards new constructions rather than pre-existing homes. But what are the benefits of a new construction?

Customization

If you’re buying a new construction early on, you’ll have the benefit of choosing exactly what you want in your new home. You can choose the color, design, location, and placement of certain rooms to your heart’s content. Just note that your choices can be limited but it’s better than having no choice at all.

A new construction by Refined Custom Builders.

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Odd Factors that Increase Your Home Value

Curb appeal and location are some common factors that increase your home value. But what about the uncommon factors? Here are a couple of odd things that bump up your home’s value.

How Close you are to National-Chain Coffee Shops

If your home is a quarter mile away from a Starbucks, expect the value of your home to increase by 96%. It also works for Dunkin’ Donuts too since it that same study, homes that were a quarter mile away had an 80% value increase.

Blue Kitchens and/or Blue Bathrooms

Pops of blue can go a long way in your kitchen or bathroom. Homes with blue kitchens were sold for $1,809 premium while homes with blue bathrooms were sold for $5,440 premium.

Trendy Features

Stay on trend! Farmhouse sinks and barn doors are in right now and homes that include either feature sell faster and for more (8% to 13.5% more and 57 days faster).

City Proximity

There has been a 54% increase in the value of urban homes the past couple of years. Compared to suburban homes, urban homes are worth up to 35% more.

Featured Listing: 5639 Pine Forest Road

About the House

Today’s featured listing is 5639 Pine Forest Road! This fabulous home is 9,505 square feet of pure luxury with 7 beds, 7 full baths and 1 half bath! Inside, we have beautiful high ceilings throughout the home, a gorgeous wine room, game room, media room, and a fantastic master suite with huge his and her closets. Outdoors includes a custom pool with a cocktail table, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, and fountains. This home is perfect for entertaining guests! Just off of Woodway Drive, the Pine Forest property is a little way out of the hustle and bustle of the 610 Loop.

Around the Community

Pine Forest is located closer to Uptown Houston, which gives you access to an assortment of shopping, amenities, and entertainment! 10 to 15 minutes away are three different golf courses (Houston Country Club, River Oaks Country Club, and Memorial Park Golf Course & Driving Range) as well as the spacious Memorial Park and the luxurious Houstonian Hotel, Club, & Spa. 5 to 10 minutes away is Westheimer Road, home to an assortment of fine dining and cuisine. And 10 to 15 minutes away are numerous shopping centers like The Galleria, Uptown Park, Highland Village, and the River Oaks District.

For public schools, this property is located in Houston ISD so your child will be zoned to Briargrove Elementary, Tanglewood Middle School, and Wisdom High School. Your selection for private schools are wider as you are 7 minutes away from Second Baptist School (Pre-K to 12th Grade), 10 minutes from Primrose School at the Galleria (infants to Kindergarten), and 12 minutes away from River Oaks Baptist School (age 2 to 8th Grade).

For More Info

Contact Victoria Upton via email at victoria@uptongray.com or via phone at 281.497.4729 to schedule your tour today!

5 Reasons to Hire a Home Stager

“What is a home stager?” Like interior designers, home stagers decorate a room or home using a variety of tools including color, furniture, and even lighting. However, the main difference is WHO they’re decorating for. Interior designers decorate to make you, the client, happy in your space. Home stagers decorate not with the home owner’s preferences in mind but with what will SELL. Home stagers stage the home in a way that is most appealing to a mass market (hence the name). But now we ask: “Why should I hire a home stager?” Home stagers stage the home in a way that is most appealing to a mass market (hence the name). The benefits they bring may surprise you!

Increases Value of Home & Decreases Days on Market

According to the National Association of Realtors, 32% of homes were sold for 1% to 5% higher value when staged while 16% of homes were sold for 6% to 10% higher value when staged. At most, Realtors saw up to a 20% value increase when a home was staged. Days on market also have been reported to decrease when staged.

On the buyer’s side, 81% of buyers have reported they have an easier time visualizing themselves in a home when it is staged, 46% of sellers are willing to walk through when they see a staged home online and 26% of sellers are willing to overlook faults in a home if it is well staged.

Experienced Artists

In a way, home stagers are artists. They decorate a home to bring out its fullest selling potential. Experienced stagers will not only know what’s trending in the interior design world but what is selling in a real estate market. The experience they bring to the table won’t have you second-guessing which art piece to put on which wall.

Impartial Third-Party

Home stagers have one job: to sell a home. They aren’t emotionally attached to a space, so they will bring an impartial eye when inspecting the home for the first time. Furniture pieces you adore might be put aside to bring something in that’s more appealing while décor you dislike might be put front-and-center due to trends. They can also help de-personalize and de-clutter a room, two key tricks that will help in selling a home.

Connections to Other Industries

Home stagers don’t focus on just furniture. They consider lighting, paint, basically every aspect of a room. And fixing those parts requires extra hands. Luckily, experienced home stagers have a network of painters, contractors, and the like to rely on to give your home that extra sellable boost.

No Stress!

Selling a home is already stressful enough but leaving the decorating part to someone else will take a load off the seller’s shoulders. It also gives the seller piece of mind that there is a team working hard to make their home as profitable as possible.

Featured Listing: 4639 Waring St.

About the House

Today’s featured listing is 4639 Waring St., located inside the 610 loop near US 59. This beautiful modern home is a new construction from Refined Custom Builders with about 5,607 square feet of space. There are four bedrooms, five bathrooms, and 1 half bath with additional features such as high ceilings, large walk-in closets, outdoor kitchen, 3 car tandem garage, and room for a pool!

Around the Community

The Waring property is in the Afton Oaks subdivision and is minutes away from many shopping districts, most notably the Galleria, River Oaks, and Highland Village. There are also several theaters, parks, and even the River Oaks Country Club just a short drive away.

For schools, you have excellent picks no matter if you decide to go the public or private route. Enrolling your child in a public school will place them in Houston ISD’s School at St George Place (PK – 5th), Lanier Middle School, or Lamar High School, which all have ranked above 6 out of 10 at GreatSchools.org. For private school, your choices include Primrose School at the Galleria (Infant – Kindergarten), River Oaks Baptist School (2 years – 8th), or St. John’s School (K – 12th). All private schools mention were ranked 4 stars and up on Niche.com.

For More Info

Contact Victoria Upton via email at victoria@uptongray.com or via phone at 281.497.4729 to schedule your tour today!

Houston Residential Real Estate July Snap Shot

July has been a good month for the Houston real estate market. Although it did not beat June 2018’s record-number sales, it did beat last July in almost all areas.

A Quick Look

A total of 8,108 single-family homes were sold in July compared to last July’s 7,433, a 9.1 percent increase. Overall, 2018 home sales have risen 3.4 percent so far compared to last year. The median price of single-family homes has jumped to 5.4 percent while the average has increased to 2.4 percent. The luxury home market (homes that are $750,000 and above) has seen an increase in sales by 6.3 percent. However, homes that range from $250,000 to $499,999 left the luxury home market in the dust with a whopping 21 percent increase in sales compared to last July.

The only area that saw a decrease was single-family homes inventory. The inventory dropped from 4.3-months supply last year to 4.2-months supply this year. The average across the U.S. is 4.3-months supply, so Houston’s supply is a little below that. Also, Days on Market (DOM) for single-family homes remain at 48 days on average.

Taken from HAR.com, here are the July sales performances in each housing segment:

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 12.2 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased by 22.2 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased by 9.5 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased by 21.0 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased by 15.1 percent
  • $750,000 and above: increased by 6.3 percent

According to HAR Chair Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, the Houston housing market is “…one of the most vibrant in the U.S.” because of the healthy job market.

Interior Design Trends for Fall 2018

Just like the changing seasons, trends come and go. Check out the latest fall trends down below!

Velvet: Velvet accents like chairs and pillows give your room a luxury feel. It also adds a level of texture, which is a big overarching theme for this fall.

Find it Here: https://amzn.to/2Pl7NX7

Gold: Gold is still going strong this upcoming fall season. Although it’s commonly used as a statement piece, don’t be afraid to use it in bigger pieces like carpets. Or using it more frequently like in our bathroom example.

From: https://bit.ly/2oqi3lK

Jewel Tones: Pops of indigo, fuchsia, emerald green, and dark blue will help revitalize a room. Keep them as accent colors to your couch or table to not overwhelm your room with color.

From: https://bit.ly/2D6UYuT

Textures: Texture is just as important as lighting and color. It adds both visual and tactile elements to a room. Different textures can convey different atmospheres. For example, having fluffy, knitted textures bring out warmth while reflected textures add pop and a modern statement to a room.

From: https://bit.ly/2wu0EwS

Blush: Light pink/blush is a surprisingly great neutral tone! It adds warmth and character to a room and can be paired with both light and dark colors.

From: https://bit.ly/2oorfqP

Oversized Florals: A surprising fall trend, oversized florals are popping up more and more as focal points for rooms. Have it on your wall and decorate your room around it. Or use it on your cushions or bedding as accent pieces.

From: https://bit.ly/2PnDTSl

Mix & Match Styles: More and more, people aren’t sticking to one focused style when decorating. Mix and match chairs, furniture pieces, or styles to make something completely your own.

From: https://bit.ly/2MBU6X4

Black: Black is back and here to stay for fall and winter. Using black in your accessories when decorating a neutral colored room will bring both warmth and texture. Black also looks great with metals. Be sure to keep black in your accessories though so it won’t completely darken your room.

From: https://bit.ly/2C2C8YP

Picking the Right Real Estate Agent

You’ve made your plans and you’re ready to start house hunting. Or you’re looking to sell your home. Either way, you can’t do it alone. It’s time to find a Realtor, but how? Here are a few things to keep in mind when finding the right real estate agent for YOU.

How is their track record? 

Real estate is a commission-based job so unsuccessful agents don’t last very long. Finding someone with enough experience under their belt is the way to go and to be extra sure, check their listings (both new and old). Look at the agent’s previous listings and asked those clients how the agent handled their needs. Then look at the listings the agent has on the market now and how long they’ve been there. You can even check an agent’s awards to figure out their specialty. You want to do as much research on the agent before deciding on an agent.

What is their ratio in buying & selling? 

As you go through the process of buying and/or selling your home, you will see that agents tend to specialize with one process versus the other. If you’re planning to do both buying and selling, picking an agent who shows a balance between the two will make the whole process much easier. That way, you don’t have to keep going back and forth between your selling agent and your buying agent.

How many agents have you checked out?

Don’t be afraid to shop around for agents. Just like buying a house, you don’t want to pick the first one you see. Compare at least three different agents and do your research on all of them. Meet with each one and interview them all before coming to your final decision.

How do you feel about them overall?

In the end, it’s all about you. How do YOU feel about the agent? Do you feel an instant connection or is there some awkwardness between you two? Chemistry is key in the buying/selling process, especially since you’ll be working closely with them for the next few months. Communicating your wants and needs early on will help clear the air of any uncertainties. And sometimes, going with your gut feeling will lead you to the best agent for you.