Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why rent when you can buy? Read this! It's great information.

Good morning everyone!

Christina Austin here with Team Texas to give you some valuable information regarding whether buying or renting is the best options for you. We are committed to being there for you regardless, whether it is buying, renting or even renting an apartment. We can do it all!

If you have tried to rent a home in the last 6 months in Houston you know it is a VERY competitive market. There are way more people trying to rent than there are homes available to rent. Often times, the landlord has the upper hand with multiple applications coming in at one time. One little imperfection on your credit, rental or back ground history and there is a chance that your application will be tossed aside for another. In this rental market, we as Realtors must be aggressive and we need your help to do so! If you are serious about getting into a rent home you must be armed with the required documentation, and be ready to apply when a new rental comes on the market that you are interested in because it could very easily be gone tomorrow.

So here comes the real question... Why would you rent when you can buy??? We hear it all the time and the number one excuse it get is "I want to save more money for a down payment/ closing costs."

Did you know that interest rates are at an all time low? Waiting and saving may actually be costing you money in the grand scheme of things.

Let me give you a couple examples:
Lets say tomorrow you decide it is time for you to take the steps necessary to purchase a home. You call your favorite Realtors, which of course is Team Texas, we refer you to a Mortgage Specialist who assists you with getting prequalified. After getting through the application process, they tell you you are prequalified for $180,000 with a fixed interest rate of 3.8% over the course of 30 years. We find you the absolute perfect house for $150,000. Your monthly payment would be around $1,220. This isn't an exact number seeing how there are a lot of variables that can change the monthly payment such as your down payment, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance and tax rates... but that is a whole other blog. The mortgage calculator I used to get this number can be found here

Now lets say you decide to wait one year from now:
Everything stays the same except the interest rate goes up to 4.8%. We find you a home that cost $150,000. Similar to the one above. However, this time you monthly payment will be $1,310. A difference of $90 a month. Doesn't seem like much but over the course of 30 years there is a huge difference. Over the course of your 30 year loan in the first scenario you would pay $423,896.97. If interest rates go up just 1% in the next year you will pay $456,444.29. That is a difference of 32,547.32. 

How much are you saving in a month? Is it enough to justify waiting? Just a little food for thought. I can't predict the future but they can't stay low forever... and can't get much lower. 

This graph to the right shows how interest rates have changed in the last century. Can you imagine buying a home in the 80's when they were 18%? We are pretty fortunate with our current market.

Enough about interest rates... there are other advantages to owning your own home. For instance, your mortgage interest and property taxes are tax deductible. In addition to that, your home is an investment. You pay towards your mortgage and gain equity for yourself INSTEAD of your landlord.

I know some of you may be saying "Well, that's great and all, but I don't have ANY money for a down payment or closing costs." I am here to tell you that there are loan programs out there to help people just like you. Including the DAP (down payment assistance program), Bond 77, and USDA financing. There are certain screening criteria such as income and the location, but it could be an option for you.

Why let the opportunity pass you by without even trying??? Give us a call! We can help guide you through the process making the whole experience as easy as possible. 

~Christina Austin
Member of Team Texas
P.S - We LOVE referrals! If you know of anyone needing Real Estate assistance we would love to help.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The History of April Fools

Hey guys!

Team Texas here again! This time with a little fun on April fools! I am sure all of us have had an April fools joke or two played on us in our time but does anyone know where the tradition began?
April Fool's Day

History of April Fools

The holiday has come a long ways since it began in 1582. 430 years later the holiday is still going strong.

Top 100 Pranks of All Time

My all time fave was the The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. Apparently in 1957 the British thought it would be funny to broadcast a news segment on growing your own spaghetti. The audience heard Richard Dimbleby, the show's highly respected anchor, discussing the details of the spaghetti crop as they watched video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The segment concluded with "For those who love this dish, there's nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti." How funny is it that people believed they could actually grow spaghetti???

My 2nd favorite was "Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity." The power of suggestion is so high that one lady even reported her and her friends floating around on chairs around the room. This happened in 1976 but I honestly could see the media having the ability to trick people with this one again. 

We would love to hear stories from all of you about your funniest April fools jokes so please comment below!

No matter where you happen to be in the world on April 1, don't be surprised if April fools fall playfully upon you.

Thanks for stopping by! We hope to see you back soon!

Member of Team Texas with
RE/MAX Realty Center

If you know anyone that can benefit from the type of customer service that I provide, please pass my name along.
My business is based on referrals from my friends, family and clients.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

Howdy ya'll! Team Texas here to talk about Houston's one and only Rodeo.

Since 1931 Houston has been taken away by the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. 26,000 volunteers contribute their time, resources and talent as part of the world's largest livestock exhibition world's richest regular-season rodeo, and the Southwest's premier entertainment event. Last year alone over 2 million people attended and it will continue to grow steadily in future years.

The Rodeo is a fun time for all. Including live music, carnival rides, the delicious bbq cook off, and of course how it all began, the livestock show. The rodeo is sure to please! 

Though the Rodeo is a lot of fun, it has contributed many things to our community that shouldn't be over looked. Did you know that since the Rodeo began it has comitted over $283 million dollars to scholarships, research, endowments, calf scramble participants, junior show exhibitors, School Art participants, and other educational and youth programs? Of that total, the Show has committed more than $165 million in direct educational program support, since the first scholarship was awarded in 1957. That's a lot of money!

Think you may want to check out what all the hype is about? Click here to see the schedule for 2012. 

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog on the Rodeo! If you would like to ready more on the Rodeo click here.

We hope to see ya there sometime! 

If you know anyone that can benefit from the type of customer service that I provide, please pass my name along.
My business is based on referrals from my friends, family and clients.

Member of Team Texas with

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Loan Application Checklist

The home buying process can be very confusing, therefore, it is tremendously important that you get a Realtor to represent you. After finding the perfect Realtor for you (hint hint Team Texas. lol) the next step is to contact a mortgage lender and get prequalified. We can refer you to some great lenders that are as dedicated as us to getting the deal closed and you in the home you have always dreamed of. Once we find you that perfect place to get the loan process started your lender will require the following list of documents.

                 Loan Application Checklist


- Picture ID with social security number of borrower and co-borrowers.

- Payment to cover the application fee.

- Name and complete address of all landlords for the past two years.


-Human Resources contact and telephone number for each borrower.

- Employment history for the past two years including names, addresses, phone numbers, and length of time with company.

- Copies of your most recent pay stubs and W-2 forms (past two years).

- Verification of other income (social security, child support, retirement).

- If self-employed, you need copies of the past two years signed tax returns including all schedules, and a signed profit and loss statement of the current year. Retirees need tax returns for the past two years.

- If you have rental property income, bring a copy of all lease agreements.


- Copies of all bank and credit union statements for the past three months.

- Copies of all stock/bond certificates and/or the past three statements from all investment and retirement accounts.

- Prepare a list of household items and their values.

- Copies of title documents for all automobiles, boats, motorcycles, etc.

- Face amount, monthly premiums and cash values of all life insurance policies. (Cash value may be used for closing costs or down payments. You need documentation from the carrier indicating cash value).


- Credit cards (account numbers, current balances, and monthly payments).

- Installment loans (car, student, etc.). Same details as for credit cards.

- Mortgage loans (property address, lender with address, account numbers, monthly payment and balance owed on all properties presently owned or sold within the last two years). Bring proof of sale of properties sold.

- Childcare expense/support (name, address, phone number).


- Bankruptcy – bring discharge and schedule of creditors.

- Adverse credit – bring letters of explanation.

- Divorce – bring Divorce Decrees, property settlements, quit claim deeds, modifications, etc. for all divorces by yourself or your spouse.

- VA only – bring Form DD214 and Certificate of Eligibility.

- Retirees – bring retirement and/or Social Security Award Letter

Already being prepared with this information will speed up the process so you don't have to scramble last minute, just prolonging your closing date. We want to be here for you and help guide you through the process and hope that this gives you an idea of what you may need to get going with smooth confidence. Contact us... we promise you will be in good hands!

More information on the home buying process in our future so come back soon!

Member of Team Texas with

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cypress Texas, Still a Hometown Feel

Cypress Texas...Still a Hometown feel…..

Yes I grew up here….yes I came back and yes…I raised my family in Cypress. I guess I’m here to stay. Grew up in Ravensway...the neighborhood named after General Sam Houston (the Raven).  In fact I recently noted a new cemetery being developed off Cypress North Houston near Telge…just blocks from CyFair High…so now my running joke is that now I’ll probably never leave!!!

 It’s definitely not the Cypress of 1978, back when Huffmeisters Drive In was the place to hang out on Friday nights and the lake at Timberlake was party central until the wooded dead end streets of Enchanted Valley Estates opened up and gave way to nightly bonfires!   That’s all I’ll say about that.

Tin Hall was probably one of the biggest entertainment venues back in my time. Friday and Saturday night BYOB dances helped me learn the art of the Texas Two Step.  They recently started having monthly dances….be sure to check it out and support a local icon.  I know there's a free event there on Sunday Feb 12...with Kevin Black band and BBQ...then a dance on Saturday March 31 with the Lonely Road Band...who will knock your socks off with contemporary country tunes! Lonely Road Band also frequents the Texas Tavern on Cypress North Houston in case you're in the mood for great country music.

My kids helped me with a CyFair High School reunion at Tin Hall a few years ago and were amazed at how many streets showed up as the last name of past graduates….Kluges, Telges, Huffmeisters, Juergens, Mueschke, Borgstedt, and many more. 
If you’re new to Cypress or thinking of moving here, I’d definitely give this place kudos.  CyFair ISD is one of the highest rated school districts in the state. Industry is big, with access to HP, Cameron, Siemens, and many other major industrial corporations.  We’ve still got some of the hometown feel.

Did you grow up here? Do you have a memory you'd like to share? Bring it on....its fun to see what others remember and think about.  See you at Tin Hall!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fun facts about Cypress, TX

A few interesting facts about Cypress, TX

Did you know that Tin Hall is one of the oldest continually operating dance halls in Texas, it's been in operation since 1889.
How many of your great great grandparents hung out there?

General Sam Houston and his Texas Army camped in the area on March 22, 1836 on the way to Harrisburg, which is now in East Houston, just days before the Battle of San Jacinto. Actually, the neighborhood, Ravensway got it's name from General Sam Houston as that is the area where they camped and he was known as The Raven.
Now you want to go camp out in Ravensway, don't you?

Cypress-Fairbanks comes from when the Cypress and Fairbanks volunteer fire departments joined together to form the Cypress-Fairbanks Volunteer Fire Department. That was later shortened to Cy-Fair.
Good to know!

Cypress was considered mostly rural until the 1980's when developers began several master-planned communities.
We've come a long way baby!

Did you know that the Northwest Forest Conference Center has a life size replica of The Alamo?
Field trip anyone?

Last buy not least did you know that there will be a Wine Fair on April 28, 2012
Umm...we'll see you there.

Debbie Jackson

Member of Team Texas at RE/MAX Realty Center

Black Tie Service
Blue Jean Friendly

Thursday, February 2, 2012

First Time Home Buyer Tips

Tips for First Time Home Buyers in and around the Houston area.

Buyers who are planning the purchase of their first home continue to have a wealth of opportunities in today’s marketplace. In and around the Houston area including Cypress, Tomball, Spring and The Woodlands there are some great opportunities to get into your new home. We talked about the DAP program in a previous blog. This is a great way to get a little financial help and make your dream of home ownership come true. Interest rates are still at record lows. The cost to rent a home or apartment continues to go up as occupancy rates climb.  
Here are a few smart steps to save you time and money:

Start by shoring up your credit. Make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting contact a mortgage lender and have them look over your credit report. They will be able to let you know if you need to take care of any unwanted marks on your report.
In an effort to get the best credit score possible you should keep your credit cards with a balance of no more than 10% of the cards limit. You should also have at least two current revolving accounts (credit cards) and one installment account (car payments or major purchases with equal monthly payments).

Get professional help. It’s best to get a Realtor involved as early as possible. A Realtor will offer you professional advice and assist with the entire process. TEAM TEXAS feels that it’s never too early to contact a Realtor. If you’ve started looking at homes online, it’s time to get help. You definitely want to have a Buyers Representative. This shouldn’t cost you anything. The agent’s commission is typically paid by the seller. Keep in mind that if you are calling the agent that has the home listed to get information about the home…this agent already represents the seller and they are keeping the sellers best interest in mind. A buyer’s agent will have your best interest in mind and that’s what you need, someone who is looking at for YOU.
Even if you are considering buying a new construction home, it will benefit you to have a Realtor representing you. Remember the sales rep at the model home works for the builder. See what our clients have to say about us here.

Hire a home inspector. Armed with a home inspection report, you’ll be able to move into your new home with confidence—or have your Realtor negotiate the necessary repairs for you. You definitely don’t want your dream home to become a nightmare. Make sure that any issues are addressed quickly.

Bonus tip: Be patient – buying a home is one of the largest purchases most people will make in their lifetime. The key to avoiding buyer’s remorse is to be completely comfortable before signing on the dotted line.

Feel free to call anytime with questions 281-213-9296

Make it a great day!

Debbie Jackson

Member of Team Texas
with RE/MAX Realty Center - Cypress