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Samantha Mitchell's Blog

By Samantha Mitchell | Broker in Austin, TX
  • Tips for Buying New Construction

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Houston  |  July 26, 2010 9:14 PM  |  1,550 views  |  No comments

    Buying a New Construction Home can be a wonderful experience but it can also be a long and bumpy road.  Anyone who has ever purchased a builder home has a story to tell.  If you are considering new construction, here are three types to choose from:

    Spec Homes
    This is your best bet to get a great deal on a new construction home! The builder wants to get rid of the inventory - and the sooner, the better.  The longer that homes sits vacant, the more interest the builder is paying.  You can usually find a deal when looking at specs.  However, depending on the stage of the home, you will probably not be able to customize it with your style.  But if you need to move quickly, this is your best choice.

    Prices for homes are always lower at pre-construction phase of a project. The earlier in the project you buy, the lower the price will be. However, this may not be the best option for you if you need to envision the house before building.  If a model is available, go take a look and see if you like the finish out and floorplan. 

    Builders Close-out
    When a builder completes a development and it is time to move on to the next area, they don't want to sit on unsold units.  Not selling the units is costing the builder time and money! This is also a great opportunity for you to find a deal.  The down side is that the unit is complete, all the color choices have generally been made, options have been chosen, and the flooring has been put down. 


    Samantha Mitchell
    Texas Capital Properties
    832-563-5221 mobile

  • First Time Home Buyer Tips

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Houston  |  June 13, 2010 12:07 PM  |  1,630 views  |  No comments

    Most home searches today begin online.  And why not?  With the wealth of housing information on the internet, it is hard to resist for potential home buyers to begin their search online first before contacting an agent. 

    HAR's website provides one of the best, user-friendly consumer sites out there.  I may be a little biased but it really is a great site for home buyers to look for homes, get great advice, search areas, plus much more!

    A few things to consider BEFORE you begin in your search as a First-Time Home Buyer.  Be sure to talk with a reputable mortgage lender to obtain pre-qualification for a loan.  Not only will that help you establish your price criteria but it will give you peace of mind when you start looking.  When you do place an offer, you will be required to have a pre-qualification letter to submit with the offer.

    Figure out your wants and needs - and which you can eliminate if needed.  You may not find your perfect house the first time around, especially if you have price limitations.  Decide what is most important to you.  Do you really want to be close to your work?  Do you want a family-friendly area?  Do you want a one-story?  Make sure you are clear on what it is you want before you start looking. You'll save yourself a lot of time.

    Choose an agent to help you.  As a first-time home buyer you need guidance.  A real estate agent will work on your behalf and for your best interest.  You need someone to be on your side through the entire process walking you through every step of the home buying process.  An agent will provide valuable nformation on homes, negotiate the best deal for you, and has connections with vendors that can provide assistance to you.


  • Home Buyer Incentives After the Tax Credit

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Houston  |  May 12, 2010 12:47 PM  |  1,559 views  |  No comments
    If you missed out on the Home Buyer Tax Credit that expired at the end of April, you still may find another incentive to purchase a home.

    The Tax Credit wasn't the only way to save money on a home purchase.  There are ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS available in Texas that can make homeownership possible for many potential buyers.

    The Texas Association of REALTORS sponsors a website named TXHomePrograms.com  that gives you the search ability to find available assistance programs.

    In addition to assistance programs, consider the fact that interest rates are still relatively low.  Another great incentive to purchase a house!

    You could qualify for an $800 loan payment for a $149,025 home purchase with a 5%, 30-year fixed interest rate.  That same payment amount of $800 drops to only $126,569 at an interest rate of 6.5%.  That means right now, at lower interest rates, you can qualify for more home!



  • Houston Home Values Hold Steady

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Houston  |  April 12, 2010 5:56 PM  |  1,577 views  |  No comments
    Considering a lot of the country faced tough real estate recessions this past year, the Houston Chronicle reports today that Houston home values have held steady.

    The median price per square foot for a single-family home was $72.58, remaining flat since last year's 2 percent drop.  Neighborhoods across the area varied depending on location, school district, and volume of foreclosures.

    Some other highlilghts featured in the Chronicle include:
    * Homes priced between $80,000 and $150,000 made the largest segment of the market.
    * Eighty-one percent of sales were outside of Beltway 8.
    * The most expensive sale was $6.3 million, down from almost $10 million in 2008.

    The percentage of foreclosure sales also dipped slightly in 2009.  They accounted for 20.5 percent of total sales.

    The key to remember is that the Houston market tends to see slow and steady appreciation in real estate for the most part. 

  • Great Website to Check Out Flood Plains in Houston, TX

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Houston  |  November 14, 2009 12:55 PM  |  2,030 views  |  No comments
    In Houston, anywhere it can rain, it can flood! I get the question about flooding almost daily.  If you are looking to purchase in the Houston area, here is a great website from the Harris County Flood Control District that features an interactive mapping tool, plus much more beneficial information to home buyers and sellers alike.

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