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Monday, May 9, 2016   /   by Rene Sorola

houston is one of the best-run cities in the nation, according to latest survey

People complain a lot about government, but several Texas cities get high marks for being run well. WalletHub’s annual assessment of how efficiently some of America’s largest urban centers spend taxpayer dollars on certain key expenditure categories is out and Houston is near the top of the list.

Of the 78 most populated U.S. cities in the survey, Houston comes in at No. 5, up four notches from a year ago. Six Texas cities are in the Top 20, including Dallas (No. 7), El Paso (No. 14), Austin (No. 16), San Antonio (No. 19), and Lubbock (No. 20).
As WalletHub acknowledges, the rankings were determined by the return on investment (ROI) cities received in only three key categories: education, police, and parks and recreation.

Not included were how well cities spent money on public transportation, infrastructure, and health because researchers were not able to find sufficient comparative data. However, researchers believe efficient spending in the key areas examined in th ...

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  real estate, city of houston, current events

Tuesday, May 3, 2016   /   by Rene Sorola

Here are some top features that homebuyers are looking for in Houston

Do you have a house with a barn door, subway tiles and a game room upstairs?
If so, it’s more likely you’ll be successful at selling your home, according to a new report.

Zillow Inc. (Nasdaq: Z) analyzed thousands of home listings across Texas and found certain popular amenities and features likely helped sell homes faster and for more money than others.

Homes with features like barn doors can sell for a higher price — up to 13 percent more — and up to two months faster than homes that don’t have these amenities.
Here are some of the Seattle-based real estate company’s major findings for Houston homeowners:

Listings that mention the following words can be sold at a premium:
“Barn doors” or a rustic sliding door” — sold for 13 percent more than expected
“Shaker cabinets” — sold for 9.6 percent more than expected“Farmhouse sink” — sold for 7.9 percent more than expected
“Qu ...

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  home owner tips, real estate, home selling, real estate market update, selling

Tuesday, April 26, 2016   /   by Rene Sorola

7 Things Every First-Time Homeowner Should Know

You’ve spent hours researching mortgage rates, but here are a few things no one warns you will come with the property territory.

Quirks Have Costs
Say you fall in love with the newly constructed condo with the huge-enormous windows. I know, you see yourself enjoying your morning coffee and newspaper bathed in streaming sunshine! Only on that first morning (the blazing light searing your eyeballs) do you realize that huge-enormous windows mean huge-enormous drapes. And only once you start to shop for huge-enormous drapes do you learn how shockingly expensive and hard-to-find large window coverings in unconventional dimensions can be. In other words, you must take the long view. If you adore the unique detail of fireplaces in every room, make sure you also adore stacking firewood and checking flues and befriending chimney sweeps. Know that romantic, crumbling cottages like something out of Wuthering Heights come with leaky windows and wispy insulation, so ask yourself if the fa ...

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016   /   by Rene Sorola

The Galleria moves on up with major expansion

Property Group, the owner of Houston’s premier shopping center, announced Thursday a major addition that promises to keep it at the forefront as the city’s luxury epicenter. It plans to build a 30-story hotel and apartment tower on a 1-1/2-acre property at the corner of Sage and West Alabama, where a Macy’s store was recently demolished.
The new high-rise will be adjacent to a new Saks Fifth Avenue store that opens later this month and near a conversion of the former Saks store into an extension of the mall, with as many as 40 new stores and restaurants.
David Contis, president of Simon Malls, tells CultureMap that the company plans to break ground on the new high-rise within the next year, with a planned opening in late 2019 or early 2020.
The company is in talks with two luxury flagship hotel chains and a smaller independent luxury boutique hotel to operate the property, which will consist of 225 rooms on the first 15 floors. The remaining upper ...

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  real estate, real estate market update, city of houston, current events

Tuesday, April 5, 2016   /   by Rene Sorola

Youth magnet: Houston is home to the young and vibrant

We knew Houston is where the young and pretty people live, but now the numbers truly back it up. The Bayou City has one of the smallest populations of baby boomers in the country.
NewGeography pored over 2014 American Community Survey data for the country’s 53 largest metropolitan statistical areas to track where Americans over 65 are living. The answer: not Houston. And not Austin or Dallas either, as all three Texas cities — along with Salt Lake City and Raleigh— are in the bottom five for housing baby boomers.
Only 9.8 percent of Houston’s population is over 65. Compare that to Tucson, Arizona (17.7 percent), and Jacksonville, Florida (14.2 percent), and it’s hard to deny our standing. Oddly enough, it’s not just the sunny standbys that are attracting seniors; the Rust Belt states are also climbing in senior popularity.
The website posits that this is not due to weather, per se, or even older, declining industries, but rather the migr ...

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