Tuesday, March 29, 2016 / by Rene Sorola
It’s no wonder that traffic has gotten worse. The Houston metro area has experienced the highest population gain in the nation, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land area attracted 159,083 new residents from July 1, 2014 through July 1, 2015, bringing the total up to 6.6 million. With a 2.4 percent increase last year, Houston joins Austin and Orlando, Florida as the only three U.S. cities to rank in the top 20 for both overall population gain and growth rate.
Texas has added more new residents than any other state in the country, a whopping 490,000 new residents in that time, according to the report released Thursday. Together, the Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas claimed more than 412,000 of those new Texans.
With a 3 percent population increase, Austin-Round Rock was the fastest-growing metro area in the state, and the seventh fastest in the nation. The area ...
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 / by Rene Sorola
Though overall numbers are up, regional demand is still softening for more expensive properties
Houston’s housing market showed signs of stability in February, as sales of single-family homes increased for the first time since September despite low oil prices and uncertainty about the overall economy.
The results were mixed, however, as demand grew for homes in the $150,000 to $500,000 range, while more expensive properties saw continued softening, data from the Houston Association of Realtors show. Overall, single-family home sales were up 2.2 percent over a year earlier, with buyers closing on 4,602 homes during the month.
Mario Arriaga, the association’s chairman, described the local housing market as healthy despite the energy-industry slowdown.
The optimism from Arriaga and others comes from a diversified economy where jobs are still being added, though at a much lower rate than during the boom.
There were 15,200 jobs created in this region last year, accord ...
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 / by Rene Sorola
By Stephanie Reid
Price-conscious consumers are constantly looking for ways to snag savings. Be it a do-it-yourself bathroom backsplash or self-help legal documents, the current trend in real estate is shying away from enlisting a perceived-as-pricey professional. However, some projects are too complex, valuable, or regulated to take on as a layperson — and the result is often a frantic call to the local plumber or electrician.
In the legal realm — particularly the transfer of real estate — there are definitely times when an attorney is not necessary, and the transaction will most certainly process without the assistance of a real estate lawyer. However, certain states mandate attorney involvement (or at least prohibit non-attorney over-involvement), making it unlawful to participate in a real estate settlement without a licensed attorney presiding. And certain transactions are too complicated, costly, or stressful to go it alone.
Here are four ...
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 / by Rene Sorola
If death and taxes are the two things you can always count on in life, there probably should be a third: the bucketful of tax breaks Uncle Sam offers every year to encourage more Americans to buy a home.
For one, Americans are able write off virtually all mortgage interest, not only for your primary home, but for a second home as well under some conditions — up to $1.1 million of debt when you include home-equity loans that are used for certain personal expenditures, such as funding college education. In most cases, homeowners are also able to write off their property taxes.
All told, homeowners (65% of Americans in 2013, down from an all-time high of 69% in 2004) have opportunities for dozens more federal income tax deductions than renters. In fact, only 21 states and the District of Columbia offer renters any kind of tax breaks or credits — generally credits for what is considered to be the percentage of property taxes that is rolled into a rent payment. (In Maryl ...
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 / by Rene Sorola
You’ve got options aplenty, but before you invest in the top-of-the-line model, be sure it meets your needs.
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, its major appliances are what keep it pumping. So it’s no surprise that 46 percent of American homeowners cite the cook space as the area where they’d most likely splurge on a remodel — and 56 percent of those planning work have set their sights on new appliances, according to a recent national survey by LG Electronics.
If your last kitchen remodel was years ago, a lot has probably changed since the last time you bought a fridge, dishwasher, range, or cooktop-oven combo. You’ll need to factor in the latest high-tech features, as well as your kitchen’s size and layout, your family’s cooking and eating habits, your aesthetic taste, and, of course, your budget.
To save money, it’s smart to comparison shop online, hunt for coupons, and negotiate with retailer ...