How to Winterize Your Home in Houston

7 Winterization Tips Every Houston Homeowner Needs To Know

Winter will be here before we know it!  Luckily, homeowners in Houston don’t need to worry about the extreme conditions other parts of the country experience, but you’ll still want to make sure your property’s ready for the colder weather.

 

Take care of last-minute outdoor projects while the weather’s still pleasant, and get your house ready for the cool temperatures ahead!

 

How To Prepare Your House For Winter

 

1. Blow out your sprinkler system

 

Removing leftover water from your sprinkler system helps prevent freezing and cracking during colder months.

 

You can usually find local sprinkler companies to complete the job on sites like Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor.

 

Alternatively, if you have an air compressor at home, it shouldn’t be too hard to complete the job yourself.  There are plenty of helpful tutorials available that you can check out beforehand.  Reference.com has a detailed step-by-step blog post outlining the process, and Instructables created a quick, informative video that you can refer to as well for some DIY tips.

 

2. Clean your gutters

 

A good rule of thumb is to clean out your gutters at least once each season.  Freeing gutters and downspouts of leaves, twigs, and other debris before the beginning of winter will prepare your house for the season, and you most likely won’t need to repeat the job until spring.

 

3. Sweep your chimney

 

Nothing’s more satisfying than curling up in front of a fire on a cold winter evening!  If it’s been awhile since you’ve had your chimney cleaned, though, you’ll want to do so as soon as possible.

 

Because chimney buildup can create a fire hazard, it’s best to hire a certified professional if you are not familiar with how to inspect and clean your own chimney.

 

4. Close your pool

 

 

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to cover the pool for the winter.  Not only does this help make the process of re-opening your pool in the springtime much easier; you could even run the risk of seeing your pool get completely destroyed if you neglect to properly clean and cover it.

 

5. Make sure your heating system is working properly

 

Before the cold weather is here to stay, it’s not a bad idea to test out your home’s heat to make sure it works properly.  You can check to make sure your pilot light is igniting as well.

 

If, for some reason, you turn on the heat and discover your home isn’t getting warmer, you’ll still have plenty of time to have a professional come fix the problem.

 

6. Get a professional roof inspection

Better safe than sorry!  If you have any doubts about your roof’s condition, have it inspected while the weather’s still tolerable.  You may only need a small repair job, but the sooner you have your roof looked at, the better.

 

The last thing you need is a leaky roof making your home cold and damp in the winter!

 

7. Tidy up outside

 

Keep your yard looking its best!  Clear away leaves, fallen branches, and any other clutter that may be remaining from the summer months.  Don’t forget to clean off outdoor furniture and properly store chairs, cushions, and tables, so they’re ready for use in the spring.

 

Get More Helpful Home Maintenance Tips

 

Follow me on Twitter today or like my Facebook page to see more articles like this with tips for taking care of your home!

 

Buying Or Selling In The Houston Area?

 

I serve the Tanglewood, Memorial, Uptown, and Galleria neighborhoods, and am happy to help you understand the market.  If you’re getting ready to buy or sell property, feel free to contact me today for assistance!

 

What does it actually mean to be healthy?

Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor before trying new supplements or making changes to your diet and exercise routines.

 

 Is healthy living worth the effort?

 

Some people feel that being healthy requires too much work and is not worth the struggle; they believe keeping a healthy lifestyle means eating salads and working out every day. The truth is, being healthy means taking care of yourself so you can feel well without depending on medication.

 

Introducing guest author, Ana Sanchez-Vivas

 

Hi everyone!  My husband, Ivan, and I are parents of two toddlers, and as wellness researchers, we want to show you that being healthy doesn’t have to be difficult; you can make easy changes in your life and burn calories even without exercising!

 

Ivan and I are brokers of natural products, and we work with a wonderful team, including a urologist and expert on naturopathic medicine who recently shared the article below.   We wanted to share with you as well!

 

5 tips to Burn More Calories Without Exercising

 

By Dr. Juan Jose Ramos

The first advice they always give us if we ask how to burn more calories is to exercise. Playing sports is an excellent way to increase energy expenditure and improve our motivation and mood to lose weight in a healthy way.

However, there are other natural ways to achieve this, too.

How to Burn More Calories?

There are many people who have a hard time losing weight. There are also others who are going down in weight based on hard efforts and sacrifices, but would like to achieve the same results more easily. For all of them we propose 5 tips that are based on food and good habits.

This way, not only will we lose weight faster, but will also improve our health, which fills us with optimism and energy.

1.       Do not Reduce Calories intake.

 

The way to burn more calories does not consist precisely in reducing calories.  The hypocaloric diets accustom our body to spend less energy, so that it will still cost us more to lose weight and, in addition, we will suffer the dreaded rebound effect if we leave the diet.

2.       Infusion of Ginger.

 

Ginger is, like cayenne, an excellent activator of metabolism that we must include in our diet. In addition, it improves our digestion and favors the elimination of liquids, so it should not be lacking in any diet for weight loss purposes. We can prepare the infused ginger, accompanied by lemon juice and stevia, and take it throughout the day, cold or hot.

3.       Food Rich in Vegetables.

 

Vegetables have the peculiarity that our body spends more calories to digest them than other foods. For this reason we recommend eating a diet rich in vegetables, raw and cooked.

4.       Make Several Meals a Day.

 

Making several meals a day is good advice for those who want to increase energy expenditure, and also for those who suffer from starvation during a diet. They must be meals that satisfy us but do not fill us completely.

5.       A Good Rest.

 

Sleeping well is essential to achieve our goal. By sleeping well we mean to rest enough; what our body needs. If we sleep little we alter our nervous system and we will notice an increase in appetite due to lack of energy. On the contrary, if we sleep too much, we will reduce our metabolism, burn fewer calories and we will feel tired more easily.

Learn More

 

 

This article is merely informative. We are not recommending any medical treatment, nor are we offering any diagnoses. We encourage you to speak with your doctor prior to making any adjustments to your diet, nutrition, and/ or exercise routines.

If you would like to learn more about the concepts described in the article above, Ivan and I have put together a complete guide with 6 Energy Charged Foods to help you feel your best!

This FREE GUIDE will show you how to…

  • Avoid the afternoon energy crash
  • Add these super 6 foods to your daily routine
  • Improve your overall level of health

Go to IvanAndAna.com and download your guide today!

 

 

 

 

National Night Out 2018 Is Almost Here!

National Night Out 2018 will be here before we know it!  Do you have plans to celebrate yet?

 

National Night Out History

 

The annual campaign originally launched 34 years ago as a means to strengthen the relationship between individual communities and their corresponding police departments.

 

Once a year, families and police crews are invited to gather at block parties, festivals, and other events to celebrate the importance of safety and crime prevention in a community.  During these events, police officers usually provide demonstrations and seminars to teach community members helpful safety tips and best practices.

 

Neighborhoods across the country are encouraged to participate, and many recognize the event during the first week in August each year, however, Texas always celebrates National Night Out in October.

 

Where To Participate In This Year’s National Night Out Events

 

If your neighborhood isn’t hosting a block party, you can still enjoy this year’s National Night Out at one of the events listed below:

 

Midtown Houston

 

In Midtown Park on October 2, from 5-7 PM, you can enjoy food and drinks with the Houston Police Department, Houston Fire Department, Harris County Constable Precinct 7, local security experts, and more!

 

The Woodlands

 

The Woodlands Township is hosting a Community Safety Expo at Northshore Park on Saturday, October 6, from 12-3 PM.

 

There will also be a number of National Night Out parties throughout the area on Sunday, October 14, from 3-6 PM.

 

White Oak Bayou Village Shopping Center

 

This year’s National Night Out event will take place on Tuesday, October 2 from 5:30-8 PM.  Bring your family and get to know local law enforcement!

 

Are You Excited For National Night Out?

Neighborhood safety is such an important issue, and a great topic to bond over with your local community!  Whether you’re new to the Houston area, or would like to learn more about the men and women keeping Houston safe, National Night Out provides a great opportunity to mingle with neighbors and local authorities.

 

Stay Updated On All The Latest Events In Houston!

 

Follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page to see more announcements about upcoming events in the Houston area you won’t want to miss!  You can also receive updates about the local real estate market when you subscribe to my YouTube channel today.

 

As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions about buying or selling a luxury home in Houston!  I serve the Tanglewood, Memorial, Uptown and Galleria neighborhoods.

Best Healthy Restaurants in Houston

Best Restaurants in Houston That Won’t Ruin Your Diet

Committing to a diet is never easy, especially when you find yourself surrounded by tempting, unhealthy foods.  One of the best things about living in Houston is the fact that our city makes it so easy to commit to a healthy lifestyle.  As you may know, Houston is practically overflowing with amazing gyms and workout classes, but it doesn’t stop there; Houstonians are also lucky enough to have dozens of fantastic restaurants with enticing, healthy menu options available in just about every neighborhood!

Highest-Rated Restaurants With Healthy Choices in Houston*

 

Restaurants With Vegetarian Options

 

Dining out doesn’t always have to mean ordering pasta or salad if you’re a vegetarian in Houston!  These restaurants are known and loved for their creative, delicious vegetarian meals:

 

 

 

Restaurants With Vegan Options

 

As vegan diets have become more commonplace, more restaurants have finally started offering plant-based meals.  Here are some of vegan Houstonians’ favorite choices:

 

 

 

Restaurants With Juices and Smoothies

 

When you need a new way to enjoy fruits and vegetables, check out the drinks at these restaurants:

 

 

 

Restaurants With Live and Raw Food Options

 

If you prefer the purist, raw dishes, make sure you check out these restaurants:

 

 

 

Restaurants With Gluten-Free Options

 

While gluten-free diets have become more popular, so have restaurants with gluten-free dishes.  Whether you’re avoiding gluten for allergy reasons or dietary ones, make sure you check out these eateries:

 

 

 

What Are Your Favorite Healthy Restaurants in Houston?

 

Comment below with your favorite diet-friendly Houston restaurants!

 

Learn More About What Makes Houston Such A Wonderful City

 

Whether you’re planning a vacation or thinking of moving to Houston, you can learn more about our amazing city by following me on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!

 

For more information about buying and selling property in Houston, please don’t hesitate to contact me today!

 

*Based on ratings from Yelp and Thrillist
12 Exciting Things To Do When You Travel To Houston

Why Traveling To Houston Should Be On Everyone’s Bucket List

The Dog Days of Summer will soon be over, and this time of year, Houston really does become a destination spot for travelers.

 

From interesting tours and museums to great shows and sporting events, there’s so much to see and do here, even if you’re just looking to make the most of a long weekend trip!

 

Best of all, Houston is full of great hotels that are centrally located with access to plenty of venues you can reach on foot.  This city undeniably one of the most fun place to visit over the coming months!

 

Houston Strong!

 

Here Are 12 Exciting Things To Do During Your Stay In Houston:

1. Visit amazing museums for free

 

Believe it or not, there are quite a few museums in Houston that you can visit for free during your trip.  Whether you’re interested in art, history, science, nature, or something a bit more kid-friendly, you can plan a fun afternoon even without spending money on tickets!

2. See James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace

The Skyspace is actually a music venue, designed to provide an ideal acoustic setting for live performances.  During the day, though, the structure is open to the public, and free to access every day of the week except Tuesdays or during a private event.

 

Each day at sunrise and sunset, the LED light sequence called Twilight Epiphany is performed, with beautiful lights and colors projected onto the ceiling, momentarily transforming the structure into a truly remarkable sight!

 

3. Watch a show at Miller Outdoor Theatre

 

Every year, the Miller Outdoor Theatre offers dozens of shows and events for free from March through October.  Check out the full event calendar to see what’s happening during your stay in Houston!

4. Hike through Buffalo Bayou Park

If you’re looking for ways to connect with nature, make sure you visit Buffalo Bayou Park!  It’s open to the public from dawn until dusk and makes for the perfect picnic location!  You can also rent bicycles, kayaks, and canoes, or visit the skatepark with the kids!

 

5. Visit the Cloud Column (AKA the “refried bean”)

 

Did you know Anish Kapoor, the sculptor who designed Chicago’s famous Cloud Gate, also designed a sculpture for Houston?

 

Lovingly nicknamed the “refried bean,” in reference to Chicago’s sculpture, the Cloud Column is more than 2 stories tall and a great spot to take photos!

 

6. Bring your camera to these 8 famous landmarks

 

Beatles statues

 

Artist David Adickes famously created a number of incredible sculptures that can be found throughout Houston, including the beloved 36-feet-tall statues of the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper Heart’s Club Band gear.  Check them out in the 8th Wonder Brewery’s backyard!

 

Howard Hughes’ gravesite at Glenwood Cemetery

 

Glenwood Cemetery has become known as the final resting place for some of history’s most impressive figures, including Howard Hughes and lifelong friend, actress Gene Tierney, to name a few.

 

San Jacinto Monument

 

Whether you’re a true history buff or you’d love a chance to see a birds-eye view of Houston, the San Jacinto Monument is definitely a must-see landmark to visit on your trip!

 

Underground tunnel

 

Located 20 feet below the streets of downtown Houston is an underground tunnel system where you can escape from the city noise to explore fun shopping and dining options!

 

Eclectic Menagerie Park

 

As the name suggests, the Eclectic Menagerie Park features an expansive collection of incredible sculptures that are truly one-of-a-kind and perfect for taking some interesting photos!

 

John Milkovisch’s Beer Can House

 

This house covered in beer cans, bottle caps, and other beer-related items has become one of Houston’s most well-known pieces of folk art and is another great backdrop for your vacation photos.

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

While no longer in use, the underground cistern located at 105 Sabine Street is another breathtaking landmark you won’t want to miss!  Admission is free on Thursdays, otherwise, tickets cost $10 for adults or $8 for seniors and students.

 

7. Visit Chinatown

 

You can easily spend an entire day in Chinatown; there’s so many shops and restaurants to try!  With massage parlors, plenty of shopping, karaoke bars, and dozens of places to eat, Chinatown absolutely has something for everyone!

 

8. Rent a bicycle and tour the city

 

If weather permits, there’s no better way to explore Houston!  The new BCycle bike sharing program makes it easy to rent a bicycle and tour the city at your own pace!

 

9. Head to the Washington Avenue Arts District

 

Here, you can enjoy the work of talented local artists or see a fun theater production!  There’s also plenty of restaurant options in the area.

 

10. Check out the latest upcoming events

 

Regardless of what time of year your trip is, there are always exciting events happening all throughout the city!

 

11. Visit the Space Center

 

Would any trip to Houston be complete without seeing the space center?

 

Learn about Nasa, the International Space Station, astronaut training, and so much more!  Make sure you check out which attractions will be available during your stay!

 

12. Get a taste of local cuisine

 

When you come to a city like Houston, be prepared for incredible restaurant options.  Whether you prefer a classic American steakhouse, southern BBQ, or authentic international cuisine, Houston has it all!

 

And while you’re in town, make sure you check out long list of top-rated bars, too!

 

Learn More About Houston!

 

For more information and fun facts about Houston, make sure you follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page!

 

Buying or Selling a Home Near Houston?

 

Whether you’re ready to make your move or still need some help navigating the market, please feel free to contact me today for assistance!

 

You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel to learn more about Houston’s housing market.

Workout Classes To Try In Houston

Best Gyms And Fitness Classes To Try In Houston

One of the things that most of us have in common is a fast-paced, hectic lifestyle.   The real estate business is no different—it includes odd hours and, at times, there are no days off!

 

One of the best ways I keep my mental acuity sharp and my physical stamina and energy levels high for my clients is by squeezing in regular and consistent workouts!   I love to mix a variety of things into my exercise routine and my motto is “Keep Moving!”

 

I enjoy swimming and fitness classes at the Trotter YMCA, I’m also a regular yogi at the Yogaworks studio on Woodway at Bering, and you’ll see me cycling the streets of Tanglewood through Memorial Park up the TC Jester Bike Path and all the way Downtown.   I strongly advocate incorporating exercise blocks if it’s 10-15 minutes or 15-30 minutes at a time!   Short walks, stretching and setting goals is so important!

 

Keep moving!!

 

Where To Find The Best Workout Classes In Houston*

 

Pilates

 

Pilates workouts are a great way to increase flexibility while strengthening your core.  These types of workouts are a popular choice because, while effective, they’re usually still, easy enough for those who are new to working out regularly.

 

Some of the best places to take Pilates classes in Houston include:

 

 

Athletic Training and Bootcamps

 

Bootcamp workouts and athletic conditioning classes are great examples of high intensity, full-body workouts, and there are numerous gyms throughout the Houston area that offer these types of trainings.

 

Some of the top-rated names include:

 

 

Running

 

Running classes are a lesser-known type of workout that help to increase stamina and keep you motivated, even when you want to quit!

 

RacePace is a local gym in Houston that’s known for their highly-rated group running classes.

Dance

 

Many gyms and dance studios offer all types of dance classes that provide full-body workouts with fun, upbeat music.

 

These are some of the top-rated gyms with dance classes in Houston:

 

 

Barre

 

Barre is another popular workout that stems from ballet dancing.  Much like ballet, Barre workouts are great for strengthening the core muscles and improving posture and flexibility.

 

You can find some of the top-rated Barre classes in Houston at the following locations:

 

 

Boxing/ Kickboxing

 

Boxing and kickboxing classes are great examples of high-energy workouts that help to relieve improve posture and coordination while relieving stress.

 

Some of the most highly-rated gyms with these types of classes include the following:

 

 

Cycling

 

Cycling classes are an extremely popular type of cardio class that provides a team-like atmosphere and helps strengthen muscles.

 

Some gyms with the best-rated cycling classes in Houston include:

 

Yoga

 

There are so many benefits to practicing yoga!  With regular workouts, most people notice increased flexibility, improved metabolism, muscle strengthening, and better posture, just to name a few.

 

You can check out some of the area’s top-rated yoga classes at these locations:

 

 

Cardio

 

Of course, no workout routine is complete without cardio!  In addition to improving heart health, these workouts are essential for burning calories, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight.

 

You can find some of Houston’s top-rated cardio classes at the following gyms:

 

 

 

Martial Arts and Self-Defense

 

Not only are Martial Arts classes a great way to learn about self-defense; they’re also a great way to get a full-body workout and increase your flexibility and reduce stress!

 

Here are some of the best-rated gyms with Martial Arts and self-defense programs in Houston:

 

 

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Workouts?

 

One of the biggest benefits of living in a city like Houston is being able to choose from dozens of incredible new gyms and workout classes to keep exercising fun and exciting.

 

Leave a comment below with your favorite workout class or gym in the Houston area!

 

Learn More About The Houston Area

 

Make sure you see all my latest updates about the many reasons why Houston is such a fantastic city!  Follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page today to stay in touch!

 

For update about the Houston real estate market, make sure you check out my YouTube channel as well!

 

*Based on ratings from Yelp
30 Fun Things To Do In Houston This Fall

Fun Things To Do In Houston This Fall

Houston is such a fun city!   There are always a variety of things to do consistently year round.   I like to call Houston the smallest big city in the country.   What I mean by that is that there is a small town feeling in Houston.  Just like towns that have small theaters, festivals and fairs, Houston has the River Oaks Theatre, the Rodeo, and much, much more.

 

The ethnic festivals are abound, my personal favorite is the Greek festival in October in the Montrose area.  However, there are many, many more in various parks and community centers throughout the year.  Sports?  Oh my!  All three major sports leagues and the Houston Dynamo soccer gives sports fans nice activities all year!

 

If you are in to music and the performing arts, Houston is right up there with the best any big city has to offer.  You can visit the Hobby Center for a musical, the Toyota Center for a concert, the Alley Theatre for a live performance or the Miller Outdoor Auditorium for live performances as well!

 

Anyway, there’s always something to do, and no need to be stuck in front of the TV.

 

30 Houston Events To Look Forward To This Fall:

 

September Events

 

1. The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes – Daily, 9/1-9/30

 

This special exhibit will be at the Houston Museum of Natural Science the entire month of September.  Guests are invited to discuss the tales of Sherlock Holmes, as viewed through the lens of the science community!

 

2. ComedySportz Improv Comedy—Weekly, 9/7 – 11/24

 

Bring the whole family to watch professional comedians play improv games in a challenge to win the most laughs!

 

3. The Brunch! Mixer & Market—9/9

 

Axelrad Beer Garden is hosting this fun brunch pop-up event from 2-6 pm, where you can enjoy food and drinks with friends in celebration of the last days of summer.

 

4. Come Wine With Us—9/14

 

If you’re looking for a chance to learn about and taste new wines, this is a can’t-miss event!  Enjoy delicious bites from Sud Italia Ristorante as you explore various reds and whites at Houston’s Italian Cultural & Community Center!

 

5. Farm Kitchen Thai Food Pop-Up—9/18

 

Finca Tres Robles is hosting this pop-up event, where Chef Benchawan Jabthong Painter will present exquisite Thai cuisine.  Guests can look forward to a five-course meal, as well as multiple award-winning wines from the Perissos winery!

 

6. Fall Dinner Series—9/20, 10/25, 11/29

 

Visit Ronin’s for a five-course dinner featuring locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, complete with wine pairings!

 

7. Whiskies of the World—9/22

 

Distillers from all over the globe will gather at this expo to share their whisky knowledge—and some of their best creations, too!

 

8. Harvest Moon Ball—9/22

 

Presented by the Houston Swing Dance Society, attendees can enjoy dancing to live music by Austin’s very own Rent Party at the Rice University Grand Hall!

 

9. 2018 Taste of New Orleans—9/22

 

Visit Jones Plaza for the 4th annual Taste of New Orleans event, where you can experience dancing, delicious food, live music, and even cocktails inspired by the Big Easy!

 

10. Texas Hot Sauce Festival—9/22 & 9/23

 

Try dozens of exotic hot sauces, salsa, dips, marinades, and more at the Bayou City Event Center’s 18th Annual Texas Hot Sauce Festival!

 

11. Family Meal With El Topo Truck and Del Maguey—9/23

 

Enjoy a family dinner at Johnny’s Gold Brick, prepared by some of the Houston area’s best chefs.

 

12. Rooftop Yoga 2018—9/23

 

Bring your yoga mat and a water bottle to Noel Furniture for the 6th annual Rooftop yoga session.  Children under 13 can even join for free!

 

13. TacoWorld Houston—9/29

 

Guadalupe Plaza Park will host this family-friendly event, where you can indulge in the culinary treats of some of Houston’s finest restaurants!  The event will also feature live music, street artists, and artisan pop-up vendors.

 

14. 2018 Houston Fall Whiskey Tasting Festival—9/29

 

This year’s event includes a 2-hour tasting session and a chance to win a trip for 2 to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day!

 

October Events

 

15. Original Greek Festival—10/4 – 10/7

 

With great food, live music, and plenty of vendors, this event is always a blast!

16. The 2nd Annual Greater Houston Food Truck Festival—10/6

 

Experience Houston’s diverse culinary community with food and beverages from some of the city’s best food trucks!  Kids under 12 can join for free, so bring the whole family along!

17. Houston Margarita Festival—10/6

 

Bring your lawn chairs and get ready to enjoy margaritas in every flavor imaginable at the Buffalo Bayou Water Works Park!

 

18. Houston Italian Festival—10/11 – 10/14

 

Celebrate Italian culture and cuisine at the 40th annual Festa Italiana!  Enjoy wine sampling, beer tasting, live music, and plenty of food at this year’s festival, which will be held at University of St Thomas.

 

19. Taps and Tapas: Beer Fest—10/13

 

Taste the creations of Houston’s many local breweries with complimentary tapas at this free event!

 

20. Bayou City Art Festival Downtown 2018—10/13

 

This longstanding tradition has brought over 20,000 art lovers together over the years to enjoy the works of hundreds of talented artists and craftsmen.  Celebrate fine art at this year’s event, set to take place in Downtown Houston surrounding City Hall, Herman Square, Houston Public Library, Sam Houston Park, and the surrounding area.

 

21. Brick Fest Live Lego Fan Experience—10/20 – 10/21

 

Bring your little architect to enjoy hands-on attractions and shop for new LEGO sets!

 

22. Wings Over Houston Airshow—10/20 – 10/21

 

This is a can’t-miss event for history buffs and anyone interested in aviation!  Get a first-hand look at the evolution of aviation, from the WWII-era through present-day.

 

November Events

 

23. 5th Annual Magnolia Park Dia De Los Muertos Block Party—11/3

 

Celebrate the Day of the Dead in style at the 5th annual block party!  Visit American Legion Hall in Houston for live music, amazing food, and plenty of shopping from local vendors.

 

24. Genesys Works Houston Cellar Classic 2018—11/10

Come try the best wine Houston has to offer at The Tasting Room in Uptown Park!

 

25. Houston Eats!—11/11

 

Get a taste of some of Houston’s best food trucks and enjoy live music and giveaways at Inked Studios!

 

26. Deer Moon Dinner—11/16

 

Take a tour of Ronin Farm and enjoy an incredible nine-course meal, complete with wine pairings and dessert served under the stars!

 

27. R&B and Blues Music Food Festival—11/ 17

 

Visit the Houston Food Truck Stop for an afternoon of live music, shopping, and plenty of food!  Children up to age 12 can attend for free.

 

28. Houston Fairytale Ball—11/17 – 11/18

 

Bring your own little princess to sing songs, play games, and spend time with Cinderella, Tinkerbell, Rapunzel, The Little Mermaid, and more!

 

29. The 9th Annual Friendswood Art in the Park—11/17 – 11/18

 

Head to Stevenson Park to experience live demonstrations from talented artists and musicians, plus great food and free art activities!

 

30. The Houston Pancakes & Booze Art Show—11/30

 

Check out the pop-up art show featuring over 500 pieces, ranging from pop art to photography.  There’ll be live music, DJs, and a free pancake bar, so make sure you bring your appetite!

 

Buying or Selling a Home Near Houston?

 

I’ve worked in the Houston area for nearly 30 years and would be more than happy to assist you with your real estate needs.  Whether you’re ready to make a move or need some help navigating the market, you can send your questions my way.

 

Please contact me today for help with your next move!

 

 

 

 

Selling a House as Part of An Estate

How To Sell An Inherited Property

Losing a loved one inevitably stir up a wide range of emotions and even create a sense of overwhelm, particularly when it comes to the issue of inheriting property.  It’s not uncommon for a beneficiary to choose to part ways with an inherited home, but this type of real estate transaction will vary a bit from a typical home sale.

 

What To Do When You’re Ready To Sell An Inherited Home

 

Step 1: Wait For The Estate To Go Through Probate

 

Even if you’re confident that the home has been left to you, the will must be probated before any action can be taken to sell the property.  This is the process through which the court determines the validity of the will, thereby permitting the executor act on behalf of the document’s terms.

 

Only after a will goes through probate is a beneficiary able to claim inherited property.

 

Step 2: Contemplate How You’d Like to Move Forward As The Home’s Owner

 

If you share ownership of the property with others, discuss your plan for the home together.  Even if you have no interest in occupying the home, you may prefer to rent it out or to simply sell.  Regardless of what you decide, you’ll need to explore these options with the rest of the home’s owners, if the property isn’t exclusively yours.

 

When siblings inherit a home from deceased parents, for example, there are often disagreements surrounding whether or not to keep the house.  If you would prefer to sell, but your siblings want the property to stay in the family, they can buy your portion from you as a way to compromise.

 

Before making any final decisions, however, meet with an accountant who can explain the potential tax implications that you may experience whether you choose to occupy the home, rent it out, or sell.

 

If you’re leaning towards selling the home, give yourself ample time to think about this decision and make sure you’re comfortable with the idea of parting with the property.

 

Step 3: Prepare To Put The Home On The Market

 

Prior to listing the property for sale, you’ll want to walk through the home to get an understanding of its current condition.  If the home has significant clutter or damage, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to hold off on listing the property or accept a lower selling price than if the property were in pristine shape.

 

It’s not a bad idea to hire a home inspector as well; even if you don’t intend to make repairs, at least you can determine a realistic asking price.

 

Alternatively, if you’re not in a hurry to sell the home and can afford to spend the time and money on improvements, consider some simple cosmetic upgrades to increase the property’s curb appeal.

 

Once you’re confident the home is ready to put on the market, the next logical step is to find a Realtor who’s familiar with the neighborhood.  Whether your goal is to sell the home for the best possible offer or to simply make a quick transaction, make sure you communicate this to your agent.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions before you decide which Realtor to hire.

 

Are You Ready To Sell Your Home?

 

If you own a home in the Houston area and would like to discuss your options as a seller, we should connect!  Please contact me today for assistance with your listing, and feel free to send me a note with any questions you may have.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel on YouTube for more information about the local Houston market.

How To Make An Offer On A Property For Sale

How To Make An Offer On A Property

You’ve chosen your new neighborhood, looked at several homes for sale, and now you’ve found the perfect place.  You can’t picture a better home for your new start, and you can already see yourself moving in.  Before that can happen, though, you’ll need to make sure you can put together an offer that’s both fair for you and attractive to the seller.

 

Of course, the first step you must take before creating your offer is getting pre-approved for a mortgage (if you don’t intend to pay for the property in cash).  A bid from a potential buyer who’s already secured financing will inevitably be more appealing than a bid from a buyer who has not done so.  Sellers are simply more inclined to consider your offer when you can eliminate any doubts about your ability to pay for the home.

 

Additionally, try to find out what the seller’s motivation is for listing the property; while some sellers can afford to wait for the highest offer, others may be on a tight timeline and more willing to negotiate if it means a quicker transaction.  Consult with your Realtor to identify the best way to appeal to the seller’s interests.

 

Writing Your Offer Letter

 

Creating a compelling offer is equal parts art and science; every real estate transaction poses a unique situation, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to offer letters.  There are, however, some common components of an offer letter that you should be familiar with and include in your own offer.

 

7 Common Elements Of Offer Letters

 

1. Property’s address

 

Of course, the first piece of information you’ll want to include is the correct address of the property you’re interested in buying.

 

2. Offer price and financing method

 

Included with your offer price should be a breakdown of how you intend to pay for the home; you’ll need to state clearly how much money will be acquired through financing and how much cash you’ll be paying at closing.  The sum of these two amounts equals the final sale price for the home.

 

3. Earnest money requirements

 

In addition to your offer amount, the contract should also specify how much you will deposit as earnest money and the date by which this payment will be made.

 

4. Details surrounding title policy and survey

 

The contract should indicate whether the buyer or seller is responsible for the cost of title insurance.

 

There should also be clear terms describing who will pay for professional land surveying and when the survey is to be completed.

 

5. Contingencies

 

Contingencies outline the conditions that must be met in order for the transaction to take place.  As you’ve probably guessed, the purpose of including contingencies is to protect the buyer and minimize ambiguity in the contract.  If the deal is not completed for a reason outlined in the contingency clauses, these stipulations allow the buyer to recoup his or her earnest money.

There are many potential factors that could cause a deal to fall through.  For example, a buyer who’s been pre-approved for a mortgage may still be unable to pay for the home if the appraiser determines the value to be less than the agreed-upon price.  Including an appraisal contingency in the contract allows the buyer to walk away from the deal if this should happen.

 

Other common types of contingencies relate to inspections for property damage or safety hazards that may require costly repairs; for instance, many offer letters include contingencies for property inspections, so that buyers aren’t forced to complete a transaction that involves a home in need of significant work.

 

6. Offer expiration date

 

Including an expiration date and time for your offer is another way to help protect yourself as a buyer.  By making your offer valid for only a given period of time, you can avoid wasting time waiting for an answer if the seller is holding out for higher bids.  This strategy also gives you the freedom to pursue other options if you do not receive a response from the seller.

 

7. Closing date and requirements

 

The offer letter will also include information about when the deal will close and any final steps that need to be completed on either party’s end during closing.

 

Home Buyer Offer Letter Sample (Downloadable PDF)

 

 

Home Buyer Offer Letter Sample - Download

Still Have Questions About The Home Buying Process?

 

I’m here to help!  Send me a message if you’re thinking about buying a home in the Houston area.  I’m especially familiar with the Memorial, Uptown, Galleria, and Tanglewood neighborhoods.

 

If you’d like more information about the Houston market, please make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel as well!

How To Attract Talent From Other Cities

How To Attract Talent From Other Cities To Your Company

Thanks to popular job posting sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Zip Recruiter, it’s become increasingly easy for companies and talented workers to connect with just a few keystrokes.

 

One challenge that still remains, however, is being able to convince candidates from out of town that they should, in fact, relocate for a given position.  In today’s competitive job market, even glowing online reviews may not be enough to encourage jobseekers to pick up and move for work.

 

Here Are 4 Simple Ways To Attract Qualified Candidates From Other Cities:

 

1. Be transparent about salary and benefits

 

Many companies tend to post job descriptions without sharing information about the corresponding salary or benefits.

 

This strategy may attract local workers who can stop by for an interview on their lunch break.  Candidates who live out of town, however, are not likely to spend time and money traveling for an interview without first knowing if the opportunity meets their salary requirements.

 

In order to encourage talent from other cities to at least apply for a position, make sure the job description includes accurate information regarding benefit and pay.

 

2. Be familiar with your company’s online reviews

There’s no getting around the fact that candidates can and will research every prospective employer as much as possible before they apply to a job.  When it comes to candidates outside of the area especially, your company’s online image is going to have a significant impact.

 

Regardless of whether the majority of online reviews are positive or negative, it’s wise to make sure interviewers are familiar with the content of these posts and can address any questions or concerns candidates may have.  Before encouraging a candidate to relocate, it’s important to ensure that he or she has a clear, accurate understanding of the company’s culture and structure.

3. Provide clear information about the role and responsibilities

Additionally, before a candidate decides to relocate, he or she must understand what to expect in the new role.  Providing as much information as possible will help insure that the most qualified candidate is selected for the role.  At the same time, candidates will feel more eager and confident to relocate when they know exactly what’s expected of them.

 

Of course, every new employee requires some degree of onboarding, but this, too, can be made easier when the employee already has a solid understanding of his or her new role.

 

4. Create a compelling offer with corporate relocation benefits

 

Any assistance an employer can offer to help ease the stress of moving will inevitably make the company more attractive to talent from outside the area.

 

If your company doesn’t already offer relocation benefits, I highly recommend looking into Kinetics, a program that allows Houston companies to create their own custom relocation packages.

 

Learn More About The Kinetics Corporate Relocation Program For Houston-Based Companies

 

I’m excited to share a brief Q&A with Kinetics director and fellow Realtor, Vanessa Hadrych.  Below, Vanessa has been kind enough to provide more information about the Kinetics program:

 

Q:   What makes Better Homes & Gardens – Gary Greene’s Kinetics program beneficial for employees relocating to Houston?

 

Kinetics was designed to help ease the stress of relocating, allowing the transferee to focus on arriving at their new destination city ready to hit the ground running.

 

The goal of Kinetics is to offer a seamless and rewarding experience for the transferee, whether they are looking to buy, sell, or rent. This commitment to service is paramount, and we pair that with our cost-saving offerings which include a cash-back benefit, zero standard mortgage closings costs through our preferred lender, Gibraltar Mortgage, and preferential pricing and services on everything related to the move. These services include temporary housing, business travel lodging, van lines and storage, pet transport, and more.

 

Whether a transferee is relocating from Seattle or Shanghai, Kinetics has leveraged Gary Greene’s 55-year legacy as a preferred relocation partner to ensure their relocation needs are met. We can assist transferees who are offered a lump sum, a managed relocation, as well as those moving at their own expense. Let our legacy work for you!

 

Q: What is the cost for a company to enroll into the Kinetics relocation program?

 

Kinetics was designed to benefit both the employee AND the employer. We offer our relocation and real estate benefits to employers at ZERO COST and with no contract.

 

Our goal is to knock it out of the park for your talent every time, so that you and your team WANT to work with us. We get paid when your talent buys or sells a home, and we give part of that back to your talent in their cash-back benefit. In addition to our services for your talent, we offer advocacy services for employers including: candidate tours, relocation policy advisement, networking opportunities (our professional network is highly curated and invaluable), and more.

 

While we do offer a level of premium services that have a cost associated with them, many of our clients find that our complimentary services are more than adequate to fit their company’s needs.

 

Q: Is Kinetics very complicated or difficult to work with from the employee’s standpoint?

 

Kinetics was designed with ease of use in mind! The process starts with a phone call or email to alert the Kinetics Houston team of your relocation needs. We’ll reach out to complete a needs assessment and then take care of the rest! You will have one point of contact for any questions, concerns, or needs. We’ll coordinate with our Realtors and vendors to ensure your needs are met and all necessary services are filled. Our concierge team will monitor your relocation from our corporate office and ensure all time-sensitive details are properly managed, all while keeping your HR team in the loop with custom reporting and update options!

 

Are You Ready To Start Recruiting Out-Of-Town Talent For Your Houston Company?

 

If you’re interested in receiving more information about the Kinetics corporate relocation program, please contact me today!

 

You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to receive updates about the Houston real estate market.