A Fresh Fall Landscape Can Attract Buyers

Improving you curb appeal is easier than you think.

By C. Mark Willix

Email the author

This week we welcomed my second favorite season when autumn arrived over the weekend. While spring remains my favorite time of year, autumn brings with it a hearty helping of fall festivals, county fairs and of course delicious holiday food.

Autumn also brings buyers to the local real estate market and with them an opportunity to help your property stand out as the most attractive in your neighborhood. This is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year as buyers are looking for great deals after the summer rush season and still want to be in their new home for the holidays. Inventory is still low for our area and it is a great time for sellers to entice buyers, but that doesn’t mean sellers can ignore their property condition.

Even if you don’t want to go to a lot of trouble or expense, you can still make your home attractive by making sure to keep the falling leaves raked and prune any end-of-season dying blooms on your bushes, shrubs and trees. While keeping the landscape tidy is sufficient, a few simple improvements can be done with a modicum of effort and expense.

CLICK HERE to see the full article on PATCH

The Mose Expensive Homes in Houston

August 30, 2012|Houston Chronicle Web Staff

In the market for a nice home? These might be out of your price range, but they are sure to make you drool.

3630 Willowick Rd: $13.9 million

The 14,000 square-foot home has five bedrooms and six baths on its 1.5 acre lot. The home, which is in the River Oaks subdivision, also has a pool, spa and three-car garage.

Photo By John Daugherty Realtors

 

2307 River Oaks Blvd.: $10 million

For a cool $10 million, you can have this 11,000 square-foot home in the River Oaks neighborhood. It has five bedrooms and eight bathrooms. It also has a pool, a three-car garage and a summer kitchen.

Photo By Greenwood King Properties

 

11010 N. County Squire St.: $7.9 million

Inside of this 11,000 square-foot home, you’ll find six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. According to the retailer, it is “an entertainer’s paradise.”

Photo By John Daugherty Realtors

CLICK HERE to see more of Houston’s most expensive properties

Pending home sales dip in August due to supply shortage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes slipped in August due to a shortage of lower priced inventory in most of the country, an industry group said on Thursday.

The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in August, fell 2.6 percent to 99.2, but was 10.7 percent higher than last year.

July’s reading was revised up to 101.9, the highest level since April 2010, when buyers were racing to use the home-buyer tax credit before the deadline, the group said.

“The performance in month-to-month contract signings has been uneven with ongoing shortages of lower priced inventory in much of the country,” the association’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

House Hunting in … Corsica

$3.6 MILLION (2,750,000 EUROS)

This granite palace tucked among hills near the Mediterranean Sea is roofed in red tile and has nearly 5,400 square feet of space. It was built in 1780 by a local nobleman in the heart of a village about 15 minutes’ drive from Ajaccio, the Corsican capital. Seven years ago, it was thoroughly restored by the current owner, who made use of salvaged materials like oak flooring and unpolished black slate, along with modern appliances.

The stone structure, fully air-conditioned and set on almost half an acre, now operates as a bed-and-breakfast inn called Carpe Diem Palazzu. It is equipped and functional; all furnishings are included in the asking price.

CLICK HERE to see the full article

Suitors bombard Hong Kong tycoon’s gay daughter after dowry

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The newly married lesbian daughter of a Hong Kong tycoon who offered a $65 million “marriage bounty” to any man able to win her love, on Thursday said she’d been flooded by marriage proposals but harbored no animosity towards her father.

Since Hong Kong property billionaire Cecil Chao, known in the tabloid media for his prolific womanizing, dangled a $65 million reward for any man able to lead his daughter, Gigi Chao, down the aisle, she says she’s been bombarded by marriage proposals from strangers, date requests, and even an offer from a Hollywood film producer to buy her story.

“War veterans from the U.S., someone from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, from Istanbul, South America, Portugal, really just from all over the world,” said Chao, sifting through emails on a white Apple laptop in her father’s high-rise office tower.

One suitor from the United States wrote: “I’m interested in your offer to wed your daughter, who also happens to be gay. I am a male person, who also happens to be gay.”

Another put up his brother, a body double to George Clooney in the 2008 sports flick “Leatherheads” as a potential mate: “He could be the picture perfect date that your father craves.”

“I’ve tried my best to respond to well-meaning ones … but most of them I just try not to open,” added the frizzy-haired Chao, who was wearing a silver ring after what she called a “church blessing” with her girlfriend in a Paris church.

Gigi said her billionaire father, who drives a Rolls Royce and flies a helicopter but had a poor early childhood in Shanghai, had been upset when his daughter’s longtime lover revealed the couple had wed in Paris in April, leading to his impromptu HK$500 million “marriage bounty” offer to any man able to set her straight.

CLICK HERE to see the original article

Did Freddie Mac bet against homeowners seeking to refinance?

By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian

Taxpayers bailed out Freddie Mac and its sister mortgage giant Fannie Mae to the tune of about $185 billion, so naturally a January report suggesting Freddie may have conspired against homeowners seeking to refinance raised hackles. But a government watchdog reported Wednesday the problematic investments it cited were simply a prudent hedge.

Investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica and NPR alleged in a joint report Freddie was investing in a derivative that would pay off more if mortgageholders kept paying high rates. At the same time, it was making it more difficult for borrowers to refinance into lower rates.

On Wednesday, the watchdog said there was no evidence of collusion. Some reports suggested Freddie had been cleared of all charges, but the report does admits the investments may have created an incentive for Freddie to keep borrowers in their current loans. From The Wall Street Journal developments blog:

The report explained that Freddie had retained the inverse floater positions because there was stronger demand for other securities. …

While Freddie Mac’s trading unit could, in theory, misuse internal data and interfere with refinancing, the inspector general found “no evidence of collusion” between those sides of Freddie Mac’s operations. [more]

CLICK HERE to view the original article

Real Estate Recovery: See it, Believe it… and Then Invest in It!

Submitted by Wall St. Daily as part of our Contributors Program

A smart investor recognizes that the market is a forward-looking beast. He also knows that the market regularly scales “walls of worry,” and that prices rise before everyone realizes a recovery is imminent.

The average investor? Well, he sits on the sidelines and, in turn, misses out on significant profits.

Don’t believe me? Look no further than the real estate sector for proof…

Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful

Back in February , when I predicted the real estate market hit rock bottom, my inbox overflowed with venom for making such a preposterous claim. Hundreds of readers unsubscribed, too.

Of course, homebuilding stocks were already telegraphing a recovery. But nobody wanted to believe it because home prices were still falling across the country. They let the “wall of worry” blind them from the opportunity.

As I wrote at the time, though, “prices are going to be the last thing to bottom out.” Well, they just officially did.

CLICK HERE to read the full article