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        EMAIL ME        12810 Telge Road, Cypress, TX 77429     Phone: (281) 213-6200     Fax: (281) 373-2214
Jessica Harless, ABR, SFR. Works with RE/MAX Realty Center in Cypress. She enjoys working Houston Real Estate.

Fall Home Sales Rebound: 5 Stats to Know


Existing-home sales were on the rise last month, posting a strong gain after a decline in August, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report released Thursday. All four major regions of the U.S. saw sales gains in September.

Regional Breakdown

Here’s a snapshot of how existing-home sales fared across the country in September:

  • Northeast: existing-home sales climbed 8.6 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, and are 11.8 percent above a year ago. Median price: $256,500, up 4 percent from a year ago.
  • Midwest: sales rose 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million in September, and are 12 percent above September 2014. Median price: $174,400, up 5.4 percent from a year ago.
  • South: sales increased 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.21 million in September, and are 5.7 percent above September 2014. Median price: $191,500, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.
  • West: sales rose 6.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million in September, and are 9.5 percent above a year ago. Median price: $318,100, which is 8 percent above September 2014.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Existing-home sales – which are completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – rose 4.7 percent in September month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million. Sales are now 8.8 percent above a year ago, NAR reports.

A slight moderation in home prices mixed with mortgage rates remaining below 4 percent is giving a boost to home sales, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“September home sales bounced back solidly after slowing in August and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007,” Yun says. “While current price growth around 6 percent is still roughly double the pace of wages, affordability has slightly improved since the spring and is helping to keep demand at a strong and sustained pace.”

Overview of NAR’s September Housing Report

1. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $221,000 — 6.1 percent higher than September 2014 ($209,100). September’s price increase marks the 43rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

2. Inventories: Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 2.6 percent to 2.21 million existing homes available for sale. Inventories are now 3.1 percent lower than a year ago (2.28 million). At the current sales pace, unsold inventory is at a 4.8-month supply, down from 5.1 months in August. “Despite persistent inventory shortages, the housing market has made great strides this year, backed by an increasing share of pent-up sellers realizing the increased equity they’ve gained from rising home prices and using it towards trading up or moving into a smaller home,” says Yun. “Unfortunately, first-time buyers are still failing to generate any meaningful traction this year.” First-time buyers dropped to 29 percent of sales in September, following a climb to the highest share of the year in August at 32 percent.

3. Days on the market: Properties stayed on the market for an average of 49 days in September – up from 47 days in August but below the 56 days in September 2014. Thirty-eight percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 135 days in September; foreclosures sold in 57 days; and non-distressed homes took 48 days.

4. Distressed sales: Distressed sales – which include foreclosures and short sales – held steady for the third consecutive month at 7 percent in September. A year ago, distressed sales comprised 10 percent of sales. Six percent of September sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales (the lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008). On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 17 percent below market value in September, while short sales were discounted 19 percent.

5. All-cash sales: Buyers bringing all-cash to closing rose to 24 percent of all transactions in September – up from 22 percent in August. Individual investors, who account for the bulk of cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in September, up from 12 percent in August. However, investors’ share of sales is down from 14 percent a year ago.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®


TRID Is The New TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures
•The Loan Estimate replaces the initial Truth-in-Lending disclosure & Good Faith Estimate for most closed-end mortgage loans
•The Closing Disclosure replaces the final Truth-in-Lending disclosure & HUD-1 Settlement Statement for most closed-end mortgage loans
Disclosures are required on transactions for which the creditor receives an application on or after…October 3rd, 2015.

If you are a homeowner...

If you are a home buyer or about to become one...



Cy-Fair ISD makes preparations to open 5 schools in 2 years

In response to the growth and new development in Northwest Harris County communities like Cypress, Cy-Fair ISD has embarked upon an aggressive expansion plan.  This article from the Community Impact Cy-Fair provides an insight to the projects underway and planned.  By Marie Leonard September 16, 2015

Construction is underway on two multischool sites, several new facilities and updates to older campuses as Cy-Fair ISD works to keep up with student growth.

“Because of the economic downturn in 2008, there were a lot of construction projects planned several years ago that had to be delayed,” Superintendent Mark Henry said. “We’re in the process of catching up. On the other hand, over the next five years we’re expecting around 9,000 or 10,000 new students, so we’re dealing with growth that occurred over the last seven years and growth that will occur over the next five years.”

Construction projects

CFISD was the fifth-fastest-growing school district in Texas during the 2014-15 school year, adding nearly 1,600 new students, according to a study by demographic firm Population Survey Analysts.

“The district is growing rapidly, and we’re pushing 115,000 students this year,” said Dillon Brady, CFISD assistant superintendent for facilities and construction. “Between now and 2017 we’re opening two high schools, two elementary schools and replacing an elementary school. We’re trying to stay in front of our needs.”

Construction is nearly 50 percent complete on Cypress Park High School, which is part of a 175-acre property at FM 529 and Westgreen Boulevard. The site will also house a middle school, expected to open by 2019, and an elementary school, which will open by 2020.

There are numerous advantages to building a multischool site—or educational village—ranging from cost savings to shared roadways and providing a sense of community for the students, Brady said.

“It’s an advantage for students and families in that your child can start kindergarten at that site and go all the way through 12th grade,” Henry said. “We think there are advantages with bus routes and transportation costs, and we have a centralized kitchen so it’s easier to deliver meals to those campuses. There are a lot of cost savings.”

The multischool site in Bridgeland is located between the Grand Parkway and future Mason Road, south of the future Bridgeland Creek Parkway. Construction began in late August on High School No. 12, which will be 570,000 square feet and four stories tall.

Construction is also underway on an adjacent 120,000-square-foot elementary school that will open for the 2017-18 school year. A middle school is planned for the site as well but has not been included in a bond.

The new campuses were designed with flexible spaces in mind, giving teachers the ability to create a unique culture of learning, Brady said.

“The way that High School No. 12 is placed and oriented allows for indoor and outdoor learning activities in a safe learning environment,” he said. “Inside you’ll see more glass, learning walls and activities built into the facility.”

read the complete article at CI-CyFair


From the US Consumer Protection Agency : courtesy of Fidelity Home Warranty.

More than one million thermostats sold in the United States and Canada since 2006 are being recalled because the batteries can leak and cause a fire.

The thermostats are made by White-Rodgers, but some have different brand names printed on the front, including ComfortSentry, DICO, Emerson, Frigidaire, Maytag, Nutone, Partners Choice, Rheem, Ruud, Unico, Water Furnace, Westinghouse and Zonefirst.

Hazard: The alkaline batteries used in the thermostat can leak onto the circuit board posing a fire hazard.

Remedy: Consumers should check thermostats for battery icon on the left side of the blue lighted screen, if the battery icon is not shown, contact White-Rodgers to receive a free repair or a replacement thermostat.

Consumer Contact: White-Rodgers toll-free at (888) 624-1901 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or click here.

Bridgeland continues its westward expansion.  At the same time the developers respect the wildlife that have been calling this their home for many years...

"Developers started with a land plan that embraced the bountiful natural environment. Bridgeland is located along the eastern boundaries of the Katy Prairie, an environmental gem that has provided refuge and foraging areas for more than 300 species of resident and migratory birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Bridgeland developers worked carefully to protect the valuable land, including the historical Cypress Creek Corridor, a substantial creek system that runs along Bridgeland’s northern boundaries. Careful planning has not only preserved these natural attributes, but also revived the areas through thoughtful development of amenities such as the Cypress Creek Nature Trail. The first 1.5 miles of the nature trail opened in 2008. An additional mile opened this year.  Upon completion, the trail will stretch for 6 miles." -

A special thanks to Mike McCurdy for the use of his video ...   You'll see more videos from  Mike in posts to come!

Posting this just a bit late - It's been a busy 2014 already!

I wanted to share the Bridgeland Year-End Recap with my readers. It was a great year for the community and the families that are fortunate to Live, Work, and Play here in Bridgeland! 

March - Bridgeland Instagram Launched
April - Record Attendance at Nature Fest
July - Foundry Church Opened Its Doors
August - Pope Elementary Welcomed Its First Students
October - Won "Master Planned Community of the Year" Award
November - Howard Hughes Corp Wins "Best Workplace" Award"
December - Hidden Creek Construction Begins

Throughout 2014, I will post updates on the happenings in Bridgeland and Cypress Texas. I hope your will find them of interest to you and your family. And of course, if you would like to become one of my Bridgeland or Cypress neighbors in 2014 - please give me a call -
With the New Year upon us, we start to plan and resolve to move forward with hope and even excitement.  It is also a good time to reflect on the year past.

It feels good to take a moment to laugh and smile at those moments with family and friends that gave you pleasure. If your year was full of challenges and difficult times, take time to say thanks for the strength that carried you through.

My “I Remember It Well…” list top 13 for 2013 includes:
  1. I ran in the Houston Marathon – hardest thing I have ever done
  2. Taking the kids snow skiing at Steamboat - Kyle skiing at age 2
  3. Carmen played her first year of volleyball – such an exciting sport
  4. My husband changed jobs –  loves it
  5. Brian and I went to The College World Series to watch Mississippi State  - go Bulldogs
  6. Lots of great family time on the boat this summer – all the kids water skiing
  7. Kaitlyn and Carmen started piano lessons – music fills our home
  8. We took Carmen on her first deep sea fishing trip – she caught her first saltwater fish
  9. Girls started school at the new neighborhood school - Pope Elementary
  10. Brian and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary – what a great guy
  11. Took a girl’s trip to Carmel – saw magnificent whales in the Pacific
  12. My brother, his wife Jessica and little Sawyer moved to Texas – so nice to have family close
  13. My best year in real estate – really nice clients
If you made a list such as this for 2013 – what would be at the top of your list?
Bridging farms and families.

Next Market - Sunday, Nov. 10th 
12:30 - 3:30pm, rain or shine

2nd Artisan Market - Local artists will bring their original work of art.

Bonnie Blue - Folk, Artcar & Portrait Artist and will bring along her 
"Woman Rock Artcar"

Live Concert - Grifters & Shills
high energy roots music, featuring vocal harmonies, guitar, banjo, percussion, harmonica, mandolin, and bass

Produce in Season
Peans, pumpkins, corn stalks, squashes and sweet potatoes


16902 Bridgeland Landing
Cypress, TX 77433

When and Where  

(year round)
16902 Bridgeland Landing, Cypress, TX 77433
Adjacent to the Activity Center of Bridgeland
2nd Sunday of each month
12:30 - 3:30 pm

Contact Information

Birgit Eisenkoelbl


My friend, Russell Rhodes from SWBC Mortgage shared this news regarding FHA loans in his latest newsletter.  If you need assistance with home financing, you can reach Russell at 832-382-2224 or visit his website at 

Important FHA Changes

FHA has made changes to how Collections, Charge Offs, Judgments and Disputed Accounts are handled. These changes are effective as of October 15th, 2013. Please see below a summary of the FHA Mortgagee letters 2013-24 and 2013-25 and if you have any questions please contact us. Thank you.

• These new rules are applicable for FHA case numbers issued on and after October 15, 2013


·         Medical collections and/or charge offs are excluded from this guidance.

·         A letter of explanation from the borrower(s) is:

o   Not required for loans receiving an approved/eligible from FHA Total Scorecard (DU).

o   Is required for all manually underwritten loans. In addition to the letter of explanation, the borrower(s) must provide supporting documentation that provides the DE underwriter with evidence that the collection account was not the result of the borrower’s disregard for financial obligation and/or inability to manage debt.

·         Payment plan

o   Must be considered if the aggregate balance of all outstanding collections is equal to or greater than $2000.

o   Considered for both manual underwrites and loans receiving a FHA Total Scorecard (DU) A/E decision.

o   Medical collections are EXCLUDED from this aggregate.

§  Unless excluded by State law, the collection accounts of a non-purchasing spouse in a community property State are INCLUDED in this aggregate.

o   One of the following actions MUST be taken if the aggregate from all borrowers is $2000 or higher. (Note: If borrower A total is $1500 and borrower B total is $600 the sum is over $2000 and therefore the guidance applies.

§  Payment in full at or prior to closing (with the source of funds properly verified)

§  If a payment plan has been made with creditor, include the agreed upon amount in the DTI.

§   If a payment plan has not been made, 5% of the balance must be included in DTI.


·         Applies to all loans, whether approved by Total Scorecard (DU) or manually underwritten.

·         All judgments (including medical) must be paid in full at or prior to closing.

o   An exception may be given if the borrower has entered into an agreement with the creditor.   Full documentation of the payment agreement required AND a minimum of 3 months of scheduled payments have been made.   Borrowers may NOT prepay the scheduled payments in order to satisfy the 3 month requirement.

·          Payments must be included in the DTI.

o   Unless exempt by State law, the judgments of a non-purchasing spouse, in a community property State, included in this guidance.



·         This category is used to determine if a manual downgrade to a loan is required, if the loan is approved by Total Scorecard (DU) and there are derogatory disputed items on the borrower’s credit report.

·         Derogatory disputed information is defined as:

o   Disputed collection accounts – OR

o   Disputed charge off accounts – OR

o   Disputed accounts with late payments in the last 24 months

·         Excluded from the calculation are:

o   Disputed medical accounts.

o   Accounts that are the result of identity theft;   credit card theft and/or unauthorized use.   However, there must be appropriate documentation, such as a police report, to substantiate the theft and/or unauthorized use claim.   If proper documentation cannot be obtained, then the accounts are included in the calculation.

·         Cumulative outstanding balances from all borrowers are $1,000 or higher the file must be downgraded to a “Refer”.   (Note:   If borrower A total is $500 and borrower B total is $600 the sum is over $1000 and therefore the guidance applies.)

o   The DE underwriter will then consider this derogatory disputed information in the credit analysis as a manual underwrite.
          - If the disputed information is isolated and the overall credit profile of the borrower is acceptable, the DE underwriter may leave the file with an open dispute.
          - If the disputed information is not isolated and/or the overall credit profile of the borrower is not acceptable, the DE underwrite may require that the dispute be satisfactorily resolved before the loan can be closed.

·         Cumulative outstanding balances from all borrowers are $999 or less, a downgrade is NOT required.


·         Non-Derogatory disputed information is defined as:

o   Disputed accounts with zero balance

o   Disputed accounts that are current and paid as agreed

o    Disputed accounts with late payments aged 24 months or longer

·         Non-derogatory disputed accounts do NOT require a manual downgrade.

·         The DE underwriter IS required to consider the disputed accounts and the potential impact to the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, including the impact to the DTI.

Thanks, Russell


In Houston and the surrounding communities, many of us are fortunate to have a backyard pool or spa. For others the neighborhood pools offer a haven from the heat, a place to cool off and to enjoy a refreshing dip.

Unfortunately, every summer we hear news reports about drowning victims of all ages from toddlers to seniors. Many of these incidents could have been prevented if we all follow good water safety practices. 

What are those practices... from the Red Cross website; I am sharing the best of best.  Visit for these and other helpful information -

Follow these safety tips whenever you are in, on or around water:

Make Water Safety Your Priority

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of waterincluding ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water

  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
  • If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
  • Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
  • Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

Maintain Constant Supervision

  • Actively supervise kids whenever around the water—even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach—designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.

Know What to Do in an Emergency

  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.


·        Get a professional AC check-up – clean and replace filters

·        Adjust thermostat settings

·        Increase your pool maintenance

·        Re-seal your deck

·        Check your hoses for leaks & set soakers

·        Adjust your sprinkler schedule - check sprinkler heads and coverage

·        Clean your ceiling fans

·        Check outside outlets

·        Exterminate inside and outside

·        Use appliances wisely – wash clothes and dishes late evening or night / cut down on baking and indoor broiling

·        Create with energy friendly window shades & coverings


Being Prepared

Purchase hurricane supplies early – before the storm! With the hurricane officially starting June 1st, here is a list** of supplies that you should have on hand:

** courtesy of the Houston Public Library
Don't forget to purchase a battery powered cellphone charger, too!

Once you get these all checked off, it’s time to have a fun with your family and friends this summer.  After you, take a nap, of course!


The 2012-2013 school year will be over before you know it and summer vacation will be upon us.  

Now – is the time to register your kids for summer programs.  Cypress and Northwest Houston has a great variety of programs for toddlers to tweens & teens.

You can find a program that is educational, such as math camp or one that encourages performing arts, such as children’s theatre, or a a program that hones in on athletics. like swimming or baseball, or a vacation bible school.  Some programs are free for community residents; some charge a family friendly fee; while others can be a bit pricey.

If you are considering a sleepover camping experience for your child there are many things to consider. A good resource is “she knows parenting.”

Remember, enrollments are limited and registrations fill fast.  I know you don’t want your kids to miss out on the fun or not be able to join their friends.

Check out my list of resources and programs below and you will won’t hear the proverbial cry of summer – “Mom, I’m bored – there’s nothing to do!

Summer 2013 Programs – General Information & Directories

Just Fun Plain!
Mark Kistler Art Camps
Painting with a Twist
The Artist Within
The Potter’s Wheel

Trilogy Cheer & Dance
Grandview Farms  - Equestrian
Bridgeland Summer Kids Triathlon Camps
Advantage Softball
Cypress TaeKwan Do

Bible Schools & Religious Programs
Zapped Camp – Cypress Bible Church
Summer Blast – Cypress United Methodist Church
Sports & Arts Camp and Tropical Zone 2013Fairfield Baptist Church
KWOW Kidz Kamp – The Church Without Words

Champions Science Adventures- Saint Aidans  
Champions Science Adventures - The Berry Center
Building Brains
Mad Science Camp
Your Community and Heritage – Eagle Scout Badge

Theatre & Performing Arts
Artisan School of Dance                        
CyFair Music & Arts
Living Lines Dance Center
Summer at Applause
The Houston Family Arts Theatre

Cy-Fair Summer School & Lone Star College
LSC – CyFair Library – Summer Reading
Discovery College – at Lone Star
Cy-Fair ISD Summer School – program info


Bridgeland Nature Fest - April 27th 10:00am until 5:00pm
Nature Fest will be a hoot as event-goers attempt to break the Guinness World Records® title for the most people giving a simultaneous bird call, finely feathered aerialists perform seemingly impossible stunts and a world-renowned zoologist entertains with his even more famous contingent of animals. Plus, camel and pony rides, bubble runners, bumper boats and gourmet food trucks. Free!  

Information and Event Details - 

Bridgeland - Nature Trails
The trails in Bridgeland are designed to appeal to a wide variety of homeowners seeking a broad range of activities.

The hierarchy of trails are being developed in phases. Ultimately they will run border to border, to provide physical links for pedestrian/bicycle traffic to various villages, village centers and activity centers. Exercise trails with fitness stations, as well as nature trails along waterways and creeks, meander through the development to provide views of water fowl, aquatic plants/grasses and open up educational opportunities.

Preserving the Cypress Creek Corridor and making it accessible to residents is part of Bridgeland’s overall environmental plan, which strives to bridge the area’s rich natural landscape and residential development.

In the early stages of development, planners devised a multi-faceted and meaningful land use plan that supports the legacy of the Katy Prairie, widespread environmental initiatives, passive and active recreation for residents and community infrastructure,

Bridgeland is a wonderful community.  I should know - I live here, work here, and play here.  If you would like to join my family and I - just give me a call.  I am sure together we can find that "just right" home!


The Bridgeland Farmers Market is located in the parking lot adjacent to the Activity Center in the beautiful community of Bridgeland. 16902 Bridgeland Landing, Cypress, TX 77433 

April Market Events: 

Celebrate Earth Day: We will be sharing tips and resources on how to recycle in Bridgeland. 

Plant a Seed! All kids will be able to plant a seed and take it home - a great science project to watch a plant grow!

T-Shirt Bag: Bring your old T-shirt and learn how to make your very own T-shirt Bag.  

The market is held every 2nd Sunday of the month.

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