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APR
23

None of us ever feel like we have enough time in the day, these spring cleaning tips are great to use year round. They save time and help keep the dirt, dust and grime at bay so you can spend time doing what you want to do. What are some of your time saving tips for spring cleaning?

Cynthia

How to Keep Things Cleaner, Longer
By Deirdre Sullivan, originally appearing on HouseLogic.com. Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic.com

Giving your home that spring-clean feeling takes some elbow grease, but these ideas make it easier to fight those dirty jobs faster and less often.

1.  Defy dust.

Trick: You can combat dust by adjusting your home’s humidity level.

The facts: Low humidity levels cause static electricity. Not only does static attract dust, it makes it stick, so it’s difficult to remove. High humidity causes problems, too — it’s an ideal environment for dust mites. These microscopic critters are a double threat: They’re a common allergen, and they contribute to dust production. There are as many as 19,000 dust mites in half a teaspoon of house dust, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Yuck!

Next steps: Keep your home’s humidity level between 40%-50%. That’ll eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth.

Tip:
Make it easy to keep your household vents dust free. Remove and wash them once a year with mild soap and water. After they’re clean and completely dry, apply a liberal coat of car wax; then buff.

2.  Keep glass shower doors crystal clear.

Trick: You can eliminate soap scum build-up by coating your glass shower doors with a rain-repellant product made for car windshields.

The facts: When applied to glass, products like these create an invisible barrier that causes water, oils, and debris (like soap suds) to bead and roll off.

Next steps:
Find this product anywhere that sells basic auto supplies. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when water stops beading on shower doors. Keep in mind, windshield rain repellants were made to treat glass, not plastic.

Tip:
Automatic shower cleaners claim to let you clean your shower and tub less frequently — like every 30 days. After you finish bathing, the gadget will douse your shower and tub with a cleanser that prevents soap scum build-up while combating mold and mildew. You can buy automatic shower cleaners at most big-brand retailers, like Target and Walmart.

3.  Seal your stone countertops.

Why:
Natural stone countertops, including granite and marble, are porous, so if they’re not sealed, liquids like red wine, juice, or soy sauce can stain them.
 
The facts: A countertop sealer repels stains by causing spills to bead instead of getting absorbed. Likely, your contractor sealed your countertop when it was installed.

Next steps: To keep your countertops in tip-top shape, re-apply sealer twice a year. To see if you need a fresh coat, pour a tiny bit of water on your natural stone countertop. If the water doesn’t bead or doesn’t stay beaded for 2-3 minutes, it’s time to reseal.

Tip:
Shopping for stone countertops? Slabs with lots of swirls or veins tend to be more porous.

4.  Protect your furniture and carpets.

Why: Protective furniture sprays and carpet sealants guard against inevitable spills. Some of these products also protect fabrics from fading and resist mold, mildew, and bacteria.

The facts: Protective sprays and sealants, like Scotchgard and Ultra-Guard, cause liquids to bead on the surface instead of being absorbed.

Next steps: Apply the appropriate sealer once a year after a deep upholstery and carpet cleaning. 

Tip: In the future, you may not need to buy a protective furniture spray or carpet sealer thanks to a new fabric coating that repels dirt and water. It’s made by Liquipel, the company that created a water-shield substance to protect cell phones, MP3 players, and other electronic devices. The company plans to release a water-repellent clothing line next year. We bet household fabrics and materials will be next.

Rust-Oleum introduced a similar product, NeverWet, last year. But the company doesn’t recommend it for furniture, because the product “will repel liquids when applied to fabric, but will change the appearance.“

5. Give oven-cleaning products the boot.

Why: Most cleaners give off noxious fumes and make a horrible mess.

The facts: The basic ingredient in many oven cleaners is lye, which can burn your eyes and your skin; it’s usually fatal if swallowed. 

Next steps: Use a wet pumice stone to scrape off dirt and grease. It’s faster than oven cleaner and toxin-free.

Tip: Need to wipe your range or anything else down? You can bust filth faster by heating up a clean, damp sponge or cloth in a microwave for 30 seconds before wiping with or without a cleaning product. Put on rubber gloves before you pick up that hot sponge.

6. Keep things tidy with quick touch-ups.

Trick: Small cleaning projects prevent filth from building up.

The facts: When you spot clean daily, you can prevent smudges from staining, banish dust bunnies, and even combat allergens.

Next steps: Create a spot-cleaning kit so you can address small, dirty situations in minutes.

  • Cleaning pads are great for eradicating dirty fingerprints on walls and light switches. 
  • Damp micro-cloths can reduce airborne dander when used daily to wipe down pets.
  • Dry sweeper cloths can quickly pick up dust and dry dirt off floors, shelves, and electronics.

Tip: Keep stored items cleaner longer by shuting closets, cabinets, and drawers, so circulating dust and dirt can’t get in.

7.  Ditch your outdated low-wattage bulbs.

The facts: A room lit with low-wattage incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents can look dark and dingy. “Daylight” bulbs brighten things up. These full-spectrum light bulbs mimic natural light, so they give better visual accuracy. Bonus: Like sunlight, these bulbs can boost your mood.

Next steps: When shopping for bulbs, look for those marked “daylight” that have a range between 5,000-6,500 kelvins.

Tip: Don’t understand the difference between warm white bulbs and daylight bulbs? Check out the video for a side-by-side comparison: http://youtu.be/WIrJKuxLjGc

8.  Use a cleaner sweeper.

Why:
Brooms hold on to dirt.

The facts:
You don’t want to just push dirt around when you sweep. You can use spray dusters (like the ones used on computer keyboards) to blow dust bunnies off brooms, and soapy water to get rid of the grime. But how about combing dirt off broom bristles while you’re sweeping?

Next steps: Check out the Broom Groomer. It was invented by a guy who cut his hand on broken glass when it got stuck on the bristles of his broom. Watch the video to see how it works:  http://youtu.be/NzWN0o3KwYI

Tip: About 80% of dirt in homes walks in from the outside. Stop dirt with a bristly doormat before it’s tracked inside.

Getting your home ready to sell? Thinking about buying?
Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at
cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
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Houston condominiums, Houston high-rises, Houston home builders, Houston home prices, Houston home rentals, Houston home value, Houston homes, Houston homes for rent, Houston homes for sale, Houston house, Houston house value, Houston houses, Houston housing, Houston listings, Houston MLS, Houston neighborhoods, Houston new homes, Houston properties, Houston property, Houston real estate, Houston real estate agents, Houston real estate associates, Houston real estate brokers, Houston real estate companies, Houston real estate firms, Houston real estate information, Houston real estate listings, Houston real estate market, Houston real estate schools, Houston real estate service providers, Houston real estate solds, Houston real estate values, Houston real estate, Houston realtors, Houston relocation, Houston schools, Houston single family homes, Houston sold home prices, Houston sold homes, Houston subdivisions, Houston town homes, Houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties Houston Texas TX OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 Houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

APR
22
Exciting new construction from InTown Homes promises plenty of amenities in the heart of Houston in the revitalized East End. Energy efficiency and eco-hip designs paired with a generous floorplan and gourmet kitchen is urban living at its best.

Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
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visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
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houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

APR
22
Exciting new construction from InTown Homes promises plenty of amenities in the heart of Houston. Soaring ceilings, state of the art kitchen, gorgeous hardwoods and modern design elements  make this an ideal home for the young urban professional. Situated just outside of downtown  in the East End and minutes from Midtown, the Galleria, Montrose and the Med Center this is urban living at its very best.  
Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
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Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
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houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

APR
18
Traditional Heights home retains plenty of its original charm with a generous front porch, original built-in china cabinet, stained glass and original glass throughout while offering plenty modern updates. Beautiful hardwood floors and warm colors throughout. Backyard has privacy fence and elevated deck making it easy to enjoy those warm summer evenings. Blocks away from hike and bike trails and Heights Boulevard.














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Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
...............................................................................................
visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

client experience rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
email
cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
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Houston condominiums, Houston high-rises, Houston home builders, Houston home prices, Houston home rentals, Houston home value, Houston homes, Houston homes for rent, Houston homes for sale, Houston house, Houston house value, Houston houses, Houston housing, Houston listings, Houston MLS, Houston neighborhoods, Houston new homes, Houston properties, Houston property, Houston real estate, Houston real estate agents, Houston real estate associates, Houston real estate brokers, Houston real estate companies, Houston real estate firms, Houston real estate information, Houston real estate listings, Houston real estate market, Houston real estate schools, Houston real estate service providers, Houston real estate solds, Houston real estate values, Houston real estate, Houston realtors, Houston relocation, Houston schools, Houston single family homes, Houston sold home prices, Houston sold homes, Houston subdivisions, Houston town homes, Houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties Houston Texas TX OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 Houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

APR
17

photo NOAA

By 2014 NAR President Steve Brown

With the passage of the NAR-supported Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in early April, REALTORS® were able to help bring property buyers and owners relief from exorbitant rate shocks and potentially inaccurate rate quotes that were causing uncertainty in the real estate market.

But, the story doesn’t end there.  In fact, that is only the first half.  Now, the new legislation must be implemented and there are both concerns and questions that remain unanswered.

Last week, I met with David Walker. He is a Director of the National Flood Insurance Program at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

We discussed four critical issues that need to be implemented immediately because of their importance to our members and property owners.

Assume Policies of Property Sellers

The first issue dealt with immediate and desperately-needed rate relief to home buyers by preventing an immediate jump to full-risk premiums at the time of purchase. Buyers of property will be allowed to “assume” the policies and current rates of sellers. However, to deliver this relief, FEMA must act immediately to implement this provision. I asked the director when FEMA will issue the appropriate instructions and guidance to “Write Your Own” insurance companies allowing for the assumption of current rates and policies.

Deliver Refunds

The second issue we discussed was the refund provision. It is vital that refunds to property owners who paid the full actuarial premium, between July 2012 and when this new legislation was passed, happen as soon as possible.

Establish Flood Insurance Advocate

The third issue we discussed was the establishment of an office of the Flood Insurance Advocate within FEMA to help consumers with concerns related to flood insurance rates, quotes and appealing flood zone determinations.  This office is an idea created by NAR, and we were thrilled it made into the final passage of the bill.  Now, we want to make sure the office is established and fully funded.

Create Technical Mapping Advisory Council

The final issue requires that FEMA implement a Technical Mapping Advisory Council. It is critical to ensure the flood maps are accurate. I asked the director if they have developed a timeline to re-establish the Technical Mapping Council so it can begin reviewing and improving the accuracy of FEMA’s flood maps.

As the meeting progressed, I was struck by the fact that Mr. Miller seemed to be that rare federal government official who had a grasp of how well-intentioned policies enacted in Washington, D.C. could have negative impacts on real estate markets across the nation.

The challenge, Mr. Miller said, is to implement the law as required by Congress, while mitigating the impacts on people who can least afford expensive flood insurance premiums – low and middle-income property owners.

The other good news coming out of the meeting is that the director told me that FEMA understood the urgency to implement these provisions and are working “aggressively” to develop and circulate the appropriate guidance and information.

Still from our perspective, this new legislation does not solve the challenges created by the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program in 2012.  It only gradually phases in rate increases; it does not prevent them from occurring.

Because this is still a continuing issue for our members and consumers, I recently created a President’s Advisory Group to develop further recommendations about how NAR should proceed as the changes are implemented.  Our concern is simple;  what will be the impact on the value and marketability of properties that require flood insurance  at the new rate premiums?

I promise we will keep you updated on further developments as they come out of FEMA and the President’s Advisory Group.  But, for now, I am pleased to report the good news that FEMA heard our concerns and is working hard to resolve them.

...............................................................................................
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Houston condominiums, Houston high-rises, Houston home builders, Houston home prices, Houston home rentals, Houston home value, Houston homes, Houston homes for rent, Houston homes for sale, Houston house, Houston house value, Houston houses, Houston housing, Houston listings, Houston MLS, Houston neighborhoods, Houston new homes, Houston properties, Houston property, Houston real estate, Houston real estate agents, Houston real estate associates, Houston real estate brokers, Houston real estate companies, Houston real estate firms, Houston real estate information, Houston real estate listings, Houston real estate market, Houston real estate schools, Houston real estate service providers, Houston real estate solds, Houston real estate values, Houston real estate, Houston realtors, Houston relocation, Houston schools, Houston single family homes, Houston sold home prices, Houston sold homes, Houston subdivisions, Houston town homes, Houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties Houston Texas TX OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 Houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

APR
17
Gorgeous home for your growing family nestled in the heart of Fall Creek on oversized  lot. State of the art media room has screen,surround sound speakers and tv that stay. Spacious master bedroom with luxurious bathroom-- dual sinks, separate tub and shower. The kitchen is an entertainer's dream. Fall Creek offers a thriving community, outdoor recreation, great schools and a short commute to downtown-- perfect for a family of any size!


















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visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
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houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School
APR
16

Wow! Some of these homes are almost too whimsical to believe. Houston is also home to several whimsical homes that inspire the imagination and make people have a double-take. The Beer Can House is an obvious contender for Houston whimsy, what are some other ones? Of the homes below,which one is your favorite?
-- Cynthia

By John Riha, Originally appearing on HouseLogic.com

If you’re looking for a rock-solid investment, how about this house in Portugal? Situated between two giant boulders, the house walls are formed of mortared masonry, and the living area is covered by concrete tile roofing. Fireproof, windproof, and impervious to insects, a house like this might qualify you for lower home owners insurance rates.
Credit: JSome1, photographer


Insect-proof, fireproof, and able to withstand 575 mph winds, this Boeing 727 features more than 1,000 square feet of living area, and there are plenty of storage solutions in the cargo hold and in the overhead compartments. The jet body cost about $100,000 (without engines). Moving the decommissioned jet to its final resting place and outfitting it for living cost another $100,000. Credit: From www.AirplaneHome.com

Can your home survive nuclear winter? This one can. Made from a decommissioned missile silo in upstate New York, it’s one of the strongest structures ever built. The 2,300-sq.-ft., below-ground portion includes a full kitchen, entertainment center, and two private suites. Entrance is gained via an 1,800-sq.-ft. log home on the surface, and there’s a private runway. Buy-in price? About $750,000. Credit: ColdWarMissileSilo.com


Choosing the right colors for your exterior paint job is critical to preserving your home’s value, unless you happen to think like Dr. Seuss, in which case just about anything goes. This bright and fantastical house is located in (where else?) North Pole, Alaska, where a bit of colorful whimsy is a welcome sight. Credit: Peggy Asbury


With its green roof and rural flavor, this 200-square-foot cottage in Missouri has its, um, roots in the centuries-old art of cob construction—earthen walls formed of clay, sand, and straw. Cost of construction was about $4,000, or a modest $20 per square foot. Of course it includes a mudroom addition.
Credit: Brian “Ziggy” Liloia and April Morales / photograph by Stephen Shapiro


With its multiple balconies, twisting staircases, and oddly shaped rooms, this whimsical house in Wyoming is a local curiosity. Although it’s no longer occupied, the original owner/builder used locally harvested logs and plenty of salvaged building materials to produce a one-of-the-kind cowboy mansion that towers above the plains. Credit: Robert Elzey

These home owners are obviously into self-reflection. Clad in pieces of glass and mirror, this enlightened folk art cottage in Florida requires a lot of window cleaning. For a more maintenance-free exterior, try vinyl or fiber-cement sidingCredit: Gordon Borman

Think twice before you bang your head against the walls of this Gainsville, Fla., house. Built from salvaged steel shipping containers ($2,500-$5,000 each), this 2,200-square-foot flight of fancy features three bedrooms and two and a half baths. It’s fireproof, sustainable (repurposed materials!), and you sure won’t have to worry about termites.
Credit: Stephen Bender at MW Bender Architecture

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/photos/home-thoughts/ugly-houses/slide/a-house-that-rocks/#ixzz2u5cx5bbP
...............................................................................................
visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
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houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School



APR
15
Charming Heights bungalow with inviting front porch, natural sunlit rooms and warm, rich colors create a beautiful space. Equipped with smart, extensive storage and a great greenhouse for garderners, this home promises a lot of possibilities.



















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visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
email
cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
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My
Stats:  http://goo.gl/hFWEoR


see what people like about the Heights and what they think is its best kept secret at
www.youtube.com/cynthiamullins
houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School
APR
14

Energy efficiency is a big selling point in a home and even if you don't plan to move for years, why not make improvements that will save you money? An energy audit for your home identifies what improvements you can do to make your home run more efficient and will show you where you're wasting money. Sometimes the energy wasting culprits are obvious, other times not so much which is why a professional home audit can be such a valuable tool-- especially if you have an older home.
--Cynthia

What Type of Energy Audit is Right for You?
By Jane Hodges, originally appearing on HouseLogic.com. Image: Shannon Kirshner/The State Journal Register

An energy audit will tell you where your home is wasting energy and what improvements you need to make to lower your energy bills by 5% to 30% annually. Luckily there are different types of energy audits that range from free to a few hundred dollars.

Use an online energy audit questionnaire

You can find them at the website for your local utility or municipality, or at government-supported websites such as Home Energy Saver or Energy Star.

Online questionnaires immediately calculate areas where you can achieve savings. Be prepared to answer specific questions about your home energy usage and costs, such as:

  • Energy costs and usage for the last year.
  • The energy sources for your home (gas, propane, electric).
  • The square footage of your home.
  • The number of gallons of water your toilet tank holds (often stamped on the inside of the tank).
  • The R-value of insulation in your attic (sometimes printed on the paper bats), but you won’t have to climb into your attic or poke around behind the water heater.

Cost: Free.

Conduct a DIY energy audit

Got a flashlight, ladder, measuring stick, safety glasses, dust mask, screwdriver, and a stick of incense? If so, you’re equipped to inspect your home. You’ll also need to dig out utility bills and do a little research about optimal insulation requirements for your area. Expect to spend 2 to 4 hours.

Cost: $50 if you have to buy the tools; otherwise: no cost.

Hire a professional energy auditor

Even if you conduct a DIY energy audit, it’s a good idea to double-check your diagnosis with a professional energy auditor, especially if your audit reveals you have problems. An auditor knows homes well enough to advise you on how to get to the source of a problem, saving you a lot of trial, error, and perhaps unnecessary expense.

There are two types of professional energy audits:

  • Visual inspection. Along the lines of DIY energy audit, this evaluation will give you the benefit of the energy auditor’s keen eye and experience. You’ll come away with plenty of ideas for improving your home’s carbon footprint. Cost: $150.
  • Diagnostic inspection. Using hi-tech equipment like thermal scanners and duct blasters, a professional energy auditor will shake down your house for air leaks, noxious fumes, and spotty insulation. Cost $400 to $600.

    ...............................................................................................
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    Houston condominiums, Houston high-rises, Houston home builders, Houston home prices, Houston home rentals, Houston home value, Houston homes, Houston homes for rent, Houston homes for sale, Houston house, Houston house value, Houston houses, Houston housing, Houston listings, Houston MLS, Houston neighborhoods, Houston new homes, Houston properties, Houston property, Houston real estate, Houston real estate agents, Houston real estate associates, Houston real estate brokers, Houston real estate companies, Houston real estate firms, Houston real estate information, Houston real estate listings, Houston real estate market, Houston real estate schools, Houston real estate service providers, Houston real estate solds, Houston real estate values, Houston real estate, Houston realtors, Houston relocation, Houston schools, Houston single family homes, Houston sold home prices, Houston sold homes, Houston subdivisions, Houston town homes, Houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties Houston Texas TX OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 Houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School








APR
10
MLS Report for March 2014

Despite low inventory, home sales blossom for a 34th straight month

HOUSTON (April 9, 2014) If there’s a depleted supply of homes for sale in Houston, you wouldn’t know it from the market’s new monthly home sales figures. March brought about the 34th consecutive month of positive home sales, despite the record low 2.6-month supply of inventory that has prevailed throughout 2014.

According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), home sales rose 3.7 percent year-over-year, with March single-family home sales totaling 5,971. That is the largest one-month sales volume recorded since last September.

The supply of homes first reached 2.6 months of inventory in December 2013 and has held steady ever since. However, it is down from the 3.5-month supply in March 2013 and significantly lower than the national supply of 5.2 months of inventory.

The average price of a single-family home increased 11.0 percent year-over-year to $261,329. The median price—the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less—climbed 9.8 percent to $189,900. Both figures represent the highest prices Houston has ever seen in a March.

Single-family homes priced from $250,000 through the millions saw the greatest sales activity and accounted for the latest jump in prices. Homes priced at $150,000 and below experienced declines.

“Houston home sales rose again in March, with most of the buying taking place at the higher end of the market,” said HAR Chair Chaille Ralph with Heritage Texas Properties. “We’ve also seen ongoing strength in the leasing market, which illustrates that many consumers continue to take advantage of available lease property. We are happy that there hasn’t been any further decline in the local supply of homes and are hopeful that new construction and seasonal spring listings will help our inventory grow.”

Foreclosure property sales reported in the HAR Multiple Listing Service (MLS) continued their freefall, dropping 45.3 percent compared to March 2013. Foreclosures now comprise 6.8 percent of all property sales, down from a 12.3 percent share a year earlier. The median price of foreclosures rose 8.7 percent to $93,500.

March sales of all property types totaled 7,277, a 4.3-percent increase over the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold rose 15.3 percent to $1.8 billion versus $1.6 billion a year earlier.


March Monthly Market Comparison

The Houston housing market realized gains in total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing when compared to March 2013.

Month-end pending sales totaled 4,596, a 3.7 percent increase versus last year, which portends another bump in sales when the April numbers are tallied. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of March declined 14.1 percent to 28,085.

Houston’s housing inventory has remained flat at a 2.6-month supply since December 2013, but is down from the 3.5 months of supply one year ago. The inventory of single-family homes across the country is currently 5.2 months, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.

CATEGORIES MARCH 2013 MARCH 2014 CHANGE
Total property sales 6,975 7,277 4.3%
Total dollar volume $1,569,146,124 $1,809,673,861 15.3%
Total active listings 32,704 28,085 -14.1%
Total pending sales 4,433 4,596 3.7%
Single-family home sales 5,756 5,971 3.7%
Single-family average sales price $235,484 $261,329 11.0%
Single-family median sales price $173,000 $189,900 9.8%
Single-family months inventory* 3.5 2.6 -25.3%
* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.

Single-Family Homes Update

March sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 5,971. That is an increase of 3.7 percent from March 2013 and accounts for the market’s 34th consecutive monthly increase. It also represents the greatest one-month sales volume since September 2013.

Home prices reached the highest levels ever recorded for a March in Houston. The single-family median price climbed 9.8 percent from last year to $189,900 and the average price jumped 11.0 percent year-over-year to $261,329.

Single Family

Broken out by housing segment, December sales performed as follows:

  • $1 - $79,999: decreased 29.8 percent
  • $80,000 - $149,999: decreased 6.1 percent
  • $150,000 - $249,999: increased 8.9 percent
  • $250,000 - $499,999: increased 16.7 percent
  • $500,000 - $1 million and above: increased 28.1 percent
  • Single Family Average Home Price

    HAR also breaks out the sales performance of existing single-family homes for the Houston market. In March 2014, existing home sales totaled 5,093, a 6.3 percent increase from the same month last year. The average sales price rose 10.2 percent year-over-year to $243,286 while the median sales price increased 10.1 percent to $175,000.

    Townhouse/Condominium Update

    Townhouse and condominium sales in March declined 4.2 percent from one year earlier, marking the first decline since March 2012. A total of 524 units sold last month compared to 547 properties in March 2013. The average price shot up 20.6 percent to $209,737 and the median price increased 12.9 percent to $158,000. Inventory slid to a 2.7 months supply versus a 3.7 months supply in March 2013. However, it is a slight improvement from the 2.5 and 2.6 months supply recorded in January and February, respectively.

    Townhouse/Condominium Sales

    Lease Property Update

    Houston’s lease property market was strong in March. Single-family home rentals jumped 22.3 percent compared to March 2013 while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals rose 12.4 percent. The average rent for a single-family home increased 5.2 percent to $1,633 and the average rent for a townhouse/condominium rose 7.2 percent to $1,496.

    Houston Real Estate Milestones in March
    • Single-family home sales rose 3.7 percent year-over-year, yielding the market’s 34th straight monthly increase;
    • Total property sales increased 4.3 percent compared to one year earlier;
    • Total dollar volume climbed 15.3 percent, increasing from $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion on a year-over-year basis;
    • At $189,800, the single-family home median price reached the highest level for a March in Houston;
    • At $261,329, the single-family home average price also reached a March high;
    • A 2.6-month supply of inventory of single-family homes is unchanged from December 2013, but down from a 3.5-month supply in March 2013, while comparing to the national average of 5.2 months;
    • Rentals of single-family homes soared 22.3 percent while rentals of townhouses/condominiums grew 12.4 percent.
    The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by REALTORS® throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for more than 50,000 properties may be found on the Internet at http://www.har.com.

    The information published and disseminated to the HAR Multiple Listing Services is communicated verbatim, without change by Multiple Listing Services, as filed by MLS participants.

    The MLS does not verify the information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. All data is preliminary and subject to change. Monthly sales figures reported since November 1998 includes a statistical estimation to account for late entries. Twelve-month totals may vary from actual end-of-year figures. (Single-family detached homes were broken out separately in monthly figures beginning February 1988.)

    Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) is a 26,000-member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual dues-paying membership trade association in Houston as well as the second largest local association/board of REALTORS® in the United States.

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    Houston condominiums, Houston high-rises, Houston home builders, Houston home prices, Houston home rentals, Houston home value, Houston homes, Houston homes for rent, Houston homes for sale, Houston house, Houston house value, Houston houses, Houston housing, Houston listings, Houston MLS, Houston neighborhoods, Houston new homes, Houston properties, Houston property, Houston real estate, Houston real estate agents, Houston real estate associates, Houston real estate brokers, Houston real estate companies, Houston real estate firms, Houston real estate information, Houston real estate listings, Houston real estate market, Houston real estate schools, Houston real estate service providers, Houston real estate solds, Houston real estate values, Houston real estate, Houston realtors, Houston relocation, Houston schools, Houston single family homes, Houston sold home prices, Houston sold homes, Houston subdivisions, Houston town homes, Houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties Houston Texas TX OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 Houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

    APR
    10
    Patio home loaded with gorgeous upgrades in the Lake Pointe gated community located minutes from Med Center, Downtown and the Galleria. Tasteful touches throughout: granite countertops, hardwood floors, high ceilings and crown molding. Community amenities include: jogging trail, 24hr security, outdoor pool and exercise room.












    Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
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    APR
    9

    Landscaping should always be done first for your enjoyment and pleasure, but by following the advice laid out in this article you can also boost the curb appeal of your home and potentially its value for when it’s time to sell. Native plants and smart landscaping design that is not too maintenance intensive is ideal. You may have a green thumb, but the person buying your home may want the lush landscaping without the labor so keep that it mind! If you ever have questions about home improvements for your home prior to putting it on the market, give me a call. I can help you determine the best improvements for a return on investment. --Cynthia

    This article was originally written by Lisa Gordon Kaplan and published on www.HouseLogic.com .

    A Gorgeous Landscape Means More Than Just Looks

    We at HouseLogic believe your home is your castle — enjoy it, customize it, make it reflect your taste and values. But, there’s one area where being too individualistic carries risk: landscaping for curb appeal.

    That’s why homeowners associations often have exacting rules about landscaping.

    And it’s not just HOAs that care. Most home buyers seek landscaping that adds “functionality and resale value,” rather than “frills and lifestyle,” according to the National Association of Home Builders recent “What Home Buyers Really Want” report.

    Good landscaping can add up to 28% to the overall value of a house, says landscape economist John Harris, and cut its time on the market 10% to 15%. Even taking your landscaping to the next level, upgrading from “good” to “excellent,” in terms of design, condition, and placement, can add 6% to 7% to a home’s value, according to a Clemson University study.

    But don’t landscape merely to flip a house. You won’t get your money back, Sandy MacCuish, a California appraiser, tells us. Instead landscape for your enjoyment (Did you know trees reduce stress in just 5 minutes?), knowing that you’re making a good investment.

    We’re here to share the essential elements    (trees, native plants, and outdoor lighting) — and a few nice-to-haves (fencing, walkways, retaining walls and terracing) — for value-adding and beautiful landscaping. After all, potential buyers come to your door once; you come home every day.

    Essential #1: Trees

    Maybe only Mother Nature can make a tree, but the National Tree Benefit Calculator can tell you what it’s worth.

    The calculator examines how a tree species in a particular ZIP code affects:

    • Property values.
    • Storm water runoff. Trees block and suck up water running off your property, preventing pollutants from entering community waterways.
    • Carbon dioxide reduction. CO2 contributes to climate change.
    • Energy savings: Shade trees cool homes in summer; windbreaks help warm them in winter.

    Take a 24-in. diameter red maple, the country’s most popular tree. Here’s its overall annual benefit, combining the factors above, in a handful of cities, according to the tree benefit calculator:

    • McLean, Va.: $244
    • Scarsdale, N.Y.: $181
    • Beverly Hills, Calif.: $207

    Multiply those benefits by the number of trees on a property, and the value and savings can climb.

    To calculate the dollar value of an individual tree, the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service in Indiana uses a formula that includes the tree’s size, cost, health, and position in a yard. By its calculations, a 15.75-in. silver maple in good health could be worth $2,562.

    Value of Neighboring Trees

    Your trees can even add value to your neighbor’s property. A Portland, Ore., study found that trees with a sizable canopy growing within 100 feet of other houses added about $9,000 to their sale price and shaved two days off its time on the market.

    Of course, to add value, the trees must be healthy, mature but not elderly, native to the area (more on the importance of native plants later), and appropriate to the neighborhood.

    If you’re growing a forest and the rest of the neighborhood looks like a prairie, you’ll have a hard time recovering the trees’ value at sale. Conversely, if your neighbors manicure their lawns and yours is a jumble of weeds or worse, their great landscaping will make yours look even shabbier and hurt the value of your home, says Domenich Neglia of Neglia Appraisals in Brooklyn, N.Y.

    More Fun Facts About Trees

    • Just three properly placed trees could save you between $100 and $250 a year in energy costs, says the U.S. Department of Energy.
    • Planting windbreaks and shade trees can reduce winter heating bills by 15% and air conditioning needs by 75%.
    • Just looking at trees produces “significant recovery from stress” within five minutes, according to a Texas A&M University study.

    Essential #2: Native Plants

    If you introduce trees, plants, or shrubs, go native. Indigenous plantings thrive without the extra TLC (read: time and money) you’ll devote to anything that’s forced to live outside its natural habitat.

    A study by Applied Ecological Services Inc., a Wisconsin ecological consultancy, shows that maintaining an acre of native plants over 20 years costs $3,000, compared with the whopping $20,000 price tag of maintaining a lawn of non-native turf grass.

    Not only can native plantings save money, they can make you money, too. In Mesa, Arizona, a generous assortment of lovely Saguaro and other native cacti can boost a home’s value by $500 to $5,000, depending on size, says REALTOR® Cathy Joyce.

    Native plantings help wildlife, too. The National Wildlife Federation awards a special certification to homeowners who create natural backyard habitats for birds, butterflies, and other animals looking for places to roost or feed.

    There’s a slow but steady increase in buyers seeking these wildlife certified properties; a recent listing for a West Virginia property trumpeted its wildlife certification, restored meadow, and organic garden.

    Rain gardens with native plants and trees also are becoming a plus for properties increasingly plagued by extreme weather. These gardens filter and distribute runoff underground, preventing storm water from seeping into basements and overwhelming municipal sewers.

    In the Chicago area, now frequently drenched by huge storms, rain gardens can make properties more marketable and can reduce flood insurance rates, says Laura Reedy-Stukel, a REALTOR® in Elmhurst, Ill., who specializes in green building strategies.

    Essential #3: Outdoor Lighting

    Outdoor lighting consistently tops the NAHB’s list of most wanted outdoor features in its annual What Home Buyers Really Want survey: 41% rate it “essential;” 49% say it’s “desirable.”

    But that’s not the only reason it’s one of our landscape essentials.

    • Tasteful lighting paints your home at night, highlighting your other great landscaping choices and directing guests to your home’s focal point — the front door. 
    • It protects against slips and falls.
    • It makes a property a more difficult target for intruders. That added security can reduce burglaries, and therefore claims. Some insurance companies give 5% to 15% discounts to homeowners with reduced or zero claims.
    • It makes your home feel homier. Soft lighting on a wrap-around porch or just a front stoop feels warm and inviting.

    Nice-to-Have #1: Fencing

    Fencing has many indisputable qualities: It keeps pets in and intruders out; it creates privacy and sets boundaries.

    But when it comes to boosting property values, the value of fencing becomes murky.

    Since most privacy fencing is installed in backyards, it doesn’t pack the curb appeal punch of, say, a spreading chestnut tree shading your house. And if everyone in the neighborhood has the same nice fence, yours won’t earn any extra points on an appraisal sheet.

    But nice fences (not chain link) do have value. Douglas Emde, a Stillwater, Okla., appraiser, says cedar picket fences set the standard in his market just north of Oklahoma City, and can boost home value by $1,500 to $2,000. In Meza, Arizona, where chain link fences are typical of older properties, an upgraded cement block privacy wall can boost selling prices by $2,000 to $5,000 more, says REALTOR® Joyce.

    Nice-to-Have #2: Retaining Walls and Terracing

    Retaining walls and terracing reclaim heavily sloped yards that are only good for grass (hard to mow) or ground covers (hard to tame).

    Retaining walls and terracing:

    • Control erosion and surface runoff by slowing the flow of water down a slope.
    • Add color and texture to wide stretches of green.
    • Turn useless slopes into flat areas for garden beds and walkways.

    Done correctly, walls and terracing look beautiful and boost curb appeal. But walls can be pricey, running $15-$40 per sq. ft. (including labor), depending on materials used. A 20-ft.-long, 30-in.-high stone wall can cost between $1,250 and $2,000.

    Related: Retaining wall ideas

    Nice-to-Have #3: Walkways

    Walkways welcome guests to your home. So, you can let visitors trudge through wet grass to your front door, or you can lay down an attractive path. We vote for the attractive path.

    You can go whole hog and install a solid stone walkway, which ranges from $11 to $17 per sq. ft.; or use pavers, $9.50-$17 per sq. ft. To save money, lay stepping stones with grass between, $1-$3 per piece.

    Walkways are another keep-up-with-the-Joneses upgrade. If you get too fancy, you won’t see a return on your investment; if you don’t meet the standards of the neighborhood, appraisers will punish you.

    Other fab curb appeal projects that typically offer a good ROI, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report:

    • Exterior door replacements. On average nationally, a steel entry door replacement recouped more than 107% of its cost in the 2014 survey.
    APR
    8
    Highly desirable Joyce Builders free-standing  townhome is modern luxury in the heart of the Heights. Elegant finishes throughout the home: premium hardwoods, granite countertops,  tile and fabulous crown molding. A generous floor plan provides plenty of space for entertaining. Closets and master bed/bath are amazing!











    Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
    ...............................................................................................
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    houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

    APR
    7
    Gorgeous home pays homage to the Heights in design and style while offering all the modern benefits of a recent construction. Tastefully elegant with a welcoming front porch, premium hardwoods, stunning kitchen and designer lighting throughout. Master bath is a luxurious sanctuary with clawfoot tub and separate shower. Flowing floorplan, high ceilings, classic front porch and a shaded patio for relaxing after a long day.
















    Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
    ...............................................................................................
    visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

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    cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
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    houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

    APR
    4

    This spring, the City of Houston will pilot Sunday Streets HTX. A portion of a great Houston street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 11am - 3pm during the first Sunday of each month. With no cars on the road, you’ll be able to enjoy these streets for walking, running, dancing or riding with friends and family as never before. Please help spread the word and visit www.gohealthyhouston.org/sundaystreetshtx for further information.

    Dates:  April 6, 2014
    Times:  11:00 am to 3:00 pm
    Where: White Oak/ Quitman Route (Heights Blvd. to Fulton)

    Dates:  May 4, 2014
    Times:  11:00 am to 3:00 pm
    Where: Westheimer Route ( Hazard to Yoakum)

    Dates:  June 1, 2014
    Times:  11:00 am to 3:00 pm
    Where: Washington/ Market Sq (Studemont to Milam)



    ...............................................................................................
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    Houston condominiums, Houston high-rises, Houston home builders, Houston home prices, Houston home rentals, Houston home value, Houston homes, Houston homes for rent, Houston homes for sale, Houston house, Houston house value, Houston houses, Houston housing, Houston listings, Houston MLS, Houston neighborhoods, Houston new homes, Houston properties, Houston property, Houston real estate, Houston real estate agents, Houston real estate associates, Houston real estate brokers, Houston real estate companies, Houston real estate firms, Houston real estate information, Houston real estate listings, Houston real estate market, Houston real estate schools, Houston real estate service providers, Houston real estate solds, Houston real estate values, Houston real estate, Houston realtors, Houston relocation, Houston schools, Houston single family homes, Houston sold home prices, Houston sold homes, Houston subdivisions, Houston town homes, Houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties Houston Texas TX OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 Houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School


    APR
    4
    Classic Heights bungalow is fully updated for the modern life. Thoughtful renovation and elegant design elements are apparent throughout the home-- a flowing floor plan, luxurious master bath, hardwood floors and modern kitchen. An unfinished room above the garage can serve as a studio, guest suite or home office. Front and back porches add to the warmth and charm of this beautiful bunagalow.













    Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
    ...............................................................................................
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    see what people like about the Heights and what they think is its best kept secret at
    www.youtube.com/cynthiamullins
    houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

    APR
    3
    Original oak floors, period details and a flowing floorplan enhance the stately charm of this classic 1940s 2-story home overlooking Brays Bayou from a 1/2 acre of lush landscaping. Swimming pool, garage apartment and guest house, separate dining and music room provide plenty of opportunities to host and entertain guests.
















    Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at
    cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
    ...............................................................................................
    visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

    Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
    email
    cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
    follow me at www.twitter.com/cynthiamullins
    friend me at www.facebook.com/cynthiamullins1

    My
    Stats:  http://goo.gl/hFWEoR


    see what people like about the Heights and what they think is its best kept secret at
    www.youtube.com/cynthiamullins
    houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

    MAR
    27
    If you did certain improvements or had other expenses for your home in 2013, some of them may be eligible for credits or deductions. This article is not intended to serve as specific tax advice, always check with your tax expert before making any type of claim. For other complete information on taxes and homeownership, see A Homeowner's Guide to Taxes.
    -- Cynthia

    What You Should Know About Your Home and Your 2013 Taxes

    By Dona DeZube, originally appearing on HouseLogic.com
    Image: goLocalProv.com

    These days few things start a fight on Capitol Hill faster than taxes. Despite the fact that three important tax benefits used by millions of American homeowners are days from expiring, Congress is unlikely to do anything to re-up them any time soon.

    So if you’re eligible, tax year 2013 is possibly the last time to claim the private mortgage insurance (PMI) deduction, the energy tax credit, and debt forgiveness benefit, all of which all expire on Dec. 31, 2013.

    At least there’s one piece of good news for homeowners: If you have a home office, there’s a new, simpler option for calculating the home office deduction for which you may qualify on your 2013 taxes.

    Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know about those expiring benefits as you ready your taxes:

    PMI Deduction

    This tax rule lets you deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance, which is what you pay your lender each month if you put down less than 20% on a home. PMI protects the lender if you default on the home loan. Your deduction could amount to a couple hundred dollars depending on your tax bracket and other factors.

    Find out if you qualify for and how to take the PMI deduction.

    Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

    This sweet little tax credit lets you offset what you owe the IRS dollar-for-dollar for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain home energy-efficiency upgrades, from insulation to water heaters. On the downside, the credit is capped at $500 (less in some cases). But on the bright side, the right improvement could lower your utility bills indefinitely.

    Debt Forgiveness

    When you go through a short sale, foreclosure, or deed-in-lieu, your lender typically lets you off the hook for some or all of what you owe on your mortgage.

    That forgiven mortgage debt is income, on which you’d typically have to pay income tax.

    Suppose you’re in financial distress and your lender agrees to let you short-sell your home, say for $50,000 less than you owe on the mortgage, and forgive you for the balance. Without the protection of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, you’ll owe income tax on that $50,000.

    It’s likely if you had the money to pay income tax on $50,000, you’d have used it to pay your mortgage in the first place.

    New Simplified Option for the Home Office Deduction

    This may be the last year for the benefits above, but a new one kicks in for the 2013 tax year. If you work from home, you may qualify to use a new, simplified option for claiming the home office deduction when you file your 2013 taxes.

    How much simpler is it? It lets you claim $5 per sq. ft. for up to 300 sq. ft. instead of having to compute the actual expenses of your home office using a 43-line form. To calculate the square footage of your office, just multiply the length of two walls. For example, an 8-by-10-foot room is 80 sq. ft. And at $5 per, that’s $400.

    Although using the simplified option is obviously easier, the basic requirements for claiming the home office deduction haven’t changed. Your home office still must be used for business purposes:

    • Exclusively, and
    • On a regular basis.

    Why Might the Tax Benefits Not Be Renewed?

    Although the expiring tax benefits were renewed retroactively in past years, that may not happen in 2014 because many in Congress would like to see comprehensive tax reform rather than scattershot renewals of individual provisions. This could delay a decision on the homeownership tax benefits until the big picture budget and tax issues are resolved.

    So if you can, enjoy them now!
    ...............................................................................................
    visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

    Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
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    cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
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    see what people like about the Heights and what they think is its best kept secret at www.youtube.com/cynthiamullins
    houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

    MAR
    24
    Dear Friends and Neighbors:

    Just in case you missed the postcard in the mail, here are some tidbits from the upcoming tour I am sponsoring for my friends and clients.  It will be a morning of fun and laughs and I will have coffee and mimosas for anyone interested.


    Along the way we will be taking the 1893 scenic country route that Heights' residents took into Houston.  During the tour we will hear many stories like the first Heights fire chief who was one of the first in the area to receive phone service at his house because of his position.  This led to strife between him and his wife due to the fact that people would call all times of the day or night not to report a fire, but to find out where the fire was located.  Being the fire chief's wife, she had no choice but to take these calls whether they were 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning.  

    Come see where Mr. Telge of Telge Auto Works made canvas tops for Modell Ts and carriages of the day in addition to boats for the government to use on the Trinity River to catch local bootleggers.

    It will be lots of fun and not your usual Heights tour!

    Email, text or call me if you can make it.  Feel free to bring friends if you like!

    Best,

    Cynthia

    Image is courtesy of "Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries."

    Want to learn more about the Heights and why it's a great place to live? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
    ...............................................................................................
    visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

    Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
    email
    cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
    follow me at www.twitter.com/cynthiamullins
    friend me at www.facebook.com/cynthiamullins1

    My
    Stats:  http://goo.gl/hFWEoR


    see what people like about the Heights and what they think is its best kept secret at
    www.youtube.com/cynthiamullins
    houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

    MAR
    24
    Gorgeous new construction in Southside Place promises luxury, beauty and class. Built by the esteemed Covington Builders this custom home will have everything: state of the art kitchen, wine grotto, open floor plan, gorgeous french doors, lavish bath and flowing natural light. Thoughtful design and tasteful execution will make this home a showcase once it's complete. 


     



    Buying a home? Give me a call at 713.829.3052 or email me at cynthia@cynthiamullins.com.
    ...............................................................................................
    visit my entire blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins

    Client Experience Rating: http://goo.gl/bCoMo
    email
    cynthia@cynthiamullins.com
    follow me at www.twitter.com/cynthiamullins
    friend me at www.facebook.com/cynthiamullins1

    My
    Stats:  http://goo.gl/hFWEoR


    see what people like about the Heights and what they think is its best kept secret at
    www.youtube.com/cynthiamullins
    houston condominiums, houston highrises, houston home builders, houston home prices, houston home rentals, houston home value, houston homes, houston homes for rent, houston homes for sale, houston house, houston house value, houston houses, houston housing, houston listings, houston MLS, houston neighborhoods, houston new homes, houston properties, houston property, houston real estate, houston real estate agents, houston real estate associates, houston real estate brokers, houston real estate companies, houston real estate firms, houston real estate information, houston real estate listings, houston real estate market, houston real estate schools, houston real estate service providers, houston real estate solds, houston real estate values, houston realestate, houston realtors, houston relocation, houston schools, houston single family homes, houston sold home prices, houston sold homes, houston subdivisions, houston town homes, houston heights real estate housing market homes for sale buying selling inner loop properties houston texas tx OPEN Houses 1545 Heights Boulevard, Houston, TX 77008 77007 77009 houston heights realtor Woodland Heights Norhill Sunset Heights HISD Hogg Middle School IB Program Harvard Elementary Hamilton Middle School Reagan High School

     
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