The Freund Group Real Estate Blog

Welcome to The Freund Group's blog spot! We are a real estate group with a combined total of over 50 years of experience helping buyers and sellers in all aspects of residential, commercial, as well as, investors, foreclosures and short sale transactions.  Whether you are thinking of buying or selling a home, our helpful resources and tips will help you through the process.

Our blog spot will feature stories of events around the Houston area, the housing market trends and the benefits of investing in Houston real estate. Please feel free to ask questions or voice a concern in the comment section. 

Feb. 13, 2018

Hey Last Minute People! Here are some great last minute ideas for your Valentine.

Hey Last Minute People! Here are some great last minute ideas for your Valentine.

 

Hey there last minute people, don’t worry The Freund Group has you covered. Many of the ideas are perfect for those on a Valentine budget.

Make your Valentines some very special sentimental gifts such as a card with some of your most memorable moments. Print out some pictures and make a collage for your Valentine to keep forever. Write a poem especially about the two of you. Anything hand made that comes from the heart is always a memorable present.

Candlelit dinner made by “Yours Truly.”  Make your Valentine’s their favorite meal. Start with some appetizers, then dinner and don’t forget desert. Make it a little more special by adding a menu to the table setting. The small touches will definitely be noticed. You could even start the day with breakfast in bed. Make it a cute theme and go with it all day.

If you are taking your love to dinner be sure to make reservations a head of time. It may be cutting it close to make those reservations the day of so pick a spot that you know he/she will love but be sure there is a time available. If you can’t get that last minute reservation maybe dining at the house would be best. Valentines evening is a beast and if you haven’t already made reservations the wait times at most places are double the average wait time.

Go for a romantic bike ride with a picnic. If you love the outdoors and your Valentine does too take him/her on a planned bike ride. Tell them to wear some comfy clothes and bring their appetite. Plan a head for a stop along the way for a picnic. You could pack the picnic in a backpack. Or for a lighter load pack some wine and cheese for a stop along the way.

Take your love to one of the many free museums Houston has to offer.

  • Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
  • Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
  • Houston Center for Photography
  • Asia Society Texas Center (building and Grand Hall exhibition)
  • Rice University Art Gallery
  • Rothko Chapel
  • The Jung Center
  • Lawndale Art Center

 

If you are last minute your Valentine won’t have to know. For the most memorable gift yet, call the Freund Group. We can help make your home buying dreams come true! 281-479-6683

For more information about Real Estate, Tips and Advice and Local Real Estate News check out our Facebook page! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Freund Group
Feb. 8, 2018

Tuscan Lakes, League City, TX

Tuscan Lakes, League City, TX

Tuscan Lakes is located on 96 just before South Shore Harbour in League City, Tx. Easy access to I-45 and 146 getting around is quick and easy. There are churches, shops, restaurants and much more just moments away so you are never too far away from home.

Tuscan Lakes was built with Tuscany in mind. The community takes the rich offerings of Tuscany down to the beautiful details throughout the community. With its many hiking/biking trails, lakes and the community pool, Tuscan Lakes offers its residents comfort and ease. The community pool features a beach-like access, kiddie pool and a kiddie splash pad area.

Tuscan Lakes is a project of The Johnson Development Corp., Houston’s most awarded residential developer.

There were 152  homes sold ranging in price from $195,000 to $665,000 in 2017. The median sales price was $287,645. The average days on the market was 47. The average price per square foot was $111.83.

There are many new home builders in Tuscan Lakes - D.R. Horton, K. Hovnanian Homes, and Westin Homes. New homes start in the $200,000.

Students living in Tuscan Lakes are either zoned for Clear Creek ISD (these are the homes on the north side of 96). Students in Elementary school will attend Goforth Elementary. Students intermediate level attend League City Intermediate. Highschool students attend Clear Creek High School.  

Clear Creek Independent School District ranks #24 in Best School Districts in Texas and #244 in Best School Districts in America according to Niche.com. It is ranked #5 as Best School District in the Houston Area.

Students living on the south side of 96 in Tuscan Lakes attend Dickinson Independent School District. Students who are Pre-K to 4th attend Silbernagel Elementary. Middle school age students attend Barber Middle School. Junior High school students attend McAdams Junior High School and students in High school attend Dickinson High School.

The Dickinson Independent School District met the exacting performance standards set by the Texas Education Agency in all categories. Seven of the district’s 11 campuses earned a total of 18 different academic achievement designations. Dickinson ISD is one of only 10 districts in Region IV actively participating in the AVID/Rice University Initiative, which focuses on college and career readiness.

If you are looking to purchase a new home resale or new built, give The Freund Group a call. We will help make your dreams a reality. 281-479-6683

For more information about Real Estate, Tips and Advice and Local Real Estate News check out our Facebook page! 

 

 

 

 

Feb. 7, 2018

South Shore Harbour, League City, TX

South Shore Harbour, League City, TX

South Shore Harbour is a 2,200-acre master planned community nestled along the southern shores of Clear Lake and home to thousands of families. Located halfway between Houston and Galveston, residents of South Shore Harbour enjoy a relaxed family lifestyle which allows for resort living combined with the conveniences of a suburban village. Churches, shops, restaurants, play centers, and child daycare facilities are all within a short drive away. You will never be too far from the necessities in life!

South Shore Harbour is situated in a great location, just a few miles from 45 and State Hwy 146. Kemah is a short 10-minute drive away.

South Shore Harbour is full of amenities. If coastal living is what you search, South Shore Marina is a 1,000-slip marina with floating docs and is a great place to store your boat. South Shore Harbour Resort and conference center is a 250-room resort hotel with tons of space for friends and family coming to visit from out of town. There are many neighborhood parks, trails and a community pool.

There were 115 homes sold in South Shore Harbour last year ranging in price from $205,900-$918,000. The median sales price was $290,000. The average days on the market was 32. The average price per square foot was $108.38.

Students who live in South Shore Harbour in the area. Students in Elementary School attend Ferguson Elementary School, Hyde Elementary or Sandra Mossman Elementary School. Intermediate level children attend Bayside or Clear Creek Intermediate and High School Students attend Clear Creek High School or Clear Falls High School.

Clear Creek Independent School District ranks #24 in Best School Districts in Texas and #244 in Best School Districts in America according to Niche.com. It is ranked #5 as Best School District in the Houston Area.

If you are looking to purchase a new home in South Shore Harbour, give The Freund Group a call. We will help make your dreams a reality. 281-479-6683

 

For more information about Real Estate, Tips and Advice and Local Real Estate News check out our Facebook page! 

Feb. 5, 2018

Magnolia Creek, League City, TX

Magnolia Creek, League City, TX

Magnolia Creek is located off of Brittany Lakes Blvd. and Bay Area Blvd. in beautiful League City, TX. Magnolia Creek offers its residents many amenities including a 27 hole golf course, a 3,500 square foot club house including; fitness center, media room, play room, catering area and a beautiful living area perfect for parties with family and friends. The community also offers a beautiful pool with beach access, lap lanes, water slides, a splash pad, and a kiddie pool. There are many parks and hiking trails throughout the gorgeous golf course lined community.

Magnolia Creek is far enough from the hustle and bustle but close enough to easily access 1-45. You won’t have to travel far from home when looking for entertainment. Magnolia Creek is just 13 minutes away from Baybrook Mall which features many new restaurants and events weekly. Grocery shopping is just 6 minutes away at the new Kroger MarketCenter located on 96/Brittany Lakes Blvd.

There were 92 homes sold ranging in price from $245,000 to $850,000. The median sales price was $337,220. The average days on the market was 57. The average price per square foot was $110.67.

Magnolia Creek is now offering new home sites with its final phases. If you are looking to build new Magnolia Creek offers many different builders. These builders include K. Hovnanian, Lennar and CalAtlantic Homes. New home range in price starting at $261,990. Many of these home sites are located on the gorgeous Magnolia Creek golf course. Search Magnolia Creek Homes For Sale Here.

Students who live in Magnolia Creek attend Clear Creek ISD one of the most sought-after school districts in the area. Gilmore Elementary is located just across League City Parkway. Creekside Intermediate is just 6 minutes away and is located on 518. Clear Springs Highschool is just a short drive away as well.  clear Springs High School consistently ranks among the Top High Schools in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report.  Clear Creek Independent School District ranks #24 in Best School Districts in Texas and #244 in Best School Districts in America according to Niche.com. It is ranked #5 as Best School District in the Houston Area.

If you are looking to purchase a new home resale or new built, give The Freund Group a call. We will help make your dreams a reality. 281-479-6683

For more information about Real Estate, Tips and Advice and Local Real Estate News check out our Facebook page! 

 

Feb. 1, 2018

Mar Bella, League City, TX

Mar Bella, League City, TX

Mar Bella in League City, TX is a 531 acre community just one mile from Galveston Bay and the Kemah Boardwalk. The community features many lakeside properties. Other properties border nature preserves and parks in the community. Amenities for the whole family include a recreation center, a pavilion, a pool, and playgrounds.

Mar Bella is just a short drive away from the Kemah Boardwalk which offers food, fun and entertainment. Mar Bella is close to shopping, schools, restaurants, and entertainment. Hwy 146 is just a short drive down the road.

There were 102 homes sold ranging in price from $195,110 to $539,000. The median sales price was $289,750. The average days on the market was 50. The average price per square foot was $115.24.

Mar Bella has a wide range of homes available for most everyone’s needs. Whether you are in search of a starter home or looking to upsize or downsize, Mar Bella is sure to please.

There are new homes still being built in Mar Bella. In Mar Bella you will find many builders available. Taylor Morrison has new homes starting at $267,990 and there are ten amazing floor plans to choose from. Castlerock offers home plans starting at $247,990.

Students who live in Mar Bella attend Clear Creek ISD one of the most sought-after school districts in the area. The Clear Creek Independent School District Education Village is less than a mile away. Students who reside in Mar Bella attend, Sandra Mossman Elementary, Bayside Intermediate and Clear Falls High School, all within the Education Village.

Clear Creek Independent School District ranks #24 in Best School Districts in Texas and #244 in Best School Districts in America according to Niche.com. It is ranked #5 as Best School District in the Houston Area.

If you are looking to purchase a new home resale or new built, give The Freund Group a call. We will help make your dreams a reality. 281-479-6683

For more information about Real Estate, Tips and Advice and Local Real Estate News check out our Facebook page! 

 

 

 

Jan. 30, 2018

What is the Best way to utilize your cash refund if you are considering purchasing a home?

What is the Best way to utilize your cash refund if you are considering purchasing a home?

If you are considering using your tax refund to purchase a new home, be sure to watch THE Freund Group’s video below. Our team leader, Tammi Freund sat down with our local lender, Sandra Womack with Legend Lending and discussed some of the pressing questions clients ask regarding how to utilize their tax refund in the best way when purchasing a new home.

 

Credit card debt and down payment, what are my best options?

Income, debt and job history all play an important role in the qualification process. Once your credit has been reviewed, after speaking to a lender, many times there may be debt that will be paid off soon (within the next nine months) that will still leave money in tact for a down payment. Be sure to speak with a lender to get Pre-Qualified to see what your options are.

 Credit card Debt-

There may be accounts you could pay off with smaller balances but larger monthly payments. Be sure to plan to attack those cards first.

It is very important to speak to a Loan officer, like Sandra, to develop a plan of paying off debt before you attempt it. There are some “credit tricks” to help you achieve paying less money and increasing the credit score all at the same time. To learn more contact Sandra at : 281-940-4660.

How much is a down payment typically, what percentage of the price?

The minimum down payment for an FHA loan is 3.5% or $3,500 for every $100,000. This amount may seem like a lot of money, but remember you are requesting $100,000 plus from the lender in return for your 3.5% down. 3.5 % is a minimal investment to get a return on your investment of 12-15% annually like we are currently seeing.

What is the minimum score to qualify for a loan?

A 580 score is going to be around the bottom end of qualifying. Things begin to get pretty tough and ugly on any score under 600 in terms of qualifying. Paying off some of your debt will help increase your credit score over time.

Should I save some of my refund for unexpected repairs after purchase?

Repairs are typically caught while doing a home inspection and negotiated between the buyer and seller before the closing occurs. It’s always a good idea to have a rainy day fund. The problem is- most buyers are giving up a good deal of money when they purchase a home, so this rainy day fund may be small but should be intact.

Would it be a good idea to use my tax refund for inspections, appraisal and survey?

It is the home buyers responsibility to pay for home inspections and the appraisal, the survey can be negotiated in most cases. The inspection is done to prevent “unexpected repairs” asked about previously. An inspection is the clients tool or list of current problems- or problems to come. The home buyer must evaluate what they can and cannot live without. Repairs can be negotiated but the seller does not have to agree to any repairs. In most cases the seller is willing to take care of anything the inspector finds that poses a safe, sound or secure issue. Remember, the lender will also have guidelines that must be met as it relates to repairs. For example, if the lender finds the roof has exceeded its normal life, they may require a seller to repair or replace the roof prior to closing.

The appraisal is a tool the lender uses to protect themselves as well as their client. A lender needs to know the home being purchased is worth what the client is paying for the property. If an appraisal comes back lower than the purchase amount negotiations resume. Your REALTOR will give you the best possible outcomes and begin negotiations.

The survey merely shows the legal boundaries of the property, what exists below the ground, and above the ground such as aerial easements. Often, sellers have existing surveys that can be used as part of the contract.

These are all items the buyer will be responsible for unless other wise negotiated. Your experienced Realtor will be able to guide you along the way.

 

I’m an independent contractor, will my tax write offs affect my ability to get a loan? Are there other forms of proof that can be used for income?

As an independent contractor or self-employed individual who owns 25% or more of a business, tax returns are always going to be required on any Fannie Mae or government loan. Many times, a contractor may show $100,000, however, if they deduct all their marketing, supplies and mileage it could equal as much as 50% of their income. Under guidelines, lenders must take the gross earnings and deduct 50% to arrive at new gross earnings for the individual. Sandra always tell people to “watch the write-offs” so they don’t fall into an abyss with their income.

 

Should I pay someone to help with my credit repair?

Credit repair councilors can be very pricey. We always tell our clients to first speak with a lender, such as Sandra and he/she will be able to consult with you prior to reaching out to a repair consultant. A qualified and experienced lender will be able to give you the best advice on what to do to help improve your score in order to qualify for a home loan.

Be sure to contact The Freund Group before you do anything with your tax refund. Owning a new home could be closer than you think! Give us a call today 281-479-6683

 

 

 

Posted in Tips For Buyers
Jan. 25, 2018

Homeowners Associations- Are you a good fit?

Is an HOA right for you?

 

When looking to purchase a new place to live do you envision a maintained subdivision with parks, pools and other amenities? Or do you picture a home where you can raise animals, ride horses, etc?

Homeowners associations help protect property values and create a pleasant living environment, but they also impose certain rules on residents.

Here are four questions to ask before buying property in an HOA:

 Can you afford it?

HOAs are funded by member dues paid monthly, quarterly, or annually. Be sure to ask the seller how much dues are and when they’re assessed so you can factor the cost into your purchase.

Will you follow the rules?

All members of an association must adhere to a set of rules known as the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). These rules regulate many facets of homeownership, such as lawn maintenance, architectural design, and where you can park vehicles. Review a copy of these guidelines before you decide to buy.

Will you use the amenities?

HOA dues are often used to maintain common areas and amenities, such as swimming pools or hike and bike trails. These can be selling points for some buyers, while others may not expect to use them. Even if you don't swim, these features could add to the property’s future resale value.

Do you work well with others?

You may be able to get involved in the association by volunteering for a committee or by serving on the board of directors. These can be great ways to lead the association and meet your neighbors.

 

Whether you are in search of a home within a home owner’s association or you prefer to not be restricted, the Freund Group can help! Please call us if you are looking to buy or sell. 281-479-6683 clientcare@freundgroup.com

 

 

 

Posted in Tips For Buyers
Jan. 23, 2018

Homestead Exemption- What is it?

Homestead Exemption- What is it?

If you are new home owner or if you are a homeowner who has questions about your homestead exemption, please look at some of the most commonly asked questions below. If you have any unanswered questions, please call or email. 281-479-6683/clientcare@freundgroup.com.

1. I own my home; do I get a property tax break for owning my home?

You may apply for homestead exemptions on your primary residence (the residence you live at). Homestead exemptions reduce the value at which your taxes are accessed so in turn this lowers taxes.

2. My mother is the landlord for an investment property, does this property qualify for a tax exemption? The only home that qualifies for a homestead exemption is the property you reside in. Investment properties do not qualify for a tax exemption. You must claim the property as your primary residence starting January 1st. If you did not close on your new home before January 1st you will not be able to file homestead until the following tax year however if the prior owners had the homestead exemption your taxes will be accessed at their rate. If you are over the age of 65 or disabled, the January 1st rule does not apply.

3.   What exactly is a homestead? A homestead can be a separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it. A homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.

4.   Are there more than one type of homestead exemptions?

There are several types of exemptions you may receive.

School taxes — all homeowners. If you qualify for the homestead exemption, you will receive at least a $25,000 homestead exemption on the value of your home for school district taxes.

County taxes — all homeowners. Harris County currently provides a 20% optional homestead exemption to all homeowners. This means, for example, that if your home is valued at $100,000, the exemption will reduce its taxable value for Harris County taxes by $20,000 to $80,000. Galveston County offers 20% with a minimum of $5,000.

Optional exemptions — all homeowners. Any taxing unit, including a school district, city, county or special district, may offer an exemption for up to 20% of your home's value. The amount of an optional exemption can't be less than $5,000, no matter what the percentage is. For example, if your home is valued at $20,000 and your city offers a 20% optional exemption, your exemption is $5,000, even though 20% of $20,000 is just $4,000. The governing body of each taxing unit decides whether it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other homestead exemption for which the applicant qualifies.

5.    When should I file my homestead exemption? The deadline for the homestead exemption is April 30th.

6.    May I continue to receive the residence homestead exemption on my home if I move away temporarily? If you temporarily move away from your home, you may continue to receive the exemption if you do not establish a principal residence elsewhere, you intend to return to the home, and you are away less than two years. You may continue to receive the exemption if you do not occupy the residence for more than two years only if you are in military service serving inside or outside of the United States or live in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity or aging.

If you are a past client of The Freund Group you will be receiving the information for your homestead exemption along with your HUD soon.

If you are thinking about buying or selling in the Galveston or Southeast Harris County, please give us a call today! 

 281-479-6683

 

For more information about Real Estate, Tips and Advice and Local Real Estate News check out our Facebook page! 

Dec. 20, 2017

New Year's Eve Houston Events

Ring in the New Year with some fun and exciting events in and around the Houston area. Take a look at some of the fun events planned around our area for New Year’s Eve 2018.

 

The Get Down New Year’s Eve Celebration at Rockefellers. If disco is your thing then this is the place to be to start your year off.  Rockefellers will host a 70’s themed disco party with cocktails, go-go dancers, sparklers and complimentary champagne at midnight. Be sure to wear your disco cocktail attire as it is required for this fun event. Tickets are $60.

New Year’s Eve Party: BLT XIV at Lucky’s Pub and Warehouse Live. Black tie, lingerie and toga party New Year’s Eve party presented by 94.5 and SportsMonkey. This two venue party will feature live music, DJ’s, photo booths, food trucks, and a midnight toast. Tickets start at $60 but use promo code 365HOU to get 10% off. The party starts at 8pm.

Havana Nights 2018 New Year’s Eve Extravaganza. Angelucho’s Cuban New Year’s Eve party is located in the Post Oak Ballroom AT THE Hilton Garden Inn, Sugarland. All tickets are VIP and include a gourmet buffet, two drinks, and a champagne toast. $99 per person and the fun starts at 7:30.

New Year’s Eve Family Celebration at Downtown Aquarium.Enjoy a fun evening with the kiddos and the rest of the family. There will be kids activities like a dance party and a balloon drop. A kids buffet (ages 3-10) is $21.99 and an adults buffet is $29.99. The fun begins at 11 am.

New Years Eve Party at Big Texas Clear Lake.Wave goodbye to 2017 at the Big Texas Dance Hall & Saloon in Clear Lake with cash prizes, a balloon drop, and a toast at midnight. Tickets are $10. 7pm.

New Year’s Eve Brewery Bash at Galveston Island Brewing. Ring in 2018 with pints as Galveston Island Brewery hosts a New Year’s shindig. A wristband will get you access to the open bar, live music, light bites, party swag, and a champagne toast. Wristbands are $40. Designated drivers wristbands (no open bar) are $10. 10pm.

High Noon Countdown at The Woodlands Children’s Museum. The High Noon New Year’s Eve party is designed for the little ones at The Woodlands Children’s Museum. Celebrate by making New Year hats and creative art projects. Included with general admission to the museum. This event will happen from 10am to noon and then again from 1pm to 3pm.

New Year’s Eve with Jason Cassidy at Big Texas Spring. Ring in the new year with a concert from country music artist Jason Cassidy, a balloon drop, champagne, and cash prizes at the Big Texas Saloon in Spring. Tickets are $20. 7pm.

Noon Year’s Eve at CityCentre. | FREE – Welcome the new year with a family-friendly Noon Year’s Eve celebration that will include dancing, a DJ, face painting, a balloon and caricature artist, and Lucky Shots’ magic mirror photo booth. 11am to 1pm.

New Year’s Eve at La Table Houston – Indulge in La Table’s New Year’s Eve a la carte menu featuring celebratory dish specials then head upstairs for live music and a complimentary sparkling toast at midnight. 5pm.

NYE Nash Bash at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa – The 16th Annual Nash Bash New Year’s Eve, held this year at the Houstonian Hotel, will include hors-d’oeuvres, specially crafted gourmet food stations, a champagne toast, music provided by a DJ and live duo Bill and Kim Nash, and lots of dancing. Tickets and reservations are $200 per person. All proceeds benefit Champions Kids Camp. 6:30pm.

NYElectric 2018 at Hotel Derek – Start off 2018 at the NYElectric party with DJs in various rooms, cocktails, a champagne toast, light bites, and plenty of giveaways at Hotel Derek. Tickets range from $109 to $1,495. 7:30pm.

A Night To Remember: New Years Eve Celebration at Hess Club Galleria – Head to the Hess Club hall at the Galleria for the A Night to Remember New Year’s Eve party. Watch live music from the Stephen Richard Quartet and The City Band in the White Room and vibe to DJ Silk spinning R&B and hip-hop in the Gold Room. Enjoy food, a cash bar, a champagne toast, and party favors. Early bird tickets start at $40. 8pm.

 

One of the many Great things about living so close to it all is that you won’t have to travel too far for a fun night to remember. Be safe and plan ahead. We wish you a very happy New Year! From your Friends in real estate! 

Posted in Local Events
Dec. 11, 2017

20th Annual Dickinson Festival of Lights

Dickinson is celebrating it’s 20th Annual Festival of Lights located at Paul Hopkins Park now through December 23rd. Come enjoy a beautiful display of thousands of lights Friday, Saturday and Sundays 6-8:30 and starting December 15th come throughout the week to celebrate this Holiday Season with a new family tradition.

For festival goers’ convenience, there are shuttle buses ready to pick up people from the Dickinson Plaza Shopping Center free of charge. Parking is not allowed in the park and street parking is highly discouraged.

While you and your family and friends are strolling through the park, be sure to check out the cookie decorating hut where you can decorate your own cookie for $1.00. If you are hungry, the concession stand is open nightly with popcorn, hot dogs, hot chocolate, nachos, candy, etc. Pictures with Santa are held from 6-8 pm and with your own camera the photos are free of charge; If purchased, photos are $5.00.

 

The Dickinson Festival of Lights is the perfect way to spend a Holiday packed evening. Be sure to take plenty of photos and tag @TheFreundGroup so we can share in the fun times! 

Posted in Local Events