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. 

Sept. 24, 2019

4 Reasons to Sell This Fall

4 Reasons to Sell This Fall 

4 Reasons to Sell This Fall [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Buyers are active in the market and often competing with one another for available listings.
  • Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply found in a normal housing market.
  • Homes are still selling relatively quickly, averaging 31 days on the market.
Posted in Tips For Buyers
Sept. 19, 2019

What Buyers Need to Know About HOAs

What Buyers Need to Know About HOAs

What Buyers Need to Know About HOAs | MyKCM

When searching for a home, you may end up selecting a property in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA). Before you buy, it’s important to know how an HOA works and what they mean for you.

According to a recent article on realtor.com,

“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”

An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),

“Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you'll have to follow if you live in that community. Unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how land can be used, restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property.”

It's important for homeowners to understand that each HOA is a little different, and they usually have monthly or quarterly fees required for homeowners. These fees can vary based on the property size, number of residents, amenities, and more. There may be additional fees charged to homeowners if the reserve fund for the HOA cannot cover a major or unexpected cost, like severe storm damage.

The fees, however, also help maintain common areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts, elevators (for high-rise buildings), and regular wear and tear. Although they are an added cost to the homeowner, an HOA can be a major benefit when it comes to maintaining the value of your neighborhood and your property.

The same article continues to say,

“After your offer to buy a home is accepted, you are legally entitled to receive and review the community's CC&Rs over a certain number of days (typically between three and 10)…If you spot anything in the restrictive covenants you absolutely can't live with, you can bring it up with the HOA board or just back out of your contract completely (and keep your deposit).”

Most lenders will factor your HOA fees into your loan package, ensuring the amount of the loan is appropriate for what you can truly afford.

There are some great benefits to having an HOA oversee your neighborhood, and it’s important to understand what fees, structures, and regulations will come into play if there is an HOA where you’d like to live.

Bottom Line

When you’re looking at a potential property to buy, let’s get together so you have a professional who can help you understand the neighborhood’s HOA structure and fees. This way, you’ll feel confident and fully informed when buying a home.

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

Posted in Tips For Buyers
Sept. 12, 2019

Deer Park Real Estate Market Report August 2018- August 2019

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Sept. 12, 2019

The Role Access Plays in Getting Your House Sold

The Role Access Plays in Getting Your House Sold

The Role Access Plays in Getting Your House Sold | MyKCM

So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process and you’ve been asked what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.

There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access you can provide to your agent to be able to show your home.

Here are five levels of access you can provide to a buyer, each with a brief description:

  • Lockbox on the Door – This allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
  • Providing a Key to the Home – Although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
  • Open Access with a Phone Call – The seller allows showing with just a phone call’s notice.
  • By Appointment Only – Example: 48-hour notice. Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house.
  • Limited Access – Example: the home is only available for a couple of hours a day. This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.

In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.

Posted in Tips for Sellers
Sept. 12, 2019

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCM

With the current uncertainty about the economy triggered by a potential trade war, some people are waiting to purchase their first home or move-up to their dream house because they think or hope home prices will drop over the next few years. However, the experts disagree with this perspective.

Here is a table showing the predicted levels of appreciation from six major housing sources:What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCMAs we can see, every source believes home prices will continue to appreciate (albeit at lower levels than we have seen over the last several years). But, not one source is calling for residential real estate values to depreciate.

Additionally, ARCH Mortgage Insurance Company in their current Housing and Mortgage Market Review revealed their latest ARCH Risk Index, which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. There was not one state that even had a moderate probability of home prices lowering. In fact, 34 of the 50 states had a minimal probability.What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCM

Bottom Line

Those waiting for prices to fall before purchasing a home should realize that the probability of that happening anytime soon is very low. With mortgage rates already at near historic lows, now may be the time to act.

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 11, 2019

League City Fun Facts #2

League City Fun Facts #2

Did you know…………..

League City is the only community in the area with a revenue stream specifically dedicated to amateur athletics.

Big League Field of Dreams hosts numerous tournaments, events, soccer games, baseball, and softball. In 1998 two brothers, Rick and Jeff Odekirk, both former baseball players, had a dream to build and operate a family recreational facility that would give the average youth or adult player the chance to have the feeling of playing in the “big leagues.” This was the start of Big League Field of Dreams.

Chester L. Davis Sportsplex is another one of League City’s amateur athletic streams. The Sportsplex hosts tournaments, events, football, soccer volleyball, etc. League City has reached an agreement that included funding for building a new sportsplex and turning the current Sportsplex into a mixed-use development. The space will include spaces designed for live entertainment, hotels, shops, restaurants, professional sports, offices and more.

But don’t worry the epicenter will also fund the design and constructions of a new, much larger sportsplex to replace the Davis Sportsplex. The new sportsplex will be built on 106 acres of city-owned land on the west end of Ervin Avenue, west of I-45.

For more interesting facts about League City tune into to our “Did you know……” on our facebook business page.

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

Sept. 6, 2019

Craft Beer Fest Kemah Boardwalk

Kemah Boardwalk will hold its Craft Beer Fest on September 14th 2-5pm.  There will be 24 breweries and samples of over 72 craft beers.

Tickets are on sale now for $44.95 a person and on the day of the event tickets are $49.95. Military personnel and Laundry’s select Club Members will receive a discount. You can purchase tickets at www.kemahbeerfest.com. If purchasing at the event, ticket booth is located at the Palapa Stage in front of Bubba Gump.

Some of the many breweries with samples include: Saint Arnold, Saloon Door, Shiner, 8th Wonder, 11 Below, 21st Amendment, Abita, Blue Moon, Karbach and many more.

Beer tents will be located in the Main Events Plaza and Bradford Plaza. Live on stage from 2-6 is the Jack Nelson Band and from 7-11pm is Velvet Punch.

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

 

Posted in Local Events
Sept. 5, 2019

League City Fun Facts #1

League City Fun Facts #1

League City, TX is one of the Best Small Cities according to many and most of it’s 106,244 residents. League City is located just outside Houston City limits and only 20 minutes away from Galveston. It is situated in an ideal location with small city values and a big city vibe.

League City was voted one of the best small U.S. cities for families (Number 11 in the US) according to nerdwallet.com in 2016.  With its convenient access to entertainment in Houston, Kemah, and Galveston and its ample green space, park space and growing culture, no wonder residents LOVE League City and call it home.

League City was also voted one if the best Texas cities for homeownership according to nerdwallet.com. Home values have increased yearly in League City so homeownership is a great investment. Appreciation for homes in League City has risen and homeowners are seeing a rise in cost per square footage, median price range and a lower number of days on the market showing that housing is in demand in League City. Take a look at League City’s market report.

Nerdwallet also reported that League City was voted one of the best places to live in Texas (number 7 in the US). The unemployment rate in League City is very low , crime rate is extremely low and League City is close to many small cities such as Seabrook, Kemah, Clear Lake, Friendswood, La Porte; all within a short drive without ever getting on a freeway.

For more interesting facts about League City tune into to our “Did you know……” on our facebook business page.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sept. 3, 2019

Top Priorities When Moving with Kids

Top Priorities When Moving with Kids

Top Priorities When Moving with Kids | MyKCM

According to the Pew Research Center, around 37% of U.S students will be going back to school soon and the rest have already started the new academic year. With school-aged children in your home, buying or selling a house can take on a whole different approach when it comes to finding the right size, location, school district, and more.

Recently, the 2019 Moving with Kids Report from the National Association of Realtors®(NAR) studied “the different purchasing habits as well as seller preferences during the home buying and selling process.” This is what they found:

When Purchasing a Home

The major difference between the homebuyers who have children and those who do not is the importance of the neighborhood. In fact, 53% said the quality of the school district is an important factor when purchasing a home, and 50% select neighborhoods by the convenience to the schools.

Buyers with children also purchase larger, detached single-family homes with 4 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms at approximately 2,110 square feet.

Furthermore, 26% noted how childcare expenses delayed the home-buying process and forced additional compromises: 31% in the size of the home, 24% in the price, and 18% in the distance from work.

When Selling a Home

Of those polled, 23% of buyers with children sold their home "very urgently," and 46% indicated "somewhat urgently, within a reasonable time frame." Selling with urgency can pressure sellers to accept offers that are not in their favor. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR explains,

“When buying or selling a home, exercising patience is beneficial, but in some cases – such as facing an upcoming school year or the outgrowing of a home – sellers find themselves rushed and forced to accept a less than ideal offer.”

For sellers with children, 21% want a real estate professional to help them sell the home within a specific time frame, 20% at a competitive price, and 19% to market their home to potential buyers.

Bottom Line

Buying or selling a home can be driven by different priorities when you are also raising a family. If you’re a seller with children and looking to relocate, let’s get together to navigate the process in the most reasonable time frame for you and your family.

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

Posted in Tips for Sellers
Sept. 3, 2019

What Is the “Cost of Convenience” When Selling Your Home?

iBuyers: What Is the “Cost of Convenience” When Selling Your Home?

iBuyers: What Is the “Cost of Convenience” When Selling Your Home? | MyKCM

When thinking about selling their house, homeowners have many options. A relatively new option is using an “iBuyer.” What is an iBuyer?

According to Jovio, the definition is:

“A company or investor that uses Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) to make instant offers on homes. It allows sellers to close on a property quickly. Once sold, the company then turns around and resells the home for a profit.”

Today, there are many iBuyer companies such as OfferPadZillow OffersKnockOpendoor, and Perch. Even some more traditional companies offer the same or similar services (ex. Keller WilliamsRedfinRealogy). Ivy Zelman reported in her ‘Z’ Report that some traditional brokers are partnering with some of the larger iBuyers too:

“Keller Williams announced a partnership with Offerpad, aligning the largest franchise-based brokerage brand in the U.S. with the five-year-old iBuyer. The move follows Realogy’s partnership with Home Partners of America last year as an established brokerage player more directly providing an iBuyer alternative…

Likewise, in early July, Redfin and Opendoor announced a partnership, starting in Phoenix and Atlanta – aligning interests of the 13-year old, tech-enabled and value-focused brokerage with the largest and longest-standing iBuyer. Outside of these larger scale alliances, Zillow’s strategy has been to work with local brokerages as partners on a market-by-market basis.”

Does it make sense to sell your home to an iBuyer?

It depends. Collateral Analytics recently released a study which revealed the advantages and disadvantages of using an iBuyer. According to the study, if the homeowner is looking for the convenience of a quick sale with less uncertainty, using an iBuyer may make sense.

“iBuyers offer quicker closings for sellers who would like to avoid the uncertainty of knowing when and if their home will sell. For motivated sellers who want a predictable sale date and need to move, perhaps a long distance from the current location, there is no question that iBuyers have provided a welcome alternative to traditional brokerage.”

The study, however, also showed there is a cost for that convenienceCollateral Analytics explained:

Traditional brokers fees generally range from 5% to 7% of the sales price…In addition to this cost, buyers typically pay some closing costs including lender related charges in the range of 1% to 3%.”

In contrast:

“iBuyers charge sellers a ‘convenience fee’ of 6% to 9.5%, some also charge the seller for fees typically paid by buyers at closing adding another 1% or more. Most iBuyers will inspect the home, assess a generous home repair allowance and negotiate a (an additional) credit to handle such repairs...Overall the total direct costs, ignoring repair credits, will run 7% to 10% for an iBuyer, versus the typical 5% to 9% combined seller and buyer costs with a traditional broker. Yet, that is not the end of the story or comparison.”

The study went on to explain how iBuyers need to charge even more because they have additional expenses beyond that of the traditional broker. They include:

  1. Carrying costs involving significant amounts of capital – The iBuyer must pay the expenses of the house between the time they purchase it and the time they sell it to a new buyer.
  2. Safeguarding the home risks – A home with an iBuyer ‘For Sale Sign’ alerts anyone passing that the house is vacant. The study suggests that these homes could become targets for vagrants and criminals.
  3. Adverse selection risks – The study explains that since iBuyers use computer models to determine their offer, they may be unaware of certain challenges in the neighborhood that could adversely impact the value.
  4. Potential home price declines – As the survey states:

A downturn in home prices, not forecast by the iBuyer market analysts could be devastating as they ramp up their business platforms, particularly if the cost of capital increases. At the same time, downturns are precisely when the most sellers would want this option.”

Bottom Line

After taking a thorough look at the iBuyer platform, the study concludes that using an iBuyer is more expensive for the homeowner than the traditional brokerage model, but for some sellers, it may still make sense:

“These preliminary empirical results suggest that sellers are paying not just the difference in fees of 2% to 5% more than with traditional agencies, and a generous repair allowance, but another 3% to 5% or more to compensate the iBuyer for liquidity risks and carrying costs. In all, the typical cost to a seller appears to be in the range of 13% to 15% depending on the iBuyer vendor. For some sellers, needing to move or requiring quick extraction of equity, this is certainly worthwhile, but what percentage of the market will want this service remains to be seen.”

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

 

Posted in Real Estate News