Real Estate Update May 2010

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Meg & Jim Zoller of The Zoller Group
May 2010

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve you!”
Copyright 2010 Realty Times
All Rights Reserved.

Fixed-Rates Stable

In Freddie Mac’s results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.06 percent for the week ending April 29, 2010 – down slightly from the previous week when it averaged 5.07 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.78 percent.
“Mortgage rates on 30-year fixed loans have averaged about 5% over the first four months of this year, staying within a band of roughly

Mortgage Rates

Source: Realty Times

U.S. averages as of April 29, 2010:

30 yr. fixed: 5.06%
15 yr. fixed: 4.39%
1 yr. adj: 4.25%

a quarter percentage point and virtually matching 2009’s annual average,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist.

Costly Mistakes First-Time Buyers Make

Five common and costly mistakes that novice home buyers make:
Ignoring the costs of having a low credit score. Lower-score borrowers pay thousands of dollars in increased interest rates over the life of the loan.
Shopping for other things before closing. Lenders continue to check credit scores right up until closing. Too much shopping could cause the lender to take back the loan.
Scrimping on an inspection. Being surprised by the need for expensive repairs can be financially devastating.
Buying without contingencies. Buyers should give themselves an out if the inspection turns up problems or the bank raises rates.
Insurance can be surprisingly pricey. Buyers who don’t budget for it can face a nasty surprise.

The Cost Between Renting and Owning Narrows

The cost difference between buying and renting is as narrow as it has been since 1993, according to a study on home ownership by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services for the Associated Press.
The study examined rent and home prices in 45 metropolitan areas and concluded that gap between a payment on a median-priced home and median rent on a similar property is on average only $256.
Marcus & Millichap calculated the number using median home prices for the last three months of 2009, assuming a 10 percent down payment on a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 5.07 percent.
It factored in mortgage insurance, but didn’t include either repair costs or tax benefits.

Use Your Tax
Return for Good

Tax season can be a challenging time of the year. Some people wait until the last minute to file their taxes, while others file and received their funds before the mid April deadline. If if you are one of the lucky ones who get a tax return, what will you do with those long awaited greenbacks? A popular choice amongst consumers is to pay off credit card debt; another is buying something extravagant. But why not consider how your tax return can help maximize your mortgage product and your financial situation in the long run?
Consider refinancing if you have an ARM or a high interest rate loan. Refinancing into a fixed rate and/or a lower interest rate can save you money in the long run. Why not do it now when rates are at all time lows? You can use your tax return for closing costs.
If you are happy with your mortgage product and rate, why not use your tax return to help add the gourmet kitchen you’ve always wanted? Not only can you have that extra bedroom or outdoor kitchen you’ve always wanted, but you may also be increasing the value of your home and get more money when you are ready to sell. Let your tax return help increase the value of your home by using it to help fund a rehab loan.
Perhaps you want to upgrade to a new home for your growing family. Your tax return can come in handy with closing costs.

Equal Housing
Meg & Jim Zoller of The Zoller Group
Meg: 713.875.4844; Jim: 713.545.6338
Toll Free : 1-800-808-6153

Keller Williams Realty – Metropolitan
Direct: 713.661.0884
550 Post Oak Blvd. Suite 350
Houston, TX 77027

Categories: Newsletter


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I just discovered at Dallas RainCamp 2010 this week.

I’m trying to discover some practical applications that will make my Houston and Bellaire Real Estate Business more valuable to consumers. Everyone wants to know what local amenities are near a home they’re considering to purchase. I used this technology tool to find out what grocery stores, libraries, parks, restaurants, bus stations, schools, etc. might be near my Houston real estate listing located at 6026 High Star. The information offered appears fairly complete and correct.

The site shows you where each of these amenities is located, the address and the mileage from this particular home.

It appears that there are quite a few places you could walk to, but there are many you would want to drive to, ride a bike to or use public transportation to take you to your destination. I found this to be a very useful tool. Let me know what you think.

This is the results for 6026 High Star in Houston, Texas:

Oh, by the way . . .as of 2/20/10 6026 High Star is still for sale in the Houston real estate market.

Please check out the Houston real estate sales information for 6026 High Star.  It will make you a wonderful home!

Categories: Buyer Resources


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Activerain’s RainCamp in Dallas was RICH with information! Dallas RainCamp offered new information on blogging, technical tools, Twitter, Facebook, Activerain, Google, websites, Zillow,  and lead conversion.  I know that I will be able to incorporate information provided to help me market Houston and Bellaire real estate in new and exciting ways.

Of course, often when you attend events like this you get so excited about all that you’ve heard.  However, you drive or fly back home . . .only to have to go back to work immediately . . .and then you tend to forget so much.  Well, I did something different this time.  I had my hotel room until noon the next day.  So, after our evening networking mixer I went back to the room and studied what I had learned at Dallas RainCamp until 2:00 in the morning.  Then I got up about 8:00 and went  through all the helpful websites that Brad Andersohn presented. I checked out at noon, but continued studying in the hotel lobby until 2:00.  It really made a difference in my retention of the information. The only reason I really stopped was because I was hungry. So I left, ate lunch and headed out on my 4 hour drive back to Houston.  During that time I thought about what the speakers said and emphasized.  I made a plan to incorporate information to use in marketing homes for sale in Houston, Bellaire and a resort I love, Artesian Lakes which is near Cleveland, Texas.

This was a great seminar for me!!

Brad Andersohn shared over 30 FREE websites that will benefit me in marketing and blogging about Houston and Bellaire real estate.

My TOP 10 FREE WEBSITES ( not in any particular order) that I’m going to add to my real estate business are:

  1. – take any picture. change it’s size, etc.
  2. – mix photos & videos to create something “WOW”
  3. – great for online signatures
  4. – publish customised event to website or blog
  5. – single real estate source for all your social networking, blogs & websites
  6. – self explanatory
  7. -anti-virus & spam
  8. – gets anything from twitter
  9. – type in address, it brings up grocery stores, restaurants, parks,etc. Promote listings.
  10. – create custom “Flashy” web pages in minutes


If you have a chance, please take the opportunity to attend RainCamp when it’s offered in any city that may be close to you.You can’t help to learn from the experience.  It is information packed!!  I am so thankful that Ben Kinney, Bob Stewart, Brad Andersohn, the great panel and John took their time to share and teach. 

Right now it’s time for me to go  implement some ideas.  I want to do the best I can for my clients and customers when I help them buy real estate in Houston, Bellaire and Artesian Lakes.  It’s another great day!!





Categories: Business Concerns

Houston, Texas Real Estate Economic Data-and It’s Not All Bad

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As a partner of the Houston real estate team of The Zoller Group of Keller Williams Realty. I thought a would take time to share the following with you.

I attended a meeting this week and the speaker was a real estate investor whose topic concerned how things have gone so far in 2009 and what the trend is for the rest of this year. He makes his living buying and selling real estate and is constantly monitoring statistics which he thinks are real estate related. He had nothing to sell and had no handouts.  All the statistics I will be stating come from my notes. I haven’t verified any of them, but did find them interesting and thought that I would share them.

The Bad News-Nationally the latest unemployment figure was 9.4% and predictions are that it might climb to 10.5%. The latest Houston unemployment figure at the time of the talk was 6.90%, which is worse than predicted at the first of the year. Yesterday I read that this increased to 8.0%.  Through May 2009, the cumulative number of  jobs lost was 56,300, also worse than predicted.  

The Good News for Houston-we’ve gained about 7000 of the jobs back and have a chance to gain most of the remainder back by the end of the year. Major projects which will help gain jobs are the 1.5 billion dollar mass transit project, the 1.4 billion dollar restoration project for the UTMB facility in Galveston, the 98.3 million dollar stimulus money for the Port of Houston and the 40 million dollar stimulus money for the Port of Galveston. There is also a new 14 story medical building nearing completion at the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and surprisingly to me, numerous new commercial projects planned throughout Houston.

National Real Estate Trends for single family homes:

For the last 3 months, pending sales have increased. 

 Sales in California, one of the biggest  losers real estate-wise, are double from their worst month.

May 2009  . . . job cuts were the lowest this year

The national home inventory is down to 9.7 months

Consumer sentiment is up for 4 months in a row

The HAI(Housing Affordability Index) is the highest since it became an index in 1971

The latest Durable Goods Index was up 1.8%   after predictions were for a .6% decrease

Houston Real Estate Trends for single family homes:

Home Inventory is 45,282 which is less than last year’s number of 53,305

Days on Market is 6.2 months which is considered a neutral market and is less than last year’s figure of 6.5 months. For those of you who remember the 1980’s in Houston, I believe that this number was about 2 years

May 2009 foreclosures accounted for 19.8 % of sales down from a high of 34% in January2009

Although new home sales are down 60% in Houston, we are still #1 in the nation.

The Brookings Institute has Houston as the major market least affected by the economy and ranked #5 in the “Market Expected to Rise” category.

Big Picture:

I bet that most people think that it is a strong buyers market, but the figures don’t support that. I know that some neighborhoods are worse than others, but overall it could be a lot worse.

The latest population prediction that I remember was 5.7 million in 2008 for Houston and vicinity . . . increasing to 11.7 million in 2040.  Can you imagine?!?!  If true, they gotta’  live somewhere.

If you have any information to add to this or want to discuss anything concerning this blog, please let me know.

This article was written July, 2009 by Guest Writer, JIM ZOLLER.

Categories: Business Concerns, Events, Foreclosures, Market Reports, Uncategorized


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Market Conditions for Houston, TexasReported by

Meg & Jim Zoller of The Zoller Group of Keller Williams Realty, REALTORS

As of May 28, 2008.

As of May 28, 2008.

Current Market Rating: 3


Current Price Trend: 3


Note: Due to the large volume of homes sold, I usually need two months to compile data. So in May, I’ll be using March data, obtained from the Houston Association of Realtors.

To date, the mortgage company and loan problems you have been reading about have affected Houston housing much less than most other areas of the country. The year 2007 was the second best year in Houston on record based on the HAR stats. Total property sales were lower in 2007 than in 2006, but total dollar volume was a record high. So in a nutshell, less homes were sold, but for more money.

This trend has continued in 2008. March 2008 total property sales declined 17.3 % from March 2007, the seventh straight month of decline. The good news is that in Houston the March 2008 average sales price increased over last year by 2.0% to $208,105.The median price which is a price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less was $151,000, the same as March 2007.

Townhomes and condo sales were down in total sold and sales prices. In March 2008, the average sale price was $159,012, a 9.7% decline from last year. The number of units sold declined by 8.5 % from last year, however this was the highest level since August 2007.

In closing, the Houston housing market is still stronger in pricing than other areas of the country, although the foreclosures, sub prime lending problems and rising costs of gas, food, etc. have affected us. Our employment numbers and cost of living are considered some of the best in the country. In Houston, in recent years, you have been able to purchase a home for less than in many other cities and the value has increased. According to the National Association of Realtors, Houston’s current median sales price for a single family home is $151,000, compared to the national average of $193,900. We had the second best year on record in 2007. This indicates the great value of living in Houston. If your credit is good and you look on the bright side, this mortgage mess has caused interest rates to decline, making this a good time to buy.

Location Characteristics: Known as both the Bayou City and Space City, Houston was founded in 1836 and named after General Sam Houston. With a population of close to 2 million, it’s the 4th largest city in the United States. The city has been a dynamic center of business since the early 1900s and is also the leader in space technology, being home to NASA and the Johnson Space Center. The port area is thriving and connected to the city by the Houston Ship Channel. Other well known areas are Interstate 10’s Energy Corridor, the Galleria, and the world class Texas Medical Center. Houston’s feel is diverse, with both a high rise skyline and waterways like the Buffalo Bayou, which winds through the city.

Recently, downtown Houston has been transferred into a dynamic area of the city for both entertainment and residential living. Many new lofts and townhomes have been built in and near downtown and other buildings have been converted from commercial to residential use.

Houston has major league football, baseball, basketball ( men’s and women’s), and soccer teams, as well as AHL hockey. It also has separate horse and greyhound racing tracks.

For the theatre lovers, Houston is one of the few cities that has permanent ballet, orchestra, opera, and theatre companies.

Houston offers most everything you could possibly desire in real estate.

For More Information:

Copyright © 2008 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Categories: Market Reports, Neighborhoods

Bellaire, TX Townhome Attracts People Needing a Downstairs Master Bedroom

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Houston real estate, buyers and sellers always keeps me interested in the needs of those buying, selling, renting and building new construction.  It is what makes me passionate for the business.  After selling real estate for over 19 years, you would think that I’ve encountered most everything that you can imagine in the residential real estate business.  However, I continue to have something new or different come up in almost every transaction.  Therefore, I am constantly learning.  What I learn . . . I try to share.


Bellaire, TX is basically a city and a community of homes located near downtown Houston.   Many people want to live in this community because of the city environment, location, schools, and homes.  Homes now sell for anywhere from the mid $200’s to over $3,000,000.  There are some custom built homes that are probably worth considerably more. 

There is very little that you can buy right now for under $300,000.   However, Bellaire does have a few gems that will entice many.  There are a number of townhomes that offer much more than some of the surrounding communities.  Some of these features include low maintenance fees, small yards, one and two story properties and some with master bedrooms located downstairs.


I recently listed a lovely townhome at 5714 Innsbruck in Bellaire, TX that has quite a few of the features that people request on a regular basis.  It offers:

  • Low maintenance fees of $25. per month
  • Some front yard, a large side yard and bit of a back yard
  • Two story home
  • Downstairs master bedroom presently used as a study/family room
  • Gleaming wood floors
  • Corner brick gaslog fireplace with a pretty mantle
  • Granite kitchen counters with tumbled travertine backsplash
  • Double paned window and doors
  • Large walk-in closets and ceiling fans in each bedroom
  • Very nice bathrooms
  • Back patio area
  • Well located inside Loop 610 in Bellaire, TX
  • Zoned by HISD to Horn Elementary, Pershing Middle (can apply for Pin Oak Middle) & Bellaire High schools (sought after schools)
  • Price in the mid $200’s.





front view - 5714 Innsbruck
Front view of the townhome as seen standing under the large shade tree in front near the street.
Entry - 5714 Innsbruck
Pretty landscaping, the side yard and touch of slate invite you into this beautifully updated 3/2/2 in Bellaire located inside Loop 610.
Living room 1 - 5714 Innsbruck
Living room features include recently installed wood floors, built-in entertainment center, optional TV, breakfast bar opening to kitchen, and built-ins with mirrored backing.
living room 2 - 5714 innsbruck
Another view of the living room from the edge of the dining room. A point of interest is that all the windows have recently been replaced with vinyl double paned windows and garden doors.
living room 3 - 5714 innsbruck
From the hallway you can view the living room, corner gaslog fireplace(could be made woodburning again) and garden doors. Aren’t the floors beautiful?
living room 4 - 5714 innsbruck
Once again the living room is nicely presented.
living room 5 - 5714 innsbruck
The charming brick corner fireplace is cozy and offers a nice hearth and a gorgeous custom made mantle. Presently the fireplace is gaslog, but supposedly can be converted back to woodburning.
dining room - 5714 innsbruck
Tastful mirrored wall and garden doors aid in making this dining room light and enjoyable for dining.
breakfast bar - 5714 innsbruck
Peek over the granite breakfast bar into the kitchen from the living room.
kitchen 5714 innsbruck
Viewing the kitchen from the breakfast bar allows you to see the abundant cabinetry and gorgeous granite countertops. The electric range is a flat surface.
kitchen 2 - 5714 innsbruck
Looking down into the kitchen gives you an idea of the attention to detail from the tile floor, cabinets and hardware, granite counters and tumbled travertine backsplash.
upstairs bedroom - 5714 innsbruck
Large upstairs bedroom is presently being used fot the master bedroom. All bedrooms have ceiling fans and large, deep walk-in closets.
other upstairs bedroom - 5714 innsbruck
The other upstairs bedroom has a high window for better furniture arrangement. All bedrooms are carpeted.
master bedroom - 5714 innsbruck
Presently the downstairs master bedroom is being used for a study. You can peek into the master bath that features decorator touches.
patio - 5714 innsbruck
The slate step helps you enter onto the patio area from the dining room. This is a great spot for grilling. The back and large side yard are fully fenced.
side yard - 5714 innsbruck
This large fully fenced side yard can be used in so many ways. The back corner of this yard has nice landscaping. There is quite a bit of yard space that comes along with this home. The low maintenance fees cover mowing the front yard.

There is very little that you can buy in Bellaire for the price of this nice three bedroom, two bath, two garage home.  Prices are historically and continually rising in Bellaire.  Buying a townhome like this one that I listed is a great deal in my opinion . . . if you want to live in Bellaire, TX.


If you are looking to buy or sell in Bellaire, TX . . .would this information be helpful to you?  What would you add or delete to make this post better?



Categories: MLS/IDX, Neighborhoods, Uncategorized

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