November 3rd is a day that Bryan and College Station homeowners, or people who ever hope to own a home need to mark on their calendars. The propositions we're concerned about affect the entire state of Texas, so even if you are moving to a different area within the state or located elsewhere in the state, please make plans to vote! Early voiting began October 19th and ends October 30th.
Voting yes to these four propositions will affect homeowners in the state of Texas by amending the constitution to protect homeowner rights.
Proposition 2 ensures that a residential property is appraised as a home, not a value based on "highest and best use". Imagine that the field next door to your home had the zoning change and suddenly was a commercial property. If this amendment isn't passed it is possible for the appraisal district to come along and say that your property also could be a commercial property and tax it based on that usage. Some homeowners would find themselves in true financial binds as many counties search for more revenues. Keep in mind that already properties that are used as farms or timberland already are exempt from the arbitrary "highest and best use" appraisal. Our homeowners need the same protection.
Proposition 3 allows the state to have oversight of central appraisal districts ensuring that there are uniform standards for appraisals. No longer would appraisal districts be able to set their own standards, artificially lowering their appraisals in certain parts of the state to take advantage of state monies while other homeowners pay the lions share.
Proposition 5 allows two or more adjoining appraisal district to have a combined appraisal review board. Basically it is difficult to get qualified and knowledgable people to serve on the appraisal review boards in rural areas. To speed up the appraisal review process, should you need to protest your taxes, this would allow board members to cross the county lines to ensure that qualified, knowledable board members are available.
Proposition 11 affects eminant domain. This will set standards for what purposes a county can take a property for eminant domain. In the news fairly recently we've heard of situations where peoples homes were taken away for economic development in the city, thereby enriching a developers pocketbook at the expense of the homeowners. This proposition would strictly prohibit that type of condemnation and only allow eminant domain in the cases where it will truly benefit all residences, such as roadways and other essential intrastructure.
Protect your own Bryan or College Station property and vote yes in the upcoming election. The highly controversial College Station red light camera issue will also be on the table.
See you at the polls!!!
Statistics coming from the Bryan College Station Multiple Listing Service indicate that inventory is down and has been creating somewhat of a shortage of homes with first time buyers especially scrambling hard to find the right home.
Let's take a look at the chart below with the data year to date:
Looking at home inventory in the Bryan College Station area since January we see that we started the year out strong historically. In January 371 new listings came on the market, compared to '08's 379 and 07's 270.
What's particularly interesting is the spike we see in May in 2007 and 2008 actually shows a dip for this year before settling back down in June.
As inventory goes down, demand, especially amongst homes 120-140K has gone up. This is creating a situation where one segment of the market appreciates while others, namely the 300K and up market, are declining slightly.
It will be interesting to see what the rest of the year holds and how the first part of 2010 does as well.
I have a beautiful, older house in one of our charming historic districts for sale currently. It is listed at $229,900, a "quick sale" price since the clients are moving out of the country. When we first put it on the market we had three offers and chose the best one. The buyers were represented by a new agent in town but had their prequalification letter and were fairly good to go. They decided since then not to use the local lender they were prequalified through, but instead an out of town lender, DiTech Funding. DiTech sent an appraiser out that isn't familiar with the neighborhood, just did a drive by and didn't use the correct square feet. It ended up appraising for around 20k less than what we had multiple offers on it for. Unfortunately, long story short, though another appraisal was done and it came out at $242K DiTech wouldn't accept that. During this fiasco, however, the new agent was never heard from. We would get the occasional phone call from her manager, or another agent that was helping, but repeatedly this agent wouldn't call back.
Fast forward and the house is back on the market. This same agent, along with two others brought us another very attractive offer. The seller, at this point, doesn't want to consider her offer because of her track record. Fair to her client? Absolutely not, but understandable to anyone.
When choosing an agent the only qualification isn't whether they can get you into the properties. Their reputation with other agents, and the general public, their experience, their knowledge are all necessary to get the job done. When choosing a buyers agent ensure that your agent is very familiar with lending practices and has been an agent for several years, or is a buyers agent for someone with an excellent reputation that will guide the buyers agent.
Don't loose out on the perfect house because of your agent!
Both Bryan and College Station School Districts have called school off for 9/12/08 because of Hurricane Ike. Reports are out that the City of College Station is also offering the employees extra time off today to prepare for the storm. Here in Bryan and College Station we will be relatively immune to the devestation of the storm, expected to make landfall somewhere between Galveston and Corpus Cristi. High winds, however, will be likely if the storm moves right through, along with flash floods. The roadways will be clogged with evacuuees and gas will be difficult at best to buy. All residents should prepare by filling gas tanks, picking up debris in their yard and securing loose outdoor items. Stock up on water, non-pershible items such as canned foods (make sure you have a manual can opener!) and ready to eat items that require no refrigeration. Please make sure you prepare and BE SAFE!!!
Want to know the latest about Hurricane Ike, or any major storm that might roll into town? Go
for all the latest information.
Looking for information on what to stock up on for a storm? Here
is the place you need to be!
Information currently coming in states that
Due to inclement weather predicted in the wake of Hurricane Ike, the following closures and cancellations have been announced from the City of Bryan:
· Bryan and College Station independent school districts will be closed Friday.
· Texas A&M University and Blinn College will be closed Friday.
· All branches of the Bryan and College Station public library system will be closed Saturday and Sunday. The due dates on library materials are extended to Monday so patrons won't have late charges. Patrons are asked to not use book drops.
· The Bryan Aquatic Center and Neal Recreation Center will be closed Friday through Sunday.
· College Night in Downtown Bryan on Friday night is canceled. It will be up to the discretion of individual restaurants and entertainment venues whether they stay open, but city-sponsored giveaways will not be effective. The event will be postponed to a later date.
· The Patriot Day 9/11 event originally planned for Veterans Park at 6 p.m. Thursday night has been moved to Southwood Park, 1600 Rock Prairie Road.
Other pertinent information:
· Evacuees are being asked to go directly to Veterans Park on Harvey Road. They should call 211 for more information.
· The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is extending free admission to all hurricane evacuees. Visitors simply need to identify themselves to staff as evacuees.
· 507 evacuees are currently being sheltered locally. Twenty-eight small animals and 46 large animals are being sheltered locally.
The local shelter capacity is about 2,500.
For the latest about Hurricane Ike go to the City of Bryan
hurricane center website.
The weather is fine currently, with the sun up and just a few clouds in the sky. Probably will be changing rapidly tomorrow.
Can your lender make or break your real estate transaction in Bryan or College Station? ABSOLUTELY!!!! Imagine that you have chosen a home, put down around $1000 earnest money, done inspections (cost of about $500), had an appraisal (cost of $450), and paid various application fees. You're confidentally waiting for the final approval and ready to move in. Can something go wrong? Absolutely! In the past I've had several properties where the closings didn't happen on time. Once the lender doesn't get their paperwork on time there is a chance that it will get sold out from under you and you will be left having done inspections, an appraisal and forfeiting your earnes money because the lender didn't perform.
Recently I had an in demand home listed with me. This house is in an amazing area, with over an acre, built in 1939 with beautiful wood floors. The house was on the market for four days before we got several offers. We accepted one with a preapproval letter from an in-town lender. The buyers then decided to go with an internet lender.
The transaction was going along smoothly until it was time for the appraisal. The appraiser that the lender hired didn't bother to enter the house to verify information. Our tax assessors have the house at a smaller square footage than recent appraisals have so I carefully documented this in the listing. Apparently the appraiser didn't look at the listing either. The result? An appraisal that didn't come up with a value that clearly (considering the interest) the house had. The buyers wanted a second appraisal, which ended up costing them another $350. Then the lender didn't process the paperwork fast enough ending up with the property not closing on time.
The property is back on the market currently and may, or may not, get sold to the people that are "almost there". At this point, if another offer comes in that will work, my sellers will almost certainly accept giving the buyer in this transaction a loss of around $2000. For what? If the transaction took place the buyers might have gotten a 1/8 point decrease in the interest rate. If they were financing 200K and if the interest rate was 6.5 with an in town lender and 6.375 with an internet lender the difference in the payments would be about $16 per month. If they were to live in the house the typical 7 years then the total difference in payment would have been $1344, or less than they lost in having a lender that couldn't deliver what they promised.
Many times what you see with the internet lenders is a "teaser" rate that no one qualifies for. Have you seen the internet commercials with people dancing saying that the interest rate is down to "an amazing 3% rate". That truly is amazing. I can tell you that none of my mortgage brokers has a rate that low on their own home....
Conider your lender a part of the team. Find someone that you can physically meet with if things go wrong. They are much more likely to fix the issue. We have many good local lenders! If you would like the names of some of them please give me a call!
Picking the right house in Bryan or College Station is, of course, a matter of personal opinion. There are as many distincive homes as there are types of people, and the "right" home for some would be a disaster for others. However, it is important to keep a few things in mind when choosing your next Bryan, Texas or College Station, Texas home.
1. Pick your Realtor carefully
. A good Realtor can make the difference between a successful search and a flop. Finding the right agent can be the first step in finding the right home, and negotiating the right price. Look for an agent with experience. Not necessarily a lifetime...sometimes too much can harm the transaction (do you really want your agent to not be in touch with todays prices?), but enough to help you in evaluating homes and negotiating the price. You also want an active agent. Last month was an extraordinarily busy month in real estate in both College Station and Bryan. Despite that only over 350 units were sold in July
, 08', the busiest month in the last seven years. We have over 640 agents on the books in our BCS MLS!
In July I closed 9 transactions...our srongest 25-50 agents are the ones doing most of the business and are the ones most in touch with the market. Pick your agent amongst those that are actually in the business full time with experience. It will make a better experience all around!
2. Search for your new home with resale in mind
! It may seem strange you right now, but money is made on real estate when it's bought, not when it's sold! You need to negotiate the best possible price on the best possible property for it to be a successful transaction!
3. Stay within the market averages
! Though it goes against many peoples grain, staying within the average purchase price of homes in the area is a smart move. You may be able to afford much more house that the 120-200K that our market pulls, but you will maximize your resale if you stay within a margin of plus or minus 50 percent when buying. Buying a home for over 300K can be a good investment if your are going to stay in place for quite some time. If, however, you are planning on moving (or would like to be able to entertain the idea) within the next 3-5 years stay at under 300K to maximize your return.
These are just a few of the tips I can give you to maximize your real estate investment. Call today to set up a complimentary meeting to find out how we can work together to maximize your real estate experience! Call Coti or Chris today at (979)575-7765 or (979)574-1084!
Bryan City Engineers recently revamped outdated floodplain maps. FEMA requires flood maps to be revised periodically. Approximately 10% of Bryan (around 2700 acres) now lies in floodplain. 180 homeowners were notified that their homes lie within the 100 year floodplain, the area that has a 1% or better chance of being flooded each year.
Help is on the way for residents newly identified as living in the floodplain as Bryan is part of a FEMA incentive program that will give 5% discounts for flood insurance.
Though I don't know of anyone happy about being identified as in the floodplain, these residents can sleep a bit better at night knowing that they are protected in case of flooding. Property values could be affected moderately, but a house that lies in the floodplain that never has flooded probably would be unaffected.
The cost of flood insurance, many times, is as little as $700 per year and can reap a huge payoff in the event of flooding.
College Station has been largely unaffected. Recent changes have even proved to be beneficial, and reduced the risk of flooding in neighborhoods at risk.
To find out if your home is in a designated floodplain visit FEMA's Website at www.msc.fema.gov. Remember that even if your home lies outside the designated floodplain it could potentially be flooded.
For Bryan and College Station real estate view the MLS Search on this site!
Celebrating a big event, or just want a quiet night on the town? Ready for some world class cuisine and excellent presentation? Head out to Christopher's World Grille located on the east side of Bryan off Booneville Road.
Lunch is served rom 11-2 and offers such selections as the Beef Tenderloin Enchiladas with ancho chili sauce, lime sour cream and salsa for $13.95. Whatever you do, don't forget to try some of the delicious soup!
Dinner offers fish dishes, steak and other incredible entrees and ranges from $18.95 to $29.95. Desserts are awesome and their selection of wine is incredible, so save some room!
Weekend Brunch is a nice get-away with moderate pricing!
See all their selections at http://www.christophersworldgrille.com/
Brie with mango chutney for appetizers is ALWAYS good! Dessert anyone? The desserts here will be the highlight of your evening.
Enjoy the building while you are there! A renovated and extended 100 year old farmhouse is at the heart of it. Stop by the Casablanca Piano Bar and enjoy live jazz music, or perhaps the vocal bliss of Karan Chavis.
On a beautiful day last week in my bright and sunny office in my favorite area of the world a prospective client and I were talking and she mentioned that moving here from Atlanta she would be giving up cultural events and all the excitement of a large town and didn't know if she could do it.
I was immediately shocked at her suggestion and rose to the defense of my city!
To give you some background, Bryan and College Station, Texas are twin cities smack in the center of most of the larger cities in Texas. Dallas is around 3 hours away, Austin around 2, Houston about 1.5 hours and San Antonio around 4. The combined population is approximately 130,000. Small right? Yes....but for Texas A&M, one of the largest colleges in the United States, this is home. Having a large university in your backyard certainly changes things! Cultural events and drawn by the university crowd, who enthusiastically respond! Beyond that we are the home of the George Bush Museum, and this brings even more speakers and fun to the area!
This post would get way too long if I mentioned all the performances in town. We have many peformers and speakers along the way and some awesome community theatre. I'll focus on OPAS for this write up, come back often for information about other events and venues. Come back often to find more entertainment in Bryan and College Station.
Texas A&M is proud to have MSC OPAS, whose mission is "Bringing World-Class Entertainment to the Brazos Valley". This year (2007 Season) is it's 35th year in operation!
Past performances have include Yo-Yo Ma, Van Cliburn, Itzhak Perlman, Stomp, Les Miserables, Rent, Hairspray and the world premier of the Bolshoi Ballet Brigorovich Ballet. This caused extra attention from international media here for OPA, including a write up in the New York Times.
This year for the 35th Anniversary they have quite the lineup for us!
September 24, 2007 The Ten Tenors
. An Australian group performing jazz, opera, modern and classical pop all in the same venue. For more information go to http://www.thetentenors.com/
February 1-2, 2008 A Ride With Bob
: The Bob Will Musical featuring Ray Benson and Ashllep at the Wheel. Bob Wills, the father of Texas Swing and renowned for such songs as "Route 66", "San Antonio Rose" and "Faded Love" is lovingly portrayed by this beautiful show. For more information go to http://www.aridewithbob.com/
February 21, 2008, Movin' Out
. (I ventured to New York to see this one, and can personally give it glowing reviews!). Billy Joel's musical tribute to two decades of Viet Nam, it is a powerful performance!
March 4-5, 2008 The Producers
. What more can be said than...A Mel Brooks Comedy! Visit http://www.producersontour.com/
for more information.
March 26-27, 2008 Blast
Winner of the 2001 (created specifically for it) Best Theatrical Event Tony!!! More information can be found at http://www.blasttheshow.com/
April 1-2, 2008 Chicago
. Decade old winner of 6 Tony Awards and 6 Academy Awards. Watch it right here and find more information in the meantime at http://www.chicagothemusical.com/
What do you think? A small city with a lack of culture and fun...? Didn't think so!!!!