Category: Richmond Texas

Living in Richmond Texas

Your Home, Your Rules – Showing your Home during the Conoravirus outbreak

Speak to your Real Estate agent about possible changes/rules that you can implement to make your property tours safer.

These restrictions may reduce the number of visits but it will assure you that those that do tour your property are serious buyers.

1. Have your listing agent request a copy of the buyer’s pre-qualification in advance. If they are not pre-qualified they shouldn’t be touring your property.

2. Have your agent use the following form to at least ask if the parties that will tour your property have symptoms.

3. Have all persons entering your home remove their shoes 👞👡 right outside your home. Add a note to your front door requesting this just in case the buyer’s agent forgets to tell their client.

4. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).

5. Consider offering hand sanitizer by the front door. Add a note asking those entering to please use the sanitizer before they tour your home.

6. Speak to your agent about offering a video tour of your property. Sometimes a video with answer the questions buyers have about your property and they might rule it out based on further details. The truth is that your home is not for everyone. Let’s limit the tours to the ones that really are interested.

🗣This works both ways, if you as the seller are feeling ill please speak to your listing agent about canceling all showings until further notice.

We all have to do our part to help stop the spread!

COVID-19 Addendum provides for a 30-day extension of the closing date

My job as a Real Estate Agent is to protect my buyers and sellers during the buying and selling process. 🌟 We have seen many delays in the home selling/buying process. 🌟 These delays have caused extensions in closing dates. It’s very important to protect your interests. The Realtor Organization has created a form that will cover you should you need an extension due to the COVID19 outbreak. Ask your agent about this form. Read it and see if you feel you’d like it included in your offer/contract.

The 30-day extension under the addendum is available if the delay in closing is due to a quarantine or closure that affects the buyer, seller, or other service provider, including, but not limited to, a title company, lender, inspector, or appraiser.

Please note that any date extensions must be approved by sellers and buyers alike. If one party does not agree, you will have a problem.

Window Cleaning and General Maintenance

Let’s take advantage of the low temperature right now and take care of an often overlooked area of maintenance in the home. Windows!

It’s recommended that we check out windows once a year. This is one of the most common areas in which moisture gets into our homes. It’s better to catch the problem right away then try to fix it once more damage has been done. Let’s review some general maintenance suggestions:

Cleaning

Cleaning your windows is not only recommend for esthetic reasons but it will also extend their longevity.

One of the best tools to use is this scrubber that can be attached to any broom handle or other long poles.

I’ve tried many cleaning products and the best ones are also degreasers. These seem to do a better job of cleaning all the build up on the windows. Dawn dish soap would be my second favorite.

Don’t forget the window sill and track

  1. Open the window and vacuum the window sill
  2. Use a tooth brush and warm soapy water
  3. Get in there with q-tips if needed
  4. Wipe down and dry the area
  5. Lubricate the track. For wooden tracks, use the right wax and for vinyl tracks, use a small amount of silicone lubricant.

Here are some tips from our friend Bob Villa

Check for damage

While you are cleaning the windows go ahead and check for common damage and general maintenance that might be needed.

Caulking

Check all around the window on the outside and the interior for separation in the caulking. This is one of the most common ways that moisture gets in.

Check out this video on how to caulk around your windows

Choosing the right sealant

Window Screens

Remove the screens and spray them down. As you are cleaning them check to make sure the window screens are in good shape. These can easily be repaired. Check out this video

Wood rot

Don’t forget to check the interior wood frame and interior sill. Looks for caulking separation, water stains, rot and other indications that moisture has been reaching the interior. This is one of the first places you will find damage.

Look for water stains, rot and other indications that moisture has been reaching the interior.

I love these products for minor wood rot repairs: wood hardener to treat the remaining wood and wood filler to build up any areas that are rotten.

Caulking window sills

Exterior wood rot repair

This is a more severe case of wood rot and water damage around a window.

TIP: This is a great cheap tool you can use to check for moisture in wood and sheetrock

Foggy Windows

Occasionally double pane window will get foggy or you will see moisture accumulation between the panes. This normally happens when the seals around the edges of the glass begin to fail and it allows the inert gas to escape and outside air to enter the space between the glass panes.

Before you do anything check to see if your windows are under warranty.

This page offers a better explanation and possible solutions.

Do you have any comments or suggestions? I’d love to hear them


Short Term Rental Scams

When people hear Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO, they think vacation. These services connect homeowners who want to rent out a room or their entire house or apartment with travelers who want an alternative to hotel chains.

These short term rentals are used for many other reasons. They are temporary homes between selling and buying a home. They are temporary homes for business trips. They are used as temporary housing for college students.

These types of rentals can also be found on Craig’s list, facebook market page, other social media, etc.

In the last few years there has been a rise in cases of fraud.

Let review some of the most common scams:

  • Fake Rental – One scheme known as take the money and run occurs when a fraudster creates a fake vacation rental listing or website to get money from unaware victims. The pictures are usually stollen from other sites and the property they are advertising doesn’t usually exist. The fraudster will typically ask you to pay the first and last day or sometimes the stay in full. Once they receive the funds they tend to disappear. Usually the victim will not find out they were scammed until they show up at the property (or lack of property).
  • Bait and switch – Another scam is the bait and switch. In this scam, the fraudster shows unavailable properties to lure the would-be renter to a less-desirable property. This is sometimes done in a sneaky way. You may not even know you’ve been scammed.
    • Imagine that the short-term rental owner calls you the day of check-in. You are informed that the previous guest had flushed something down the toilet, which had left the unit flooded with water. He offers you another unit in the mean time and they will let you know when the flooded unit is available (which is probably never). This other unit is usually not the same quality.
  • Price jacking – You get to the property and it’s the property you expected but you are asked to pay more at the last minute. They may push you to pay by turning on the home’s WIFI, turn off the lights, etc.

In 2019, the median loss of victims who reported rental scams to Scam Tracker was $996. The Apartment List survey found that the median loss was $400, but one in three victims lost more than $1,000.

  • Let’s share the winnings: This is typically a scam targeting the short term rental owner. They will ask the owner to charge a certain amount for a room they never plan on using. In exchange they want the owner to give them 1/2 of the amount charged. If you receive a check that’s for more than the specified amount, return it. Do not deposit it. 
  • Cancelled Booking – The victim will receive an email stating that the home or home is not longer available due to renovations or repairs. You are informed that you will get a refund (which never happens).
  • No showings but give me more info – If you ask to see the property and they either tell you no or they book a tour but end up canceling. At times they will ask you to fill out an application with tons of personal info before they allow you to see the property. They might asked to run a credit check before they show you the property—they might say the property is so popular that they are only entertaining serious inquiries or a similar excuse. Red Flag.
  • Home for Rent – Longer term rentals also experience fraud. Fraudsters will use homes that are currently up for sale (and vacant) and they will list them for rent; normally using the same pictures. Sometimes they even gain access to the home and have copies of the keys. They will collect the security deposit and 1st rent, have them sign a lease, and give the victims the keys. It all looks legit until someone shows up to tour the home and realized that there is someone already living in it!
  • Rent-to-Own – I know this is appealing to some renters but the fact is that there is a lot of fraud in this area. This can be legally done by signing a rental agreement with an option to purchase.
Sample Fraud Communication
  • You owe me money! – On occasions the fraudster (property owner) will contact you after the fact and request that you pay a certain amount for repairs. Take photos and video of a property when they arrive and when they leave.
  • Room for Rent/fraudster tenant – There are fraudsters that are renting rooms in vacant homes or homes that they might have rented legitimately but have stop making payments on their rent. Normally they will try to rent every room in the home within a short period by offering an amazing rate. They will take a deposit and the month’s rent in advance. Shortly after they disappear.
  • No Credit Check – If someone is willing to rent you a home or a room for a period of time, wouldn’t they be concerned about your credit or criminal history? Red flag.
  • You can pay the rest later – If the property owner tells you that you can pay a portion of your security deposit now and the rest later, be careful. This is a way to establish trust and they may only be seeking to steal the first part of the payment.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Reverse image search – If you search the images and you find that they are stock pictures or they belong to another listing, this should be a BIG red flag.
  • Contact number – Search for the property owner’s telephone number. If it turns out to be a google number, this might be an issue. Not to say that all google numbers belong to fraudsters but I’d be on high alert.
  • Map the address – Map the address and make sure there is a property located at that address. Does the home match those in the picture?
  • Read reviews – A lot of times just reading the reviews will cause red flags. Do the good reviews sound strange? Do they use the same wording you found in the ad?
  • Cancellation Alerts – Are there multiple cancellation alerts on a property? Red Flag.
  • Price too good to be true? – It probably is. Red Flag. A guest offering to pay extra for a week because they love your place? Scam! A single traveler renting your five-bedroom house for themselves? Scam! Trust your instinct.
  • Payments – Is the host asking you to take their business off the official site? Red flag. All communications and payments should be handled through the site. If they ask for a money order or wire, backoff and report them.
  • Website – before making a payment look at the website address. Sometimes you are sent a link to an “airbnb” like site but the web address is not correct.

airbnb.com vs. airbnb-bookings.com

  • Owner Search – Search for the property’s owner. Make sure that the person that you are dealing with is the owner.  It will not hurt to ask for documentation to prove the identity of the person you are dealing with. If you find the property is owned by a company, call the company and see what you can find out.
  • Few or no reviews – Red Flag
  • Lease – You are asked to sign a lease before you are able to see the place/room.

More info/Sources:

Information about Brokerage Services – IABS form


Texas law requires all real estate license holders to give the following information about brokerage services to prospective buyers, tenants, sellers and landlords. 

In essence, we have to disclose who we represent in a transaction upon the first contact with a party or a licensee representing another party. There are different types of representation that we will explain below.

Real Estate License Holders Explained

  • The Broker – Brokers are more experienced and qualified and can work as independent agents or have other agents work for them. A broker, on the other hand, owns a brokerage and employs real estate agents (or may not). A broker generally has more training than an agent and handles some of the more technical parts of a transaction.
  • A Real Estate Agent – Real estate agents are licensed to facilitate real estate transactions, are paid commissions for their sales, and work for brokerages. They cannot work independently. A real estate agent is an industry professional who serves as the facilitator of real estate transactions. Everything that a Real Estate Agent completes, they do so on behalf of the broker.
  • REALTOR® – Realtors are part of the National Association of Realtors, a trade organization, and can hold any position within the real estate industry.
  • Seller’s Agents, commonly called “listing brokers” or “listing agents”, are contracted by owners to assist with marketing property for sale and/or lease.
  • Buyer’s Agents are brokers or salespersons who assist buyers by helping them purchase property.
  • Dual Agents help both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. In Texas law does not permit dual agency. A license holder may not represent both principals as a dual agent under the revisions to TRELA. Under the current law, a broker must agree to act as an intermediary in accordance with the statute if the broker agrees to represent more than one party in a transaction. 
  • Intermediary – a person who acts as a link between people in order to try to bring about an agreement or reconciliation; a mediator. When the same brokerage represents the buyer and the seller, the broker must act as an intermediary and a sales rep will be assigned for each party. The broker will be neutral.
  • Subagent – This is an agent that represents a buyer without and buyer’s representation agreement.

Discounts on Insurance Policies?

Does it seem that some people are able to get discounts on everything?

There are a few tricks to get better rates on insurance. Insurance companies study the statistics of the general population to try and find indicators of clients that will not generate claims.

What are the companies looking for in a client?

There is some good news! Insurance companies prefer couples over singles. Service careers also are given a discount with many insurance carriers: military, police officers, fire fighters, educators and medical staff. Ask your insurance agent if you are eligible for any discount based on your employment. You will have to provide a copy of a license or employment ID to qualify but some companies give as much as a 10% discount.

Another area that indicates a responsible insured is education level. Any completed education above a high school diploma can help reduce your rate. Trade schools, junior college, bachelor’s degrees, masters and doctorate degrees all qualify for discounts and preferred rates. If you belong to any group, professional organization, or credit union many companies will offer an association discount.

You may be thinking – I do not fit any of those categories. There are other ways so don’t give up. Have you been in the same area for several years? Companies look for people who do not move constantly because it shows stability.

Another way to receive a discount is to either pay the policy in full in advance or put your payments on automatic payments with a bank account or a credit card.

What is an insurance score?

This leads to credit scores and how they can help you. There is an insurance score that is different from your credit score. Your Insurance score looks at your insurance history. Have you had continuous coverage? What is your driving record like? How many claims have you filed, and have you missed any payments? Another rating factor is how many people are on your policies. Believe it or not, the more people the cheaper the policy (per person)!

Young drivers are killer on the cost of an auto policy, however there are ways to soften the blow. All young drivers should complete a driving course taught by a local driving school. Parent taught students pay more for insurance! A young driver should be in an older vehicle and limit their driving to a defined area. The driving telematic devices that are installed in the car to track driving habits are also a way to gain a substantial discount if you are a good driver consistently over time.

Rates do not improve for younger drivers until about the age of 25. The idea that boys cost more than girls is not true anymore.

Do you have questions or would you like a quote for coverage? Just ask! You will find my contact info below.

Blog Contributor

Karen Tannery 

Account Executive

281-712-7272

karen.tannery@goosehead.com

Home Insurance Deductibles and Gambling Bets

Some people look for ways to keep their home insurance costs low. There are ways to do this wisely and other ways are just foolish. A deductible is the amount of money you pay before your insurance company will pay. For the example, the average home is around $250,000. (hypothetically) and a 1% deductible is $2,500 for any claim, 2% would be $5,000 and 5% would be $12,500. What is your gambling tolerance level?

Most people want a low to medium risk – the 1% to 3% deductible range. The cost difference in most homes is minor for the deductible difference. Yes, the higher the deductible the lower the premium, but before you go straight to the 5% or higher deductible look at the cost savings. It is usually not worth the return over about 3%.

It is usually not worth the return over about 3%.

If you are a young couple with little money just feeling lucky to get into a house – keep your deductibles low so that if anything does happen it will not be catastrophic to your family. Older couples who have a little more financial reserve might consider a slightly higher deductible because they could afford to take a hit financially if something happens to their home. You alone know your financial situation.

The “average roof” on our “average home” is about $20,000. So, if you get hit in a hailstorm and you need a new roof what are you comfortable paying out of pocket? Percentages based on your coverage A of $250,000- 1% at $2,500, 2% at 5,000, 3% at $7,500 or higher?

In Texas, most policies have two deductibles: Wind/Hail and All Other deductibles. The Wind/Hail covers damage to your home by weather – wind, storms and hail. This is the most commonly used coverage. It is also the most expensive of the coverages. If you can afford to pay a higher deductible, this is one place you can choose to have a higher deductible for a lower rate.

The downside is that if you need to use your coverage, the cost out of your pocket will be higher. Another consideration is the All Other Perils deductible to reduce the overall cost. This is a much lower impact to the overall cost of the policy. However, selecting a higher deductible will help lower the premium slightly. This deductible is used for theft, fire, and water claims – anything but storm damage. Assess your own financial situation and carefully review the differences in premiums to find the best balance for yourself.

Do you have questions about coverage or would you like to receive a free quote? Contact me at the info below.

Blog Contributor

Karen Tannery 

Account Executive

281-712-7272

karen.tannery@goosehead.com

New Year, New Beginnings

They say that the chance of actually achieving your goals 👩‍💼 is greatly increased when you share it with others and be very specific. 
🌟🌟🌟 Make me accountable and I will do the same back! Let’s help each other achieve our goals for 2020! 🌟🌟🌟
Let me know how I can help‼️ I can be a drill sergeant when needed. I NEED YOUR HELP ON #4‼️🏘❤️😊

 

1. Self-care. Make this priority one. 

✅ I will fuel my body with beautiful, colorful and nutritious food 🥑🍐🥥

✅ I will exercise for 30 mins every day (just move!). I will not focus on a number, just overall health. 🏃‍♀️

✅ I will complete a 5K 🏅

✅ I will meditate for 10 mins every day 🧘‍♀️

✅ I will focus and surround myself with positivity. 

2. Lifework balance

✅ I will share a meal with a friend at least once a month. 👭

✅ I will be more present 

3. Time management ⏳

✅ I will learn to say no. Many times I agree to things knowing I might be tight on time. 

✅ If I commit, I will follow through.

✅ I will use my calendar to schedule both work and personal commitments 📆

4. Professional Goals

✅ I will help 25 families find their dream home! Do you know someone that is thinking about buying or selling a home this year? Introduce us. Help me achieve this goal. 🏠🏡🏘

5. Career

✅ I will obtain my The Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) designation. 👩‍🎓

✅ I will mentor my agents and help them succeed.

✅ I will complete my buyer and seller automation process

✅ I will offer/complete 4 new buyer/seller classes this year

6. Give back

✅ Give back in kindness, time and experience without any expectations.

✅I will offer/complete two classes this year on how to reduce property taxes and make homeownership more affordable.

7. Travel

✅ I will visit one new location this year.✈️

✅ I will re-visit one of my favorite places.

✅ I will plan a “sister” trip and a girl’s trip

8. Declutter and organization

✅ I will clear out the clutter and donate items as needed.

✅ I will get and stay organized. 

9. Be the reason someone smiles today ☺️

✅ Offer at least one compliment a day. 

✅ I will serve and help whenever possible

10. Be grateful

✅ I will write one thing I’m grateful for every day. 

I will check back at months 3, 6, 9 and 12. Yikes! 

Hold me to this!

2020 vision boards

Pick Me!

I love halloween!

Halloween is so fun. I love admiring at all the creative costume and the kid’s love of the holiday is infectious.😀

This year I participated in Houston Magazine Fun Festival 2019. I knew I wanted something fun for my booth that kids would love…so I ended up on Pinterest. I found a monster that was created for a carnival. Kids had to reach into the monster’s nose to get candy. I knew that this was it! Kids love boogers and farts.

The online post had no instructions so I came up with my own version. Here are the instructions if you’d like to recreate it. I guarantee you that it will be a big success!

Shopping List

  • A large wood board ( you can decide what size you’d like.
  • A set of wiggle eyes
  • Spray insulation. I used 3 cans of this product
  • Water based craft paint. I used several shades of green, yellow, gold, purple and red.
  • 2 disposable cups. This will hold the space for the nostrils
  • vaseline
  • water
  • Serrated knife
  • Marker
  • Saw to cut out the circles. I used something like this
  • Sand paper
  • glue gun

This was the picture I found online. It looked like they might have used paper and maybe plaster of paris. It was hard to tell but I think the spray foam had to be easier.

First, I used a marker to draw the image of the monster of the board. It was rough drawing, something to use as a guideline to spray the foam. I used the wiggle eyes to trace the area I needed to leave open for the eyes. I also traced two circle where the nostrils would be. I used the disposable cups as a guide to trace the circles.

Next, I cut out the two circles for nostrils. I used a hole saw. See shopping list for the item. I then sanded the holes to avoid wood splinters.

I read that the spray foam will stick to the wood better if it was slightly damp. I wiped the wood with a wet towel. The wood was not soaked, just slightly damp on the surface.

I coated the cups with vaseline (be generous) and positioned them in the nostril holes.

Then the fun began! I stated spraying the foam. Take your time because the foam will expand. I did this in layers and in stages. I used one can at a time. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can later cut the foam with a knife to give it a better shape.

I chose to make the nose huge because I wanted it to be the main focus.

I let it dry over night.

Cups coated in vaseline will hold the space for the nostrils

The next day, I took a serrated knife and started to shape the foam. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth. In fact I found that the pits make it a little more gross.

I cut around the area where the wiggle eyes would be glued. Make sure that the eye will lay in the space. I cut out the cups that were hold the nostrils open.

Once shaped, you can now start painting the monster. Be warned, the wood and the foam will soak up quite a bit of paint. I used at least 16oz of green paint. Paint the entire monster in the main color, then you can start adding darker and lighter colors on top to give it dimensions.

Once the paint is dry, you can glue the wiggle eyes in their place. I suppose that you can paint the eyes in instead of using wiggle eyes but I really liked the fact that the pupils moved.

I added some text and a few “booger” images to add to the overall look.

The day of the event, the kids would reach into the nostrils and either get candy or they would stick their hand into slime (boogers). The look on kids faces when they reached into slime was priceless. 😂

I hope you enjoy this! If you have any questions let me know.

Houston Family Fun Festival 2019


TRICK OR TREAT! I’m happy to be participating in this event on Oct 20, 2019 and Oct 27, 2019 from 12-4  It’s free and should be super fun for kids.

Enjoy face painting, rock wall, food trucks, activities under every tent, inflatables, arts and crafts, door prizes, music, onstage performances, HFM goodie bags and more!

Come by and bring your witches and goblins for some fun activities and trick or treating!

Join us!
Learn More

Special Treat!

Come by my booth and tell your kiddos to give me the secret password “boogers” for a special goodie bag.