Houston Texas City Overview

Houston Texas – City Overview

Houston’s Downtown District

Downtown Houston is central to the largest city in state of Texas. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, and is one of the top producing economic areas in the Gulf Coast region. The city of Houston is located in Harris County which holds title to that of the third most populous county in the United States. The City of Houston extends beyond Harris County with a portion of its southwest region extending into Fort Bend County and northeast a portion extending into Montgomery County.

Downtown Houston holds the site in which the Allen brothers first landed to establish the city of Houston. At Allen’s Landing, (which lies across from the University of Houston Downtown) John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen founded Houston in 1836. Houston continues to be one of the fastest growing major cities in the United States and has held this title for quite some time. The 2004 Census estimates Houston’s population at more than 2 million.

Downtown Houston is central as the main cultural and economic center of the Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery County area. These counties coupled with 7 addition counties make the Greater Houston Area the seventh largest metropolitan area in the United States with a population beyond 5.2 million residents.

Downtown Houston and the Greater Houston area are world renowned for its energy, medical, and aeronautics industries. Houston is also famous for its ship channel. The Port of Houston is one of the busiest ports in the United States and second in the world in foreign tonnage. As the result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Port of Houston is handling even greater tonnage as the Port of New Orleans undergoes repairs. Second only to New York City in Fortune 500 headquarters, Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center.

The Texas Medical Center is the world’s largest and most important concentration of research and healthcare institutions. This city unto itself is also experiencing a phenomenal rate of expansion as biotechnology and nanotechnology emerge as Houston dominated industries.

Houston has much to offer, including the lowest cost of living and the least-expensive housing among 27 major U.S. metropolitan areas with populations of more than 1.7 million.
Houston ranks in the top 10 in the follow categories:

#1 Least-Expensive Housing among 27 Metropolitan Areas with Populations of More Than 2 Million
ACCRA Cost of Living Index, First Quarter 2003

Least-Expensive City for Cost of Living Alone
Forbes.com, Best Cities for Singles, June 2004

Largest Collection of African-American Art in the Country, Museum of Fine Arts
Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2004

Most Diverse University Campus (University of Houston)
U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges Guide,” September 2002
#2 Fortune 500 Headquarters (in the city)
Fortune 500, April 5, 2004

Best Cities for African-American Families
BET.com, September 2002

#3 Top U.S. Cities for Starting or Expanding a Business
ING U.S. Financial Services Gazelle Index, February 2004

#5 Top Metro Areas Favored for Relocations or Expansions
Plants Sites & Parks Magazine, March 2003

Top U.S. Cities for Black Americans
Black Enterprise Magazine, June 2004
#7 Potential for Economic Growth
The Rise of the Creative Class
By Professor Richard Florida of Carnegie Mellon University, May 2002

#8 Fastest-growing Metro Areas for Women-Owned Businesses
Center for Women’s Business Research, February 2004

Houston has been nicknamed the Space City as it is home to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, home of the Mission Control Center (referred to by space missions as simply “Houston”). Houston offers a wide range of business, entertainment and cultural opportunities, including a respected and thriving theater district central in Houston Downtown. For residents living in Downtown Houston the sunny beaches of Galveston are less than an hour’s drive away. Residents in Houston’s Downtown area also enjoy the benefits of proximity as Downtown has apartments, lofts and luxury residential high rises to fit all tastes and lifestyles. Downtown Houston is also home to shopping and retail with tunnel, street level, and high-rise shops numbering in the hundreds. Additionally the benefit of being centrally located between both major Houston airports insures that Downtown Houston is the center of Houston’s mass-transit system. For those on the move in both career and education, the University of Houston Downtown offers an environment that caters to the working professional in Houston’s Downtown area. Additionally South Texas College of law furthers central Houston’s role in success and achievement. For those with few hours in the day Downtown Houston offers such amenities as childcare centers, a hospital, clinics and dozens of doctors and dentists.
Houston is the fourth most populous city in the nation (trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago), and is the largest in the southern U.S. and Texas.

Founded in 1836, the City of Houston has a population of 1.9 million.

Houston metro area’s population of 4.8 million is 10th largest among U.S. metropolitan statistical areas.

Houston has professional teams representing every major sport.

More than 38 million people each year fly in and out of Houston’s two major airports: Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby.

Houstonians eat out more than residents of any other city. Houston has more than 11,000 restaurants.

Houston has a Theater District second only to New York City in terms of a concentration of seats in a single geographic area. Located downtown, the 17-block Theater District is home to eight performing arts organizations with more than 12,000 seats.

Houston has a unique museum district offering a range of museums, galleries, art and cultural institutions, including the Houston’s major museums.

Houston has more than 500 cultural, visual and performing arts organizations, 90 of which are devoted to multicultural and minority arts.

More than 90 languages are spoken throughout the Houston area.

Houston is home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The largest rodeo in the world, it attracts more than 1.8 million visitors each year.

Houston has a young population; 37 percent of Houstonians are 24 years old or younger and 34 percent are between the ages of 25 and 44.

Houston boasts more than 40 colleges, university and institutions – offering higher education options to suit all interests.

Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, with a local economic impact of $10 billion. More than 52,000 people work within its facilities, which encompass 21 million square feet. Altogether 4.8 million patients visit them each year.

Home to 18 Fortune 500 companies and more than 5,000 energy related firms, Houston is considered by many as the Energy Capital of the world. Companies headquarted in Houston include Halliburton, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil Corp and Dynegy.

The Port of Houston ranks as the nation’s largest port in international tonnage and second in total tonnage.

Houston has the most affordable housing of 10 most populated metropolitan areas; Houston housing costs are 39 percent below the average of 26 U.S. urban populations of more than 1.5 million.

Houston has the second lowest cost of living among major American cities.

Greater Houston Area Independent School Districts

Greater Houston Area Independent School Districts

Complete List of Independent School Districts in Houston Texas

New Houston ISD’s
Geographic Information Services
Search Street Directory, Maps & Boundaries

Aldine ISD

Alief ISD

Clear Creek ISD

Conroe ISD (The Woodlands)

Cy-Fair ISD

Cy-Fair College

Crosby ISD

Channelview ISD

Deerpark ISD

Fort Bend ISD

Galena Park ISD

Goose Creek ISD

Houston ISD

Humble ISD

Huffman ISD

Katy ISD

Klein ISD

Lamar ISD

LaPorte ISD

Magnolia ISD

Montgomery ISD

North Forest ISD

Pasedena ISD

Pearland ISD

Sheldon ISD

Spring Branch ISD

Spring ISD

Stafford ISD

Tomball ISD

Waller ISD

Getting Your Home in Top Selling Condition

Getting Your Home in Top Selling Condition

Curb Appeal
• Drive up to your home and look at it from afar. Look at it through the eyes of buyers.
• Check the shingles – repair or replace damaged shingles.
• Clean and repair the gutters.
• Clean and repair the HVAC units.
• Repair broken windows and shutters. Replace torn screens. Make sure frames and seams have solid caulking.
• Repair or replace door knobs, doorbell and light fixtures if necessary.
• Remove all toys, equipment and litter.
• Remove cobwebs and nests.
• Remove mildew, moss and stains from the side of your home – use bleach. Remove stains from the walkways and driveway – use concrete cleanser and/or kitty litter.
• Repair and clean patio furniture and deck area. Remove anything that can’t be repaired.
• Make sure the spa and pool sparkle.
• Go around and touch up the exterior of your home with putty and paint.
• Clean or paint the front door and mailbox.
• Hose off the exterior of your home, especially around entrances. Use siding cleanser.
• Wash the windows.
• Wash your garbage can and put it in a place where it’s not the first thing potential buyers see when they drive up.
• Stack the woodpile neatly.
• Mow the lawn.
• Trim the trees and shrubs.
• Weed the gardens.
• Add colorful plants or foliage to fill in bare spots.
• Edge the gardens and walkways.
• Sweep the walkways and driveway.
• Replace doormats that are worn and torn.
• Shine brass hardware on the doors and light fixtures. Polish stained wood doors and trim.
• Drive up to your home again and look at it from the eyes of a potential buyer. Walk into your home as a potential buyer. Determine what kind of impression the walkways and entrances now make.

Overall Interior
• Walk through your home. Store, give away, throw, or donate anything that you won’t need until after the move; e.g. furniture, knick-knacks, clothing, toys, equipment, appliances, worn rugs, papers, books, cosmetics, jewelry, games, CDs, etc.
• Walk through your home again, this time with some tools. Fix loose door knobs, cracked molding, leaky faucets. Remove cob webs.
• Replace worn or broken door knobs, cabinet fixtures, light fixtures, light switches, outlet plates, faucets and vent covers.
• Clean the fireplace.
• Clean the vents.
• Clean and organize your closets. Add extra space by storing or giving away items.
• Add a fresh coat of paint in light, neutral colors.
• Shampoo the carpet. Replace if necessary. Clean and wax the floors.
• Vacuum the window blinds, shades and drapes. Wash or dry clean curtains. Wash all the windows, frames and sills.
• Add dishes of potpourri.
• Remove all valuables, such as jewelry, artwork, knick-knacks, medications, cash, coin collections and so on.
• Open all the window shades to create a spacious and bright look.
• Put pet supplies and dishes in a place where they are not the first thing potential buyers see or smell when they walk into a room.
Living Room and Family Room
• Make these rooms spacious and inviting.
• Discard or repair chipped furniture. Replace worn rugs and pillows.
• Remove magazines, games, toys and so on.
• Make sure the entertainment center sparkles.
• Vacuum upholstery, drapes, pillows, etc.
Dining Room
• Clean out your china cabinet. Polish any visible silver.
• Put a lovely centerpiece on the table – treat yourself to fresh flowers. Set the table for a formal dinner to help potential buyers imagine entertaining there.
Bedrooms
• Arrange furniture to create a spacious look.
• Remove games, toys, magazines, cosmetics, jewelry – especially on the nightstands.
• Replace bedspreads, quilts and pillow shams if they are worn or faded.
Bathrooms
• Remove rust and mildew stains.
• Wash or replace shower curtains.
• Make sure everything sparkles – including grout.
• Replace worn rugs and towels.
Kitchen
• Make sure all appliances work.
• Throw or eat the foods that you’ve been storing for so long.
• Clean the inside of the refrigerator, stove and cabinets. Make sure everything is organized to create a spacious look.
• If your stove has electric burners, purchase new drip pans for each burner. Wash removable knobs in your dishwasher.
• Polish the cabinets with furniture oil.
• Make sure appliances, countertops and the sink sparkle. Install new faucets if necessary.
Attic, Basement and Garage
• Get rid of unnecessary items. Store or pack items you won’t need until after the move.
• Organize everything to create more floor space and make inspections easy. Put things on shelves or in matching boxes.
• Provide bright lighting.
• Clean all equipment and vents. Replace filters. Fix any insulation that might be showing.
• Take care of stale or musty odors. Open the windows, dust and wash the walls and floors, purchase room deodorizers.
When It’s Time to Show
• Make sure your property folder is out in the open. It should contain utility bills, an MLS profile, your Seller’s Disclosure, extra property flyers and extra business cards.
• Do a quick clean and vacuum. Air out your house. Dispose all trash.
• Put pets outside if it’s safe to do so.
• Turn on a radio with peaceful music.

Facts about Expired Listings

Facts About Expired Listings

Nearly 15% to 25% of all listings do not sell.
The market rejects them.
In other words, the market did not accept the Marketing Effort, the Price, the Condition, the Location, or a combination of these areas—perhaps all four of them!

The good thing is that you control two of these areas: Price and Condition. We control one: Marketing Efforts.

Marketing Effort
Staging and Pricing Strategies

For Sale Signs, Rider Signs, Directional Signs

Tube or Box with Flyers and Distribution of Flyers in Neighborhood

Flyers in House/Comment Cards

Multiple Listing Service

Web Listings with Virtual Tour

Open House Program

Track Showings/Collect Feedback

Weekly Seller Updates

Property Caravans

And more!

Condition
A hundred dollar bill is a great metaphor: they all look good, but people will always choose the nice, clean, crisp one over a dirty wrinkled one. How does your house look to others? This is the crucial important difference between Showing condition and Living condition.

Price
Being overpriced is usually the reason a home did not sell, but condition will help determine what the market is willing to pay. Remember that YOU control price and condition. The wrong price attracts the wrong buyers. It creates a bad reputation for the house in the market place and makes properly priced homes look even better. Would anyone intentionally put their home on the market to help sell the competition?

Location
Nobody can do a thing about their location except to accent the positives and minimize the negatives.

Eight Steps to Selling Your Home

Eight steps to selling your home

Define your needs.
Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, a growing family may prompt your need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may necessitate a move. For your goals, write down if you’d like to sell your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin. Work with your real estate agent to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.
Name your price.
Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. Setting a fair asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers. You will need to take into account the condition of your home, what comparable homes in your neighborhood are selling for, and state of the overall market in your area. It’s often difficult to remain unbiased when putting a price on your home, so your real estate agent’s expertise is invaluable at this step. Your agent will know what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood and the average time those homes are sitting on the market. If you want a truly objective opinion about the price of your home, you could have an appraisal done. This typically costs a few hundred dollars. Remember: You’re always better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent of their market value take longer to sell. If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the seller has to drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings.
Prepare your home.
Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that stick. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and get your house in tip-top shape. The condition of your home will affect how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer. First impressions are the most important. Your real estate agent can help you take a fresh look at your home and suggest ways to stage it and make it more appealing to buyers. * A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized décor will help buyers visualize the home as theirs. * Make minor repairs and replacements. Small defects, such as a leaky faucet, a torn screen or a worn doormat, can ruin the buyer’s first impression. * Clutter is a big no-no when showing your home to potential buyers. Make sure you have removed all knick-knacks from your shelves and cleared all your bathroom and kitchen counters to make every area seem as spacious as possible.
Get the word out.
Now that you’re ready to sell, your real estate agent will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including: * The Internet * Yard signs * Open houses * Media advertising * Agent-to-agent referrals * Direct mail marketing campaigns In addition to listing your home on the MLS, your agent will use a combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home. Your agent should structure the marketing plan so that the first three to six weeks are the busiest.
Receive an offer.
When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, your real estate agent will first find out whether or not the individual is prequalified or preapproved to buy your home. If so, then you and your agent will review the proposed contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following: * Legal description of the property * Offer price * Down payment * Financing arrangements * List of fees and who will pay them * Deposit amount * Inspection rights and possible repair allowances * Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing * Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home * Settlement date * Contingencies At this point, you have three options: accept the contract as is, accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or reject it. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your real estate agent right away.
Negotiate to sell.
Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. Your real estate agent is well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. Your agent also knows what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale and what areas are easiest to negotiate. Some negotiable items: * Price * Financing * Closing costs * Repairs * Appliances and fixtures * Landscaping * Painting * Move-in date Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, your agent will prepare a contract.
Prepare to close.
Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or repaired. Your real estate agent can spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing. Important reminder: A few days before the closing, you will want to contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Also, begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so.
Close the deal.
“Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. Your agent will be present during the closing to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, he or she can mediate any last-minute issues that may arise. In some states, an attorney is required and you may wish to have one present. After the closing, you should make a “to do” list for turning the property over to the new owners. Here is a checklist to get you started. * Cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable and other routine services. * If the new owner is retaining any of the services, change the name on the account. * Gather owner’s manuals and warranties for all conveying appliances.

Effects of Over-Pricing on Selling time and Price

Effect of Over-Pricing on Selling Time & Price

70% of interested buyers will first learn about your home for sale in the first 30 days.

If the price is too high, those buyers will not get past the initial glance at it on MLS; they will not waste time visiting/touring your home.

It’s best to price it at fair market value to get the most interest & traffic.

If pricing it at fair market value brings multiple interested parties & offers, you can always go up from there.

Differences between a Normal Listing agent and an Aggressive Marketing Agent

Difference between a Normal Listing Agent and an Aggressive Marketing Agent
The Normal Listing Agent Method (The FIVE – 5 P’s):

Put Sign in the Yard

Put ad in the Newspaper

Put on MLS

Place an Ad Online

Prey it Sells

What I WILL do for you as an Aggressive MARKETING AGENT:

Staging and Pricing Strategies

For Sale Sign, Rider Signs, Open House Signs, and Directional Signs

Front-Yard Flyer Box and Distribution of Flyers in Entire Neighborhood(s)

Flyers in House/Home Book/Comment Cards/Virtual Tour CD-Rom

MLS (Multiple Listing Service)(with 15-30 pictures perfect pictures & full detailed descriptions)

Professional Virtual Tour placed on multiple websites

Web Listings

Open House Program – Public & Broker/Realtor (raises Agent Awareness)

Track Showings/Collect Feedback

Weekly Seller Updates

Property Caravans / Weekly & Monthly Office Virtual Tours

KWLS – Keller Williams Listing Service / KW Yellow Sheet

Send Announcements to all 14 Keller Williams offices in Houston

2,300+ Keller Williams Real Estate Agents will have your property in priority for the area.

All ~100 Agents out of Keller Williams Houston West Office will receive Professionally Designed Full Color

House Featured in “Marketing Vehicle” (Monthly Newsletter, Calendar, Magazines, etc)

2,500 pieces of Direct Mail to immediate community sent each month

Target Marketing – Featured Spotlight Showcase (Highlighted) Listings

Agent Marketing – Market to ALL Immediate Area Agents & Offices

Weekly Updates (phone call or email every Monday or sooner based on activity)

Buying a Home

There are cracks in the foundation. Nothing structural. Nothing that’s going to threaten the stability of the home, but they’re there. Nooks, crannies and holes through which seeps an invisible threat. Colorless, odorless and undetectable by your average human, it is nonetheless the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

Radon gas – even the name sounds ominous, evoking images of radiation and nuclear devastation. Radon gas is created when uranium in the soil decays. The gas then seeps through any access point into a home. Common entry points are cracks in the foundation, poorly sealed pipes, drainage or any other loose point. Once in the home, the gas can collect in certain areas – especially basements and other low-lying, closed areas – and build up over time to dangerous levels. The Environmental Protection Agency of the US Government has set a threshold of 4 pico curies per liter as the safe level. As humans are exposed to the gas over a period of years, it can have a significant and detrimental effect.

Selling Your Home

Downsizing, upsizing, looking for something new, or any reason in between, you’re considering selling a New York property and we’re ready to help you with 23 full-time Sales Executives, a full-service support staff, legal department, and in-house marketing department. WP Estate invests over $2 million each year marketing properties on New York only, targeting qualified buyers. That’s almost $5,000 per listing. No other company invests in New York like we do.

Choosing to sell your house is a big decision that brings with it a variety of challenges. From attracting buyers to negotiating contracts, it’s helpful to have a professional real estate agent on your side to help reduce stress and lead to the best possible outcome. Finding the right real estate agent can present a challenge in itself, however, with the high quantity of qualified Australian agents out there. To get started with selling your house, you’ll want to compare agents carefully to find an individual who will be most effective in helping you with your particular needs.