Tag Archives: NASA

2521 Loganberry Circle – Seabrook, Tx


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!!!! Make Your Offer Stand Out !!!!!

            Real estate consumers are realizing that there has rarely been a better time to buy a home. In fact, historically low mortgage rates coupled with lower home prices have even sparked bidding competition in markets around the country.

A good home in a solid location may attract ample attention only hours after being listed. Home buyers can make their offers stand out from the rest through one or more of the following strategies:

            Price. Obviously, price tends to be the primary consideration for sellers. When you’re competing for a home, to get an edge, think about adding a clause stating that you will beat the highest offer by “x” dollars up to “x” amount. Cash offers can be more attractive to sellers as well. Although sellers will receive their money at closing whether buyers pay with cash or take out a loan, cash offers don’t require lender approval.

Financing. It’s not enough to be pre-qualified. Pre-qualification only tells how much you can afford. Pre-approval goes a step further. Your lender will thoroughly evaluate your application—including verifying employment information and financial disposition—then clear you for a loan of a determined amount. Having your loan pre-approved gives you a sizeable advantage by putting you on equal footing with cash buyers.

Good Faith Deposit. Buyers offering a larger-than-customary amount of “earnest money,” a deposit that accompanies an offer, may get a seller’s attention. By committing more money up front, buyers demonstrate greater sincerity and motivation to close the transaction. Your real estate professional can guide you as to the appropriate sum for your specific transaction.

            Contingencies. Consider minimizing contingencies, those clauses that allow buyers to back out of a contract if certain conditions are not met. For example, it’s common for buyers to make the purchase contingent upon their securing satisfactory financing. Obviously, offers with the fewest conditions tend to be more attractive to sellers.

From a contingency standpoint, first-time buyers are often better prospects for a seller’s home than move-up buyers. That’s because first-time buyers’ offers are not contingent upon the sale of a present home. Even if a move-up buyer has an offer in hand, that buyer’s offer may be contingent on another contingency, and so on down the line. If one transaction derails, they all might.

            Relationship. Help the seller get to know and identify with you by looking for ways to connect. Find common interests, such as a shared appreciation of gardening. You can then persuade the seller that her prize roses will be well tended. Share brief family stories. The more the seller gets to know and like you, the better chance your offer will stand out in a competitive environment. 

            Considerations for Short-sale and Foreclosure Transactions – Bank-owned properties represent a significant portion of today’s housing inventory. Competition can be most keen for these homes as their prices can run 10% to 20% below current market value.

            Banks conduct extensive research to set these prices and generally base them on current market value less the cost of required repairs. Make your offer based on your own check of comparable sales and other due diligence. Banks won’t get offended by a low offer, yet a realistic offer will more likely keep you in the running.

            Remember, patience is essential when buying bank-owned property as the process can take up to six months and longer.   


Home Not Selling? It’s Not Personal, It’s Probably Price



 Home sellers face a new reality as they look to move up, down, in or out of their American dream in today’s market. Consumers, particularly those who purchased their homes within the last five years, often find their options limited by a lack of equity. Those who can sell are sometimes numbed by deflated home prices and find it difficult to justify yesterday’s valuations with today’s reality.

            Many home sellers have dug in on price hoping to lose no additional ground. Others seem to have taken this market personally, letting emotions override analysis when setting price. Buyer sentiment has shifted as well, centered on maximum value with abundant amenities – resulting in stalemates and homes languishing on the market.  Both sides should be realistic as comparable sales and local-market dynamics still determine fair-market value.

            And there are compelling reasons to be realistic and make a move now. Sellers, assuming their objective is to buy another home, can capitalize on some of the lowest mortgage interest rates on record and an inventory of homes at attractive prices. So while they will sell for less, they will also buy for less and with significantly cheaper borrowing costs.

  Of course, professional sales representation is essential this transitioning market or any other. The Prudential Real Estate Network, recently recognized for “Highest Overall Satisfaction for Home Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms” in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Home Buyer/Seller StudySM, is composed of true, local-market experts, like Norman Frenk, whose experience, analysis and consultation generates results in all market conditions.

As the local experts, we help set fair-market prices using factual reference points, such as an appraisal, comparables sales and personal knowledge to help estimate market value. Today, a house priced at or slightly below market value will attract the interest of real estate professionals and buyers, while overpricing chases them away. Even if the sellers adjust their prices later, it’s difficult to recapture buyer interest.

Sales professionals develop comprehensive marketing strategies to sell a home. They generally use open houses, yard signs, Internet exposure, MLS, newspaper ads, brochures and other means to market properties.

Beyond that, I counsel sellers on other conditions that may keep sellers’ homes on the market, including:

  • Condition and appearance. Sellers shouldn’t rely on buyers to use their imagination; they need to capture it. Remember that buyers may see seven or eight homes in a single day. The most memorable home will be the one that seemed the brightest, the most spacious, and the most cheerful. This invariably means rearranging and eliminating furniture, removing excess knickknacks and so on, to create an open, uncluttered look. Outside, do a visual check of the front of the house from across the street. Does it have curb appeal? It should look inviting, with a trimmed lawn and a freshly painted front door. A real estate professional can offer some guidance in this area.
  • Terms/conditions. Even if the home is accurately priced, and the buyer is delighted with what he or she sees, if the buyer can’t live with the terms of the sale, he or she may walk away. Keep an open mind on terms and conditions and evaluate how they may affect a potential sale.
  • Incentives. Offering incentives can be just the impetus a potential buyer needs a buyer needs to choose your property over others. Consider offering a carpet or paint allowance. If the buyer knows up front there is allowance for the worn carpet or paint, then may overlook those cosmetic flaws. You could pay for a professional home inspection or a home warranty, or pay closing costs.

Indeed, real estate opportunities abound for sellers and buyers who can come to terms with today’s market conditions. A qualified real estate professional will help you navigate the market, protect your interests and keep you moving toward your housing dreams.

             Norman Frenk can be reached at (713) 818-0829. Prudential Gary Greene Realtors is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Save NASA’s Constellation Program

Go Boldly NASA

Write a Letter to Congress : 56,883 Letters Sent So Far

Currently, the United States stands as the leader in human space exploration. However, the President’s recently proposed NASA budget will forfeit that leadership. The proposed budget cancels the Constellation Program, the only current replacement for the Space Shuttle, in the very same year that the Space Shuttle will be retired. This cancellation effectively ends our country’s human exploration program beyond Low Earth Orbit. It also places our ability to perform human spaceflight on the Russians as well as the shoulders of an immature and unproven commercial space market. The development of commercial spaceflight is good for our country, but not at the sacrifice of our human space exploration program.

At a time when job creation is highest among our nation’s concerns, the President’s proposed NASA budget would cut many thousands of high tech jobs across the country. Once NASA loses these highly skilled workers, their years of practical knowledge and experience will leave a gaping hole in the agency’s capabilities.

NASA pushes the frontiers of exploration and discovery, boldly taking on seemingly impossible challenges. No other nation has ever placed a person on the moon. People all over the world admire NASA for its courage, innovation, and persistence: a representation of America itself. NASA’s pioneering in human space exploration provides inspiration to continue to develop innovative concepts in healthcare, energy, education as well as many other fields.

It is critical to our country’s success to remain the leader in human spaceflight; however, the President’s proposed 2011 budget for NASA leads the United States into an uncertain future in space. Therefore, I urge you to grant NASA the charter to build on the current successes of our nation’s human space program. The responsibility now lies with this Congress to provide the leadership and resources necessary to move beyond Low Earth Orbit and solidify America’s leadership in space exploration.

Thank you for your consideration.

Go Boldly NASA

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New Job Report – How it affects Homes, Mortgages & You

New Job Report – a Mixed Bag of Treats ( or Tricks)

The Labor Department, today, released the latest government data for Non-farm payrolls ( employment data ) which revealed jobs losses of 20,000 for January. This was a surprise as the consensus expected a gain of 15,000 – 20,000 jobs. Surprisingly, the unemployment rate dipped to 9.7%. However, employment numbers for December were revised to 150,000 job losses as compared to initial reportings of 85,000. Furthermore the Business Survey threw in another revision that indicated an ADDITIONAL 900,000 job losses from March 2008 – March 2009 from what was previously report.

Oh well, so what are we to believe when every time we turn on the TV we hear nothing but rhetoric, propaganda, politicking, etc. However, all in all the job market does appear to be “improving”…at least there is definite signs of reduction in the number of job losses each month. But the fact remains is that the labor market remains weak. So what does this mean for the mortgage market and interest rates?

Mortgage Rates:

Mortgage rates continue to be favorable and in most cases, dipped back below 5%. Most likely contributing factor to this has been the string of losses with the stock market since the January 19th. Since reaching a peak of 10725 ( DOW index ), stocks have fallen to under 10,000 for the first time since November 2009. Aside from the employment situation there is a lot of unknown weighing on investors, and as is generally the case, the stock market is adverse to the unknown. With continued uncertainty and Capital Hill floundering about, stocks may continue to waiver which could be a boon for bond prices and interest rates.


RestrictedArea Well, we all heard it – The Shot Heard ‘Round Clear Lake’ – Obama’s budget that pulled the rug      out from under NASA and the Constellation Project. I am sure that this is not the end of it and  the fight may just be beginning. This may not be good news for the greater Houston area and especially the Clear Lake/Bay Area, but keep in mind this is a fight that has been going on each and every year – should we fund more NASA projects or take the money for something else.   The average has always been that NASA stays around and is healthy.  That’s not to mean we don’t have  work ahead of us. Each of us can do our part by continuing the fight – contact our Congressmen and Senators, the louder we are, the better we’ll be heard.

Market Predictions:

This is a tough one now…so many variables. On the bright side, I think it is a safe bet that mortgage rates will continue to be favorable throughout the first quarter of the year. The downside is that buyers may be more skiddish, even with the home buyer Tax Credit extended through April 30, 2009. Nevertheless, we continue to remain optimistic as market conditions remain optimal for home buyers.

More Changes?

Not yet! I am sure that everyone is aware of the GFE (Good Faith Estimate) and HUD changes. So far the transition has not been quite as difficult as I expected. It does, however, add quite a bit more time and detail of explanation to our clients to be sure that they have an understanding of the new processes.

FHA announced increase in the upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium from 1.75% to 2.25% effective for new FHA case numbers on or after April 5, 2010. In reality this will make very little difference to the buyers costs or payments. But, there are other changes that will have more of an impact in the very near future, including but not limited to a reduction in allowable seller contributions from 6% down to 3%.