Here Are Some
Buying Tips for You

Are You Ready to Tour Some Homes?

As you get serious about your home search, I need to let you know a few things… 
 
First, we need to talk! If you are ready to get started then let’s have a phone conversation about your real estate needs. I need to understand why you are moving, the type of home you want, your budget, etc. Then I can set up a custom home search, straight from the MLS (most accurate!), to narrow your focus and filter out the undesirables that don’t meet your needs. No other search, including Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, or even HAR.com, will let you do the targeted search that I can do. I can even search by school name which is often the best way to target the best home for your family…if you want the highest scoring schools (and who doesn’t?!).
   
Call or Text Sheila at 832-779-2890
 
Second, you’re going to need to obtain a preapproval letter from a great lender to buy a home. Sellers will not accept an offer from us without a preapproval letter these days and in a multi-offer environment, you won’t have time to obtain one when you need it…it can take several weeks to get because the lender has to confirm your assets, income, and employment first. I recommend that you talk to three different lenders…a couple of excellent ones are listed on below (scroll down).
 
Third, I typically require at least 24 hours notice to set appointments to show you houses. This gives me time to get permission from the sellers and map out a tour for you. On the custom home search website that I set up for you, please mark the homes that you want to see as “I Like This One” (or Favorite). That let’s me know exactly which homes you want to see.
 
Fourth, for security reasons, I always meet first-time clients at my Keller Williams office located at 1650 Hwy 6 #350, Sugar Land, TX 77478 (map). Park on the far left-side, by the water, under black cover with a “Keller Williams Guest” sign underneath. I also keep a copy of your driver’s license for security purposes. 
 
Fifth, Texas real estate laws are different than other states. Please read Information About Brokerage Services.
 
As a Five-Star real estate agent I provide services that are way above and beyond what a typical agent provides. (See a sample of the type of house report that I give my clients when they find a home they are thinking about purchasing. No agent in the world does this!)
 

Recommended Lenders and Insurance Providers

Lenders/Mortgages

Michael Burnside
Commonwealth Mortgage
11133 I-45 South #310
Conroe, TX 77302
Office: 832-276-5601
Email: mdbhomeloans@gmail.com

William J. Swallen
Certified Mortgage Planner
Bancorp South
Office: 713-558-0364
Cell: 713-892-5289
Email: william.swallen@bxs.com
>> Apply online

 


Inspectors

Print List of Home Inspectors


Home Owner’s Insurance

Helpful info: 12 Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs

Check out rating info:

 

Rates may vary dramatically…get multiple quotes!

Amica Mutual Insurance Company
10 Amica Center Blvd 
Lincoln, RI 02865-1165
Office: 800-242-6422
www.amica.com
Get a Quote

John T. Godbee
Godbee Insurance Agency LLC
Nationwide Insurance
4675 Sweetwater Blvd.
Sugar Land, TX 77478
Cell: 832-573-9020
Office: 832-886-5544
GodbeeJ@nationwide.com

Mike Whitsitt
Liberty Mutual Group 
23232 Kingsland Blvd Suite D 
Katy, Texas 77494
Office: 281-392-4333 x59125
Michael.Whitsitt@libertymutual.com
http://www.libertymutual.com/lm/michaelwhitsit

Charles E. Osburn II
Farmers Insurance
11607 Spring Cypress Ste F 
Tomball, TX 77377 
Office: 281-453-0177
Cell: 281-744-7295
Toll free: 888-828-4023
cosburn@farmersagent.com

Sugar Land Relocation Guide

 

Free Sugar Land Relocation Guide

Get the inside-scoop!

Yes, this website has a lot of information, but even more information is located in the 170+ page Sugar Land Relocation Guide. Want to know if home values are trending up or down in a specific neighborhood? It’s in the guide. Want to see a list of the highest-scoring elementary schools? It’s in the guide. Want to know which schools are located in a specific part of Sugar Land? It’s in the guide. The guide contains information on home values and stats, real estate market stats, helpful phone numbers, school zone maps, and more…all in one place. 

A lot of this info is not available on this website or anywhere else!

Save yourself a lot of time and download the Sugar Land Relocation Guide today.

 

Here’s What You Need To Know…

What to Expect When You Buy a New Construction Home

So you have put a contract on a new home with a builder and you can’t wait to move in. Buying a home is exciting, especially if you are a first-time home buyer, but buying a brand new home that has never been lived in doesn’t mean the house will be perfect and you won’t have any issues. In fact, the first owner of a home generally has to work out the “kinks” of a new home…kind of like breaking in a new car. >> See Buying New vs. Resale Home and Buying A Newly Built Home – A New Home Buyers Guide One of the most important things you need to know: Get the home inspected by a licensed house inspector! Again…”new” doesn’t equal “perfect” and you need an expert to find all the things the builder missed (and give the inspection to the builder to fix what needs fixing). In fact, I have seen inspection reports on “brand new” never-lived-in homes that are longer (with more items to fix) than an older resale homes! And if you are building a home “from dirt” then you may want to hire an inspector who will inspect the home in various stages of completion: foundation, framing, wiring and plumbing, and then final. >> See List of Licensed Home Inspectors Another thing you need to know: Read the Builder’s Home Warranty! You need to know what the builder will and will not cover in their warranty since every builder is different. Plus, you don’t want to do anything to the home that may negate the warranty. For example, if you improperly plant bushes or... read more

Negotiating Advice for Home Buyers

Here are some helpful tips for Buyers when negotiating a sales offer on a home: Find out the number of days the house has been “on the market” (also referred to as DOM: Days on Market) as well as the pricing history of the home. In Texas, only members of the MLS will have access to this data…it is not publicly available. NOTE You cannot use Trulia or Zillow or public tax information to find this information because Texas is a “non-disclose” state on real estate sales figures. Tax records are not accurate sources of real estate sales figure either…the appraised value of a home for tax purposes is usually not related to the actual value or price of the home. Ask the Seller’s agent why the home owner is selling the home. That agent does not have to answer the questions (due to client confidentiality) but typically will. This helps you understand the Seller’s motivation behind the sale. Make sure your Realtor does a Buyer’s CMA (comparative market analysis) to determine the current, probable value of the home. This will prevent you from over-paying for the home and will also prevent you from wasting your time. For example, lender appraisals these days in our area tend to the conservative side. If a Seller is demanding a price that is $50,000 over the current market value of the home, the lender will not loan the money to you to buy it, even if you are willing to pay it. You will either have to come up with the cash to pay the difference, or walk-away from the deal. Better... read more

What Is a Real Estate “Closing”?

A real estate “Closing” is where you and I meet with some or all of the following individuals: the Seller, the Seller’s agent, a representative from the lending institution and a representative from the title company, in order to transfer the property title to you. The purchase agreement or contract you signed describes the property, states the purchase price and terms, sets forth the method of payment, and usually names the date and place where the closing or actual transfer of the property title and keys will occur.  If financing the property, your lender will require you to sign a document, usually a promissory note, as evidence that you are personally responsible for repaying the loan. You will also sign a mortgage or deed of trust on the property as security to the lender for the loan. The mortgage or deed of trust gives the lender the right to sell the property if you fail to make the payments. Before you exchange these papers, the property may be surveyed, appraised, or inspected, and the ownership of title will be checked in county and court records. About a week in advance, I will schedule the real estate Closing with you and the title company. We will meet at the title company on the day of closing, sit in a conference room with an escrow officer (who is also a notary), and you will sign the legal documents to purchase the home. You will need to bring your driver’s license with you to the real estate Closing. At closing, you will be required to pay all fees and closing costs in the form of “guaranteed... read more

Home Warranties

When you purchase a resale home, you can purchase a home warranty (a.k.a., Residential Service Contract or RSV) that will protect you against most ordinary flaws and breakdowns for at least the first year of occupancy.  The warranty may be offered by either the Seller, as part of the overall package, or by the agent.  Even with a warranty, you should have the home carefully inspected before you purchase it. A home warranty program will give you peace of mind, knowing that the major covered components in your home will be repaired if necessary.  Here are the major RSV providers: Allied Home Warranty  at 866-791-1200 Buyers Protection Group at 800-443-5599 Fidelity National Home Warranty at 800-444-9030 Old Republic Home Protection at 800-445-6999 Home Warranty of America at 888-492-7359 American Home Shield at 800-735-4663   NOTE If you need help deciding, check out http://www.homewarrantyreviews.com/reviews but keep in mind that the bigger companies have more complaints because they have millions of customers and people are more likely to complain than express their satisfaction. “You can’t please all the people all of the time…” I can say from personal experience that I no longer recommend First American Home Buyers Protection…they have terrible customer service these days and send terrible, low-quality vendors to perform the work.... read more

Applying for a Home Loan

Items Needed To Apply for a Home Loan Applying for a home loan these days is not for the “weak at heart”! It is a pain-in-the-neck process no matter how much money you have. NOTE: Read The Perfect Loan File on Forbes for details. There is a lot of paperwork required in order to obtain a home loan. Plus, you will have to provide much of the paperwork multiple times throughout the loan process because of new lending standards. Lenders are now required to verify certain items several times through the process…so don’t get offended or frustrated when they ask you for something that you have already provided them. Here’s what you will probably need: Proof of identity for borrowers including driver’s license and Social Security number. Address history for three years. Copy of tax returns for past 2 years. Banks names and numbers for all checking and savings accounts. Bank statements for the past 3 months. Documentation of all income including pay stubs for past 2 months. Proof of bonuses for 2 years if applicable. W-2 forms showing income for past 2 years. Job history for past 2 years. Net worth sheet with list of all assets and liabilities including account numbers. Most recent 401K statements and other retirement accounts. Copy of gift letter if applicable. If self-employed, copy of balance sheet. Divorce decrees if divorced in the past 2 years. Proof of residency, if applicable. College transcript if you were a student in the past 2 years. Bankruptcy discharge papers, if applicable.   Home Buyers: What Not To Do  Maybe you’ve just gotten married. Maybe you got... read more

Texas Home Inspections for Buyers

Please know that a home inspection is one of the most important parts of buying a home. But it can be overwhelming trying to find a reputable inspector who you can trust. I provide all my buyer clients with a list of licensed home inspectors in the area to make this process easier for you. The inspection should include information (including photos) on the condition of the following: Appliances Plumbing Electrical Air conditioning and heating Ventilation Roof and Attic Foundation General Structure The inspection is designed to report on any potential defects or problems with the home that may require repair. Not everything they report will be considered an actual defect by you; you must decide on whether or not the items noted require repair or not for your peace of mind. For example, I have never seen a home inspection report where the inspector did not note that the dirt is too high around the foundation of the home. This seems to be something that they always note because it could potentially hide termite activity around the home…and inspectors have to protect themselves against potential lawsuits. But this is something that you can easily fix when you move into the home. NOTES Should serious foundation or structural problems be indicated, the inspector will recommend that a structural engineer or other professional inspect it as well. The home cannot “pass or fail” an inspection, and your inspector will not tell you whether he/she thinks the home is worth the money you are offering. The Seller may be willing to negotiate completion of repairs or a credit for completion of... read more

Option Period and Fees in Texas Real Estate

In Texas, you can buy an “option period” (usually 10 days) from the seller for $200-$300 that gives you the irrevocable privilege to back out of the sales contract for any reason, and still receive your 1 percent earnest money back. (During this time, the Seller cannot back out of the contract…only the Buyer has that  right.) This gives you time to have the home thoroughly inspected and find any defects that you cannot live with. It also allows time to negotiate repairs with the Seller. At the end of the Option Period (and the timing is very strict) you can do one of the following: If you “exercise” your option (and decline purchasing the home), then you lose your option fee, but you get your earnest money back. —Or— If you do not exercise your option (and continue the purchasing process), then the option fee is usually applied toward your closing costs. Make sure you hire a real estate agent who knows how to properly handle Option Periods and protect your money.... read more

Texas Home Buying Process

Preliminary Phase: Can You Afford a Home? If you are buying a home in Texas, then you need to learn about the home buying process, which may be different than other states. One thing to consider is that before you even begin the process of searching for a home, you must: Determine how much house you can afford. A lender is the best place to get that information…it is part of the pre-qualification process. Determine if you will actually qualify for a loan. Some good people don’t, under today’s stricter lending guidelines. You will need a pre-approval letter from a lender to submit with an offer on a home in Sugar Land….Seller’s almost always require one these days! Determine how much it will cost to buy a home. Do you have enough money on hand for the earnest money, option fee, down payment, closing costs, inspections, fees, etc? I like to break the home buying process down into seven phases.     Search Phase: Find the Home You Want This is where my Automated Updates comes in handy. Never miss out on another great home! My customized home search will check all MLS listings (including distressed properties) daily and inform you when a house that meets your criteria hits the market. This is the most accurate and up-to-date house search available! And it’s great for out-of-town buyers who need to search for homes online. Customized Website for you. Most accurate and up-to-date. Includes ALL MLS properties including distressed properties. Automatically notifies you via email. Saves LOTS of time!   Touring the Neighborhood With a Local Expert When you are ready to take... read more

Costs To Buy a Home in Texas

Do You Know What It Costs To Buy a Home in Texas? It’s one thing to want to own your own home…it’s another to be able to afford one. Here is a run-down of estimated costs to buy a home in Texas you must consider… NOTE Please note these are estimates only and will change based on the area where your home is located, price of home, lender requirements, negotiated terms on sales contract, etc. Item Cost* Application fee for loan $300 Credit Report Fee for Lender $65 Option Fee $200-300 Earnest Money 1% of house price Home Inspection Fees (house and termite) $300-500 Appraisal fee $350 Closing Costs:        Down Payment for Loan 2 to 19% of  house price (minus earnest money)      Title Insurance (usually paid by the Seller) $1377      PMI or MIP Reserve** $344      Loan Origination Fee (negotiable) $1900      Survey $325      Flood Certificate $40      Doc Prep Attorney Fee $200      Settlement Fee $250      Recording Fees $50      Underwriting Fee $200      Tax Service Fee $75      Prorated Taxes $1250      Homeowner Insurance and Reserve $2100      Pre-paid Interest $417 Repairs or Updates to Home If Needed Unknown Moving Charges Unknown Utility Fees Unknown *These estimated figures are based on a $200,000 house with a 5% interest conventional 30-yr loan, with 5 percent down, $1500 insurance, and $5000 property taxes…close to $20,000 cash required! ** If your down payment is less than 20 percent of sales price. See Also: »  Texas Closing Costs... read more

Why Rent When You Can Own?

  Are you unsure about becoming a HOMEOWNER? Thinking that you can’t afford to BUY a home? Are you worried about whether home buying is a good INVESTMENT? Buying a first home can be an intimidating process. But the first step is making those first decisions: I want to own my own home; I can afford to own my own home; owning my own home makes sense for me financially and emotionally. If you are still struggling with those first decisions, here are some facts that might help you make that first step towards becoming a homeowner. You Can’t Afford NOT to Buy a Home! Over the last ten years, the cost of rental housing in the U.S. has increased an average of 3 percent per year. That means that an apartment or home renting for $750 per month will cost more than $978 a month in ten years. If you rent the same home for ten years, the total amount you would pay for rent will equal $103,000!  Tax Advantages of Owning a Home Result in Savings None of that $103,175 is returned to you, either through savings or as an investment. Homeownership, on the other hand, has tax advantages over renting a home, and those advantages can help you save money. Unlike your monthly rent, part of your monthly mortgage payment “comes back to you” in tax savings. Here’s an example: You purchase a home that costs $110,000 (plus closing costs – expenses incurred to actually process the transaction). You finance the balance with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 6.5 percent interest. Your monthly payments (not... read more

Prior Foundation Repairs

Will Prior Foundation Repairs Effect a Home’s Resale Value? In Texas, there is a saying that all houses here either have foundation repairs or will need them in the future. That’s because the soil in most parts of Texas is an “expansive soil” that significantly expands and contracts based on the level of moisture in it. And since Texas is known for either droughts or floods…our soil tends to expand and contract a lot. Here is a must read for Texas home buyers: Buyer’s Guide to Slab-On-Ground Foundations by R. Michael Gray, P.E. and Matthew T. Gray, EIT. That is why it is very important for homeowners to keep the soil around their home evenly watered. Water in the soil provides pressure to support the home. During a drought, the lack of moisture may cause a foundation to sag. Simply watering the soil can often push a slightly sagging foundation back up…no kidding! Does having a prior foundation repair on a home effect the resale value? That’s a controversial question with no “scientific” data to prove one opinion or another. Some say that as long as the repair is done by a reputable foundation company and has a transferable lifetime warranty…no problem. It may even be considered a positive feature of the home, since the cost of the repair has been covered by a prior owner. NOTE: If you need some brick or mortar repair in the Sugar Land area, contact JQ Brick at 713-253-5092…they do excellent work at very reasonable prices. These kinds of cracks do not necessarily mean there are foundation issues…bricks and mortar crack very easily.... read more

Buying New vs. Resale Home

One question that I get a lot is, “Should we buy a new home or an existing home?” A new home is one that has never been lived in while an existing home has been lived in by a previous owner. There are Pros and Cons either way that you should consider. Here are my home buying tips for purchasing a new versus resale home. PROs for Purchasing a New Home May Include: Lower maintenance costs during the first years of owning the home. Lower energy costs because new homes are built with better energy saving materials and equipment than older homes. More functional home designs and floorplans as well as up-to-date home fixtures. Latest technology features such as pre-wired for a home computer network. Possibly the ability to choose paint colors, floor types and colors, exterior colors, and other optional home features. NOTE: There is typically a substantial markup on these items. Builder incentives to lower the initial cost to purchase. Easier to get to know neighbors because everyone is “new.”   PROs for Purchasing an Existing (Resale) Home May Include: Lower price per square foot than newly built homes. Better locations and shorter commute times. Mature landscaping in both the yard and throughout the neighborhood. Proven track record of home values in the neighborhood. Lower tax rates since more neighborhood features have already been paid for by home owners. Sales contracts that are fair to both parties…not one-sided in favor of the builder. Lower move-in costs (possibly) since home already has window coverings, landscaping, garage door openers, and other items that you will have to buy for... read more

Texas Laws on Buyer Representation

How Can I Make Sure My Agent is On My Side? In earlier articles, I explained two very important concepts that you need to understand before you buy real estate in Texas: brokerage services and how an intermediary agency works and how real estate sales commissions are paid. Another thing that is important for you to understand is that a real estate agent in Texas who uses the MLS is always, by default, looking out for the best interest of the Seller unless the Buyer (you) has a written Residential Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement (Buyer’s Rep Agmt.) with the real estate agent. NOTE: View a sample of my Buyer’s Representation Agreement and please note Paragraph 17 on page 4. With a Buyer’s Rep Agrmt., you are considered to be a client. Without a Buyer’s Rep Agrmt., you are considered to be a customer. And as a customer, the advice that I can provide to you regarding houses is somewhat limited. This chart shows the difference… For more information about the benefits of having a Buyer’s Rep Agmt., please read http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20000622_clientorcustomer.htm. As you can see, it is important that you establish yourself as a client to get full representation by your real estate agent. Having a Buyer’s Rep Agrmt. with me benefits you by protecting your confidentiality; allowing me to provide you with professional advice and opinions on prices; allowing me to negotiate based on your best interests; and giving you a partner who is loyal to you. And the Seller stills pays the real estate commission, even when you have a dedicated real estate agent. They agree to do that when... read more

Texas Real Estate Commissions

Who Pays the Real Estate Commission in Texas? One of the questions that I’m frequently asked is, “Who pays the sales commission in a real estate transaction?” That’s a good question! Here’s the answer… NOTE: I give a rebate if you both buy and sell a home with me within a 6-month period. Typically, real estate sales commissions are paid at the closing table. The title company disburses two checks out of the seller’s proceeds from the sale: one to the listing broker (such as a RE/MAX or Coldwell Banker) and one to the Buyer’s broker (in our case, Keller Williams Southwest). Then the Seller’s broker splits their sales commission with the Seller’s agent (also known as, the Listing Agent). And the Buyer’s broker splits their sales commission with the Buyer’s agent (Sheila Cox)–after deducting certain transaction costs, such as “Errors and Omissions Insurance.” Please note that practically all real estate agents are independent contractors…not employees of the broker. In fact, real estate agents are usually required to pay certain fees to their broker for the privilege to work at that brokerage. Plus all expenses, including gas and mileage for taking you on home tours, refreshments on tours, paper and ink for contracts, phone fees, computer fees, etc. are paid by the individual agent and are not reimbursed. So how do I earn the sales commission? I have a very detailed “To Do List for Buyer Clients” that has over 100 tasks that I may perform for you…and only one task is “Show properties until one is found.” So even if I show you 30 houses, that only represents one... read more

Texas Laws on Brokerage Services & Dual Agency

Does My Real Estate Agent Represent Me or the Seller? When I bought my first house in the mid 1990s, Texas was kind of a “Buyer Beware” state. In fact, a home Buyer could spend weeks looking for a home with a real estate agent, telling her secret information (like how much you were willing to pay for a house), not knowing that everything you told that real estate agent would be told to the Seller because the real estate agent was actually representing the Seller–not you (the Buyer)! Here’s what you need to know… Unless you have a written agreement with a real estate agent, all Texas agents are always representing the Seller–typically known as the “subagent.” That is how agency works in Texas. This can be confusing for home Buyers, so the Texas Real Estate Commission wants you to know about brokerage services, who represents whom, and intermediary agency, BEFORE you start working with an agent...not only is it the law, it’s also for your protection! (Read TREC’s Information About Brokerage Services.) NOTE Finding out “your agent” is actually representing the Seller after you’ve found the house you want to buy is NOT a good thing! If an agent doesn’t give you the Information About Brokerage Services form UP FRONT (before showing you houses), then you are dealing with someone who is unprofessional and not following the law. Another fact that you need to know is that Texas is a dual-agency state…meaning that a real estate broker (such as Keller Williams Southwest) can represent both the Buyer (you) and the Seller (them) in a the same transaction.... read more

Checklist of Steps for Buying a Home

This list is not comprehensive. There are a lot of steps that your REALTOR® takes care of behind-the-scenes. Call Sheila Cox for help at 832-622-1233 √ Action Item Deadline   Unless you have cash to buy a home, contact three or four lenders to determine how much house you can afford and get rate quotes.     Determine how much money you will need to purchase a new home. Do you have enough? If not, create a budgetand start saving now.     Get approved for a loan. Don’t forget the approval letter! We will need to submit it with an offer to buy a house…Sugar Land sellers will not typically accept an offer without a strong approval letter from a reputable (preferably a local lender).     Hire a Sugar Land real estate expert to help you with your purchase. You need a professional looking out for your best interest!     Do you need to sell your current home? Your Sugar Land real estate expert can help you with that too (and may offer a discount if you both buy and sell).     View homes that meet your specific needs.     Choose the right home for your needs.     Sign the legal paperwork and make an offer to buy the house that you chose. Be prepared to write two checks (which will be cashed): 1% earnest money to Title Company and $200-300 option fee to the Seller.     After the purchase offer is accepted, hire home and termite inspectors to check the home. This will cost $300 to $500.     Negotiate repairs to home... read more

Do I Need a Real Estate Agent? Maybe I Can Do This Myself

 “That’s what I used to think! In fact, before I became a licensed real estate agent, I did several FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sales and THOUGHT I knew what I was doing. But if I had known then what I know now…I never would have risked it. Here’s what I’ve learned…” Your home is probably your largest single financial investment. Most homes today cost over $100,000. If you had a $100K legal problem would you try to handle it yourself or would you high a quality attorney to help you? Of course, not all attorneys are equal in skills, knowledge, integrity, experience–and neither are all real estate agents. In fact, most people have had at least one bad experience with a low-quality real estate agent. I know I have! As in any industry, please consider that it is possible the 80-20 rule applies to real estate agents…maybe 20 percent are not very highly qualified, but that would leave another 80 percent who are! (Just like in your line of work…do all your peers provide the same quality of expertise?) Always keep in mind that having a bad experience with one agent, doesn’t mean that all real estate agents are bad. The trick is finding and hiring the right, high-quality agent. Here are some things to consider… “According to the 2011 National Association of Realtors study on home buyers, 89 percent of home buyers say they would re-hire their last real estate agent to buy a new home. That’s a pretty high percentage of satisfied clients!” Real Estate Laws Vary From State to State Not all states have the same real... read more

What To Look for In a Texas Real Estate Agent

“If you’re not sure whether you need a real estate agent or not, please take a look at Do I Need a Real Estate Agent to help you decide.”   What To Look for In a Texas Real Estate Agent   Many of these items are specific to Texas agents. ___ Did your agent give you the “Information About Brokerage Services” notice that is legally required by the Texas Real Estate Commission before showing you houses? Can your agent effectively explain it? ___ Did your agent provide all the other necessary disclosures, notices, and the Buyer’s Representation Agreement to you before showing you houses? Be careful! You don’t want to find out after-the-fact that your agent actually represents the Seller. ___ Does your agent provide a detailed 18+ page house report on a home (see my sample), before you make the offer, to ensure that you know what you are buying before you make the purchase? This report should include information on the home’s price history, comparable sales numbers, school ratings, flood plain, tax info, environmental hazards (if any), near-by sex offenders (if any) at a minimum. ___ Can your agent effectively explain the HOA maintenance fees, MUD and LID taxes, compliance certificate requirements, amenities, property tax rates, school performance ratings, and other important information for the neighborhoods you are looking at? ___ Does your agent know how to provide you with an accurate CMA (price analysis) on a home before you make an offer? Is he or she committed to helping you get the right price or does the agent just want you to buy the highest priced home you can afford? ___ Does your agent point out possible defects of homes when you tour them... read more

Beware of Internet Real Estate Statistics

The bottom line: No one knows an area better than a local, experienced real estate agent. Don’t gamble your biggest investment on automated Internet data. It’s Not All About the ZIP Code…Or Shouldn’t Be I love the Internet and I’m an information junkie, but I am constantly amazed at how WRONG the real estate info presented on the internet is for my area: Sugar Land TX. Sugar Land is a large city (population 85,000+) located in in Fort Bend County, just southwest of Houston TX. Like all cities of its size…some parts are very different than other parts…it is not completely homogeneous. Furthermore, it consists of multiple ZIP Codes: mainly 77478 and 77479 but new comers, 77487 and 77496, have been added. And, Sugar Land is adjacent to Missouri City, Stafford, Houston, and Richmond as well. So you can live is the Sugar Land area but technically have a Missouri City or even Houston address. What really “bugs” me about the data available on the Internet is that most websites use ZIP Codes to determine demographics and “city data.” But you can’t do that accurately in Sugar Land since it has multiple ZIP Codes. And to complicate matters, Sugar Land is divided into multiple master planned neighborhoods and each of those may be split into multiple subdivisions. For example, First Colony consists of over 100 subdivisions, New Territory over 40 subdivisions, Greatwood and Riverstone are also divided into multiple (over 20 each) subdivisions. So you can have multiple neighborhoods and subdivisions within the same ZIP Code, but let me assure you that the demographics and average income for homes in Sweetwater is drastically different... read more

Sugar Land Home Security

Sugar Land Home Security: Tips for Securing Your Home That Are Not Well Known Sugar Land TX is a fairly safe city and has even been named one of the safest cities in Texas from time to time (see Sugar Land Crime). But a while back I had the unfortunate experience of having my home burglarized. I thought my home was pretty safe: It’s in a low-crime neighborhood with active police patrols. I have an alarm which I always activate when I leave. I had good quality, double-key locks on all my doors. I have two, small, barky dogs. But in spite of all that, my front, side door (next to the garage, but on the front of the house) was kicked in at 2:25 p.m. on a school day…in the middle of the afternoon! I always thought break-ins happened at night! But here’s what I found out when I researched home security Sugar Land. Your Door Is Easy to Kick In When I researched how to prevent break-ins, I came across some interesting facts that I did not know. One of the best articles on home security  that I read was “Home Security: Burglary Prevention Advice” by Chris E McGoey, CPP, CSP, CAM at  http://www.crimedoctor.com/home.htm That article points out: “The most common way used to force entry through a door with a wooden jamb is to simply kick it open. The weakest point is almost always the lock strike plate that holds the latch or lock bolt in place followed by a glass paneled door. The average door strike plate is secured only by the soft-wood doorjamb molding. These lightweight moldings are often tacked on to the door frame... read more

Sugar Land Home Values and Housing Costs

Sugar Land Home Values and Housing Costs–One of the things I’ve found that excites people the most about buying a home in Sugar Land, TX, is how far their dollars go. No matter what price range you’re looking at, you get much more for your money in Sugar Land than in other parts of the country because Sugar Land home values and housing costs are so reasonable. Plus, there is a home for every budget! Depending upon the communities you’re considering, homes can range from $200,000 to several million (with the current average home price of $377,000).    Does this seem too good to be true? Well believe me, it’s not. Fort Bend County has a very diverse job market and tax revenue source based more on consumption than income and profits. This has helped us sustain both a strong economy and real estate market…and to keep Sugar Land housing costs low. In fact, we have been in a Seller’s market for over 12 years. What do I mean by that? Let me explain… We determine the type of market we’re in by the amount of current inventory (homes available for sale). A Buyer’s market is seven months or more of inventory. This is where the demand for homes is somewhat less than the supply of homes and where Buyers may have more “say” over house prices than Sellers. A Seller’s market is five months or less of inventory. The demand for homes is somewhat greater than the supply of homes, giving Sellers more power over house prices than Buyers. Six months of inventory is considered “equilibrium.” »  Read more about the Sugar... read more

Sugar Land Real Estate Market

Sugar Land Housing Shortage The Sugar Land real estate market is currently experience a historic housing shortage. We simply do not have enough homes for sale to meet the current demand. This is great news for home sellers, but worrisome for home buyers. If you are planning to buy a home in Sugar Land right now, be prepared to offer top-dollar and be involved in multiple-offer, super-competitive negotiations. To strengthen your negotiation position you should get PRE-APPROVED (not just pre-qualified) through a reputable local lender (not a big, national bank) and be ready to show Proof of Funds (as in, copies of bank statements showing the balance). NOTEA pre-approved buyer has already submitted W-2s, tax statements, bank statements, etc. to the lender and the lender has actually verified employment, assets, etc. The lender will provide a letter stating this fact. When a Seller has to choose between multiple offers, the seller will often choose the buyer who has already obtained pre-approval. And often times, that seller will prefer a local lender who can Close faster (within six weeks) over a large, national lender who may take eight weeks or longer to Close. Houston Employment Forecast 2012 was a good year for the Sugar Land real estate market, 2013 was even better, and there are no signs that things are going to slow down…especially when Houston may have 70,000 new jobs in 2014. Read excerpt from “2014 Houston Employment Forecast: A Publication of the Greater Houston Partnership“ » Read also  “How long will Houston boom last? Top 5 real estate predictions for 2014“» Read also  “Housing Outlook 2014: 10 Predictions From The Experts“» Read also... read more

Sugar Land Relocation

Sugar Land Relocation Information » Places to stay when visiting including the Town Square Marriott I can’t tell you how much I love living in the Sugar Land area, and if you’re in the process of relocating to Sugar Land, I know you’re going to love the Sugar Land Relocation Guide! It has over 170 pages of detailed information on our wonderful city, school, neighborhoods, activities, home values…everything that you need to know. There are so many benefits to living in the Houston area, and Sugar Land is one of its top suburbs. Why do I think Sugar Land TX is great?… Culturally Diverse Sugar Land is a unique suburb in that it has a distinct “cosmopolitan” feel and is very culturally diverse. While about half of the population is white, the remaining 50 percent is comprised of Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic and African American cultures. And just as important as its diverse demographics, is its fostering of an inclusive and accepting community. In fact, in 2007, Sugar Land was the first city in the nation to be named a Community of Respect® by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It has maintained this distinction. » Read Sugar Land embraces diversity Excellent Schools Sugar Land schools are known to be excellent. Half of the 18 elementary schools have a score of 10 with Greatschools.org and, likewise, half of the six middle schools score a 10 as well. There are four high schools with Sugar Land addresses (and several others nearby) with two scoring 9 (Austin and Dulles) and one scoring a 10 (Clements). Sugar Land is part of Fort Bend ISD which is an award-winning school district but does not... read more

Sugar Land Videos

If you are relocating to the city of Sugar Land TX, you may want to get a feel for what it’s like to live here. So I have some real videos of Sugar Land, TX, driving around our beautiful city and lovely neighborhoods. »  Read about Sugar Land neighborhoods»  Read about Sugar Land Relocation Main Video of Sugar Land, TX The following is an in-depth video of Sugar Land, TX, which shows schools, parks, hospitals, shopping, libraries, police stations, recreation centers, entertainment, and more!       Avalon Sugar Land Video Check out this video drive-through tour of Avalon showing the community clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and more. Click here more information on Avalon, Sugar Land.     Commonwealth Sugar Land Video Check out this video drive-through tour of Commonwealth showing the community clubhouse, pool, and more. Click here more information on Commonwealth, Sugar Land.     Greatwood Sugar Land Video Check out this video drive-through tour of Greatwood showing the community clubhouse, pools, tennis courts and more. Click here more information on Greatwood, Sugar Land.     New Territory Sugar Land Video Check out this video drive-through tour of New Territory showing the community clubhouses, pools, tennis courts, Pecan Park, and more. Click here more information on New Territory, Sugar Land.     Riverstone Sugar Land Video Check out this video drive-through tour of Riverstone showing the community clubhouses, pools, tennis courts and more. Click here more information on Riverstone, Sugar Land.     Sweetwater Sugar Land Video Check out this drive-through video tour of Sweetwater showing the community country club, pool, tennis courts and more. Click here more information on Sweetwater, Sugar Land.     Telfair Sugar... read more
Are you ready to tour some homes?
Need help finding the right home?
Thinking About Selling?
First-Time Home Buyer

Sheila Cox has won the Five-Star Real Estate Agent award
for the past 5 years in a row because
her clients have this to say about her

clienttestimonials2

 

Who’s Looking Out for You?

Buying a home is not as easy as it looks! You need a local neighborhood expert to:

  • Help you sort through all the options to find the right neighborhood and schools.
  • Price a home correctly so you don’t pay too much.
  • Watch out for problem houses so you don’t end up with a money pit.
  • Uncover hidden taxes, fees, and other costs.
  • Help you WIN in a competitive, multi-offer offer situation.

Sheila Cox is dedicated to helping you buy the RIGHT house in the RIGHT neighborhood at the RIGHT price. One of the ways she does that is by providing in-depth research on a home that you decide to buy to provide you all the information you need to make a wise decision and to protect yourself from possible unknown hazards.

» View Sample House Report
» See more about Sheila Cox

No real estate agent
in the world does this!

“I could not say enough good things about Sheila. We have moved all over the world and her service and can do attitude is the BEST I have ever seen. She provides a complete service and really represents you to ensure all your needs are met. She is full of good ideas and pointing out other angles you might not have considered. For this move we were moving from abroad and everything went smoothly thanks to Sheila. We are more than happy to recommend Sheila to anyone. “

--Henry

“Sheila was the best realtor we could have ever asked for. We could always depend on her to get the job done and she was always looking out for our best interests. I was going through the tragic loss of my mother during the sale and purchase of our home, and Sheila went above and beyond in ensuring that all was being taken care of and everything was moving along smoothly on BOTH ends. Where the other realtor failed during the process, Sheila jumped in to pick up the pieces and kept things moving along. She is dependable and trustworthy, and has great knowledge of the market and lenders. Her superb advice and expertise made the whole process, which could have been very stressful given the circumstances, move along as smoothly and possible. People like Sheila are few and far between, and we are so grateful that we had the opportunity to work with her.”

--Talley

“Sheila is simply an outstanding realtor. She helped my wife and I sell our fourth and purchase our fifth house. Out of all the realtors, she is honestly the best! She treats the transaction as her own, provides you timely updates as changes occur. Her advice also saved us from costly pitfalls that could have ruined the sell and purchase of our new house. My advice: 1) Use Sheila as your realtor 2) Listen to her recommendations! She is an expert and provides outstanding advice. Sheila thank you for all of your hard work. You did an outstanding job!”

--Worley

Katy vs. Sugar Land

Which is best for you? 

Read my article on Katy vs Sugar Land and find out.

Share this information with your friends…

Share on Google+    Share on Facebook

Socialize with me…

               


 

Sheila Cox RealtorAgent: Sheila Cox, Realtor

Broker: Keller Williams Southwest
1650 Highway 6, #350 (Map)
Sugar Land , TX 77478
Phone: (832) 779-2890

 

IMPORTANT: Please read Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding the new laws and procedures that lenders must follow. You should also read Information About Brokerage Services and the Consumer Protection Notice.

PRIVACY POLICY: It’s simple…I will not sell or share your info with third-parties. I don’t want to bug you…I’m here to help. I may email you useful Sugar Land-specific emails from time-to-time to help you, but you can easily unsubscribe from these emails at any time. I am a real estate agent and I may contact you ONLY IF you have requested me to do so via a Sugar Land Custom Home Search, a What’s My Sugar Land Home Worth, or one of my other free, no obligation services. If I am unavailable to meet your needs in a timely manner, I may ask you if I can have a respected colleague contact you instead.

Ask a Question - Get An Answer

Use the Comment Section Below...

Tell me what you think...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *