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Homes Seeking Recovery Following Tropical Storm Imelda

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On September 17, 2019 tropical storm Imelda made landfall on the Texas coastline. Recognized as the fifth-wettest tropical cyclone on record in the continental United States, the hurricane severely disrupted Texans daily life, until it dissipated on September 21.

According to weather.com, reported just one day after the storm hit:

“Tropical Storm Imelda formed, strengthened and made landfall in just an hour near the Texas coast Tuesday, but it’s not the first tropical system to spin up quickly near the U.S. Imelda originated from an upper-level low pressure system that dove southwestward off the coast of the Carolinas last week into the Gulf of Mexico early this week… The National Hurricane Center highlighted the western Gulf of Mexico for potential development on early Saturday morning, but the chances for development remained low through Tuesday at 8 a.m. CDT. That is, until the system quickly became more organized on Tuesday, with increasing thunderstorms bubbling just off the Texas coast. A tropical depression formed at 12 p.m. CDT Tuesday. It was forecast to become a tropical storm and a tropical storm warning was issued for part of the Texas coast. But it only took 45 minutes for that to happen. Tropical Storm Imelda formed at 1245 p.m. CDT, bringing with it a sustained wind of 40 mph at Freeport, Texas. Imelda made landfall at Freeport 15 minutes later, at 1 p.m. CDT, just an hour after first being designated a tropical depression. Since Imelda moved over land shortly after developing, it was not able to strengthen, but heavy rainfall and flooding were always the primary concern with this system. Changes with the system that became Imelda happened remarkably fast, but it is not the first system to develop quickly near the U.S”

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy reported that rainfall amounts were equivalent to Hurricane Harvey totals in some communities. “Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster declaration for thirteen counties in Texas on Sept. 19 as Imelda continued to wreak havoc on the state. Hundreds of people required rescue and evacuation support. In some communities, a shelter-in-place order was in effect due to flooded roads; officials were also watching for levees at risk of failing. The city of Houston and surrounding communities saw significant flooding, with many road closures. Some neighborhoods that were affected by 2017’s Hurricane Harvey as well as additional areas experienced high water in homes and businesses. Areas north and east of the city, including Beaumont, Vidor and Winnie were also impacted. A tornado was reported on Wednesday in Baytown, causing damage to several homes.”

One week after the storm settled, Texans are in recovery mode. Imelda was estimated to dump as much as 43 inches of water on some parts of Texas in just 3 days, leaving homes and families damaged and displaced. Sadly, reports have identified that five lives were lost in the devastating tropical storm. As for home destruction, specifically in Harris County, the Texas Division of Emergency Management identified that over 340 single-family homes were affected and at least 76 suffered major damage.

Looking at Recovery

Unfortunately, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, “There are 4.8 million homeowner policies in Texas, but fewer than 750,000 federal flood policies. That means less than 16 percent of homeowners are covered for flood damage in a state with 367 miles of coastline and ‘Flash Flood Alley.’”

The damage of tropical storms can range, depending on the impact from the storm surge, heavy rains, and winds. Flood damage can cause catastrophic damage and result in mold, electrical malfunctioning, swelling of wood, rusting of uncoated metal surfaces, discoloration of sensitive furniture, carpet staining and many more issues. Wind can result in structural damage, specifically if any outdoor debris falls on the home, such as a large tree. These issues can result in homeowners being displaced for weeks, months, and even years. In addition, businesses have lost their ability to operate and will need extensive time and capital to fully recover.

The total damage assessment has not yet been completed; however, it is estimated that damage will be more than $8 billion. The upcoming months will see large amounts of time and resources directed towards recovery.

Was Your Home Damaged?

If your home was damaged during Tropical Storm Imelda, and you either do not have insurance or you do not want to hassle with fixing the damage in your home, you can sell your home as-is. Contact us today to learn more.

Categories Tips

Preparing Your Home to Stage for the Fall

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Selling your home can be stressful no matter what time of year it is…and fall is no exception! This time of year marks the beginning of the holiday season, which introduces a growing number of events, parties, and family time commanding your attention clear through to winter. This time crunch can create some challenges for sellers and buyers alike, but it doesn’t mean fall is a bad time to sell. Here are some tips and tricks to help stage your house for fall and keep your home on the top of buyer’s minds despite all the distractions of the season.

The Basics

When staging your home at any time of year it is important to remember some staging 101. Your home needs to be like a blank canvas that potential buyers can picture their lives and their things fitting in. To create this effect, less is more. Clear the house of all personal knickknacks and décor, strip the walls, and clean everything from floor to ceiling. A fresh coat of neutral paint is a must for any home on the market. If the floors are worn, dated, or damaged, now is the time to replace them. Last, if you don’t have them already, get a new set of matching kitchen appliances. This simple investment instantly improves the look of any kitchen and will pay for itself when the home sells. For staging to be effective, no room can be left incomplete or else the buyers will have a lasting negative impression from the unfinished space.

As summer begins to fade away you don’t need to stop showcasing your homes bright airy spaces and open concepts. As fall comes into play, simply shift the interior a bit by bringing in some autumn colors, which can include various shades of yellow, orange, brown, blue, red, purple, black, blue, and magenta. Incorporate this color pallet with throw pillows and blankets or hanging wreaths. You can also switch rugs and bedroom linens to fit the autumn tones.

Curb Appeal

First impressions are lasting impressions, so focusing on the curb appeal of your home is a must. Falling leaves are going to be the biggest struggle during this time of year. Remember to rake the leaves and hose off any social spaces to keep the yard clean and tidy. This will stop potential buyers minds from wandering to the yard work rather than admiring the outdoor spaces.

Add pops of color to draw attention to the entryway and to combat the effects of the fading greenery. Just as you do on the inside, add fall décor and accents to the front and back yards. Consider putting out pumpkins and tin pots with fall flowers or wheat. These extra touches will build potential buyers excitement to see the inside of the home!

Fall Décor is Great

Although you may be tempted to bring out the holiday decorations to increase the feeling of coziness in the home, don’t overcrowd the space. Remember: You want to keep the space open to give the interior a larger, open feel for the buyer. They will want to envision their belongings in your home, so keep your personal items to a minimum. Avoid overtly religious décor so that the home will appeal to the widest pool of buyers possible. Fall decorations lend themselves well to this. Find a few places to tuck pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, wheat, and corn decorations to highlight the season – Minimal, but noticeable.

When showing the home don’t be afraid to bring some of the fall season to life. If you have a fire pit, go ahead and light it. Let your potential buyers envision curling up next to the roaring flames. Showcase the best your house has to offer for hosting parties and events. Try staging a minibar in the living room or mock up a thanksgiving feast at the dining room table. Also, try lighting a few seasonal candles, just be careful not to overwhelm potential buyers with strong fragrances since some people can be very sensitive to smell; instead, you simply want to have a light scent of the season lingering throughout the house.

If you would rather be enjoying the upcoming holidays instead of staging your house for the fall, there is an easier way to sell your home. Sell to an all cash buyer and be moved into your new home before the new year. We are Gulf State Homebuyers and we buy homes in the greater Houston area for all cash. When you deduct all the expenses associated with selling a house on the open market, our offers are extremely competitive. Just contact us for a free appraisal and we will make you an offer on the same day.

Categories Tips

New Homes with No Yards: Is this Zero Lot Line Trend Right for You?

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There has been a growing trend over the past decade to build larger homes with almost no yard. Obviously, there is a market for this type of home, but is it right for you? Before you turn your nose up at a potential homes small yard, let’s take a look at whether or not this particular style home is a better deal than you originally thought.

Here are the virtues of a tiny yard…

Larger Homes

Part of the reason for the small yard trend comes from the growing number of people who desire a larger home rather than a yard. People are also continuing to move towards urban centers where they will likely have no yard at all. If you are planning a move in the near future, the yard is going to be a major consideration; so, ask yourself a few questions to determine if you are willing to give it up in exchange for a bigger floor plan:

  • How often do you use your current outdoor space?
  • How much of the yard do you use on a regular basis?
  • Do your outdoor activities have to be at home or can they still be enjoyed in a public space, such as a park?
  • Which is more useful to your lifestyle, a yard or more space in the house?

Now ask yourself what you would be willing to give up if the cost savings of a small yard gave you larger and more usable indoor space. When you stop to consider it, even families with young children can go without a private outdoor space and take advantage of the larger house. Homes with extra bedrooms, bathrooms, bonus rooms, and larger kitchens are the result of the space taken from the size of the yard.

Less Maintenance

A smaller yard saves you time and money. Small outdoor spaces can be designed to have little or no maintenance. In fact, many owners of small yards simply install a deck, leaving potted plants as the only landscaping that requires attention. A small, easy to manage planter along the back wall is another common low maintenance layout. You could imagine that even with the most elaborate design possible in such a small space, there isn’t much room to add significantly to the time and money required for upkeep. Everything from water bills to paying for a gardener are eliminated or significantly reduced when you have a small outdoor space.

Better Location

Homes designed in this way came about to maximize the use of valuable real estate in more desirable neighborhoods and cities. This means that you can get the best value possible in a great area by sacrificing your yard. If your home is built in this style, then it is likely in an up-and-coming or highly sought after and established neighborhood. It is possible that you can improve your lifestyle with all the perks, including safety, entertainment, and shorter commutes, which typically come with nice neighborhoods that have small backyards.

Higher Home Value

Homes with smaller yards can still add great value to the overall selling price for several reasons. To begin with, as mentioned before, the trend is being seen in highly desirable neighborhoods where land values are steadily rising. This leads people to sacrifice the size of the yard in exchange for a larger house. Next, there is a growing number of homeowners who are just uninterested in a large backyard. This large population of homeowner’s enjoy a lifestyle in which the yard adds no value and/or they see the maintenance of the yard as an added unnecessary expense rather than an amenity. There are even situations where you have no responsibility for your front yard at all and the maintenance is included in the HOA. The result is a clean and well-maintained neighborhood that maintains its value.

Whether the house you are putting on the market has a small yard or archers of land, there is an alternative to spending the time and money finding the right buyer. You can sell your house to an all-cash buyer. We are Gulf State Homebuyers and we buy homes in any condition, so we won’t haggle over the size of your yard. We conduct our own free, no-obligation appraisal of your property and make you a competitive offer on the very same day! Skip the expense of preparing and marketing your home and get into the home of your dreams fast by selling to an all-cash buyer today!

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Is a Bigger Home Always Better?

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Have you recently received a pay raise and are considering moving into a larger home? In the past, bigger was better. However, in recent years there has been a change in trends – more and more families are looking for smaller homes that simply fit their needs. They are shifting their demands from wanting a large, spacious home that is fit to host a party for the extended family, to a smaller home that is equipped with just the essentials. As a homeowner, you may be confused because you were raised to believe that bigger is better; so, let’s take a look at why many families today are changing their demands.

Minimalism

Minimalist design is a huge trend for home styles right now because the style promotes an open floor plan that feels bigger than it really is. Minimalism also uses creative design features to maximize all the available space in the house. This can give you all the storage space and room for entertaining that a larger standard home design can, but in a smaller footprint.

New homes are also being constructed with minimalism in mind because clean, uncluttered spaces give residence a sense of calmness; this is because the cleanliness, lack of material items, and overall sense of less stuff reduces a person’s anxiety, which benefits the whole family’s mental health.

Savings

Homebuyers entering the market have expressed a significant change in the way they choose to spend their money. Many of them are opting to buy less stuff and smaller homes in exchange for more vacations and experiences. It goes without saying that the smaller your home is, the less expensive it is too. Living in a smaller home has a long list of money saving advantages so you can use the extra cash for experiences rather than a mortgage.

Downsizing

People downsize to smaller homes for reasons other than the desire to spend on experiences. Though many of the reasons are financial, there are few that are not related to saving money. In fact, saving time and energy tops the list for reasons that a small home is better. Small homes simply require substantially less upkeep; therefore, people who want to avoid working on their home and yard every weekend seek out houses that are small.

The next most popular reason people desire a small home is for retirement. As people settle into retirement, they start looking at ways they can get the most enjoyment out of it as possible. This can mean many things, including finding a home that will remain practical and comfortable as they age. Large two-story houses are just more than most people in retirement want to hassle with, so they will often downsize even though they can comfortably afford the larger home they were previously living in.

Location

Location can be the main deciding factor in the price of a home. This means that if you must have a large house, you may be pushed further out into the suburbs or even into a neighboring city to get the house you desire. It is quite possible that when you take into consideration all the time and money you will save by buying a smaller home in a better location, you could forget all about the extra space you thought you needed. The commute alone is worth calculating, and this isn’t only the commute to work. When you start taking a look at how far away other things like dining and entertainment are, you may end up losing money and enjoying life less. It makes the big house up on the hill seem isolated and less desirable when it’s too far away from everything to be enjoyed. Take a look at the absolute necessities to see if you gain more than you give up with a small house in a great location.

Get Ready to Move to Your Small Home!

If this has given you a bit of inspiration to switch to a smaller house we have an easy solution for you: Sell your current home to an all-cash buyer. We are Gulf State Homebuyers and we buy homes big and small and in all conditions. No need to hassle with upgrades, renovations, repairs, inspections, marketing or any of the hassle associated with selling your home on the open market. Just contact us today and we will appraise your house and make an offer in just one day, providing you the opportunity to move into a new house that is just the right size for you.

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How Interest Rates Are Affecting Home Buyers

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In July 2019, the Fed cut rates by a quarter point, which was the first rate cut by the central bank in more than a decade. Due to the current political policies being presented, the war on tariffs, and the President’s reports on market expectations, the policy making Federal Open Market Committee dropped the target range from 2.25% to 2%.

Unless you are working in the industry of finance, politics, real estate, etc., you most likely are unaware of how this news impacts you as a homeowner. We want to educate you on why this news it is important and how is can benefit you if you are looking to move!

Understanding the Economy:

Let’s simplify how the Fed funds rate impacts you as a homeowner…

The Fed funds rate is the interest rate banks charge each other to lend Federal Reserve funds overnight. As this rate increases, it becomes more expensive for banks to borrow from other banks.

Then, the banks lend to the consumer – this is what we know as interest rates.

The spread (or the difference between the Fed funds rate and the banks interest rate) is the return that your lender gets by providing you a loan.

Therefore, if the Fed cuts rates, then you have the potential to get a lower interest rate. However, this is not always valid. It is up to the bank to determine at what rate they want to lend to homeowners – if the Fed cuts rates, the bank can leave their interest rates the same so that they can increase their overall return.

How Does the Current Fed Increase Affect Homeowners?

If you own a home, are considering moving, or are interested in buying a home, the fluctuation in the Fed reserve affects you. Here’s how…

As A Current Homeowner

If you currently own your home, then you are in an advantageous position to sell. The buyer pool increases when the interest rates are lowered; this is because people can borrow money at a cheaper price. Therefore, with a larger buyer pool, the more potential interested parties are in the market. In some areas of the country, this can even drive home values up. This is especially true in areas where there is low velocity or few homes available for sale.

As A Potential Home buyer

This may be obvious, but you can now get money at a lower rate. However, be sure to conduct your due diligence when getting a loan for your next home. As mentioned above, not all lenders reduce their rates just because the Fed reduces their rate; therefore, as a potential home buyer you should shop around. First, identify how much you have to put down on the home and which loan you qualify for – there are conventional loans, FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans. If you are uncertain, go talk to your local banker. Then, shop around: Go to different banks and see what kind of rate they can get you on your home purchase. The goal here is to get the lowest rate possible and to take advantage of the reduced Fed rate.

LEARN MORE!

As a homeowner, don’t miss out on this opportunity! Understand that now is the time to maximize on your home if you are in the market to sell. If you want to learn about the value of your home and how the current economy is impacting the price of your home, contact us today and receive a free home appraisal.

We are all-cash investors in Baytown and we provide clients with home evaluations. Our evaluations are not the price to take your home out to market, but instead the amount we can put in your pocket this week!

About Us

Our company specializes in purchasing residential and commercial properties in Houston and its surrounding areas. We not only supply clients with the ability to sell their home for cash; in many situations, we allow our clients to rent or owner finance from us as well. Our staff has purchased hundreds of homes in all cash throughout the years, in addition to offering sellers fair market prices for their homes with closings in a matter of days.

Our mission is to provide sellers a fast, easy and stress-free way to sell their real estate.  We have been buying houses for over 15 years in Houston and surrounding areas in addition to providing the best customer service in the business.  Here at Gulf State Homebuyers, we take pride in making sure our sellers feel at home and not to mention, treat them like family.