An inside look at the residential real estate market in Southeast Texas including: the hottest neighborhoods, proven home selling strategies, home buying and negotiating tactics, median prices by neighborhood, average days homes are on the market, and professional advice on how to get the best deal when buying or selling a home.

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December 2007

November 2007

Coventry Court ground breaking in Groves

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The City of Groves celebrated the ground breaking of a new townhome community yesterday.  Coventry Court will be the town's first new development in over 20 years.  The community plan calls for 73 townhomes and will feature a gated entrance and swimming pool.  The developer Coy Development chose Groves over other locations, including Houston, because of the community support and expected growth coming to the area.

Most of the Groves dignitaries and city leaders were on hand for the ground breaking.  A special proclamation was made by Mayor Brad Bailey claiming November 29, 2007 Coventry Court day.  The ceremony included parachuter's landing on site to the delight of the crowd.  Coldwell Banker Southern Homes will be handling all sales of the project and special pre-construction pricing is available. 

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New lofts to be built in historic church

Lofts The Landmark Group, a North Carolina based development company that specializes in mixed-use commercial projects tailored to help cities, towns and neighborhoods manage renewal and revitalization projects has started initial demolition and construction work on the old Antioch Church.  Instead of being demolished, the old church will be converted into an eight loft building. 

The Landmark Group is known for its work revitalizing downtowns.  A complete list of the company's housing projects, including the Beaumont Lofts, shows developments in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The loft project is classified as an adaptive reuse to replace housing lost to Hurricane Rita.  The value of the project is listed at $5,000,000 according to the company website.  The Beaumont Lofts will be located at 527 Forsythe St. across from Cathedral Square. 

Stay tuned for more information on the Beaumont Lofts as construction continues.

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Christmas Train and Parade take Front Stage

Ksc_holiday_train_jpg Christmas1 Two Christmas events take center stage this week in Beaumont.

Tonight, the KCS Holiday Train rolls in Beaumont. The Kansas City Southern holiday train is in its seventh annual run.  Stopping in eight states, bringing holiday cheer to 26 communities. Viewing the train is free to the public.  This year's theme is Santa Claus. You will be treated to six fully decorated rail cars.  The train will be stopping at the KCS Yard located at 4095 S. MLK Pkwy. 

On Saturday, Dec.1st don't miss the Beaumont Christmas Holdiay Festival and Parade.  There will be food and fun, not to mention shopping.  The tree lighting is at 5pm.  For a complete schedule of holiday events the Beaumont CVB is your best resource.

While downtown, don't forget to stop by Cathedral Square Townhomes.  A few beautiful townhomes are still available for purchase.  Cathedral Square will be held open the day of the parade. 

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What is a CMA?

Dscf0058 If you've looked through any real estate books you will have seen the words Competitive Market Analysis (CMA).  Real Estate Professionals often offer a free CMA as part of their services for anyone interested in selling their home. 

To explain what a CMA is, first lets explain what it isn't.  A CMA isn't the same as a formal appraisal.  A formal appraisal is "the act or process of developing an opinion of value."  It is not a guarantee of value but it is an opinion that can be justified through verified data. In Texas you must complete licensing and certification requirements to become a licensed appraiser. The Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board oversees these requirements.  A formal appraisal is completed on a   Uniform Residential Appraisal Report.  Formal appraisals will be used by mortgage lenders, investors, government agencies, and individuals in assessing the value of real estate.

Okay, so back to the CMA.  What is a CMA?  The definition of a CMA is "an analysis of market activity among comparable properties; it is not the same as a formal appraisal." Often a real estate agent will be asked to determine a market value of a property without a formal appraisal being done.  Let's talk about "market value" for a minute.  Market value is the most probable price a property should bring in the market.  Market price on the other hand is what a property actually sells for.  So, if you are still following along, a Realtor when preparing a CMA is going to come up with a market value for a certain property by looking a the market price of what other similar properties have actually sold for. 

The CMA will include information on homes in the same or nearby neighborhoods, that are similar to yours, that have sold in the past 6 months.  It will also include information on homes that are currently for sale, and homes that were for sale but have expired without selling.  It will give a range of value not an exact value. This tool can be very helpful for sellers in estimating how much money they will get from the sale of their homes.

If you are thinking about selling, take a real estate professional up on their offer to provide you a CMA.  You'll gain some helpful knowledge about your neighborhood, your home, and the price that you could sell it for.

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5 weeks till Christmas

Christmas_ornaments_2  Did you start your shopping on black Friday with the millions of other holiday shoppers?  Or are you still waiting to find just the right place to spend those hard earned holiday dollars?

Good news for Golden Triangle residents is there is no shortage of shops around here.  Our area has two malls.  Parkdale Mall in Beaumont boasts over 140 shops with anchor stores such as Dillard's,Linens 'n Things, and Macy's.  Port Arthur is home to Central Mall.  Malls not your choice for those one of a kind Christmas presents. You are in luck.  Specialty shops abound. There is an Antique Mall in Lumberton with over 10,000 sq. ft of shopping space. Dowlen Street in Beaumont has a Chico's and Talbot's for women's clothing. The area also has boutiques you may want to visit.  Torchy's is known for its upscale collections.  A complete shopping guide with all area shops listed alphabetically is available from the convention and visitors bureau.

If you are like me, you might not have started shopping yet, at least not in the stores.  I have picked up a few things on-line which is getting easier every year.  But, what would Christmas shopping be without a trip or two or five to the neighborhood shops?  Have fun shopping.  And remember there's only 30 shopping days left until Christmas.

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Texas Town bought on eBay

13 acre Texas town is bought with a winning bid of $3.8 million on eBay.  The town of Albert is located about 60 miles North of San Antonio.  No one lives in Albert, but the town has a tavern, a 85-year-old dance hall, a tractor shed, a three bedroom house, plus peach and pecan orchards.  The full story on CNN.com notes that a town in northern California was the first town ever to be sold on the eBay auction site.  It was sold twice.  The first sale fell through. 

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Young Beaumonters

Ford_park_fast_pitch Ever heard the saying "an active child is a healthy child"?  If that is true Beaumont should be home to a lot of healthy children.  Our Parks and Recreation Department has more than 30 parks and outdoor recreation facilities with sports programs for young Beaumonters.

Our warm weather keeps activities going year round.  Our local YMCA offers a wide range of activities.  Youth sports include swimming lessons, baseball, soccer, T-ball, Flag Football. 

Soccer is BIG in Beaumont.  The Beaumont Youth Soccer Club is already taking spring 2008 registrations.  Located off Major Drive and Dishman Road you will find a great soccer facility where the Beaumont Youth Soccer Club plays.  The club promotes good sportsmanship, good physical health, and teaches the fundamentals.

Over at Ford Park you will find the Texas American Fast-pitch Association Nationals.  Tournaments are held at the Ford Park Athletic Fields. 

For families with children the choices are endless.  Almost everywhere you look you'll find young Beaumonters enjoying the great outdoors.

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Home Buyers Turning to Internet

Haven't heard of Zillow yet? 

The Internet is changing the way people buy and sell homes.  Zillow is one of the new wave of Internet based real estate information providers.  Zillow.com gives sellers "zestimates" of what your home might be worth.  The value given on the Zillow site is based on the public records in your town.  So if your town hasn't updated the public tax records, or home values in your town are rising - like they are here in Beaumont - then your zestimate is only going to be a guide not a true current market value.  To get the most accurate current market value, your best resource is a professional real estate agent that works in your market.   

How does a Real Estate Agent fit in?

The average home buyer looks at 9 homes before they purchase.  Buy narrowing down their search on-line home buyers can make a more informed decision.  From a marketing state point more than 80% of buyers start their home search on-line.  Some of the most popular on-line home search sites are Coldwell Banker's site and Realtor.com's site. The Internet is giving buyers and sellers more information than ever before to help them make educated decisions.  However, none of the information you find on the Internet will replace the true value of a professional real estate agent.  A Realtor is your personal advocate.  Their job is to protect your interests, get you the best deal possible, manage all the details from contract to closings, and make sure you avoid any pitfalls along the way.

The Texas Real Estate Center keeps records of Beaumont Residential Housing Activity. You can get a snapshot of the sales, average prices, and months of inventory in our market.  As you may already know its a great time to own a home in Beaumont.   

 

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Want to go to the Park?

Beaumont_botanical_gardens We all enjoy a little outdoor recreation from time to time.  For those of us fortune enough to be living in the Golden Triangle, we have over 30 parks to choose from.  A complete list of all Parks can be a helpful resource when trying to plan an afternoon outing or a weekend picnic. 

For the boaters in the group Collier's Ferry Recreation Area & Natural Preserve has a boat launch and docking pier.  Boaters can enjoy the Neches River.  Do a little crabbing, water skiing, fishing, or choose your favorite water activity.

For the horse lovers in the group Tyrrell Park features equestrian trails and horses.  It is the largest and most extensive park in Beaumont.  The park is also home to the Beaumont Botanical Gardens, Tyrrell Park Stables, and the Henry Homberg Municipal Golf Course

Residents of the Golden Triangle enjoy average monthly temperatures ranging from a mean of 52 degrees in the winter months to a mean of 82 degrees in the summer.   The comfortable climate is another lifestyle factor that makes SE Texas a great place to call home.

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Cathedral Square - Downtown Beaumont

Cathedral_square_townhomes The downtown living craze has swept many big cities across the country.  Young professionals want to live close to where they work and play.  Last March, Beaumont joined the list of cities who offer upscale convenient downtown living.

Cathedral Square is a multi-family project of luxury townhomes and lofts located in the heart of downtown.  The development also calls for a retail plaza.  Construction on a New York Style Pizzeria is underway.   

Over $70 million of reinvestment has occurred in the downtown area.  The restoration includes Suga's Restaurant ,a deep south cuisine and jazz bar, Crockett Street Entertainment District, featuring 7 unique bars and nightclubs, Jefferson Theater, The Hotel Beaumont and much more.

A partnership between Beaumont Main Street, and the City of Beaumont is stimulating historic preservation. You can pick up a Main Street National Register District Brochure at the Convention and Visitors Bureau.  When you are downtown make sure to stop by and see the Cathedral Square Townhomes.  Beaumont's first townhomes and lofts located in historic downtown.

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