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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February 2008
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April 2008

March 2008

82 Jefferson County Homes On The Auction Block.

House_on_money Tuesday, April 1st on the Jefferson County Courthouse steps 82 homes are set to be auctioned to the highest bidder. 

According to Texas Foreclosure Laws, Texas is a non-judicial foreclosure state.  What that means is the owner of the mortgage does not have to take the borrower of the money to court to foreclosure.  In Texas once a borrower, also called a grantee, is behind on their payments a letter of demand is sent to the borrower.  If they are unable or fail to make payments that are owed, then a Notice of Trustee Sale is filed with the Jefferson County Clerk's Office.  The notice must be filed 21 days prior to the next auction.  Foreclosure actions are always held the first Tuesday of the month. 

If no individual buyer bids on a home at the foreclosure sale, then the mortgage holder will "buy back" the property for the amount they are owed.  Once a home is foreclosed and owned by a bank it is often referred to as an REO property.  Banks and mortgage holders then list these homes for sale with local real estate agents after a market analysis is completed to determine the fair market value. 

Interested in Getting the List?

The County Clerk's Office will print you one for $4.  Or you can look up the information on their website.  However, the list is just a start.  The list gives a legal address but not the street address.  You'll have to do some more research to get that.  Then you'll have to research the properties true market value.  The minimum bid could be higher that what the home will sell for.  "How does that happen?', you ask.  Well, when the borrower has taken out 100% financing and owned the home for a short period of time no equity has built up.  Hence, a negative equity situation exists.  The borrower owes more than the current value.  That's one way.  There are others.

Will All 82 Homes Be Auctioned?

Good question.  The answer is, "No".  Some of the homeowners will be able to make their payments prior to the sale.  Others will work out arrangements with their mortgage holders.  At the last foreclosure auction over 80 homes were on the chopping block, but about 50% of those did not get foreclosed. 

Where Are The Foreclosures Located?

They are in neighborhoods we all know.  Dowlen West has a few up for auction on April, 1.  Amelia Heights, Evangeline Meadow, Glenwood, Minglewood, Caldwood Acres, Westfield Terrace, and Windermere are just a few of the communities with other homes scheduled for foreclosure.  Even the high-end neighborhoods are not immune.  Last month, Barrington Heights had a home foreclosed at the auction. 

There's a lot to learn before buying a home on the courthouse steps.  For the brave of heart, looking for a good deal, who aren't afraid of a little research, see you at the auction on Tuesday.

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Who's Who: SE Texas Home Builders

Child_w_building_blocksBuilding a new home is a lifelong dream for many. 

Knowing where to start can be a challenge

Building a new home in Beaumont, Lumberton, or other communities in the Golden Triangle doesn't have to be difficult when you have the right home builder on your side. 

Here's a Helpful List of Home Builder's in SE Texas.  The Homebuilders with websites get the top spots on the list.

First on the list is the local association of home builders.  Their membership is made up of many of the areas most productive home builders.

Home Builders Association of SE Texas

Individual Builder Websites:

Guseman Homes Inc.

Classic Homes

David L. Kish Custom Homes

King Homes Inc.

Ryan David Homes

DJM Contractors Ltd Lumberton

HR Homes Lumberton

Bullfrog Builders

Basco Construction

Tony Houseman Homes

Homebuilders with inventory homes for sale in the Beaumont MLS: 

*No websites found for these builders.

Bill Little Homes

Marino Home Builders

Keystone Homes

CSB Construction

Boykin Homes

Foster Homes

AAA Builders

Bassa Homes

Petry Builders

Priority Home Builders LLC

Classmate Properties Ltd

Right now, SE Texas doesn't have any of the Big Name National Home Builders such as: KB Home, Lennar, Centex or Pulte.  If our market keeps growing.  It won't be long before the big builders come to town.  For now, if you are dreaming of building a new home in SE Texas talk to the Who's who of SE Texas Home Builders.  You are sure to find one who can build you the home of your dreams.

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New Homes, New Neighborhoods, New Construction.

Home_construction_2Looking for a new home in SE Texas?  One that is brand new. One that has never been lived in.  One with that new carpet smell and fresh paint in every room

153 brand new homes are waiting for you.  *Figures from Beaumont MLS.

"Where are the brand new homes?"

Lumberton has 41.  Average price $229,122

Fannett has 4.  Average price $197,500

Beaumont-North has 25.  Average price $206,900.

Beaumont-West has 43.  Average price in W2 $488,153, in W4 $327,340, in W6 $275,609. 

Silsbee has 5.  Average price $133,940.    Silsbee, TX has the most affordable newly built homes in the Golden Triange.

Vidor has 7.  Average price $146,457. 

Port Arthur has 10.  Average price $230,448. 

Later this week log on to the blog for more on the Neighborhoods in SE Texas where you'll find new construction and the new home builders in the area. 

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The Slide Has Stopped. Homes sales rise in February.

Horse_sliding_stop Can it be so?  Is there positive housing news in the national headlines?  With all the negativity that's been written, published and broadcast over the past 18 months, it is a refreshing change to see some positive press for the housing market. 

Making headlines today...

Home sales rise click to read full story.

Existing-home sales end six month skid click to read full story.

If you've read the blog before you know our market here in SE Texas has been immune to much of the woe suffered by the rest of the national housing market.  Our inventory levels remain healthy.  Last check we had a little over a 6 month supply of homes on the market.  The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M tracks the Beaumont housing sales statistics.  In January 2008, they are reporting 122 sales in Beaumont.  A little over 18 million in dollar volume changed hands from one homeowner to the next.  For our area, January is historically a slow sales month. 

Once spring arrives Beaumont's housing sales jump up.  Last year August won the "month with most sales" award.  Over 250 homes were bought and sold in August of 2007.  Which month will be the best month in 2008?  Stay tuned time will tell.  Until then, if the national housing sales are on the rise, hang on SE Texas, our sales should be headed way up. 

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Looking For A Townhouse To Call Home? 87 choices in SE Texas.

Cathedral_square_townhomes Searching for that perfect new home but not into yard work?  Townhouse living might be the perfect fit. 

You might not think of SE Texas as a hotbed of townhouses and condos.  Our area is all about open fields and large yards right?  Not exactly.  We do have large tracts of land, beautiful ranches, and deluxe custom estates in the area.  We also have an active townhouse and condo market.  Since the first of the year, more than 15 townhomes and/or condos have sold.  Another 13 are under contract waiting to close.  Over $2.5 million in volume closed in the past 90 days.  That's good activity.

If you are thinking townhome living is for you, your in luck.  Right now the Beaumont MLS has 87 active listings.  Lumberton, Port Arthur, Port Neches, and Beaumont areas all have available townhomes/condos.  The prices run from the 80's up to the high 200's.  An older townhome in Beaumont might run you about $90,000.  To get the newest, most modern townhomes in Beaumont you'll be spending in the 170's to purchase at Cathedral Square or in the 200's to purchase at Metropolitan Park.

Occassionally, you can find a townhome/condo priced in the 50's.  There was a sale in Port Neches on Audubon Place for $58,500 and one in Beaumont on 2700 16th Street for $54,000.  There were three sales in the popular "Meadows" section of town.  They sold in the 60-70k range.

Interested in some detailed number crunching?  Here's the stats. 

Analysis by Area, number of active and sold listings.

  • Lumberton - 1 active, 0 sales
  • Port Arthur- 1 active, 0 sales
  • South Beaumont - 4 active, 0 sales
  • West Beaumont - 71 active, 14 sales
  • Port Neches - 0 active, 1 sale

Analysis by Area, sold price and days on market.

  • Port Neches - 1 sale, median price $58,500, 36 dom
  • Beaumont W1 - 1 sale, median price $177,500, 158 dom
  • Beaumont W2 - 4 sales, median price $87,500, 104 dom
  • Beaumont W3 - 2 sales, median price $73,000, 110 dom
  • Beaumont W4 - 3 sales, median price $125,000, 38 dom
  • Beaumont W5 - 4 sales, median price $75,500, 86 dom
  • *data from Beaumont MLS January 1, 2008- March 20, 2008

Next time you consider a home purchase, you might want to consider a townhome or condo.  In SE Texas you have a lot to chose from.  At least 87 if you started looking today.

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SE Texas Home Won't Sell. Call on St. Joseph.

Bury_st_josephFrustrated because your home hasn't sold? 

Maybe its time to ask for some divine intervention.  There's a Urban Legend well known in many REALTOR circles, that claims burying a plastic statue of St. Joseph in the yard will help a home sell. 

Its not hard to find testimonials from sellers who are believers. Read more.  If you want the whole real estate sales ritual to help speed up the sale of your home you can check out the Lucky W Amulet Archive. 

There are even websites that sell St. Joseph statues.  Here's three:

  1. Buy St. Joseph Statue Here
  2. Or Here
  3. Or Here at Good Fortune On-line

We all like to believe divine intervention will help us in our time of need.  Does it really help to bury a St. Joseph statue?  Its up to you and each home seller to decide.  If it gives you comfort, bury the statue.  Before you ask for help from St. Joseph, you should do these three things first:

  1. Talk to your REALTOR
  2. Do the three C's:  Clean your house.  Remove the clutter.  Carefully, make needed repairs.
  3. Use the three P's:  Pricing strategy, price competitively, price appropriately.

After doing that.  If your home still hasn't sold, then by all means call on St. Joseph.

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Barrington Heights: Double digit sales start off '08

Dscf00082008 sales start off at a brisk pace. 

Since January 1, 2008 here's the activity:

Sales: 11

Pending sales: 4

Active listings: 13

If you look at the numbers 13 listings might seem like a lot for one neighborhood.  But when you look at the sales, 11 so far in the first 2.5 months of the year, the 13 active listings isn't a lot after all.  13 listings represent a 2.5 month supply at the current sales rates.  *data from the Beaumont MLS

Another statistic that is interesting to watch is DOM or "Days on the market".  The average DOM for homes that have sold this year is 99.  The average DOM for pending sales is 43.  The average DOM for active listings is 105.  There are a few sales that took less than 30 days.  The median price of the 11 homes that have sold is $320,000. 

What these kind of sales numbers tell us is that if you are a seller in Barrington Heights, price your home correctly and you should have a quick sale.  If you are a buyer in Barrington Heights and find a home that's just right, act fast.  It won't stay on the market long. 

Any other questions about sales activity in Barrington Heights call me.

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The Meadows: A new neighborhood opening soon in Beaumont.

Cat_equipment Just across from the Chris Quinn Memorial Soccer Complex, at the intersection of Keith and Dishman roads, there will soon be new residential construction

A planned neighborhood named "The Meadows" is currently being developed.  See Map

The Plaunty Building Group, Inc. is one of the three residential builders involved in this new community.  The Community Plot Map indicates the amenities of the new community will include multiple green spaces, at least one pond, bicycling trails and jogging trails.  "The Meadows" will also be home to the new West End YMCA

The first homes are expected to break ground this summer.  Preliminary price estimates have been in the high 100's.  That would be an excellent new construction price point for Beaumont's west-end.  Right now its hard to find brand new under $225,000 in the west-end.  Plans call for deed restrictions.  This community will be one to follow as pre-development progresses.  If the builders can keep the price points under $200,000, this neighborhood should be a fast seller.  Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. 

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The Winds Are Changing: National media now saying its a good time to buy a home.

Dog_in_wind_3For the past 18 months it has been next to impossible to find a news story by the National media that was positive about buying a home.

The winds appear to be changing!

Here are SIX articles from National Sources that say, "Its a good time to buy a home".

  1. Why Now Is A Smart Time To Buy
  2. A Good Time To Buy A House If You Can Afford One
  3. Open Season For Bargain Hunters
  4. Texans Hold Winning Hand In High-Stakes Real Estate Game
  5. Flat Existing-Homes Sales Likely Before Gradual Recovery
  6. Housing: Best time to buy in four years

SE Texas never suffered the real estate woes that much of the country has experienced the past 18 months.  If the rest of the country starts to recover that gives our market even more strength.  Haven't bought a home in SE Texas yet?  Now is the time. 

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The Offer Is In The Mail! Selling your property's mineral rights in Jefferson County.

Remember, a few weeks ago, all the seismic blasting that was being done in and around Beaumont?  If you live in North Vidor and Pine Forest by Ten Mile Creek you heard the blasts for weeks.  The ground shook, it rattled your nerves, and according to the  Southeast Texas Record one property owner found a 150 foot hole filled with dynamite explosives had been drilled on his property without his permission.

Watch your mailbox.

Lake Ronel Oil Company which conducted the seismic tests was looking for pockets of gas and oil.  If found Lake Ronel Oil Company will want to buy the mineral rights. 

According to this video from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, offers to buy mineral rights from property owners often arrive in the mail.

This five minute video introduces a very complex topic here in Texas:  The buying and selling of mineral rights.  If you are considering buying or selling your mineral rights in Jefferson, Orange or Hardin County, TX, you'll want the advice of an attorney.  Until then... 

Watch your mailbox.  Watch the video. 

Let SE Texas Real Estate Talk know if you receive a letter.

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