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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October 2009
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December 2009

November 2009

Do Southeast Texas Homes Sell in December?

Dog and pumpkin Welcome to the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Holiday Season.  Are you looking to buy or sell a home?  Do you know anyone who is? 

As you might imagine once the holiday decorations go up, home purchase contracts start going down.  For that matter, once the Thanksgiving turkey is on the table most home owners put off putting out the for sale sign until the Christmas ornaments are put up in the attic for another year.

What you are about to see may surprise you more than what you find under the Christmas tree.

Dec_Jan Home sales
Every year going back to 2005, there have been more home sales in December than there have been in January.  *Statistics from the Beaumont MLS. 

Surprised?  Honestly, I was too. 

Still planing to wait until after New Years to put your home put for sale?  Can't say I blame you, who wants the hassle of showing your home when the holiday decorations are up.  Just remember in Southeast Texas January home sales have been slower than December home sales since 2005 and that is as far back as I checked. 

Happy Thanksgiving.  If you decide to sell your home before Christmas call me.
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Southeast Texans Your Home is in a Flood Zone

Flood zoneCould you hear the collective sigh of 500,000 Southeast Texas home owners when the 2009 Hurricane Season ended?  After battling it out with Ike last year and Rita a just a few years prior, Southeast Texans are a little skittish when you mention the word "flood". 

Now that we've all escaped a Hurricane its time for a refresher course on flood zones.  Answer these five true or false questions.

  1. According to FEMA everyone lives in a flood zone?  T or F
  2. Zones X, C, and B do not require flood insurance?  T or F
  3. Zone A has a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30 year mortgage?  T or F
  4. Anyone can look up an address on the FEMA maps and determine the current flood zone?  T or F
  5. Zones A and V do not require flood insurance?  T or F

To find the answers click the links below:

Yes, you live in a flood zone.  Question 1 is true.

The Flood zones defined. Question 2 is true. Question 3 is true.  Question 5 is false.

Flood Risk Address Search. Question 4 is true.  Try it.  Its pretty cool. 

So how well did you know your flood facts?  Most of Jefferson County is in flood zone X which is an area outside the 1% annual chance floodplain.  Most of the home owners in Jefferson County are not required to carry flood insurance.  All of the Southeast Texas FEMA flood maps are currently under review.  The expected completion date according to the website is 2011.    


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The Challenge of Buying Older Homes: Home Sales In Calder Place

Buying a historic home can be a challenge. 

Its not always as easy to know what constitutes a good offer when you are contemplating the purchase of a home that is over thirty years old.  With age come many things.  Some of them are good, like charm and character.  If you are lucky original hard wood floors.  Some of them aren't so good, like outdated electrical wiring and windows that no longer function.  Its not like buying a new home wear overall condition is warranted by the builder. 

So how do you make a good offer?  Here's the top three things you need to know:

  1. The cost per square foot of comparable sales within the past four - six months
  2. The number of days each home spent on the market
  3. The condition and unique features of the other homes you are comparing

Home Sales in Calder Place in 2009

Calder Place Solds
This is just a sample of homes that have sold this year in Calder Place.  These homes were all over thirty years old, between 1500-2200 square feet in size, and had at least 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.  Here's what the average buyer and average seller agreed to:

  • average cost per square foot $74
  • average sales price $141,141
  • average days on the market 89

Armed with that information you can make an educated offer on an older home.  To know the unique features of each home you need a local real estate professional who has seen the homes or has access to the MLS and photos of the homes. 

Buying an older home can be a challenge but a little bit of knowledge can make the process a whole lot less intimidating. 

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Beaumont, Texas Neighborhood Sales Snapshot: Willow Creek Country Club

Willowcreek sales If you are a golfer then you know about Willow Creek.  If you are looking for a home in Southeast Texas then you will want to know about Willow Creek.  Located off Major Drive in Beaumont's west-end, this is one community that offers more than your typical neighborhood. 

Five Quick Facts:

  1. 34 homes have sold so far this year.
  2. 10 homes are for sale at the present time.
  3. 105 days is the average length of time the sold homes stayed on the market.
  4. $230,500 is the median price of the homes that sold.
  5. 93% of the asking price is what the home sellers averaged for the final sales price.

Want to know more:

  1. $658,000 was the most expensive sale. It was a 5200+ square foot home with 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths.
  2. $120,000 was the least expensive. It was a 3000+ square foot home with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths.  It was a bank owned sale.  Someone got a super deal.  Yes, the home needed repairs.  But at under $40 per square foot, someone got a deal.
  3. $80-$125 is the range of price per square foot.  Newer homes sell at the higher side of that range. *All data is from the Beaumont MLS

Still curious:

  1. Golf Course Info
  2. Brentwood Country Club Home Page
  3. Club House and Other Amenities

Want to look at homes: 

  1. Click Here to Contact Diane
  2. Willow Creek Country Club is one of the great neighborhoods in Southeast Texas.  If you are relocating to Beaumont or already here and you need a real estate professional to help you find the home that is just right for you, I welcome the opportunity to show you all the great neighborhoods Southeast Texas has to offer. 
  3. Stay tuned for the next neighborhood sales snapshot coming tomorrow.
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Beaumont, Texas Neighborhood Sales Snapshot: Walden Meadows

Recently Updated If you are wondering what neighborhoods are selling like funnel cakes at the fair then you are going to like the posts this week.  All week the focus will be on home sales in some of the most popular neighborhoods in Southeast Texas. 

Its Monday and today we'll be talking about home sales in Walden Meadows. 

To start with, Walden Meadows is a fairly small neighborhood, with only five streets and about fifty completed homes.  Development of the neighborhood began less than 10 years ago and most of the homes are only a few years old.  Prices start in the high 200's. 

Here's what you should know about residential sales activity in Walden Meadows this year:

  1. There have been two sales.
  2. A four bedroom, four bath on Silverleaf sold for $271,000 which was over $100/square foot.
  3. A four bedroom, two and a half bath sold for $305,000 which was also over $100/square foot.
  4. There is a four bedroom, two and a half bath currently under contract.  It will be the lowest price per square foot sale in the neighborhood this year.  (Still close to $100/square foot).
  5. There are currently two homes for sale.
  6. Average days on the market for Walden Meadows is 60. 
  7. With five homes having been put on the market this year, the neighborhood turnover is right at about 10% for 2009. 

Location, location, location:

Walden meadows map

 They say location is everything in real estate.  Walden Meadows combines the best of both worlds.  You've got easy access to I-10.  You are within walking distance to the new elementary school.  The BISD school zonesfor the community are Dishman Elementary, Vincent Middle, and Westbrook High. For you golfers out there you can walk across the street to Brentwood Country Club, one of the best golf courses is Southeast Texas.  Its a short drive to Dowlen Road shopping and dining but away from its hustle and bustle. 

Moving to Beaumont or just looking to move to a new neighborhood, Walden Meadows might be for you.  Just remember with homes averaging about sixty days on the market, you'll want to act quickly because homes in Walden Meadows can sell faster than funnel cakes at the Southeast Texas fair.

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Southeast Texas Home Buyers Find FHA Loans Most Appealing

Its harder to finance a home these days.  If you've been in the residential real estate market in 2009 that comes as no surprise.  You may find it surprising to know that in October in Southeast Texas more home buyers used FHA loans than any other type of financing.  See the cool chart below.

Conventional financing still comes in second for all Southeast Texas home buyers and not far behind is cash.  37 home buyers paid cash for their home in October.  What a nice problem to have. 

Here's five more noteworthy tips about the type of financing home buyers used this October:

  1. The median price for cash closings was $75,000.
  2. The median price for conventional closings was $163,000.
  3. All homes spent an average of 116 days on the market.
  4. The median price for FHA closings was $124,900.
  5. This October 155 homes closed, compared to 178 last year, and 185 in 2007. 

*Data is from the Beaumont MLS and has not been released to Texas A&M real estate center yet.  One of the big advantages of FHA financing is the 3.5% down payment.  For first-time home buyers its about the cheapest way to get into a home.  FHA loans also allow up to a 6% seller paid closing cost contribution.  Its no wonder, with the first-time home buyer tax credit still driving the market, that FHA financing is the most appealing loan type right now.  Want more information about the Southeast Texas residential housing market?  You can contact me right here on the blog.  Just click the contact Diane button in the right column. 

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