How Much House is Enough House?

 

This is the question that has been on my mind a lot lately. I work with many different clients, requiring different sized homes. I have seen ridiculous and over the top for one person and tight, very comfy for a small family. My husband and I have been searching for a new home now that we have a growing family. When we first purchased our current home it was 'just the 2 of us' and at 2300 Sq.ft it was much bigger than any of the homes I had seen growing up North. However, now that we have two kids we have pretty filled out every room and we need more space! Or do we? Do we really need more space or should we stay at the same size and learn to live more simply.  I probably never would have spent so much time thinking about this but after the housing market crisis the last thing I want to be is house rich but on the other end of the argument I hear my husband saying “but this is why we work so hard, to have nicer things".  Many news articles are promoting downsizing, ‘tiny home’ or ‘compact apartments’ while I do find these options to be fabulous for a single person, what about larger families? How can we downsize our homes and our carbon footprints as well? According to the CNBC article “McMansions Return: Big Houses Come Back,” trends are more practical, with energy efficiency and the need to accommodate growing families driving gains” more specifically people want “functionality and smartly-deigned homes without wasted space”. Which brings me to our recent home search in Bridgeland, Cypress (read blog about Bridgeland here). We found, what I thought, was the perfect home over the summer around 2500 Sq.ft $240,000 lots of upgrades BUT my husband really disliked that there was no eat-in area in the kitchen, there was a large breakfast bar where you could place stools and the upstairs only contained the one room (game room) so we passed. Now in the spring, Bridgeland has very minimal construction going on and we went to go look at a 2300 Sq.ft for around $210,000. We loved it BUT the ONLY room it was missing was a game room and this time we thought the breakfast bar area was perfect, realistically we almost never use our eat-in area now because our dining is open to the kitchen. Then I read this article on Yahoo, “Smartest Kitchen Island on the block,” apparently no one wants eat-in areas, the island makes more sense because the kitchen is the ‘control center’ of the home, which in the case of the Bridgeland home we saw, the breakfast bar would serve that purpose. Too bad for us we really do need that one room upstairs and that home is off the market!

Kitchen of 12218 Cove Bluff Ct

Breakfast bar 12218 Cove Bluff Ct

My favorite part was the large hallways, reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Eiaine was swerving on the road, saying "How luxurious" after Kramer painted the lanes too wide:)

Also listed in Bridgeland 18230 E. Willow Oak Bend Lane, $255,000 3225 Sq.ft

Visit my site for more info! BonnyRoman.com

Love in the City.....With 3 Kids and a Dog???

According to the latest U.S. Census data; 80.7 percent of Americans live in urban areas, more than the 79 percent a decade ago. The population of urban areas has also increased by more than 12 percent, faster than the rest of the country's 9.7 percent growth rate from 2000 to 2010. The twentieth century brought rapid suburban development due to loans for purchase and highways that made it easier for the American family to migrate to the suburbs and abandon the cities, however, today more and more Americans are returning to bustling city. For hundreds of years cities have always been the epicenter of culture, in other countries such as Japan, families live in these massive urban centers, with young children taking public transportation to get to school and growing up with the energy of the city. Suburbs tend to encourage this disconnect between its residents, getting in the car to drive and get groceries doesn't allow you to communicate and engage your fellow neighbors, it creates an isolated, monogamous existence. When I read the above statistics I automatically think, young, single, childless, professionals, or students. Most home prices in cities do not allow large families to live comfortably. A lower end price range that can buy you a 4 bedroom house in the outer Houston "suburbs" will get you a loft condo or a 2 bedroom town home in an up and coming part of "urban" Houston. Personally, the larger space and school districts are the only reason I don't move to the city. I hope that this can change and housing developers will start to build not just for the single masses but for families, as well. I have no problem down sizing in order to be near the museums, parks, SIDEWALKS, etc; but the floorplans must be designed to accommodate multiple family members, ie; kids rooms and lots of storage. One of my favorite shows on the Bravo network that they really should have renewed was 9 By Design: 2 parents plus SEVEN kids!! The Novogratz family lives in New York City in a fabulous million dollar town home with plenty of rooms for their kids including a basketball court and elevator. Now it's clear to see why city living is both functional and practical when you have that kind of money as purchasing power but for the average family who doesn't have that kind of money there is a VERY limited inventory.

 Contemporary Style 3 Bedroom 2 Bath Home low $200's

Traditional Single Family, 3 Story Home, 3 Beds and 2 1/2 baths $300's

 Goregeous, Single Family Home, New Co nstruction, 4 bed, 2 1/2 bath low $400's

Luxury Urban Living in Houston

The Mosaic Towers in Houston offer an abundance of luxury city living and amenities. Located in the Medical Center area, across from Hermann Park, which offers wonderful running paths, minutes from the night life of Midtown and the culture of the Museum District. In addition, to the amazing community clubhouse, pool and cabanas, amazing fitness center with massage rooms and his and her saunas. The Mosaic Towers also feature a small dog park for pet owners. The shuttle service makes these towers extremely appealing and convenient to professionals and students working in and around the Medical Center. The unit interiors are modern, with high end chrome finishes, large closets, amazing views, garden tubs, concrete ceilings etc; A one bedroom condo for purchase starts in the $190's while a one bedroom rental starts at around $1300. Stylish urban living with amenities galore!

Generation Y: The Benefits of Leasing vs. Buying


 
     There have been many reports praising the value of leasing vs. buying a home. For many years purchasing a home was the American dream, now it seems that dream has changed, especially for Generation Y which has witnessed the recent decline and chaos of the housing market, high unempoyment and lower wages. For many older Americans the idea of purchasing a home was a promising investment, something that could be passed down to children, or used to put their children through school. This has all changed, home ownership is no longer being viewed as a business plan and in such a fast moving, global society, the new generation no longer wants to be tied down by a house they've inherited. In addition, those who do manage to pay off their home are left to deal with ever increasing property taxes. However, as much as there are negatives to buying there are still and always will be positives but let's take a look at three promising reasons to lease; at least before you commit to buying: 

YOU’RE NOT TIED DOWN


During these economic times the unstable job market provides a very obvious benefit to leasing. If you get laid off from work and are unable to find a job in your city, state, country, than you probably don’t want to be tied to that one particular area. Having a mortgage payment hanging over your head while you are trying to find a job can be a complete nightmare. The same can be said when you have rent to pay, however, the benefit to leasing is that it is usually short term (1 year vs. 30 years). Most people can make ends meet by picking up part time employment, freelancing, unemployment etc.; With leasing you usually also do not have to worry about repairs, especially major repairs, which you would have to fix if you owned your own home. There is no home insurance to pay; renters insurance is typically much less expensive. Without the mortgage payment, you’re pretty much free to go anywhere in the world and rent a home; this is ideal especially for young people that are facing an extremely competitive job market and still need to acquire years of experience before they can enjoy employment stability and higher wages.


No Saving for a Down Payment

Being a generation that has been and is being highly influenced by global communication, travel, and the “cloud,” there are many more diverse living options for our future than in previous generations. High unemployment and school loans have pushed back many plans to purchase a home and/or start a family; becoming debt free is definitely a high priority. In addition, the increasing demand to travel out of state or out of the country for work definitely does not make home ownership appealing. Rather than saving thousands of dollars for a down payment in order to become debt free, Generation Y would prefer to pay off their debt, travel around the world, or start a business. Influenced by creative lifestyle books, such as “The 4 Hour Work Week,” my generation understands that there are other alternatives for success. A home is not a business plan, rather than investing your money into a home you could invest in a business that will provide you with additional income in the long run.


Amenities

In addition to not have to worry about repairs, the next best thing that comes from leasing is the amenities that so many of these new apartments offer, such as, fitness centers, game rooms, free Wi-Fi, tanning beds, washer and dryer in units, swimming pools, etc.; Many of these new construction apartment communities offer a lifestyle to future renters, units tend to offer more creative updates, such as, granite counter tops, neutral paint coloring, hardwood floors, crown molding etc.;

Clearly, there will always be benefits to purchasing a home, especially once you start a family and schools start to play an important role. Until then, it’s important that the many benefits of leasing are not overlooked.

 


Property Leasing for Additional Income!

 

1. What does the process of leasing your home involve?

Well, that can depend on your needs. If you just want to do it all yourself, you can! You go get a “for lease” sign, you market your home in the newspaper, online ads, etc; screen your own possible tenants,  write up your own standard lease, that you can probably download from a reputable site and if you’re a handy person you can be in charge of repairs (depending on the terms of your lease agreement). For some homeowners, however, there just isn’t enough time in the day. The ability to utilize the knowledge of a realtor is much more desirable. A realtor can do all of the above for you, including referring you to a company equipped to handle any necessary repairs. 

2. How can I ensure quality tenants will lease my home?

You can’t, life happens, people that would otherwise be extremely responsible, sometimes are forced to do what is economically best for their own families. However, you can increase the probability that you will lease to a quality tenant by performing proper screening, consisting of: employment length; income and rental verification, as well as a credit report. A home is a very personal investment and it is very important that when you are leasing your own home that you or your realtor utilizes an efficient screening method.

3. How much will leasing my home cost me?

Again, that depends, if you decide to do this all yourself or utilize the services of a Realtor. If you handle everything on your own, you’ll be saving the payment to a realtor, which typically can consist of first month’s rent, or percentage of total monthly rent to be received, however; this will all depend on your home’s price, location, agreement between you and the realtor etc. You also have the property management fee, if you decide to go that route. However, there is always the risk that if you don’t follow the right procedures; lease agreement, proper screening, leasing your home could cost you much more.