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!

Galveston! Houston's Jersey Shore??

Maybe. Brown ocean water (Mississippi sediment drifts are desposited around Galveston which cause the water to look not so clear) and overall lack of improvements to the island's aesthetic appeal leave many Houstonians searching for more beautiful beaches to lounge in. However, per Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski, "The ultimate goal is for it to be a first class destination like you've come to expect at other coastal communities in America". Hence, the improvements that have the potential to give the island a much needed economic boost. The Pleasure Pier is one of the newest upgrades to the island and is an attempt to resonate with the charms associated with the piers of Virginia and the Jersey Shore. The illuminated ferris wheel looks beautiful at night as does the pier, especially, from the seawall during sunset. The Pleasure Pier is just one of the many attractions that are making Galveston an amazing retreat. Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn, The Strand (dining and shopping in the historical district of Galveston) are all great attractions to enjoy. Galveston features many resorts, great hotels, such as, The Galvestonian, as well as, beach house rentals. Drive around Galveston and you will see housing developments around the island. Some of the best beaches to rent a beach house are; Indian beach, Pirates beach, and Jamaica beach. Renting a beach home is the best option for families, the beaches are nicer, more quiet and not as cramped as a hotel room, they're also fairly affordable. Will we ever scramble to ensure our lease with a Galveston beach house rental, the same way people from New Jersey do when it comes to their shore? I hope not, because my family and I love spending summer weekends on the island, I don't need the competition.


Renting out a home is becoming the obvious choice for many homeowners/investors but realistically how long should your home be sitting on the market? Many agents are choosing to focus on rentals due to the difficulties they are encountering in the buyer/sellers’ market, however, you want to be sure that the agent you have representing your property is experienced in handling rentals. Every month that goes by is a mortgage payment coming out of YOUR pocket or money NOT coming into your pocket. Choosing the right agent is extremely important when it comes to listing your property.


Many agents have a laissez faire attitude and wait for other agents to bring them the right renter. You want to make sure that your agent not only has the experience and connections to find you a quick renter but is also actively catching and pursuing leads. There are many marketing outlets available on the internet and no reason why your property should not be visible to all potential renters.


Presentation of a rental property is something that I feel is often overlooked by inexperienced agents or agents that frankly just don’t care; they tend to feel that the ‘look’ of the home is not their problem and they couldn’t be more wrong. Aside from making suggestions pertaining to cosmetic improvements, staging, an agent should always be sure that the home is clean. Sounds simple but many times vacant homes can become messy looking just by the amount of visitors that are coming in and out, would your agent be willing to ‘tend’ to simple maintenance of the home? Smells are also important, they are the first thing I notice walking into a property.  Hot weather, carpeting, many vacant homes tend to smell ‘stuffy,’ would your agent consider buying an air freshener or would that be asking for too much?? Taking proper pictures is crucial to the marketing of your home. Pictures are the first impression of your property to potential renters. They don’t have to be professional grade but they shouldn’t be blurry and have dark shadows either. Make sure that you request to see the images your agent will be posting.


I understand that for many real estate is a part time job, however, you as the owner really need to understand what that means. There have been many times when I have called to inquire about a property for a prospective tenant and there has been no answer until later in the evening, if that, no reply to emails, which nowadays has no excuse. These are all leads that you’re losing because the agent you selected is unavailable during working hours. Marketing is crucial and unless the agent’s day job is very lenient are they really going to be marketing your property during their work hours? Probably not, your home will probably get marketed when they have time. The main benefit of hiring an agent to rent your property is to make your life easier and to get the job done quickly, make sure that your agent is doing this for you.


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: 


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.


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.