Baby Boomers Effect Houston’s New Home Markets

As Baby Boomers age, their preferences and the sheer size of the generation are having a great effect on Houston’s living situation.

Baby Boomers are generally shying away from the quintessential grand house with the huge yard that made up the American dream. Today, many would rather find a place that’s an easy, turn-key lifestyle, where your trash is picked up at your door and groceries are just a phone call away, said Jacob Sudhoff of Houston-based Sudhoff Properties, which specializes in selling and leasing inner-Loop homes.

This generation — born between the years of 1946 and 1964 — is, in general, aligned with the “empty-nester” point of view, in that they want their living situation to be less hassle and closer to the inner city to avoid a long commute, he said.

In both the rental and condo markets, Houston is seeing larger floor plans in proposed buildings that are marketing to the Baby Boomer generation.

An example of this is seen in the Belfiore high-rise, which will have the largest high-rise floor plans for purchase in Houston when completed.

And with the flood of demand for these properties, higher rents and higher absorption figures are expected in 2014 and 2015, said Jim Wallace, principal and founder of Houston-based WGW Architects Inc.

Alexandria, Va.-based Delta Associates noted at Houston-based Transwestern’s Trendlines event that the two generations, Baby Boomers and Millennials, are making their mark on Houston’s multifamily market.

The Brookings Institution released a report this week saying that Houston is a primary location for millennial relocation and less so for older adults. This, however, does not account for the seniors who currently live in the area and are relocating within the Metro.


Houston Real Estate: 6 Tips For Selling Your Home Fast

In a declining real estate market where supply outstrips demand, a person can generally sell a house faster by lowering the price. But there are other ways to enhance a home’s attractiveness besides lowering the asking price. If you’re looking to sell your home in a cooling real estate market, read on for some tips on how to generate interest and get the best price possible.

Differentiate From the Neighbors

In order to attract attention and to make your home more memorable, staging your home for sale, home staging tipsconsider custom designs or additions, such as landscaping, high-grade windows or a new roof. This can help improve the home’s aesthetics, while potentially adding value to the home. Any improvements should be practical and use colors and designs that will appeal to the widest audience. In addition, they should complement the home and its other amenities, such as building a deck or patio adjacent to an outdoor swimming pool.

However, while it can pay to spice up your home, don’t over-improve it. According to a 2013 article in Realtor Magazine, some renovations, such as adding a bathroom or putting new shingles on a roof, might not always pay. The data suggests that the nationwide average amount recouped for a bathroom remodel is about 58%. For a new roof, it’s even less. If you’re going to invest in home improvements, do your research and be sure to put your money into the things that are likely to get you the best return. In addition, if you have added any custom features that you think buyers will be interested in, make sure they are included in the home’s listing information. More than ever, in a down market you should take every small edge you can get.

Clean the Clutter

It is imperative to remove all clutter from the home before showing it to potential buyers because buyers need to be able to picture themselves in the space. This might include removing some furniture to make rooms look bigger, and putting away family photographs and personal items. You may even want to hire a stager to help you make better use of the space. Staging costs can range from a couple hundred dollars for a basic consultation to several thousand dollars, particularly if you rent modern, neutral furniture for showing your home. Many people feel that stagers can make a home more salable, so hiring one deserves some consideration.

Sweeten the Deal

Another way to make the home and deal more attractive to buyers is to staging-your-home-for-sale-1offer things or terms that might sweeten the pot. For example, sellers that offer the buyer a couple of thousand dollars credit toward closing costs, or offer to pay closing costs entirely will in some cases receive more attention from house hunters looking at similar homes. In a down market, buyers are looking for a deal, so do your best to make them feel they’re getting one.

Another tip is to offer a transferable home warranty, which can cost $300 to $400 for a one-year policy and will cover appliances, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, that fail. Depending on the policy, other appliances and house gadgets may be covered as well. A potential buyer may feel more at ease knowing that he or she will be covered against such problems, which could make your home more attractive than a competing home.

Finally, it’s important to note that some buyers are motivated by the option to close in a short amount of time. If it is possible for you to close on the home within 30 to 60 days, this may set your deal apart and get you a contract.

Improve Curb Appeal

Sellers often overlook the importance of their home’s curb appeal. The first thing a buyer sees is a home’s external appearance and the way it fits into the surrounding neighborhood. Try to make certain that the exterior has a fresh coat of paint, and that the bushes and lawn are well manicured. In real estate, appearances mean a lot. What better way to set your home apart than to make it attractive at first glance?

Get Your Home in “Move In” Condition

Aesthetics are important, but it’s also important that doors, appliances and electrical and plumbing fixtures be in compliance with current building codes and in working order. Again, the idea is to have the home in move in condition and to give potential buyers the impression that they will be able to move right in and start enjoying their new home, rather than spending time and money fixing it up.

Pricing It Right

Regardless of how well you renovate and stage your home,staging-your-home-for-sale-3 it is still important to price the home appropriately. Consult a local real estate agent, read the newspapers and go to online real estate sites to see what comparable homes are going for in your area.

It’s not always imperative to be the lowest priced home on the block, particularly when aesthetic and other significant improvements have been made. However, it is important that the listing price is not out of line with other comparable homes in the market. Try to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and then determine what a fair price might be. Have friends, neighbors and real estate professionals tour the home and weigh in as well.

The Bottom Line

Selling a home in a down market requires a little extra work. Do everything you can to get the home in excellent shape and be prepared to make some small concessions at closing. These tips, coupled with an attractive price, will increase the odds of getting your home sold.


Seabrook Undeveloped Real Estate Could Emerge As Alternative to Kemah Boardwalk

Seabrook Has Plan to Emerge from Kemah’s Shadow

The 25-acre strip of land between Galveston Bay and Clear Lake called “The Point” could be an alternative to Kemah’s bright boardwalk across the bay.seabrook real estate, kemah real estate, seabrook commercial real estate, kemah commercial real estate, galveston bay real estate, galveston bay commercial real estate, clear lake real estate, clear lake commercial real estate

Seabrook officials hope the area, which now has only seven businesses on 33 parcels of land, will soon attract new development.  The area, which has several seafood stores and a few restaurants,  was underwater after Hurricane Ike hit in 2008. A Pappadeaux seafood restaurant on the property was never rebuilt.

With help from the city government and a federal grant, Seabrook leaders are at work on a new vision for siphoning a portion of the millions of tourists who visit Kemah each year to create a quaint, rustic entertainment alternative to the bustling boardwalk.

Crossing the Texas 146 bridge toward the shimmering Kemah Boardwalk, it’s easy to miss this 25-acre strip of underdeveloped waterfront, with its pockmarked, flood-prone roads and storm-ravaged buildings.

The main thoroughfare has an alluring name, Waterfront Drive, but drivers had best keep their eyes on the makeshift dirt path as it weaves through and around heavy construction and past structures destroyed by Hurricane Ike five years ago.


The losses included a Pappadeaux seafood restaurant that was never rebuilt. Today, just seven businesses occupy the 33 parcels of land.seabrook real estate, kemah real estate, seabrook commercial real estate, kemah commercial real estate, galveston bay real estate, galveston bay commercial real estate, clear lake real estate, clear lake commercial real estate

Even before the storm, though, this area known as “the Point,” opposite thriving Kemah at the waterway where Clear Lake yields to Galveston Bay, was slow to attract development. It remains, as one surviving business owner calls it, “a diamond in the rough.”

But the Point could soon begin to achieve its promise.

With help from the city and a federal grant, Seabrook leaders are at work on a new vision for creating a quaint, rustic entertainment alternative to the bustling boardwalk and siphoning a portion of the millions of tourists who visit Kemah each year.

Waterfront Drive work

Economic development director Paul Chavez said businesses may see the potential there after reconstruction of Waterfront Drive is completed by year’s end. He noted already hopeful signs in a thriving fish market and a few new restaurants popping up.

Hurricane Ike in 2008 completely submerged the area, but Chavez said it also made it possible for the city to attract government funding to rebuild.

“It was a terrible thing because it devastated the area,” he said, “but it provided an opportunity for redevelopment.”

In 2009, Seabrook received an $8.4 million federal grant to improve and rebuild the area, particularly Waterfront Drive. Because the road is below sea level, most rainstorms cause flooding and the street looks like a lake, blocking visitors from the businesses.

Construction crews are working to elevate Waterfront Drive by 4 to 5 feet. The city will kick in by adding lights to the road, landscaping and parking, which should make the area safer and more appealing. The roadwork began in June after the city finished upgrading drainage and other infrastructure in the area.

Debbie Duong of Rose’s Seafood said her family store was destroyed by Ike, but they opened a new, higher store the next year on their biggest holiday, Good Friday. Each Friday before Easter, people crowd the fish markets at the Point, backing up traffic on Texas 146.

Ike Opened Many Eyes

The seafood seller, which attracts buyers from restaurants in Houston and Dallas, was one of the first stores to open in the area in the 1980s.seabrook real estate, kemah real estate, seabrook commercial real estate, kemah commercial real estate, galveston bay real estate, galveston bay commercial real estate, clear lake real estate, clear lake commercial real estate

“Hurricane Ike really opened the city’s eyes that something needed to be done with this area,” Duong said. “It’s not perfect. The roads surrounding this area flood easily. Elevating it will make it more secure and help business.”

The Pappadeaux location was another big draw before Ike. That plot of land now has work crews scurrying past the still-standing restaurant sign.

Business owners at the Point and city leaders say they are hopeful it will return, but a representative of the Pappas chain did not respond to inquiries.

Other concerns for businesses planning to develop in the area are new flood maps and new insurance requirements calling for new structures on Waterfront Drive to be elevated at least between 19 and 22 feet above sea level.

Currently, the structures must be at least 14 to 16 feet above sea level. This change will be effective in the next 12 to 18 months, the city of Seabrook says.

Many Have High Hopes

The Point will be subject to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, a federal law that will increase flood insurance rates for hundreds of thousands of coastal home and business owners in Texas and across the nation when a major provision kicks in this October. The act will dictate both construction codes and insurance rates.

Still, many business owners have big hopes for the area. That includes Delaina Hanssen, owner of the Beacon Hill Bed and Breakfast.seabrook real estate, kemah real estate, seabrook commercial real estate, kemah commercial real estate, galveston bay real estate, galveston bay commercial real estate, clear lake real estate, clear lake commercial real estate

The business, which Hanssen has owned for 17 years, fronts on an empty plot of land where shrimp boats once anchored and has a view of the boat parades down the bay.

Recently, she stood on the porch, with its view of the Kemah Boardwalk, and pointed to a fence she has never repaired.

Hanssen said she is not sure why the area has been slow to come back.

Her bed and breakfast, built 25 feet above sea level on an artificial hill, was the only property that did not flood during Ike. She said her business was booming after the storm, with displaced residents or contractors working in the Galveston area on rebuilding.

The two yellow, weathered houses on her property are available for short or long-term rent, but she has bigger ideas for her land. She wants to convert her property into a hotel, bar or restaurant.

“We are looking to offer something else and we don’t know what it is yet,” Hanssen said of development on the Point. “It’s like a diamond in the rough.”


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