Rebuilding the Iconic Harbor Bridge

If you’re a native South Texan, no doubt you are familiar with Corpus Christi’s big, beautiful, bridge.  The one that is sure to mesmerize and to some may even seem a little scary to cross.  You guessed it—the Harbor Bridge–the iconic roadway that is a distinct feature of the sparking city by the sea’s landscape is about to get a major upgrade.

The Harbor Bridge as we currently know it was built back in 1959 for a total cost of approximately $11 million dollars. It was considered the most important design work of Texas Highway Department Bridge Engineer Vigo Miller and was featured in Time magazine in 1964 for its exceptional beauty. No doubt our current bridge has served our community well, but increased safety concerns rooted in an aging infrastructure meant it was time to research a rebuild.

City and regional leaders have been working more than 15 years to pave the way for the construction of a replacement Harbor Bridge.  After an extensive Environmental Impact Study, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) was granted approval from the Federal Highway Safety Administration to rebuild the current structure.  Now, here we are at the launch of one of the largest and most significant transportation projects in the region.

This summer, construction will commence on a new Harbor Bridge.  This new structure promises to be just as magnificent and beautiful as the beloved, current Harbor Bridge.  Making the most of the majestic views of the bay, the new bridge will be the longest, cable-stayed, concrete-segmental, bridge in North America.

The nearly $900 million project will include the development, design and construction of just over six miles of combined bridge and roadway.  It will include the new six-lane Harbor Bridge, as well as, the reconstruction of approximately 1.6 miles of IH-37 and approximately one mile of the Crosstown Expressway.  Once the new bridge is open to the traveling public, the project will conclude with the demolition of the existing Harbor Bridge.  The design/build firm, Flatiron/Dragados, LLC, who were chosen by TxDOT to complete construction, anticipate the project will take five years to complete.

The new bridge design incorporates a number of aesthetic features including shared-use paths, a community plaza, nighttime LED lighting and xeriscape landscaping. Designers are aiming for the new Harbor Bridge to be just as iconic as the original.  In order to get there, it’s anticipated that between 500 and 650 skilled workers will be needed to complete the job.  For more information on employment opportunities and general updates about the Harbor Bridge Project, please visit www.harborbridgeproject.com.

Padre Island Housing Report – May 2017

THE HOUSING MARKET IS SHOWING GREAT PROMISE WITH MANY NEW LISTINGS, AS WE MOVE INTO SUMMER TIME OF 2017.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  LOOKING FORWARD TO AN EVEN MORE EXCITING SUMMER AHEAD, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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Padre Island Housing Report – April 2017

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BE HEATING UP AS WE MOVE INTO SUMMER TIME OF 2017, THE HOTTEST TIME OF THE YEAR.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  LOOKING FORWARD TO AN EVEN MORE EXCITING SUMMER AHEAD, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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Padre IslandHousing Report – March 2017

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BE HEATING UP AS WE MOVE INTO FULL SPRING TIME OF 2017, THE BEST WEATHER OF THE YEAR.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  LOOKING FORWARD TO AN EVEN MORE EXCITING SUMMER AHEAD, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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North Padre Island Housing Report – February 2017

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BE HEATING UP AS WE MOVE INTO SPRING OF 2017.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  LOOKING FORWARD TO AN EVEN MORE EXCITING SUMMER AHEAD, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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2017 Great Year to Buy a Home?

46118737 - real estate sign in front of new house for sale

46118737 – real estate sign in front of new house for sale

Just over 1000 homes are currently on the market in Corpus Christi. If the housing market doesn’t change, it would take just over four months to sell all those homes.

Real Estate Agent, David Garcia, who’s been selling homes for 16 years, says this is good news!

“It’s an excellent time to buy, you definitely want to take advantage of the low interest rates,” Garcia said. He says the housing market is based on supply and demand.

Out of those 1000 plus homes for sale, roughly 21% of them fall in the high demand category. Garcia says the most frequently purchased homes in Corpus Christi are right around $250,000. Although the supply for those homes is low, the demand is high.

Meaning, if you put your house on that market around that price range, it will sell very quickly.

Garcia says a recent survey found the median home price went up about 7% from 2015 to 2016.

He says that translates into a good return on investment. That’s not the only advantage to buying a home.  Buyers also build equity and reap tax advantages

“Your net worth is 45 times greater owning a home vs renting,” Garcia said.

Another incentive to buy? Rent has gone up over the last year. On average, renters will spend slightly over 1000 a month for a single family.

“A lot of the industry experts are predicting 2017 to be a very good year in terms of sales,” Garcia said.

via KrisTv.com

6 New Years Resolutions For Buyers/Sellers

new-years-day-smallHere is our top 6 tips for the New Year

  1. Eliminate & Simplify Your Home – Buyers out there are saving for their spring purchase,  but why not start your efforts in January? This is an especially great time after the heaps of gifts that they have received. Plus, if they plan to sell your home, it will make selling the house and moving that much easier. It’s simple just start small and go room by room, designating areas for donations, things to be fixed and things to sell. The sooner you start, the better you’ll feel!
  2. Make Your Home Safter – Do you have kids (even if they don’t!), then making your home safer all around is a great resolution to make. Commit to a regular safety maintenance schedule by checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly, ensuring you have fire extinguishers and preparing the family for emergencies such as weather disasters and fire. Always replenish emergency kits, bottled water and non-perishable food items throughout the year, too.
  3. Make Your Home Smarter – Yep, that’s right!  You may have just missed the boat on making your home safe when they bought your home, but it’s never too late. Some ways to make homes “smarter”? Smart home hubs like Amazon Echo, security video monitors like Ring and smart thermostats like Nest, and even smart plugs and bulbs to bring your home into the 21st century.
  4. Consider Refinancing – Maybe its time to decrease your payments or lock in a low fixed mortgage rate through refinancing. Shopping around for the best rates is a great way to find one the lowest one that works for you and will make your wallet feel a lot better come 2018.
  5. Get a Green Thumb – No, not go out and garden although an argument could be made for that as well. Change your light bulbs to energy-efficient LED ones. This will also help you save money. Another way to be greener is to clean the house with reusable cloths or old, clean rags versus wasteful paper towels (however, use good judgement for especially dirty messes).
  6. Do Something to Help Someone – Yes, it is 2017… the election is over and we are still all just human beings.  We must let go of the past no matter what side of the fence we sit and come together as a nation more than ever now.  If all else fails and you can’t find anything you could do to help your fellow man, than for goodness sakes just smile a ton.  Your mind will come around sooner or later!

Share these five tips with your friends and family and help them be better homeowners and prepared sellers when the time comes!

Happy New Year from your Coastline Properties Family!

Meagan Furey – voted Citizen of the Year

We are thrilled to announce our very own Meagan Furey has been voted “Citizen of the Year” by the Padre Island Business Association. This is a very prestigious award and we feel it could not have gone to a more genuine, hard working community focused individual.  Congratulations Meagan …We are so proud of you for 2016 PIBA Citizen of the Year Award.  You inspire us all, thank you for all your dedication for making our little slice of paradise an amazing place to work and play! ~ Coastline Properties Team

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North Padre Island Housing Report – November 2016

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BE HEATING UP AS WE WRAP UP 2016.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  WE WISH YOU A VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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Regional Home Sales Report

As Realtors we are always asked about the market, and each market has different conditions that weigh in on whether its a buyers or a sellers market. We believe the article below handily brings some interesting statistics to the table, at the same time we believe each area of the city needs to be examined to determine the market conditions.  Also, keep in mind the time of year..it’s very typical for a slowing down to happen toward the end of the year as families settle in for the Holidays and typically don’t make decision’s about moving unless forced to by job’s or other circumstances.  Currently there are some great buys out here on Padre Island, and we welcome your questions about our local market to determine if it is good time for what your particular goals might be.  ~Coastline Properties Team

Via CALLERTIMES – Home sales in the Corpus Christi area were sluggish in October, falling to nearly their lowest level this year.

A total of 392 homes were sold in the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area in October, according to the latest Economic Trends report by the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp. The report, released Monday, cited data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. That’s the lowest volume of home sales this year since January, when 322 houses changed hands.

Sales in October 2015 and October 2014 were 461 and 441, respectively.

According to the report, 954 residential permits have been issued by the city of Corpus Christi through the first 10 months of this year, compared 934 during the same time frame a year ago and 1,088 for all of 2014. The number of commercial permits issued from January to October also dropped slightly from the same time in 2015, to 269 from 272.

Other highlights:

  • Regional unemployment dropped below 6 percent for the first time in four months. The jobless rate in October was 5.6 percent, a drop from 6.2 percent in July, August and September. Unemployment was 6 percent in June. Before this summer, the last time unemployment was this high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was May 2009, when the jobless rate hit 6.8 percent.
  • The number of year-to-date airline enplanements, or passenger boardings, at Corpus Christi International Airport was 282,581 from January to October. That represents a 3.3 percent decrease from 292,331 during the same period a year ago.
  • Year-to-date sales tax collection in Alice, Beeville, Corpus Christi and Robstown were well below their pace of a year earlier. Corpus Christi collected $60.4 million in such collections from January to October, compared with $65.5 million during the same period in 2015. Alice saw a 42.4 percent drop in revenues when comparing the same 10-month period. Its year-to-date sales tax collections were $4.35 million in October and $7.55 million in October 2015.   via Chris Ram

Padre Island Housing Report – September 2016

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BOOM IN OUR NECK OF THE WOODS.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  THE SUMMER IS OVER NOW AND WE ARE HEADING INTO THE HOLIDAYS, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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THE TIME OF THE TOWNHOUSE

islandtownhomes448x298These dwellings are having their shining moment, thanks to an increased demand by both first-time buyers and Boomers alike! Both appear to be seeking the appeal for walkable communities in which the amenities are grand, you can get a great bang for your buck, and often less maintenance (big perk for both busy, young families and Boomers alike!).

Nationally, the number of townhouses built last year increased 18% percent over 2014. Here on the Island, the number is even more incredible!

70 townhomes were sold between September 15, 2015 – September 15, 2016

44 townhomes were sold between September 15, 2014 – September 15, 2015

That’s a whopping increase in townhome sales! The long-run prospects for townhouse construction are positive given the large numbers of homebuyers looking for high density “neighborhoods,” near the action (eh em, the new Marina District perhaps?) that offer proximity to the happenings along with community amenities.

Perk #1: Own That Land, You American Dreamer You!

What’s the main difference between a condo and a townhome you ask? It’s simple. As a condo owner, you own only your unit, nothing below or above you. As a townhome owner, you own the planet Earth beneath you, and the sky above you. And, as the Homeowners Association will nearly always maintain the complex grounds, you can be a lazy bum and still have a nice yard, albeit likely small.

Perk #2: That HOA Though…

So you own a nice patch of grass, or maybe a cute pom pom bush. Your HOA will take care of it! Many HOAs will even allow owners to plant that desired petunia border you’ve always dreamt of, just ask. So long as you pay your monthly dues, your grass will be mowed, your exterior painted, your roof re-shingled, your pool cleaned, your exterior insurance paid, and the list can go on. Now, each HOA will be different, and each will have a list of items they maintain and don’t maintain, so make sure you know what’s agreed upon and who does what in the yard. As many prefer to keep the fronts looking manicured and uniform, you may have to plant your Sneezewort Yarrow in the back.

Perk #3: Don’t Ever Leave!

When you buy a townhouse, it often comes with a community, and that community has amenities. Some developments have a pool, a laundry room, possibly boat slips (if on the canal) maybe a recreational room, etc. You may not have to leave but to go do your grocery shopping! This can be very appealing. And as an owner, you own a percentage of each of the common facilities.

Perk #4: Save Some $$

Although this isn’t a steadfast rule here on Padre, townhouses can be less expensive than single-family residences. Townhouses sometimes have the fancy upgrades built right in that you otherwise couldn’t afford in a house, like granite countertops, high-end appliances, or eco-friendly materials. And although they are often multilevel that share a side wall or two with another unit, they can have as many bedrooms and bathrooms as will fit in the floor plan, just like a single-family house. The point is, you can get a lot of the same stuff in a townhouse that you can find in a regular house, but you typically pay less for it.

Perk #5: Tight-Knit Community

Having Mrs. Kravitz nearby isn’t always a bad thing! With units that are close, and parking areas that may be shared, it’s possible that you and your neighbors see and know what’s going on with one another. As most townhomes on the Island do not allow short-term rentals, the neighborhood is often more stable in terms of less turnover and more face familiarity. This can be desirable for the young family who needs neighborly help watching kids, or the more “medically fragile” older couple who may find peace of mind knowing that their neighbors could check on them if they go sight unseen for a day or two. Travel a lot? Now Nosie Nelly doesn’t seem so bad, as she’ll be able to stink eye anyone who looks out of sorts lurking around your townhome.

With 84 townhomes currently for sale on the Island, maybe it’s time to pay them some attention!

CONSEQUENTIALLY CONTINGENT

22869326 - coming to an agreement through negotiation illustrated by three road or street signs with the words you want, i want, negotiate

The C word – it’s not well understood, so it’s not well liked. But, we should no longer feel the need to whisper it only in dark shadows after certain hours. Unless you’re a first-time home buyer or have been renting, there’s a chance you’ll need to sell your home before purchasing a new one. And the safest way for a buyer to do this is through a contingency. Let it be known, this is a beautiful risk and has pretty perks, so for those of you who see the glass half full, this one’s for you. For the rest, as they say, pour your liquid into a smaller cup and no longer fear this scenario.

 

What does it Mean?

By definition, it means a future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty. In real estate, this clause defines a condition or action that must be met in order for a real estate contract to become binding (as aforementioned, with a home sale contingency in place, the transaction is dependent upon the sale of the buyer’s home). The contingency becomes part of a binding sales contract when both parties agree to the terms and sign the contract.

Why is it Risky?

To Sellers: the main risk is that there is no guarantee that the home will sell. Before agreeing to a contingency, a seller may want to do their due diligence, for instance: is the home already for sale, is the list price attractive, what’s the sales time for homes in the neighborhood.

To Buyers: Buyers must still spend the same amount of money on home inspections, repair negotiations, appraisal fee (to name a few) and the buyer does not get these monies back if the deal falls through due to their property not selling on time. Also, because sellers are taking a gamble of sorts of the buyers ability to sell their current property, buyers need to make their offer as attractive as possible so that the seller will consider this risk.
What are the Benefits?

To Sellers: One major benefit is that the home can continue to be shown, and the seller can continue to receive offers. If the seller accepts a written offer, the seller is required to notify the buyer of such acceptance.  Per the contract, the buyer has a specified amount of time (say, 2-3 days) to either remove the contingency and put down additional earnest money, or the contract terminates automatically and the earnest money is refunded to the buyer. A home sale contingency might also be a good thing if the seller has had the property on the market for a while and is unable to find a buyer. A contract with a contingency is still a contract, and there is a chance that the property will sell.

To Buyers: A home sale contingency gives buyers the opportunity to not miss out on the home they want, while allowing them time to sell their property. This way, buyers can avoid owning two homes and holding two mortgages at one time while waiting for their own home to sell. A home sale contingency can allow the buyer to sell their property with peace of mind knowing their next purchase is already in motion.
Why is it Misunderstood?

Many may only see the risks and not truly understand the benefits. Home sale contingencies protect buyers who want to sell one home before purchasing another. Upon receiving or writing a contract involving a contingency, it is important to review and understand the terms of the sale. This is something your real estate agent should be able to explain in detail to you. Fear not the world of contingencies, as knowledge is power!

 

Save and Spend Smartly

piggy-bank-It’s hot here on Padre Island, and I’m not talking just the high temperatures. It is real estate’s steamy season, and properties are being listed and sold faster than season tickets at the ‘bahn. With the active market, it’s critical to take a look at your spending. How can you be assured you’re not wasting money? Here are some smart tips on how to save and spend during peak purchase season. Do not fall victim to these common money mistakes.

 

BUYERS:

DO NOT overpay. Unless you find yourself in a bidding war for the home of your absolute dreams, there is not a single home like it, and you do not plan to leave, ever ever ever, do not pay over the appraised value. Note: Do not get this number from the tax office, get this from an actual appraiser who visits the home and runs their own detailed determination of real value.

DO get an inspection. It’s worth the couple hundred dollars. Do your due diligence and know what you’re buying. If there is a deficiency on a large ticket item, it’s best to find out ahead of time so you can budget for it in the future or you can ask the seller to help right the wrong. You do not want to find these deficiencies later, once the sale is over, and you haven’t budgeted for them.

DO NOT make a lowball offer. Negotiating is normal, and it’s okay to not offer full price. But if you’re interested enough to make an offer, make sure it’s worth your time and the seller’s time. Your agent will be able to give their best advice as to what a good offer price would be, based on comparables and their knowledge of the market and area.

DO lender shop. Different lenders can offer different rates. Shop around, see with whom you can save and where.

DO NOT make large purchases prior to closing. This is a huge expensive mistake, as it can alter your credit score and can actually take you from having loan approval to not. You can lose your property and in turn gain something of expense (whatever it was that you bought, albeit a car, boat, etc.).

SELLERS:

DO NOT remodel what won’t pay off. If you’re going to do some upgrading prior to listing your property, spend money in the kitchen. This is a room that’s important. Otherwise, less expensive updates you can do include painting, new hardware, fixtures and carpet. Gutting bathrooms and shellacking your garage floor is likely not worth the pay off.

DO price properly. Your listing agent will be able to guide you to a proper sales price, so use their knowledge! You’re paying them, after all. If your property is priced too high, it’s likely to not sell as quickly, wasting your money on months of bills, taxes, mortgage payments, etc.

DO NOT reject reasonable offers. Letting your emotions get in the way of your sale can be tough, but you do not want to push qualified buyers away because you’re not remembering that this is in fact business. At the very least, provide a counter offer.

DO disclose. If there are issues that you do know about, it’s the law to disclose known deficiencies. If you do not, this could turn in to a lawsuit. Talk about expensive!

Try to keep these Dos and Don’ts in mind this summer and in to the fall, and you will be free from the most expensive mistakes that buyers and sellers tend to make. You work hard for your money, so keep your dollars where they will work for YOU!

Padre Island Housing Report June 2016

The Housing Market is Hot,Hot, Hot right now.  Take a look at the statistics on what’s happening here on Padre Island in Corpus Christi, TX.  Click on the Picture below and get a full PDF to print out to keep track of this data.  The summer is going by fast, give us a call and discuss the many opportunities to own a piece of coastal Texas! (361) 949-0101

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CONSUMER BEWARE: Rebuilding after a disaster

contractors2With the flooding and other tragedies that have occurred across the state, it is important that consumers be aware of Chapter 57 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code that was enacted by HB 1711 effective September 1, 2011. The bill applies to contractors who remove, clean, sanitize, demolish, reconstruct, or otherwise treat improvements to real property as a result of damage or destruction to that property caused by a natural disaster. Specifically, it requires that a “disaster remediation” contract must be in writing and prohibits a “disaster remediation contractor” from requiring payment prior to beginning work or charging a partial payment in any amount disproportionate to the work that has been performed. However, the statute exempts contractors that have held a business address for at least one year in the county or adjacent county where the work occurs.

Please see the text of HB 1711 for details. Contact your local Home Builders Association for a list of contractors.

Download this document for important phone numbers and information on rebuilding after a disaster. (CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR PDF)

CC voters face critical sales tax vote in November

KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi
CORPUS CHRISTI –

Plenty of issues will be in voters’ hands come November, including a pivotal decision on how to spend sales tax revenue.

Depending on the vote, a powerful city board that spends your money, may not exist next year.

An eighth of every cent you pay in sales tax funds the city’s Type A Board, which controls the Type A Fund.

We’re talking millions of dollars a year controlled by five people.

The board spends most of it on economic development. They also spend money on seawall repairs and the American Bank Center.

CLICK HERE: Projects funded by Type A Board

The board (fund) is up for renewal this year, and it’s up to the voters.

Jerry Sansing is president of the Corpus Christi Taxpayers Association. He plans on voting against it.

“I’ve seen too much money go down the drain. You know, we can’t fix streets. We can’t do this. We can’t do that, but we can certainly tax for everything under the sun,” he says.

Sansing would rather the city give that money back to the people, or spend it, in part, to cut down palm trees off Airline. The ones right by the Gulfway Shopping Center.

Sansing says they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act because they take up too much room on the sidewalk, and make it almost impossible for people in wheelchairs to get by.

But Type A Board member Bart Braselton points out the board’s numerous accomplishments, like landing Schlitterbahn with a $5 million deal in incentives.

“It competes with other cities, and when you know, when you’re having somebody that’s bringing say, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 new jobs to your city, the return on investment is incredible,” Braselton says.

Sansing says projects like Schlitterbahn don’t need the money.

Braselton points out other things the Type A Board has helped fund, like the Engineering Department at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, or the truck driving program at Del Mar College.

If residents vote to get rid of the board, it’ll be disbanded after any remaining money is spent.

If that happens, it’ll likely be up to the city council to decide how to re-allocate that portion of sales tax revenue every year.  Via KrisTv.com

Design Trends in 2016

destrends2016

“This home is so ’70s.” How many times have we heard a home identified by a year based on its appearance and finishes? Well, 2016 will be no different, as fun and fresh designs are sure to be trending.

Outdoors, Indoors

Here on the Island, we practically live outdoors most of the year! Designs are beginning to recognize this. Homeowners are working on bringing the outside in with things like plants, and double doors, and also purchasing furniture that can be used both indoors and out. Create a fluid space where the indoor outdoor living concept is seamless.

Geometric Tiles

Tile backsplashes aren’t a new concept, but what we expect to see in 2016 are using the tiles to create more geometric patterns that feature fluid movement. New materials for this are coming onto the scene such as cement and wood. Whether it is a backsplash, an intricately patterned floor or a countertop, fluid geometry is eye-catching and coming in strong this year.

White Appliances

With so many homeowners going with the trending white cabinets, white appliances just blend right in. Also, many are becoming tired of the maintenance from the marks and handprints that are so evident and inevitable that show up on stainless steel appliances. Try Ice White from Whirlpool. Slate kitchen appliances can also bring a classic and modern look and are gaining momentum.

Metallics, Metals, and Minerals

All trends come back around, and the 1950s and 1970s are hot fashion trends in 2016, and this will also translate to the home. Gold and metallic finishes are exceedingly popular right now. Retro bling, shine, and polished geodes will rock your home (pun intended). Accessorize with oversized bowls of fools gold, big chunks of quartz, or even unpolished semi-precious stones turned into door pulls. Go au natural!

Chevron is Out

Herringbone, Chevron, Zig-Zag, the fun and often colorful pattern was so 2015. If you are still a fan of it, try putting it in easily removable ways, such as an area rug or throw blanket. Don’t stick it up on a large wall. Instead, try solid-colored, textured fabrics, or even animal hide is in!

Bye Brass

Brass hardware is one design element that almost immediately outdates a home. Hardware is one incredibly easy and inexpensive way to update! To replace brass hardware or other knobs, be sure to choose a size that will cover the “footprint” of whatever is currently installed. For 2016, try brushed or satin nickel hardware. Magic.

Fake Wall Treatments

Solids are back. 2016 interior design approaches emphasize authenticity. The prevalent use of natural materials (back to minerals, above) goes back to midcentury modern design. That means it may be time to get rid of the fake wall treatments such as Tuscan paint finishes and marbled columns. Use a solid paint! It’s chic, clean, and IN.

6 Smart Reasons to Buy a Home in 2016

2016

Is it really 2016 already?  For those of you who happen to be planning on buying a home in the new year—or even just trying to—there’s a whole lot to celebrate. Why? A variety of financial vectors have dovetailed to make this the perfect storm for home buyers to get out there and make an (winning) offer. Here are six home-buying reasons to be thankful while ringing in the new year:

Reason No. 1: Interest rates are still at record lows

Even though they may creep up at any moment, it’s nonetheless a fact that interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around 4%.

“Remember 18.5% in the ’80s?” asks Tom Postilio, a real estate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate and a star of HGTV’s “Selling New York.”“It is likely that we’ll never see interest rates this low again. So while prices are high in some markets, the savings in interest payments could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.”

Reason No. 2: Rents have skyrocketed

Another reason home buyers are lucky is that rents are going up, up, up! (This, on the other hand, is a reason not to be thankful if you’re a renter.) In fact, rents outpaced home values in 20 of the 35 biggest housing markets in 2015. What’s more, according to the2015 Rent.com Rental Market Report, 88% of property managers raised their rent in the past 12 months, and an 8% hike is predicted for 2016.

“In most metropolitan cities, monthly rent is comparable to that of a monthly mortgage payment, sometimes more,” says Heather Garriock, mortgage agent for The Mortgage Group. “Doesn’t it make more sense to put those monthly chunks of money into your own appreciating asset rather than handing it over to your landlord and saying goodbye to it forever?”

Reason No. 3: Home prices are stabilizing

For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily upward are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field that helps buyers drive a harder bargain with sellers, even in heated markets.

“Local markets vary, but generally we are experiencing a cooling period,” says Postilio. “At this moment, buyers have the opportunity to capitalize on this.”

Reason No. 4: Down payments don’t need to break the bank

Probably the biggest obstacle that prevents renters from becoming homeowners is pulling together a down payment. But today, that chunk of change can be smaller, thanks to a variety of programs to help home buyers. For instance, the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Program allows for a 3% down payment for credit scores as low as 620.

Reason No. 5: Mortgage insurance is a deal, too

If you do decide to put less than 20% down on a home, you are then required to have mortgage insurance (basically in case you default). A workaround to handle this, however, is to take out a loan from the Federal Housing Administration—a government mortgage insurer that backs loans with down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. The fees are way down from 1.35% to 0.85% of the mortgage balance, meaning your monthly mortgage total will be significantly lower if you fund it this way. In fact, the FHA predicts this 37% annual premium cut will bring 250,000 first-time buyers into the market. Why not be one of them?

Reason No. 6: You’ll reap major tax breaks

Please, Mr. Postman Tax laws continue to favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break! The biggest one is that unless your home loan is more than $1 million, you can deduct all the monthly interest you are paying on that loan. Homeowners may also deduct certain home-related expenses and home property taxes.

via realtor.com

5 Real Estate Trends That Will Dominate 2016

real-estate-2016

This year may have marked the best for housing since 2007, but the market will likely get even rosier in 2016, according to a recent real estate forecast by realtor.com®. One of the main drivers behind the brighter 2016 is the projection that employment will continue to grow, which will add to consumers’ wallets and allow them to purchase their first home or upgrade to a new one.  Realtor.com® highlights the following housing predictions for 2016:

  1. ‘Normal’ is coming.

Expect a healthy growth in home sales and prices – at a slower pace than in 2015. “This slowdown is not an indication of a problem—it’s just a return to normalcy,” writes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “We’ve lived through 15 years of truly abnormal trends, and after working off the devastating effects of the housing bust, we’re finally seeing signs of more normal conditions.” New construction and distressed sales are expected to return to more historical levels, and home prices are expected to follow at “more normal rates consistent with a more balanced market.”

  1. Generational buying trends shape up.

Young adults’ presence on the housing market has been largely predicted for years, but 2016 may finally be the year they make a move in a larger way. Millennials represented nearly 2 billion sales in 2015 – one-third of home buyers. They are expected to continue to be a major buying pool in 2016 with the majority of buyers between ages 25 and 34 expected to be first-time home buyers next year. But two other generations will also have a big presence in 2016: financially recovering GenXers and older baby boomers who are entering retirement, realtor.com® notes. “Since most of these people are already homeowners, they’ll play a double role, boosting the market as both sellers and buyers,” Smoke notes. “Gen Xers are in their prime earning years and thus able to relocate to better neighborhoods for their families. Older boomers are approaching (or already in) retirement and seeking to downsize and lock in a lower cost of living.”

  1. New-home construction focuses more on affordability.

Builders have been faced with higher land costs, limited labor, and concerns about the demand of the entry-level market. As such, they have shifted to constructing more higher-priced homes, which has caused new-home prices to rise significantly faster than existing-home prices. In 2016, they likely will shift to more affordable product to cater to the entry-level buyers. “We are already seeing a decline in new-home prices for new contracts signed this fall,” notes Smoke. “In addition, credit access is improving enough to make the first-time buyer segment more attractive to builders.”

  1. Higher mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates will likely be volatile in 2016. But the recent move by the Federal Reserve to guide interest rates higher should push mortgage rates higher in the new year than the historical lows they have been at for years. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will likely end 2016 about 60 basis points higher than today’s level. “That level of increase is manageable, as consumers will have multiple tactics to mitigate some of that increase,” Smoke says. “However, higher rates will drive monthly payments higher, and, along with that, debt-to-income ratios will also go higher.” The markets with the highest home prices will see the effects from the higher rates the most.

  1. Rents to go up even higher.

Rental costs are skyrocketing, and the costs are likely to only go up in the new year. More than 85 percent of the nation’s markets have rents that exceed 30 percent of the income of renting households. “Rents are accelerating at a more rapid pace than home prices, which are moderating,” Smoke says. “Because of this, it is more affordable to buy in more than three-quarters of the U.S. However, for the majority of renting households, buying is not a near-term option due to poor household credit scores, limited savings, and lack of documentable stable income of the kind necessary to qualify for a mortgage today.”

Source: “The 5 Real Estate Trends That Will Shape 2016,” realtor.com® (Dec. 16, 2015)

THE REVERSE MORTGAGE, REVISED!

reverse-mortgage-corpus-christi

It’s no longer just a refinance tool, but now also for use with purchases!

First let’s review what a reverse mortgage is. It’s a loan available to homeowners who are at least 62 years old, where instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to the borrower. The idea is to aid elders and retirees who have wealth in their homes, but have limited income, to cover their basic living expenses and health care expenses.

BUT there is a new program that we should know about. It is called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase product. This can greatly enhance the real estate service options we can offer our senior customers who would like to purchase a new home while still maintaining their retirement goals. Many mortgage companies in our Coastal Bend now have departments offering this option, which could be valuable for many seniors looking to relocate closer to family members, downsize, upgrade, or move to an active adult community.

This is an exciting option for qualified homeowners who are purchasing a home. This mortgage option allows homeowners to keep the home in their name while not having any monthly payments.

Who qualifies?

If you are 62 or older, will use the home as your primary residence, have no federal debt delinquency, can pay annual property taxes and homeowners insurance, vow to keep the property presentable, the property meets FHA guidelines, and agree to participate in a counseling session, YOU are qualified!

So how does it work?

When bundling the HECM with a new home purchase, the buyer can buy the property by mixing the HECM loan proceeds along with the proceeds from their previous home sale and/or savings to complete the transaction.

For example: Charlie is looking to downsize. He receives $700,000 from the sale of his home. He buys a home for $300,000. HECM loans Charlie $160,000 ($10,000 to cover closing costs). Charlie puts $150,000 as his downpayment. The remaining $400,000 goes straight into Charlie’s pocket!

  • It involves financing that doesn’t require monthly principal and interest mortgage payments
  • It includes increased purchasing power for those who are upsizing or downsizing
  • It has a streamlined closing process as the buyers are purchasing and getting a HECM all in one transaction
  • It may include supplemental income to support a better retirement, including a growing line-of-credit

Repayment

Just like other loans, the HECM loan must be repaid. But it is unlike traditional loans in that this repayment isn’t due until the owner has sold the home, no longer uses it as their primary residence, or passes away. When one of these scenarios occurs, the HECM and any accrued interest and mortgage insurance must be paid, but the perk is that the homeowner will never pay more than the home’s market value at the time of repayment.

So run, don’t walk! Your dream retirement home is waiting…

SECOND HOME BUYING ON PADRE ISLAND TEXAS

I, for one, admire Winter Texans. They’ve got the right idea: Come to our piece of paradise, spend a few months, spend a few bucks, then repeat! Some come in RVs, others have a home/townhome/condo to which they retreat. The time is coming to welcome our Winter Texans back, and it’s the Winter Texan “way” that reminds me of one powerful investment tool – real estate of course! We are lucky enough to live in a place where many come to vacation. Whether you live here and want to capitalize on the growing rental market, or you’ve got relatives and friends to whom you’d love to persuade to do the same or invest in a vacation home…Get your own piece of Padre Island Pie!

But WHY is now a good time, and WHAT makes real estate this aforementioned “powerful investment tool”?

WHY:

With the population of the Coastal Bend steadily increasing, more businesses coming to the area, and the increasing amount of national attention we’ve gained over the past few years, it’s no wonder investors and second home buyers have piqued interest.

Most would agree that the spring and summer are the good selling months. But I say, why discriminate?! Winter has its perks, too! The crowds looking to invest that haven’t already are coming at a good time…price reductions are common this time of year, and sellers aren’t competing with as many other homes for sale as, say, the spring time.

First thing is first, what are your goals? To be an investor, or to use the property for vacation and enjoyment? There is certainly NO wrong answer here!

WHAT:

But what are the elements of value to an investor? Well that depends on their commitment: Do they intend on having a long-term or short-term investment? Will they live there part-time themselves or will they use it as a rental? Property values and their projected appreciation may play a large role in a buyer’s intentions. So may tax depreciation, capital gains, and inflation hedge. As important as these matters are, they may be a little snooze-worthy. So let’s make it quick.

Let’s take a look at each of these potential advantages:

Projected Appreciation: This is a percentage that estimates what your property will be worth in the future. Of course nothing is promised, but the numbers could aid in the decision process.

Tax Depreciation: COULD help you maximize your tax savings. This is the depreciation that can be listed as an expense on a tax return, the gradual charging to expense of a fixed asset’s cost over its useful life.

Capital Gains: Another key tax advantages of owning investment property. Capital gains on investment real estate is the difference between the sales price and the cost of purchase and improvements. They’re taxed at either a short-term rate or a long-term or reduced rate.

Inflation Hedge: This has to do with the rent that’s charged to the tenant. Some leases have provisions for rent increases to be indexed to inflation. In other cases, rental rates are increased whenever a lease term expires and the tenant is renewed. Either way, real estate income tends to increase faster in inflationary environments, allowing an investor to maintain its real returns.

Selling: When rental properties are sold, the proceeds can be rolled into other rental property without paying capital gains taxes. This is called a 1031-Tax Exchange.

Now, what about those who’d like to get away from their primary residence and invest in a second home? Fortunately for many of us, you don’t have to be a part of the ultra rich to own a second home! This, too, could be wise, even if it will only be used for family and friends and not as a rental.

Here are some helpful tips that may guide you in the right direction:

  1. Have money. This may seem obvious but daunting, but let me explain that it doesn’t mean millions in the bank. Unless you’re paying cash, your lender’s underwriter needs to see that you have adequate reserves (as often your downpayment will be larger for a second property).
  2. Consider your debt-to-income ratio. If it’s too high, this may be an issue for your lender.
  3. Spend time in the area, first! Know that you love the region and foresee wanting to be there often before buying there. Do your due diligence on the right neighborhood, the costs of maintenance, HOA dues, taxes, insurance, etc.
  4. Double the fun, but potentially double the work! Assess the yard – will you need someone to mow it while you’re not there? Will the pool need weekly maintenance?
  5. Work with an agent that is very knowledgeable about the area. Here in our Coastal Bend, most agents are accustomed to working with investors/second home buyers.

DO BOTH!

If you meet the less-than-14-day-or-10% test, you can write off all the usual expenses associated with owning a rental property. Or, if you rent the house a quarter of the time, for instance, a quarter of your mortgage interest, property taxes, utilities, insurance costs, and repair expenses are deductible against rental income.

The options and advantages seem to outweigh the fear of dabbling in real estate investing or owning a second home. Try it, you may become a mogul! So come and stay and play at your leisure, then make the money, honey!

Coastline Properties – The Face of Padre Island Real Estate

We are delighted to have been nominated “The Face of Island Real Estate” in this months Issue of The Bend Magazine.

It’s incredible to discover so many other community leaders that are making waves in the Coastal Bend by being dedicated to their profession.  We salute all those businesses out there that truly understand the nature of customer service and work so tirelessly to care for and understand their clients needs.  Thank You Corpus Christi!!

coastlinebend1  coastlinebend2

 

The Bend Magazine – November 2015

Great Tips for Holiday House Hunting

holiday-house-hunting

This time of year typically marks the unofficial time people begin thinking about the holidays. After Halloween, time seems to speed up and before we know it the holiday parties, charity functions and the like set in for familes. Real estate activity during the holiday season is typically discouraged because of the challenges posed on both sides of a transaction.

For sellers, there is the inconvenience of having to keep the home clean; leaving on a moment’s notice for showings; and limiting holiday entertaining. For buyers, there may be limited access to houses if sellers place showing restrictions due to personal schedules and commitments.

However there are some advantages and  other considerations that both sides should keep in mind.

Buyers will find fewer homes on the market, but the homes that are available have highly motivated sellers. This may provide a better negotiating climate, and there is less likely to be the type of competition for homes you see during high season. In turn, sellers will find equally motivated buyers, and may find that offers and closings move more quickly.  What this means is, bargains and negotiations are plentiful this time of year if you are working with a savvy real estate agent in corpus christi.

Holiday sellers should curb large plans to entertain, have family & friends stay over, or do excessive decorating. Focus on showing off the features of your home that will appeal to a buyer – not your family decorations and holiday traditions.  It sounds like a less attractive holiday, but the dividends will more than pay for themselves.  Remember to always keep a mindset of a buyer in mind.  Have a Happy and healthy holiday season!

Major Changes Coming to Mortgage Disclosures

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing”

it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

― Fulton J. Sheen

 Changes-Ahead

Come October 1, there are major changes coming to mortgage disclosures that I would like to share with you. Buyers, sellers, loan officers, title companies and real estate agents will all be affected.

No longer will there be a HUD-1 Settlement Statement or a Good Faith Estimate from a buyer’s lender. Both forms are going “bye-bye,” as is the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure form. Replacing them are two new forms: the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate.

Why does this affect anyone aside from those on the real estate, lender, title side? Because there are also new rules for the closing procedure, where the buyers and sellers tolerance come into play, as closing delays are almost unavoidable for the first few months.

One rule requires all forms to be ready three (business) days prior to closing. The National Association of Realtors recommends all closing documents are actually ready an entire week prior to closing, or “consummation” as is the new verbiage (yes, chuckling is OK).  So if everything is ready seven days prior to consummation, when you go into the three-day period, there are likely no changes to make. Because making changes as the countdown ensues comes with a cumbersome set of hurdles.

Everyone involved in the transaction is under pressure to get everything squared away earlier than in the past. Currently, the settlement statement can be completed and approved just hours before closing. Gone are those days. And as aforementioned, the buyers and sellers have to be cooperative, because if last-minute changes are made, a new three-day waiting period kicks in. Are there exceptions you ask? Yes! Bona fide financial emergencies such as the imminent sale of the consumer’s home at foreclosure. Any financial emergency must be accompanied by a written statement and will be very fact intensive.

The good news is, this doesn’t affect cash buyers, and many Realtors, Lenders, and Title Companies are taking the time and courses to get familiar with this new system and forms so we are ready! Communication will be KEY. But patience, grasshopper, good things come to those who wait.

Texas Home Prices Climb Likely To Continue, Says Real Estate Economist At Texas A&M

home-prices-rise

COLLEGE STATION – Recent home price indices (HPI) all indicate another increase in Texas home prices, a trend that will likely continue for a while, says an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

CoreLogic’s HPI, one of several key indicators that center researchers track, showed an 8.5 percent year-over-year increase in Texas home prices in February. Prices in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown and Dallas-Plano-Irving increased 10.4 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

“As long as inventory stays tight, and as long as demand stays high relative to supply, we’re going to keep seeing these kinds of priceincreases,” said Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines.  Center data show statewide housing inventory in February was at 3.1 months. Houston’s inventory was at 2.7 months in February, while Dallas was at 1.8 months. An inventory of 6.5 months is generally considered a balanced market.

While the shortage of pre-owned single-family homes on the market is contributing to the market’s tightness, Gaines said there’s also a lack of new product.

“Home builders have not been building houses as fast as they have in the past,” he said. “They’re doing the best they can, but that growth is not adding to the total inventory.”

Gaines said the demand for new homes is still there, thanks to economic growth, job growth and people moving to Texas. The biggest problem is the lack of lot inventory and land development.

“Historically, Texas housing markets have maintained a good balance of supply and demand because our building industry could build houses fairly easily, fairly quickly and fairly cheaply compared with other states,” he said. “Land costs and labor costs were lower. The Texas land development model simply worked. But financing for land development and lot development dried up between 2009 and 2013, so all of a sudden there’s this shortage, and it’s going to take several years for that to get unraveled.”

Another problem is the effect local regulatory controls and impact fees are having on builders.

“The demand for goods and services provided by local governments has increased along with the population,” Gaines said. “The cost of those goods and services has also increased, and governments are faced with the problem of how to pay for them.

So they’re passing some of those costs on to developers in the form of regulatory costs, permitting fees, platting fees, direct impact fees for roads and utilities and that sort of thing. So all of our costs are going up.”

VIA – For more from Gaines on the Texas housing market, listen to the April 8 episode of the Real Estate Red Zone podcast (“All Housing, All the Time”). It’s online at http://www.recenter.tamu.edu/podcast/

What is the true cost when a Real Estate AGENT Cuts their commission?

In today’s competitive real estate market in Corpus Christi, some agents are offering to cut their commissions in an attempt to attract more business. The truth is that they want to be listing agents. Here are some questions to ask before listing your home with an agent who’s willing to take a “pay cut” to work with you:

WHAT IS THE REAL ESTATE AGENT‘S PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR CUTTING THEIR COMMISSION? In all likelihood, it’s because they are in a position where they simply need the business that badly. Do you really want to trust the sale of your property to someone who is desperate for your business? There is a difference between WANTING your business and NEEDING your business.

IF YOUR PROPERTY DOESN’T SELL, WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED? There is a difference between listing a property and selling a property. What the agent didn’t tell you is that they will make less money selling your property than if they sell another property on the market. You want an agent who’s going to be excited about bringing you an offer.

WHICH SERVICES ARE THEY GOING TO CUT? If you cut your commission, then you have to cut service. Many factors come into play in finding the right buyer who’s willing to pay your price. To get top price for a property, you need as many services for you as you can possibly get.

WOULD YOU REALLY BE EXCITED ABOUT A 15% PAY CUT? A 1% reduction in commission equals more than 15% of the total commission or 60% of the selling agents commission. How can the agent really be excited about working for you? Is the agent being honest with you when he or she tells you that they’re excited about getting the property sold?

ARE THEY GOING TO COOPERATE WITH OTHER BROKERS? What are they going to pay the other brokers? Why are those brokers going to be excited about taking a 15% pay cut? To get top price for your property, you need to have all brokers in the marketplace excited about selling it.

IS THE REAL ESTATE AGENT A SKILLED NEGOTIATOR? If the other broker is willing to let you negotiate them out of 15% or more of their income from the sale of your property, will they also let the buyer negotiate 15% or more from the purchase price of your property? What is that other broker’s sale price to list price ratio? You might be costing yourself tens of thousands of dollars by trying to save a couple thousand dollars in commissions.

What’s the most important thing to you in the sale of your home? Is it paying a lower commission, or is it getting “top dollar for your home?” We are in the business of “protecting” the financial interest of our sellers, and want you to receive top dollar for your property, at Coastline Properties it is our mission to insure that you receive the absolute best buyer for your home!

Oil prices drop, Corpus Christi’s rent prices don’t

corpus-christi-rentalsCORPUS CHRISTI – Plunging oil prices may be a relief for Coastal Bend residents at the pumps, but they’re having little influence on rents or mortgage payments.

Experts predict the falling price of crude will force housing costs in energy-dependent Corpus Christi to drop at some point.

That day won’t come in 2015, they say.

The housing market in Corpus Christi is perhaps the tightest it has ever been for both potential renters and those looking to buy a home. Things won’t change for the rest of the year, despite a rush on home and apartment construction, said Jim Lee, the chief economist at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Oil field workers who lived in apartments in Corpus Christi are moving to Alice, Cotulla and other small towns within the energy play to be closer to work, said Melissa Gomez, a broker for AAA Apartment Locating in Corpus Christi. Others have been moving out of higher-end luxury apartments and into older, more-affordable complexes to cut costs.

The exodus has created hundreds of apartment vacancies since November, but rent prices remain unchanged. Instead of lowering rents, property managers have eased move-in criteria to insure occupancy. Applicants with credit and rental-history blemishes and those whose income is less than three times the cost of rent are no longer being disqualified for apartments.

“We’ll see a decline in occupancy rates here and there … but they (complexes) won’t empty out,” Gomez said.

The average price of homes in Corpus Christi hit a record high of $207,700 in December, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. That same month, the asking rent for a typical apartment in the city was 25 percent higher than it was just four years ago.

Five recently completed apartment complexes have been cleared since March to take in tenants. Another dozen are in various stages of construction and are due to open in coming months.

The Corpus Christi area’s apartment occupancy rate was 92.5 percent in December, according to ALN Apartment Data, a Carrollton-based firm that tracks rental property trends. That’s down from 94.3 percent in November and the record months of December and April, when occupancy hit 95.2 percent.

Average rent in Corpus Christi in December was between $842 and $880, an ALN report said, though it’s not uncommon for newer complexes to ask for more than $1,100 for a one-bedroom home.

Corpus Christi’s low unemployment has been a magnet for thousands of job seekers in the past three years, most of them eyeing work in the Eagle Ford Shale energy play. The trend has slowed recently as energy companies have scaled back shale production, even shaved jobs, trying to remain profitable.

Falling oil prices and cutbacks in shale oil production by energy companies will put “downward pressure” on the local housing market, Lee said. However, the majority of newly constructed apartments are likely to be absorbed by students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and personnel from the nearby Naval air station.

“The overall housing market in Corpus Christi, including single-family rental houses, will likely soften up after reaching its current peak, but the market for apartments might continue to be tight at least the rest of the year,” Lee said.

Apartment occupancy in Corpus Christi in January 2010 was 89 percent, and average rent was about $700.

Warren Andrich, CEO of the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors, was optimistic about the home sales market, while conceding more rental property was needed in the city.

The Real Estate Center reported that 375 homes were sold in Corpus Christi in December, typically a slow sales month.

The Coastal Bend’s economy, though heavily influenced by the energy industry, is diverse enough to support an increase in housing, Andrich said.

Although homes values are increasing and are being sold at or near their asking prices, Corpus Christi’s inventory of affordable homes — those priced between $125,000-$165,000 — is less than 300 units.

“These are all indicators that we were in need of the additional rentals coming on the market,” Andrich said.

Twitter: @Caller_ChrisRam

Corpus Christi Apartment Market (December 2014)

Occupancy Rate: 92.5 percent

Asking Rent: $880

Effective Rent: $873

Average Apt. Size: 850 square feet

Average Market Rent Breakdown By Floor Plan

Efficiency, $671

1 Bedroom, $753

2 Bedroom, $944

3 Bedroom, $1,084

4 Bedrooms +, $2,181

Source: ALN Apartment Data

Housing Activity (Annual figures)

Year No. of sales Average price Median Price Months of inventory

2004 4,745 $132,100 $113,800 4.6

2005 4,894 $147,300 $125,200 5.0

2006 5,192 $153,300 $130,400 6.2

2007 4,510 $162,000 $136,500 7.4

2008 3,773 $162,200 $138,900 9.0

2009 3,444 $155,500 $134,800 10.2

2010 3,445 $152,300 $136,500 10.3

2011 3,396 $157,500 $135,700 9.5

2012 4,058 $169,900 $142,300 7.1

2013 4,589 $180,700 $152,200 5.3

2014 4,721 $197,100 $168,600 4.5

Source: Real Estate Center, Texas A&M University.

via @callertimes

The Art of Negotiating

youwant

Whether you’re trying to get the best price at the flea market, ask for a higher salary, or buy a new car, having good negotiating skills is important. Luckily, during a real estate transaction, you have a hired professional to do the tough stuff for you! Whether you are buying or selling, your agent should be representing your needs and wants through this fine art of negotiating.

Some may believe that negotiations are “all or nothing.” That one party wins over the other. This could not be further from the truth. While the goal of negotiation is most certainly getting what you want, the fact is that the best deals incorporate terms from both sides.

First, think about what you want to achieve from the process. Make a list of what you want from the negotiation and why. This helps determine what would cause you to walk away so you can build your strategy within acceptable terms. Try, also, to understand what your counterpart’s motivations are as this is equally as important. By studying the other side’s goals, it may help you frame your own by realizing that there’s a solution for you both. The single most important tool you and your agent have is preparedness. Communicating with each other the main goals and why they’re the goals gives your agent the best negotiating power there is. Follow these steps:

1.      Establish a fair sales price. Your agent should run a comparative market analysis (CMA) for you to assess what a fair asking price is based on other sales in the area.

2.      Establish what you can afford. If you’re buying, your agent should be able to help you with this a bit, and if you’re working with a lender they will be invaluable here. If you’re selling, what is your bottom line?

3.      Decide what other things would be a deal breaker. Price is typically the most important factor. However, it may also be a deal breaker if you’re selling and you cannot afford to pay the buyer’s closing costs at their request, or you’re the buyer and your insurance requires a windstorm certificate that the home doesn’t have.

4.      As a buyer, when it comes to inspections, negotiating repairs can become just as important as presenting the offer itself. If the home you’re seeking isn’t advertised as being sold “As Is” then you likely have some negotiating powers when it comes to repairs.

5.      Try not to get emotional. This is a tough one as a home is personal. And if you get too emotional, you may make an exception to your goals. But your agent is there to represent you, your goals and to make it about business so this doesn’t happen.

From there, your licensed Real Estate Agent should be able to clearly communicate your desires.  It’s your agent’s job to ensure you are represented correctly, fairly, and your voice is heard! It’s all about collaborating to meet both ends, making it a “win/win” situation.

What should you look for in an agent? These characteristics may be beneficial: An active listener, someone with a reputation of getting along with others, someone with a mild-mannered and optimistic personality, and a clear but firm communicator.

So sit back, and let US work for YOU. If you’re feeling like your agent is trying too hard to convince you to forgo your main goals, then perhaps it’s not the right fit. There’s a solution to every problem. Think outside the box, discuss rather than argue, and don’t forget, it never hurts to ASK!

8 Benefits of Buying a House at Year’s End

endofyearrealtorSummer may be real estate’s busy season, but winter offers great opportunities for buying a house, especially for renters looking to become homeowners, growing families trading up to larger houses and baby boomers seeking homes to fit their evolving lifestyles.

Generally speaking, your housing choices during the late fall are still healthy. October and November are great months to go house hunting. December is usually sparse, market-wise, but if that fits your timeline, you could luck out.

The benefits to buying a house at the end of the year include the following:

1. Tax savings

If you close by December 31, you can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, points on your loan and interest costs. These deductions are significant, especially in the early years of your loan when you’re paying off a lot of interest.

2. Motivated sellers

Many sellers want to enjoy tax savings on the next home they purchase. They may accept lower bids in order to meet Uncle Sam’s deadlines. However, if you’re in a strong seller’s market, you’ll want to be conservative and heed advice from your real estate professional.

3. Builder incentives

If you’re buying a house that is brand new, there’s a good chance builders may push to close the books on their year—and meet quotas. They may offer upgrades or little extras to sell houses before the calendar turns.

4. Available movers

Many moving companies are booked six weeks or more in advance during the busy summer months. In the fall and winter, it’s normally easier to secure the services of a moving company or rental equipment on shorter notice.

5. Paying toward something you own

If you’re renting, your monthly check goes toward something that will last you a month: You’ll never see any return on that money. When you buy a house, your monthly mortgage payment goes toward an investment—and ultimately a roof that’s yours.

6. Consistent payments

Landlords can increase your rent. Once you secure a mortgage, you can rely on consistent payments if you have a fixed-rate loan.

7. Freedom to renovate

Modernize your kitchen, paint your home’s exterior neon orange, change your fixtures orreplace your carpeting; whatever inspires you, no one can tell you, “No!”

8. Gaining equity

In the beginning, most of your payment goes toward interest. But gradually more will go toward paying off your principal, meaning you build up equity—or savings—in your home. Another factor in equity is appreciation: As home values rise, so does your rate of equity.

via Realtor.com

WHY USE A LOCAL PADRE ISLAND REALTOR?

Local-Realtors-corpus-christi

WHY USE A LOCAL REALTOR?

This question probably prods every seller at one point or another…it’s your property, aren’t you the best suited to sell it? Perhaps. Then again, let me explain why maybe not. As a buyer, it’s just as critical to use a local Realtor. It comes down to the three Ts: Tools, Training, Transaction-Related Matters.

Tools:

Real estate agents have tools, and they don’t come in a box or on a belt. One of these tools is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is a system paid for by agents to showcase listings to all other agents. It also allows us to see and search every other property for sale, along with what’s closed, what’s under contract, etc…always in real time. Because the MLS dates back decades, it is trend and individual property history at our fingertips. It gives agents the unique ability to create a comparative market analysis on your property with the knowledge we have from recent closures. As a tight-knit community, we have a network of other agents and a network of title company experts who keep us up-to-date on changes to contracts and changes to the law. We are vested in the community where we live and work, and where you want to live or sell. We are familiar with the local market, building guidelines, and numerous specifications that our seaside area requires.

Training:

OK, it sounds like we’re running a marathon, but seriously, sometimes a real estate transaction feels like one! Real Estate Agents went to a school focused specifically on real estate and can help you navigate the (sometimes rough) terrain. Both a national and a state required exam must be passed to become licensed. Pricing, contract paperwork, real estate finance and law, these are all areas we’re proficient in and experts at. Likewise, we’re required to continue our education with a certain number of hours each year to ensure we stay informed and updated on the ever-changing regulations occurring in this industry. Also, not all real estate licensees are the same; only those who are members of the National Association of Realtors are properly called REALTORS and can proudly display that trademark on marketing and sales literature.

Transaction-Related Matters:

This comes down to the meat and potatoes of it all, concerning the contract itself, to the negotiations, to possible repair work, to closing details, and every possible scenario in between. It also heavily involves our Code of Ethics – for over 100 years, this code ensures agents treat their clients professionally and ethically. These ethics are strictly enforced, and you know you will be working with a true professional who focuses on your needs and wants. Your agent is accountable for fulfilling their full “fiduciary responsibilities” to you (has your best interest in mind from finances to full disclosure to confidentiality).  Realtors are committed to treat all parties in a transaction honestly. An independent survey reported that 84% of home buyers would use the same Realtor again.

The best agent I know once told me, “You’ve done your job if you’ve made it look easy.” So I invite you to relax…have a lemonade…allow us to make the process appear as seamless as possible.

Rapidly Diminishing REO Foreclosure Sales

The number of foreclosed home sales has been rapidly falling and could essentially vanish by next year. Those who specialize in foreclosure sales should therefore look towards other line of business.

  • In August, foreclosed sales comprised only 6 percent of all home sales transactions, down from double-digit figures last year and from near 30 percent few years further back.
    In addition to fewer distressed properties on the market currently, there is very little in the pipeline. The number of foreclosure starts is essentially back-to-normal with only 0.4 percent of mortgages undergoing that process. Moreover, mortgages originated in the past four years are one of the best performing with very little defaults.
  • We should nonetheless be mindful that the overall count of seriously delinquent mortgages and those homes in some stage of foreclosure process are still above historical normal because some states have been very slow to process the required paper work. For example, some homeowners who have not been paying mortgages for 2 or 3 years are still living in the home in Florida and New Jersey. But the broad figure on seriously delinquent borrowers has been sliced in half over the past three years.
    The bottom line there is that foreclosed sales could be in the 1 to 3 percent next year – essentially back the normal market conditions. Fewer distressed properties will also help with the overall appraisal process of not using bad comparable.
  • REALTOR business tip. From time-to-time there will be a homebuyer who takes a very long time to decide. After viewing 30 homes, they will ask for few more, and on and on. One way to help on the decision, according to psychology studies on human behavior, is to provide extreme alternatives that the consumer will certainly not buy. For example, showing a home that is outside of the buyer’s price criteria or a foreclosed home can help speed the decision. Since foreclosed homes are on the decline, one has to use other alternative extreme comparisons.
  • A similar decision process applies in politics. Research shows undecided voters wanting to gravitate towards the middle for no other reason than not wanting to be extreme. Therefore a portrayal of political opponent as an extremist will help get votes for your candidate. That is why negative political advertisements, though nasty and unpleasant to view, is said to work in helping undecided voters make up their mind.

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Source:  National Association of Realtors

Next Stop for Median Home Prices $200,000

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CORPUS CHRISTI – The cost of an average home in Corpus Christi will exceed $200,000 before the end of the year, economic and housing industry experts say.

The average single-family home in the city fetched $199,300 in July, according to the most updated figures provided by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Jim Lee doesn’t expect the price tag to stay there.

In fact, it’ll likely inch further up before Christmas, he said.

“We’ve been seeing appreciation for months, but ($200,000) is a benchmark we’re going to hit soon,” said Lee, the chief economist at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “This is a head up for next year’s tax bill. It’s going to go up.”

He credited the upswing to a fierce surge in demand for homes, which he attributed to growth from the Eagle Ford Shale energy play.

The average price for a home in Corpus Christi spiked to a record $202,700 in May, but dropped to $197,000 the next month, according to the most updated figures provided by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. It was at $199,300 in July. Lee said prices could climb as much as 10 percent by the end of the year. And that likely will mean property taxes also will increase.

“As (home) prices go up, so too do the taxes,” Lee said. “Another 10 percent … will be a burden on homeowners. They need to be ready for it.”

In an interview Wednesday with the Caller-Times, Lee described today’s housing landscape is somewhat reminiscent of the 2004-05 home-buying market, which ended in a downturn. The difference then was the Corpus Christi housing market more closely followed the national housing trend, and was not being guided by a fertile-and-booming oil market.

Scores more residents have descended on Corpus Christi in the past two years, lured by the prospect of energy-related jobs and a cost-of-living cheaper than anything in the metropolitan areas. Economists believe as many as 10,000 jobs will spring from it during the next five to seven years.

Statewide, 81,000 single-family homes were sold in Texas in the second quarter of 2014, according to the Texas Quarterly Housing Report, issued by the Texas Association of Realtors. That represents a 1.1 percent increase from the same quarter of 2013.

A total of 2,728 homes in Corpus Christi were sold between January and July, according to the Real Estate Center, which estimated average home prices would hit $194,100 this year.

Homes also are staying on the market half the time they did three years ago. Corpus Christi’s home inventory in July was such that a home will remain on the market for 4.8 months, compared with 10 months in July 2011.

Warren Andrich, president/CEO of the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors, expected more people to take advantage of first-time homebuyers assistance programs in the coming year, even for homes below $200,000. Andrich said the market may be advantageous to homeowners looking to upgrade, but may also present greater challenges for lower- and middle-income homebuyers, who are finding it increasingly hard to purchase.

There are 1,800 to 1,900 houses available in the city, compared with 7,300 homes on the market three years ago. Homes that are considered affordable — because they are listed for a selling price between $125,000 and $160,000 — are scarce in Corpus Christi; there are roughly 200 of them available.

Lee said homeowners had to do a lot of soul searching during the 2004-05 housing downturn. At issue was whether to dump their homes ahead of what would become a major national housing crisis and a global economic recession.

His advice for those tempted to sell while the price tag climbs?

“It’s definitely a seller’s market. Definitely,” Lee said. “But if you sell, where are you going to go? No one knows how long the oil boom will last.”

via Caller Times

THE TRUTH ABOUT FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

foreclosures

Foreclosures: There’s something about them that makes ears perk up. A “good deal” is hard to ignore…but what are the foreclosure auctions all about? Here are some tips and tricks if you ever find yourself with a paddle in your hand, bidding on your very own foreclosure.

1. Bring the funds with you. This must be in the form of cash or a cashier’s check

No personal checks, pre-approval letter, or your mom’s famous coffee cake. These simply won’t cut it.

Because you pay directly on the spot upon winning, you don’t want to overpay as it will take approximately 30 days to get that refund. Instead, if you’re coming with a cashier’s check, come with multiple denominations so that you can add them together to create the appropriate amount. Also, have them made out to you so you can deposit the left over checks back into your bank account. If you win, you simply sign them over.

If, however, you are in an auction online, you have a bit longer to come up with the funds.

*Some companies charge a percentage of the final sales price as a buyer’s fee. Be sure to ask about this, or read the fine print.

2. Do your research: Foreclosures are sold “AS IS, WHERE IS, NO PROMISE OF ANYTHING.”

There is no guarantee of a clear title, functioning plumbing, electrical, structural issues, etc. You must do your due diligence to make sure you know what you may be purchasing. Liens on properties are public record and can be found online or at the local courthouse.

3. Opening bid does not necessarily mean you can get the property at that price.

This number is normally set by the foreclosing lender, and is usually the estimated loan amount owed to the lender. Sometimes, the opening bid is simply an estimated minimum by law that includes only taxes delinquent on the date of judgment, or a number that the creditor believes will spark interest. This minimum bid can be just a tool to get the bidding ball rolling  – but if the bids do not reach the creditors bottom line, then the property will not sell and will go back to the creditor to do with it what they choose.

4. Purchasing an occupied foreclosure.

If the homeowner does not vacate the property after the foreclosure sale, you as the new owner, must give them a formal notice to move out. If they do not, you have the right to bring on an eviction lawsuit. If the person occupying the property is a tenant of the former owner, a different form of action must be taken. There are certain laws that actually protect these types of tenants. It all comes back to doing your research before you purchase so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

5. If you’re the one bidding, you’re the one buying.

There is an exception: By signing a Power of Attorney, you may appoint a representative to bid for you. Sometimes, auction companies may offer live remote bidding by telephone through an auction representative or has live Internet bidding capabilities. There are options if you are unable to attend an auction.

6. If the auction begins at 10, be there before 10., the first Tuesday of every month, at the county courthouse.

Auctions in Texas are the first Tuesday of every month, on the south side of the County Courthouse. The auction may only last 10 minutes total, so be timely, or you may miss the whole thing!

With that said, Texas law requires a three hour window from the time given on the auction notice and when the auction actually happens.

 

If Corpus Christi foreclosures are something that interest you, final words of advice would be: Save your money, do your research, and don’t be late! Happy bidding!

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HOME APPRAISALS!

homeappraisals

Appraisals are a key component to every real estate transaction, with the exception of an all-cash transaction. Whether it’s a property using a mortgage, refinancing an existing mortgage, or selling property, the appraisal matters. But how does the appraisal work and how is it determined? Whether you’re a buyer, owner or seller, the following are important points to understand.

 

Appraisal Definition

The act of judging the value of something by an unbiased professional.

Why Appraise?

Most often, an appraisal is ordered for use in a sales transaction. The appraised value is used to determine whether the property’s contract price is appropriate given its condition, size, location and special features. In a refinance situation, the appraisal serves as a guarantee to the lender that they won’t be loaning more than the property is worth.

Why Do Lenders Care?

For mortgage companies, the property serves as collateral if the borrower defaults on their loan. That is why it is important for lenders to ensure that homeowners are not over-borrowing for a property: If foreclosure occurs, the lender can likely recoup the money it lent by selling the home.

How Appraisal Values Are Determined

Because the appraisal primarily protects the lender, they are normally the ones to order the appraisal. It’s important to note that an appraisal must be made by a qualified and licensed appraiser; someone who has no direct or indirect interest in the transaction and who is familiar with the area.

Once the lender has ordered the appraisal with a recognized appraiser, they will not only visit the property and conduct a thorough visual inspection, but they’ll also compare recent sales of similar properties. Factors that may influence the value will be some of the home’s amenities, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, floor plan functionality and square footage. The appraiser may also note any conditions that adversely affect the property’s value and, if necessary, may request repairs to fulfill the loan.
The appraiser then provides a report with the appraisal value, which includes an analysis and conclusions about the property’s value based on his or her observations. The appraiser’s detailed report costs several hundred dollars, and typically, the buyer/borrower is responsible for paying this fee.

Knowledge For Buyers

If the appraisal comes in at or above the sales price on your contract, the transaction proceeds as planned. However, if the appraisal comes in low, it can derail the transaction. If the seller is willing to come down in price to the appraised value, you’re back on track. After all, you both have the same goal: Get the property to close! But if the seller will not come down, you may consider negotiating to meet somewhere in the middle, or even terminating the contract altogether. Because the lender will not loan over the appraised value, it keeps buyers from overpaying.

Knowledge For Sellers

If the appraisal comes in low, but is accurate, you will likely have to lower your property’s sale price to allow the transaction to move forward toward closing. As we already know, lenders won’t approve loans for more than a home is worth, and holding out for an all-cash buyer is a risky move and possibly improbable.
If you think that your property’s appraisal has been incorrectly valued or it has been dragged down by the sales prices of nearby foreclosures and short sales, you have options.  Depending on the type of loan, you may be given the opportunity to convince the appraiser that your home is worth more. If a low appraisal is standing in your way, consider getting a second opinion. Appraisers are only humans after all, and can and do sometimes make mistakes and/or have faulty or incomplete information.

Knowledge For Refinancing Homeowners

Your property needs to appraise at or above the amount you want to refinance for your loan to be approved if you have a conventional mortgage. On the contrary, if you have an FHA mortgage, you can refinance through the FHA Streamline program without an appraisal.

Crux

Even though the appraisal is just one of the dozens of moving parts that must get ticked off on the loan-closing checklist, it is a critical player. Know what it means for you in the role you play in the transaction. Don’t be afraid of the dreaded appraisal…Knowledge is power!

Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club

Welcome to the “New Coast, Now!”

mT=f(P2 + t + s + a)

But what does this mean?

Motivated team = function (Passionate People + training + strategy + accountability)

This is Legacy International Resort Properties’ winning formula for their brand new resort, Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club.

Designed by award-winning developers Bart Koonz and Red McCombs, this community has it all…Beach. Bay. Golf.

Philip Jelufka, President and CEO of Legacy International, outlined the resort’s 5 Key Differentiators at a discussion hosted by San Jacinto Title Company on May 14, 2014 at the Comfort Suites on Upper Padre Island. They are:

  1. World-class golf course
  2. Expertise in financing and world-class management and developing
  3. Beach. Bay. Golf.
  4. Product offering – homes, condos, hotel, etc.
  5. Being a part of New Coast. Now.

This 700-acre resort is designed to be pedestrian friendly, with a grand opening date of August 2, 2014.

June 10, 2014 Coastline Properties toured the site. Tiffany Pritchard, Sales Executive, has shared her unmatched knowledge of the resort and outlined each detail, big and small!

This walkable community is made up of Village North, Village South, and the Marina (refer to photo below). The Marina, northwest of Village North (Map1, in orange) will house 150 uncovered boat slips on the bay side. Adjacent to the marina is the intercoastal waterway and close proximity to the airport.

Map 1 Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club

Across 361 then is Village North. The green plots (Map 2 Picture Below, Village North) you see are home sites – there are a limited number available. These range in price from $195,000 – $815,000. There are currently 4 preferred builders, but yes, you can bring in your own. By the end of summer, 8 homes will have broken ground. Once you purchase a home site, you have 2 years before you are required to start construction.

Map 2 – Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club

Three of the 4 builders are:

  1. Keystone Company – 3 bed/4 bath, 2,826 sq. ft.
  2. Conner Coastal Homes – 4 bed/4.5 bath, 2,504 sq. ft.
  3. T. Kypke Builder Inc. – 4 bed/4.5 bath, 2,840 sq. ft.
  4. Buckwild Builders – 4 bed/4 bath, 2,942 sq. ft.

The vertical village concept will keep the resort pedestrian friendly and architecturally consistent. Each home must have a minimum of 2 stories, but some home sites allow for a 3.5 story maximum. Homes that dead-end will have towers atop them to further enhance village feel and ‘curb’ appeal.

Want to use your home as an investment opportunity? No problem – there is on-site management for homes in the rental pool.

The yellow blocks you see (Map 2) are for future development, but “yet to be determined” regarding what kind. The resort take its cues from the market to identify what it wants. More homes? More condos? Do you have a good idea? Feel free to write in and give us your own input!

Then you’ll see the grey area (Map 2), where Seagate Condominiums will go. Set to be finished in 2015, the condo is “breaking ground” in June (wait, that’s now!!), and will be going vertical in the next several months. These units are also available for sale, and will be located near the entrance of the village once you pass the Welcome Center. The L shaped condominium will be 4 floors high, totally 9 different floor plans to choose from. There will be 18 condos in total, ranging between $365,000 to $985,000.

Floor One:

  • Juniper Floor Plan – 3 bed/2 bath, 1,524 sq. ft., patio 143 sq. ft.
  • Jasmine Floor Plan – 2 bed/2 bath, 1,372 sq. ft., patio 168 sq. ft.
  • Lantana Floor Plan – 1 bed/2 bath, 1,040 sq. ft., patio 179 sq. ft.

Floor Two:

  • Mesquite Floor Plan – 3 bed/2 bath, 1,646 sq. ft., balcony 180 sq. ft.
  • Mulberry Floor Plan – 2 bed/2 bath, 1,357 sq. ft., balcony 180 sq. ft.
  • Myrtle Floor Plan – 2 bed/2 bath, 1,407 sq. ft., balcony 256 sq. ft.

Floor Three:

  • Palmetto Floor Plan – 3 bed/4 bath, 2,817 sq. ft., balcony 344 sq. ft.
  • Retama Floor Plan – 2 bed/3 bath, 1,971 sq. ft., balcony 189 sq. ft.

Floor Four:

  • Wisteria Floor Plan – two stories, 3 bed/4 bath, 2,271 sq. ft., 3rd floor balcony 545 sq. ft, 4th floor balcony 143 sq. ft.

* The third and fourth floor(s) have 6, 2 story units.

But what about fees?

Home sites

  • $3000 per year Homeowners Association (HOA) fees

Seagate Condos

  • 36 cents per square foot on master HOA fees
  • $1200 per year for pool and amenities fees

So now that we know about the ‘designer’ living here, what does the resort offer in terms of amenities and entertainment?

  • Golf: This 222 acre, 18 hole “gold” course is (as of August, 2013) managed by internationally renowned Troon Golf, and designed by Award-Winning Arnold Palmer Signature Courses. The grass on the tees and fairways are Seashore Paspalum. A fine choice due to its tolerance to heat, salt water, and dense root system(s), which provide desirable turf-like characteristics and is the same grass used on the Augusta course. Although this will still remain a public course, resort owners will be privy to some perks (perks program is currently in the works). The clubhouse has a new restaurant named the Black Marlin, which boasts sophisticated, yet fun and fresh coastal dishes. The outdoor seating is set up with hanging lights, a stage, and even a bar 3 stories up overlooking the gulf.
  • Grand Lawn: Next to the clubhouse and Black Marlin, there will be a grand lawn, which can be used to host events.
  • Hotel: This will likely be a Hyatt boutique hotel, meant to provide luxury to those coming to spend a relaxing weekend away, likely with a spa and a pool. But it will also have a conference room and both casual and fine dining. Soon to be an overnight golf destination sensation, they’re expecting an influx of golfers to come and stay a night or two. A hotel on the premises is the convenience they’ll seek.
  • Pool: A brand new pool, bar, and amenities center (located near the home sites and Seagate Condos) is set to open this summer, equipped with loungers, umbrellas, and cabana boys serving chilled grapes. OK, I made that last part up, but there WILL be cabanas.
  • Beach: It’s right there!! Perfect for fun in the sun, waves, shelling, and birding. Private beach access with dune crossover will be built to provide private beach access.

Although the developers currently have their hands full concentrating mainly on developing Village North, Village South and the Marina may not be far behind – it will be exciting to see it all unfold.

Arnold Palmer himself quotes this project as an “enthusiasm I haven’t felt in a while.” That’s good enough for me!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 847-830-2087 or whitney@coastline-properties.com for additional information. The Palmilla Beach Resort Welcome Center can also answer your questions at 361-749-3628. Or simply visit palmillabeach.com and click around!

Great “New” Listing Below

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 225309 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

 

New Plans being Laid for Lake Padre Area

What do Bricktown, Oklahoma City and North Padre Island, Corpus Christi have in common? A water taxi system! Or at least, soon to be.

With Schlitterbahn, Harbor Marina, and Island Walk Village coming in phases to Padre Island, this picturesque canal system linking the island’s main attractions will bring new tourism and new life into the Island. Paul Schexnailder, a partner in the project, highlighted some of the main and most exciting aspects today at the State of the Islands talk, held at the Comfort Suites by San Jacinto Title Services.

CLICK ON PICTURE BELOW TO BLOW UP AND DOWNLOAD OR PRINT A COPY

Schlitterbahn, still set for a soft opening at the end of May, is part of Phase I. Although rain and labor has hurt the construction schedule, Jeff Henry, co-owner, has said this is the best park he has ever built. And we’re OK with that…good things come to those who wait! Here’s why!

The main clubhouse boosts four stories of fun.

  • 1st Floor: “Fajitas” restaurant and retail space
  • 2nd Floor: The floor for the locals – will have TVs, a lounge, a game room, and food and drinks
  • 3rd Floor: A 4500 square foot event center, equipped with 6 meeting rooms
  • 4th Floor: Fine dining open to the public, as well as  a private dining room for golf course and park members only
  • There will also be roughly 80 hotel rooms in the building 

To top it off? The clubhouse overlooks an Amphitheater that can hold approximately 2000 people. This was not in the original plans, but it sounds like the perfect place for some great island venues. You got fins to the left, fins to the right… 

Harbor Marina, set to be operating this time next year, will be instrumental in the “Water Taxi” System. Referring to the maps provided, Cruiser canal is being expanded to continue straight and curve to go toward the marina. See the arrows on the maps? That is where a new bridge is going to go (between Commodores and Whitecap). It will orchestrate boat and pedestrian traffic by 3 separate arches. The center arch will be for the boats, and the two arches on either side will be for pedestrians and golf carts. The canal archway will have a 13 foot clearance, whereas the two pedestrian archways will have a 10 foot clearance. The canals will be finished late 2015, early 2016, and the bridge has an end-of-the-year completion date. 

Island Walk Village is an Ingredient in Phase II. And yes, I am talking restaurants. It will be the site of at least 6 restaurants all up and down the newly dug canal system (will there be gondola rides in our future?). The structures will house the eateries on the main levels by the water, and then living spaces above that. Worried about parking? Don’t. The village has been drawn to have about 1400 parking spots.

..And even though gossip of a grocery store is spinning, those in “the know” are being understandably coy about the details. The good news is, there WILL be one!

This hardly touches the exciting developments the island will see over the next 5-10 years. The good news is that we have a built-in market here on our coast, and something tells me it won’t be “off the grid” much longer.

Did You Hear the Real Estate Forecast?

Home values are expected to Rise Through 2018!

Yes, a majority of forecasters and predicting & expecting large-scale investors to sell off the bulk of homes in their portfolios in the next three to five years.  They are also expecting ‘nationwide’ that home value appreciation to be about 4.5% this year, with a steady slowdown in appreciation rates each year through 2018.

The forecasters are also thinking that based on current expectations for home value appreciation during the next five years, they are predicting that overall U.S. home values would exceed their April 2007 peak by the first quarter of 2018.  We’ll see.  We are trying to keep our fingers on the pulse of what we hope will be coming down the pipeline.  Watch for more information as we receive!

M&G Chemicals Plant Update: Corpus Christi Site

On Thursday, February 13th, at the Padre Island Business Association lunch, Jeff Shea, Site Manager for M&G Chemicals, spoke to update us on the M&G Chemicals PET/PTA Facility.

The privately owned company has locations all throughout the world, but this site here on Port Corpus Christi, Inner Harbor (across from Flint Hills Resources) will be the largest plant yet.

WHAT WILL THE PLANT PRODUCE?

The plant produces polyethylene terephthalate (PET for short), which is a safe and easily recyclable plastic polymer used mainly for containers of all sorts due to its superior water and moisture barrier quality. It will also produce the PET key raw material, purified terephthalic acid (PTA). Production is estimated at 1200 KMT/yr (kilometric tons per year) of PTA and 1000 KMT/yr of PET. This process is FDA approved, and a $1 billion investment.

CO-GENERATION PLANT

This means the plant intends to produce its own electricity. They will do this by using natural gas combustion for electricity, steam and heat. This is efficiency by using “waste.” Water usage is also at the forefront of the plant, as its projected to use approximately 6 million gallons per day. So M&G plans to generate their own water so Corpus Christi doesn’t suffer from drought due to the plant. They will bring in water from the Gulf, pull out the salt, and then put the brine back into the ocean. The technology used here is called “reverse osmosis membrane.”

WHY CORPUS CHRISTI?

According to Shea, “you guys got it all!” (which we already knew J). Corpus is located on the Gulf, it has easy access to three railroads, there are six refineries around, deep-water access, and there is Port access to the Bay and Viola Channel.

BENEFITS TO CORPUS CHRISTI?

This is thought to be an international investment to the area in that it holds the possibility of attracting upsteam and downstream industries as a result of the M&G investment, as this is a company with a proven track record of renewable resources. Not to mention, it will generate many jobs.

LET’S TALK JOBS AND TIMELINE

Jobs:

  • 250 direct full-time employees
  • 700 indirect employees
  • 3,000 construction workers at its peak (5 million man hours!)

Timeline:

  • Summer 2014 – Federal Air Permit received
  • 2nd Quarter of 2014 – Construction begins
  • 4th Quarter of 2015 – Construction completed
  • 1st Quarter of 2016 – Plant commissioned and operational

MAYOR NELDA MARTINEZ: STATE OF THE CITY

“Bold and Balanced Growth” is how Mayor Martinez described our Emerald City by the Bay, Corpus Christi – and she isn’t kidding. On the afternoon of February 6, 2014, at the American Bank Center, she touched on two major statistics that will hopefully make a big impact in the Real Estate realm this coming year.

Corpus Christi is one of the fastest growing metro economies in the United States coming in at No. 10 with a 3.8% increase in 2013 and a projected 3.1% increase for 2014. This is also due to a 4.3% rise in jobs. More people coming to Corpus = more buyers in the real estate market! Finally, the scale is tipping.

Mayor Martinez also pointed out that since 2010, there has been a housing rise of 19%. There has been a sizeable increase in new construction in Corpus, creating roughly 3,800 new jobs in 2013. Why would there be this kind of boom in new construction you ask? Because we want to be prepared for the economic growth that is expected. From 2012 to 2013, there was a 32% increase in new residential permits alone.

With that though, there has been a shortage of affordable housing. The city is attempting to change this by building some low-income housing, such as The Palms at Leopard, to accommodate 120 apartments, which broke ground Nov. 14, 2013, on Leopard Street. The goal is to offer a healthy mix of housing options throughout Corpus Christi, and to continue with neighborhood cleanups.

As for the Island, Schlitterbahn is projected to bring mass amounts of people to the park, increasing the growth and relevance of the island. Property values are expected to increase due to this exposure, and there will certainly be many more people looking to buy and rent around the island.

Onward and upward, Corpus Christi!

Drones: The Next Big Thing in Real Estate Photography?

Move over Google Earth. The Drone may soon be invading the aerial photography kingdom. These drones don’t listen to private conversations, nor are they combative, but they can be a highly useful tool for Real Estate Agents!

Traditionally, aerial photos for Real Estate were taken by photographers in privately hired helicopters, and even more recently, Google Earth.

But a new twist may be coming onto the scene – remote operated Drones equipped with cameras. The operator is able to direct the drone around and above any piece of desired real estate.

If you haven’t already droned me out (pun intended), consider how an aerial view can be a worthy exposure. As a seller, you are able to showcase the property in its entirety, along with its surrounding areas. Favorable differences from your standard point-and-shoot camera might more effectively show yard size vs. house size, the leveling of the land, angles, quality of roofing, etc – These features may be hard to visualize unless seen from a bird’s eye view.

A house on the water is said to be valued around 3 times that of an inland home. The use of a drone that would show proximity to water, would be valuable.

But don’t go placing your orders just yet. In an effort to protect the surveillance of private properties, Texas law passed Sept. 1 states that using drones for real estate photography is illegal and punishable by a fine. It might be three years before the savvy camera-carrying unmanned aircraft can capture your property of choice.

Loophole? House Bill 912 Senate Version (1E) states that “Code include a person who: (8) with the consent of the individual captured in the image and the individual who owns or lawfully occupies the real estate property captured in the image.”

Here’s to hoping we’re at least many decades away from robots selling the properties, too!

 

It’s a new year, but what’s in? New vs. Existing Homes

North Padre Island (Upper Padre Island)

….started developing in the 70’s, and with Schlitterbahn on the horizon, the island is becoming more and more desirable to purchase. It seems like building your dream home has been on the upward trend. But what are the advantages of an existing home? A buyer has one of two options: Embrace the new or embrace the existing. Here are some variables that outline the pros of each!

Character and Uniqueness

New: Build the character that you want! Do you like the bay windows of a Victorian, the half-timbering of a Tudor, and a central chimney of a Colonial home? You have the liberty to mix and match!

Existing: You get true history, vintage hardware, and maybe a hidden crawl space! Personality shines through, as this house is less likely to look like your neighbors.

Bang for your buck

New: If you’re building, you can choose which materials to splurge on, and where to cut costs. Go for brick on the exterior, but laminate floors on the interior. If a huge crystal chandelier in your entry reigns supreme, consider offsetting your must-haves with less expensive detailing in other areas.

Existing: You can often get a larger, older home for less per square foot than you might pay in a new home. Looking to gain a little profit? Flip it!

Quality Craftsmanship

New: Builders have fine-tuned their skills and in a timely manner! The average 3-bedroom house can go up in about 3 months. Here, you can get efficiency, and have it done quickly.

Existing: In years past, craftsmanship was an art and materials are more likely to be the real deal: Brick, hardwood floors, custom molding.

Desirable Location

New: You have options! There are lots to buy, or houses to renovate or demolish. With the right vision and plan, you can have the location of your dreams.

Existing: More times than not, the fabulous locations were snatched up a long time ago. Location, location, location. You’ve heard it a thousand times. But that’s because it’s important! Here on Padre, the first homes built probably have the best views and biggest lots.

Test of Time

New: You don’t have to wonder how previous owners treated the property. If you maintain your home and property, it is probably going to last you a very long time. The ball is in your courtyard!

Existing: If the home is still standing, something was done right! This goes hand in hand with the craftsmanship. If properly built, that house will last to see many generations play capture the flag and to host decades of turkey dinners.

Landscaping

New: You have a blank canvas! Plant the trees, bushes, and flowers that you want to see grow over the years. Prefer the maintenance free kind of yard? Rock out with a rock garden.

Existing: Mature landscaping can be a huge advantage to buyers and sellers. It takes many years for trees to grow big! The older the home, the bigger the trees.They provide privacy, shade, curb appeal, and heck, they can even increase the value of the home!

Grandfather Clauses

New: Your home will be up-to-date with all the most recent requirements.

Existing: When a new zoning ordinance or code comes into effect, these older homes will likely be granted a grandfather clause, meaning they are not in violation of the law. For instance, you may be given a grandfathered rate of flood insurance in a place where the risk of flood has since increased. Always ask about grandfather clauses on an older property – you may be pleasantly surprised by what advantages you have over your neighbors!

There is so much to consider, and lots of options awaiting you on Padre Island. Best of luck in your adventures!

2013 was Good……2014 should be even Better!

Austin Business Journal:  Corpus Christi blows Austin away in construction job growth!

Best Performing Cities Index by the Milken Institute:

Corpus Christi ranks 17th best performing Large City in America.

Corpus Christi is the 5th fastest metro employment growth in the Nation.

Global Insight for the US Metro Economies report: Based upon Gross Metropolitan Product, Corpus Christi ranks 10th!

Projects breaking ground this year:

Cheniere Energy – $12B LNG plant

Voestalpine – $700 million processing plan (largest Austrian project in the US)

M&G Resins – $900 million PTA/PET plant(the largest such facility in the world)

Occidental Petroleum announced a joint venture with Mexichem to build a $1.5B project in Ingleside.

Corpus is becoming a ‘global’ community.  TPCO (Chinese), Voestalpine (Austrian), M&G Resins (Italian), Trafigura (Swiss), Mexichem (Mexican) are sending people to Corpus regularly to do business ‘right here!’

Tourism:  Spring/Summer Schlitterbahn Country Beach Water Resort opening  their park/resort on North Padre Island’s – first phase.

New Home Starts:  Up 60% over the last two years.  Homes sales are up, prices are up and major construction are up!

So, come on 2014…….we’re ready for you!!!

Come Coast Awhile………with us!

Truth about the Option Period in a Real Estate Contract!

Did you know?

Did you know the standard contract for buying a home in Texas contains a clause for an Option Period?

The Option Period is the time during which the buyer can cancel the contract for any reason, without penalties. A buyer pays for the option period, usually a small amount of $100 and for a standard of 10 days. During this 10 days, the buyer can run inspections and negotiate any repairs with the seller. If an agreement cannot be made, the buyer can back out of the contract with only losing the $100. If the buyer does purchase the property, the $100 is credited to them at closing.

One thing that many realtors, buyers and sellers often question is when the option period starts. A contract is executed and binding when both parties agree and have both signed the contract. This is considered the executed date which is written into the contract above the sellers and buyers signatures. The option period starts the next day.

Example: If a buyer and seller agree and sign on November 20, 2013, the option period would start on November 21, 2013 and end at midnight on November 30, 2013.

An option period is the best money a buyer can spend when purchasing a home!

Showdown With the Shutdown: Tales of How the Government Closures are Affecting Real Estate

The effects of the government shutdown are rippling through the real estate industry, and practitioners are feeling the pain all over the country. Most of the complaints we’re fielding are about USDA loans, which have been entirely frozen. Real estate pros are seeing deals fall apart, as the Department of Agriculture has shuttered its mortgage division during the shutdown.

But agents and brokers whose clients hold every type of loan are getting slammed. Though the FHA is still operational, it has drastically reduced its staff, causing widespread delays in the processing of FHA loans. And while the IRS is down, it can’t verify tax documents tied to conventional, FHA, or any other loans. That translates to many real estate deals being put on hold — or just disintegrating.

It’s becoming a madhouse out there for many practitioners fighting to keep deals alive as the shutdown puts a stranglehold on the market. We’ve gotten a few of their stories.

David Harman Jr., ABR, CRS, GRI
Associate broker, Century 21 Harman
Orem, Utah

Everything that was once in the former townhouse of Harman’s clients is now in Harman’s garage: furniture, memorabilia, even a refrigerator full of food. His clients were about to get approval for a USDA loan at the end of September, and they had long picked out the home of their dreams. Then the shutdown happened, the loan was stopped dead in its tracks, and Harman’s clients — a married couple with two kids of their own and three foster children — had nowhere to go. They had already told their landlord that they would be gone at the start of October, and another tenant was already moving in.

“They’re first-time home buyers. The only way they could afford a home was through the USDA program,” Harman says. “It’s just so sad because these guys were so close to getting their first home, and they were so excited.”

The Friday before the shutdown went into effect, Harman received word that the USDA needed just one final question answered before approving the loan. The next Monday, it all fell apart.

Harman offered his garage as a place to store his clients’ belongings while they were forced to move in with a relative. Even then, their family was split up.

“I guess the foster kids are back with the state,” Harman says, adding that there’s no way they would have been allowed to stay with them in their current living situation.

To make matters worse, the sellers of the home Harman’s clients were going to purchase is now threatening to sink the deal. At first, they were only allowing a one-week closing extension when they found out the buyers’ loan was backed up because of the shutdown, Harman says. Now, the sellers say they’re not even sure they want to sell anymore. Harman says he continues to try to negotiate an extension, but “we don’t know how long an extension to ask for. Is it a day? Is it a month? We don’t know.

“I try to call every day and talk to [my clients],” Harman says. “That’s all I can do is talk to them and reassure them that I’m doing everything I can. … I don’t even know if they’re going to want to buy a house anymore. It’s been such a nightmare.”

Marsha Byrum
Salesperson, Coldwell Banker College Real Estate
Oxford, Ohio

“My clients were at the tail end of a USDA loan,” Byrum says. “They still have hope that the government will resume and they will close on their USDA loan.”

But drastic times call for drastic measures, so Byrum’s clients are starting all over again, applying for another loan as a backup plan. The clients, she says, are applying for a conventional loan this time, in hopes that it will be easier — and faster — to get while the government shutdown continues with no resolution in sight. But it’ll come with a big price.

“The conventional financing will end up costing them more each month, and now they have to use their savings for a down payment,” Byrum says. They were originally planning to use their savings to buy furniture, she adds.

“Not only that, but if they were going to go regular financing rather than USDA, there were other homes in other areas that could have been an option,” Byrum continues. “But they wanted to take advantage of the wonderful government-offered USDA financing.”

All of this has left a bad taste in Byrum’s mouth: “The government is like a common crook that pulls an unsuspecting person in with no remorse of not following through on its promise.”

Lori Young, SFR
Broker-president, Young Realty Group, Inc.
Naples, Fla.

Young’s frazzled. She represents sellers in several deals that are saddled on the sidelines because the IRS is unable to verify buyers’ tax return documents to approve their loans. Many of the deals are for short sales. One is for a property that has a tax lien filed against it. Young was in the process of trying to get the IRS to issue a document of release to the seller with the tax lien. But all of that is in limbo now.

“Overall, I approached the shutdown as an issue out of the real estate professional’s control and that I will monitor daily,” Young says. “Once reopen, we will continue to push our files.

“I’m not sure what is going on, but I’m lucky that my sellers and the buyers are all being patient,” she adds.

Who knows how long that patience will last, though.

Young has 16 short-sale deals on the table, and they’re all on hold “with some type of excuse blaming the shutdown,” she says. “Some are stating Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are holding up approvals, and others are stating ‘the investor’ has not approved the deal. I’m a bit concerned about my short sales, which are homestead properties that need to close by year’s end to avoid any additional tax implications.”

Young says she communicates every day with her clients and updates them on any new information she learns related to their deals. That’s what helps keep them calm. But with all these balls in the air, it seems like Young could use some calming herself.

How does she do it?

“I go to yoga class,” she says.

Laura
Marketing manager, Keller Williams Realty
Sarasota, Fla.

By the end of October, Laura, who asked to withhold her last name, and her 8-year-old son will be couch-surfing. The single mom was in line to close on her USDA loan and move into her new home with her little boy by Oct. 20. But now that USDA loan processing has come to a halt, they’ll be making very different plans.

“Even if the government reopened tomorrow, they wouldn’t be able to process my loan until December,” Laura says. “I haven’t come up with a plan for what we’re going to do for the next couple of months.”

She had already committed to moving out of her current place by the end of October, and she doesn’t have the option of extending her stay, she says. Luckily, a few of her co-workers at her 150-person Keller Williams Realty office have offered to open up their homes to her and her son — but that comes with its own set of problems.

“Staying in someone else’s house who you’ve only known for a year, especially with an 8-year-old — it just seems like such an inconvenience to them,” Laura says. And then there’s her son, an even bigger and more important concern. “I want him to have a stable environment,” she says, “but we may have to house-hop for a while.”

Laura says that she has no family in the area. She’s even offered to pay extra to her home’s builder to move in before the loan closes, but the builder wouldn’t except the deal, she says. So until this mess can get straightened out, she’s taking it one day at a time.

“I’m very humble and resourceful — we’ll figure something out,” Laura says.

Pam Aguirre, CRS
Broker-associate, RE/MAX Legends Group
Indianapolis

Aguirre says one of her latest listings is a “show stopper.” It’s a completely renovated three-bedroom, four-bathroom single-family home with newly redone hardwood floors, a remodeled master suite with walk-in closet, new porch, self-closing cabinets, and new finishes. It came on the market just days after the government shutdown went into effect — and Aguirre hasn’t had a single showing yet.

“I feel our marketplace has gotten very quiet” since the shutdown, Aguirre says. “I’m not surprised by the slowdown. I think consumers in general are still very uneasy about the economy, their buying power, and the possibility that a government shutdown may bring a return of what happened to the housing market in 2008.”

The slow response to Aguirre’s listing, located in the car-racing enclave of Speedway, Ind., is all the more troubling because it’s close to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a major draw for the area.

“I was tweeting about a new listing coming to Speedway last week, hoping to draw some race teams or fans in. Nothing,” Aguirre says.

She admits that because renovation work on the home is wrapping up, she hasn’t had as many listing photos to show, and that could have an effect on buyer traffic to the property. But still, most of her listings that are in good condition, as this one is, have sold within a couple weeks of coming on the market, she says.

Even for properties in poorer condition, “the phone has been ringing and there have been showings,” Aguirre says. But right now, “the phone has been very quiet.”

via Graham Wood Realtor.com

Business Owners Push to Change Ordinance


A group of downtown business owners are pushing to change a city ordinance that would give code enforcement officers more power to clean up vacant buildings in an area that has become a virtual ghost town.

The Downtown Management District, a group of local business owners, voted at its board meeting Thursday morning to send a recommendation to the city to amend part of a longstanding ordinance that dictates how the city must handle vacant and dilapidated buildings.

The current ordinance prevents the city from inspecting the inside of the building unless there are two code violations visible from the exterior. But since many of the code violations are often on the interior, it is difficult for the city to do anything.

Local business owners have asked the city to amend that part of the ordinance so that only one code violation is required, effectively giving the city more power to crack down on owners who have left their buildings in disrepair.

“Hopefully, this is just one solution to help us get one step closer to fixing up downtown and keeping it the way it should be,” said Casey Lain, owner of the House of Rock and chairman of the management district board.

While the ordinance still does not allow for the city to demolish a vacant building, Lain said it will give the city more teeth in getting owners to comply with the rules. “It’s just a good vibe down here, so it [downtown] needs to be a place that’s good to invest your business in.”

The city is now working on drafting the amendment and is expected to present it to city council sometime this fall.

via KrisTV

Design Plans for Island Water Exchange Bridge Takes Major Step Forward!

Design plans for the proposed Park Road 22/SPID Water Exchange Bridge will move forward before final decision is made on permitting by the Texas Department of Transportation, which means work on the bridge could begin much earlier than expected.

Until last week City Engineers did not plan to begin final design work on the $8.1 million bridge until the TxDot ruling on permitting which is not expected until at least the fall of 2013; this meant that final design of the bridge could not possibly be done until well into 2014, delaying the bridge’s construction and causing potential delays in the digging of the proposed IslandWalk Canal to connect the Schlitterbahn waterpark to amenities including a marina, on the east side of the highway.

That logjam was resolved last Friday when City Manager Ron Olson directed the city engineering staff to proceed with the detail
design of the bridge while awaiting the ruling from TxDot on permitting, which is expected within the next month and will likely be
followed by a public hearing.  Olson’s move clears the way for work on the canals to begin much earlier.  Under his existing permits developer Paul Schexnailder must build water exchange culverts under the roadway connecting the new canal on the west side of the
road to Lake Padre on the east.  However, last year the Corpus Christi City Council approved the use of $8.1 million in bond money to instead replace the culverts with the bridge which would allow for boats to pass underneath as well as pedestrian and golf cart paths.

The current design would allow for water passage through a six-foot deep channel and would include walking and cart paths on each
side along with about a 14-foot clearance from water level to the bridge for boat passage. It would take about one year to complete and
during most of that time traffic on SPID would be reduced to one lane each way As the city moves forward with the final design of the bridge all required permit work is proceeding on the IslandWalk Canal.

by Dale Rankin Island Moon Newspaper

Recent Market Data For North Padre Island

North Padre Island Real EstateDID YOU KNOW??

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT PADRE ISLAND AS OF MARCH 1, 2013

Waterfront Homes / Lots

There are currently 1,917 waterfront homes built on Padre Island.

There are only 189 waterfront lots left to be built on, on Padre Island.

Water Access Homes / Lots

There are currently 1,336 water access homes built on Padre Island.

There are only 1,017 water access lots left to build on, on Padre Island.

If you are even thinking about owning or building on Padre Island in the next 6-12 months we feel there is some urgency as to atleast get fully informed about the current market.  As all the new commercial developments continue here, the cost of Real Estate could go up dramatically within 24 months.  We are here to answer your questions and help you to secure your spot in Paradise, Give us a Call Today at (361) 949 – 0101.

Data provided by Corpus Christi Association of Realtors.

Want to SEARCH all Property available in the MLS in Real TIME?  GET our BRAND NEW SMARTPHONE APP for FREE >> Click HERE

 
 
 





FORBES: Corpus Christi a top City Leading Real Estate Recovery!

corpus christi homesWe are excited to report that FORBES magazine earlier this month listed Corpus Christi as the 9th City that is leading the Nations Housing Recovery!

“This February is by far the best we have seen in the past 5-6 years, if this keeps up we will shatter last year’s numbers for sure” Realtor Cheri Sperling said.

The survey in Forbes was conducted on all metropolitan cities that exceeded the rest of the country statistically. Corpus Christi ranked ninth among 146 cities nationwide, with its low unemployment and median housing prices. The highlight of the article was that our real estate appreciation in the area grew 3.18 percent in 2012.

“We had a pretty good year in 2012,” Corpus Christi Association of Realtors President and CEO Gary Doran said. “We’re recovering well.”

The area housing market had excellent success in 2012 since slumping back in 2007, according to the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors.

This Data, certainly tells the story.

Median sales price of a home sold in the Coastal Bend was $142,500 in 2012, an increase of 5.6 percent from 2011 prices.

As 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 3.88 percent, Corpus Christi experienced an increase of 16.8 percent in units sold in 2012.

When the housing bubble busted in 2007 with a massive credit expansion and subprime loans were given to buyers who were at much higher risk of defaulting. CCAR had lost almost half of its 1,500 members by 2011 after the market had an incredibly slow year.

“Numbers in inventory were extremely low in the MLS, and I remember speaking to many realtors who couldn’t not make a living and had a very difficult time paying their bills,” Cheri Sperling, said.

Today the market has shifted to benefit sellers, with some buyers having houses swept away from them after making an offer.

Cheri Sperling attributes the increase in our housing market to news of Schlitterbahn Water park, increase in inner Texas cities beginning to see Corpus Christi as a great 2nd home destination and of course the expansion of Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas exploration.

The influx of people has brought the rental management side of my business to be at near capacity to almost full, with leased property staying on the market for very short periods of time, Sperling said.

“As our rental prices and demand goes up, it makes it a better market to buy, particularly in many of our dry and waterfront lots” she said.

Residential Home Sales in the Coastal Bend

Category 2011 2012

Homes sold 3,640 4,249

Average sales price $156,751 $170,191

Average days on market 109 120

Median sales price $135,000.00 $142,500.00

30-year fixed rate mortgages 4.25 3.88

Source: Corpus Christi Association of Realtors

Zillow and Trulia Face Backlash from Realtors

By STEVE YODER, The Fiscal Times

February 24, 2012

It used to be a given for anyone selling their house – a realtor would put their listing on national real estate aggregator websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com to maximize exposure and sell homes quickly. But that could be changing fast as the two entities face off.

Since 2005 or so, realtors have shared data about homes they have for sale with those national sites, which have millions of visitors (Zillow, for example, had 32 million last month). But even though the sites have grown, sales haven’t in the distressed housing market, and some agents believe the sites may not be helping. They accuse them of engaging in practices that give buyers inaccurate information that may hurt sales.

Among their complaints are that the sites allow any agent, for a fee, to have their name and photo appear prominently beside homes listed for sale in a given region, even if they aren’t the agent who represents the seller. In reality, the agent in the photo may know little about the property or the neighborhood where the house is located, frustrating customers’ efforts to get accurate answers, according to a report last year by real estate consulting firm Clareity.

Some realtors also claim that many listings on the largest sites are inaccurate. “The wrong photos often appeared with our listings,” says San Diego realtor Jim Abbott, whose firm no longer shares data with the national sites. He also says that the sites kept up listings that were no longer on the market. Clareity CEO Gregg Larson says Zillow and Trulia get information about the same property from multiple sources (like the listing agent, the local multiple listing service, and a syndication service). “The duplicates sneak through, and then you have [the same] listing with different prices, listed by different brokers.”

One Massachusetts realtor, Jack Attridge, notes in a letter to Inman News that because homes he’s listed appear on national sites, he’s often contacted by agents and customers well outside his area who have questions about those properties. Most of the time, they have wrong information, and none of those calls, Attridge wrote, have resulted in a sale.

These and other problems hurt realtors reputations and do nothing to sell houses, they say. Abbott argues that inaccurate web listings, combined with side-by-side links to realtors who know little about the property, frustrate potential buyers and may actually drive them to look elsewhere. He studied three years of his firm’s sales data and compared listings that the company didn’t share with national sites versus those they did. “Time after time, the listings that we did syndicate compared with the listings that we didn’t had no better outcomes,” he says. “In fact the ones we didn’t syndicate often sold faster” and closer to the asking price.

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff has fired back, asserting that an internal company study shows that homes that are in the top 10 percent of page views on Zillow sell more than a month faster than their counterparts in the bottom 10 percent of views and achieve sale prices closer to their asking price. He also says Zillow “invests massive resources in making our listings as accurate as possible.”

Nevertheless, Abbott and a few others have opted out. Minnesota-based Edina Realty fired the first shot in November by announcing they’ll no longer list their data on aggregator sites like Trulia and Realtor. Abbott pulled out on January 27 with a hard-hitting web video announcing his company’s plans. Then on February 6, a bigger player weighed in. Denver-based Metrolist, a multiple-listing service (a member cooperative that realtors jointly buy into that advertises properties locally), announced they’ll no longer allow a Zillow subsidiary to use their data. Some realtors in larger metropolitan areas say they have better local listing service options. “It would only take a few good-sized brokers in every community before these sites either drastically changed how they do business or went away altogether,” says Abbott.

But other industry insiders worry that realtors will lose business by pulling out of the aggregator sites. “All it takes is [brokers who don’t share data] losing a few listings and having a couple of their top-selling agents complain,” Larson says, and “they’ll cave.”

Phoenix realtor Jay Thompson has chosen to continue listing with the sites. “Good luck explaining your decision to not market a listing on high traffic sites,” he writes on his blog. “I can assure you that if a Phoenix area brokerage chooses to do that, then we will use their decision to our advantage.”

Abbott argues the opposite could happen — since he posted his video, he’s had 12 people who were interviewing for an agent to sell their home ask him about his company’s new policy. “We got all 12 of those listings,” he says. Calls to the firm, he says, have “gone through the roof.”

“I have included this post from the Fiscal times earlier this year as it clearly talks about the problem associated with using industry leading apps such as trulia and zillow.  They do a great job presenting data to our clients as they browse local property, but the problem is the data set is usually weeks if not months old and creating a lot of frustration for our clients.  In the very near future we will be providing our clients the latest technology in “REAL TIME” Search that will allow you to download our app or from our website you will be browsing the “LIVE” Multiple Listing Service here in Corpus Christi giving you the very best up to date information that you deserve!  Keep posted to our website for information regarding this in the next few weeks.  Keep smiling… Cheri Sperling”

Corpus Christi Real Estate Market Rebounds Since 2007 Slump!

CORPUS CHRISTI REAL ESTATE PRICES

Gains in existing home sales and median prices during the past three months have lifted the Coastal Bend’s housing market to its highest levels since the local housing slump began in 2007.
Sales closed between April and June numbered 1,172 units, or about a 19 percent increase compared to the same time in 2011, according to figures from the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors.

The median sales price also has risen by more than 8 percent compared with 2011 to $145,367, figures show.

Housing inventory — measured as the amount of time it would take to sell all available existing homes — has dropped almost by half to 5.6 months in June compared with 10 months in June 2011.

There was a monthly average of about 2,200 homes for resale on the area’s housing market during the period, figures show.

The increased buying activity spans all price ranges, said Char Atnip, a residential Realtor and chairman of the realtors association board.

SEARCH THE MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE IN REAL TIME >>>CLICK HERE

“There’s a lot more people who are looking simply because interest rates are so low and prices have not skyrocketed, and it’s a great time to buy a home,” Atnip said.

New home construction activity has also increased compared to 2011.

In Corpus Christi, data from the city’s Development Services department shows there have been 449 permits issued this year for new residential construction through June, up 61 percent from the first six months of 2011.

The permits have an associated project cost of more than $82 million, figures show.

All but one of those permits is for single-family homes, with one being issued for an eight-unit building.

In all of 2011, the city logged 660 new construction permits for projects totaling more than $118 million

The local figures are similar to momentum building in many areas of the country, with builders beginning to respond to growing buyer interest.

U.S. builders broke ground on the most homes in nearly four years in June, The Associated Press reported this week.

MARKET OUTLOOK

The housing inventory of less than six months is approaching the five-month mark, which is what the area experienced during the housing boom between 2004 and 2006, said Jim Lee, economics professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

A normal inventory for the Corpus Christi market is about seven months.

Low inventories typically trigger increased prices as supply dips and demand increases.

Home building can also increase, which is good for local economies, because it generates activity that isn’t exported to other areas, Lee said.

During the area’s most recent housing boom period, construction outpaced the area’s growth rate, which contributed to the slump, Lee said.

Source: Corpus Christi Association of Realtors via Caller Times. Read the original at housing market or housing or home sales, – Google News.

Texas Windstorm Rates on the Rise ??

corpus christi real estate windstorm insurance ratesThe Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has agreed to move forward with several proposals to fund the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), the provider of last resort for windstorm insurance on the Texas Coast.

TWIA has just recently adopted a 5% increase on all residential and commercial windstorm insurance policies issued by TWIA to policyholders in the 14 counties comprising the Texas Coast. This is the third rate increase in the last three years for coastal county residents.

The Commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance has also proposed rules that will establish the funding and financing mechanism to place funds in the catastrophic reserve trust fund to provide coverage for windstorm events along the Texas Coast. This plan provides methodology for the Commissioner to have the Texas Public Finance Authority sell several classes of bonds to fund TWIA losses and expenses in excess of premium and other revenues. The Class 1 Bonds in the amount of $1billion are to be paid for solely by TWIA policyholders in the 14 counties along the Texas Coast. The Class 2 Bonds in the amount of $1 billion are to be paid for 70% by all insurance policyholders, excepting workman’s compensation and health lines, in 14 counties along the Texas Coast and 30% by insurance companies offering policies in the 14 counties along the Texas Coast. TWIA is also proposing a surcharge on all other property and casualty policies held by the owners of TWIA policies in 14 counties along the Texas Coast. The proposed surcharge on the auto insurance policies of residents in the 14 coastal counties could result in uninsured drivers on our streets. The consequences of all of these rate increases could result in an economic catastrophe for the hard working families that live in the Coastal Bend and on the entire Texas coast. The financial hardship will be far-reaching on consumers, lenders, builders, and small businesses and would bring severe economic penalties to the Texas Gulf Coast area.

I encourage all residents, and business owners to please write a letter to Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman, Texas Department of Insurance and stress your opposition to these rate increases. In your letter, please emphasize that the Texas Department of Insurance needs to develop an equitable and reasonable statewide funding formula that does not target and discriminate against the 14 coastal counties.

BREAKING NEWS: Today, the Texas Department of Insurance announced that both hearings would be postponed, thus ending public comment for now.

Join local organizations, businesses, leaders and citizens at a “Rally Against Rates,” Friday, July 13, 2012, 9:45AM on the steps of City Hall. We encourage our friends to bring friends, family, coworkers, and others to let your voice be heard!

I urge you to keep submit your letters prior to the public hearings that the Texas Department of Insurance will be holding in the future. These public hearings are open to the public and everyone is welcomed to attend. When we here the next date of the meeting it will be held at City Council Chambers, City Hall, 1201 Leopard St.

Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman
Texas Department of Insurance
P.O. Box 149104
Austin, Texas 78714-9104

Padre Island Real Estate Facts – Did You Know??

corpus christi real estate facts 2012We have had many people ask for this information over the past 90 days, so we thought it would be very helpful for all to see how Padre Island is growing by leaps and bounds.  The Island is getting set for another major expansion, are you ready to take advantage of all of the great investment opportunities out there?
 
 
 

Padre Island Facts as of 6/28/2012:

197 vacant single family waterfront lots remaining – – 1,805 have homes on them

1065 vacant single family water access/dry lots remaining – – 1,399 have homes on them

99 vacant multifamily waterfront lots remaining – – 145 have been built on

151 vacant multifamily water access/dry lots remaining – – 75 have been built on

18 vacant duplex waterfront lots remaining – – 78 have been built on

39 vacant duplex water access/dry lots remaining – 65 have been built on

Give Us a Call Today, so we can talk with you about the incredible Real Estate Opportunities Available on Padre Island, TX.