Monday, December 17, 2012

Spectacular New Non-MLS Listing - zoned to Briargrove Elementary!

video

Check out this video for this spectacular new listing in Briarbend!  It's been extensively remodeled and decorated beautifully!  It's zoned to Briargrove Elementary.  The agent is only doing showings this weekend ONLY (December 22nd & 23rd) and I work with her and would be happy to show this home to you and help you write an offer!  Let me know if you are interested in viewing this picture-perfect home!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lights in the Heights

This was my first year to go to Lights in the Heights and it was so much fun! I have always wanted to go and this year was invited to several pre-parties and definitely wanted to check it out. For non-Houston folks, Lights in the Heights is basically a gigantic block party in the Woodland Heights area. So much fun! Very crowded, but a good time.





 
My pictures aren't great, but to view some additional pics, click here.
 
 

Friday, December 7, 2012

November 2012 Houses Sold


Spring Valley(77055) November 2012 Closings:

8706 Westview Dr - $320,000
7811 Shady Villa Meadow - $345,000
7007 Northampton WA - $354,000
1211 Ridgewood Place - $465,900
9109 Hilldale St - $430,000
1533 Bracher St - $447,000
8731 Cavell Ln - $520,000
7802 Bellewood Dr. - $659,000



Heights(77008) November 2012 Closings:

1025 Lawrence St. - $250,000
1137 W 23rd #A - $287,500
708 Herkimer - $366,700
1313 W 25th St - $311,000
1526 26th St - $310,000
1511 Prince - $329,000
916 Lawrence St Unit C - $312,000
1213 W 15th 1/2, Unit F - $339,599
1805 Ashland - $392,746
1244 Arlington St. - $409,999
1819 Ashland - $410,116
316 Aurora St - $420,000
1801 Ashland - $413,996
923 Nashua St - $415,000
403 E 26th - $465,000
803 W 9th - $535,000
1540 Alexander St - $585,000
1230 Allston St - $615,000
1904 W 24th St - $629,000
1107 Nicholson - $632,000
523 E 24th - $692,000
931 Yale St - $700,000
2234 Gostic - $740,000


Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Featured Listings in the Heights & Spring Valley


New Knockout Listing in the Heights!
428 Cortlandt
MLS#: 69349540




An Outstanding Home in Spring Valley!
9229 Westview Dr.
MLS#: 39091692

 Image unavailable

Friday, November 23, 2012

Walking in High Cotton at Cottonwood

One of CultureMap's Houston's 10 Hot Must Try Restaurants for November is Cottonwood. I went there last week with my fabulous friend Kate. Located off of Shepherd just north of 610, they have a casual cool indoor area and it's very open to a large outdoor seating area.  It's a little tricky to find the driveway to the parking, so may want to go with someone who knows (check their website for the map...ha!).  Lots of parking, so you are good there!  Cottonwood seems good for kids and pups too, so feel free to bring both!   

As far as the food/drink situation, they have lots of local brews and the food was really great too!  I got the Turkey Panini and and it was really yummy!  The burgers looked good too and I can't wait to go again!

 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hello...sellers, are you there? Houston needs YOU!

Well, Houston has moved past a balanced inventory situation and a seller's market is in full effect! With the lowest inventory in over a decade, I personally am seeing clients lose out on properties due to multiple offers (think 6 offers or more) and houses selling well above ($20k, $50k over list price) comparable properties from just a few months ago. Check out this article by Houston Assocation of Realtors to find out more.

Now is a great time to sell if you are ready!


HOUSTON — (November 20, 2012) — The number of homes on the market in Houston reached the lowest level in more than a decade in October, thanks to a surge in sales that also lifted prices to the highest levels ever for an October.

Single-family home sales skyrocketed 32.7 percent compared to October 2011, according to the latest monthly data prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), and accounted for the 17th consecutive month of positive sales. Contracts closed on 5,379 homes, driving inventory down to 4.4 months, a level last seen in December 2001. All segments of the housing market saw gains in October, with the steepest among homes priced above $250,000.

"Home sales throughout Houston were incredibly strong in October and sent the supply of homes down to 4.4 months, which is the lowest level we've observed in 11 years," said Wayne A. Stroman, HAR chairman and CEO of Stroman Realty. "Our active real estate market reflects the general health of the Houston economy, most notably the addition of close to 96,000 new jobs over the past year, according to the latest Texas Workforce Commission employment report. The inventory squeeze has definitely created fertile ground for homebuilders."

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 10.9 percent compared to October 2011. Foreclosures made up 15.5 percent of all property sales, the lowest one-month sales volume of the year and a likely reflection of the continued slowdown in the sales of homes priced below $80,000. The median price of October foreclosures rose 6.3 percent to $85,000.

October sales of all property types in Houston totaled 6,457, a staggering 35.1 percent increase over October 2011. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month shot up 47.2 percent to $1.4 billion versus $945 million a year earlier.

Read the Full Article Here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PSA: What you shouldn't do when trying to sell your home...

ComeON people. Seriously.  I have had some weird, WEIRD showing experiences lately.  Here are things you should NOT do when trying to sell your home:

Tip # 1 - DO NOT BE HOME when there is a showing scheduled.  DO NOT.  It's awkward guys. Seriously. No one likes a homeowner 1) surprising them when they open a bedroom door on the 3rd floor after being in the house for 15 mins (has happened). 2) following you around the house (totally happens) 3) lounging around in their PJ's (happened this weekend) 4) Smoking a Hookah in the back yard (Yep, you guessed it, happened) 5) Don't air your dirty laundry about your divorce during the showing (again, this really happened!!)

SERIOUSLY.

Tip #2 - CLEAN YOUR DANG HOUSE. or don't show it or put it on the market.  No one likes to look at destroyed rooms, unmaid beds and your dirty skivvies on the floor.  Seriously.  Clean off your stinking kitchen counters!!  I don't really want to see what you had for dinner last night spread out everywhere & it's a turn off to buyers.  Buyers assume that if you can't take care of your belongings or home, they automatically start to doubt the maintenance of your home.

Tip #3 -  TAKE DOWN PERSONAL PHOTOS & SUCH.  I am a photo nut. Love them. Your kids are so. stinking. adorable -  I get it, trust me.  I have 2,365 photos of my dog on my phone.  I especially love to walk through your house and look at your photos. And so does the buyer.  We love to guess things all about you - especially when we see degrees.  We automatically start making up stories.  It's fun.  But you know what we are not doing...looking at your stinking house. That stuff is distracting. Take it down.

Okay, enough of my ranting.  Hope these tips help you sell your place. :-)

XO-
Sarah


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sold in Shady Acres/Heights

A few weeks ago, I had a client & good friend close on her first home in the Shady Acres area of the Heights.  I love that this area of the Heights has really started to transition over the last few years and take off. Can't wait for the new wine bar & restaurant Crisp to open up right by her new place! 

Isn't she pretty! 
 
 The interior was spotless!
 
Welcome home Liz!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back In The Game!

Guess who's back baby?! Me! That's who! Your favorite and beloved realtor is finally able to wear heels on a consistent (longer than 5 mins at a time) basis. Sure it doesn't feel super amazing, but my doc said that would probably happen. Everyday is getting better and better and I feel much more confident. So, let the heel shopping begin! Back to showing in heels and hopefully no falls!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

20 under 40 in Houston Real Estate

I am completely humbled and honored to have been selected as one of Houston's 20 under 40 in Real Estate by NRG (NextGen Realtor Group).  It's a very competitive award and I am very excited to have received it!  All of the winners this year were awesome and I feel honored to be chosen to be among them. 

Today was a luncheon to honor the recipients at the Rice Hotel's Crystal Ballroom & it was amazing! We will also be featured on the cover of the November Issue of the Houston Realtor Magazine.

Here I am with my award:


Here is a picture of the cover of the November issue.
That's me in the green!

Bathrooms worth looking at

Kitchens are one of the biggest selling points in a home, of course. But, I also feel that one area is sometimes overlooked by a few builders...bathrooms.
 
A bathroom can make or break a buyers feeling on a home.  Usually, buyers need a bathroom that fits their needs, but also can be an area for relaxation!
It's crazy to me how many homes have skipped a tub in the master, put in a cheap product or have crappy tile work.  Frankly, I don't think builders realize how much people focus on it.
I got fired up about this last Friday when I showed a slew of homes and one just had the most AWFUL bathroom.  It was a brand new construction home and I was appalled.  The tub (with clearance rack tile) was misplaced and took up half the bathroom.  The double vanity sink looked like they bought it off the clearance rack as well and it was about half the size that it should be. Just not impressed!  No wonder the house hadn't sold... 
 

Here are a few bathrooms I saw on Pinterest and just had to post.  Some of these bathrooms aren't even that big, but I like what they have done with the spaces!
 
 
This is a great example of using space wisely.  This isn't an oversized bathroom, but I love the tub choice and the large walk in shower with all the bright, natural light!
 
 I found this to be interesting choice of tile on the floor! I would have never picked it, but all put together, I really like the tile choices all around.  Also, LOVE the chandelier!
 
 
If this were my bathroom, I would be very happy. Love the white cabinetry and the wallpaper contrast. Also, I just like that it's simple and bright!
 
Just had to throw this one in! I see bathrooms like this all the time in Heights Bungalows. I just love the use of color.  The subway tile is very popular and looks very vintage with the claw foot tub!

 
Now, we don't really see bathrooms like this in Texas with the fireplace and stone, but I thought this was very different than my other choices with the beige tile work and the darker cabinets.  Love the fireplace too, however, I would never use that in Houston!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pinterest Project - First One Ever...

So I really like Pinterest, but man, how do these people have the time?!  There are some really cool projects, but I only get on there about once a month or so & then I'm just worn out after looking at everything.

I have been wanting to make my own bulletin board for my home office and I turned to Pinterest for help.  Under no circumstance will I be taking a photo of my home office because it's a complete DISASTER.  It's that room where everything goes to die.  But I have been working on cleaning it up...so I could one day actually use it. 

Anyway, my desk is black and my desk chair is lime green zebra print.  Some of my desk accessories are also lime green.  I have been wanting to make a bulletin board for bills, pictures, invites, etc & saw some easy do-it-yourself projects on pinterest.  This one was super easy.

First, I got a plan cork bulletin board from Michael's ($16.99) and some push pins. I chose simple silver pins since I selected a lime green pattern.

The hardest part was really making sure the pins were in the board. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Maybe one day I'll get a picture up of it in my office!
 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Matching Shoes! Not Heels, but they match...

So I got released of the big boot this past week! Doctor says my bone is healing "perfectly". Yay! I am now able to wear TWO regular shoes! Huge deal for me. Still no heels, but I am hoping in a week or two, I can work my way up!  I can wear tennis shoes, sandals and a few pairs of my flats.  Progress!
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pug Races

I haven't mentioned my pug much, but this is him, Paulie...the pug.  He's pretty darn cute. (at least I think so). And yes, I am one of those annoying people who have 2035 photos of their dogs on their phone and you can't even blink before I will show you a slew of photos.  I also have another dog, Abby, who's a Jack Russell, but we'll talk more about that later.
 
 
I'm involved with PugHearts of Houston & Paulie is a big BIG reason.  I help plan our fundraising events and this year we have our annual event, Pugs at Blanco's on November 3rd.  Check out our website for more details: www.pughearts.com. We're pretty cool & PugHearts has helped LOTS of pugs.
 
Anywho...the other event planner (DD) and I went to OKC this weekend (literally flew up & back) to check out a huge event there called Puggerfest.  We were trying to get some additional ideas for our event (even though ours is GREAT, just always looking for ideas) and they had many contests...but my favorite was the PUG RACES.  If you know anything about pugs, it's that they don't race anywhere (unless maybe food is involved).  It was just TOO. CUTE.

 
How can you not find this adorable?
 
Costume Contest Winner: Aerial

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shake your Underbelly

  I recently went out to dinner with some girlfriends to celebrate my friend Kate's birthday.  We headed to a newer restuarant called Underbelly off Westheimer near Montrose.  I've been there once before and let me say, it's pretty darn tasty. 
 
The concept of the restaurant is like that of a Tapas restaurant, so expect to be sharing food with everyone.  They also have non-traditional dishes that you don't find at your run of the mill restaurant. (Like they use EVERY part of the animal...not sure I'm really totally down with all that)  We let our waiter pick every plate he brought and he was pretty spot on. 
 
We started with the Sourdough Bread, which bread = good and I could eat that only for pretty much every meal.  They had butternut squash butter paired with it...um...YUM.  I think I ate half the entire loaf.
 
We had about 4 other entree plates, but my favorites were the Carolina Styled Pulled Pork and the Korean Braised Goat & Dumplings.  I'm not normall a goat eater...(really is anyone), but this is one of the dishes they are known for and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  The Pulled Pork was also super tasty & came on a green tomato - super delish!
 
Last, but not least were our 4 deserts.
The Doughnuts and Vingear Pie were by far the best things. 
The vinegar pie is right in front of me - tastes a little like key lime, so if you are into that sort of thing, it's a MUST TRY.
 
 
Here are the girls AND our desserts. Extreme overboard on the desserts.
 
 
Also, total side note about my footwear.  Since it's starting to get a little cooler, I've busted out the boots...now I'm at least wearing 2 boots!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oh yeah, I'm a realtor! And I've sold a few houses!

Yes, even with a broken foot, I have been a busy realtor bee!  I have been showing houses to several new buyers and have had several closings.  Below are a few in the last month!
 
Just for those that are curious...I average about 20 transactions a year and that works out to 1.6666666667 a month for all you math wizards. Of course nothing is ever consistent in real estate and I extremely enjoy the months that I have 3 or 4 or more!
 
This is the first closing I had this month.  It was a listing that I had and it was a rental property for my client who lives in another state & was ready to unload it.  After completely updating the property, the house sold very quickly and we had several offers on it!  My client was very pleased and I will be listing his other rental across the street soon!
 
 
 
 This property was a new construction property that my clients built in Upland Lakes (just outside the Beltway @ Wilcrest).  It's a cute new neighborhood that has two lakes, will have a dog park and a pool and it's zoned to Stratford H.S. I listed my clients house in May just after they started construction on this and their house sold in a week, so they have definitely been eager to get into their new place!  I have been by several times and it just looks fantastic!
 
This property below was another new construction home in the Heights.  My clients were newlyweds and so cute with great taste!  I loved all the upgrades they chose, especially the stone fireplace they went with (sorry for my lack of photos)! 
 Here is their beautiful kitchen!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Plonk Wine Bar - Oak Forest Area

This past week I went to dinner with some former co-workers of mine to Plonk Wine Bar in the Oak Forest Area off of 43rd Street.  It's a cute place with a relaxed atmosphere (you order your wine & food at the counter) & a great place to catch up with old friends!

I love love love bread.  They have some of the BEST bread for appetizers.  The girls & I tried two different kinds and ate every piece. One had a sun-dried tomato spread baked in on top. SO GOOD.

They also have excellent pizzas.  We ordered two pizzas (Margarita & Pepperoni), but they are very gourmet!  Plonk is known for their Guanciale Burger and I have tried it before and it's just crazy good! A must try.

I also decided I wanted to make their wine glasses into stemless, so I helped them with that process!





Ignore my face...we were laughing at my clean break of the glass! Don't worry...no wine was spilled!

XO-
Sarah

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I can't live without my...

Erin Condren Daily Planner!



A realtor always has to be organized and stay on top of their schedule as it's ALWAYS changing, like constantly. I never know how my week is going to go. I used to be addicted to my calendar on my phone, but realized that's it's hard to refer to my calendar and put notes, etc when I am ON the phone. I am definitely planning to purchase another planner at the end of this year (I got this one last year for Christmas) and I love that you can personalize them!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back in Heels! Well, heel...

Well, I'm back... Sorta. I'm sporting this fall's latest fashion trend: wedges and walking boots!  Halfway back to my normal self!  Ready to get my left foot back in heels!

XO-
Sarah

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bedrooms to Dream About

My bedroom is one of my favorite places in my home! I love to sleep and my bed is a haven from busy life. I have had the same bedroom set (more like a hodge-podge of finds & re-purposed items) and bedding since I've lived in Houston and recently have been feeling like I am ready for a change. 

I am no interior decorator, so I am constantly surfing websites for ideas. One of my favorite places to look online (and at catalogs) is Ballard Designs. They have great bedroom inspirations and bedrooms that I would die for.  Here are a few of my favs...


I LOVE green and this just makes me smile.
 Blue/Grey is also one of my favorite colors right now and I love the whitewashed headboard against this wall color!
 Hell-o Blue! I cannot take my eye off this bed!

 And here is my final favorite - I am really loving the canopy, perfect if you have high ceilings! 



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hot Restuarant's Right Now in Houston

CultureMap does a monthly article about where to eat right now in Houston.  I love trying new restaurants and trying something different, so I have been checking their lists out each month.  I definitely think I am going to be trying Sparrow Bar, Lucille's & maybe 1252 Tapas.  I live really close to Dolce Vita and went there many times before the fire - very delicious pizzas!

Here’s where you should eat right now in Houston.

Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
T’afia has been rebranded and is now masquerading as Sparrow Bar + Cookshop. The interior has received a quick facelift, including new tables and light fixtures, plus curious chemistry tie-ins like Erlenmeyer flasks as water vessels and test tubes of salt and pepper.
Monica Pope devotees will recognize a similar menu style (small, shareable plates, proteins a la carte) and even many of the same dishes.
1252 Tapas Bar
Thanks to the success of its first two locations, 1252 Tapas Bar has opened a third, this one in Uptown Park. The menu of Spanish-style tapas is well executed, though pretty standard.
An authentic tapas place will always be judged on its paella, and this version is worthy. We like to stop by the lovely space for a $3 sangria at Happy Hour.
Golden Grill
Comfort food abounds at the Golden Grill, a new food truck offering gourmet grilled cheeses. I loved my deliciously messy “Kimcheese,” whole wheat bread filled with Cheddar cheese, truck-made kimchi, grilled onions and a fried egg.
And yes, you most certainly can get your grilled cheese with tomato soup: Chipotle tomato soup with goat cheese crumbles, to be exact.
Cuchara
Brightening up Taft and Fairview across from Boheme is Cuchara, a new restaurant offering “Mexico City food.” That plays out in a beautiful menu of moles, nopales, barbacoa and shrimp . . . Think Hugo’s, not Ninfa’s.
Stop by the lovely light-filled restaurant, currently in its soft opening, for dinner or Sunday brunch.
NOLA’s Creole 2 Geaux
I’m picky when it comes to po'boys, but recently enjoyed the ones at the Creole 2 Geaux food truck. Mardi Gras for your mouth? Maybe.
Mine featured blackened shrimp, fresh lettuce and tomato, and just the right amount of spicy sauce, all on lightly grilled French bread. Each po'boy comes with a pretty big side — a nice perk, even if the sides are middling.
Lucille’s
The museum district is finally getting some fresh meat with Lucille’s. The new spot is a “Southern cuisine restaurant with European influences,” marrying the chef’s own upbringing with his training at Austin’s Le Cordon Bleu school.
I’m hoping Lucille’s is the answer to Houston’s woeful lack of good biscuits.
Jade Stone Café
And there’s even more good news for the Museum District with the new Jade Stone Café, right inside the Asia Society Texas Center. Jade Stone offers a basic café menu — sandwiches, soups, salads — all kicked up with subtle Asian touches (think wasabi spreads, ginger dressings and the like).
And the space? It’s as serenely beautiful as you might imagine.
Table 19
19th Street’s homey little Pie in the Sky is now Table 19. The menu of breakfast items and café fare has received only slight updates. We like the salads (though you’d be wise to ask for the dressing on the side).
And good news: You can still find the former resident’s fabulous pies at Table 19, in addition to other outlets including Buc-ee’s and several Urban Harvest farmers markets.
Dolce Vita
News of the fire last May at Dolce Vita hit us like a prize fighter: It was painful and jarring, and it left us agog with heads spinning. Fortunately the prognosis was good, and the effervescent eatery is back in top form once again.
You’re now welcome to make your way back for the addicting pizzas, pastas and salads. Beat the crowds by heading over at lunch.
Juice Girl
It’s nice to see a lighter food truck on the scene these days. Juice Girl offers creative juice mixes and smoothies, all of which taste especially nice in the Houston heat. All juices are made fresh with organic produce (local when possible). More good news: Juice girl often sets up near another food truck, so you can support two local businesses in one stop.

See the article from it's source, CultureMap.

XO-
Sarah

Friday, September 7, 2012

Game Day Dresses

I love dresses, they are my go to outfit!  Easy to put together an outfit in the morning when it's only one piece.  I pretty much always wear dresses and as a girl who's not really a t-shirt gal, I love cute game day dresses!

In honor of this weekend's big game for my school - Texas State (vs. Texas Tech), here are a few of my favorite sites for game day dresses:

Natalie Kim...OMG these are some of the cutest dresses I have ever seen. I love that they are custom!  You can pick your dress & colors. LOVE. THAT. I am definitely ordering one of these, but probably won't be wearing it until next year because I think they will take a little while to get.
 
 
 
Dress U Boutique ... I am really liking the Chevron print dresses! None of these are really in my school colors, but there are lots of options and cute dresses just in general.
 

Blue Door Boutique ... This is actually my favorite store to order clothes from online. I love their stuff. I probably own 10 dresses or so from here! They sell out fast and have a few game day dresses left.

 
Revelry Dresses ... I actually ordered 2 dresses from here! Below are the dresses that I ordered. I like that they have dresses by color. I really like that one of the dresses that I ordered is a 3-way dress. I should be able to get plenty of wear out of it!





Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kitchens


Kitchens. I love them. Kitchens are a huge selling point in a house. Kitchens are the heart of a house and they set the feel for the home. Right now I am loving white cabinets and white/off-white marble.  Here are some of my favorite finds...

I love the exposed storage and lighting in this kitchen. I also am a big fan of the farmhouse sink!
 
I love the huge island and cabinets with the peep through design. The pendant lighting is also different than what I usually see in kitchens. Another farmhouse sink! Only negative on this kitchen is the flooring choice for me.

 
I just thought this was a cool idea for seating that's different from what you normally see.  I love the contrast of the cabinets and the table/bench seating!
 
XO-
Sarah

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

High heeled hopes, crushed...part 2

Ok, so my doctor is not that big of a liar. Today my walking has improved slightly and I've even gotten to the point that I've put all my weight on my left foot...so I'm getting there. At turtle speed.

I did show 3 houses today, so that helped along my walking progress. I only almost fell like twice, so no biggie... I can now get around the house on one crutch for the most part. Stairs are the biggest evil right now.

This is also helping my pain...(yes that is a dog get well card from my mom telling me I will be back to fab in no time...don't be jealous!)