10 December 2013

Venetian Estate News - November 2013

Around the Neighborhood

Gear Up

Turkeys fly and so does time. It is hard to believe that Catherine Bell’s idea for a VE Turkey Trot is now four years old…Yes, this Thanksgiving Day the Fourth Annual VE Turkey Trot will take place. Over the years neighbors have enjoyed kicking off Thanksgiving Day by talking with each other while walking/trotting around the neighborhood. I suggest this year that those who walk/run fast take the five-mile route down all the streets while those who enjoy a more leisurely stroll simply make the two-mile circle. This provides an opportunity to visit with more neighbors as we continually run into different families coming off the cul-de-sacs on to the main route.

Meet in our office building (formerly the Frost Bank building) parking lot on Thanksgiving morning at 8 AM. Donations this year will go to Living Water International, a faith-based non-profit organization that helps communities in developing countries acquire safe drinking water.  Living Water is based in Houston. Suggested donations are $20 per family. Last year $155 was collected for the Wounded Warrior Project. Let’s try to beat that number this year! If you want to contribute to the VE donation but can’t make the walk, please mail or bring your check (directed to Living Water International) to the Bells’ house at 915 Piedmont. For more information contact Catherine Bell at 281-565-5849 or visit www.water.cc.

Sip n’ See
The October VE Wine and Cheese Social was such a fun evening! Natalie and Greg Nielson’s renovation of 407 Savoy is beautiful! (See pictured neighbors Julie and Mark Macdonell of 106 Capri and Melissa and Jeff Crawford of 410 Lombardy at the event).  The next opportunity to Sip n’ See will be the VE Christmas party on December 8 at the beautiful new home of Regina and Bryan Lee at 123 Sorrento. 

Sweet on Sugar Land
On October 26 builders chosen for the first phase of the Imperial Development showcased their patio- and townhome floor plans. I attended, as did several of our neighbors. There is a great deal of excitement as the residential development gets underway. Six of the patio home lots have already been sold! 

If you would like more information regarding “the sweet life” in Imperial, please call me. I would love to represent you in making the best choice among the builders and floor plans. And of course I would love to represent you in the sale of your Venetian Estates home.  My knowledge of the neighborhood and my passion for the lifestyle here make a great combination when “selling” to prospects. I have two prospects that could buy your home now and let you stay there for a few months or lease it back for a longer period. This allows you the flexibility of obtaining your proceeds while not being pressured to make a decision as to where to move. Whatever your specific needs, I may already have a prospect and I can help you determine the correct value for your home.

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice
That is what girls are made of. The other day I watched my daughter, Kristin Johnston (303 Savoy) teach her daughter (my only granddaughter as I write this) to ride her bike without training wheels. What memories and evidence that time flies...I vividly remember teaching Kristin to ride her ‘big bike’ on Lombardy  in December of 1984!  By the time you read this Kristin may be the mother of 3 and I the grandmother of 6! Our daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Corey Ferguson (718 Santa Maria) have a third baby boy, Pete Ruffin who is now one month old. What do they say boys are made of? Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails? I can’t argue with the frogs and snails...

New Neighbors

Our new neighbors at 107 Tuscany are Madge and Keith Jones. Madge is a Realtor with Nino Realtors and I so enjoyed working with her in the purchase of their new home! Keith is Senior Vice-President of Operations for the Houston Rockets.  He is in his 18th season with the Rockets! Madge and Keith have three children. Morgan is 21 and a graduate of A & M. Alex, 17, is a senior and Isaiah,16, is a junior at Dulles.  Madge and Keith have done a superb job in the renovation of their home. They are now in the process of adding a gorgeous swimming pool! I understand the Jones have already been welcomed by a “street party” on Tuscany. (What a great idea!)

06 November 2013


Neighbors had fun chatting and sampling various wines. Many enjoyed the beautiful patio area overlooking Lake Venice.

04 November 2013

Venetian Estates News - October 2013

In the Neighborhood

Homes for Sale

There are presently three homes available on the MLS priced from $459,000 to $950,000. 914 Gondola is pending sale.

My listing at 903 San Marino ($459,000) provides a great opportunity for those who recognize that NOW is the time to buy in VE. Most likely the home will be torn down as it does not lend itself easily to a remodel.  I have spoken with a couple of potential buyers for this ‘lot’ who would consider living in the home until they are ready to build. This could be a good option if land values continue to rise.

My listing at 907 Genova has been temporarily taken off the market. It was under contract for 45 days but, at the last minute, the buyers’ lender was unable to provide the financing to which they had committed. (On a side note – beware and tell your friends to beware of lenders with whom you or they have had no first-hand recommendation or experience.) This home will be back on the market soon, but in the meantime let me know if you know of anyone who might be interested and I will be glad to send them photos or show them the home. The 946-SF garage apartment is also perfect for a home office! The lot is beautiful and the price ($679,000) is a steal! The owners will consider carrying financing.

News of the Neighborhood

A total of 9 sales have taken place so far this year.  (I have sold 7 of those. One of the homes I sold twice!) Four of the homes have been or will be torn down.  However, lately I have more prospects for a home to be remodeled than I have for a ‘lot.’  PLEASE let me know if you are considering selling. I can almost guarantee that I have a prospect for your home.

New to the Neighborhood

We are eager to welcome the Arayath family to the neighborhood. They expect their new home at 126 St Marks to be complete in the first quarter of 2014. George, who works in the chemical industry, and Julie, who works for the Harris County Hospital District, have four children:  Isaac (13), Nathan (11), Tobias (7) and Justin (2). George has lived in Sugar Land for over 30 years, and VE has always been one of his favorite neighborhoods.

Your newest “neighbors” leasing space in our office building are Debbie and Don Heath. Debbie owns Accounting Services & Consulting, which focuses on bookkeeping services for churches and non-profits. Don is the director of Touching Hearts at Home, which operates on the premise that maintaining independence is a key to ensuring the highest quality of life for adults. The company’s expertise is providing non-medical in-home assistance to help adults live and stay independent.  Don and his staff believe that bringing quality, safety and friendship to clients is a privilege. Call them at 281.235.4075 or visit www.touchinghearts-brochure.com/fortbend for more information.

New Happenings
This will be our third year sponsoring a youth hunt under Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Youth Hunting Program.We will host the hunt on our ranch in Gonzales County on Nov. 8-10. The program is primarily for first-time hunters (boys and girls) between the ages of 9 and 17. Call Bud at our office if you have a friend or family member who may be interested

FBRE Update

I have sales pending in Townewest and Sienna Plantation. I closed sales this week in Sugar Mill and The Highlands in First Colony. Point being: I love referrals in all areas of Fort Bend and Houston! Please ask your friends and family to call when they are considering purchasing or selling.

It was worth the wait! The custom metal awnings for our building took longer than expected to manufacture, but we love the finished product. We are working on very exciting projects pertaining to the tenancy of and additional improvements to the property and hope to be able share details soon. We have remaining space available, so call Kelly Ferguson at 281.242.1261 if you or someone you know is looking for office space.  High ceilings, open floor plans and proximity to the soon-to-be fabulous Imperial Redevelopment make it a great place to work!

24 June 2013


Every year around this time Lake Venice is visited by a couple of beautiful swans. This year we have only seen one. Sad to think this beautiful swan may have lost its mate.

My grandchildren named this one 'Wonderful'. They claim she came back to visit and even waved at them as they called out her name!

17 June 2013

Venetian Estates News - May 2013

The Goings On

There are two homes “actively” on the market in VE. Last month I sold a home in 24 hours, before it even hit the market! I currently have two pending sales in the neighborhood--one of which, again, did not have time to officially hit the market.  Look out for much exciting new-neighbor info!

What’s Gone on Here?
We have new neighbors at 110 Sorrento. Gary, Tricia and Bridget Rathwell have returned to live in Venetian after an absence of almost 7 years., which were spent in Moscow, the UK and other parts of Europe while working for clients in the oil & gas industry. The family business, Enterprise Consultants International, Ltd, provides engineering and consulting services in process & automation systems. They are once again based in Sugar Land, and Gary and Tricia could not think of anywhere else they would rather live than in VE. Their daughter Bridget will travel between her Chicago and Sugar Land homes.

I first met Gary and Tricia at an Open House I held at 206 Lombardy many years ago. I represented them in the purchase of a home on Oyster Creek and then a few years later with the purchase of 511 Lombardy, where they lived until they were off to Moscow! It is so good to have them back!

What’s Going on Here?
I am depending on you, neighbors, for this one! I have buyers. I need houses! 

I have all kinds of buyers – Buyers looking for a remodeled house – Buyers looking for a house to remodel – Buyers looking for a place to build a house – Buyers who are in a hurry – Buyers who are not in a hurry – Buyers who are ready to purchase but not ready to move (they would close on a VE home and allow the owner to remain in the house for an extended period)...

Please call me if you will consider selling. I may have the perfect buyer for your home! 

I have the market knowledge and experience in Venetian to help you properly price and sell your home quickly.  I am also able to help you determine that the purchaser of your home will be working with a reputable lender.  I can facilitate the appraisal process to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible – even with all the new rules and regulations required by many lenders.

Its Really Going to Happen!

The dirt is flying for the first phase of single-family residential development at Imperial! Two distinctive neighborhoods are coming very soon. Word is that Silent Manor at Imperial will offer 27 townhomes and 37 custom waterfront patio homes. Quiet Cove at Imperial will offer 79 custom-style patio homes in an exclusive, private gated setting. These homes will be based on the “lock and leave” concept. They will be on zero lot lines and will include exterior lawn maintenance in HOA dues. The square footage will likely be in the 2700-3100 SF range, and floor plans will feature 1.5 stories with three to four bedrooms and a bonus room upstairs. Prices will range from the $300k’s/$400k’s to the $800k’s. Pre-sales should begin late fall. I am staying in tune with new developments so call me if you are interested in learning more.

Going, Going, Gone!
Doug DeMoss of 819 San Marino has a 2002 ElDebo pontoon boat for sale for $2500. Call Doug at 281.589.5363 or 281.687.1949 for details.

FBRE Update

We are very excited to kick off exterior renovations on our office, the former Frost Bank Building. Painting is currently in process, and custom metal window awnings will be installed soon.

We are so excited to bring renewed energy to this Sugar Land establishment, originally home to Sugar Land State Bank. Our former neighbor John Allen of Brand + Allen Architects designed the renovations. I represented Diana and John Allen in the sale of their home on Savoy Street when they decided to move full-time to their home in Austin last year. John is world-renowned for his designs--his projects include luxury stores such as Gucci, Prada and Tiffany. One of our favorite of John’s local projects is the remodel of the River Oaks Shopping Center. John understood our desire to add interest and modern features to this classic property in the heart of historic--and soon-to-be burgeoning--Sugar Land. 

21 January 2013

Venetian Estates News - January 2013

Past, Present and Future

There were 10 sales in Venetian Estates last year. Six of those sales were recorded on the HAR MLS and four of the sales were unrecorded. Sale prices ranged from the $300,000s to the $600,000s, and some were “land value” only. I participated in 9 of the 10 sales. In several cases I acted as an intermediary between the buyers and sellers.

Just for fun, let’s look waaaay back: In December of 1989 I wrote this in my Venetian Estates News. “As the busy holiday season approaches and this year comes to an end I would like to give you a current update on the home sales in Venetian Estates this year. Since January 1, 1989 there have been eleven home sales in our subdivision reported on the Multiple Listing Service. The sales prices range from $128,500 to $259,000. We have seen a steady increase in prices during this past year. And I believe that prices in Venetian Estates will continue to increase. I am presently working with prospective buyers who would like to purchase a home or lot in Venetian Estates. Please give me a call if you have considered selling your home and let me show it to these prospective buyers.”

It’s interesting to look back and see how things have changed...yet, I could have written those same words today if I changed the date and the sales price range!

When I referred in that 1989 newsletter to purchasing a “lot” I was referring to the three lots that at that time were still vacant. Those lots were located at 907 Genova, 802 San Marino and 311 Savoy. Homes were built on those lots in 1995, 1999  and 2011, respectively. The only way to get a “lot” today is to tear down a house and, of course, we know that has been done several times during the past couple of years.

and Now
2013 has brought much interest in VE! Showing activity has been very strong--and there are only three active listings at the moment. Word has spread  that this neighborhood is a gem...and it’s still spreading. Recent showings have been to old (my age!) and young, inner-loopers, and northwest Houstonians.

Visit www.har.com/susanfriedman and click the link to watch the informational video I created to describe our neighborhood.

I have a new listing that will soon be on the market. It is a four-bedroom home with extensive updates. The owner will consider leasing, so please keep this in mind if you know someone who may be interested in a short- or long-term lease.

Looking Ahead
January is an appropriate time to reflect on the past, present and future. However, this year it has brought another “tense” issue...

Many of our clients have expressed concern over the new 3.8% investment income tax. I have enclosed a NAR article featured on www.harconnect.com that provides a succinct overview of the tax. Of course, for specific questions regarding the tax and its personal implications, consult your CPA. 

Please call me if you are thinking of selling within the next year or so. I have a buyer who is willing to wait!

FBRE Update
Bud Friedman has been busy showing ranches over the past few months. More and more people are wanting to buy property for investment while enjoying it for recreation. Bud has recently shown properties in Gonzales and surrounding counties as well as in the lovely Brenham area.
Another work-weekend at the ranch!
The boys always work (and play) hard,
but these bird dogs don't like to get
their paws dirty!

Many investors are looking for alternatives to traditional stocks, bonds and commodities and are turning to real estate. In her article “Texas Land” featured in the May 2011 FBBJ, Kelly Ferguson wrote, “History demonstrates that land offers a stable investment and hedge against inflation. Texas is the fastest-growing state in the nation, and investors have the opportunity to purchase beautiful ranch land within or around the powerful Houston-San Antonio-Austin triangle.”

If you have interest in “Texas Land” call or email Bud at 281.242.2200 or bud@fbre.net

Email or call if you have news for the newsletter!