22 October 2014

Venetian Estates News - October 2014

A New Season

Turning a New Leaf
We proudly announce the new name of our office building, The BancorpSouth Building, Sugar Land!

As many of you know, after Frost Bank’s departure we have had a great deal of interest in the former lobby space from other banks as well as office and retail users. However, we take pride in this piece of real estate, which is an integral part of our neighborhood, and held out for the “right” tenant--a “neighbor” with employees and a business model with whom we would like to work. Our patience paid off!

BancorpSouth is a large, NYSE-listed, regional bank based in Tupelo Mississippi. They recently restructured upper  management (adding a few Texas folk) and are on a solid path of growth. Just as important, we really like the people who run the bank and this local branch.

BancorpSouth already has numerous corporate clients in the area. The Sugar Land lending team is currently occupying a suite in our building while we complete the lobby renovations. The “new” lobby should be open by the end of the year.

We look forward to working with them and hope you will, too! BancorpSouth is busy making loans and is working quickly toward being able to run retail operations for checking accounts, etc. from this location. We will keep you posted on progress, but call  us in the mean time if you have questions or would like an introduction.

Fall For It
I am beyond excited to officially announce FBRE’s new listing at 715 Salerno. Kelly Ferguson and I are marketing this property located on one of the very best lots in the neighborhood. The custom home that was designed perfectly to take advantage of expansive lake views will take your breath away! It was built with care and is full of luxury appoitments. Trade up! This is the first opportunity for a current VE resident to purchase a practically new-construction home...and, to boot, live on the very center of Lake Venice! View the pictures on
http://u.har.com/f4KWsO But don’t say I didn’t warn you...you’re going to fall in love!

New Neighbors
Our new neighbors at 110 Capri (former home of Judy and George Tenney) are Nemat and Abdul Helal. The Helals moved from Houston where they had lived in the same house for 40 years! Abdul is a civil engineer and Nemat is a retired CPA.  They have three children and five grandchildren.  One son, an investment broker, lives in Austin with his wife and three children. The Helal’s daughter, who recently moved from California, is a teacher and has two children. She is now living in the Helal's home in Houston - where she grew up!  Nemat and Abdul’s youngest son is a dentist who lives and offices in Greatwood.

Its Fall Fun and Games
The Halloween Hayride is Fri, Oct 31! This year’s trick-or-treat stops will be on San Marino, Bel Mar, Salerno and Sorrento. If you will be joining the hayride, meet at the corner of San Marino and Lombardy at 5:30. If you live on one of the referenced stops, please leave your front porch light on from 5:30pm-8:30pm.  If you don’t live on one of the “stop” streets, please feel free to meet us at the corner of one of the “stop” streets! The hayride will start at San Marino and head south, stopping at Bel Mar first.

And don’t forget to begin Thanksgiving Day on the right foot with our own Turkey Trot!  Meet at the BancorpSouth building at 8:00 am on Thanksgiving to run or walk our neighborhood circle. 

Walkers/runners are encouraged to make a donation to the Wounded Warriors  Project. (A $20 donation per family is suggested but, of course, not required) The mission of WWP is to honor and empower wounded service members by raising awareness of and directly meeting their needs.  The vision is “to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”  The turkey trot is a wonderful way to show our servicemen and women how thankful we are for their service. 

After completion of the "Turkey Trot" hang around the parking lot to visit a while with your neighbors. FBRE will provide hot or cold refreshments depending on what the temperature is that day!

05 September 2014

Venetian Estates News - August 2014

Fare Well

So Long
The market is certainly faring well and the Venetian Estates landscape is changing these days! Earlier this month 903 San Marino became a pile of debris within minutes! Be sure to drive by the vacant lot – walk in the back yard and then tell a friend about this opportunity to build a new home to enjoy the wide, pretty lake view. San Marino is a lovely street full of lovely, friendly neighbors! I visited with 6 of the neighbors while watching the demolition…all are excited about a new home and neighbor!

The seller is considering building a speculative one-story home, but at this time the beautiful property is available for simply lot value! Visit HAR.com/SusanFriedman for details.

Sale On
There have been seven sales in VE this year. I have sold six of the seven! It is very difficult to ‘get a handle’ on VE values unless one is familiar with all the sales. I have sold many properties prior to formally listing them on the market--and those sales usually are not recorded. It is certainly not that I am trying to ‘secretly’ sell the homes. It may be that the home is not completely ready to advertise (take photos, etc.) or the homeowner simply does not want to deal with the ‘on-market’ process. I have been successful in selling many homes prior to listing them on the MLS  because I have the ‘contacts’ and know VE values, which I articulate and justify to buyers. Potential buyers may love our neighborhood but must understand the VE market and be confident that they are making a ‘safe’ investment.

I have a brand-new listing at 402 Lombardy--watch for details!

Changing Hands
Judy and George Tenney of 110 Capri are moving to The Abbey at Westminster Plaza in Houston, where they will enjoy their new smaller, maintenance-free home. We will miss our neighbors of 15 years!

Lorraine Stroud of 542 Lombardy moved to a retirement community in May. She and George (Buzz) built their home in 1970. Buzzy (as our family fondly called him) and Lorraine watched our girls grow up in the ‘80s/‘90s, when we lived two doors down. Lorraine was an accountant and teacher and George owned Metro Builders Hardware in Bellaire. Buzz passed away last year. The two were childhood sweethearts.

I look forward to introducing you to our new neighbors next month!

The New Old Sugar Land                   
Call me for information on the new Imperial Development! I am very excited about the residential construction. I sold a patio home there this month and I have to say, I love it! This model, priced in the $400k’s, will not last long. This particular builder has 37 lots and more than half have already sold!

There are larger patio homes in the gated sections. Although starting prices are in the mid-$500k’s, as of a few weeks ago, the least expensive home to sell was around $730k! I think this tells us that Sugar Land has been in need of single and 1.5-story patio homes (with bedrooms downstairs :). The “lock-and-leave” concept is especially appealing to those wanting to spend more time traveling.

There are also one-story townhomes (starting in the upper $300k’s). Two are currently under construction, but one is the model and the other has already sold! There are three two-story townhomes--with bedrooms downstairs--under construction.

I am working with my present client to coordinate the purchase of the new home in Imperial with the sale of her current home. I can do the same for you! Whether in Imperial or another neighborhood, I can help make the transition a smooth one.

Parting Notes
If you are considering moving call me while the market is “hot,” even if you’re not sure you would like to move right away. I have prospects whose timing is flexible.

A neighbor is hoping to purchase a second-hand boat to “putter around” the lake. Please let me know if you have one to sell.

A cheerful, reliable nanny/housekeeper formerly employed by my daughter Kelly is looking for a position two days per week. Call if you may be interested in meeting her.

24 June 2014

Venetian Estate News - July 2014

News of the Neighborhood
So far this year there have been five sales in VE. Sale prices ranged from the mid-$300k’s to the mid-$600k’s. I sold four of the five, two of which I sold before they went on the market.

There is one property, 903 San Marino, presently on the market. The owner is considering demolishing the home and selling for lot value. I do not normally recommend that homeowners demolish (I image I would not have much business if I did!); however, each property, client and sale is unique, and in this particular case I believe  that the beauty of the lot needs to “show through” and the sale of the property will thus be expedited by the removal of the home. (Of course the cost of demolition will be added to the asking price, so if you can already “see through” the existing house please call me to schedule a property tour.) The dock and bulkhead are relatively new, and the view is lovely.

New to the Neighborhood
Our longtime neighbor Ann Topping has moved and our new neighbors at 122 St. Marks will be Luke Pham and Thomas Vu, DDS. Luke and Thomas have two offices, A-7 Dental, located on SH 6 at University and on SH 6 at Bissonnet. Luke and Thomas have two Goldendoodles, Bentley and Tesla. They have always loved VE--the neighborhood, the lakes and the overall feeling of our traditional neighborhood. Luke and Thomas will be building a dock first and then a new house to replace the existing 1889-SF home. More information to follow when they make decisions on their new home...

We will soon have new neighbors at 907 Piedmont. Mr. and Mrs. John bought the home in May and are in the process of completing a remodeling project. They will join the four “two-generation” families in the neighborhood. (The Johns’ son, Sunil, purchased the home at 119 Capri several years ago.)

I will have more new-neighbor info in my  next newsletter, as your new neighbors continue to settle in to the Venetian Estates lifestyle!

The New Market                    
I represent all types of buyers--those wanting to buy a “move-in” condition home, those looking for a remodel project and those preferring to build new. Please call me if you are considering selling!

Parade Around
Let’s celebrate our independence and make 2014 the year of the best boat parade ever! Deck your dock and/or boat in red, white and blue on July 4th! Boat drivers, meet at the bridge at 7pm to make your way around the lake, and onlookers, be sure to station yourself in the backyard to watch the festivities! “Back in the day” residents loved to plan backyard parties around this parade. It has been a joy to see the resurgence of this tradition in recent years.

News Flash

A national outlet mall is coming soon to I-69/US 59 and W. Airport in the former Texas Instruments headquarters. (These TI corporate offices will be completely vacated by the end of June, as all employees will have been relocated to TI’s new offices at University and I-69 in Telfair.) The preliminary conceptual plan for the redevelopment of the Stafford TI site (totaling 192 acres) includes restaurants, two hotels, four multifamily complexes, and light industrial in addition to the upscale outlet shopping mall.

Youth Hunt
October 24 - 26 Bud and I will be sponsoring our 4th annual youth hunt on our ranch in Gonzales County. The Texas Youth Hunting Program is offered by Texas Parks & Wildlife primarily for first-time hunters (boys and girls ages 9 - 17) along with a guardian. Last year we had 10 available slots and received over 40 applications! Go to www.tyhp.org/youth-hunters for more information and let Bud know (281.242.1498) ASAP if you are interested in participating.

Speaking of Texas land...history demonstrates that land offers a stable investment. Call Kelly or Bud in our office for additional info regarding investing in and enjoying your own Texas ranch land!

04 February 2014

Venetian Estate News - January 2014

News of the Neighborhood
In review: Ten sales took place in Venetian Estates during 2013.  I sold seven of those homes – some before they even went on the market! Sales included one in the upper $300s, three in the $400s, three in the $500s and three in the $600s.  Five of the ten were land value sales and four were homes needing extensive remodeling. 

I currently have two sales in VE pending.

There are only two VE homes presently available on the MLS. My new listing at 907 Piedmont is a great buy for someone wanting to live in VE without undergoing a major remodeling project. The home is priced at $399,000 and has approximately 3100 square feet. There are three bedrooms, two of which could be considered masters. The huge living area has vaulted ceilings and there is a large sun room overlooking the shady lot and private dock.  As the sound wall is becoming covered with ivy, the view from this Estates Lake property is very pretty and serene.  The back yard view reminds me of my favorite childhood book, The Secret Garden! Remember you can fish or canoe on this two-acre lake!  I recall one of our past neighbors on Estates Lake, Mr. Roeher. He used to catch fish off his dock and have them for dinner that very night!

New to the Neighborhood
I am so happy to tell you about our new neighbors at 907 Genova! Scott and Nikki Hartman fell in love with our neighborhood. Who doesn’t? They moved in to Genova immediately after spending Christmas with Scott’s family in the UK. Nikki is from Alabama (my home state) and her family lives there.  Nikki and Scott met in Birmingham when Scott was working there.  They have been married less than two years and are looking forward to having their first “real” home in Texas. Scott is employed with Shell.  Two baby Chihuahuas will also be at home at 907 Genova. Dave and Coconut are each one year old.

The New Market

If you are thinking of selling please call me. I may already have a buyer for your home! Some want to build on one of the larger lots but there are several potential buyers who would love to remodel.

The Houston market is projected to remain a seller’s market; however, prices are not projected to continue to rise as rapidly as they did in 2013. Lending institutions will be working overtime to keep up with the new rules and regulations. Interest rates will probably go up during the coming year, though inflation is expected to remain low.  New construction starts should continue at a rapid pace but, due to cost increases in material, we may see higher prices on new homes this year. There is also a shortage of available lots for builders who want to increase their inventory/spec homes.

2014 will be the year that we finally see residential construction in the Imperial Development. Some models will be ready this spring. Many of the patio homes (yet to be built) have already been sold. Many of our neighbors are considering a move from Venetian right across the highway to Imperial. Let me know if you would like to learn more. I am very excited about Imperial’s community and have relationships with the developers and builders. I may also have VE buyers who would buy now but not take possession of your home until your new home is complete.

FBRE Update 

Last year I sold homes in Quail Valley, First Colony, Townewest, Richmond, Sugar Creek and Memorial. As much as I love selling in Venetian Estates I represent buyers and sellers throughout Houston and the surrounding areas. Please have your friends or family call me when thinking of buying or selling!

I was nominated and selected to serve as 2014 Chair of the Houston Association of Realtors Fort Bend Business Networking Group. We hold monthly luncheons at Sweetwater CC, with 300 Realtors and affiliates in attendance. If any neighbors would like a business advertising opportunity at one of the monthly luncheons please contact me. (While having dinner with a past client last week he said, “What do I need to do to obtain an “advertising spot” at your luncheon.”) Of course the answer is “All it takes is money!” I secured Jim McIngvale to speak at our April luncheon. He has big news about the new Gallery Furniture Center in Fort Bend County!