Find a Slower Paced Lifestyle in Waller & Hockley

Find a Slower Paced Lifestyle in Waller & Hockley

Find a Slower Paced Lifestyle in Waller & Hockley

Are you looking for a friendly community? Maybe you’re hoping to enjoy small town charm without being too far removed from the greater Houston area. Good news – you can find a slower paced lifestyle in Waller & Hockley! Take a look at the benefits of living just outside of Cypress and why we think you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds.

Hockley, TX is a 10-minute drive west on 290 from Cypress, and this quaint town boasts some excellent attractions for family fun! Enjoy date night or family movie night at the Showboat Drive-In, a retro spot for double features best viewed from the tailgate of your pickup truck. Or, enjoy a picnic lunch at the Oil Ranch, a real working ranch with more than 50 acres of amusements and activities for the entire family. Don’t forget to stop by during fall and visit the pumpkin patch and scarecrow festival!

Head just a few more miles down 290 and visit Waller, one of the last great rural escapes in the Houston area. It’s home to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park – a campsite that’s a hit with tourists and locals alike looking to escape the Texas summer. Enjoy floating the lazy river while the kids play on the water slides! Waller also hosts a county fair at the start of fall, hit the golf course or the tennis court at Houston Oaks Country Club, and enjoy a wine tour of Waller County – an event you will not want to miss!

Additionally, both Waller and Hockley combine to boast an exceptional school district. Waller ISD has served the community for 130 years and continues their long-standing tradition of academic and extracurricular excellence. Waller ISD is dynamic and fast-growing, providing an excellent education to more than 6,800 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Want to learn more about the benefits of living in these charming small towns just outside the city? Contact The Lippincott Team – we’d love to help you find your perfect home and slower paced lifestyle in Waller or Hockley!

Your Quick Guide to Homeowners Insurance

Your Quick Guide to Homeowners Insurance

You’ve found your dream home and everything is falling into place beautifully. Congratulations! There is so much to process when buying a new home, it’s enough to make your head swim. When looking for a home loan, for example, you may be uncertain about homeowners insurance and you’re not alone. Use this quick guide to familiarize yourself with it before making a decision.

Homeowners Insurance 101

Insurance is purchased to allow you to rest assured knowing your investment and future is safe and secure. There are a lot of things you may consider important in your life and your family, pets, and your home likely top the list. Consider the following tips when looking for a homeowners insurance policy for your new home.

Go Into The Details and Supplemental Policies

Generally speaking, details are important regardless the venture, but with your home and future at stake, taking the time to go over the details and fine print of your plan is vital. You want to think comprehensively, making sure to consider every possible angle and outcome. Detailed supplemental policies include, but are not limited to:

  • Additional personal property “valuable articles” endorsement.
  • Protection from flood damages.
  • Sewer backup.
  • Protection from damages caused by earthquakes

Don’t Forget About It

Explore all possibilities of what could go wrong so you don’t unintentionally leave anything out in the initial setup of your homeowners’ policy. Remember, a general rule of thumb is that it’s never safe to assume. No question is a dumb question and there’s nothing that could happen that isn’t worth discussing. As the years go by, it’s good to review your policy periodically to make sure you didn’t leave anything out.

Find Ways to Lower The Cost

You may notice that your homeowners insurance premiums will rise every year.  Don’t be alarmed, however, as the cost of insurance rises along with inflation. However, there a few things you can do to get your cost down as low as possible.

  • Before you sit down to speak with an insurance representative do research on their competitors’ pricing. They may state that it is a fixed price, but don’t be deterred. Now is the time for negotiation. Sometimes you may even find better luck with a different agent. The point is, don’t be afraid to stand your ground in negotiations.
  • Don’t include your land value in the equation of overall value, you’ll be paying more when your land isn’t at any risk.
  • Look to add multiple policies with the same insurer which may give you leverage for lower pricing.
  • If you’re a loyal customer, seek out a discount. Often times, customers who hold policies for 5 years or more can save up to 10% with the same insurer.

Shop Around and Negotiate

It may take some time, but the savings can be well worth it. Check out this price comparison tool and ask around. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org) has information that can help you choose, including complaints filed which can tell you a lot about what to expect. Keep in mind that price alone should not be your only consideration. Ensure that who you decide to go with is of quality service that will deliver what you expect during a claim year after year.

Find the Homeowners Insurance Plan to Fit Your Needs

There are so many decisions to make when buying a house and it can be overwhelming. Taking one thing at a time and working with an experienced real estate agent eases the load. It’s important to protect your investment with comprehensive homeowners insurance. Use this guide to get started today.

The Lippincott Team is your Cypress and Northwest Houston area source for real estate investments and information. Contact Us to learn more about buying a home or for assistance with any real estate need.

Out of Pocket Expenses When Buying a Home: 5 Costs To Expect

Out of Pocket Expenses When Buying a Home: 5 Costs To Expect

 

Buying a home is an exciting journey and usually, one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Before jumping into the price tag that catches your eye, expect some out of pocket expenses when buying a home. Knowing some of these common costs up front can help you factor in extra savings for your overall home expenses.

1) Downpayment

This is probably the most common out of pocket expense when buying a home that people expect. Depending on the loan requirements, you could need to put down up to 5% of the sales price. While it’s always a great idea to put as much money down as possible, the idea of a required 20% down payment isn’t necessary. The best starting point is to talk with a mortgage lender who can help you find a program that fits your budget and financial needs.

2) Inspection Fees

While a home inspection is optional, it’s highly recommended and should never be skipped when ready to purchase a new home. An inspection can give you peace of mind knowing about any hidden structural or mechanical issues including building codes and foundation problems. As you can imagine, this is a crucial step before signing your closing documents.

Inspection fees are based on location, the size of the house, and whether additional inspectors are needed for specialized areas such as HVAC, termites, mold, and more. You can expect to pay $200- $600, which is nonrefundable and required upfront.

Although this may seem like a daunting task, you will save yourself hassle, stress, and money in the future from getting this simple inspection done before buying a new home.

3) Moving Supplies

Many people overlook the costs associated with moving before buying a home. Typically, first-time home buyers have fewer items, which means lower moving costs. The expense of moving is calculated by distance and the number of times being transported.

You can keep some of these prices down by using these ideas:

  • Get family and friends to help
  • Pack as many things as possible in your personal vehicle
  • If moving long distance, consider shipping your items. Sometimes shipping can be more cost-effective than hiring a moving truck to drive across the country.  
  • Don’t pay for boxes
  • Throw out junk and purge items you haven’t used in awhile.
  • If using a professional moving company, do your research and compare costs.

4) Maintenance and Repairs

Whether it’s negotiated or necessary, repairs and maintenance are part of owning a home. From changing the locks to replacing appliances, these out of pocket expenses can be costly. If you notice something that needs repairing or an issue arises from the inspection, talk with your Realtor to try negotiating with the seller and get these items fixed as part of the contract.

As other minor maintenance costs pop up, try as many DIY projects as possible. While it may be unthinkable to repair your own kitchen sink, you could take a swing at painting your home interior versus hiring a professional painter.

5) Closing Costs

Often times people get so excited about buying a new home that they forget about necessary closing costs. Factor in 2% – 5% of the home purchase price for things like taxes, attorney fees, loan origination fee, and HOA costs. Before accepting a deal on your dream home, consult with your agent to determine an average cost and breakdown for closing costs and make sure to factor this into your overall budget.

An Agent You Can Trust

Don’t let out of pocket expenses when buying a home catch you off guard. Use these five points to start your budget plan and consult with a trusted Realtor to guide you through additional costs.

The Lippincott Team is an experienced real estate team in the 
Greater Houston area with specialized agents who can help you through the process of buying a new home. Contact us today to get started on making your dream home a reality.

4 Must-Have Contingencies for Your Real Estate Contract

4 Must-Have Contingencies for Your Real Estate Contract

Buying a house is a dance of negotiations, offers, and counteroffers. As a buyer, you want your offer to stand out among all other potential offers. There are several tactics buyers often employ to make their offer more attractive. One such tactic is waiving certain contingencies.  

The Most Crucial Contingencies for Your Real Estate Contract

Contingencies allow you to back out of an offer on certain conditions. They’re there to protect you in case things aren’t as they seem or when certain events occur. While waiving some contingencies can be a strategic move to ensure your offer will be taken, there are other contingencies you really don’t want to remove. The following 4 are the most important contingencies to keep when buying a home.

The Appraisal

The appraisal contingency is the most important one, if for no other reason, because it could potentially save you a lot of money. Once a seller accepts your offer, your lender will order an appraisal. A problem arises, however, when the appraisal comes back lower than your offer price. With an appraisal contingency, you can place certain conditions on the offer in terms of the appraisal. You can stipulate that the appraisal must come within a certain percentage of the sale price. This will allow you to back out of the offer if you feel you’re overpaying.

The Inspection

The inspection contingency protects you against unseen structural and other issues in the home. It allows you to have a licensed inspector to check the property once you sign the purchase agreement. After the inspection, you can negotiate with the seller concerning repairs you want them to make. If no agreement is reached, you can back out of the offer without losing any money.   

The House-Sale

This contingency is important if you’re needing to sell your current home in order to buy the new one. If you’re current home doesn’t sell in the specified time, you can back out of the offer on the new one. While this is crucial when you need the equity in your current home to purchase a new one, it may drive some sellers away.

The Financing

What happens when you make an offer on a house, but the financing falls through? A financing contingency ensures you will get your earnest money back in the case that you can’t get the home loan. You typically will have a certain amount of time to obtain a mortgage, often as many as 14 days. If the financing falls through, you are no longer obligated to buy the house.

Protect Yourself When Buying a House

You want to make sure you’ll get the best price possible for your new home. While waiving some contingencies may give you the edge you need in some cases, those contingencies are there for a reason. They’re for your protection. Make sure these 4 must-have contingencies for your real estate contract are non-negotiable.

Contact Us to learn more about buying a house with The Lippincott Team or for assistance buying a new home.

7 New Home Features You Can’t Afford to Overlook

7 New Home Features You Can’t Afford to Overlook

Buying a new home is an exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, process. There are so many factors to consider, research to complete, and decisions to make. Sometimes you don’t know where to begin. It’s ok. It will be over soon! Take a deep breath and get started with this buyer’s guide to new home features.

Top 7 New Home Features

It’s important to know what you’re looking for before you begin your search. Take some time to prioritize the features you value most. Then find an real estate agent you can trust. Turning to a good agent for help buying a home will reduce your stress and ensure you find the absolute best home for you and your family. Afterall, Houston area realtors know the market AND have invaluable resources to help you evaluate all your options.

1) Location is everything.

Location is a huge factor in determining your overall enjoyment in a house. And it’s a feature you cannot change after you buy the house. How close is the house to your work? Don’t forget your morning commute is every day. Note the ease of travel to all the places you typically frequent. Grocery store, post office, shopping centers, and entertainment venues are some popular examples. The ease of access, local parks, and noise factor are other location-influenced features to consider.

2) Gotta love the layout.

How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Don’t look at anything less. You’ll be doing most of your living inside your house, so don’t scrimp on size. Cramped quarters make no one happy. Do you want a single-story, 2 story, or 1 ½ story home? Think about upcoming changes in your number of occupants. And at the end of the day, do you like the general layout of the house?

3) A beautiful day in the neighborhood.

You’re not just buying a new house, you’re buying into a new neighborhood. Drive around the block. There are many northwest Houston neighborhoods to choose from, so take a good look around. Notice the other houses nearby and pay attention to yard and maintenance upkeep and general care. Is there a park, pool, and clubhouse nearby? Try to meet as many neighbors as you can. This will give you two things: insight into the neighborhood from people who know, and an idea of who your neighbors could be.

4) Storage options.

One of the biggest regrets homebuyers express after buying a new home is lack of adequate storage space. Take a look at all the closets in and out of the bedrooms. Take a good look at the space in your garage. Make sure there’s plenty of space for everything you have now and plenty of room for growth.

5) All about the curb appeal.

Having pride in your home begins with what people see as they drive by. What will be the first impression of your friends and family members? How will others talk about your house? Take a look at the exterior features and condition. Does the landscaping catch the eye? Walk up to the front porch and take note of how visitors will feel as they approach. Is it warm and welcoming?

6) Light and lighting.

Adequate light inside and out is another key feature that can seriously affect your living experience in the house. Walk through every room during the day with the lights off. Do you get plenty of natural light with the curtains open? Next, take a look at the rooms with the lights on and curtains closed. Do you see any potential problem areas with low lighting? Take a look at the exterior lighting as well. You don’t want to be stumbling around in the dark at night. Finally, take a look at the style and condition of all the fixtures.

7) Energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency in your home is a huge concern right now. Do all of the appliances including the a/c meet Energy Star qualifications? Take a walk in the attic. Is it properly insulated? Are the windows energy-efficient? All of these factors can make a serious impact on your monthly utilities bill.

Choose Carefully

Your new home will likely be one of the biggest investments you ever make. Take your time and choose carefully. Consider the features that are most important to you and don’t overlook anything you may regret later on. A little extra time and effort before you buy will reap benefits for years down the line. Use this buyer’s guide to new home features to get started.

Contact Us for help buying or selling a house or for more great tips on buying a new home.

What to Expect as a Buyer or Seller at an Open House

What to Expect as a Buyer or Seller at an Open House

The open house is a critical moment for both buyers and sellers. Knowing what to expect will help you make the most of it either way. It can feel overwhelming, but take a deep breath and get to know the process.

Open House Tips for Sellers

If you’re selling a house, your goal is most likely to sell it as quickly as possible. It’s important to increase its saleability however you can. Your open house events are a key moment in this process.  

1) Clean and Organize

Your home needs to look its best. Keep it cleaned and clutter-free. Vacuum and dust. Keep your beds made. Open all your curtains and blinds to let the natural light in. Clear away all personal items and keep your kitchen spotless. Check your bathrooms and make sure no one has left any unpleasant surprises.

2) Pay Attention to the Outside

The outside of your home is the first thing they’ll see. Make sure you give them the best impression. Keep your lawn mowed, trees and bushes trimmed and leaves raked. Don’t leave any clutter or debris in your lawn. Keep your sidewalks clear and make sure you don’t have any visible ant beds or other issues. Examine your house for any maintenance or repairs. Consider adding flowers.

3) Choose Decorations Carefully

Inside your house needs to be as generic as possible. Any religious or political items need to be packed away along with personal photos and your family name. You want potential buyers imagining themselves in the house, not you.

4) Kids and Pets Must Go

Kids and pets are a distraction to buyers. Make arrangements for your kids to visit other family or friends. Find a place for your pets to stay during home showings. You want buyers to focus on your house. Make sure to get rid of the litter box, toys, or any other indication a pet lives there.

5) Take a Walk, Seller

Unless you don’t have a real estate agent to host your open house, it’s not a good idea for you, the seller, to stay around. You may think you could be helpful and answer questions, but the reality is buyers may feel uncomfortable. They typically won’t say what they’re thinking if the homeowner is there. Your agent won’t be able to get an accurate reading of what they’re thinking. This could harm you in the negotiations.

Open House Tips for Buyers

If you’re buying a home, you’ll want to make the most of the open house events you attend. Don’t just show up, though. Be prepared with a game plan. Know what you’re looking for and how to get the information you need to make a good, informed decision,

1) Wear Appropriate, Comfortable Clothing

There’s no need to dress up, but keep it reasonable. Remember, you’ll likely be doing a good amount of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and light, loose clothing. You may be walking up and down stairs and in and out of rooms. But you also want to be considerate of your host and other guests.

2) Check Out the Neighborhood

Before you arrive at the house, take a drive around the neighborhood. Notice the condition and styles of other houses. Take a look at the upkeep of the surrounding homes and lawns. Notice the layout and location in relation to other key places you’ll frequent such as grocery stores, schools, and shopping strips.

3) Pay Attention to Details

Keep your eyes open for maintenance issues inside and outside. Look for peeling paint, missing shingles or other roof issues, and take note of the condition of the siding. Remember as you enter the home, it has been presented in its best light, so keep a critical eye. Look for issues that may indicate damage or structural issues. This would include uneven floors, cracks in ceilings or walls, water stains on floors, ceilings, or walls, mold, and mildew, and unpleasant or musty smells. Take a look out all the windows, examine the storage space, and check to see all water faucets are working properly.

4) Ask Good Questions

The questions you ask are key to knowing if it’s a good match for you. The agent is there for a reason and is knowledgeable. Pick their brain! You will want to know some basic key information such as: the year the house was built, a record of renovations, the listing date, and if there are any current offers. Ask about HOA fees, special assessments, and other fees. Find out about the local schools and community events. Get the agents insight on the neighborhood and community.

5) Document Your Tour

Request permission first, but plan on taking photos and videos of your tour. Make sure to get good shots of any issues and features you like and dislike. As you go through, take notes in a notepad. This will give you fuel for negotiations later on and make it easier to remember each house when it comes to decision time.

Respect Host and Property

Be kind and polite to your host. Greet them with a smile as you sign in. Your goal is to obtain as much useful information as you can from the tour. Keeping a good rapport with the showing agent will ensure the best experience possible. Respect the house and property. Feel free to look in drawers, cabinets, and closets, but don’t rummage around in their stuff.

Planning Your Open House

Whether buying or selling or both, open house events are a critical component of the process. If you’re selling, it’s your moment to let your house shine. If you’re buying, it’s your opportunity to gather good information so you can make the best decision. Either way, it’s important to make the most of each event. Get started with this guide to open house events for buyers and sellers.

Contact Us to learn more about hosting and attending open house events or for assistance buying or selling a house.