Monthly Archives: November 2013


(6)  XERISCAPE YOUR LANDSCAPE – conserve water by planting drought-proof plants and/or installing a rainwater system to get you through the dry months.  (7)  CONSERVE ENERGY – upgrade insulation and seal gaps around windows and doors.  Turn the thermostat  down a few degrees at night.  (8)  SAVE WITH SOLAR – install solar panels for swimming pools & pre-warming the household hot water supply. (8)  GO GREEN TO CLEAN – reduce indoor air pollution by using all-natural cleaning products.  (10)  CHOOSE NATURAL AND RENEWABLE – use natural fibers like wool or cotton for carpeting, window treatments and textiles and sustainable woods like bamboo for flooring.


Popular in Europe and allows older parents to live close to a child – in the backyard in their own GRANNY POD.  Some companies can build a 257 to 588 square foot home for $42,000 to $83,000 (Florida prices) with living, bedroom, bath, kitchen and place for washer/dryer.  Of course iF space available in the larger home for facilities like this, then could be less expensive.  This living arrangement is popular in Europe and other areas of the world.  The “granny pod” could be a more affordable option that provides privacy, security and peace of mind for all parties.  Monthly fees for assisted-living facilities was about $3,300 in 2012.  This arrangement give the older parent or parents their own SPACE, SAFETY AND SECURITY.


Renovating your home?  Here are a few ideas.  (1)  switch on ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING – upgrade your lighting with energy efficient LED or compact flourescent lights.  (2)  get the DROP ON DRIPS – fix or replace leaky faucets.  One drop per second can waste as much as 10 gallons of water each week.  (3)  go LOW-FLOW – upgrade to low-flow toilets and showers to reduce water consumption.  (4)  become a FAN OF FANS – in cooler weather, use clockwise rotation to push down warm air that rises to the ceiling and reverse in warmer weather.  (5)REUSE, RECYCLE & REPURPOSE – use reclaimed building materials instead of buying new and look for ways to repurpose old materials, such as buying from the Habitat Resale Store.  MORE COMING TOMORROW.


The spectacle of our federal government this fall struggling to fund its operations and pay its bill is only one of the latest bit of STRANGENESS in what has been a STRANGE time in our country.  7 million jobs added in past 3 years, but the economy shed 8 million jobs during the downturn.  Rising home prices have pushed up net equity holdings by $2 trillion in last couple of years and stock gains have pushed total household worth to an all-time high, although concentrated in a small % of the population.  On an average, home owners have a median worth of nearly $200,000 & renters $4,000 & these ranks are GROWING.  From Lawrence Yum, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.  So, we are living in the STRANGEST OF TIMES.  Let’s see what 2014 brings




During our Great Recession, home builders cut production sharply, as did the firms that produce the materials used to construct homes.  Now that the housing market is recovering, tight supplies are driving prices up.  This upward trend should be temporary, lasting only as long as it takes for suppliers to get back up to speed.  Then prices will settle back some.  Inventories in “hot” Texas spots like Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and areas where there is an oil boom have a 3 or so month inventory of homes on the market.  Tyler and our East Texas area have near a 10 month inventory as builders built during the Recession so more houses on the market, but prices are creeping up.  Tyler and East Texas are GROWING!



Figure 21.7% of the expense to build a $310,000 house goes to the LOT with 59.3% to total CONSTRUCTION costs.  2.1% for FINANCING , 5.2% for general expenses and OVERHEAD, 1.5% for MARKETING, 3.3% to COMMISSION and PROFIT of 6.8%.  YES, most builders will pay a REALTOR!  These statistics are from the National Association of Home Builders 2011 National Survey Results.  Will only somewhat depending on total price of home.  Lack of buildable lots is STILL A CHALLENGE.

The United States of TEXAS

WHY THE LONE START STATE IS AMERICA’S FUTURE!  Do pick up a copy of this week’s TIME magazine  and go to page 30.  It’s not by accident that 3 of the 5 fastest-growing cities are in Texas.  It’s more like destiny – by Tyler Cowen.  For $300,000 in San Francisco you get a 210 sf loft apartment, in Chicago a 900 sq ft for the same price, but in Austin 3,052 sq ft for a 4 bdr, 3 bath home.  Houston has NO zoning, but seems to work out OK.  Too many rules and regulations hamper other cities and states.  Yes, some jobs are low paying in Texas, but also more than their share of upper end salaries.  Texas is weak on social services and needs to strengthen that area.  In Texas people are friendly and look you in the eye.  The cost of constant stress is not appealing and moving to Texas where the cost is acceptable and a good time to START FRESH.



Some things never change, at least when it comes to what homebuyers want:  decent-sized bedrooms, nice kitchens and bathrooms and good natural light.  But other must-haves enter the real zeitgeist like gangbusters and leaves just as quickly – remember sunken living rooms, mirrored closet doors and olive-colored kitchen appliances?  Then we have older folks who want less space to maintain and move from 3500 sq ft to 2200 sf or similar.  According to other date, buyers still want bigger homes and homeowners’ biggest regret  was not buying a larger homes.  People are buying homes to stay in for 15, 20 and 30 years.  If the area is good and it’s the best house at the best price, THEY CAN LIVE WITH IT.