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Mr. Smarts

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  1. I actually passed by the "town center" this afternoon, and I was pleasantly surprised. Although they haven't opened up the main street in the town center, I could see clearly into the shopping area. It looks really nice and looks appealing for an evening stroll. Reminds me of the nicer outdoor shopping areas in Denver. I can imagine how packed its going to be tomorrow.

  2. No, the OP.

    It seems like a pretty silly question if you drive down 288 at all with any regularity. There are ALWAYS cops everywhere.

    I've been driving 288 daily for the past 8 years. You must be new or don't pay attention. Because over the past few months, the cops have swarmed that area! Between BW8 and 610, you see tons of cops pulling people over. We obviously have too many police in Houston, because they have nothing better to do than give traffic tickets. I can understand 1 or 2 cops patrolling that stretch of highway, but sometimes there are 3-5 cops giving tickets. Give me a break, HPD has terrible response times, they need to take those cars off Park and start driving the streets some more. The crime also occurs on the streets and rarely the highway. They aren't the highway patrol, they are the Houston Police. They need to spread those cops into the neighborhoods and get the crime down. I drive often and it seems that for some reason they isolated into the 288 area.

  3. My lawn care service comes whenever I want. I put $20 in an envelope and stick it to the front door. Apparently they spend a good deal of time just driving around looking for envelopes. I have no idea how to contact them or what they are called.

    Try sticking $20 to your front door and see what happens.

    Are you serious? I've never seen or heard that before. How unique and different.

    I pay my guy $25 per. For about a 9k lot. I feel bad giving him so little with todays gas prices. I tried cutting it myself last summer and it took a couple hours and it also didn't come out as nice. I rather pay $25 and enjoy a nice dinner with my wife and savor those 2 hours for myself.

    On subject: Sorry I don't have my lawn guys #. He's just comes every week or 2.

  4. That is the temporary place until the main facility gets approved/built.

    Its not a temporary place, its been there almost since 288 was built, they have another one in Angleton, and it you head far enough out of Houston on any non interstate you will see these type lots. (35, 59, 90, and others) TxDOT put those things in years ago for people who were carpooling from an area to use. Metro and the current plans had nothing to do with the placement of those lots.

    I think he's referring to the parking lot in Target. That surely hasnt been there since 288 was built. :)

  5. Relocating to Sugar Land. Need a place by June 1st or so. We've already had 2 deals fall through. One lady wanted us to give up our earnest money if the house didn't appraise as well as lease back the property for 25 days from us for FREE. Obviously we aren't going to agree to that.

    Other deal fell through cause they took the house off the market (divorce situation)

    We are running out of time. Want to be in a good area near good schools. We're having a hell of a time finding a nice home for a decent price. 3+ Bedrooms. 2+ baths, prefer laminate/wood over carpet, fenced backyard for the pets.

    Price range is up to $240,000.00 If you know of any by owner, through a realtor, anything....post some links. I am getting soooo frustrated. Thanks!

    Yeah, it seems like we shold be able to find something.

    P.S. Already working with a realtor so we don't need a realtor......just can't find the right house.

    Have you gone through har.com? If so, thats pretty much what there is out there. Sure you might a few FSBO, but you'll have to schedule a showing with them to even see the inside since most dont provide a website to look at pictures.

    Good luck

  6. everything is on the right track now. communication has been pleasant. I have seen my entry doors and it is composed of the best craftsmanship i have seen.

    i understand that they were just overwhelmed with work and just lost track with us. the same can go for any large and in demand company.

    mods, please delete this thread. thank you.

    after 5 months, things are finally on the right track???? :blink:

  7. Don't even pull my cord on this one. So many times I may end up missing a good MCM b/c they list the style as "traditional" and don't put a photo up right away. Like many agents I check the new listings report daily, but if there isn't a picture, you pass over it.

    I always put photos of my own up immediately and then replace them with ones done professionally. I sometimes add to the 10 or 12 professional photos with a couple of my own since you can put up to 16 pictures. To me that is so incredibly important, even if the house is plain or whatever. I have/had some listings that were not model homes by any stretch, but you need to make the best presentation possible. The ones that don't put any interior pictures or even worse, the WRONG interior photos just slay me. There is one on Glenview right now in Glenbrook that has a great interior with lots of poured terrazzo, but the agency has photos of the interior of a completely different house altogether.

    Some people do try, but with the right photography even subtle differences can make a world of improvement on the presentation.

    Here are some side by side examples on ones I did vs. other agent's photography of the same house, that to me at least, show how much better a house can look with the right pics.

    Glenbrook colonial

    7642 Glen Prairie

    Glenbrook tudor

    wow. those pictures make a world of difference. I'm always blown away at how some Realtors take the ugliest and blurry pictures. Pictures like yours make buyers take a second look at the home.

    What type of camera, lighting, exposure do you use. Or do you hire pros?

  8. Are these the same heads that a man from Houston is building? He's right by the new Target on I-10 and Sawyer.



    Some developers use skating rinks or even roller coasters as the centerpieces of their shopping centers. Richard Browne is counting on 42 giant busts of the U.S. presidents from Washington to George W. to bring in people.

    So far the Houston developer, whose background includes helping plan The Woodlands Town Center, has spent $5.5 million for 50 acres near Pearland and the striking collection of busts, each at least 18 feet tall and weighing 7,000 pounds, by Houston sculptor David Adickes.

    The plan calls for an unusual mixed-use development, combining space for commercial, residential and a presidential park, surrounding a 30-acre lake and navigable streams, Browne said.

    "This is a natural," Browne said. "We can make this the Venice of Houston."

    The location of Browne's WaterLights District and the presidential park is near other new retail development near Texas 288 and Beltway 8, and close to the booming Shadow Creek Ranch community.

    But with new shopping centers popping up all the time, location may not be enough to ensure success.

    Developers are having to be creative, even gimmicky, with their ideas, said Ed Wulfe, president of Houston-based real estate brokerage and development firm Wulfe & Co. They can't expect customers to come just for the stores anymore. That is why The Galleria added an ice-skating rink and Minnesota's Mall of America has roller coasters.

    "It's an unusual approach," Wulfe said of Browne's pro- ject. "But in today's environment of serious competition between different projects and tenants, you've got to do something different."

    City officials are excited about the busts going to Pear-land because they expect customers and tourists will follow, said Fred Welch, executive director of the Pearland Economic Development Corp.

    "It's going to be a great draw for Pearland," he said. "It'll create a destination where we haven't had one before."

    It also provides a Houston-area home for the third and final set of Adickes' presidential heads. The first two ended up in presidential parks near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and in Williamsburg, Va.

    "I'm really thrilled to put these here because people always tell me, 'You've got to keep these in Texas,' " said Adickes, who is also known for the 67-foot Sam Houston statue in Huntsville along Interstate 45, a 72-foot Stephen F. Austin in Brazoria County and other larger-than-life sculptures, including the cellist next to downtown Houston's Lyric Centre and a trumpet in Galveston.

    Adickes is currently finishing four 36-foot statues of the Beatles.

    Seven of the statues

  9. I find it odd that Bass Pro Shops is being built on the closest corner of that lot. I can imagine that Bass Pro Shops will be the largest store in that shopping center, any smaller stores built there will be dwarfed and lost behind the big box that Bass Pro Shops is. A better placement would have been towards the other corner, acting as an anchor. But then again, this is a "town center," so the layout might be different.

    Anyone have any rendering of what the final project will look like? Even though no other names have been thrown out, they must have a concept.

  10. Actually, Mr. Smarts,

    I've done some more digging and found a couple of foreclosures that I am considering, one is in Sunrise Lakes, the other in West Oaks. Now I just have to hope we like'em and they last long enough for me to get my act together...

    i said Sunrise wasn't for me because the few homes I looked at had either small yards, or in the case of one house (that i can't imagine will sell anywhere near market) has a multi-story commercial building being built right behind it - i don't want to look at that, or have that looking at me - not in the burbs...

    fyi, i'm a realtor, too, so I've plenty of info, but thanks for the offer.

    I know exactly the building you're talking about. Since you're a realtor, I highly recommend a good foreclosure. West Oaks might be a little too far inn, if you want a quick commute to 288. Traffic gets really bad on 518 in the mornings and afternoons.

    I'm not a realtor, but definately love real estate! Good luck.

  11. Thanks, Tammy!

    I hadn't heard of Southern Trails, so I will put that on the list. (just looked online - $750 HOA Dues - Yikes!!)

    Most of your analysis is in line with what I've noticed looking at HAR - that is, it costs more to get what I want or I will have to do some kitchen updating - which I'm not opposed to doing, and have somewhat planned for...

    Having said that, I am also going to look closely at foreclosures. If I can get a little more for my money and do the cosmetics, I'm good.

    Why do you say Sunrise is not for you?

    I bought a foreclosed home in Pearland, it was the best decision I made. I saved about 20k on the current market value and only needed to make 2.5k in repairs/upgrades to the home. The rest I did to it was by choice. It sounds to me that buying a foreclosure would be good for you. Some people are completely opposed to buying a house that needs any types of repairs, but if you are like me, then its worth the extra k's in savings. Good luck. The trick is finding the right realtor who can show you the "right" foreclosures for you. As some need modest repairs and some are horrendous!

  12. Well, I appreciate the feedback to my initial posting.

    It is not so much that I care "if there is another house like mine somewhere in the vast land that is the USA", I'm ticked because we paid what I consider to be a good deal of money for what we thought was a one of a kind home that is now available to everyone for a drop in the bucket compared to what we paid.

    And, the plans were published in Southern Living by the architect we hired, Ken Tate of Madisonville, La. (www.kentatearchitect.com) He did have direct oversight and was solely responsible for the publication of these plans for purchase.

    I guess my question is, then what did I pay $60,000 for? Why did he charge me $60,000 if he is selling the plan now for $3,000? Is it worth $60,000 or $3,000???

    I do think it is BS to pay $60,000 for plans and then have the architect turn around and sell them for $3,000 to a magazine.

    And, yes, the AIA contract unfortunately may allow the architect to do that but it is bad business in my opinion and I would like to sue the SOB.

    So, I would like to let everyone who is about to sign an AIA contract with an architect - BE AWARE of what you are signing. Have an attorney look at it before you sign it so that your architect doesn't sell you down the river!

    I feel for you. You might not have direct recourse towards him. Since it is work for hire, but the contract will dictate how much so.

    I would get back at him by contacting several architecture magazines and maybe some television stations where they do stories about "buyer beware" situation. They might be interested in doing a story. I've had luck having some articles published about my business by solely writing the author of the article by email.

    It is BAD business practice. I can imagine that your situation is not the first he has done that to.

    Good luck.

  13. Looking at the preliminary plan for the 40 acre site, there will be a Lowes, Office Max, Fingers furniture and other outparcel types. The CBL project and this project will share opposite ends of business center drive from Broadway to CR59. Hopefully, I upload the document that they shared with me ( I am sure it will change some during the planning process).

    Other information you may find useful is that MUD 34 has approved them to be annexed into their system to receive financing for the infrastructure and they expect City approval in the next 60 days. This will extend the water and sewer pipe from the CBL termination point to their site...which will also feed the rest of the area along it.

    BTW. I own the 10 acre parcel on their north border and will hopefully be able to share my own project with you soon.

    Best regards,


    good luck with your land! I'm anxious to hear what you plan to do with it. :)

  14. I'm not Sharpe St guy, but that is the correct website for Fox.

    For an inspection on a 1000 SF house + unattached garage w/apt. of the same size we paid close to $600 for the house and $200 for the termites.

    Maybe we got taken???? Or they charge more to climb over/around/under the old Heights houses.

    a quick question for you. What advantage did you see in paying for a termite inspection instead of calling a termite place to come and check for termites for free? Obviously you get what you pay for, but i know most termite places do a good job in checking for termites.

    Thanks for the input. :)

  15. Yeah they charge me about the same. And my place sounds very similar to yours. I guess the added price is because of the older house.

    wow. I guess my quote wasn't too bad. I was about to come on here and mention that my quote seemed high.

    Its for a 2800 sq ft house built in 2001, in pearland. 2 story on slab foundation. They quoted me $445. This is with Fox Inspections.

  16. Fox is good if not great. They are known within the construction business as "the deal killers". Of course any inspection is going to find items and in order to cover there liability they are going to notate everything and anything they see or think as an issue. This prevents you from coming back after them for compensation for missing something.

    You are right though as long as the structure is sound, and the electrical has been updated and no active infestation of termites you should be good to go. A home built back then will be on block and beam so plumbing will be a non-issue since there is easy access underneath the home.

    Good Luck,

    Scharpe St Guy

    Is Fox inspections a 1 person company. Or do they contract their work out to other inspectors?

    I'm looking to inspect a home I'm looking to purchase in Pearland. Its fairly new, 2001, would they seem like the best person for the job? How much do they charge?

    I rather get some recommendations, then just flip through the yellow pages. A recommendation here is as good as anywhere. Thanks!

  17. Apartments suck.

    They start out nice...then suck a decade later, providing a place for the transients, illegals, and riff-raff to live and ruin your community.

    I dont generally like apartments, but the silverlake apartments and townhomes are far from being affordable to the low-income masses as in Sharpstown. So I really doubt they will turn bad, especially with the taxes they are paying for the property.
  18. I am from Friendswood, so I knew the area really well. New Pearland makes my skin crawl. I wanted to stay old school and near the beltway. I had heard the old Randall's was going to be converted to an H.E.B. I love H.E.B. the freash tortillas are awsome. I just the would build a Bally's out here.

    How come you don't like the new pearland? is it all the traffic? or just different tastes?

    I personally love the new area, since I love the urban feel (if it can be called that.)

  19. Of course there is a Starbucks! It's east of 288 along 518. I think it's along 518 in front of Kohl's. Maybe a half mile from 288.

    There are a few Vietamese restaurants along 518 E of 288 but I've never been. There are ZERO restaurants of any type in the SCR development area west of 288... currently. I don't know what will all be built (besides La Madeline) but there will be several on the SCR side within a year, I would guess. Construction has started at the Spectrum project, the Pearland Town Center on the NW corner of 518/288, and all along 2234 on the north edge of SCR.

    Inside Target there is another Starbucks too. The other starbucks is probably a quarter of a mile from 288.

  20. 110k - 4% for the realtors = 103,400

    103,400 - 20k fix up (can you really only spend 20k?) = 83,400

    83,400 - 4,000 (loan interest and points) = 79,400

    79,400 - 3,000 (closing costs buying and selling) = 76,400

    76,400 - 1,000 (property taxes) = 75,400

    75,400 - 1500 (builders risk insurance and utilities) = 73,900

    73,900 - 58,000 (price of house?) = 15,900 Profit

    What if it cost 5,000 more to fix up the house than you thought?

    What if you have to come off the list price 5,000 to get a quick sale?

    $5,900 Profit

    I'm not trying to be a buzzkill but this is what I do for a living, and as anyone who has flipped houses can tell you, this is reality.

    You also should know that HCAD value has nothing to do with the Market Value.

    All the best,


    Thank you for the input? What areas do you like to invest in?

    I minimize my costs by using a contractor friend of mine for most of the work. I've easily in the past spent 10k on a house and put in a new roof, flooring, some electrical work, walls and ceilings. Sometimes a little more, sometimes less. All to code. I would never spend retail for construction work, on a house meant for resale. Since between my family and I, we give him a lot of work.

    I would also only purchase the home if I could get it under asking price. The realtor I work with would give me a break on her fees.

    But you are right, there is a risk. I've ran numbers on that house and looked up its previous selling price. That same house sold for 103k in 2004. Since it was abandoned a few months ago, with some work it could easily go for 110k now. Easily!

    The HCAD numbers where just for comparision. What I was saying was that the homes in that area have usually sold for 5-10k above HCAD value. HCAD value was just used as reference. I use that number as a starting point, then compare similar homes final sale price and square footage, among other thing. :)

    They might've just protested their taxes and done really well for themselves.

    Find some sales comps and get back with us. It may actually be a very good deal, but HCAD is no way to judge.

    true. But HCAD can be used as a comparative tool. Its also good to see how its value has increased in the past 5 or even 15 years. I think its smart to use all tools available to price/buy a home, not just HCAD. Agreed?

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