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News and Events

Homebuilder Highlight: Chesmar Homes

Lakes of Bella Terra - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

If you're looking for a builder who will treat you as a member of their family and do whatever it takes to build your dream home, look no further than our homebuilder highlight of Chesmar Homes. Launched 10 years ago by industry leader Don Klein, Chesmar Homes lives by this set of core company values: "to treat everyone with dignity and respect, build a product of great quality and value, provide excellent post closing customer care, and to do what we say we will."

MPG Program

Chesmar Homes' MPG Program stands for Modern Design, Performance Guaranteed, and Green Certified. The houses built by Chesmar Homes feature a modern aesthetic with open floor plans, windows that let in natural light, and large areas for family gathering. Their houses are also Performance Guaranteed, with each home earning the Energy Star 3.0 rating and the Environments for Living - Platinum and Green Certifications. Finally, Chesmar Homes strives for environmentally friendly living, which, in the end benefits both the earth through lower energy consumption and the homeowner through lower utility bills.

Award Winning Company with a Philanthropic Outlook

Ever since it entered the Houston housing market, Chesmar Homes has garnered awards in a wide range of categories, while also making the time to fulfill needs of the less fortunate in the Houston community. Their awards range from acknowledgments from Energy Star, Environments For Living, and GE, as well as Great Houston Builders Association awards for product design and Builder of the Year. On a philanthropic side, Chesmar Homes has participated in the GHBA Benefit Home Project. This endeavour built homes with the profits going towards supporting Texas Children's Cancer Center, HomeAid Houston, and Alzheimer's Association

Company Philosophy

Sales Counselor for Chesmar Homes, Colleen Blair, sums up the Chesmar Homes philosophy best when she says, “We don't have salespeople -- we're home consultants. We're here to consult with you figure out what your needs are, and what it is that you're looking for to create a home, a home that's individual to you.”

If you're interested in Chesmar Homes building your unique, modern home in Lakes of Bella Terra, feel free to reach out and contact us any time.

Gains in Texas Real Estate Sales

Lakes of Bella Terra - Monday, May 09, 2016


In a recent article by Houston Chronicle, it was reported: 

Texas posted strong gains in home sales and prices and set a record for low market supply in the first three months of the year despite the negative effect of slumping oil prices in some areas.

Home sales shot up 7.8 percent statewide, to 65,265, in the first quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, the Texas Association of Realtors said in a quarterly report issued Monday.

The median sales price rose by 5.4 percent year over year to $195,000.

"Despite the economic downturn in some parts of the state, home sales continue to be strong, indicating the enduring demand of Texas real estate," Leslie Rouda Smith, chairman of the state realty association, said in an announcement.

Home sales in Houston rose the least among Texas' biggest markets, with a year-over-year gain of 1.7 percent to 15,921 sales. The median price rose 3.5 percent to $207,000.

Housing inventory in Texas fell to a low of 2.8 months in the first quarter, a decline of 0.6 month from the first quarter of 2015. The inventory represents how long it would take to sell everything on the market at the current sales pace.

The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, which helps produce the quarterly report, estimates 6 to 6.5 months represent a balanced market.

In Houston, the inventory of homes on the market rose to 2.8 months in the first quarter from 2.6 months a year earlier. Homes stayed on the market an average of 60 days in the region.

Jim Gaines, economist with the Real Estate Center, said the next two quarters, typically the strongest for home sales, will be telling. "The Texas economy is experiencing a cooling-off period after a five-year boom," he said, "so the Texas housing market's strong gains despite the current uneasiness in the state economy are remarkable."

Dallas, the state's biggest market for home sales, was among the strongest. Sales shot up by 14.3 percent to 20,206 in the first quarter. The median price rose by 8.6 percent year-over-year to $215,000.

Other cities with double-digit sales gains were: Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Midland, San Antonio, Sherman/Denison and Wichita Falls.

Seven of the 25 markets tracked by the Texas Association of Realtors posted sales declines. Among them: Bryan-College Station, Laredo, McAllen and San Angelo.

Statewide, houses spent an average of 64 days on the market. Active listings fell by 11.9 percent year over year to 74,276.

 

Homebuilder Highlight: Westport Homes

Lakes of Bella Terra - Tuesday, May 03, 2016


The slogan of Westport Homes is "If you dream it, we can build it" and they mean it. David Moore, president of Westport Builders, makes the quality of Westport Homes his personal priority.

Here are three reasons why our homebuilder highlight of Westport Homes might be right for you.

DESIGN CENTER

At the Westport Homes design center you choose it all, from floor tile and carpet to cabinets and counter tops. The staff will guide you through a multitude of choices to ensure your new home reflects your style and the needs of your family.

QBUILD

After a final meeting to go over the blueprints and final changes to your new home, you set a construction start date. From then on, you can follow, and stay involved with, your home build with Qbuild.

Qbuild is a computer program that lets you follow your home build through 26 stages, from pouring the foundation to setting the closing date. Stage five for example, tells you among other things that the roof sheathing finished and roofing material is being installed. It also tells you that this is the deadline for cabinet and appliance selection.

WARRANTY

Westport Homes not only offers an excellent warranty but stands behind it. Every new homeowner can contact them by phone and fax and now they have added an on-line warranty service.

The Greater Houston Builders Association has honored Westport Homes more than once with the coveted PRISM award for its dedication to homebuilding excellence. Westport Homes has been building quality homes in the Houston area since 1992 and can create your dream home for you at Lakes of Bella Terra.

 

Upcoming Outdoor Events in and Around Richmond

Lakes of Bella Terra - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

One of the best parts of moving to a new area is participating in some of the great activities your new community has to offer. Whether you have already decided to become a Lakes of Bella Terra resident or it is just on your list of potential communities, consider some of the upcoming outdoor events in and around Richmond, Texas.

25th Annual Golf Tournament

This charity golf tournament is hosted by Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. For 2016, it is taking place on Friday, May 6 from 11 am-6 pm. The event takes place at the River Point Golf Club in Richmond, which is about twenty miles from the Lakes of Bella Terra.

It costs $100 per person to participate in the event. This includes greens and cart fees. It also includes a putting contest entry as well as dinner. You are even given two mulligans, allowing you to have a less-than-perfect golfing day and still do well. At the completion of the tournament, prizes are awarded.

Houston Dragon Boat Festival

The Houston Dragon Boat Festival takes place the weekend of May 7-8 from 8:30 am-4 pm both days. The festival takes place at 901 North York Street in Houston, about 30 miles from Lakes of the Bella Terra.

The main event is the boat races, which take place about every 15-20 minutes. Live music, cultural performances, and plenty of food vendors will also be part of this festival, which has free admission.

Free Press Summer Festival

The Free Press Summer Festival takes place in Eleanor Tinsley Park in Houston the weekend of June 4-5. Tickets can be purchased for one or both days. The gates open at 11 am both days. It is about a 30-mile drive from the Lakes of Bella Terra to Eleanor Tinsley Park.

Over the course of the two-day outdoor concert, over 60 artists will perform on five stages. Because tickets are general admission, finding a good place to stand or sit is really about arriving early. There will be food options from award-winning chefs from the area. Merchandise to celebrate the experience can be purchased at the event or online.

Of course, this is only a sampling of some of the outdoor events happening in the area in the next little while. Contact us for more information about the Richmond community and to find a great new home.

Homebuilder Highlight: Ashton Woods

Lakes of Bella Terra - Friday, April 22, 2016

 


For over 25 years, award winning homebuilder Ashton Woods has been building beautiful quality homes through out the United States. This privately owned builder has been named "Most Trusted Builder in America," more than once by Lifestory Research.

DESIGN

The architects and designers of Ashton Woods work with customers to be sure the home design incorporates everything the home buyer desires.

The experience starts in the design studio. Buyers supply our design team with a wish list. They might bring photos, magazines, even fabric swatches that inspire them. Using the wish list, designers and clients select the finishes for a customized floor plan chosen from thousands of options. The final product is a customized home that fulfills all their dreams.

QUALITY

Ashton Woods builds fine homes using top quality material, brick, natural stone, and real wood. Kitchens in these wonderful homes feature granite counter tops, and glass or tile back splashes. A fire place surround might be natural stone, or an eye catching tile. Master bedroom suites might contain trey ceilings and a fire place. Top of the line paint is used in the home.

ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMES

Ashton Woods employs the Environments for Living Platinum Program. To meet the program standards, homes must meet an established level for insulation and window heat loss. Homes must have an energy efficient water heater, and water saving toilets. They must also include high efficiency heating and cooling systems.

WARRANTIES

Ashton Woods homes offers a transferable warranty that covers one year for workmanship and materials, and ten years for major structural components of the home.

Contact us to learn more about Ashton Woods, or one of our other quality home builders.


 

Four Spring Events in Richmond

Lakes of Bella Terra - Thursday, April 14, 2016

 


Spring is full of fun in Richmond, and we make sure we create a variety of events that our whole community can enjoy. Here's a look at our upcoming "Spring Lineup":

1. Lone Star Stomp: Texas' Most Wanted

Get your boots on and get ready for an action-packed evening at this April 16th gala that features Casino tables, drink stations, dinner, dancing, live music by Shark Bait, and a silent auction to benefit the Fort Bend Museum. The fun takes place at the George Ranch Historical Park, 10215 FM 762, from 7-11pm. If you're interested in donating auction items or sponsoring a table, you can email tnorris@fortbendmuseum.org.

2. Movie in the Park

Wessendorff Park kicks off the outdoor movie season on April 22nd with Disney-Pixar's animated The Good Dinosaur. The event is put on by the city and is free for all ages. They'll be food trucks available to purchase your fill from Watcha' Cravin, NOM Mi Street, Soul Cate Cuisine, Big Pappas Kettle Corn, and Carrie's Sno Balls. Seating starts at 7pm at 500 Preston St., and the movie runs from 8-9:30pm.

3. Mother's Day Victorian Luncheon

This "historic" Mother's Day Eve event lets you take Mom back to a time when bonnets were all the rage, and serving up savory sweets at tea time was taken very seriously! The event takes place on Saturday May 7th at George Ranch Historical Park starting at 9am and includes a bonnet making contest, textile weaving demonstrations, herb satchel crafting, and a tea luncheon from 12:30-2pm. Tickets for the tea are $20 for adults ages 13 and older, $15 for children ages 5-12, and $4 for children 4 and under. You can call (281) 343-0218 to make reservations.

4. 3rd Annual Motor Madness Car Show

The Historical Richmond Society hosts this downtown auto extravaganza on May 14th from 10am-3pm at City Hall Park. Awards for "best in class" will be at 2pm, and they'll be plenty of good eats and shopping all afternoon! You can email Erica at info@historicrichmond.org if you'd like to register a vehicle. The show is free and registration is $25.

Feel free to contact us if you'd like more information about any of these events.

 

​ Budgeting Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Lakes of Bella Terra - Friday, April 08, 2016


If you are starting to think about purchasing a new home, now is the time to also develop your budget. Buying real estate at this time is a wise choice. Rent is rising at a rate that is higher than inflation leaving many Americans paying more than 30% of their income in rent. Therefore, it is a good time to consider buying. Advantages of buying include:

A fixed mortgage won't go up, whereas rent will.

Tax deductions can be taken on mortgage interest payments and energy-efficient improvements.

Interest rates are still low.

It is a wise economical decision to buy a home. Yet, it is important to make sure you are set up to be successful financially. Financial advisors recommend that first time home buyers start by creating a budget. First, determine how much your monthly income is. Next, compile a list of your expenses. Determine if your expenses are less than your income and how much money you are able to save each month. Evaluate if you have any room for modifications so you could increase your savings.

When you buy a new home, you will need to have money to pay for the down payments and closing costs. In addition to these one time expenses, you will need to be sure you can afford the monthly mortgage payment. Many families look at their current rent to determine how much money they could pay for a mortgage. Keep in mind that you may want to have extra money to pay for furnishings and to set aside in case an issue occurs, such as a broken appliance. Remember you will also need to pay property taxes and insurance.

A lender can let you know an estimate of how much money you will need for the down payment and closing costs. Once you understand this amount, you can determine how long it will take you to save up the money needed based on the amount of savings earned each month. It is also wise to seek pre-qualification for the mortgage. This will let you know how much mortgage you will qualify for. You may decide the amount you qualify for is higher than you are comfortable committing to on an ongoing basis. It is helpful to compare your monthly budget to your pre-qualification to help determine what works best for your specific situation.

Budgeting for a new home is helpful so you can successfully pay now and in the future. For additional information and to explore the new home listings in the Lakes of Bella Terra, contact us.

Real Estate News: Home Sales Rise

Lakes of Bella Terra - Thursday, March 31, 2016

Positive news for the Houston real estate market— in a recent article by Houston Chronicle, it was reported that home sales are rising as housing market stabilizes.

Nancy Sarnoff reported:

Houston's housing market showed signs of stability in February, as sales of single-family homes increased for the first time since September despite low oil prices and uncertainty about the overall economy.

The results were mixed, however, as demand grew for homes in the $150,000 to $500,000 range, while more expensive properties saw continued softening, data from the Houston Association of Realtors show. Overall, single-family home sales were up 2.2 percent over a year earlier, with buyers closing on 4,602 homes during the month.

Mario Arriaga, the association's chairman, described the local housing market as healthy despite the energy-industry slowdown.

The optimism from Arriaga and others comes from a diversified economy where jobs are still being added, though at a much lower rate than during the boom.

There were 15,200 jobs created in this region last year, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. That's down sharply from 117,800 new jobs in 2014, the third best year on record for job growth.

Looking to buy a new home in Houston? Lakes of Bella Terra is fresh with the latest listings.

Spring Activities in the Neighborhood

Lakes of Bella Terra - Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring is here at the Lakes of Bella Terra, and that means more access to more of our incredible amenities. Living at the Lakes of Bella Terra, we experience warm winters, but spring is a great time to get back into those outdoor activities and gearing up for summer fun.

Here are a few ideas of some ways you can take advantage of the warmer spring weather, and all of our incredible amenities.

Do cardio tennis drills on our tennis courts. Sure, you may have made New Years resolutions about getting in shape, and if you started with a lot of traction but have lost a little momentum, spring is the perfect time to pick up your pace. Take advantage of our lighted tennis courts, and do some drills in the evening, perhaps after work or after dinner.

Enroll your children in swim lessons. Summer is on its way, and once school is out, you and your children can be hitting up the amazing pool here at the Lakes of Bella Terra every day. Make sure your kids are going to get the most out of the summer fun at the pool by putting them in some swim lessons this spring. If you need a recommendation, Safe Splash Swim School comes highly recommended on Yelp. Enroll yourself in swim lessons.

Our Junior Olympic size pool is perfect for swimming laps too. So, if you have always wanted to try swimming for exercise, but haven't ever learned to how, now is the time to look into it. Nothing is quite as relaxing as tuning out the world and swimming laps to work your whole body, as well as your cardiovascular health. Many recreation centers, YMCAs and health clubs offer swim classes for adults.

These are just a few ideas of how you can take advantage of spring and all of our amenities here at the Lakes of Bella Terra. For more information, contact us today.

Three Things You Need to Know About Home Owners Insurance

Lakes of Bella Terra - Friday, March 11, 2016

Your home is likely your biggest financial investment. Hopefully you will never need to file a claim, but if you do you want to be sure your home owners insurance policy is adequate. A proper home owners insurance policy will allow you to recover financially should your home be devastated by a fire or some other disaster. Consider the following three things you need to know about home owners insurance.

It Doesn't Cover Everything

Many people incorrectly assume that their insurance policy will cover any conceivable situation. Unfortunately it won't. It is important that you understand exactly what you are covered for so you can determine if you need extra insurance. Most policies don't cover floods or earthquakes for example. People at risk for either of these have to buy a separate policy in addition to their home owners insurance.

Also, you need to know if the policy is for replacement cost or actual cash value. The difference between these two is important. Let's say you have a catastrophic fire and your house and the contents are destroyed. Replacement cost insurance will pay the full cost to replace your home and personal property. An actual cash value policy takes into account the depreciation value. So if your TV is ten years old the replacement insurance will buy you a new TV at the current selling price whereas the actual cash will give you the amount of money your 10-year-old TV is worth (say $40) which will not be enough to buy a new TV today.

If you don't understand your policy be sure to ask questions or have someone knowledgeable about insurance review it and provide you an explanation.

Be Sure the Policy Amount is Appropriate

It is important that the insurance policy covers the amount of money you would need to replace your home and your possessions. You need to know:

The actual value of your home

The value of your belongings

It is best to create a list of all your belongings and the value of each item. Consider including the purchase date and cost of purchase. You may also want to take photographs of the items on your list. Keep the list in a safe place, such as a fire-proof safe or bank safe deposit box.

Verify the policy you obtain covers both the value of your home and the value of your belongings.

Cost of Policy

The cost of a homeowners insurance policy is based on a variety of factors. The premium will be higher if the insurance company views your situation as high risk of filing a claim. Discounts are given if safety features exist that reduce risk. Factors that affect the cost include:

Neighborhood crime rate

Location of your home in the neighborhood

High-risk items such as a backyard pool or trampoline

Security features such as a home burglary alarm system or dead bolt locks

Fire suppression systems such as sprinklers and fire alarms