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News and Events

Upcoming Outdoor Events in and Around Richmond

Brandon Spaulding - 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.

Home Builder Highlight: Ashton Woods

Brandon Spaulding - Friday, April 22, 2016

 


For over 25 years, award winning home builder 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

Brandon Spaulding - 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

Brandon Spaulding - 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

Brandon Spaulding - 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

Brandon Spaulding - 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

Brandon Spaulding - 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

 

Houston Real Estate: Now is the Time to Buy

Brandon Spaulding - Friday, March 04, 2016

Good news for potential homebuyers looking to make an investment — according to a recent article by the Houston Business Journal, home prices in Houston have fallen.

Paul Takahashi reported:

RealtyTrac released its 2015 U.S. home sales report, which found that more than a third of 87 housing markets nationally — including Houston — hit all-time home price highs in 2015.

Eight U.S. cities — including Houston — saw year-over-year declines in the median home sales price in December. The Bayou City was the largest of these cities nationally to post a decrease in December, according to RealtyTrac.

Houston’s white-hot housing market is finally cooling, which will be a boon to first-time homebuyers who were either squeezed out or priced out by the frenzied market, which was characterized by multiple offers and bidding wars.

Houston has one of the largest shares of entry-level homebuyers, who will likely be helped by falling home prices, according to RealtyTrac.

Federal Housing Administration buyers — typically first-time homebuyers with low down payment savings — account for 23 percent of all buyers in Houston. Nationally, these buyers accounted for 15.7 percent of all homebuyers, according to RealtyTrac.

Looking to invest in a new home in Houston? View our local listings.

Positive Trend in Houston Real Estate

Brandon Spaulding - Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Positive news for the Houston real estate market— in a recent article by Houston Business Journal, it was reported that Houston home foreclosures fell in 2015, despite the oil slump.

While there are many reasons why foreclosures affect certain areas— this percentage reveals a positive trend for the Houston housing market.

Paul Takahashi reported:

Houston had 6,067 completed foreclosures in 2015, a 28 percent drop year over year, according to CoreLogic Inc. (NYSE: CLGX).

The number of homes in the foreclosure process also fell 18.5 percent in 2015, although it ticked up a slight 0.6 percent in December, according to the Irvine, California-based real estate research firm.

The number of seriously delinquent mortgage payments — where loan repayments are 90 days late or more — also fell in Houston. A mere 2.6 percent of homeowners were seriously late on their mortgage payments in 2015, a drop of 14.7 percent year over year, according to CoreLogic.

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

 

Weekend Activity: Houston’s “Green” Hidden Gems

Brandon Spaulding - Thursday, February 25, 2016

At Lakes of Bella Terra, residents are just a drive away from the busting hubs of Houston— perfect for weekend getaway or night out on the town. ABC13’s Steve Campion recently shared with us a spectacular story about Houston’s green space and some of the best kept secrets in regards to the park system’s hidden gems.

Houston is often characterized by concrete, urban sprawl. So you might be surprised by the amount of green space to explore in our big city.

Houston's so-called signature parks include Hermann Park, Buffalo Bayou, and Memorial Park.

If you take a second look around town, you may notice some of the park system's hidden gems.

Take for instance "Bethel Church Park" in the 4th Ward which was once home to a historic church. The building burned in 2005. Instead of demolishing the structure, the city salvaged it a and transformed the site into a park.

Up in the Heights, locals often refer to Donovan Park as the "Castle park." The park, located off 7th Street and Heights Boulevard, boasts big playground and is run by an area neighborhood association.

Nestled next to the city of West University Place, you'll find "Fire Truck Park" off Garnet Street in the city of Southside Place. It's a hit with most kids.

A big project being built right now in Bellaire promises a park experience unlike any other. Evelyn's Park is set to transform the old Texas nursery site at Bellaire Blvd and Newcastle Street.

Among the many amenities planned for Evelyn's, you'll find something really unique. Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon is currently creating a huge, life-sized replica of the famed "Alice and Wonderland's tea party." The park is scheduled to be open by the end of summer with the sculpture on display in November.

If you are looking for a new home in Houston, be sure check out our local listings.