Houston Real Estate Blogosphere
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Safety & Security

The most recently published posts in the Safety & Security category
Following a violent storm or tornado, home owners are left to pick up the pieces and find ways to put their homes back together. And as we enter the traditional spring storm season, insurance executives and legislators are warning storm victims to beware of contractors who try to get home owners to sign costly contracts before the insurance adjusters arrive. These shady contractors are dubbed “sto...
Read Post [Posted on 04/25/2014 By John Askins]
Rental costs have continued to rise, outpacing stagnant salaries and widening the affordability gap, according to a new study by DePaul University.   "After the housing crisis, households shifted to renting for a number of reasons," says Geoff Smith, co-author of a study on the affordability gap and executive director of DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies. "The weak ...
Read Post [Posted on 04/24/2014 By John Askins]
Home contractor scams are often on the rise in the spring, and home owners should take steps to make sure they aren’t duped. The scams often target the elderly, with scammers offering to complete yard or household work for money up-front and then never completing the work after the payment is collected. Or, contractors may complete the work but then attach a higher price than was originally...
Read Post [Posted on 04/24/2014 By John Askins]
In Southeast Texas, Homeowners Associations perform many important functions. Depending on the city and county, the most important roles of the Association may vary. For instance, in Houston, which has no zoning, the most important role is defining what can be built and the appearance of homes within the Association’s area. In many subdivisions, additional security patrols are also provided throug...
Read Post [Posted on 04/22/2014 By James Brodnax]
Do you have a fear of being apart from your cellphone? If so, you may suffer from "nomophobia" or "no mobile phone phobia," MSNBC.com reports. It's on the rise. And in careers like the real estate industry, where smartphones are dominant, you may be at risk. Do you never turn off your phone? Obsessively check it? Constantly worry about losing it? If so, you may be among the 66 perc...
Read Post [Posted on 04/22/2014 By John Askins]
The amount of water flowing into Central Texas' Highland Lakes Travis and Buchanan remained near all-time lows in March as the severe drought has reduced many of the lakes' tributaries to trickles. Only 8,102 acre-feet of water flowed into the lakes in March, about 9 percent of average for the month. Inflows for January through March 2014 were lower than the same three months in 2011, a ...
Read Post [Posted on 04/21/2014 By John Askins]
Tech firms are ramping up offerings for businesses and consumers on mobile security, responding to the growing threat from hackers and viruses hitting mobile devices.   Mobile devices are "uniquely more sensitive than PCs," because "the device is with you all the time," says Tarek Alawdeen with Trend Micro. And the mobile threat is not about just about protecting against viruses, Kevin Maha...
Read Post [Posted on 04/21/2014 By John Askins]
Prescription drug abusers reportedly are posing as home buyers and using open houses to raid medicine cabinets and night stands in search of drugs. A group of real estate agents, organizations, and businesses have teamed up to form the Safe Homes Coalition to raise awareness. The group’s initial focus is in San Diego County, but it hopes the message will spread across the country. The ...
Read Post [Posted on 04/19/2014 By John Askins]
Young, first-time buyers are struggling to purchase a home. With low inventories of homes for sale, young first-timers are finding themselves competing against other bidders who are willing to pay cash. Meanwhile, many young buyers are having trouble qualifying for a loan, often due to high student loan debt.  Overall, young buyers have been left out of the housing recovery more th...
Read Post [Posted on 04/17/2014 By John Askins]
FIGHT OFF THE POLLEN THIS SPRING! Tired of that stuffy feeling that Spring brings along? Steer clear of the pollen so that your allergies don't wreck this beautiful season! There are many ways to let pollen into your home but are you taking the right precautions to prevent the mess from entering your home? Try these ten ways to fight off the pollen at your home. 1. Keep the car in the ga...
Read Post [Posted on 04/16/2014 By Pamela Franks]
Are you in a happy place? Healthways and Gallup wanted to find out the well-being of cities across the country. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measures Americans’ perceptions of physical and emotional health, healthy behaviors, work environment, social and community factors, financial security, and access to necessities such as food, shelter, and healthcare. Gallup conducted ...
Read Post [Posted on 04/16/2014 By John Askins]
When reviewing their credit reports, one in five consumers are likely to receive a different credit score from what a creditor will use to price a loan, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The discrepancy has the agency concerned. Lenders use credit scores to help determine the interest rate they’ll charge customers—with higher credit scores often receiving the best rates. “Many...
Read Post [Posted on 04/16/2014 By John Askins]
Energy industry representatives are increasingly making an offer to home owners across the country: Let us drill for your natural gas on your land, and we’ll pay you for the lease.  The offer is increasingly being made to home owners in Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York. Drilling officials say home owners can earn extra income that can be used to pay off their mortgages and that the gas roya...
Read Post [Posted on 04/15/2014 By John Askins]
A massive security flaw exposed on websites could put at risk your private information, such as credit card numbers and other data. The bug is known as Heartbleed, and security experts are warning Internet users to change their passwords on sites they use — and then be prepared to change them again soon. Researchers uncovered the vulnerability in a Web security measure known as OpenSSL....
Read Post [Posted on 04/12/2014 By John Askins]
If and when Congress shuts down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, borrowers likely will end up paying slightly higher mortgage rates.  Proposed House and Senate bills would wind down the two firms over five years and scale back the government intervention in guaranteeing mortgage securities.The House GOP bill would virtually privatize the mortgage market, while the Senate's bipartisan plan ...
Read Post [Posted on 04/12/2014 By John Askins]
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