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Mortgage Applications Rise 0.9% in Latest Week

For the third consecutive week, mortgage applications rose as interest rates dropped, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

Mortgage applications, reflecting those for refinancing and home purchases, rose 0.9 percent for the week ending May 16. It followed a 3.6 percent gain the previous week.

The rise was led by an increase in refinancing. Applications for refinancing soared 3.8 percent to the highest level since the week ending March 14, the MBA says. On the other hand, applications for home purchases, viewed as a gauge for future home sales, dropped 2.8 percent last week.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to drop, falling to 4.33 percent last week to its lowest level since November. The average on 15-year rate mortgages also dropped, averaging 3.43 percent last week from 3.48 percent, the MBA reports.

Source: “Mortgage Applications in U.S. Rose 0.9% Last Week on Refinancing,” Bloomberg (May 21, 2014)

Now is a great time to buy a home. Rates are still at record lows, and the number of homes on the market has increased keeping prices lower. Contact McCann Properties to see a list of current homes for sale.
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Survey Reveals What’s Hot and Not in Home Features

What are some of the most popular home features luring home buyers? The real estate brokerage Redfin surveyed 435 of its real estate professionals across the country to find out what the biggest real estate trends are with home features.

According to the survey, real estate professionals identified the following features as the most popular among home buyers:

•    Open floor plans
•    Move-in-ready homes
•    Granite in areas such as bathrooms or kitchens
•    Upgraded windows
•    Locations near public transportation
•    Energy-saving appliances
•    Large closets
•    Updated lighting fixtures
•    Two-story home with a bedroom on the main floor
•    Wood floors

The survey revealed the following home features are not popular with home buyers:

•    Popcorn ceilings
•    Carpet
•    Lack of parking
•    Small kitchens and bathrooms
•    Minimal amount of natural light
•    Dated homes
•    Wallpaper
•    Low ceilings
•    Limited storage space
•    Loud location on a busy street

Source: “Real Estate Trends: Redfin Agents Tell Us What’s HOT and What’s NOT,” Redfin Blog (May 13, 2014)

When you are ready to sell your home, contact McCann Properties to get some guidance on making your home most attractive to potential buyers in the Houston area.
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When putting your home on the market, it is important to think about what types of upgrades and simple changes can be made to make the home more appealing to potential buyers. Here is an article giving an overview of what's trending in 2014.  To get more guidance and help with selling your home, contact Erika McCann.

Think Color in 2014
Here are 10 trends that are coming on big in 2014:

1. Wider, reclaimed wood and wood-like porcelain floors. Wood floorboards are getting wider—often up to 5 and 6 inches, stained warm gray, and cut from several tree species, says designer Jennifer Adams, principal of Jennifer Adams Design Group in Portland, Ore. Adams is also seeing less of the hand-scraped look, which was costly to produce. Yet, boards can be personalized in other ways. Bole Floor uses a technique that gives floorboards a natural-looking curve, which also allows for more boards from each tree. Other companies like Maine Heritage Timber recycle logs from older trees, which adds warm patina. Architect Elissa Morgante of Morgante-Wilson Architects in Chicago, has found that these reclaimed boards can look smashing whether in traditional or contemporary settings. Porcelain flooring has become more popular, too, because it’s indestructible and available in unlimited styles, sizes, and colors, says designer Steven Gurowitz of Interiors by Steven G.
2. Simpler cabinets, bigger drawers. A major shift is occurring in kitchen cabinets: Warmer gray tones are replacing oranges and browns for a more authentic look, says Andy Wells, vice president of product design at MasterBrand Cabinets. Styles also have shifted from traditional and detailed to more transitional and mid-century modern, since cleaner designs tend to give a kitchen a more timeless look. To fit these styles, hardware is less visible, more modern, and sometimes integrated into the doors. Instead of lower cabinets, big drawers are favored because they’re easier to access and can be fitted with removable storage receptacles.
3. Paint palettes. After years of beiges and whites grabbing all the attention as a way to appeal to potential buyers, many home owners now opting for more varied colors. Color forecasters agree that gray, especially a warmer hue, is the “it” gal in home design for 2014. Mary Lawlor, manager of color marketing for Kelly-Moore Paints, says overall look is lighter, fresher soft corals, shell colors, sea greens, lavenders, and misty blues — sometimes mixed with more potent purples and metallics. She also sees a decrease in Tuscan palettes. Sara McClean, who works with Dunn-Edwards, projects neon brights fading or being mellowed, and expects blues to be everywhere. Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, says four color palettes are emerging: black, white, and gray layered with textures and warm woods; soft flesh tones, beiges, grays, and off-whites; deeper romantic hues, like purple, teal, red, and some oxided golds and coppers; and globally inspired, ethnic brights balanced by neutrals.
4. Indoor-outdoor living. The trend for indoor and outdoor spaces to blend seamlessly continues with more rooms having multiple sets of French doors that open to the outside, as well as big windows that bring in the outdoors visually. Solariums with screens for fresh air in summer, and screened or covered porches that link a house with patio and pool are also coveted home features, says Jeffrey Colle, whose firm designs and builds homes throughout the Hamptons. Even freestanding outdoor structures are being spiffed up. Pool houses may feature more than changing rooms and bathrooms; some owners are adding cooking equipment, fireplaces, and terraces with living room-style seating, wireless sound systems, and weather-protected TVs. Also expect more pizza ovens, fireplaces, fire pits, and propane heaters to extend use.
5. Kitchen color, energy efficiency, and new materials. Several trends are changing up the look of the kitchen, the room where everyone still wants to hang out:

After years of playing it safe in color in appliances, some home owners are willing to go bold. Bertazzoni is manufacturing its professional-style ranges in “vitamin” colors of red, yellow, and an orange it calls Arancio.
Bertazzoni, Thermador, and other companies are making their ranges eco-friendly, energy efficient, and more about healthy cooking with new steam oven models.
Smaller is in when home owners downsize. Bertazzoni’s range is available in a 30-inch version.
Instead of giving up valuable space for a desk, home owners are shifting more toward smaller work areas that allow them to recharge phones, tablets, and other portable devices, as well as a place to leave their mail and keys, says designer Jennifer Gilmer.
New materials are replacing standard-bearers. One example: After years of seeing granite top so many counters, metals are coming on strong, such as hot rolled steel, says Gilmer.
The mismatched, unfitted look is disappearing, replaced by cabinets that fit together more like a jigsaw puzzle and reflect a cleaner, tidier look, says Morgante.
6. Bathroom kudos. Bathrooms continue to become more luxurious, says Deb Dumel, showroom manager of the Frank Webb Bath Center in Boston. She sees several trends coming on stronger in 2014:

TVs integrated into medicine cabinets to avoid having a separate TV visible all the time, such as a sleek one from Robern.
Bigger steam showers—sometimes 7 feet by 4 feet—equipped with built-in speakers, an iPad docking station, Bluetooth connectivity, and aromatherapy. Gone are the panoply of jets and sprays that made some showers resemble a human car wash, Dumel says. In their place may be dual controls for two to shower at once with different temperatures. Also popular are rain heads that provide a softer, but still drenching, spray rather than the sharp needle effect. Infinity drains that run the length of a shower floor eliminate curb designs.
For men who don’t want to worry about fogging up a mirror when shaving, there are more antifogging devices available.
Washlets can now introduce greater comfort and cleanliness with an integrated, self-cleaning nozzle that releases a warm, soothing stream of aerated water; many also have a heating device and deodorizer.
Though many do without a tub or a whirlpool, others want the option if there’s room and funds in the budget. Freestanding models are favored.
7. Technology wow. As you can see with all aspects of home design, technology systems are being integrated more and more, at all price ranges and complexities. From heat to lighting, security to sound and entertainment, and windows and window treatments to doors, technology is a home owner’s friend whether they are home or away. Spurring this trend is less costly wireless technology, sometimes one-and-a-half times less than hard wiring, says Eric Thies, founder and director of marketing for VIA International. At the high end, he sees home owners adding digital backsplashes with displays to watch TV or cycle through digital files of kids’ artwork or family photos. Many home owners are beefing up their networks to business-grade levels. To be extra safe, Morgante says those who have wireless may want hard wiring to ensure sure they don’t lose connections.
8. Global style. The shrinking world means more ethnic fabrics and handcrafted artworks mixed into traditional, transitional, and modern spaces. African and Asian pieces will be particularly popular, along with more embroidered fabrics, says designer Heidi Rawson, based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Kimba Hills, owner of Rumba Style in Santa Monica, Calif., is using Turkish rugs overdyed with bright and subdued tones. “The rugs bring great color and warmth. They’re more contemporary and edgier than their traditional counterparts,” Hills says.
9. Personalized quality. After years of tight budgets, there’s a return to quality as consumers spend more on choice pieces. Designer Claudia Juestel of Adeeni Design Group in San Francisco searches for artisans who fashion bespoke pieces to create one-of-a-kind interiors. The designs she and others favor incorporate craftsmanship and time-honored materials while utilizing modern technology, too. Some examples of her favorite artisans: Paul Benson for metal furnishings and accessories; Kyle Bunting for decorative hide rugs; Michael Coffey for sculptural furnishings; and The Alpha Workshops for a wide variety of unique products.
10. Accent chairs. While big comfortable sofas are always the go-to seating in most rooms, accent chairs for an extra perch and pop of color are coming on strong, says Kristen Pawlak, with Decorating Den in Louisville, Ky. “They’re small, affordable, and a way to add an accent for little cost. They also can introduce a new style to a room. Just be sure to keep it in the same scale as other furnishings,” Pawlak says.

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West University Place, often called West University or West U for short, is surrounded by the cities of  Houston, Bellaire and Southside Place and West University itself surrounds popular Rice Village. West University Place is nicknamed "The Neighborhood City" and is known as the city within a city, as it's located in the heart of the Houston metropolitan area but with a charming, small town, family atmosphere. 
#westuniversityrealestate   #westuniversityrealtor   #westuniversityrealestateagent  

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Located 30 miles north of Downtown Houston, The Woodlands is the top rated master-planned community in Texas and in the top ten in the country, and with good reason. The Woodlands is a 28,000 acre residential and commercial community and is home to more than 88,000 residents, 1,500 businesses, 155 miles of hike and bike paths, 115 parks, several lakes and championship golf courses and millions of square feet of shopping, dining, entertainment venues commercial office space.
#woodlandstxrealtor   #woodlandstxrealestate   #woodlandstxrealestateagent  

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Montrose-Houston Real Estate

Montrose Houston-Named as one of the TOP 10 Great Neighborhoods in the U.S by the American Planning Association-Oct 2009 

Montrose in Houston is one of the oldest and culturally diverse areas of Houston and has an eclectic mix of real estate. From stately, historic homes and brick bungalows to contemporary townhomes, high-rises and lofts. It's real estate diversity matches the diversity of it's residents and the Montrose neighborhood retains its eclectic vibe. 

The Montrose Houston neighborhood was once known for it's more "bohemian" and artsy types, it is now home to a true mix of residents thanks to it's great Inner Loop location.
#montrosetxrealestateagent   #montrosetxrealtor   #houstontxrealtor  

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Houston Downtown Real Estate

With a fusion of culture, lifestyles and commerce, Houston's vibrant downtown is the one place to truly live, work and play. Downtown Houston is home to a world class theater district , which features eight renowned performing arts organizations in four venues - Jones Hall, the Wortham Theater Center, the Alley Theatre and the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. The Wortham Center hosts the Houston Ballet, a top-tier company founded in 1955. Downtown Houston's world class theater district attracts world-class performers and with close to 13,000 seats, Houston is second only to Broadway. Also located in the Theater District is Bayou Place, a 130,000 sq. ft entertainment complex that features fine dining, movie theater, bars, café's and the Downtown 6 acre aquarium.
To see list of current homes for sale in the downtown Houston area, contact Erika McCann.
#downtownhoustontxtealestate   #realtorhoustontx   #realestateagenthoustontx  

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Houston's Inner Loop is the area inside the 610 freeway "loop". It's close proximity to Downtown, the Texas Medical Center and all of Houston's great restaurants, museums, shopping and sports arenas make it a very desirable and urban spot to live and play.

Housing choices inside the Loop are endless with a great mix of old and new. Houston houses inside the Loop include 1930's bungalows found primarily in West University and Montrose and grand Victorian and Craftsman style homes typically found in the Heights. New, luxurious brick or stucco homes and contemporary 3 and 4 story townhomes and lofts are found in pretty much every inner Loop neighborhood. So, whether you're looking for old or new, vintage or contemporary, whatever your preferences are in homes and views, it's all here in Houston inside the Loop!
Contact Erika McCann to see a list of properties for sale in the Houston inner loop.
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Midtown Houston is a pedestrian-friendly, vibrant neighborhood in the heart and hub of Houston, where you can walk to sidewalk cafes, restaurants, parks, clubs and grocery stores. Midtown Houston is bordered by Downtown, Montrose and the Medical Center and is readily accessible from almost any part of Houston. Additionally, with three Metro rail stations located within its boundaries, it has direct access to either the Medical Center or Downtown. Midtown Houston also has easy access to 2 major freeways. It has seen a grand revitalization and development in the past decade and is now one of the most popular neighborhoods in Houston.
For information about Midtown Texas homes, call Midtown REALTOR®, Erika McCann at 832.244.0029
#midtownhoustonhomes   #midtownhoustonrealestate   #midtownrealtor  

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Montrose in Houston is one of the oldest and culturally diverse areas of Houston and has an eclectic mix of real estate. From stately, historic homes and brick bungalows to contemporary townhomes, high-rises and lofts. It's real estate diversity matches the diversity of it's residents and the Montrose neighborhood retains its eclectic vibe. 

The Montrose Houston neighborhood was once known for it's more "bohemian" and artsy types, it is now home to a true mix of residents thanks to it's great Inner Loop location.

For information about Montrose Texas homes, call Montrose REALTOR®, Erika McCann at 832.244.0029
#montroserealtor   #montroserealestate   #montrosehoustonrealestate  
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