Merry Christmas 2016 – Was Jesus born on December 25th?

Christmas 2016 with Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty
















Was Jesus born on December 25th?
The birth of Jesus Christ is pretty much the most basic element of the Christmas story. From common carols to the imagery of the nativity scene, the idea that Christmas is his birthday is everywhere. History convincingly shows that December 25 was popularized as the date for Christmas, not because Christ was born on that day, but because it was already popular in pagan religious celebrations as the birthday of the sun. But what’s commonly accepted by those who observe the holiday isn’t exactly true to history, according to Mark Goodacre, a professor in the Duke University Department of Religion.

The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke are the only accounts of Jesus’ birth in the New Testament. Even accepting their word as the truth, each tells a different story—Luke’s starting in Nazareth and Matthew’s focused solely on events in Bethlehem—and neither is particularly detailed in terms of calendar dates. “It’s a tough one really because there is just so little in Matthew’s and Luke’s birth narratives. The gospel writers very rarely tell you when things happened and the time of year,” Goodacre says. “You don’t get any official detail so we’re in the dark really on that.”

Scholars often point out that Luke’s gospel cites that there were shepherds in the field on the first Christmas, which suggests Jesus was not born in winter. “There’s also the idea that Mary and Joseph would have embarked on an epic journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the middle of winter with Mary being pregnant, which seems really implausible,” Goodacre says.

1. We know from the Bible, Luke 2: 7-8and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night, that the shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth. Shepherds were not in the fields during December. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night. 

2. From Luke 2: 1-4In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David, we know that Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census. Such censuses were not taken in winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating.

If Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, does the Bible Indicate when He was born?
The biblical accounts point to the fall of the year as the most likely time of Jesus’ birth, based on the conception and birth of John the Baptist.
Since Elizabeth (John’s mother) was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Jesus was conceived (Luke 1:24-36), 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid,Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month, we can determine the approximate time of year Jesus was born if we know when John was born. John’s father, Zacharias, was a priest serving in the Jerusalem temple during the course of Abijah (Luke 1:5). Historical calculations indicate this course of service corresponded to June 13-19 in that year.
It was during this time of temple service that Zacharias learned that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child (Luke 1:8-13). After he completed his service and traveled home, Elizabeth conceived (Luke 1:23-24). Assuming John’s conception took place near the end of June, adding nine months brings us to the end of March as the most likely time for John’s birth. Adding another six months (the difference in ages between John and Jesus) brings us to the end of September as the likely time of Jesus’ birth.
Also, there’s a video by Darris McNeely that explains in detail “When Was Jesus Born?”

The point of when Jesus was born is strictly to shed some light and fun on the subject. The most obvious fact about all of this is that it really doesn’t matter when Jesus was born. What really matters is that He was born on earth, came to us as our Savior, died on the cross to save all of us from sin so we can have eternal life with Him one day, to have peace in heaven with Him. All of our blessings and glory are because of Him. In light of this, I say… Practice the Awareness of His Immediate Presence. He is with us, always.

From me and my family, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. May all of your wishes, hopes & dreams come true.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, who gets the price RIGHT the first time, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.


Happy Thanksgiving 2016 – Thanksgiving started out as a harvest festival!

happy thanksgiving from laura hill at local katy realty
Snoopy & Woodstock celebrating Thanksgiving 2016.

Early Thanksgiving Observances
Did you know that Thanksgiving originated as a harvest festival? What’s a harvest festival you ask? It is an annual celebration that occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Given the differences in climate & crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times at different places. Harvest festivals typically feature feasting with foods that are drawn for crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival.

In North America, Canada & the US each have their own Thanksgiving celebrations in October & November. In Britain, thanks have been given for successful harvests since pagan times. Harvest festival is traditionally held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (22 or 23 September).

But officially Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November in the United States. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on & off since 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington.  It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving & Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.
The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. This feast lasted three days, & as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow & it was also attended by 90 Native Americans & 53 Pilgrims. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “Thanksgiving”, days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

Post-Civil War Era
During the second half of the 19th century, Thanksgiving traditions in America varied from region to region. A traditional New England Thanksgiving, for example, consisted of a raffle held on Thanksgiving Eve (in which the prizes were mainly geese or turkeys), a shooting match on Thanksgiving morning (in which turkeys and chickens were used as targets), church services—and then the traditional feast, which consisted of some familiar Thanksgiving staples such as turkey and pumpkin pie, and some not-so-familiar dishes such as pigeon pie. The earliest high school football rivalries took root in the late 19th century in Massachusetts, stemming from games played on Thanksgiving; professional football took root as a Thanksgiving staple during the sport’s genesis in the 1890s, and the tradition of Thanksgiving football both at the high school and professional level continues to this day.

1939 – Present
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt broke with this tradition. November had five Thursdays that year (instead of the more-common four), Roosevelt declared the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving rather than the fifth one. Although many popular histories state otherwise, he made clear that his plan was to establish the holiday on the next-to-last Thursday in the month instead of the last one. With the country still in the midst of The Great Depression, Roosevelt thought an earlier Thanksgiving would give merchants a longer period to sell goods before Christmas. Increasing profits and spending during this period, Roosevelt hoped, would help bring the country out of the Depression. At the time, advertising goods for Christmas before Thanksgiving was considered inappropriate. Fred Lazarus, Jr., founder of the Federated Department Stores (later Macy’s), is credited with convincing Roosevelt to push Thanksgiving to a week earlier to expand the shopping season, and within two years the change passed through Congress into law.

Parades & Sports
Since 1924, in New York City, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held annually every Thanksgiving Day from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square, and televised nationally. Also founded in 1924, America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit is one of the largest parades in the country.
American football is an important part of many Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States, a tradition that dates to the earliest era of the sport in the late 19th century. Professional football games are often held on Thanksgiving Day; until recently, these were the only games played during the week apart from Sunday or Monday night. The National Football League has played games on Thanksgiving every year since its creation.

Thanksgiving was founded as a religious observance for all the members of the community to give thanks to God for a common purpose. The tradition of giving thanks to God is continued today in many forms, most notably the attendance of religious services, as well as the saying of a mealtime prayer before Thanksgiving dinner.

And along those thoughts, I would like to personally express my thanks to everyone. I am so thankful for my wonderful clients who all turn into being my friends; thankful for my loving family, relatives and friends, especially my children, all 6 of them who I dearly love, & of course to my one & only, Lance. But I would be remiss if I did not give my greatest thanks to our Lord in Heaven, God who fills my life with so much abundance, grace & love.


When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, who gets the price RIGHT the first time, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.



Leaving the Country? Let’s Make Your New Home Great Again!

Let's Make Your New Home Great Again with Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty
Let’s Make Your New Home Great Again!















In case you’re motivated to leave the country today, then I am your Realtor. I have International connections across 6 continents & whether your family is looking for a small bungalow hideaway or a big home in the city, my team will find you the best home for you, because at Local Katy Realty our philosophy is to Think Global & Act Local. We get things done right & quick the first time!
Let’s Make Your New Home Great Again!

So, call me as soon as you can.


When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, who gets the price RIGHT the first time, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.


Happy Halloween & How The Day of the Dead celebration can remind us to De-Clutter.

Day of the Dead Celebration with Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty
Day of the Dead Celebration

Happy Halloween everyone! Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, takes place in early November in Mexico & around the world, as family members honor their deceased loved ones. Beginning Nov. 1, with Día de los Inocentes, and ending Nov. 2, with Día de los Muertos, families & friends gather, celebrate & decorate to commemorate those who have died. Observers set up ofrendas, or offerings, often in the form of a tiered altar. Flowers, food, candles, photos of the departed, skulls & other decorations are laid out to remember those who have left this world.

Ok, I’m not making light of this celebration at all, but with all of the “offerings” in one place, like in the photo above, & being a Realtor, the first thing that comes to mind is “De-Clutter”! So here are some tips on how to begin to de-clutter your home when preparing for the sale.

De-Clutter your home

  1. Create A Sorting System
    3 Box Method
    Get 3 boxes & label them as Put Away, Give Away, & Throw Away.
    Put Away – Items you keep should go in their newly designated home, but stored in this container until then.
    Give Away – Items you want to give away or donate goes here.
    Throw Away – Throw away items.
  2. Commit to Get Rid of Junk
    The 80/20  Rule
    When it comes to clothing, we generally only wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time. This rule tends to hold true for other things as well, such as video games, computer parts, books, DVDs, toys & more. Your mission is to get rid of the things you don’t use 80% of the time.
  3. Clear Off Flat Surfaces
    Counter tops, shelves & other flat surfaces are clutter-magnets. Mail, bills, magazines, & small appliances are just some of the items that tend to consume flat surfaces in the home.
  4. Keep Like Things Together
    Categorizing things as you go through them is imperative to organizing your home. In fact, keeping like things together forces you to organize your home. And it will make your life easier!

These are just a few tips to de-clutter your home when preparing it to be put on the market.


When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, who gets the price RIGHT the first time, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.


The most effective way to get your house ready for sale.

Prepare each room by de-cluttering. with Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty.
Prepare each room by de-cluttering.















Update the interior & exterior. Perhaps you have heard of de-cluttering & staging, but it’s not just about getting the potential buyer interested, it’s also about keeping them. New fixtures, fresh paint are fairly easy & affordable ways to give your home a makeover. Clean, clean, clean & take down family photos, religious items, etc. Make necessary repairs now because they will come up again during the inspection process. This will also help to keep your purchase price higher.

Enhance your home’s curb appeal. This could mean adding new sod, planting flowers, re-staining the front door or replacing the mailbox. Prospective buyers form an opinion the moment they spot the home.

It may be necessary to stage the home. Show how the rooms are supposed to be used. And of course, remove your pets during the showings as well as their pet paraphernalia.

Make the property easy to show. The more flexible you are about showings, the more people will be able to see your home.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, who gets the price RIGHT the first time, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.


Want to know how much your home is REALLY worth?

My home is worth what? with Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty
















Knowing the value of your home is the first step for most sellers. Usually, within the first 5 minutes, sellers will ask their Realtor, “What’s my home worth?” And if that number for the seller is not what they think it should be, then there’s a good chance the seller moves on to another real estate agent. A word to the wise: A professional Realtor will provide for the seller a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) in order to have a valid & correct price for a home.  Also, the Realtor will have a working understanding on how to place your home on the market. Don’t be fooled into a high price & then just allow the home to sit on the market with very little or no activity. You will find yourself terminating the contract or it expiring & definitely not getting the high listed price.

Your Realtor should explain to you why they think their number is the right one & how they are able to get your home sold quickly & for the best price. For the seller, this is the MOST important conversation you should have with a Realtor. Call us for a FREE & no obligation consultation. The more you are informed & understand, the better for you & your future.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, who gets the price RIGHT the first time, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.


Do you know what the 2 most important factors to consider when selling your home?

Best Price in Town with Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty














PRICE & CONDITION are the 2 most important factors to consider when selling your home! But other very important factors are curb appeal, repairs, advertising, negotiations, & of course getting updated information throughout the entire process from your Realtor & the lender.
Why getting it right the first time matters so much
Studies have shown that a home’s first two weeks on the market are the most crucial to the success of the sale. This is the time period when the house will get the most attention from Internet searches & buyers’ agents, so it’s important to make a good first impression.

If the home is not priced reasonably, many buyers will simply move on. One common, & incorrect, strategy is to set the price on the high end (say, 20% more than you expect to get), & progressively lower it over time. You might eventually sell, but at a much lower price than what you really want. In other words, it back fires on you.

In all MLS listings, the number of days your home is on the market is displayed. Red flags tend to be raised for buyers when homes have sat on the market for a while. Buyers start to instinctively ask themselves, “What’s wrong with it?”, “Is it overpriced?”, etc. Also, buyers have can have an advantage to low ball the seller if it has been on the market for a long time. According to one report, homes that sold within their first week on the market averaged about 2% over list price, while homes that sat on the market for four months sold for more than 11% below their original list price. So, getting it right from the start can make a tremendous difference.

Make sure the home is in tip top shape. De-clutter your house. Fix some of those items you have been putting off. Clean, clean, clean. Stage the home if necessary. And there’s a big payoff on curb appeal: plant new flowers, greenery, mulch to spruce it up, a well maintained lawn; make it look pretty.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, who gets the price RIGHT the first time, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.


Do You Know What is Important About A Title Report?

Title Report with Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty

Title Report Basics
A title report is very important because the preliminary title report will provide you with any impediments that could prevent a clear title from passing to you from the seller. Impediments could be liens, restrictions & interests of others excluded from title coverage will be listed as exceptions in the report. The preliminary report it will show the legal description of the property, the current owner’s name, all underlying encumbrances, liens, judgments, deeds, & any other underlying matters, such as easements, covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&Rs) & agreements which affect & run with the land.
Some common agreements which run with the land include: view easement or covenants; height restrictions; building limitations; encroachment issues such as fence lines, gardens, & even swimming pools crossing property lines; water well sharing; parking, road maintenance; shared driveway; solar panels & noise.

A Clouded Title is a Problem
In order to pass ownership of property from one party to another, the title must not reflect any financial claims or ownership claims by parties other than the seller. If there are problems with the title, then it is referred to as a “Clouded Title”. While in theory the seller should know about any of these other claims, depending on how long they’ve owned the property, & a number of other factors, they may not be aware of previous issues with the title. Unfortunately, in these cases, buyers won’t know that the title has problems until closing starts. This is one of the primary reasons why it is necessary to run the title report before the closing starts.

How to Resolve a Clouded Title
If you find out at a closing that a property doesn’t have a clear title, you’re going to have to resolve it if you want that transaction to proceed. For smaller problems like liens or overdue property taxes related to the seller, the amount due can sometimes be subtracted from sales proceeds, & proper paperwork can be filed to show that liens have been released. However, if larger issues like a break in the chain of title or third-party claims, such as from a divorce judgment, need to be resolved, you will need to hire attorneys or other professionals to track down the appropriate parties & resolve the missing information. If you run a title report earlier in the process, you will have advance notice of any issues & the time to resolve them.


For more help & information pertaining to Title Reports, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.


Which Mortgage is right for you?

Which one do I choose? with Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty
Which one do I choose?

Buyers come from all walks of life & the best way to determine which mortgage is right for you is by sitting down with a lender & talk about your financial future & terms of growth in your professional & personal life. Some buyer’s future plans work better with Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) than a fixed rate. For example, a doctor internship, a job that can relocate every 2-5 years. So, finding the right loan is not just about a consistent monthly payment, sometimes it’s more about a better rate for a relatively short period of time in order for you to save more money for your future growth. There are many types of mortgages. Most people use a fixed-rate mortgage. In a fixed rate mortgage, your interest rate stays the same for the term of the mortgage, which normally is 30 years, but can be 15 or less in some cases. The advantage of a fixed-rate mortgage is that you always know exactly how much your mortgage payment will be, & you can plan for it. Another kind of mortgage is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). With this kind of mortgage, your interest rate & monthly payments usually start lower than a fixed rate mortgage, but your rate & payment can change either up or down as often as once or twice a year. The adjustment is tied to a financial index, such as the U.S. Treasury Securities index. The advantage of an ARM is that you may be able to afford a more expensive home because your initial interest rate will be lower. There are many government loans too, such as FHA mortgages. FHA doesn’t actually make loans. Instead, it insures loans so that if buyers default for some reason, the lenders will get their money back. This encourages lenders to give mortgages to people who might not otherwise qualify for a loan.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Local Katy Realty who cares & fights for her clients.