Facing Foreclosure Laura Hill Local Katy Realty
Foreclosure can happen to anyone. There are solutions!

If you are facing foreclosures, do you have other options?
Foreclosure Options
The foreclosure process is not only long and painful, it could damage a homeowner’s credit score so badly that it won’t recover for years. A better option, as long as the lender agrees, is a so-called deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, which means that the borrower gives up the property & the bank gives up the right to recover any more money after the transaction is complete. The damage to a borrower’s credit score is slightly less severe & the bank might even agree to let the borrower remain in the house as a tenant until the house is sold. A short sale is an even better option, but requires cooperation from the lender. The bank must agree to let the house be sold for less than what is owed & forgive the difference.


Needing help with FORECLOSURE, then you need to talk to Laura Hill. There is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realty. https://www.localkatyrealty.com


Do you have a less-than-perfect credit score?

Laura Hill Local Katy Realty
Credit Score Chart

If you have a less-than-perfect credit score, how hard is it to get a mortgage these days? And what interest rate are you likely to pay?
Mortgage Hurdles
Getting a mortgage isn’t as easy as it was during the housing boom, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lenders reserve the best rates for borrowers with at least a 720 FICO score. But it’s possible, with a score in the 600’s, to secure a mortgage at a higher interest rate as long as the borrower has an otherwise solid portfolio. It helps to be buying in a neighborhood where prices have been relatively stable. Lenders are not eager to write loans for condos in South Florida or Las Vegas, said Keith Gumbinger, vice-president of mortgage and loan information publisher HSH.com.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realty. https://www.localkatyrealty.com

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Laura Hill Local Katy Realty
Can I pay off my mortgage early?
42% of Americans say that their mortgage is the debt they most want to eliminate.

A mortgage is often the largest debt that one undertakes & as a result, many homeowners look to pay it off as soon as they can. If you are fortunate enough to be 1 in 3 homeowners that own their home, then you have the opportunity to have a great deal of financial freedom which could lead you into buying an investment property, second home, a child’s college tuition, new automobiles, vacations, home improvements, stock investments, business investments or other wish list items.

Try one of these proven strategies to reduce your mortgage.
  • Refinance with a shorter-term mortgage
    Most 30 year mortgages can be reduced to 20, 15 or even 10 years. Of course the monthly payments will be higher, but the mortgage/loan is paid off much sooner saving you thousands of dollars.
  • Make bi-weekly mortgage payments
    Bi-weekly payments involve 26 half-payments each year instead of the standard 12 full payments. By making 13 full payments each year, you will pay down the principal sooner & reduce the amount of interest you will have to pay over the long run which will save you thousands of dollars.
  • Increase your mortgage payment
    You can also increase the amount you pay towards the principal of the payment each month. Most people have higher incomes for several years into their mortgage than they did when they first took it out. Keeping your payment on par with your increases of income will help reduce your mortgage amount tremendously & may reduce the amount of your monthly payments over time.
  • Make additional payments
    Try making extra payments when you can. If you have extra money anytime during the year, then put it toward your principal.
These are very good, proven methods to reduce and in many cases, dramatically change your mortgage payments to a lower dollar amount. One of the hardest aspects of these methods is to stay diligent, consistent, & disciplined & if you persevere, then you will find yourself in a big profit in just a short few years.
When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realty. https://www.localkatyrealty.com

Flood Disaster Protection Act – Does this affect you?

Flood Disaster Protection Act - Does this affect you?
Flooding in Houston, Tx April 19, 2016

Flood Disaster Protection Act –
A photo from Houston back on April 19, 2016 shows flooding in a neighborhood due to heavy rainfall in just 2 days & we are reminded very quickly how things can dramatically change literally overnight.

Ok, I will apologize in advance for the history lesson, but its unfortunately necessary to understand how the Flood Disaster Protection Act affects all of us. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have maps that are updated as funds & data changes. Sometimes home owners do not know that their property may be in a flood zone, even before or after the purchase of their home. Flood zones can change on average about once every 3 – 5 years depending where your property is located and recent history of flooding in a specific area. Of course, this can affect the sale of your home tremendously in the listing price, insurance coverage amounts, as well as for the buyer in regard to any lending or mortgages that may need to occur.
The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.
This created the Federal Insurance Administration & made flood insurance available for the first time as a separate coverage of your home & more importantly, affordable flood insurance for you. The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 made the purchase of flood insurance mandatory for the protection of property located in Special Flood Hazard Areas. The creation of this Act resulted in the creation of the NFIP, National Flood Insurance Program, which enables property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance protection, administered by the government, against losses from flooding, and requires flood insurance for all loans or lines of credit that are secured by existing buildings, manufactured homes, or buildings under construction, that are located in a community that participates in the NFIP. Whew!!! Ok, so what does that mean for you?
It means this insurance is designed to provide an alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to homes, commercial buildings & their contents caused by floods. As of April 2015, the program insured about 6.5 million homes, the majority of which were in Texas & Florida. Since the intended purpose of the NFIP program is to reduce the overall costs of floods & to lessen the blow to individuals hit by major floods, then in reality if your property is defined to be in a flood zone, you as a home owner have the option to purchase flood insurance at a much more affordable rate versus a private insurance company.
The bottom line is, as a home owner, you have the option of getting better affordable flood insurance if your property is in a flood zone.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realty. https://www.localkatyrealty.com

How to Get the Most Money for Your Home

A clean, tidy kitchen that sparkles always gets the buyers attention.
A beautiful, clean kitchen goes far with buyers.

A clean, neat house can add an additional $5,000- $20,000 to your asking price. Using this method we sold our house in 10 days. You want to know how to get the most money for your home, then keep reading.
As soon as you find out that you are moving, start getting rid of things you don’t need or use any more. It is ridiculous to move things that are never used to another house. They will merely clutter your space as they did before. Get rid of all of it!!!
1. To begin de-cluttering, start with one room or one cabinet at a time. Packing while carrying out your usual routine may make it easier. For example, pack the bathroom cabinet while the kids are in the tub or de-clutter a kitchen drawer while you are waiting for something to boil. You will be amazed how fast this method goes.

2. Get rid of anything that is broken, old or that you just don’t like. Hold a garage sale, it not only eliminates things, but can also provide a little cash. The goal is to eliminate clutter so don’t price your items to high! A good rule of thumb is 10%-25% of retail.

3. As you go from room to room de-cluttering, organize using three boxes: one for garage sale items, one for things to give away and one for trash. When you take a break from organizing, keep the three boxes set up in the utility room or garage so that when you find something laying around you can toss it in the appropriate box. Keep an extra large trash can set up in the house. You won’t have to empty the trash as often.

4. After thinning out your stuff go through each room. Start from the top of the room working down to the bottom by cleaning every hard surface. Besides polishing furniture, Windex all windows, mirrors, steam cleaning carpets and tile floors. Don’t forget bleaching light switches, plug outlets, base boards, door knobs, door frames.

Think of it this way, would you want to buy a home where you had to clean the previous owners mess. Give your buyers a home that has been care for!

Clutter is visually disturbing to potential buyers. One of the biggest reasons houses don’t sell is they are cluttered and/or dirty.
When you are trying to sell your house and you will be showing it to potential buyers, pack up things that you only use occasionally. Stack all your packed boxes in the garage or the corner of a room. This is NOT the time to make your house comfortable for you, but attractive to sell.

After you have de-cluttered, it is time to DEEP CLEAN.

KITCHEN – Clean the sink, stove and refrigerator. Don’t forget to clean the fronts of your cabinets. Wipe fingerprints off of everything, including walls and light switch plates. Remove as much as you can from the counter tops. Make sure that the space under your kitchen sink is clean because everyone always checks the plumbing under the sink. Sweep, mop the floor and empty the trash.

BEDROOMS – Make beds, pick up clothes, clear off dressers, end tables and other furniture. Dust, vacuum and make sure closets are uncluttered, neat and clean.

BATHROOM – Put away (meaning in a box or drawer out of site) all bathroom items including makeup, shampoos, baby toys and toiletries. Clean the sink, tub and toilet. One trick I learned while cleaning houses professionally was to take a soft cloth and dry everything well, to prevent water spots. It is especially important to shine the metal fixtures. Clean under the sink, empty the trash and wipe off light switch plates. Mop the floor. As in the kitchen, the less clutter you have, the better. Keep one nice set of towels handy that you can put out when you are showing the house.

LIVING ROOM – Remove all unnecessary items that are laying around on the furniture including toys, magazines and newspapers. Remove all pictures and accessories that are not adding to the decor of the room, either pack them or garage sale them. Dust (don’t forget to dust the pictures on the walls) and vacuum.

GARAGE – Don’t overlook the garage! Make sure things are neatly placed and sweep the floor. Place all items in boxes if you can. Neatly stacked boxes give a better impression than piles of stuff.

If your carpets are dirty be sure to either rent a carpet cleaner or have them professionally cleaned. Seeing all kinds of carpet stains from kids is a big turn off to potential buyers.


A beautiful clean room goes a far way for home buyers.
A bouquet of flowers and clean areas are a nice touch and a must for sellers.

Keep a basket in each room so that you can quickly throw things in it when you have to show your home. This is particularly useful if you have children and you usually have toys on the floor. Hide the basket in a closet or put it in your car as you leave before showing. Don’t leave open trash cans sitting around. No over flowing trash cans, or smells. Mostly on kitchen trash cans, make sure they are clean and shine.

Turn lights on in every room including the garage. This will make the house show better.

In a potpourri pot or pan, simmer some cinnamon with either or all of the following: ginger, nutmeg, or cloves. It is best to stay away from strong scented candles with berry, apple, peach or other similar smells because some people find these scents overpowering and unpleasant. Most people do however like the smell of baked goods, so smells like butter rum, hazelnut, sugar cookies would be nice in a warmer pot.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Realtors’ Leader is Wary of Limited Inventory

Homes for sale Katy, Tx Sales Trend
Sales Trend Comparison Feb. 2013-14

According to Nancy Sarnoff, Houston Chronicle – www.chron.com, she explains how the chair of Houston’s realty association, describes the current housing picture. “Tight home supply lifts prices, but could slow sales,” the chairman of Houston Realty Association, www.har.com, Chaille Ralph, warns. She goes on to say, “We still need inventory. That’s critical to see the market move.” The Houston Association of Realtors released its monthly report on the local housing market and the inventory, which is measured in months, fell to a new low in December & hasn’t budged since, putting shoppers at a disadvantage when negotiating to purchase homes in some areas.
Realtor Yau Tam, was representing a buyer recently who was one of multiple bidders on a property in Rice Military priced in the low $400,00’s. Her client got the home because she offered several thousand dollars more than the seller was asking & submitted a stack of bank statements “to show she was a slam-dunk for loan approval,” Tam said. “Even homes in the low $100,000 are getting multiple offers & are very competitive to buy,” she said.
The Houston area has had a 2.6-month supply of inventory since the end of last year, meaning it would take that long to sell all the homes on the market based on recent activity, according to the association. Six months of inventory is considered a healthy market where neither buyer nor seller has the upper hand. Pending sales, an indicator of future activity, totaled 3,777 at the end of February, a 2.6 decline compared to last year. That leads Ralph to believe the pace of sales will slow. But even if the market retreats, she said, it’s not for lack of demand. “There are plenty of buyers out there that are trying to compete,” she said.
Buyers closed on 4,765 single-family homes in February. That’s an 8.3 increase over the same month a year ago 7 the 33rd straight monthly increase. The overall low supply, coupled with an increase in the number of high-end properties trading hands, propelled the prices of Houston’s median & average homes.
The median price – the figure at which half the homes sold for more & half for less – was up 11.7% to $181,500 in February, while the average price jumped 12,5% to $247,534, according to the association’s data, which is based on properties sold through the Multiple Listing Service, which tracks sales activity in Harris, Fort Bend, & Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller & Wharton counties.

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Igloo’s New Distribution Center in Katy, Tx

Homes for sale Katy, Tx Igloo
Igloo’s New Ice Age Distribution Center in Katy, Tx

According to Ronnie Crocker of the Houston Chronicle, www.chron.com, the cooler maker opens giant warehouse, Igloo’s new distribution center in Katy, Tx helping to bring factory jobs back to U.S. Instead of the tradition ribbon-cutting ceremony, Igloo officials had a flag-raising ceremony along with a veterans’ honor guard to dedicate a huge new warehouse & distribution center in Katy, Tx on this past Thursday, 10.10.13. www.igloocoolers.com.
Igloo is celebrating a return of manufacturing from China & the addition of some 280 jobs by year’s end. So far in 2013, Igloo has added three new production machines, including one in January that allowed Igloo to begin building its top-tier Yukon line locally instead of overseas. The shift will allow Igloo to respond to market changes more quickly & reflects a stated commitment to bring jobs back to the United States. Igloo made 18 million hard-sided coolers domestically last year. Its soft-sided coolers are still pout together overseas, & chairman & CEO Gary Kiedaisch said the company is looking or ways to make it economically feasible to return that work to the United States as well. After the newly announced positions are filled, the Katy plant & warehouse/distribution complex will employ about 1,100 workers.
Special Machines
The in-house rotational-molding machine, which cost between $1 million & $2 million, produces a heavier & better insulated cooler that can sell for much more than traditionally made products. It allows Igloo to compete against companies like Austin-based Yeti, which pioneered the premium cooler segment. The company has been able to increase capacity & add personnel thanks to a string of record sales years since a private-equity group bought Igloo in 2008. Kiedaisch said sales are up more than 50% since the takeover & Igloo has extended its lead in market share to more than 20 points over second-in-the-category Coleman.
New Full-Time Jobs
David Thornhill, executive vice president & Chief Operating Officer, said Igloo’s sustained growth spurt means the plant stays busy year-round, which in turn means most of the new jobs are full-time. In the past, the company hired seasonal workers to handle peak loads. “Now, instead of a part-time job, it’s a solid, full-time manufacturing job,” Thornhill said. “We know manufacturing jobs are hard to come by in this country. We’re pretty proud of that.” Kiedaisch praised Texas for what he called “the most business-friendly environment I’ve had the privilege of working in.” During remarks to state & local community leaders, he thanked government officials for tax abatements that allowed Igloo to open the new distribution center in Katy, Tx.
When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Energy Corridor creeping west into Katy, Tx

Homes for sale Katy, Tx
Growth in Katy, Tx continues to increase

According to Meredith Mohr, a writer for the Community Impact Newspaper, www.impactnews.com, with new buildings or expansions in the area from at least six oil & gas drilling support companies, many are looking to the Katy portion of Fort Bend, Harris & Waller counties as the logical extension of Houston’s “Energy Corridor.” City & county officials hope to turn such development into a well-oiled machine as it edges farther into the once wide-open farmland.
The last 5 years, in particular, have seen significant growth with the opening of facilities by Newpark Drilling Fluids, Weatherford, Hampco Services, Welltec, Schlumberger subsidiaries Dyna-Drill & Schlumberger High Efficiency, among others.
For the Woodlands-based Newpark Resources, www.newpark.com, which completed a 106,000-square foot facility off of Mason Road in June, construction of its new three-story building was an opportunity to capitalize on the growth of the Katy area, said John Beltz, director of marketing for the company’s Katy operation.
“People want to come here & oil is king,” Beltz said. “We wanted to be a part of that combination in the rapidly growing west.” The company uses about 37,000 square feet of its facility as lab space, featuring a state-of-the-art down-hole drilling simulator & other tools for fluids analysis. “We wanted to stay in the Katy area because it seemed like a central place for many of our employees,” Beltz said. “The other reason is Katy is just exploding with opportunity,” he said. “People are seeing it as one of the best places to live.”
Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said circumstances for Katy right now make it a natural place for growth like this. “I-10 & Hwy. 99 run right through Katy, there is the Metro Park & Ride service, & Terry Hershey Hike & Bike Park,” he said. “These are all things that attract growth.”
Supporting Population
Companies considering a move to the area are also eyeing the growing workforce. According to the Katy Economic Development Council, the Katy labor shed – workers employed within a 30-minute drive tops 1 million people. The EDC expects the labor shed numbers to rise to by about 11% in the next 5 years. Low interest rates for homes are spurring growth too. “Take a look at the interstate & the traffic out there every morning & afternoon,” Radack said. “There are more people, more neighborhoods, more communities growing. It’s really a boomtown out here.”

And when these new developments comes in, take advantage of the expertise and experience of Laura Hill, Realtor. If you want to find the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Re/Max Cinco Ranch. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Urban Cowboy choreographer, Patsy Swayze, was beloved local dance teacher.

Patsy Swayze
Patsy Swayze rehearses a routine with her actor son Patrick & wife Lisa, at her Bellaire dance studio in 1978.

Patsy Swayze: 1927 – 2013 Swayze was known for her kindness.
An article from Molly Glentzer, states: She was the real urban cowgirl, a beloved personality during one of Houston’s most colorful eras. Patsy Swayze died Monday evening at home in Simi Valley, Cal., after suffering a massive stroke on September 8. She was 86. Swayze, who taught John Travolta the art of the smooth two-step, moved to California after the success of the 1980 film “Urban Cowboy”, www.imdb.com/title/tt0081696/, which she choreographed. But she was from Houston, where most of the film was shot, and she always considered herself a Texan, said her daughter-in-law Lisa Niemi Swayze, www.lisaniemiswayze.com/.
Travolta wasn’t her first famous student. In the 1960’s & 70’s, Swayze’s Bellaire dance studio was a rocking place for a little school of ballet, jazz and tap. By 1980, its front wall was plastered with black & white publicity photos of students who were making it big, including her son, the late actor & dancer Patrick Swayze; “Fame” director Debbie Allen: Broadway great Tommy Tune; & actors Jaclyn Smith and Randy Quaid.
“She was such a force & a gifted teacher who inspired so many students,” said Niemi Swayze, the star student who married Patrick Swayze. “She used to say that the ones who have all the talent aren’t necessarily the ones who succeed. It’s the ones who work hard. She was a firm believer in persistence and not settling for the destiny you think may have been handed to you.”
After “Urban Cowboy”, she also found more work in movies. She choreographed more than a half-dozen other films including “Liar’s Moon” (1982), “Hope Floats” (1998) & “One Last Dance” (2003). Susan Vogelfang, a line producer who first worked with Swayze on “Liar’s Moon” (she coached a young Matt Dillon in a gym scene for that one), lauded her kindness. “She went out of her way to do the right thing,” said Vogelfang, who moved to Los Angeles at about the same time as the Swayzes. Patsy Swayze invited her out of the blue for Thanksgiving dinner, knowing she’d be alone that year.
Two-Wheeler Will Do
Niemi Swayze also loved Swayze’s unassuming nature. Before the production company sent Swayze to Santa Barbara to coach Travolta for “Urban Cowboy,” she recalled, they asked her what kind of car she wanted them to rent for her. Swayze replied, “Oh, just anything, from a two-wheeler to an 18-wheeler.” She won them over long before anybody set foot in Houston,” Niemi Swayze said.
Swayze continued to teach until she was 80, operating the Dancer’s Studio of Simi Valley for more than 20 years. In 2011, Swayze told a Simi Valley reporter she was grateful for a wonderful life in film, TV & stage plays. “But you know, you’re not supposed to outlive your children.” Her friend Renee Jongebloed, a former student who became a dance teacher, was close to Swayze for 55 years. “I’m sure you’ve heard it from a million people, but she cared so much for each person. Really cared. She probably had more kids taking class from her who never paid a dime than anybody else I knew. Her soul was caring and she was honest.”