Winter Coat, Jacket, and Sweatshirt/Hoodie Drive
For those affected by Hurricane Harvey
As the colder temperatures approach, our Harvey friends will
be in need of new/gently used winter coats, jackets,
and sweatshirts for both the adults and children.
Blue Santa helps needy families by providing new, unwrapped toys for children and infants to 12 years old, who are referred and accepted into the program. This event is in collaboration with the Friendswood Police Department.
Santa In The Park:
Friendswood suffered tremendous losses during Harvey. We were shaken to our core with the amount of flooding that occurred in homes, businesses, and public facilities. But we rallied and came together as a community to do what needed to be done to get us back to a somewhat state of “normalcy”. The City of Friendswood and Keep Friendswood Beautiful completely understand that replacement resources have been heavily tapped and available funds are needed to help people recover. So asking for donations and sponsorship money for Santa in the Park 2017 is an extremely difficult task for us this year. However, the event has brought so much joy to citizens in years past that we are moving forward with the event. On December 9, 2017, Santa in the Park will again provide a wonderful holiday experience for Friendswood. We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary of the event and, as in previous years, your donations and sponsorships are integral components of our success. Please do what you can to help with making Santa in the Park a reality this year. Our community needs this event as we move forward with rebuilding our community and providing the best possible holiday festival for a suffering community.
The City of Friendswood and the Keep Friendswood Beautiful Board are soliciting donations for 10th Annual Santa in the Park Christmas Celebration. This year the event will offer heart-pounding entertainment, photos with Santa, Concert in the Park, action packed carnival rides, a Holiday Market and ending the evening with the lighting of a 20 foot tall decorated Christmas tree provided by our title sponsor, HomeTown Bank followed by a state of the art Fireworks extravaganza. The 10th annual Santa in the Park promises to be the most spectacular event of the year bringing in thousands in attendance.
1. Check your credit score.
- A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit report. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher your score, the better. “Good credit is like gold when obtaining a mortgage,” says Denise Supplee, a Pennsylvania agent. Typically, you’ll get the best interest rate on a loan if your score is 740 and above. “A higher credit score should net you a lower mortgage rate,” says Lee Gimpel, co-creator of The Good Credit Game, which specializes in financial education. “That lower rate, even if it’s only 1 or 2 percent lower, can mean saving thousands of dollars per year.” If your credit score falls short, get busy repairing it. Correct any errors that might be on your report, start paying all your bills on time, and get your credit limit raised. Note, though, that you shouldn’t max out your card each month. It’s best to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.
2. Don’t open new credit cards.
- If you think resisting taking a selfie when you’re face-to-face with your fave celebrity is a testament to your willpower, that’s sissy stuff compared with turning down every offer to open a credit card, even if you could save 20 percent (or more!) on your holiday purchases. Tempting as saving at checkout can be, opening new credit may hurt your chances of getting a mortgage, or at least of getting the best rate on a loan.
- “By opening the account, you have created another line of credit,” says Paul Anastos, president of Mortgage Master, a division of loanDepot, a nonbank lender. “That credit line, and what is borrowed, can change the application numbers and jeopardize the application.” What could save you a few dollars now could cost you far more in the long run if your mortgage payments will be higher. And along those same lines, “Don’t overspend during the holiday season,” says Dean Sioukas founder of Magilla Loans, an online lending exchange. “Especially on impulse purchases that can be tempting during the holidays.”
3. Suggest financial gifts for the holidays.
- Besides the mortgage loan, you’ll need a sizable amount of cash to buy a house. There’s the down payment to consider, closing costs, and moving costs. You should also set aside money for unexpected repairs and costs, says Brian Betzler, regional sales manager at TD Bank. Not being prepared “is probably why nearly half of millennials incurred up to $5,000 in unexpected costs during the mortgage process, according to a TD survey,” he says.
- A potential solution? Bulk up that emergency fund. “Instead of getting gifts for the holidays, [prospective homebuyers] can suggest cash instead that will be put toward their home,” says Paul Sian, a Kentucky and Ohio agent. And remember, you might be getting some money back after you file your tax return. Don’t blow it on vacation. “A tax refund is a great way to add to your cash reserves for a down payment,” says David Hosterman, branch manager of Castle & Cooke Mortgage in Colorado.
4. Interview potential real estate agents.
- If your neighbor, relative, or friend of a friend happens to know (or is) a real estate agent, that’s great. This person might be the perfect agent for you. But you owe it to yourself to shop around. “Look for [an agent] who is knowledgeable, good, integral, and can assist you in reaching the goal of homeownership,” says Chantay Bridges, a Los Angeles, CA, real estate agent. “Make sure they are not a novice, new, or just unaware of how to do a specific transaction.” The end of the year is usually a slow time for agents, so chances are they’ll be more accommodating to making an appointment on your schedule.
5. Keep tabs on interest rates.
- If you hear that interest rates are at historic lows or that interest rates are on the rise, you should not assume that you can get the rock-bottom rate. Not everyone gets the same interest rate on a mortgage loan. It depends on your financial picture and on the lender you choose. “Everyone knows that home prices are, at least to some extent, negotiable, but we find loans to be the same,” says Warren Ward, CFP with WWA Planning & Investments in Indiana. He advises that homebuyers shop around for the lowest interest rates. Note that closing costs can vary too, so discuss with your real estate agent ways to keep yours down. “We saved $150 on the closing fees by selecting the cheapest title company,” says Ward. “I guess that’s not much, but I think most people would bend over to pick up three $50 bills if they were lying on the sidewalk.”
6. Find a mortgage lender.
- Before you even start looking for a home (and yes, we even mean browsing online listings), look for a mortgage lender to find out if you can afford to buy a home. If you can’t right now, there’s no use torturing yourself by finding your dream home that’s just out of reach. But how do you find a lender? “If you have a bank you’ve been with for years, ask them,” says Bridges. “Your [real estate agent] can also refer a good lender to you. Compare [that lender] with two others. Look at what they offer, costs, points, and how long to close.” Once you know how much home you can afford, perform your home search based on your preapproval amount or less.
7. Get preapproved.
- When a lender gives your financials the once-over and preapproves you for a mortgage, you’ll be able to show sellers that you really can buy their house. But how do you get preapproved? By preparing a few documents, which you can do several months in advance of the actual purchase. Here’s what you need to buy a house.
- Tax returns for the past two years W-2 forms for the past two years Paycheck stubs from the past few months Proof of mortgage or rent payments for the past year A list of all your debts, including credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and alimony A list of all your assets, including bank statements, auto titles, real estate, and any investment accounts
Paul Anastos also advises not to change jobs, make big purchases, or miss any debt payments as you prepare to get a mortgage.
Originally published October 17, 2016. Updated October 30, 2017.
Friendswood is a medium-sized city located in the state of Texas. With a population of 38,800 people and nine constituent neighborhoods, Friendswood is the 85th largest community in Texas.
Friendswood home prices are not only among the most expensive in Texas, but Friendswood real estate also consistently ranks among the most expensive in America.
Friendswood is a decidedly white-collar city, with fully 87.86% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, Friendswood is a city of professionals, sales and office workers, and managers. There are especially a lot of people living in Friendswood who work in management occupations (15.93%), sales jobs (12.13%), and office and administrative support (11.81%).
Also of interest is that Friendswood has more people living here who work in computers and math than 95% of the places in the US.
Friendswood is a good choice for families with children because of several factors. Many other families with children live here, making it a place where both parents and children are more likely to develop social ties with other families. The city’s good public school district and large population of college-educated adults provide an environment conducive to academic success. Many people own their own single-family homes, providing areas for children to play and stability in the community. Finally, Friendswood’s overall crime rate is lower than average for the country.
One downside of living in Friendswood is that it can take a long time to commute to work. In Friendswood, the average commute to work is 31.85 minutes, which is quite a bit higher than the national average.
The education level of Friendswood ranks among the highest in the nation. Of the 25-and-older adult population in Friendswood, 48.57% have at least a bachelor’s degree. The typical US community has just 21.84% of its adults holding a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree.
The per capita income in Friendswood in 2010 was $43,433, which is wealthy relative to Texas and the nation. This equates to an annual income of $173,732 for a family of four.
Friendswood is a very ethnically-diverse city. The people who call Friendswood home describe themselves as belonging to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of Friendswood residents report their race to be White, followed by Asian. Friendswood also has a sizeable Hispanic population (people of Hispanic origin can be of any race). People of Hispanic or Latino origin account for 14.84% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in Friendswood include Irish, English, Italian, and French. The most common language spoken in Friendswood is English. Other important languages spoken here include Spanish and Vietnamese.
A Real Estate Agent or REALTOR is a licensed, qualified professional who is trained to assist in the buying, selling, renting/leasing as well as valuating your property for purchase or sale. A qualified agent will be able to save you time, money and frustration throughout the process of listing your home for sale.
These are a few advantages to working with a licensed agent to sell your home:
1. A licensed agent can inform you on current market trends, home availability, listing prices as well as current days on the market. A qualified listing agent will do a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find the right price for your property adding in comps or comparables relating to your specific home and added values.
2. When Marketing your home your agent will take a step back and look at your home from a business perspective, recognizing areas needing improvement and “love” such as new paint, landscaping to improve curb appeal or home staging to be visually stimulating and welcoming.
3. Your Agent will advertise and market the property to other agents as well as on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and other high traffic areas that REALTORS navigate easily with high visibility to market your property.
4. An agent will know how and when to advertise your property.
5. Your agent will pre-qualify perspective buyers and find out if they are financially able to purchase your home.
6. Negotiating the terms and conditions of a home sale is sometimes required and finding a qualified agent to handle these things is beneficial to selling your home smoothly.
7. In any Real Estate transaction issues may arise and your agent will be the one to handle these, keeping you on track for a close.
8. Using the right agent will greatly improve your chances of selling at a higher price, shorter time on the market, and bigger return on your sale.
So why list with a professional? In the end listing your home with a professional could save you time, money, frustration, legal issues and bring you an overall better return for your investment.
With 23 years in Real Estate, Craig Carver has been awarded numerous achievements, awards and been recognized for being a Top Producer and Team Leader, ranking in Texas’ Top 500 RE/MAX Teams.
Looking for a way to help others in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey? About 1,000 donations are needed every day to meet the community’s needs. In about one hour you may save 3 lives! Please come out and support our cause on October 26th from 10am to 4pm.
Please join the Craig Carver Group and RE/MAX Top Realty in welcoming Amanda Lister to the Craig Carver Team!
As a born and raised Texan, Amanda is a local expert like no other. A very driven and successful mom, wife and Real Estate Specialist are her passions.
Being a people person by nature and doing what is right by her clients makes her stand out as “the one who cares” as she always exceeds her clients expectations from the beginning and long past the sale earning her many loyal ~ repeat clients and many more referrals.
Relationship building at its finest! Call Amanda today at 281-723-6956
Back to School!
Summer has already flown by and the new school year is about to begin! We know how busy the beginning of the school year is and how hard it can be to get back into a routine. Getting the kids situated into a new bedtime, making sure homework is complete and school forms are all filled out, it’s hard to find time to cook a meal for the whole family in between! We thought we would share two of our favorite Crockpot recipes to help you through the first week! These recipes are great to have all year round as well. Craig Carver Group is wishing all of you a wonderful 2017-2018 school year!
Slow Cooker Chili Mac
- 1 pound very lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (30 oz) can chili beans in chili sauce or 2 (15-16 oz) cans chili beans in chili sauce
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz elbow macaroni, uncooked
- Desired toppings: cheddar, sour cream, green onions, corn chips….
- Place ground beef in the bottom of your slow cooker and break into smaller chunks. Stir in remaining ingredients except for the pasta.
- Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. In the last 15 minutes of cooking stir in the uncooked pasta and cover. Stir and test to see if pasta is to your liking. However, even with the slow cooker off the pasta will continue to cook just from the heat of the chili and crock itself so unless your pasta is really chewy or crunchy I strongly suggest only cooking it for the last 15 minutes of cook time.
- Serve immediately with desired toppings.
Creamy Ranch Slow Cooker Chicken
- 2 lbs chicken thighs, bone in and skin on (Use 4 lbs if you want less sauce for pasta)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp cut in cubes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 package Ranch Dressing Mix (You are using the dry mix in this recipe!)
- chives, for garnish
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled for garnish (I forgot to add this!!!!!! Next time for sure!!!)
- Lay the chicken in the crockpot.
- Pour in the chicken broth.
- Sprinkle on the ranch dressing mix powder.
- Top with cubes of cream cheese.
- Cook on high 4 hours. I stirred mine every hour or so to help the sauce along and combine the cream cheese into the sauce. Don;t be worried if sauce looks funky, it will come together in the end!
- Remove from sauce and shred chicken, discarding skin/bones.
- Pour sauce over chicken and top with chives and bacon crumbles.
When choosing Craig Carver Group as your Realtor we will have a home stager come to your home and help you with all of these things at no cost to you!
- Curb Appeal – the exterior of your home is the first thing a potential buyer will see, make sure your lawn is well kept, nice landscaping and some fresh exterior paint if needed!
- De-clutter – If you don’t need it, throw it away or pack it up! make sure the home is clean an organized, make your closets half empty to show buyers how much room they will have for storage
- Light it up – make sure your home is light and bright, update new light fixtures or lamp shades and remove dark drapes, make your home look more “cheery” to potential buyers
- De-personalize – remove all family photos and personal items and decor from the home, this will allow buyers to picture their own belongings in the home.
- Fix Minor Repairs – if a room in the house needs a fresh coat of paint, holes in the wall need to be patched or you have a leaky pipe that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to fix go ahead and get it done!
- Make it sparkle! – make sure you’ve done a good deep cleaning of the home so that everything shines.