Y’all, we’re so excited about this week’s giveaway, we’re champing at the bit to award it! The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo kicks off on March 3 and we’ve got premium tickets for one lucky couple to attend the final night of Rodeo…featuring a performance by the Zac Brown Band!! TO ENTER: Simply 1.) LIKE us on Facebook, and 2.) Email your name and a photo of you & your fiancé in your best rodeo-ready style. Entry deadline is WEDNESDAY, FEB. 5, and we’ll announce our winner on Facebook the very next day.
We’re so thankful to Veranda Realty Group for providing this awesome giveaway—and so thankful to Veranda Realty’s Waukita Ray-Swales for sharing with us her expert home-buying advice for to-be-weds and newlyweds, in this here MUST-READ Q&A.
Houston Wedding Blog: What types of real estate services do you provide brides and grooms?
Waukita Ray-Swales: I provide consultation for engaged couples and newlyweds to assist them in determining if the time is right to make the financial commitment to home ownership. Because many newlyweds already own their own homes prior to getting married, they make the decision to sell their existing homes and purchase something together.
I also own my own design and staging company called Veranda Design Group, and love assisting my clients in blending their two styles together in one home. This helps both the bride and groom feel as though they have brought their own personalities into the decorating and design of their home without losing their individual identities.
HWB: What is your advice for the young to-be-married or newlywed couple who already owns a home together but is looking to “trade up” after the wedding?
WRS: When couples get engaged and begin the process of planning a wedding, many will already own their own homes, but want to consolidate their equity and move into a larger home that will allow them to grow their family without feeling cramped. Consulting with a reputable realtor who will do an extensive analysis of their current home will equip them with knowledge on what their home is worth based on current market conditions and what they should net after the sale. This information will help them formulate an action plan with regard to what they can afford when they are considering moving up into the next price bracket.
HWB: What are two or three of the hottest neighborhoods/areas for first-home purchases right now?
WRS: I am partial to neighborhoods “Inside the Loop” when I counsel soon-to-be-married or newlywed couples because of their accessibility and proximity to the major freeways, shopping districts, arts districts and downtown sports arenas.
Some of my favorites are:
Houston Heights Area – This neighborhood is a designated Historic District with a small-town feel and an abundance of renovated bungalows, as well as newly constructed townhomes in the outlying neighborhoods that are in close proximity. It has a great hike/bike trail that runs all the way through Memorial Park and Downtown Houston and an abundance of eateries, pubs, coffee houses and shopping establishments. The median sale price is approximately $400,000, which allows newlyweds to purchase in a neighborhood where the higher-priced homes will help their property values remain stable. Heights properties range from under $200k to over $2.5mm.
Washington Corridor/Rice Military/Camp Logan – Rice Military is at the heart of Houston’s Inner Loop, and is also 5-10 minutes away from Downtown, Memorial Park and the Museum District. It is still an area of transition, which keeps the prices affordable for first-time homebuyers. Many renovated bungalows are scattered throughout the area, but in recent years there has been a surge in townhome construction. For newlywed couples with busy lifestyles, this may be the perfect location, because they have minimal yard maintenance, and are in the midst of all the Inner Loop activities. Entry-level homes in this neighborhood start around $300,000, and the close proximity to the popular “Washington Street Corridor” is a huge draw to young professionals.
EaDo District (East of Downtown) – Located just north of Interstate 45 and between the George R. Brown Convention Center and the East End District, East Downtown is a vibrant Houston neighborhood near Houston’s three largest business districts: Downtown Houston, the Texas Medical Center and the Houston Ship Channel. Dubbed as the “Art & Soul of Houston,” EaDo is a fast-growing neighborhood nestled within many exciting sections of the city. Homes in this neighborhood begin in the $200,000s consisting mostly of townhomes or zero-lot line single-family homes. The values in this area of town are rising rapidly, so a first-time homebuyer will be able to invest in a property that has tremendous upside and potential.