home values

A Texas National Guardsman shakes hands with a resident after assisting his family during Hurricane Harvey flooding in Houston, Texas, Aug. 27, 2017 (Army National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West).

As the floodwaters recede and Hurricane Harvey survivors assess the damage to their homes, the inevitable question arises: What will this do to the housing market in the Houston area?

With a flood of this magnitude, it’s hard to predict, experts say. History tells us that it can take a lot longer for housing stock to recover — but how long? And how will a possible widespread lack of flood insurance affect the market?

Todd Tomalak is a building products spending forecaster and expert with John Burns Real Estate Consulting. While he and his teammates are just beginning to assess and compare historical data to current data, he did have a few insights.

“Major storms have a very long effect on the housing stock – following Hurricane Katrina, it took eight years for the number of total housing units to recover back to pre-storm levels,” he said. (more…)

We were not prepared. Were you?

We were not prepared. Were you?

I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve covered at least a dozen tornadoes in my career, and yet, as
my family and I huddled in the small hallway in the center of our home Saturday night fearfully watching the weather on my iPad, I realized how woefully unprepared we were for a disaster.

I mean, sure, we had the basics down. Shelter. I had my wallet with insurance information, ID, credit cards, etc. We had something to monitor the weather with (our phones and iPad). But sitting on the couch later, anxiously watching the news with my heart in my throat, I realized how many things we missed. The dog was not on a leash. The bike helmets were MIA. The medication I take daily was sitting on the counter in the bathroom. We weren’t even wearing shoes. True, part of that was due to the fact that I could tell only the outer edges of the cell were touching our neighborhood, but later I found that others who thought the same thing were now cleaning up their homes after a tornado hit (in Sunnyvale) just a couple hundred feet from their neighborhood.

What in the hell was I thinking?

So this morning, I decided to talk to an expert, do some research, and make sure my family – and yours – is prepared for the worst. (more…)

Real Estate Story
happy house

Photo courtesy Lara604 via Creative Commons

With the fresh start of January, take the next two weekends to make the rest of the year run more smoothly. These nine tips will save you time, energy, and money, and make you feel better about where you hang your hat every night.



1. MAKE BETTER USE OF YOUR CLOSETS

While this is not a photo of my closet above, it almost could be. Come January every year, and my closets tend to be a mishmash of clothes from all four seasons, piles of give-aways that I haven’t gotten around to giving away, and just general wrecks of disorganization.

Start the new year by decluttering a closet. Pick just one and organize with vengeance over one day (trust me, you’ll appreciate the major improvement in a short time). Save, sell, donate, or chuck everything in there, then vacuum, neaten, and dust. Job done!

2. TAKE A PHOTO INVENTORY OF YOUR HOUSE

If, God forbid, your house is ever burglarized or there is a fire, having photo records of the interior and all your possessions will make the insurance process infinitely easier. I speak from experience here: my house was burglarized a few years ago, but I had taken the time to snap photos of all my art, electronics, and jewelry and put it on a USB drive, which was locked in a file cabinet. I was so glad to have done so. Today, I store my photos in the cloud on Dropbox, which is even more convenient. Jump to read the next seven tips!

(more…)

Photo courtesy Lara604 via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Lara604 via Creative Commons

With the fresh start of January, take the next two weekends to make the rest of the year run more smoothly. These nine tips will save you time, energy, and money, and make you feel better about where you hang your hat every night.



1. MAKE BETTER USE OF YOUR CLOSETS

While this is not a photo of my closet above, it almost could be. Come January every year, and my closets tend to be a mishmash of clothes from all four seasons, piles of give-aways that I haven’t gotten around to giving away, and just general wrecks of disorganization.

Start the new year by decluttering a closet. Pick just one and organize with vengeance over one day (trust me, you’ll appreciate the major improvement in a short time). Save, sell, donate, or chuck everything in there, then vacuum, neaten, and dust. Job done!

2. TAKE A PHOTO INVENTORY OF YOUR HOUSE

If, God forbid, your house is ever burglarized or there is a fire, having photo records of the interior and all your possessions will make the insurance process infinitely easier. I speak from experience here: my house was burglarized a few years ago, but I had taken the time to snap photos of all my art, electronics, and jewelry and put it on a USB drive, which was locked in a file cabinet. I was so glad to have done so. Today, I store my photos in the cloud on Dropbox, which is even more convenient. Jump to read the next seven tips!

(more…)

Trulia Heatmap Tornadoes Dallas

 

(Graphic: Trulia Heatmap From NOAA tornado data)

love what Trulia manages to do with a little data. This company is consistently making the best tools that break down statistical information, helping homebuyers decide which areas best suit their needs. 

Their newest tool, the Natural Hazards heatmaps, are perfect for seismophobics, potamophobics, brontophobics, and pretty much any other weather-related phobia you can think of. With data from the USGS, FEMA, NOAA, and the Forest Service, Trulia has created color-coded models showing which areas pose the greatest risk for these natural disasters.

Of course, if you plan buy wherever you want — data be damned — I’m sure these maps will help you negotiate your homeowner’s insurance policy. Take a minute to click around on their Trulia Local page for Dallas. It’s interesting stuff.

On the flipside, if you want to avoid natural disasters altogether, Trulia Economist Jed Kolko has compiled a list of the top-10 U.S. cities least likely to be hit with an act of God. Topping that list is Syracuse, N.Y., with Cleaveland and Akron, Ohio, in second and third, respectively. Fourth is Buffalo, N.Y., and fifth is Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md.