Should I Invest in a Townhome in Houston?

There is no question that investing in real estate can be a profitable venture. The benefits of owning a townhome can far outweigh the benefits of renting. Renting is equivalent to giving your money away. Buying puts money toward ownership and equity.

The real estate market can fluctuate and it may be hard to determine which areas will increase in value and which areas will suffer. Houston, TX is one of the top US cities for steadily increasing home values. This especially holds true for areas inside the Inner Loop of Houston. This highly sought after area is close to historical districts, downtown and also the finest dining and shopping that Houston has to offer.

There are many quality properties in this area that may be worthy of investment. Of course we can not ever guarantee that upward trends will continue, but this prestigious area is convenient, beautifully maintained and extremely popular.

Buying a townhome can be a rewarding experience. A townhome is a convenient option for ownership of real estate over single family homes. Amenities are built in and builders can offer long term warranties on construction. Common outdoor areas can be beautifully landscaped and maintained. There is a lot to be said for not having to do your own yard work in the Texas heat!

Many people are attracted to the feeling of friendship and belonging that they develop with their neighbors in a townhome community. Many communities organize family activities in their parks and common areas for holidays and special occasions. Some have pools and gyms where only residents are allowed. Some are gated with secure entry and offer an extra level of protection that you would pay a lot more for in a standard neighborhood. You will love the time that you save on maintenance of your property and drive time to and from your favorite Houston attractions.

Investing in a townhome often means that you can have some say in the construction of your investment. Many teams employ the help of interior decorators and designers that can work closely with you on design and building options. Townhomes can be as large as regular homes, cost less and offer many more advantages. Upkeep, maintenance, lawn care, and other amenities can be very attractive to buyers and keep the values increasing in your community.

The convenience of being in the Inner Loop of Houston is very appealing to most buyers. You will be minutes from Downtown and Midtown, Galleria shopping, the Museum District and all of the best restaurants in the Houston area. You will love the conveniences of townhome life. Your investment in a Houston townhome can be financially profitable, as well emotionally fulfilling. You will own a home that is beautiful, in the heart of the city, low maintenance and in a close-knit community.

Most Recommended Web Hosting Services

Having the right kind of hosting account for your website is crucial to the success and sustenance of your online business. Making the wrong choice could result in loss of traffic, and several other server mishaps which ultimately decrease the value and reputability of your eCommerce efforts. Poor server management and resource allocation can cause anything from slow page loads to server crashes, and even decreased search engine ranking. Without the right kind of hosting, it is nearly impossible to have your website or blog perform optimally, especially as you begin to receive more daily visitors and update your site with content. If you want to make your website as successful as possible, then you’ll need to have access to the right kind of webhost services.

Most Recommended Web Hosting Services

Below are some of our best and recommended web hosting services according to our own experience on web development:

HostGator

HostGator is a world leading provider of web hosting. Since 2002, company is privately owned and based in Houston, Texas. Since then, HostGator has grown from a small hosting company with just three servers into a world leading and industry recognized hosting provider with more than 12,000 servers under management. The over five million domains hosted by HostGator make up approximately 1% of the world’s Internet traffic. As a technology and product innovator, HostGator is able to provide its more than 400,000 customers with innovative products and services designed to complement their existing businesses. HostGator serves customers ranging from individual freelancers to Fortune 500 companies in more than 200 countries. The company is constantly working to improve and refine their service and support. HostGator has earned a great number of web hosting awards. Their customers range from large sized businesses down to personal bloggers and HostGator supports each of them with care and professionalism. If you are searching for a place to start or grow your own website, Hostgator is what you are looking for. Competitive pricing plans, countless accolades, best technology, and top-notch support are the reasons why go with HostGator. If not ready to settle you can try a month with HostGator just for a penny. All of HostGator’s shared and reseller servers are powered and cooled by wind power generated in state of Texas.

BlueHost

BlueHost has been has been providing quality hosting solutions to thousands of business and personal web sites since 1996. Today, BlueHost has become one of the most recognizable names in the web hosting industry with over 1,000,000 domain names hosted. BlueHost has become well known for providing some excellent features and benefits at the low cost. Their technical support is ranked as one of the best on the market. BlueHost has placed themselves among the leaders of the web hosting world by offering unlimited disk space and monthly transfer on top of package that includes a free domain and site builder. Their professional Web Hosting plan includes all the features you are looking for at the best possible price. Great customer service and excellent products is what really sets BlueHost apart from other web hosting companies. Let’s not forget their latest technologies that help businesses and individuals get high-powered service at a fraction of the cost. If you look around you might be able to find cheaper web hosting companies but with BlueHost you will get the best value for money. All of their packages are backed up by a 30-Day Money Back guarantee, so you can give BlueHost a try without losing a dime. At last, BlueHost is highly recommended and reliable when it comes in choosing a web host.

JustHost

JustHost are dedicated to providing their customers with the most reliable web hosting service possible at the best possible price. Only $3.50 per month! JustHost is number one when it comes to web hosting, and it’s no surprise that it has grown into one of the most recognizable brands today. When it comes to the extra features that you get when you sign up, JustHost is unbeatable. Each plan comes with unlimited monthly transfer (bandwidth) and unlimited disk space, and you can host as many domains as you like with a single account. There are many additional benefits, such as a fantastic site builder, Fantastico and Google advertising credits. JustHost focus heavily on customer service and the quality and level of technical support is top-notch. On top of this, the pricing and value for money is excellent, which make JustHost the number one choice for many people. Affordable price plans, secure servers, first class 24/7 technical support and a wide range of extra features make hosting your website with JustHost the logic choice. JustHost offers top quality product at great price. In terms of reliability, the load-balancing technology means that downtime is almost eliminated. The cpanel is easy to use and contains some great features which will keep all customers happy, whether they are new to web designing or an experienced professional. Customer support is excellent, and really sets the mark for other companies to aim for, and overall value for money is fantastic. By having unlimited amounts of bandwidth and disk space, you do not have to worry about changing your package every few months as your site expands. At last, JustHost offers 30-Day money back guarantee demonstrating the confidence in its products.

InMotion

Inmotion Hosting is one of the best web hosts around and is the most popular among businesses for a secure and reliable experience. Established in 2001, Inmotion Hosting can be considered a veteran in the web hosting industry. Backed by a team of experts with diverse technical backgrounds, Inmotion Hosting focuses on the latest technology to provide the best reliability for a smooth experience.

HostMonster

HostMonster has been providing reliable hosting solutions to thousands of businesses and individuals since 1996. Their web hosting plan helps businesses and individuals get high-powered service at an extremely affordable price with unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space and an unlimited number of add-on domains. All of the above makes your website ready to use as soon as you have signed up. HostMonster offers a great web hosting product that is second to none. Their web hosting is reliable and secure. When it comes to the control panel it is easy to use and contains some great features. Nevertheless, their customer support and value for money are some of the best in the industry. HostMonster makes customer satisfaction a big deal. Therefore, they offer a 24/7 technical support with average hold times less than 3 minutes. Choosing HostMonster as your web hosting company means you will be making a good decision.

Choosing a web host requires that you take an appraisal of your website, the technology used to create it, your web page elements and your future growth. You will also have to make room for emerging technologies and web trends. All of these scenarios require that you choose a web hosting provider with utmost care.

You will have to first compile all the above lists of hosts that meet your need and then sift them down to the one that best meets your need at the least price. In determining your ultimate choice, you are considering several factors, such as customer response time, reputation, server uptime guarantee, security and reliability. You are going to choose a host that will give you value for money and at the same time make you retain your hard won customers.

New Home Construction – The American Dream or The American Nightmare?

Buying a new home is suppose to be the American Dream. Unfortunately, for many buyers of newly constructed homes it becomes the American Nightmare. Hiring a qualified third party home inspector can increase you chance of a hassle free home.

No area of the country is free from shoddy construction.

In my job as a Professional Home Inspector I talk to hundreds of people each year about new home construction. It still amazes me that many believe the city inspector will find every item wrong with a home. Nothing could be further from the truth!

A city inspector inspects for code violations. The building codes are the MINIMUM standards that a home should be built to. City code inspectors only inspect for safety and health issues as they relate to building. City inspectors do not inspect for the quality of workmanship! City building inspectors also have no liability. If your home falls down and hurts you the day after you move in, you can not go back and sue the building inspector because he missed code violations.

In Houston, the area I inspect in, the city building inspectors spend about 10 to 30 minutes in a home inspecting it. At the end of their “Inspection”, they will then place a green or orange 3×5 sticker at the front of the home. The Green sticker says you passed, the orange or red sticker says the home failed.

There is no way that a city building inspector can note all the discrepancies on a home on a 3×5 sticker!

The new trend is for builders to advertise that their homes have been inspected by a “Third Party Inspection Company.” This is like listening to a used car salesman say he had his mechanic check your used car out before you bought it.

If the company the builder hires becomes a nuisance by continuing to find problems, then a new company will be found who can inspect the homes the way the builder likes.

Wise and prudent home buyers will research their builder before deciding on one to go with.

They will also start doing their research on finding their own third party home inspector to inspect the home as it is being built.

What are some things you should look for in a home inspector?

Ask the inspectors on your narrowed down list for sample inspection reports. You’re looking for a home inspector who writes narrative type reports and who will include code numbers or the code itself when he finds them. I’d avoid inspectors who say they use an onsite “checklist” type of report.

Call or meet the inspector. You’re looking for someone who is knowledgeable and who can communicate well. If you talk to an inspector and have trouble understanding what he’s saying, it’s likely his report will be hard to understand as well.

Ask for references. Have the inspector send you several references and follow through checking them out.

Ask questions. Ask your inspector if he/she will come back out and re-inspect after the builder says all the repairs have been made. Some will, some won’t. Expect to have to pay for a re-inspection. Ask the inspector if he will communicate with the builder after the inspection if the builder has questions. Good inspectors will take the time to go over the report via phone or in person with the builder to ensure that all needed repairs are made.

As a home buying consumer, it’s your responsibility to ensure your home is built correctly. Not the builder, not the State, County or City. Hiring a qualified and reputable home inspector will go a long ways in helping you obtain a problem free home.

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How to Select a Pool Builder

When it comes time to select a pool builder, who you choose will make a big difference in terms of quality and satisfaction. Just how do you find a savvy swimming pool contractor? Here are some tips to help you narrow your search to the right one.

- Reputation: Ask your neighbors, co-workers, family and friends about their pool and spa building experiences. Even if they weren’t the original owners of a home that came with an existing pool, finding out about the contractor and whether they’re satisfied with the workmanship will help you in your quest. If the people giving word-of-mouth referrals were there through the entire process, even better. Ask how long it took, if the company was reliable and if the pool has held up well. Once you’ve gotten a few names, research their company via the internet.

- Experience: How long has the pool builder been in this business? Even if the company is fairly new, the general contractor of the operation should have substantial experience.

- Photos: Ask to see a photo portfolio containing examples of their work. There is a large variety of options, including kidney bean or rectangle shape, water features, decorative faux rocks and cool decking. Does this contractor’s aesthetic eye appeal to your sense of design? Can you picture these structures in your own backyard?

- References: Ask for a list of their customers who are willing to vouch for the quality of their workmanship. Contact these former customers to inquire about their experiences. If they’ll allow you to take a look at their pools and spas, that would be even better.

- Contractors License: It is important that a pool builder be registered with the Board of Contractors’ Registry. The complaint records are open to the public. It is a wise idea to check the complaints on file to see what might turn up. You want to deal with a company who keeps their customers happy.

- Pricing: It is smart to get more than one estimate in order to compare prices for similar pool structures with comparable add-ons and water features. Be sure you’re comparing apples with apples, however. Beware of advertisements that name a shockingly low price tag for their products. Ask lots of questions about exactly what is included in their quote and then check out their reputation, too. Remember, there is no free lunch and a price that appears too good to be true probably is.

Having cool fun and recreation right in your own backyard can give years of pleasure for the entire family. You can even save on your air conditioning bills because swimming in cold water brings body temperature down, making everyone feel cooler.

Luxury Home Builder

The difference between a cookie-cutter home and a custom built luxury home is a bit like comparing gas station coffee to a premium latte. You get to choose what goes into your premium, six dollar cup of java, and a skilled barista will make it fresh for you; it’s a customized drink built to your tastes.

A custom luxury home builder also gives you the freedom to choose; you get to pick what materials, location, school systems, and spaces your new home will have. Although the builder will be more than happy to help with all of the details for your new luxury home, there are still tons of questions you will have to decide yourself.

Location of your new home is more than just finding a pretty patch of land on which to build your dream home. Check out the other homes in the neighborhood; I know the last thing you want to think about when building a new luxury home is resell value, but all sorts of things can change in the next ten years. Best to be prepared for any eventuality. Check out the value of the surrounding homes and make sure that they stack up to the luxury home your are planning for yourself. Also, check out distances from conveniences, such as the local mall, parks, theaters, and shopping. Figure out what your commute time to work would be. Also, find out if the home you want to build will be within local building codes.

When considering location, also research the local schools. Look into both the public and private institutions around the piece of land you are looking to build on. There may not be a schooling system around your new home area that will supply the education you wish to give your children.

Before going to a contractor, make sure to start a scrapbook with pictures of homes and design elements that you would like to see implemented in your luxury home. This scrapbook will give the contractor something solid to work with when pulling together blueprints. You can pull pictures off of the internet, out of luxury home magazines, and even from photographs of friends’ and family members’ homes that you find appealing. This will give your contractor a great idea of your personal style.

But the most important consideration is who to contract. There are thousands of builders all over the world, but most high quality, luxury builders are located in larger cities. Most contractors will be willing to travel to build your new home, so you may still have a great selection of builders within reach of your site.

Do a little homework before you decide on a contractor; ask any friends or family who have used luxury home builders to see if they have a company they would recommend, or one that they would never use again. Read online reviews of every contractor.

Once you have a list of potentials, request an interview with the contractor; you can learn a lot about a contractor during this face-to-face meeting. Check out the look and styles of homes they have built, and see if the contractor’s style will mesh your own. If possible, have the contractor work up a mock up or sketches for you to look at.