Friday, June 24, 2016

Why I Love Houston: Splish Splash!

Keeping cool at Jaycee Park, 1330 Seamist 

Welcome to my Why I Love Houston Series, where I share my favorite Houston experiences and excursions. My goal is to make my hometown of Houston more accessible to the ever-changing mix of folks adopting our amazing city as their home base and reminding natives of the hidden gems throughout H-town.

Why I love Houston....when the temperature rises, there are plenty of ways to cool off!

As a native Houstonian, I've grown up with the hot summer heat of the city but for newcomers to Houston, the 90 degrees and up temperatures are a challenge. Staying cool in the city doesn't mean staying inside with the A/C cranked. Take advantage of the city's numerous pools and splash pads to beat the heat and enjoy the outdoors. 

Splash Pads and Water Spraygrounds are plentiful in Houston with over 20 locations in public parks to visit. My favorites include Timbergrove's Jaycee Park and the Ervan Chew Park on Dunlavy in Montrose, which also has a playground, picnic area, and a dog park. Check the calendar of events at Discovery Green, downtown's urban park where you can catch outdoor movies and concerts after the kids have cooled off in the Gateway Fountain, featuring 14-foot arcing jets and the Mist Tree. Pick up a picnic and cool refreshments from nearby Phoenicia Market or dine at the casual Lake House overlooking Kinder Lake in the park.  

If you don't have a pool in your backyard or know a neighbor with one, don't despair! Public pools can be found throughout Houston and are open now through August. In the Heights, head over to Love Pool on W. 12th St. or the Stude Pool near the park where there's also a water playground. Spring Branch and Memorial are home to two public pools, the Agnes Moffit Swimming Pool on Hammerly and the Schwartz Swimming Pool on Vogue Lane. Some areas offer pool memberships like the neighborhoods of West U,  Maplewood, Bellaire, and Willow Meadows/Willowbend.The YMCA has locations all over the city from the Galleria to Garden Oaks. Private options include clubs like The Houstonian tucked away near Memorial Park and the Houston Racquet Club in Memorial Villages.

So pack a towel and jump in! 

Jean-Luc in action on the splash pad!
Stay cool y'all!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Should You Buy a Fixer-upper or Move-in Ready Home?

Shows like HGTV's "Fixer Upper" have popularized the idea of buying and renovating the worst house on the best block. Homes that need major remodeling, however, aren't for everyone. Sometimes a move-in ready house is a better option. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, it's important to understand the pros and cons of each.
Pros of Fixer-Uppers
  • Lower price -- Homes that require some updating tend to be priced lower, and many renovations can quickly add value to your home.
  • Creative control -- When you're the one in charge of updating your home, you can customize it however you choose.
Cons of Fixer-Uppers
  • Delayed move-in -- The planning and work involved to fix it up can significantly delay your move-in date.
  • Unexpected costs -- No matter how well you plan, major renovations are always subject to unforeseen expenses.
Pros of Move-In Ready
  • Quick move-in -- Can't wait to begin nesting? With a finished home, you can start moving in as soon as you get your keys.
  • Energy-efficient technology -- New and renovated homes are often outfitted with the latest energy-efficient options when it comes to kitchen appliances and heating and cooling systems, which can save you money over time.
Cons of Move-In Ready
  • More expensive -- To recoup the costs of updating, sellers often price move-in ready homes much higher. These homes also don't allow for easy customization.
  • Questionable quality -- When you're not there to oversee the update process, you're unable to ensure that high-quality work and materials are used for your home.
Still not sure which approach is right for you? Take this quiz to help you decide if you're ready for a fixer upper.
Kathlyn's Tip -- Be sure to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent, who understands not only the local market but more importantly your needs as a buyer.  If you are debating between restoring a home or new construction in the Houston area, please contact my office for a consultation. My combined experience as a realtor and former tax attorney can help you navigate the pros and cons.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New Listing: Townhome with Great Views

Check out the phenomenal views of greenspace from the living and master of this gem just a short walk from Buffalo Bayou or Washington Ave! Open floorplan features hardwoods and built-in cabinets in living areas. Kitchen is a chef's dream with tons of granite countertops, SS appliances, and tons of storage. Retreat to your cozy master suite with high tray ceilings and spacious bath and closet. Spacious outdoor patio backs to greenspace. Gated community offers rare guest parking behind gate! 

Stop by the Open House this Saturday, June 18th, 2-5 pm.


Why I Love Houston Properties is also hosting Open Houses this weekend at these listings.

Saturday, June 18th, 2-5 pm

814 E. 28th St., Sunset Heights: Well maintained beauty in Sunset Heights. 

Sunday, June 19th, 1-3 pm

''Chateau Kipper'' is truly a one-of-a-kind gem in the heart of coveted Mandell Place. Rebuilt to the studs with uncompromising detail in authentic French Country style, Kipper offers a graceful, functional layout (floor plan contains each room from Clue!). The highest level of luxury finishes include dual chef kitchen, La Cornue range, two apron front sinks, and hand-picked hardwoods throughout. The park-like grounds echo a true French chateau, all within the most walkable neighborhood of Houston. 

See you this weekend!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Best Public Elementary Schools in Houston!

Great news for parents in Houston! 

Children at Risk, a research-based non-profit dedicated to improving public schools in the State of Texas, recently released its 2016 Report Card on Houston area schools.  Some of the results were surprising at first glance, but they follow the overwhelming trend of young Houstonian families settling in central Houston neighborhoods and investing time, talent, and treasure in their local schools.  

North, East, South, and West Houston are all represented on the Honor Roll, indicating that the modern family can have it all – city living & top-notch education – without a $1 Million+ price tag.  

Way to go, Houston!  Keep up the good work!


River Oaks - River Oaks
TH Rogers - Tanglewood
Horn – Bellaire
West University – West University
Bush – West Houston
Roberts – Southgate, et al. (Rice University, Medical Center)
Oak Forest – Oak Forest
Travis – Woodland Heights
Twain – Braes Heights
Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet - Bellaire
Condit - Bellaire
Wharton K-8 Dual Language Academy - Midtown
Herod – Meyerland/Westbury
Memorial Drive - Memorial Villages
Kolter – Meyerland
Rummel Creek – West Memorial
Wilchester – West Memorial
Frostwood – Memorial Villages
De Chaumes – Northside (I-45 @ W. Little York)
Windsor Village – Southwest Houston (bordering Westbury & Stafford)
Park Place – South Houston


Burbank – Northside (I-45 @ Tidwell)
Bunker Hill – Memorial Villages
Parker – Westbury
Hunters Creek – Memorial Villages
Harvard – Heights
St. George Place – Galleria
Briarmeadow Charter – Briarmeadow (Galleria West)
Lyons – Northside (Hardy Toll Road @ Parker)
Askew – West Memorial (Lakeside)
Poe – Southampton (Rice University)
Briargrove – Briargrove/Tanglewood
De Zavala – East End
Valley Oaks – Spring Valley & Hilshire Village (Spring Branch)
White – Sharpstown
Red – Willow Meadows (610 @ S. Post Oak)
Field – Heights


Carillo – East End (Eastwood)
Sinclair – Timbergrove
Meadow Wood – West Memorial
Nottingham – West Memorial
Roosevelt – North Lindale Park (Northside)
Cornelius – South Houston (Telephone Rd.)
Wilson Montessori (K-8) – Montrose
Franklin – East End
Sutton – Sharpstown
Patterson – South Houston (Pasadena)

Why I Love Houston: Trail of the Arts

Flower Power by Chris Silkwood & Keith Crane greets me on my way to the Why I Love Houston Properties Office! 

Welcome to my Why I Love Houston Series, where I share my favorite Houston experiences and excursions. My goal is to make my hometown of Houston more accessible to the ever-changing mix of folks adopting our amazing city as their home base and reminding natives of the hidden gems throughout H-town.

Why I love's an art-filled city! 

From the Museum District to the street art murals popping up all over the city, Houston is a destination for art lovers.One of my favorite installations, Trail of the Arts, can be found on the Heights Boulevard esplanade. Curators Gus Kopriva and Chris Silkwood have selected another round of sculptures by contemporary Texas artists for the city's viewing pleasure through December 15, 2016. My office in the 1300 block of Heights Boulevard is in the perfect location for seeing the artwork and enjoying the first Mini Mural in the Heights which I proudly sponsored to help beautify the city one utility box at a time. The Mini Mural Project recently announced that artists have transformed 100 utility boxes into works of art. 

The Heights Mini Mural by artist Shelbi Nicole depicts a bookshelf with some of my favorite titles. 

Back on the Trail of the Arts, I love the whimsy of the oversized stroller aptly named, Stroll in the Park, by Robbier Barber. The big buggy sits across from Sara's Inn, a lovely, locally owned Victorian bed-and-breakfast, where you can lodge out-of-towners for a unique Houston experience. 


Be sure to take a look at the colorful murals decorating the now closed post office on Yale and 11th St. Students at Hogg Middle School painted neighborhood pride on one side of the building with their zip code mural honoring the Heights. And then head over to Eight Row Flint on Yale and 11th for their delicious tacos, chips and queso, and whiskey menu! 

Happy trails!