Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 Lights in the Heights!!!


Lights in the Heights is a yearly tradition in the Woodland Heights neighborhood where we roll out the welcome mat to our fellow neighbors and the entire city to celebrate holiday decor in all its megawatt glory - from LED spectacles to luminarias lining the driveways. Whether you're attending a house party like me or simply admiring from the sidewalk, there's no better way to get into the holiday spirit! So mark you calendar for Saturday, December 9th. Be on the lookout for the towering palm trees decked out like candy canes on the corner of Michaux and Woodland, along with the glowing dinosaurs on the Norhill Esplanade.

Pterodactyl Sighting!!!

Practical tips for enjoying Lights in the Heights: Please be mindful if parking in the neighborhood as you will not be able to park on closed streets which are barricaded around 5:00 pm and re-opened around 9:00 pm. There are port-o-lets located on the Norhill Esplanade and along the route.

If you need a break from all the festivities, the Red Dessert Dive on Studewood is open until 10:00 pm and you can enjoy a glass of cocoa or wine with their decadent dessert selections. Be aware seating is limited in their cozy space. Antidote Coffee, also on Studewood, is a great spot for refueling during the festivities, especially for their cajeta latte!

Here's to making spirits bright!


Kathlyn

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

5 Mistakes New Homebuilders Often Make



Designing your own home can be exciting, but it's a lot more work than buying an existing house. With so many moving pieces involved, knowing what works and what doesn't is key. Protect your home's long-term value by sidestepping these five avoidable pitfalls of building a new home.
1. Forgetting About Storage Space
From seasonal items to extra bedding, everything requires a temporary home when not in use. For that, you'll need plenty of storage space. Some simple solutions might include a few extra closets, a sizeable garage space or built-in cabinets and shelving.
2. Skimping on Materials
Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and new home construction is no exception. Even if you're watching your pennies, try not to scrimp on quality, especially when it comes to important things like flooring. The materials you choose can have a huge impact on your home's overall value.
3. Overlooking Energy Efficiency
For an energy-efficient home design, make sure to use earth- and wallet-friendly features like well-sealed windows and green materials during the build. These are your strongest assets in keeping heating and cooling costs down long-term.
4. Losing Sight of Current and Future Needs
Design for your current needs, but keep the future in mind, too. For instance, do you plan to have children? Are you going to pursue a specific hobby, such as woodworking, when you retire? Whatever the future holds, work with your builder to create a dream home that will support your evolving needs.
5. Letting Someone Else Decide
You don't need to keep up with the Joneses to have an ideal space. Only you and your family know what you need most in a new home, so choose and upgrade according to your preferences alone.
In the end, building your ideal home is about identifying both what you want and what you don't want. Choose wisely so your new abode will be comfortable, efficient and attractive to future buyers.

Friday, November 3, 2017

6th Ward OPEN HOUSE & Henderson & Kane Holiday Market Pop Up



“In New York, 6 blocks is your life...” If any neighborhood can make something similar happen in Houston, it’s Sixth Ward... and the Mercantile (Henderson @ Kane) is one of the many keys to making that dream a reality. John and Veronica Avila are putting the final touches on Henderson & Kane General Store, a Sixth Ward corner store they hope to open in January at 715 Henderson (at Kane) that will function like an old mercantile offering hot and cold deli options, coffee, and beer and wine. Henderson & Kane also speaks to a distinctly Houston neighborhood – the old Sixth Ward that has the city's largest concentration of Victorian and early 20th Century bungalow homes. The structure at 715 Henderson is an original 1930s mercantile. Want a peek of what Henderson & Kane will offer? They are holding a one-day Holiday Market on Sunday, November 5 starting at Noon.

While you are out exploring the Sixth Ward, be sure to stop by my Open House at 2019 Decatur St. (http://www.har.com/2019-decatur-st/sale_66972948) from 2:00pm – 5:00pm and visit with the Why I Love Houston Properties team. This gorgeous 3 bedroom 2.5 baths home is priced to sell at $649,900. 




Thursday, October 26, 2017

Houston Islamic Arts Festival (November 11 & 12)



Houston is such a diverse city, representing various customs and cultures. It’s this diversity that makes Houston such a unique place to live and one of the many reasons “why I love Houston.”

The 4th annual Islamic Arts Festival is scheduled for November 11 & 12, 2017. Co-sponsored by The Islamic Arts Society & Rice University's Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, the Islamic Arts Festival is the largest and oldest of its kind in North America. The festival will bring together children and adults of all faiths, religions and cultures for two days of fun, festivity and learning.

Everyone is welcome to this FREE event being held at 16700 Old Louetta Rd, Spring, TX 77379.

With over 5000 art pieces and over 50 artists, there is something for everyone to enjoy and share. More than 7000 visitors are expected to attend the festival this year.
According to the Islamic Arts Society: An estimated 200,000 Muslims live in the Greater Houston area. The purpose of this event is to celebrate culture and promote the positive image of our community among Muslims and non-Muslims.

By promoting Islamic Arts and the Islamic Arts Festival, my aim is to promote cultural understanding and bringing the broader Houston community together.

We would love to see you all come out and support this great cause in a couple weeks!

-- Kathlyn, Nick & Jean-Luc

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Save Energy and Money This Fall


October isn't just about pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween celebrations; it's also Energy Awareness Month. Find out how you can reduce your household's energy consumption this fall while preparing for the seasons ahead.
Reducing Home Energy Use
The average U.S. household consumes tens of thousands of kilowatt hours of electricity each year, and much of it is completely unnecessary. Making changes as simple as adding a few energy-efficient appliances and turning off gadgets when you're not using them can save you a significant amount of money while also reducing your carbon footprint.
Don't fret if new Energy Star-labeled appliances aren't in the budget. Instead, try working in a few small changes from this Home Energy Checklist to help you save throughout the year. Here are a few more ideas:
  • Unplug electronics, gaming consoles and chargers when not in use.
  • Insulate your water heater with a blanket and turn the temperature down to at least 120 degrees.
  • Replace bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs and turn them off anytime you leave a room.
  • Schedule an energy audit and replace your thermostat with a programmable unit.
Prepping Your Home for the Cold
During cooler months you can save additional money and energy with simple, inexpensive fixes like:
  • Using insulating drapes to help diffuse winter chill. Just make sure to open any south-facing drapes to take advantage of the sun's natural heating capabilities.
  • Finding and sealing air leaks. Check your windows, doors and pipes, and use weatherstripping or caulk to stop cool air from seeping in.
  • Closing fireplace dampers when not in use. You can also have the entire flume completely sealed off if you use your home's heating system exclusively.
Reducing your energy consumption not only makes a positive contribution to our planet, it also leaves money on the table for fun fall pastimes. With just a few of these small changes, you can get more from your energy budget.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

4 Home Projects That Add Instant Value

Do you have a list of changes you'd like to make to your home this year? Completing cosmetic updates is easiest when the weather's in your favor. In honor of May's National Home Improvement Month, here are four upgrades ranging from curb appeal projects to large-scale expansions that often yield high returns.
  1. Replacing doors and windows: Homeowners are often encouraged to consider projects that boost overall curb appeal. Swapping out a wooden front door for a steel model or replacing front-facing windows can pack more of an ROI punch than renovations made inside the home.
  2. Constructing a deck: Create a beautiful transition from your back door to the outdoors by building a deck. The update turns into a major selling point that can recoup your initial investment when it's time to move on.
  3. Adding insulation: Of all the projects listed in Remodeling magazine's 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, adding loose-fill insulation to your attic is the only one with returns that exceed 100 percent of the cost. It can also help reduce year-round heating and cooling costs.
  4. Building a second-story addition: Even with a slight increase in construction costs, completing a significant two-story addition resulted in a substantial year-over-year increase in value from 2016 to 2017. Adding the extra space will likely catch the attention of buyers.
Home renovations and repairs are on the rise and expected to peak this year. Now's the time to start planning your investment-savvy home improvements. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Housing Market Trends and Perceptions

Whether you're interested in buying or selling a home this year, there's reason to be optimistic. See how a healthy real estate market and positive consumer sentiments are contributing to a buoyant housing sector.
Real Estate Trends
The U.S. housing market continues its recovery as home prices gradually increase, interest rates remain low and millennials represent the largest group of homebuyers for the fourth year in a row. There's been a slight increase in historically low interest rates, but that's an indication of an improving economy. Single women homebuyersexceed single men buyers in the U.S. by more than double, accounting for 17 percent of homebuyers (compared to single men at 7 percent). U.S. home values are expected to keep inching up while the inventory of available homes continues to decline.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), there is considerable divergence among regions. Tighter federal regulations have reduced affordability and access to financing for potential homebuyers, sales are down and prices are trending soft. National sales activity is forecast to decrease 1.5 percent in 2017 and 0.8 percent in 2018.
Consumer Sentiments
The 2017 Q1 Housing Opportunities and Market Experience report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows favorable sentiments among American consumers. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed thought it was a good time to buy, and 69 percent felt it was a good time to sell. More than half said they believed home prices in their community had increased over the previous 12 months. And renters and suburban homeowners, in particular, felt that prices would continue to rise in the second half of the year.
In another NAR report, the Aspiring Home Buyer Profile, nine in 10 nonhomeowners in the U.S. expressed a desire to own a home. Fortunately, if the market trends and consumer perceptions are any indications, 2017 could very well be the year many renters realize their dream of homeownership.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Making the Most of a Bathroom Remodel

Do you want to improve the aesthetics of your bathroom? Before you disrupt your household with the hassle of a remodel, make sure you're prepared. Familiarize yourself with this cost and ROI overview to help guide the planning process.
What Does This Type of Remodel Cost? 
The first step to organizing a bathroom remodeling project is setting a budget. Understanding the potential costs involved can help you decide whether you're working on a complete overhaul or focusing your resources on a few select changes.
Homeowners who make bathroom updates usually hope to recover at least a portion of their investment. An upscale bathroom remodel is among the projects that see the largest percentages of value increase year over year. But a high-end revamp can cost tens of thousands. If you're working with a more modest budget, going with simple changes like updates to light fixtures, sinks, toilets and the like can refresh your space for significantly less.
What Should You Change?
When planning bathroom renovations, it's always smart to fix what's broken first, especially since replacement projects see larger returns (74 percent) than remodeling ones (63.7 percent).
Once you've tackled any necessary replacements, make investment-savvy design selections that add value for you and your family. Trade out the garden tub for an expansive shower, add granite countertops or upgrade the vanity, ventilation or lighting. Finding what most benefits your family can lead to greater satisfaction years after the project's completion.
With budgeting sense and some design know-how, you'll have the confidence you need to initiate a successful bathroom remodel.

Friday, June 30, 2017

4th of July Fireworks Across Houston


Happy 4th of July, Houston, from the team at Why I Love Houston Properties! As we approach the upcoming holiday, I wanted to take a moment to share some fun activities to consider across the city of Houston.

Freedom Over Texas (http://www.houstontx.gov/july4/) is the Mayor’s official 4th of July celebration. This annual festival brings out more than 40,000 people into the heart of our favorite city for food, entertainment and a spectacular fireworks display. This year the festival is being held from 4:00pm – 10:00pm at Eleanor Tinsley Park and Sam Houston Park downtown along Buffalo Bayou.

ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights: A Star Spangled Salute is being held at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Enjoy an evening with Conductor Michael Krajewski and the Houston Symphony, listening to patriotic American music. Be sure to stay until the end for the 1812 Overture—complete with booming cannons! This celebration concludes with a magnificent display of fireworks provided by the Miller Theatre Advisory Board. This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office.

The Katy Freedom Celebration fireworks display will be launched between the east side of the Katy Mills Mall and Katy Fort Bend Road. This display begins at approximately 9:30pm and can be viewed from several miles around the mall area. This event is free to the public.

Another free event is the Red, Hot & Blue Festival and Fireworks Extravaganza being held at Town Green Park and Waterway Square in The Woodlands, TX from 6:00pm – 10:00pm. The event culminates with one of the largest fireworks displays in the Greater Houston area, with the 18+ minute Fireworks Extravaganza beginning at approximately 9:30 p.m.

We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for across the city of Houston. Feel free to share some of your favorite spots to view fireworks across this great city with me and our fellow Houstonians! I’d be delighted to take you and your loved ones on a property tour and show you more of the reasons why I love Houston, so don’t hesitate to contact me or my team for your any of real estate needs. Follow us on Facebook and be sure to share this blog post with your friends and family—I really appreciate that. I'll be sharing a post about my favorite parks across the city in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back on my blog to learn more about Why I Love Houston!

Happy 4th of July, Houston!

-- Kathlyn

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Why I Love Houston...2017 Summer Camp Ideas



Welcome to Why I Love Houston Properties!!! School is wrapping up for the year and parents are exploring educational opportunities for the summer months. I wanted to share some of my favorites summer camp recommendations for you to consider.

Once you’ve signed up for some of these fun ideas, let me know, as you just might run into Jean-Luc and me exploring these exciting summer camp ideas! You can connect with me here on my blog and also on Facebook.

Houston Summer Art Camps

City ArtWorks

Every summer, City ArtWorks offers 9 weeks of art classes at their community studio that include sculpture, clay, printmaking, drawing, painting, mixed media and other visual art mediums. For children ages 4 to 12, summer art classes encourage creative problem solving, help develop critical thinking skills, and expose children to visual arts concepts and history.

Alley Theatre Play Makers Summer Camp

Play Makers participants join their peers for a full rotation of group activities designed to help even the most timid child find the confidence to step onto the stage. Alley Master Teaching Artists guide fun and informative lessons that teach theatre skills in improvisation, dance and movement, visual story telling, and character development. Your young creative masterminds will learn performance skills here that they will use their whole lives.

Houston Museum of Fine Arts

Education Camps Houston Summer

Lone Star College Discovery College

Discovery College provides the opportunity for children ages 6-17 to explore and expand their interests and skills using engaging, hands-on curriculum in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) focused classes held in a campus-based educational environment. 

Companion Camp (Houston Humane Society)

Companion Camp is a wonderful opportunity for children ages 7-13 (or ages 12 - 15 during teen week) to work hands-on with animals cared for by the Houston Humane Society. Campers learn valuable life lessons concerning the welfare of all animals. During a typical day, campers participate in humane education lessons, workshops from animal experts, games, crafts, and hands-on animal activities.

I hope you find these summer camp recommendations useful as you are exploring all the great things to do in Houston this summer. Don’t forget to stop by our website at whyilovehouston.com to check out our current property listings and other information about my team and me. We’d be delighted to take you on a property tour today and explore Houston with you and your loved ones!

-- Kathlyn

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Why I Love Houston Properties and Kathlyn Curtis is hosting an OPEN HOUSE at 2020 White Oak Drive, Houston, TX 77009 in the beautiful Historic Houston Heights! Please stop by and visit Kathlyn on Sunday, June 4, 2017 from 2:00pm - 5:00pm. We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

4 OPEN HOUSES (SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2017)



Why I Love Houston Properties and Kathlyn Curtis is pleased to share 4 Open Houses on Sunday, May 7, 2017 (2:00pm - 5:00pm). Come by and visit Kathlyn and her team at the following locations:

  • 4129 Dickson St. Houston, TX 77007 (listed at $525,000)
  • 8719 Rippling Water Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77479 (listed at $400,000)
  • 2717 N. Sabine St., Houston, TX 77009 (listed at $879,900)
  • 2056 Addison Rd., Houston, TX 77030 (listed at $900,000)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Cinco de Mayo Houston



Happy Cinco de Mayo from Why I Love Houston Properties! As we look across the city today, there are so many options one has to get out and celebrate. Whether you are stopping by Cinco de Mayo at Historic Market Square or enjoying your favorite restaraunt today with friends and family, there is no question we have much to celebrate in this great city.

The question remains...what exactly are we celebrating today? As I talked with my friends and colleagues, most assumed (incorrectly) that Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of Mexico's Independence.

Below are some fun facts about Cinco de Mayo that you might find interesting:
  • Cinco de Mayo is celebrated to honor Mexico's victory over France at the battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican war (1861 - 1867). Despite having a small band of fighters, the Mexican's were able to defeat a large French army on May 5, 1862.
  • Mexico does celebrate its Independence each year, but not on May 5. Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16, when they celebrate their independence from Spain.
  • Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the U.S. than in Mexico. The largest celebration in the U.S. is held in Los Angles, California.
My hope is that you take some time this Cinco de Mayo to reflect on its true history and perhaps go out and research more fun facts. I'd love to hear more fun facts from you. Take a minute to share with me your favorite Cinco de Mayo celebration spot or your favorite recipe idea!

If you are looking for some alternatives from the norm today, feel free to contact me or any of my team members to arrange for a property tour! I would love to take you around the city and show you more reasons why I love Houston!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How the Right Words Can Sell a Home

House and neighborhood characteristics can positively influence the sale of your home, but what about the words used in the listing? The right turn of phrase could help your property sell quickly, but choose less descriptive terms and you may find it on the market indefinitely. Write an effective listing with the following tips:
Choose Your Words Wisely
One analytics firm reviewed the word choices of a million listings that closed in 2016. Phrases like "open concept" and "natural light" closed more quickly, while listings with "ceramic tile" and "two story" stayed on the market longer. Analysts also found that four word pairs associated with quick closings included "fence" references, indicating that privacy may be a top priority for buyers.
Tell Stories With Emotion 
Capture potential buyers' senses with your words, and try to paint a picture of what it would be like to live in the home. A claw-foot tub becomes a place of solace from the daily grind, and a large yard transforms into a buyer's new outdoor respite. Need help? Consider enlisting a professional who is familiar with what's selling to help write your listing.
Highlight Brand Names
Don't focus solely on basics such as square footage and the number of bathrooms. Instead, identify brands that will stand out from the competition. Everything's fair game -- from appliances to fixtures to interior designers or architects who helped with your last renovation. You can feel comfortable name-dropping here.
Create Longer Listings
The 2015 book "Zillow Talk" found that listings as long as 250 words tend to sell at higher prices. And to help grab a potential buyer's eye, give particular attention to the first 10 words.
Before putting your home on the market, take some time to craft a well-worded listing. A sale may hinge on it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Why I Love Houston: Pet Friendly Houston Outings


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....city adventures for our four-legged friends!

It's the perfect time of year to get out and about with your furry family members! Houston has lots of fun pet-friendly outings for exploring the city.

Hit the Buffalo Bayou Park trails with Fido where you can spot a heron or two along the bayou while taking in views of the downtown skyline. Pose your pup for an inspiring social media pic by one of the Monumental Monuments series word sculptures, like "Listen" or "Reflect." A stop at the popular Johnny Steele Dog Park will ensure your dog will be napping the rest of the day after romping around with their new playmates. The park has special areas for little and big dogs and water features for cooling off. After working up an appetite at the park, treat yourself to breakfast or lunch at The Kitchen at The Dunlavy, which has a dog-friendly patio. Paws on Patios keeps an updated list of bars and restaurants where dogs are welcome on outdoor patios for other dining options around the city.

For a water adventure, take a day trip to Seabrook where you and your dog can rent a kayak at Pinky's Kayak Rentals. Spend a couple of hours exploring Taylor Lake and the nature of Armand Bayou with either a self-guided or guided tour of the area. Back on shore, head to nearby Boondoogles for burgers and refreshments on their patio. Finish the day with a stroll through Clear Lake Park before heading home.

Mark your calendars for May 13th, when Puppies for Breakfast takes over Market Square Park downtown. This celebration is all things dog! You can find a variety of dog-focused vendors, artists, and activities. Your pup can also strut their stuff during the costume contest. The event is free, but a $5 donation benefiting the Animal Justice League Rescue is suggested.

For those who are looking for a new furry addition to the family, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is April 30th. You can visit one of Houston's many animal rescue organizations to find your family's new best pal. BARC, Friends for Life, and Scout's Honor Rescue are all great places to start your search. For all the cat lovers, Houston's first cat cafe, El Gato Coffehouse, will open in May. In the meantime, you can meet all the cafe's friendly felines looking for forever homes at their scheduled events, like Yoga with Cats, Meowvie Night, and Caturday Morning Cartoons.

Peace, love, and pets!

Kathlyn


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

4 Famous American Estates That Inspire

It's never too early to dream up your next vacation. Whether you're interested in a fun, educational destination or you're on the hunt for home inspiration, visiting these famous estates may pique your imagination.
Architectural Icon
A tour through the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio just outside of Chicago is like peering into the creative mind of one of America's most iconic architects. Constructed in 1889 for $5,000, this Oak Park house served as the family home for Wright, his wife and their six kids. Bold, geometric shapes on the exterior and the interior's high, barrel-vaulted ceiling make this visit a must for architecture enthusiasts.
Literary Cats 
One home of Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway is tucked away in the heart of Old Town in Key West, Florida. The estate boasts Spanish colonial architecture and lush grounds; however, the Hemingway home is also well-known for its current occupants. No less than 40 polydactyl (six-toed) cats, descendants of those owned by Hemingway himself, still live on-site.
Presidential Family Estate
Get a historical perspective with a visit to Hildene, a 1905 Georgian Revival mansion in Manchester, Vermont, that belonged to Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. Guests can take year-round tours of the home's 24-room interior, stroll down approximately 12 miles of walking trails and visit the working farm.
As Seen on TV
Popularized by more than 70 feature films and television shows, including "Full House," San Francisco's Painted Ladies are a staple of the city's skyline. This row of quintessential Victorian homes, also known as the Seven Sisters, ascends one of the city's hilly neighborhoods. Snap a gorgeous photo from the famous Alamo Square Park across the street.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Why I Love Houston: The 30th Annual Art Car Parade!

Van Gogh pickup truck at the Art Car Parade- only in Texas!
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....the Houston Art Car Parade!

We brake for art cars in this city! Head to downtown Houston this Saturday, April 8th, at 2 pm when a convoy of fantastically decorated cars from here and all over the United States takes to the streets for spectators to admire and Instagram. Get to Smith Street early so you can take time to view the art cars and chat with the drivers/artists before they get rolling. This year's grand marshal of the Art Car Parade is comedian, actor, and author, Cheech Marin! He will be signing his book, Cheech Is Not My Real Name ... But Don't Call Me Chong at a special event held at the historic River Oaks Theatre on Thursday, April 6th at 7 pm (tickets required).

More art car events include the Main Street Drag on Thursday, April 6th, 9 am-1 pm, for a sneak peek of the cars in motion. The Art Car Ball takes place on the evening of Friday, April 7th at Hermann Square for a night of music, art cars, and costumes too!

Let the good times roll!

Kathlyn