Should You Buy a Home Warranty?

I’m buying a house. Should I buy a home warranty?” Seems like a relatively tame question, right? But post it on Facebook or Nextdoor and watch the impassioned responses roll in. You might as well ask, “What political party should I belong to?”

Broken Pipe

Everyone has their own experience, so expect to hear a few people call them “a scam” or at the very least a waste of money. Others will regale you with their tale of how having a warranty saved them from a freezing winter because they couldn’t afford to fix their furnace without it.

In the end, the decision is personal and largely based on how comfortable you are paying out of pocket if one of the more expensive items in your home, like the furnace or hot water heater, needs to be replaced. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.

Know the cost

“A basic home warranty costs about $350 to $500 a year or more,” says Money Talks News. A warranty typically covers plumbing, hot water heaters, and heating/electrical system components. More expensive, ‘enhanced’ plans can provide added coverage for things like your washer/dryer, air conditioning system, refrigerator, septic tank, and garage door openers.

You can typically break down the annual cost into more manageable monthly payments, but the cost of the warranty itself isn’t the only thing you’re responsible for paying. Most home warranties include either a service call fee or a deductible, so it’s important to consider those factors in addition to the home warranty plan itself. 

Consider your peace of mind

Many homeowners opt for a home warranty for major “just-in-case” scenarios. Just in case the air conditioning unit crashes and burns. Just in case the hot water heater dies. With the cost of some of these items running into the thousands—the average cost for a new air conditioning unit and installation, per HomeAdvisor, is $5,413!—the peace of mind factor is huge.

“For a homeowner who doesn’t have an emergency fund, or who wants to protect their emergency fund, a home warranty can act as a buffer,” says Investopedia. Home warranties also make sense for people who aren’t handy or don’t want to deal with finding a contractor. 

Understand that not everything is covered

There’s always a chance that the item you need repaired is not covered under your warranty for one reason or another. Some problems simply won’t be covered by a warranty, and most home warranties won’t cover components that haven’t been properly maintained.” The lesson here: Read the fine print, so you’re prepared.


Down Payment Dilemma: How Do You Know How Much to Put Down On A Home?

For many prospective home buyers, the down payment is the most daunting hurdle in the race to buy a home. Even for people with decent credit and a healthy paycheck, the down payment can be the great homeownership killer.

The big question for all prospective buyers is: how much should my down payment be? Most lenders will tell you that 20 percent is the standard, but is that really necessary?

The short answer is no, but of course there are some caveats.

“It’s a myth that all homebuyers must have a 20 percent down payment to buy a home,” says Nancy Herrera-Siples, a Riverside, CA, branch manager at Primary Residential Mortgage. So why all the fuss over having 20 percent to put down? “Because if you don’t, it usually means you’ll have to shell out money for either private mortgage insurance (PMI) or government insurance, which is usually financed by the Federal Housing Administration,” according to Herrera-Siples.

Still, when a low down-payment is your only option to buy a home, PMI might literally be a small price to pay. Remember that PMI goes away eventually when your loan balance is 80 percent or less of the home’s value. If you’re in an area where homes are rising in value, this could happen sooner than you think.

Still confused about the ins and outs of down payments? Here are a few reasons to go high… or low.

When to make a substantial down payment:

• When you’re looking to keep your monthly payment as low as possible and have cash to spare.

• When you’re approaching retirement age and can envision a reverse mortgage sometime down the line.

• When the interest rate is lower with a higher down payment. “The more you put down, the better position you are in for negotiating a lower interest rate,” says

• If you’re worried about being underwater. If the market should drop in your area, you run the risk of owing more than your home is worth.

When to go low:

• When you don’t have the funds for a higher down payment and can’t earn or borrow them quickly enough.

• When the rate on your FHA or Fannie or Freddie loan is comparable to that you’d get with a higher down payment.

• When you need to escape a high-rent situation and the monthly payment on a house is lower than what you’re currently paying, even with the PMI factored in.

• When you’re confident your home will appreciate quickly, allowing you to refinance and get rid of PMI quickly.

5 of Houston’s Most Appealing Hidden Gems #realestate #chevre #ovoyoloywregs

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Houston is a wonderland filled with attractions just waiting to be discovered. From secret speakeasies to beloved local parks, this list of favorites from Houston insiders sheds light on some of the city’s best-kept secrets.

1. Memorial Wine Cellar

The wine selection is wonderful here, but it’s the food pairing that will take your experience to the next level. Keep it light with a lovely pâté or take the luxe route with the oak-smoked salmon, which spotlights flaked, farm-raised salmon dappled with dill crème fraiche and fresh chevre.

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2. Opera in the Heights

Get your recommended dose of culture at this professional, non-profit opera house on the quaint Heights Boulevard. The venue provides full view of the orchestra for each production, a rare treat that contributes to a wonderfully intimate setting.

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3. West U Hood Poppers Club

You don’t have to be a dedicated car enthusiast to appreciate the monthly meetup of classic automobiles at Tiny’s #5. This group welcomes anyone in Houston and makes a point to preserve the quintessential ‘Lazy Saturday’ vibes at their gatherings.

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4. The Westmoreland Historic District

Feast your senses on classic architecture by taking a stroll through this idyllic neighborhood. Historic homes built in late Victorian styles stand tall alongside other styles like Italian Renaissance and Colonial Revival.

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5. Tongue-Cut Sparrow

Pass through the tenderly lit threshold of this mezcaleria and head straight to the unmarked door in the back. A winding set of stairs will lead you to your reservation at this sultry space designed solely for Houston’s craft-cocktail community.


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Texas Eviction Notice Forms | Process and Laws

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The Texas eviction notice forms are used in the event that a tenant has breached a lease, either from non-payment of rent or other breach, and the landlord wants to him or her on notice that he or she will be commencing eviction (also known as forcible entry and detainer) proceedings in the local Texas Justice Court. It is important that the landlord provide proper notice and wait the requisite period of time so that the eviction proceedings will not be dismissed. The tenant has the option to respond to the notice to quit by either complying with the violation or moving out. If the tenant does not do either then the landlord may proceed to court to file a Complaint for Eviction. If landlord receives a judgment in his or her favor, then the court will issue a judgment. If tenant still fails to leave, the landlord can ask the court for a Writ of Possession.

Laws – Title 4, Chapter 24 (Forcible Entry and Detainer)


When is Rent Due

In Texas, rent is due on the date specified in the lease. After receiving a notice of non-payment of rent, tenant has three (3) days to pay what is owed before landlord can seek eviction in court.

How to Evict (Process)

Step 1 – Give the Tenant Notice

The first step in the eviction process is for landlord to provide notice to tenant of the intention to evict. The landlord should have two copies of the notice, because the court will need a copy. The following are types of notices depending on the reason:

Step 2 – File with the Local Court

If the tenant fails to respond either by curing the breach or moving out within the requisite time period, landlord may then proceed to the Texas Justice Court whose jurisdiction covers the town in which the premises is located to file a Complaint for Eviction. In addition to the Complaint, the landlord will have to file a Case Information Sheet and a Military Service Affidavit. These will have to be notarized before filing. There will also be a filing fee, the amount of which depends on where you file.

Step 3 – Tenant Files the Answer

After the filing of the Complaint the tenant will have the option to reply to the court through the Original Answer. This form will display the tenant’s side of the story and afterwards the court will give a hearing date. The court will then serve both parties of the date and time of the hearing.

Step 4 – Go to the Scheduled Hearing

If the landlord prevails in court, the tenant has five (5) days to appeal. If the tenant does not appeal and remains on the premises, landlord can file a request a Writ of Possession from the Court which, if granted, authorizes the sheriff to remove the tenant.

How To Write (Notice To Quit)

1 – Round Up the Paperwork

The Texas Notice To Quit form, available for download by clicking one of the buttons by the image (on this page), will need information from the Rental Agreement or Lease it concerns. Locate the original, or a reliably legible copy, of the Lease and keep it accessible when filling out the Notice form.

2 – Declare Recipient Name

Each person who is to be issued a Warning or Notice must have his or her Name listed on the line below the form’s title. If the Name appears on the Lease, make sure to transcribe it successfully on this line.

3 – Cite Lease Information

This Notice will verify the Location of the concerned Property by listing the Street Address along with some basic geographical information. The first piece of information that must be supplied is the City where the Property is located. The next blank space will require the County to be entered. The third blank space calls for the Zip Code. The next space in this statement, following the term “…number and street…” will need the Building Number and the Street of the Leased Property entered. The last blank space of this first statement provides a space for any applicable Apartment Number or Unit Number to be reported.

The second statement, introduced by the term “In accordance with your lease…,” will need three pieces of information. The Day, Month, and Year the Rental Agreement was Signed and made valid. You may enter these components of the Signature Date in their respective areas.

4 – Designate the Notice

You must designate what type of Notice you are sending in the area below the words “Check Appropriate Box.” Here, there will be four statements available for review. You must choose the one that states the terms you wish delivered to the Recipient of this document. You may select any of the following Terms to issue the intended Recipient by marking your desired statement’s corresponding check box.

Statement 1 – “Nonpayment.” This Notice will demand the Recipient to submit an Overdue Rent Payment within Three Days of receiving this paperwork or to move out of the Leased Property so the Landlord may retake Possession. If choosing this selection, be prepared to report the Name of an Authorized Agent, the Total Past Due Rent Amount, the Minimum that must be Paid, and the Rental Period that must be paid for in the appropriate areas.

Statement 2 – “Noncompliance.” This Notice will demand the Recipient to cease and correct one or more violations to the Rental Agreement or surrender possession of the Rented Property to the Landlord in Three Days. The blank line in this statement must have a description of how the Rental Agreement was violated by the Recipient.

Statement 3 – “Month To Month Tenancy” from the Landlord. In order for a Landlord to inform a Tenant(s) that he or she will terminate the Monthly Lease Agreement these two parties share Thirty Days after the Tenant(s) receives this paperwork. The Date entered across the three spaces in this statement will be the Date the Lease will be considered Terminated. Any Date may be the Termination Date but it must be at least Thirty Days after the Tenant Receipt of this document.

Statement 4 – Month To Month Tenancy” from the Tenant. If this document is being generated by a Tenant and issued to his or her Landlord for the Purpose of ending the Monthly Lease in place, then mark the fourth check box. Make sure to list the final Date of this Lease in the spaces available.

5 – Document Landlord Intent

A Landlord issuing this document should make sure that he or she is conveying the demand for the Tenant to Comply with the Terms and Expectations stated in this form. There will be a paragraph just after the Notification Statement area that will plainly state this expectation of Recipient Compliance. The Landlord/Agent must certify this statement’s validity by Signing his or her Name on the Signature Line provided.

6 – Delivery Of This Notice

The Delivery of this document should be verified with a statement by the Agent serving the Recipient(s). The last section of this document, “Certificate of Delivery,” will have two areas. The statement making up the first area will need two pieces of information which may only be supplied upon Delivery. If you are the Deliverer, use the spaces in the statement beginning with “I certify…” to report the Date of Delivery and the Name of the person the Deliverer relinquished the document to (Recipient).

The second area will be three check boxes, each with a Delivery Statement (of which one must be marked). The check box marked will declare how this document was Delivered. If it was hand delivered to the Intended Recipient, the first check box will apply. If this Notice had to be left with an adult who is reliable (i.e. family) and will be counted on to deliver it to the intended Recipient, the second check box will apply. If this Delivery was made by First Class Mail (USPS), the third check box will apply. The Signature line after these statement will demand the Signature of the Delivery Agent when Delivery may be considered completed.


#evicitionnotice #laws #texas #Eviction #forms #ovoreg411 #management #realestate


11 Tips to Sell Your House Like a Pro.

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Selling your home this year will make your property one of 5.4 million that the National Association of Realtors predicts will sell in 2016. Even with financial challenges, experts believe there will be a 5% increase in your home’s price this year.

The market isn’t  your only concern if you want to sell your home fast at the best price. Hiring a Realtor can be immensely beneficial, but there are many things you should know before you start the home-selling process.

So how do you get your home sold in the competitive 2019 housing market? Here are some tips from the team at OvO Real Estate Group. Many simple home improvements, including our smart home security system, can make you home stand out.


1. Remove Your Personality from the Home

Even if you’re an interior designer or managed to have created a cozy, beautiful living space, anything that indicates your home as “still yours” is going to turn off buyers. Remove photos, awards and personal effects. Same goes with over-the-top furniture and unique decoration pieces. The object is to remove YOU from the home, while still making it look cozy and inviting.

2. De-Clutter and Clean

Your home has to be the cleanest and neatest it has ever been. Buyers want to see that you’ve taken care of the property and have nothing to hide. There should be no dust, stains, leaks, trash or smells that can make buyers wary of your maintenance record.

3. Do Some Home Staging

Home staging highlights your home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses, and makes it appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers. Home staging not only makes your house look its best at first glance, it also lets you raise the price a tiny bit—at the very least, leaving a lot more room for negotiation.

4. Use Social Media and Real Estate Websites to Advertise Your Home

A good Realtor will put together a virtual tour of your property and help you with online advertising. Even if you don’t end up using one, it’s still important to spread the word about your house online. You, your family and friends can help you share the details of your home to potential buyers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. Real estate websites or market places such as  Realtor.comTrulia and Zillow can expand your exposure beyond your area and social circles. Be sure to check and see what other resources are available locally, such as community bulletin boards.

5. Include Value Additions

If your home has smart security features, such as elexa lights, show them off to potential buyers. If any large appliances or pieces of furniture can be included with the house when it’s sold, let potential buyers know! These types of bonuses will add value to your home and make it even more appealing. A Kuna smart light let prospective buyers know that your home has a security system.


6. Compete with Condition


Home Market Compete

Even in a competitive market, price isn’t everything. Your home’s condition will make it stand out too. Fix every little thing you can find from doorknobs to faucets. Lessen cracks and imperfections. Get rid of pests. The better you maintain your home, the more attractive it is to buyers. Buyers notice the little things such as  energy-saving lighting, and even new locks and latchesA well-lit exterior lets buyers know your home is in great condition.


7. Raise Your Curb Appeal

Spruce up your home’s front lawn, add  exterior lighting, and improve the facade of your house with the help of professionals like a landscape architect. This will make you home more appealing to scheduled visitors and people who are just driving by. Don’t forget to have a “for sale” sign out for people who may be interested.

8. Create a Video Tour of Your Home and Neighborhood

Shoot a video of your staged home and put it up online with your listings. Shoot another video of the community and its attractions, such as leisure facilities or nearby parks. Comment on the security, accessibility and recreational activities near your area.

9. If You Remodel Anything, Remodel Your Kitchen

According to HGTV, you’re not selling your house; you’re selling your kitchen. You’ll likely recoup 85% of your improvement costs if you do your kitchen and minor repairs only. Add modern appliances, and make everything like new again—as if you’ve never cooked there in your life.

10. Price Your Home According to Your Goals

With the help of your agent, research on how much homes in your location of the same type are being listed. Consider lowering your price by at least 5% if you are in a hurry to sell.

11. Put Your Buyer Hat On

Put your buyer’s hat on and walk thru your home like it is the first time,” says Young, an Accredited Staging Professional and an Associate Broker with Virtual Properties Realty in the metropolitan Atlanta area in the Forbes  Ways To Prepare Your Home For Selling article. This means visually inspecting your home and applying the same standards you would use for yourself in evaluating the space.

Selling your home fast, and at a good price, requires that you be a buyer, marketer, host, and interior designer at the same time. You may never get the price you want if you don’t put in some effort and tech-savviness into selling your home.
Do you have other tips to help readers sell their homes? Tell us more in the comments!


sell your home



I love Snaps and use this feature often. I can’t tell you how often I have been out showing houses and I wonder about the actual neighborhood – wondering what is it like, what the stats are, even where are the exact boundaries. The partnership with Nextdoor is so cool because we have those overlays and they are consistent with how they define neighborhoods. 

It is simple, easy to use, and looks pretty amazing. I love the design aesthetic of shaded neighborhoods that you just press and navigate from neighborhood to neighborhood!!

Will Kelle and Snaps I am so much more informed, and my clients are too!