Thursday, May 4, 2017

Creating Stellar Curb Appeal

1100 12th Man Cir

In the real estate world, having a beautiful property is the key to a successful sale. Experts agree that for a buyer to see the great potential of a property, it needs to have a stellar curb appeal.

Planning on selling your house? The following tips can help you create fantastic curb appeal.

Make the entry of your home its focal point
The front door is one of the first things that is noticed in a home. To make it shine, give it a blast of bright color with new paint. Install new fixtures, if necessary, or clean the existing ones with metal polish.

Give old hardware a makeover

Door knobs, house numbers, and wall-mounted mailboxes are great ways to add curb appeal quickly. These items appeal the most if the finish is appropriate to your home. Bronze-toned hardware pairs beautifully with a traditional home, while shinier finishes like nickel or chrome give a more modern feel.

Outdoor lighting

Landscape lighting can be a huge asset because they provide security, safety, as well as a tremendous aesthetic boost to your home. Accent lights can be put in trees or can illuminate a walking path, guiding the person to the front door. Even if you aren´t confident in your electrician skills, there are many ´´plug and play´´ solar options available.

Rejuvenate your flower beds

By pruning excess growth, weeding, planting new flowers, and adding colorful mulch, you can make your planter beds attractive. If the borders are old or outdated, consider an upgrade to stone or cast concrete, both of which will add to curb appeal.

Outdoor art

Make your yard a little boost by adding tasteful and weather-resistant outdoor art pieces. Choose tones that coordinate with your home´s color palette and existing features. Some ideas include birdbaths, wind chimes, metal pieces, or small fountains. If you choose a water sculpture, make sure to avoid areas where leaves can fall into it, opting instead for a vantage point where the sculpture impacts the eyes and ears of a visitor.

Refresh your home´s exterior

An outside facelift will quickly transform a tired-looking home into a house with great curb appeal. New Paint, siding, or trim details will keep your home looking its best. Rotting wood and cracked or faded paint are obvious defects that will downgrade your home´s look and will quickly turn away potential buyers. After any repairs, seek ways to create personality with colors, trim, or new shingles.

Dress up your Driveway

You can add flair to your driveway without spending money on a complete redo. If there are weeds sprouting from expansion joints, apply herbicide to kill them. Repair any cracks or stains, then give it a boost by installing flagstones or by staining the concrete a new color. If your driveway is too narrow, adding stones, bricks, or pavers to the sides of the driveway are great ways to widen it with pizzazz.

Upgrade railings

Porch railings can deteriorate if not treated correctly. If there are rotting wood members, replacing them to improve curb appeal. As with other components, make sure to use materials that are compatible with the look of your home.

By following these simple ideas, you can quickly revamp your home and attract more potential buyers. Ask your College Station realtor for more tips.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Common Mistakes People Make When

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Selling a home is not an easy job, which is why working with a local realtor is a good idea. They can help you navigate the market, make the most of your time, and money. Your local realtor can help you avoid these types of problems.

  • Failure to Clear the Clutter/Depersonalizing You want buyers to imagine how they would use the space, and that means they need to see the space. Remove at least half of your things, and put them in storage. And take away most of the personal items. You might think that cross-stitch that says, “Home Sweet Home” your aunt gave you is sweet, but there are buyers who think it’s tacky.
  • Asking Price Too High Your house may seem like it’s worth much more than it is. You have an emotional attachment, and memories there, but those don’t translate to market value. Your realtor can help you determine a competitive price for the market.
  • Failure to Make Cosmetic Repairs Buyers should see a beautiful home when they walk in the door. That hand smudge your kid left on the door jamb, chipped paint, and dirty grout are things that make your house look like it was neglected. Fixes for these issues are easy, cheap, and make a big difference.
  • Either Don’t Fix Problems or Fail to Disclose Them If you know there is a problem, disclose it early and save yourself hassle. Home inspections will reveal it anyway, so why waste time on the market and kill a deal? If possible fix problems. If not, be prepared to be haggled down on the price for at least the cost of the repairs.
  • Not Knowing When to Seek Help Going it alone is tempting, but there are so many laws, profuse red tape, market fluctuations, and other factors that can quickly make selling your house a second full time job. You want someone who knows what they’re doing on your side, and that’s where your local realtor can help you.
  • Remaining Emotionally Attached to Your Home Sellers should not be around during Open Houses and not take offense to negative feedback on their home from their prospective buyers. Learn from these interactions, and try to fix as many of the issues as possible.
  • Skimping on Marketing Photography, video tour, home staging, etc.  A good realtor will help you take care of the marketing basics, but a seller should be willing to pay for extras if it helps sell their home faster. Think up some creative ways to really build some excitement, and get your house in front of as many buyers’ eyes as possible.
  • Choosing the Wrong Time to Sell Sellers need to consider market conditions (is it a buyer's market or seller/s market?), capital gains tax implications, financial situation, etc. before listing their home. Even a matter of a few weeks can make a lot of difference these days. Your local realtor can help you choose the right time.

Featured Home for Sale in College Station, TX

5302 Riviera Ct, College Station, TX

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Renting or Buying – What’s right for you?

3577 Sagamore Dr, College Station, TX
There’s no simple answer as to whether you should rent or buy your next home. The answer largely depends on your income and your plans for the near and distant future. If you’re thinking of buying a home in Bryan/College Station here are some things that you can consider before making your decision.

First, consider whether you’re in a financial position to buy a home there are home buying calculators online that can help you get an idea of whether you’re in good financial shape. 

Personal needs

Are you looking for a home you can stay in long-term or are you wanting a home that you can move away from in a short time?  Renting gives you the ability to pack up and leave as soon as the lease is up.  Homeowners often need to sell or rent out their homes if they decide to move away. So, being a renter means you can move much more easily, but you don’t have the same stability. 

Homeowners have more stability because they determine what happens to their property. As a renter, you have no say in whether the property is under new management or ownership. If the landlord sells the property, you may not even be able to renew your current lease. Landlords can increase your rent or even decide they would rather turn their rental units into condos. That means with flexibility there may be a little risk. 

Is renting always a waste of money?

Your money isn’t always wasted. While you generally pay more for rent than you would for a mortgage of the same space, you do get some bonuses. When you rent a home, the owner takes care of maintenance. That means if the water heater or air-conditioner go out, you won’t have a large unexpected expense. Also, renting can come with bonuses like a clean pool and other amenities. 

However, you will be paying for everything you get when you rent. All of the services provided are included in your monthly payment.  Even if you don’t use all of the amenities, you are paying for them. Make sure the community where you decide to rent your home has amenities you want to use. That goes for homebuyers with an HOA, as well.  Then you can get your money’s worth. 

Are houses too much of a hassle?

Not usually. Not only do you have a lower payment making maintenance issues more affordable, but you have options to help you deal with any unexpected maintenance problems that may arise. Home warranties can help. If you’re worried about sudden repair expenses a home warranty may ease your fears. If you’re worried about lawn maintenance, consider a condo or hire a service.

Whether you decide to buy or rent is up to you and your budget. There is a lot of personal preference involved in the decision. Sometimes the responsibility of owning property may seem like too much.  Other times the freedom to make the changes you want to the property, like painting your child’s room pink, are worth any possible future maintenance the home needs. If you need help understanding real estate, ask your realtor for advice. Your realtor can help you find the right community for you. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Finding a pet-friendly community

Image courtesy of

Pets are important members of our households. Not just from an animal rights perspective, but from a human perspective. Just think of how miserable they can make us when they aren’t happy. If you have a howling Siberian husky, a tiny Chihuahua, a cat or even something more exotic, there are things you need to take into consideration before you move into a new neighborhood. 

HOA restrictions that can affect your pet

Most HOAs are fine with people owning pets. However, if you have an odd pet like a chicken, you may not be within HOA guidelines. Some HOAs restrict livestock animals even if the town you’re in allows them. 
Another issue may be the height of the fences. If you have a dog like a husky, look at the size of the fences in the neighborhood.  6-foot-tall fences are the minimum for a Siberian husky and similar escape artists. 
Are there restrictions on noise from pets?  Even in a condominium with a small dog, you may have some issues with your HOA. If your walls are thin and your dog cries when you leave, he could be driving your neighbors crazy. Neighbors irritated by your dog won’t always feel comfortable telling you about it, they may go straight to the HOA if the HOA has restrictions on noise. 
Even cats have some restrictions. Some owners like to let their cats have some outdoor play time. Unlike dogs, it’s almost impossible to keep cats in your yard. HOA’s often don’t like pets roaming the street and neither do city governments. If you want your animal to roam, it might be better to get some acreage in Brazos Valley rather than a home in a neighborhood in Bryan/College Station. 
However, an HOA could actually help pet owners. 

Pet-friendly communities.

Communities that are really pet-friendly are those where there are good places to walk your dog. Is there a nearby park?  Neighborhoods near parks are great for pets especially if they have plenty of trash receptacles for when your dog decides to leave a little present behind. 
Pet-friendly communities will also have fewer restrictions on pets and may let you have a fence taller than 6-feet. 
The important thing is to know the restrictions before you buy. Ask your realtor how to find the HOA documents before you buy. Sometimes, though, they’re available online. A quick search for the name of the neighborhood, the city, and “homeowners’ association” can often help you find the right place. There are a lot of great HOAs here in Bryan/College Station, so don’t let the fact that there is an HOA turn you away from buying in one. The benefits are often worth the dues. 

HOAs that keep your pet safe

When HOAs have rules on roaming animals, that isn’t always a bad thing for pet owners. For example, some cats like to go into their backyards briefly to snack on some grass or to lay in the sun before going right back inside. If there is a free roaming cat that climbs into your backyard, a fight could ensue leaving your cat injured. HOAs that have rules against letting cats roam can help prevent this to an extent. 

Also, dogs roaming around when you take your dog out for a walk could be a danger to your pet. Strict rules on pet control are good for everyone. 

As for noise, if you have the loud pet, it’s good to know when it’s bothering.  your neighbors. Most of us have likely been kept awake at night by a loud animal. 

Keep your animals safe by finding the right community for you. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Preparing to Sell Your Home

Is it time to move on from your current home and sell?  If so, here are some things that will make the selling process go a lot smoother.

Are you ready?

Before you make any big decisions, make sure you and your family are really ready to sell.

·       Determine if selling is a good financial move by looking at your equity and current home value.

·        Think about the condition of your house. Do you need to make repairs before the house goes on the market?

·        Look at the local real estate market.  Are houses selling quickly in your neighborhood?

The cost of moving and your new home need to be considered before you make a final decision. 

Also, if you got all of the repairs done that the house needs, would you want to stay there?  Fixing up your house for potential buyers may make you remember why you bought the house in the first place.

If comparable houses in your neighborhood are selling quickly, then you could have a good chance at selling your house.

Getting started

Now that you’ve decided to sell you have some decisions to make. At Mariott Real Estate, we’re ready to help you sell your home in Bryan/College Station.

·        Find an experienced local realtor

·        Take care of needed repairs

·        Store items you don’t need offsite

·        Consider having professionals do a major cleaning.

Pack up as much as you can live without and put it in storage. This means cleaning out closets. Pack up your family photos and small decorative items that look like clutter. Make your house and especially closets feel spacious.

Fill holes in the walls and then make sure your interior is painted in neutral colors. If not, paint is cheap.

Hiring a professional cleaning service may be a good idea. They can give your house an extra polished look before buyers show up.

It’s time for the sign

This is where your realtor will really help. Determining the fair market value (FMV) of your house can be a little complicated. Your realtor can also list your home on multiple websites.

·        Determine the FMV of your home and your asking price.

·        Your realtor will put your home on the market (sign in front, listings on realty websites)

When you have a buyer

Your realtor can help you navigate contracts and will stay with you right up until the keys are handed over. Your house will likely be inspected and additional repairs may have to be made. One way to avoid unpleasant surprises from an inspection is if you get your own inspection before you put your home on the market.  However, since you know a buyer will likely be getting the house inspected at their own expense, there is an advantage in waiting.

Whether or not you negotiate with the buyer on price depends on the value of your home, the local housing market, and how much you want to get from the sale. Your realtor can give you an idea of what the real estate market is like, but the big decisions are all up to you. Hire a great realtor to stand by you.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Checklist for Homebuyers

If you’re in the market for a new home, here are some things you’ll have to consider before you buy.

Are you ready?

Before you being to search for a home in earnest, you need to make sure you are financially and mentally prepared.

·        Clearly answer the question: Why are you buying a home?

·        Figure out your budget

·        Gather financial records like recent tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements.

First steps

Mariott Real Estate can help you find a new home in Bryan/College Station. Why do you need a realtor? Buying real estate is a complicated process that realtors in Texas are licensed and trained to handle.

·        Find a realtor

·        Shop for a home loan and get pre-approved

It may be tempting to run with the first company that may want to qualify you for a loan, but you have options. Look around and find one that’s right for you.
Getting pre-approved for a loan will help you determine what houses you can afford and what it out of your range.

Find your new home

Look back at why you want a new house and look at your new budget with the pre-approval. Find a house that will give you what you want in a house within your budget. If you wanted a house because you need more space, you obviously wouldn’t settle for a house that is smaller than what you have. Find a house that really fits your needs with help from your realtor.

·        Research neighborhoods

·        Come up with a list of things you would like to have in your house based on why you’re buying
·        Fall in love with the right house that is within your budget

The offer

With the help of your realtor, you can make an offer and negotiate with the seller. This is also the time when a lot of legal documents start to appear. It’s a great time to have a realtor on your side.

·        Get an inspection
·        Make an offer on the house
·        Negotiate with the seller

Get financed

If you followed your bank’s conditions on your pre-approval, this part should be easy. Hopefully, you found the best lender when you were looking for pre-approval. Now you just need to fill out the paperwork and finalize the details.

·        Contact your lender and fill out all of the paperwork


Your realtor will help you through the closing process.  This includes a title search and going to a legal office to fill out your paperwork on closing day. You realtor will be able to answer any questions you have. Realtors are trained professionals that understand real estate law and contracts.

The most important part of this process is having a professional by your side who can help you navigate the complicated process of buying real estate. A licensed real estate agent in the state of Texas is educated on the topic of legal forms and contracts.  Your realtor also knows the area where you’re wanting to buy a home. Take advantage of having a licensed real estate professional by your side.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


If you’re considering a move to Central Texas, Bryan/College Station has some unique things to offer homebuyers. You’ll find small town Texas charm with all of the amenities you would expect to find in a big city. Let me tell you a little bit about Aggieland.

What types of amenities do we have in the Bryan/College Station metro area? If you’re looking for culture you should look at our museums.  We have the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the Brazos Valley African American Museum, the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, and the Children’s Museum.

If you want to know about restaurants, we have plenty. We have Texas BBQ and fine dining.  Whatever your taste, you won’t be disappointed.   Here in Bryan/College Station, we know food.
College Station is the proud home of Texas A&M University, the very first public university to open its doors in Texas. Even if you’re not a student there, you can benefit from its presence in the community. For example, the school donated funds so College Station could modernize its traffic system. Now, even when the Aggies are playing a big game, the traffic flows a lot easier through College Station.

You may be wondering why Bryan and College Station are always linked.  Here in the heart of Brazos County, Texas our twin cities are so close together that they form a single metro area.  If you work in one, you may be able to live in the other. Talk to Mariott Real Estate about keeping your commute time low when you’re looking for your new house in Bryan/College Station and we can recommend the best locations for you.

There’s also the matter our lovely weather. Central Texas has hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures can get down to freezing, but not for long. The winters are very nice and you might find yourself wearing short sleeves and shorts if you’re from the north.  Here, we wear sweaters when it’s 65 outside just so we get a chance to wear them. Do you hate scraping ice off your windshield in the morning before you drive to work?  It’s very unlikely to happen here.

Realtors can’t be sure exactly which part of town our clients will fall in love with, but if you give us some information we can get a good idea.  There’s a lot to love here. I haven’t even told you about the events we have on holidays. A move to Central Texas is the right move and the Bryan/College Station area is a great place to invest in your future.

If you’re thinking about buying a home here, talk to a local. Working with a local realtor means you have someone on your side who can find homes that are affordable for your budget, close to where you work, or convenient for shopping. Just give us a call and we can help you find a place to call home here in our big city with a small-town feel. Welcome to Aggieland!