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The Woodlands and Spring Real Estate Blog

Jutta "Utah" Burden


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 405

Why do you need a Real Estate Agent?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden


The question is often asked, "Why do we need a Real Estate Agent" or "why should we choose you as a Realtor?" Both are good questions that should be asked before any real estate deal is started.

Lets start with the first question. A real estate agent is important to have in your corner for what could be the most expensive purchase in your life. To list a few of the reasons why: experience, time, and skills.

Experience: It is a real estate agents job to take the time to learn real estate laws, market trends, contracts, and their particular market area. These are often changing and requires an active working knowledge. An agent must stay current. This allows them to use their knowledge to answer your questions and dodge potential deal breakers. The experience with their business area will also save you a lot of wasted time. By providing information about different neighborhoods you will be able to make the right selection for your needs. And more specifically the pros and cons of a particular home you are considering.

Time: While you will most likely do a little research of your own. You may be short on the time it takes to research the market, new listings, or new potential buyers. Real estate agents are able to get more information and more accurate information. If you are buying, you want to be the first one to visit your potential dream house. Or if you are selling, you want your house to be seen first by a potential buyer.

Skills: The skills the Real Estate Professional can put to work are a result of the first two areas covered: Experience and time. For instance, a sellers' poorly priced home could be on the market for a long time. This could cause problems in multiple mortgages, delay in moving altogether, and missed opportunities on dream home purchases. While you can search the internet for home prices, these often rely on old tax records that could be inaccurate in current market. An experienced real estate agent will know, or have the time to find out, the best price for your home. And for the benefit of both sides of a real estate transaction, you will want someone that knows how to negotiate. You will want someone that knows the contract process and will not waste any time. Contracts today can be 40, 45, 50 pages long, not counting riders and addendum. A real estate agent can make sense of the contract.

You want your real estate agent to have a lot of experience, time, and skill.

Now to answer the second question. Is Jutta "Utah" Burden the right Real Estate Agent fit for you?

You will not want to miss this resume!!

Stay tuned for next blog to see why Jutta "Utah" Burden is the right fit for all your real estate needs.

Are you a "bigger is better" person? Or an "enough is enough" person?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Are you a "bigger is better" person? Or an "enough is enough" person?

When it comes to home size the sky is the limit. You can easily have more than you need, but for some that is perfectly okay. Others think of it as just more to clean. But if you can afford a mansion are you really cleaning anything??

Either way let your  woodlands real estate agent Jutta "Utah" Burden help you find your dream home.


Cash Sales 35 Percent of U.S. Home Purchases in September

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Found this article hope you enjoy. Do not forget to call me if you are looking to buy or sell a home :) -Jutta "Utah" Burden

By WPJ Staff | December 10, 2014 7:59 AM ET -

According to CoreLogic, cash sales made up 34.8 percent of total home sales in September 2014, down from 37.2 percent in September 2013.

The year-over-year share has fallen each month since January 2013, making September the 21st consecutive month of declines. Month over month, the cash sales share ticked up by one percentage point, however, cash sales share comparisons should be made on a year-over-year basis due to the seasonal nature of the housing market. Prior to the housing crisis, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25 percent. The peak occurred in January 2011 when cash transactions made up 46.4 percent of total home sales.


Figure 1 shows the historical trend in the cash sales share by sale type. Real estate owned (REO) sales had the largest cash sales share in September 2014 at 58.1 percent, followed by re-sales (34.4 percent), short sales (32.4 percent) and newly constructed homes (16.8 percent). While the percentage of REO sales that were cash transactions remained high, REO transactions made up only 7.8 percent of total sales in September and, therefore, did not have a large influence on the overall cash sales share. In January 2011, when the cash sales share was at its peak, REO sales made up 23.9 percent of total sales.


Figure 2 shows the cash sales share by state for September 2014. Delaware had the largest share of any state at 57.4 percent, followed by Florida (50.8 percent), Alabama (49.6 percent), New York (44.4 percent) and Idaho (43.3 percent). Of the nation's largest 100 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) measured by population, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. had the highest share of cash sales at 56.2 percent, followed closely by West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, Fla.(55.9 percent), Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla. (54.8 percent), Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (54.7 percent) and Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Mich .(53.1 percent). Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md. had the lowest cash sales share at 16.2 percent. - See more at:

Call me, your local real estate agent, if you have any questions. Thank you


Where to put your cash? A house or a stock

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Even as the stock market soars to record highs, federal regulators are announcing new, cheaper ways for cash-strapped borrowers to buy a home. With the catastrophic housing crash of the last decade still glaring through the rear view mirror, the government is again pushing home ownership as the best way to build wealth, but is it?

"It would perhaps be smarter, if wealth accumulation is your goal, to rent and put money in the stock market, which has historically shown much higher returns than the housing market," said Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller at a Standard and Poor's conference last week.

Shiller notes that the comparison between stock returns and home value returns is rough, given that stocks pay cash dividends and housing pays "in kind," in the form of housing services; that is, you get to live in a house.

Still, if you remove all forms of dividends and compare the Standard and Poor's U.S. composite stock price index since 1871 and Shiller's own real U.S. home price index since 1890, the stock market capital gains outperform the housing market's capital gains. Both, he notes, are smaller than one might expect.

"The real S&P composite has increased 12.2-fold from January 1890 to December 2014, or 2.03 percent per year, much less than most people would have guessed. Most of the real return in the stock market over the last century has come from dividends, not real capital gains," said Shiller. "Home prices have increased only 1.5-fold, or only 33 basis points a year. Essentially, home price capital gains overall have amounted to virtually nothing."

One must also account for the costs of home ownership, costs that don't exist in stock ownership. Property taxes, insurance, maintenance, renovation all subtract from the capital gains of owning a home.

The downside to stocks, however, is capital gains taxes.

"If we had much stronger 401K [retirement]-type programs in the United States, much more heavily pushed, much bigger commitment from everybody, would that replace homeownership as a way to build wealth?" asked David Blitzer, chairman and managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Right now my impression is that the tax benefits of a 401(k) plan or other contribution pension plans pale compared to home ownership."

Housing vs. stock through the years

The Case Shiller home price index (red) versus the S&P 500 Index (blue) since 1987. Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

A house can offer greater returns if the owner chooses to rent it out and not to live in it; however the consumption value of the home to the owner, again that value of actually inhabiting it, is gone. And that adds to Shiller's point that a home should not be seen as an investment vehicle, like a stock, but as a consumption good, like a car.

"You don't accrue as much wealth as a renter as you do as a buyer," noted Sam Khater, deputy chief economist of CoreLogic. "The con, though, is that with home ownership being the primary way that the middle class gets richer over time, and with the bulk of their wealth and equity tied up in housing, if home prices decline, they take a huge hit."

The happy compromise, it seems, would be to keep less equity in your home, through a long-term, low-down payment mortgage, or, if you can qualify, through an interest-only loan, and keep more cash ready for investing in the stock market.

This article is brought to you by your local Woodlands real estate agent Jutta 'Utah' Burden


Info: Should You Renovate Your Home Before Selling?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Should You Renovate Your Home Before Selling?

By Dottie Herman | November 21, 2014 9:55 AM ETQ & A with Dottie Herman
Question: I have lived in my home for 20+ years and we are now ready to sell. We love our home, but feel others may feel it is outdated. Should we invest in some renovations, or list it first and see what the response is?

A: While today's Buyers generally prefer to buy homes that have renovated Kitchens and Baths, doing a renovation may be costly. Some helpful steps in  your decision making process would be to obtain estimates of what the actual costs will be, review the prices of homes currently for sale in your area to ascertain their condition, and most importantly, speak to a real estate professional specializing in your neighborhood.

Question: I am looking to rent an apartment for my daughter in NYC- she recently got her masters and now has a job near Manhattan. She can't afford the apartment herself, so my husband and I are going to help her with the payments. They are saying we also have to submit our own application and both be approved separately. Is that standard?

A: First time renters have little or no Credit History and Landlords who permit Guarantors do tend to require financial disclosure so that they have the comfort level of knowing that in the event of a default, the Guarantor(s) are financially able to cover the rent.

Question: Is there an ideal month to list your home? Some of my friends say that it should go around the school calendar, because if they have young children they want to be in before school begins. Others say it should be warm out, that homes sell better in warm weather. Is there any truth to these theories?

A: Selling homes in today's market environment generally has no real season, especially in regions where inventory levels are low. In the case of families with school age children, they generally do start their search with school start dates on their time line. The sooner you bring your home to market, generally the better, as strict lending standards can take time, and if your prospects are applying for a mortgage, getting the buyers in as soon as you can will move you closer to the Closing Table.

Question: We are going to put our home on the market and decided to meet a few realtors before listing with one of them. They had two very different list prices. They were about 100K apart and I find that very strange. Of course we want the most money for our home, however, we are wondering if overpricing is a strategy this agent is using to get our listing and then ultimately we will have to take a lower price. What do you recommend we do?

A: To ascertain pricing in real time, do some research on-line. In this way you will have an opportunity to see the homes comparable to yours, in size, condition and location. Pricing is key, and properties that are over-priced in today's market environment take longer to sell.

Question: Is it a good or bad idea to look for another home before my current home is sold?

A: It's a good idea to be moving forward and getting out there to see your options. If you are lucky enough to find something you like quickly, and need the proceeds of the sale of your current home to buy the new one, you may be able to arrange a delayed Closing (consult with a real estate attorney). As market conditions are favorable, pricing your current home correctly and working with a real estate professional should expedite the selling process. - See more at:

Helpful Hints To Keep You And Your Home Safe

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Helpful Hints To Keep You And Your Home Safe

How Can Good Pictures Help Sell Your Home

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

A very common mistake that most sellers
make is that they don’t have professional
pictures taken of the home!

And most Realtors don’t take the time
and energy to get decent pictures. They
will show up with their point and shoot camera,
take a few shots and call it good.bad-house-pic-2[1]
Professional pictures will make your home
look so much better. Photographers know what
to do to make their subject look its absolute best.
Whether it’s a cute puppy, a newly married couple,
or a home for sale, professional pictures are a
complete necessity in my book.

You have to view your house from a buyer’s
. If you owned the house in this
picture, you may not notice the trees that
dominate the photo, the blue coloring tint, or
the really bad angle that that this was taken from.

Heck, even if you don’t want to hire a photographer,
at least get someone (I can do this) to touc enhanced-comparison[1]h up
the pictures and make them look their absolute best.

Look at the picture below. This is what just a little
bit of editing can do for your pictures.

If you’re trying to sell your home, I encourage you
to list with a Realtor who will put the necessary
time and energy into getting professionals made.

I consider myself one of the few Realtors who
will put the necessary time and energy in the
photos, but also the entire selling process. I
would be more than happy to help you get
your home sold and get you the price you’re
looking for. Please contact me to set up a time
to chat or set up a time for me to come check
out the house.

Points and When To Pay Them

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

house-keysPoints and When To Pay Them

As borrowers go through the loan application process, the topic of "Points" and whether to pay them will arise. Points are fees paid to a bank to obtain a lower interest rate on a mortgage. One point equals one percent of the loan amount. A lower interest rate may result in a lower monthly payment—which sounds great—but it's also important to consider how long a borrower intends to be in a home, and to compare current rates to historical market trends before paying points.

For example, a $300,000 mortgage with one point, translates to an additional closing cost of $3,000. Let's assume paying a point will save $100 a month, but it will take 30 months to recuperate the cost of that point. If refinancing or selling the home before the 30-month mark, the cost won't be recouped, so it would be better to not pay points.

Interest rates run in cycles. When rates are at historical lows, as they are now, it may be sensible to pay points. It is unlikely rates will go down much further, hence, no need to refinance later. But when rates are up, it's likely they will come down eventually and the chance of refinancing in the future is greater.

Closing on a home can be expensive-Learn what is tax deductable

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

buy a homeClosing on a home can be expensive -- including the various loan-related fees and points, inspections, insurance, interest, property taxes, and title search expenses, it can add up fast. However, the good news is that some of these items on the HUD-1 settlement

statement are tax-deductible. It's important to understand which of these items can be deducted for federal income tax purposes to

partially offset your closing costs.


Lenders use the word "points" to describe a variety of fees you must pay when you take out a mortgage. Lenders often bundle these fees together and refer to the sum total of the fees as the origination charge. However, the HUD statement includes an itemized list of all of these charges. You can deduct origination points your lender required you to pay as a condition of underwriting your loan. However, you can only deduct actual lender charges and you cannot deduct fees that normally appear as itemized fees on your statement, such as the appraisal cost, notary fees or closing agent fees.


Lenders often lower your mortgage rate if you agree to pay discount points, which amount to pre-paid interest charges and these appear on the HUD statement. You can deduct points that take the form of pre-paid interest payments. Additionally, your lender may require you to make an upfront interest payment on the mortgage debt at the time of closing to cover the interest that

accrues during the current month. If you take out a mortgage on your primary home, you can deduct all of these interest charges in the year you buy the home. For mortgages on a non-primary home, you can deduct the interest from your taxes incrementally over the course of your loan term.


HUD statements also include details of the property tax payments. You can deduct property tax payments from your taxable income as long as the taxes are being used by your local government for the general good of the public and are standard taxes in your area. If your local authority assesses an extra tax on your property to cover the cost of some kind of special service that you receive, then you cannot deduct these taxes. Property taxes are normally split between the buyer and seller so you can make a deduction based upon the portion of the taxes that you paid. Some states charge a document preparation or stamp tax but you cannot deduct this cost from your taxable income.

Mortgage Insurance

Lenders usually require you to pay a mortgage insurance premium if you have less than 20 percent equity in your home. Mortgage insurance provides your lender with coverage against losses incurred as a result of you defaulting on the mortgage. For tax purposes pre-paid mortgage insurance costs are divided over the shorter of the mortgage loan term or 84 months, and you can deduct the cost

incrementally from your taxes over the relevant timeframe

Build Your Self Confidence - Part I

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

wildflowersThoughts of Eddie Skinner concerning self confidence. Brought to you by Jutta "utah" Burden

1. Dress Sharp

Although clothes don't make the man, they certainly affect the way he feels about himself. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don't look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people. Use this to your advantage by taking care of your personal appearance. In most cases, significant improvements can be made by bathing and shaving frequently, wearing clean clothes, and being aware of the latest styles.

2. Walk Faster

One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about herself is to examine her walk. Is it slow? tired? painful? Or is it energetic and purposeful? People with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if you aren't in a hurry, you can increase your self confidence by putting some pep in your step.

3. Good Posture

Similarly, the way a person carries herself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self confidence. They aren't enthusiastic about what they're doing and they don't consider themselves important. By practicing good posture, you'll automatically feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You'll make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered.

4. Personal Commercial

One of the best ways to build confidence is listening to a motivational speech. Unfortunately, opportunities to listen to a great speaker are few and far between. You can fill this need by creating a personal commercial. Write a 30-60 second speech that highlights your strengths and goals. Then recite it in front of the mirror aloud (or inside your head if you prefer) whenever you need a confidence boost.

5. Gratitude

When you focus too much on what you want, the mind creates reasons why you can't have it. This leads you to dwell on your weaknesses. The best way to avoid this is consciously focusing on gratitude. Set aside time each day to mentally list everything you have to be grateful for. Recall your past successes, unique skills, loving relationships, and positive momentum. You'll be amazed how much you have going for you and motivated to take that next step towards success.


Love Jesus. Journey Together. Bring Hope to the World.

Brought to you by Jutta "utah" Burden


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 405