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The Woodlands and Spring TX Real Estate Blog

Jutta "Utah" Burden


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Homes in Spring Texas

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Homes in Spring Texas

Jutta Utah Burden Broker at the Woodlands Realty Group  provides a range of valuable real estate services to home seekers and home sellers in the Woodlands and surrounding areas. Whether you are looking for homes for rent Spring TX or homes for sale in Spring Tx, we are your ultimate source of finding your dream home in the Woodlands and Spring area.

Spring Texas is adequately connected to all other major metropolitan areas in the Woodlands and it is situated at just 25 minute ride from downtown Houston to the South and suburb of The Woodlands to the north. With plenty of options for shopping, restaurants and schools in the Klein ISD school district, it is one of the most desirable places to live in the Woodlands.

Whether you wish to buy a Tudor, Mediterranean, French Country, Traditional, town home, lake view or golf course view home, we carry numerous housing options in Spring Texas. At our website, you can view the numerous listings, see photos and search for new and existing properties in Spring Texas area. We also provide complete guidance and information to help you in taking wise decisions. If you seek any assistance for finding homes for rent Spring tx or homes for sale in spring Tx, feel free to contact us.

The Woodlands Realty Group 


What do Texas Homeowners Care About?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

 Most Texans know that Realtors are there to help you buy or sell your home. But many folks may not realize the role that Texas Realtors play in advocating for public policies benefiting homeowners.

Earlier this year, the Texas Association of Realtors commissioned a telephone survey of Texas homeowners. The purpose was to get a better idea of the issues foremost on their minds. Austin-based Baselice & Associates conducted the survey Jan. 24-29, interviewing homeowners from all parts of the state. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percent.

The top concern … Are you ready? Property taxes and appraisals, with 36 percent saying this issue concerns them the most, and 18 percent citing it as their second-most pressing concern. Combine these, and 54 percent of Texas homeowners are worried enough about property taxes and appraisals to rate it No. 1 or 2.

Other issues that concern homeowners in Texas:
• The prospect of higher taxes – 18 percent rated this their top issue and 20 percent their No. 2 issue 
• Crime – 16 percent rated it No. 1 and 21 percent No. 2 
• Public education – 16 percent No. 1 and 19 percent No. 2 
• The economy – 10 percent No. 1 and 15 percent No. 2 

Property taxes, appraisals worrisome

The survey results show that a majority of Texas homeowners are mainly concerned over property taxes and appraisals. The public policy goals of Texas Realtors are closely aligned with these concerns. During the 80th Texas Legislature, which ended May 28, the Texas Association of Realtors was successful in urging lawmakers to pass several measures reforming the property-appraisal process for homeowners. And Texas Realtors supported an amendment that provides property-tax relief to homeowners 65 years and older, and those who are disabled.

In public policy circles, Texas Realtors have been the chief proponents of property-tax relief for Texans. Texas ranks 42nd in the U.S. in homeownership, and high property taxes are partly to blame for this low ranking. The first phase of property-tax cuts was a 17-cent reduction in school maintenance and operations taxes per $100 valuation, passed during last year’s special session.

The second and larger phase of property-tax reductions, bringing an additional 33-cent cut in school maintenance and operations taxes per $100 valuation, kicked in this year, so your property-tax bill for next year will reflect the largest savings.

What legislators did, both last year in the special session and this year in the regular session, are steps in the right direction toward meaningful property-tax relief for Texans. But we still have a ways to go. We’ll continue urging lawmakers to make homeownership more affordable, whether for first-time or long-time homeowners. Besides continuing efforts to lower homeowners’ property taxes and make the appraisal process easier and fair, Texas Realtors work on other issues that benefit Texans. In case you’re wondering what these might be, here are two brief examples:

Mortgage fraud – curbing abuses protects consumers

In the recent 80th legislative session, Texas Realtors played a major role in passing legislation to curb mortgage fraud, protecting home buyers and sellers, and ensuring a viable real estate market.

Transfer fee – keeping a bad idea from taking root

At the 11th hour of the 80th session, the Texas Association of Realtors stopped a bad idea from gaining a foothold in Texas. A private transfer fee is a scheme (many call it a scam) where a person sells his home but files a covenant on the property requiring a fee – one percent is common – paid to the party who filed the covenant. The payment to the seller who filed the covenant is required every time the property is sold after that for as long as 99 years. We urged quick legislation that prohibits private-transfer-fee arrangements and makes any attempts to create them unenforceable.

Source: Texas Association of REALTORS®
Reprinted with permission.

Painting & Lighting

by Jutta "Utah" Burden




Painting & Lighting  

Brighten up your home. From DIY lighting that adds both value and light to your house, to unique painting ideas that go beyond picking out paint swatches, our real-life homeowner stories and expert advice can illuminate every room. What house painting tips can make the job go quicker with fewer mistakes? Which lighting ideas can create just the right ambiance 



Everything You Need to Paint With Confidence

Wield your paintbrush with poise. These easy-to-master tips will make it so.

 See the full Spotlight





by Jutta "Utah" Burden


Face it. Your home's not perfect. You may keep up with general maintenance, and perhaps you're meticulously clean. But how old is your kitchen? Do your paint colors reflect current trends? Could your living room use some updating?

When it comes to selling your home today, it's got to be perfect, or buyers will simply move on to the next option. Doing some renovations, whether that means overhauling areas that are long overdue for a facelift or making some simple changes that freshen up the place, is typical. But if you're thinking they can wait until you're ready to list your home, these 6 reasons may make you rethink that plan.

1. You get to enjoy the new stuff

"A worthy update can either serve to reduce your cost of living while you remain in the home or add significant value to the home's sale price when you decide to put it on the market," said Scott McGillivray, a real estate investor and host of the HGTV show Income Property to US News.

But if you're going to spend some cash on updating and renovating your place, you should at least be able to get some enjoyment out of the updates before turning the house over to someone else, right? If you've been waiting for 10 years for new appliances, it would be a shame to not have the opportunity to at least cook a few meals and throw a dinner party or two.


2. They always take longer than expected

It's a fact of renovation. If your timeline is six weeks, it'll take 12. At least. Giving yourself plenty of time before you're ready to list your home will help you avoid a stressful scramble at the end when you're trying to get it on the market.

3. There may be issues you're unaware of

Your Realtor will point out areas that need to be addressed and recommend changes to make your home more saleable. But, getting your home ready to sell might be harder than you expect if problems like mold or termites are uncovered. Getting a jump on any big issues or anything that goes beyond the cosmetic will give you the time you need to fix the problems and hold onto your sanity.

4. They don't have to be huge

No one said you have to take your home down to the studs. Sometimes, a light touch is all that is needed. "Start by thinking small," said "Minor cosmetic upgrades go a long way in getting more buyers through the door for a quicker sale - and time on market is key to determining what you'll net at closing."


5. You're going to need them

You may not love the idea of having to do anything to - or spend any money on - your home, especially if you already have your eyes on a new one. But, most every home needs a little upgrading, updating, or, at least staging. You don't want to have the one place in the neighborhood that won't sell because potential homebuyers see a project house, without the project price.

6. You'll get a return on your investment...if you renovate smart

Speaking of price…updated homes typically sell faster and for more money, if the updates have been done well and they're the ones buyers are looking for. If you're not sure which renovations to consider, take your cues from the Cost vs. Value Report, which tracks the "average cost for 29 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 99 U.S. markets." It's a great way to look at national trends but also break down what's trending in individual areas. "How much work you'll need depends on your home's value, your market, and the comps in your neighborhood," said

US News also has a great list of "popular updates that are worth the money," including adding a backsplash in the kitchen and updating bathroom vanities.





Written by on Wednesday, 26 October 2016 11:42 am

Embrace your inner minimalist when prepping your home for sale. Here's a room-by-room guide:

Declutter. Edit your space. Get organized. You've probably heard all sorts of classic advice like this for getting your home sale-ready. But it's helpful to know the goal behind these tips.

By paring down and minimizing distracting elements in your home, you give potential buyers the ability to imagine themselves living inside it. A clutter-free environment allows the space, beauty and intrinsic value of your home to shine. Beautiful wood floor details might be concealed with too much furniture, or pleasant natural light might be obscured by heavy drapery. So edit your home by replacing and eliminating unnecessary, distracting and cumbersome items. Below, we break down this less-is-more approach for each room.

When It Comes to Living Rooms

Keep only essential furniture. The living room is often the most used room of the house, and it may collect extra furniture that isn't typically categorized as living room furniture. The key to staging this space is to stick to just the essential pieces: typically a sofa, coffee table, rug, accent chair and media console.

That corner desk with a computer on it may be essential for the way you live - but it's not great for the room. While your home is on the market, perhaps find an alternate workspace or use a laptop. Similarly, if you need that end table to hold a much-needed table lamp, then leave it. But if you have two end tables, perhaps you don't need both. Having fewer pieces will help the space feel larger.

Living Room

5 Storage tips.

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Finally, you get to take that beach vacation in the dead of winter. But where is your beach towel?!? You know it’s somewhere in that linen closet, but (sigh) it’s so crammed you can’t find it.

One of these days, you’re going to have to figure out how to get more storage space so you can find this seasonal stuff faster. But the last thing you want to do is go out and buy more stuff to put more stuff in.

There’s a better way — shelves. Not the bookshelf kind (they only take up floor space), but shelves you can incorporate into your home’s architecture for an interesting, personalized look that also solves nagging storage issues.

Here are five unexpected places shelves can boost your home’s storage and personality:

#1 Over the Bathroom Door

Seems like your bathroom can never have enough storage, especially for that recurring avalanche of towels in your itty-bitty linen closet. But if your ceiling is high enough, you’ve got enough space to tuck those extra towels you only need for overnight guests.

How about Leasing Your Home?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

You’re thinking about selling your house, but you may not be quite ready to let it go, or, when you run the numbers, you may not be able to sell it for as much of a profit as you may want.

Have you considered leasing your home instead? Giving you the opportunity to buy another home and still retain ownership. You can own your home for five years, occupy the home for two years, rent it up to three years and then sell it without paying capital gains taxes.

Markets improve, often there aren't enough homes available for purchase in the areas where families want to live. Relocating families may have a home to sell in another area or they may simply want to try out your neighborhood before buying. They want to spend a year settling in and learning about the area.

The ideal time to lease your home is if you can rent it for more than you're paying in mortgage, taxes and insurance. You also need some savings that will cover months when the home isn't rented, as well as repairs that may come up.

If you want to buy another home, the debt on the home you already own won't count against you as much as you may think, and especially if you already have the home leased. The lender may add a couple months of mortgage debt to your overall debt picture to be on the safe side because many properties don't rent right away or there may be lag-time between renters. With good to great credit, you can get a low down-payment loan that doesn't require all your cash.

talk with a real estate professional To help you decide if leasing is a good idea He or she will have comparable for other rentals in the area, so you'll know how good the market is for homes like yours and how much you can expect to get for your home.

As the owner, you can decline a renter who does not have the credit rating, earnings, deposit money, or references that you require for a good renter. Your real estate broker can perform a number of background checks for you on potential renters including credit scores, rental and eviction history, criminal and sex offender checks, motor vehicle checks, and employment verification.

Your rental agreement should include penalties for late payments, as well as outline clear terms -- length of the lease, possession date for move-in; terms for extending the lease, fees for late payments, pets or no pets and so on. 

Be very clear about what the renter is responsible for doing this will prevent disputes over who pays utilities. Make sure the renter also pays one month's deposit so you can cover the costs of cleaning, repainting and other make-ready steps. Last but not the least make sure your renter has renter's insurance.

Staging Your Home For Sale During The Holidays

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

The holidays can be a hectic time even when you are not trying to sell your home, but having a property that needs to be staged during the holiday season can add an extra level of stress to anyone’s planning. Fortunately, there are a few ways to balance decorating for the holidays while keeping up with your home’s curb appeal.
Keeping the decorations neutral can help potential buyers imagine themselves spending the next holiday in your home, but completely over the top decorations can have the opposite effect, so try to strike a balance between festive and classy.
The first step to staging your home is to clean up.  This is true at any time of year – an uncluttered home will seem more spacious and inviting, but it is even more important when you are decorating for the holidays. While some tasteful decorating is definitely appropriate, adding a Christmas tree or a nativity scene to an already crowded room can easily overpower the space and make it seem un-welcoming. Cleaning out each room in your house before you start decorating can help to improve the look of your house as well as minimize the amount of sorting and cleaning you will have to do once the home is sold.
Once your house is cleaned up, it is time to choose the decorations. You will probably end up deciding to decorate less than you usually do – this is one case where less is more, but a few carefully chosen decorations can help strike up a festive atmosphere. Neutral winter decorations, like a wreath or a display of pine cones, can help to project the desired look without becoming too personal. Make sure that whatever decorations you choose to go with the existing decor in your home.
Choose decorations and placements that bring out your home’s best features. Any kind of festive decoration will draw eyes, so try to place your decorations on or near the best features of your home. If your living room is small, don't buy a Christmas tree that will dominate the space. You are trying to make your home seem as spacious as possible, so filling half the room with a Christmas tree might not help your case.
While you might want to decorate the exterior of your home, make sure you do not go too over the top with the lights. While some people love light-up reindeer, others might not. 

Know Your Expenses Before You Buy

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

For many, home ownership is still a dream. Moving from renting can seem like it’s an impossible mission. But if you plan ahead and carefully budget, the goal of home ownership can be yours.

When budgeting how much home you can afford, it’s important to understand and anticipate the costs of owning and maintaining a home. Here are a few things that some first-time buyers forget to include. 

Private Mortgage Insurance

This is added on to your mortgage when the down payment is less than 20 percent. You can buy a home with less money but you’ll pay the PMI which covers the lender should a home buyer default on the loan. As you build up equity, your PMI drops off.


Property taxes generate revenue for municipalities, counties, and schools. It’s an expense that can vary across the U.S. However, on average, it’s 1.38 percent of the home’s value. Back East tends to have the highest property taxes.

HOA Fees

Homeowners’ Association fees (HOA) can add several hundred dollars to your monthly household expenses. These HOAs help to maintain common areas, typically within condominium complexes. They also govern what can be done to the unit and the surrounding area. While there is an up side to HOAs, some buyers prefer to have more freedom over their property, perhaps, until the neighbor paints his house turquoise with red accents.

Homeowner’s insurance

Lenders require homeowner’s insurance on your property. The amount you’ll pay depends on many variables including: where you live, the age, type, size of your home. For example, older homes can cost more to insure due to the fact that they may require more repairs than newer homes. Also, high-hazard areas can cost more to insure and some insurance companies may not offer an insurance policy for your home, if you’re in a high-risk area.

Utilities and appliances

These areas can be overlooked because, often, when people are renting the appliances are taken care of. When you own your own home, be sure to consider expenses such as the water heater or dishwasher breaking down. While, you can’t exactly figure out when an appliance is going to quit working, you can set a monthly allowance aside to start establishing a household repair fund. Just don’t touch the account or when you really need it, you’ll find it’s not there for you.

Inspections, appraisals, and closing costs

Many buyers understand they will have closing costs but they fail to budget for other items such as a home inspection. Sometimes inspections are paid for by the seller but it’s usually the buyer who pays for the inspection. And, even if the homeowner recently had a home inspection and has the report, a buyer still might want to pay for an inspector to have another look to compare the findings.

Depending on the home, there may also be other inspections such as for lead paint, pests or radon gas.

While the extra expenses do add up quickly, if you carefully budget and plan ahead, the goal of home ownership is achievable and very satisfying.



Realtors An Invaluable Resource

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Realtors An Invaluable Resource

Realtors in Magnolia Texas can be an invaluable resource throughout the real estate property hunting process. First time homebuyers may be tempted to stray on their own without a realtor in Magnolia Texas, relying on online resources to view and select properties to visit. Though this is most definitely a great resource for prospective real estate buyers, nothing can top the expertise of a professional realtor in the home buying process. Realtors in Magnolia Texas specialize in dealing on a daily basis with the issues that come along with the property hunting business. Realtors know what properties are priced reasonably and where a diamond in the rough can be found. When it comes to the real estate purchasing business, realtors are the experts that everyone should consult. No prospective buyer should be deceived by the idea that they can find everything that they need to know online. You simply cannot get the same valuable advice that realtors can provide from an online listing service. Seek out the assistance of a realtor if you are considering purchasing a home in the near future. You will be glad you did.

Local Realtors in Magnolia Texas

Local realtors in Magnolia Texas have looked at properties in the exact same areas that you are considering buying in. However, unlike you, realtors have the knowledge of the average pricing of the homes in that area. While the figures that you find on online listing services can tell you how a seller’s asking price compares to the asking price of other sellers in that area, it cannot provide you with background information as to whether any of these asking prices are realistic to what homes in that area have historically sold for. Realtors dealing in the local market can let you know when a price is outrageously priced compared to the listings in that area that have sold recently. Realtors can help you to make the personal decision as to whether or not the asking price on a home is reasonable, but also whether or not that asking price is negotiable. Negotiating the price on a home is tricky business. However, it is tricky business that realtors encounter on a daily basis. Do not attempt to do the job of a realtor and negotiate your own deal. Without background information on the pricing of homes in that area, you are clueless as to the reasonability of the sticker price on the property you are considering purchasing without realtors.

Identifying Red Flag Issues

Realtors can also assist homebuyers in identifying red flag issues with a listing that may have gone unnoticed because of a bargain asking price. No one wants to be fooled by a seller in Magnolia Texas who is hiding issues with a property that will soon cost them a sizeable amount of money. Realtors assist prospective buyers in noticing issues that may not be noticeable to an untrained eye. Once again, this is a profession. Realtors see issues with listings on a daily basis. Realtors can identify the trends in these issues and then are quick to spot them out when they see them in a different property. Do not let your naivety allow you to purchase a bargain priced home simply because you think that you can get it quickly and cheaply. Have a realtor take you on a tour of this home and take a look at some common issues that may incur hidden costs. You will be thankful that you identified any issues before closing a deal with a seller so that you can negotiate those values into the closing costs. However, if you do not have the assistance of a realtor, you may not identify the issue before closing and you may end up footing the bill yourself.

Magnolia Texas Realtors

Realtors are professionals whose advise is extremely valuable to the prospective homebuyer IN Magnolia Texas. Whether it is dealing with the sticker price of a home or the condition of a home that is going cheap, realtors have the expertise to assist you in assessing the situation with a level head.

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