Montgomery County Real Estate Blog


Nov. 3, 2017

Buyer Demand Outpacing Seller Supply

The demand for housing has risen over the last few months as the supply has declined due to hurricane Harvey. With homeowners that were flooded looking for a new home that didn't, has become increasingly difficult due to a low supply.

If you are considering selling your home consider this. Homes are selling quickly and for top dollar. With the current market situation the odds of home appreciation increase. The homes for sale right now are driving the homes prices up due to high demand. If you want to sell, now is the time to sell to receive top dollar for your home unless it flooded. If you did not flood, your home is a hot commodity and you could benefit greatly from selling now as opposed to waiting. As the supply goes up and the demand slows homes prices will level off. If the inventory of homes increase and outpaces the demand homes prices will decline.

So if you are interested in selling do it now while the demand is outpacing the supply.

Choosing the right realtor with the right marketing plan is crucial.

Contact me to sell your home, and let me show you my plan to sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

Brian Newhouse


Dixie Estep Real Estate


Sept. 8, 2017

New Home Purchase After Harvey

New Home Purchase After Harvey

Many people in Southeast Texas have been displaced from their homes due to the catastrophic events from hurricane Harvey. Some will rent and have their home rehabilitated then move back in, and some will purchase a new home while their home is being rehabilitated then sell. 

One of the questions that many people might have is how do I go about buying a new home when I still owe on the one that was destroyed? Here is the solution. This is not for everyone, but it is a solution if you would like to move to higher ground.

The Federal Housing Administration of FHA has a program called the FHA 203H loan that helps victims in presidentially designated disaster areas recover by making it easier for them to get mortgages and become homeowners or re-establish themselves as homeowners.  

The home must have been destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary. (You cannot use the 203(h) program to rehabilitate a home.) Home may be rebuilt on existing property or a new home residence may be purchased anywhere.  

The Minimum Qualifying Credit Score for this program is 500

Max debt to income ratio is 31%/43%

An eligible applicant may receive financing of 100% of the sales price. No downpayment required.

Eligible properties •Principal Residences •One-unit detached homes •FHA-approved established condominium projects •Property must meet HUD’s Minimum Property Standards and Minimum Property Requirements. 

Ineligible Properties •Investment Properties •Second Homes •Attached Properties •2 – 4 units •Manufactured Housing •Co-ops •Condotels •Time shares •Trusts •Leaseholds

Max Loan Amount for Harris and surrounding counties is $331,200. (this is not the max price of the home to be purchased)

Eligible Term is 30 year fixed rate.

Non occupant co-signers or applicants will not be permitted

Under the Section 203(h) program, closing costs and prepaid expenses must be paid: •By the applicant in cash, or •Through premium pricing, or •Through seller concessions with a max of 6%. 

Gifts are not permitted

These are the basic guidelines. If you would like to purchase a new home and would like to learn more about this program please do not hesitate to call.

Thank You

Brian Newhouse

Dixie Estep Real Estate






Aug. 9, 2017

Bluejack National



Last November I had the opportunity to play golf at Bluejack National. Bluejack National is located in the tall pines of southeast Texas between Magnolia and Dobbin, TX on FM 1486. Playing this redesign of an already, in my opinion, great challenge and fair golf course was truly a treat. The whole experience made you feel like a celebrity. As soon as you get out of the car your clubs are whisked away by one of the staff and taken to the range, where they make you a bag tag and put your clubs on a cart. You proceed to a cottage by the putting green, stocked with drinks and snacks, to change shoes in the upstairs changing room. Next you head to the driving range to warm up. By the time you get there your clubs are waiting for you on a cart with a bottle of water and your bag tag. You are asked if you need anything to eat, drink or if you want your clubs cleaned. Hitting range balls, Pro V 1 X range balls, on this range was fun. In the middle of the range about 180 yards out and about 30 feet high was a target to aim at and try to hit. This was not an easy task. After hitting range balls I sat down on one of the couches at the range under an umbrella just taking in the beauty of the rolling topography and the experience to that point. Before heading to the first tee I grabbed several tees and ball markers with the Bluejack National logo. When we get to the first tee we are told that we have to putt to a hole at the back of the tee box with our driver to determine our hitting order. I know what you are thinking, you were putting on the tee box? Yes putting on the tee box, but this was no ordinary tee box. It was perfectly square with smooth perfectly cut Zoysiagrass. It was better than most greens at the public courses in the area. Once the order was determined, I went second, a starter announce your name, where you were from and if you had played there before. The whole golf course was perfect. The best manicured golf course I have ever played, and I have played a lot of golf courses. The rolling topography and elevated greens and tee boxes made it a great challenge. My favorite part of the course was the hut they had between 11 green and 12 tee box. They had a smoker and kegs offering brisket, jerky and a local IPA on tap. To top it off it was a perfect November day, sunny and 75.


Bluejack is a 755 acre private community featuring resort style living. Once built out it will feature about 400 homes, family recreation, fishing, walking trails and hospitality services. A feature, I'm sure the kids will love, is a resort style community center with swimming pools, water slides, indoor bowling alley, concessions, and recreational activities.

Available homes will include Sunday homes, which include 4 master bedroom suites surrounding an open common area space. Owners can include a guest suite above the garage as well. The Sunday homes will range in price from $1.5 million and $1.6 million.

 A selection of cottages will be for sale including three different floor plans of three or four bedrooms. The cottages will range in size from 1855-2350 square feet and are priced between $800,000 and $1 million. The first enclave of 19 cottages has sold out and the second enclave, which will include 28 residences is under construction.

Contact me for a private tour of Bluejack National

Brian Newhouse

Dixie Estep Real Estate



Home information was found in community impact newspaper.

Posted in Bluejack National
July 31, 2017

Top Five Guidelines for First Time Home Buyers

These are my Top Five Guidelines for First Time Home Buyers.

#1 Get Pre Approved- If you have never bought a home and are not sure where to start, meeting with a mortgage professional to determine your purchasing budget, and if your employment, asset, and credit situation meet lending guidelines is the first step. You do not want to waste a bunch of time looking at homes finding the perfect one only to find out you do not qualify.

#2 Find a competent buyers agent to work with- There are many realtors in this world some are new and some are old. Even some of the new ones are more competent than some of the old ones. You need to find a realtor that is willing to go above and beyond that will work to make sure you get the best price on a home as possible. Calling on the sellers agent to show you a home is typically not a good idea. They work for the seller not the buyer. They have the sellers best interest at heart not yours. If you are looking at new construction use a realtor instead of just going to the sales counselor at the model home. Again they work for the builder and will have the builders best interest at heart. A realtor can make sure you are getting the best deal from the builder as well as interpret the builders contracts, which can be confusing at times.

#3 Have a sit down meeting with your realtor- It is important to not waste time looking at homes you do not like nor do you qualify for. Have a sit down meeting with your realtor and go over your needs in a home and what is important to you. Your realtor is trained in searching for homes that check all the boxes for their clients. If you are searching on and find home that you think you like, let your realtor know which home it is and have them look into it to make sure it fits all aspects of what you are truly looking for.

#4 Be willing to compromise- Understand that there is probably not going to be "the perfect home". Make a checklist of what you need and what you want in a new home. If you find a home that checks all your boxes then that is awesome, because it does not always happen that way. If you get most of the boxes checked, and there is something you have to live without, then figure out if the feature you have to live without is a need or a want. If it is a want then make a compromise. If it is a need then move on to the next home.

#5 Be Ready- In today's real estate market homes sell quickly and sometimes will have multiple offers. You must be prepared to make an offer when the right home comes along. At this point you should have a pre-approval letter from your mortgage professional to submit with the offer. Sleeping on it might cause you to lose your dream home. When you find it jump on it, do not hesitate. Time is of the essence in real estate. Do not feel like your realtor is pushing you. They are the professionals and they know the market. If your realtor feels that sleeping on it will cause you to lose your dream home then they are probably right. Listen to their advise and be decisive.

Thank You

Brian Newhouse

Broker Associate

Dixie Estep Real Estate



July 13, 2017


There are several builders in Montgomery County that are Green Built Certified builders. A Green Built Home is a home built with specific modifications to thrive in the Gulf Coast. Any builder can claim to be green, but if they do not have the Green Built Gulf Coast certification, then they are not truly a green builder. Certification matters. Only the most efficient, eco-friendly homes and products can receive the Green Built Gulf Coast Certification.

Why Buy a Green Home?

In comparison to the average home, Green Built homes consume 26% less energy, They have 13% lower maintenance costs, and have 33% less greenhouse gas emissions. GBGC homes and green products can improve the air quality inside the home to keep your family healthy and reduce the risks associated with air pollutants.

people worry that green homes and products are more expensive than typical alternatives. They want the best deal for their money and only consider how much it will save them today. If you truly want the most for your money, it is important to consider the long term savings of a green built home. It is true that green built homes will cost you more today, it wont take long for your investment to pay for itself, plus more. Homebuyers need to look at the long term cost savings, health benefits, and eco-consciousness.

Investing in a green home today will give value to your home in the future when you are ready to sell.

For more information contact me at 281-935-7287 For a  list of Green Built Gulf Coast Certified builders click on the GBGC logo.


July 7, 2017

Do I Need 20% Down to Purchase a New Home?


There have been many times that I have been told by home buyers that they were told they needed 20% down to buy a home. This is a myth. Coming from the mortgage industry I can tell you without a doubt that you do not need 20% down.

Lenders have basic guidelines that are set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The lenders can write there own guidelines called overlays that trump the standard guidelines. Some do and some don't. It all depends on your credit score, loan program, occupancy and debt ratio on how much you have to put down.

A conventional loan a 5% down payment is possible with a credit score as low as 620 for a primary residence. With a debt to income ratio not exceeding 41%. If the credit score is 680 or higher Fannie Mae will allow for the debt ratio up to 45%. Since it is a riskier loan you will have to expect a higher rate and higher PMI. The higher the credit score the lower the rate and PMI. While this is a standard guideline, you still have to pass Fannie Mae's automated underwriting system called Desktop Underwriter. If not approved by DU then your loan officer might have to look at other options.

An FHA Loan requires at least 3.5% down of the borrowers own funds. This can be a gift or down payment assistance with a credit score 640 or higher. The credit score can be as low as 600 for an FHA with some lenders, but most will want a credit score of at least 640 or higher. FHA will allow debt ratios up to 55%, with some lenders, with a score of 640 or higher, anything between 620-639 can go up to 50% in some cases.

There are some FHA lenders that will go down to 580, but the down payment requirement will be 10% for scores between 580-599. FHA loans have an upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium that is rolled into the loan then you will have to pay an annual premium that is paid monthly.

VA loans are 100% financing. Meaning 0 down. These are loans are for veterans and veteran's spouses. The veteran does not have a down payment, but will have to pay an upfront funding fee dependent on their service. The lender can pull a certificate of eligibility to determine how much the funding fee will be. This can vary, but is typically rolled into the loan. VA loans do not have mortgage insurance. The debt ratio requirement is typically 41%, but can be exceeded depending on the credit score. VA loans also have to pass an automated underwriting system, but some lenders will manually underwrite VA Loans.

USDA loans are rural housing loans that are also 100% or 0 down. USDA loans are for specified areas that are mapped out by the USDA. USDA also has an income requirement depending on the gross household income and the number of occupants no matter their age. If you need to know if the home you are interested in is eligible for USDA or if your income meets the requirement you can go to

To see if you qualify for any of these programs go to my website and contact one of my lending referral partners to get qualified.

Thank You

Brian Newhouse


Posted in Real Estate
June 28, 2017

Your Monthly Housing Budget vs Home Price

Your Monthly Housing Budget vs Home Price

Buying a home can be a daunting task. Knowing what to expect is very important in the home buying process. Having a good realtor that knows the process inside and out, knows how to cater to your needs and knows the area where you are looking is essential to a stress free home buying experience. The National Association of Realtors did a study on how many home shoppers utilize the internet to start the home buying process. In their study they revealed that 52% of home shoppers turn to the web for the first step, and 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process.

While the web is a great tool, like using to search homes in Montgomery County Texas, it is more important to make your first step a visit with a local mortgage professional. Having been in the mortgage business for 15 years prior to becoming a professional realtor, I know the best mortgage professionals in the business and can refer you. They can determine what your budget is before starting your search. Homes prices vary as do Montgomery County tax rates vary, and so do HOA fees depending on the neighborhood or area you choose. Choosing a price as a budget does not always work. Determining what your max monthly housing expense that you can afford is a better approach. For example, let's say you determine that your max price is $150,000, and you are looking in an area that has high tax rate and high HOA fees. You are searching online and find several homes that fit your needs and your price range. You fall in love with a home and want to make an offer. You start the mortgage process, then a few days later, only to find out that because the taxes and HOA are so high that it does not fit your monthly housing budget and you have to look for homes that cost less. In the area you desire there are not any homes that are less in price so now you have run into a road block. Having a realtor that knows what the tax rates are in certain desired area, and has a mortgage back ground can help you get over this road block.

On the other hand determining your monthly housing budget that can be utilized could potentially still get you into a home that fits all your needs and in a neighborhood that is as good or better than where you were looking before. For example, you meet with a mortgage professional and determine that you can afford $1300.00 per month for a monthly housing budget. Monthly housing budget is Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance and HOA fees. You tell your realtor your monthly housing budget and the desired area or school district.  A realtor like Brian Newhouse that has experience with Real Estate and 15 years in the mortgage business would be able to find you the perfect house based on your needs and your monthly budget. This could be a $140,000 or a $160,000 home depending on location, property tax payments and HOA fees. You are looking in subdivision A and find a home that is $150,000, but the total payment is $1485.00. You decide that is too high and need to keep looking. You go to Subdivision B and find a home that is $165,000, and absolutely love it, but are concerned you cannot afford it. Well it turns out that the home in subdivision B is only $1285.00 per month because the property tax rate in that neighborhood is lower, and the HOA fees are lower. You end up getting a better home, that fits your needs, your desired location, school district, and that costs more but for less money per month.

With my experience in the Mortgage business and in Real Estate, I can guide you through the home buying process on both sides. I will set expectations for the mortgage process and for our journey to finding you a home. You will not get this type of service just looking at homes online. Do not waste your time looking at homes you are not sure if you can afford.

Search online at register on our website and let me guide you through the process.


Thank You

Brian Newhouse


Posted in Real Estate
June 22, 2017

The One That Got Away

I have heard many fishing stories in my lifetime. They always start out with how they were on a beautiful lake, the waters were calm, the fish were biting and it was perfect. Then there is talk about all the fish that were caught and there would be a fish fry that night, but the boat about 50 ft away had more fish and they caught the biggest fish of the day. You wonder how they caught more fish and the bigger fish. Well the reason is that they were more prepared and had better bait and started earlier in the day.

This same story can be applied to real estate. There have been a number of times when a buyer falls in love with a home and they want to make an offer, but they are not prepared, got there too late, or did not make a reasonable offer (bait).In today's real estate market, in Montgomery County Texas, there is more demand than supply. This means that homes are being sold for closer to asking price and in some cases there are multiple offers, so time is of the essence. Thinking about making an offer overnight usually turns into sorry I accepted another offer last night. If you absolutely love a home jump on it, do not think.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to be prepared before you go out with a realtor to see homes that you are interested in.

The first step is to get with a mortgage professional and have them look at you credit, income, assets documents and employment history. to determine if your particular situation meets lending guidelines. They will also determine what your budget is based on your gross income and your monthly out going debt. In my professional opinion a buyer should not purchase a home that will extend there debt to income ratios past 40%. Fannie Mae allows up to 45%, and FHA and VA will allow up to 50% in some cases. What lenders consider in the debt ratio calculation DOES NOT INCLUDE normal housing expenses that you will incur on a monthly basis, such as electricity, water, TV, cell phone, internet, groceries, entertainment etc. So put the horse before the cart and meet with a mortgage professional before you waste a lot of time and money driving around looking at homes.

The second step is to enlist the services of a competent Realtor. You need a realtor that does not waste time. Get started as early as possible and make sure your Realtor knows all the details about the property. Like if there are any other offers or prospects that are hot on the same property. Do they know of comps in the area to be able to make a reasonable offer.? Is the property priced right? In Montgomery County, depending on the neighborhood, homes are being sold for 97%-103% of asking price. If you fall in love with a home, make sure you have the right bait (offer ) to be able to catch the big one. If not it will be The One That Got Away!

Call or email Brian Newhouse or Dixie Estep at Dixie Estep Real Estate so that we can start early, get you prepared, and help you make sure you have the right bait. Sign up on our website and view any listing on the Houston MLS, and receive updates on new listings, pricing and a whole lot more.

Visit the About page on our website for contact information.


Thank You

Brian Newhouse



Posted in Real Estate