11/13/14 2:45pm

ONE MAN’S THRIVING GAYBORHOOD IS ANOTHER’S MONTROSE VALUE-ADD PORTFOLIO montrose-value-add-portfolioWhat is the Montrose Value-Add Portfolio? ”48 apartment-units, 13 townhomes, 1 quadraplex and 5 rental homes with 8-units that include 2 garage apartments; for a total of 73 units, 67,960 rentable square feet, with a land tract of 2.09 acres.” Writes a reader who came across the listing: “This is where I live. I love the phrase ‘The Montrose Value Add Portfolio,’ it practically screams ‘knock it down!’ So much for my old gayborhood!” The properties are all within walking distance of the MVAP’s listed address: 409 Stratford St., a stone’s throw from the always-hopping cluster of bars and clubs on Pacific St. to the north and but a little farther from Numbers and Indika to the south. No asking price is indicated in the marketing materials. [Loopnet; brochure (PDF)] Photo: Transwestern.

02/06/13 9:30am

LBJ wuz here: Built in 1904, this 3,161-sq.-ft. home on the corner of Hawthorne and Garrott in the Westmoreland Historic District gave the future president a place to crash in 1931 when he was teaching public speaking and coaching the debate team at Sam Houston High School.

In March 2011, the house was put on the market for the first time in 90 years; the price climbed to almost $619,000 that June. It sat for a year, going for just under $285,000. Renovations began that summer. And the house returned 9 days ago with a new MLS number, new photos, and a new historically low — for this place, anyway — price: $569,900.

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02/05/13 1:15pm

Seem familiar? This 1952 mod appeared in the HBO boob-job exposé Breast Men, starring David Schwimmer as Houston’s early-’60s boob pioneer Dr. Kevin Saunders. Or maybe that two-faced fireplace sparks your memory: Last July, the 4-bedroom, 3,558-sq.-ft. home was listed for sale at $1.1 million. (It was the one with the bomb shelter underneath the patio?) Well, in December it was sold for an even $1 million. And it showed up in today’s Daily Demolition Report.

Why not take one last peek, before it goes?

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02/04/13 4:30pm

Don’t ever say sluggers don’t need their creature comforts: This 16,000-sq.-ft., 5-bedroom, 9-bathroom mansion at 405 Timberwilde was home to former Houston Astro and 1994 NL MVP Jeff Bagwell, who retired with 449 homers after 15 seasons. Oh, and his mansion? It’s for sale for $15 million.

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01/25/13 1:45pm

Dating to 1913, this very white Colonial has been given extensive renovations both inside and out that have lent the place a certain glow. Listed earlier this week at $1.95 million, the 5,700-sq.-ft. home stands in Montrose at the corner of Sul Ross and Brandt, providing highwayside views of U.S. 59.

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01/23/13 4:45pm

In Southeast Houston, Glenbrook Valley sits between Telephone and Broadway near Hobby Airport. Developed during that same spate of post-war optimism that gave us the Jetsons, the neighborhood is home to many smaller mid-century mods, including this 1,375-sq.-ft. one at 7722 Glenalta. Designed by P. Herbert Caldwell, the home should be listed this Thursday or Friday at $110,000. Have a look around:

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01/22/13 12:30pm

Maybe the looks of this spa are too brutal a reminder of how the season went down the toilet? Houston Texans middle linebacker Brian Cushing injured his knee in October and was forced to watch from the sidelines as his team bowed out to the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs. Now, his 7,007-sq.-ft. Missouri City home is for sale, starting at $1,299,900.

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07/08/09 12:16pm

A few new features now make it much easier to search for real estate listings directly from Google Maps. Although you can’t limit searches as neatly as you can with the map functions of some other real-estate sites — and the listings don’t come straight from MLS — Google doesn’t make you register for anything, and this map search isn’t so likely to crash your browser. The listings are integrated into the standard Google Maps interface, and links to the listings themselves are easily accessible.

You can start searching Houston listings simply by searching for “Houston real estate” on Google Maps. Click on the first result (“Real estate on Google Maps”) to see more listings, which appear as tiny dots on the map. Click on any of the dots to find more information about a particular property.

What’s most interesting about the new real estate features is how neatly they allow househunting to fit in with more everyday map activities. Real-estate obsessives, take note: Searching for listings no longer has to be such a deliberate act. Looking up directions to a friend’s house? You can scour listings along the route with just a few extra clicks. Wondering about the real estate action near one of the demos in Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report? You no longer have to navigate to a separate site to do that.

Here’s how to try it:

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05/16/07 10:48am

2078 Augusta Dr 6/49 Living Room

Home buyers want a masterpiece! So why should your home listing suffer from bad, poorly lit, unimaginative photographs? Why, with a little bit of camera-phone artistry, you can make your home look like a Van Gogh!

Here’s a great example. Yes, this beautiful, Galleria-area impressionist interior can be yours, for a mere $165,000:

2 Bedroom, 2 1/2 bath Townhome with living room, kitchen and half-bath downstairs and bedrooms up. Master bedroom has cathedral ceiling and there is a large round skylight in the staircase. Light and bright throughout. Great location . . .

No, we didn’t alter the photo above (okay, we did enlarge it). But we do recognize artistic genius. Great photos like this hide carpet stains, too!

How can you make your home look like it’s worth a lot of Monet? Learn from the masters! After the jump, more of ERA broker Al Rafat’s unadulterated images of this notable home.

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04/23/07 10:02am

If you’re trying to sell your home without an agent, how do you get your listing onto MLS? Sure, there’s Craigslist and an assortment of FSBO online catalogs you can get on easily, but most Houston homebuyers do their searching exclusively in the difficult-to-navigate MLS listings at HAR.com. If you’re not with an agent, how do you get buyers to find you online?

As of today, a whopping five Houston homesellers have discovered a secret way to sneak into MLS—by using a new free service out of Florida called Iggys House. The five listings show up when you search the Iggys House site for Houston properties. More important, though, they also show up in HAR searches. Pay no attention to the weird Florida broker listing above the property. They’re in.

What’s in it for Iggy? In Texas, nothing yet—but just wait. In five other states, a sister company called BuySide Realty serves as an agent that passes onto the buyer 75 percent of the commissions it receives. Presumably, if a buyer buys a $400,000 house using BuySide, and the seller is paying a six-percent commission (with $12K to each agent), the buyer will end up with a new house and an extra $9,000. It appears to work for 1031 exchanges, too.

The free listings, then, are just a way of trolling for potential BuySide buyers. And it means that BuySide may be operating in Texas soon.