SCAM! I've had "out of town" scammers steal my photos and property description from a Craigslist ad, use the name of the owner that was on the tax rolls (who happened to be deceased) and post their own listing at a bargain rate. The "owner" was "overseas doing missionary" work and had "taken the keys with him". He requested money via wire transfer in order to send keys. The potential tenant was smart enough to drive by first, and saw my for lease sign out front and she called me. DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY! Having to wire non-recoverable funds is a HUGE RED FLAG!!
The vast majority of new townhomes are in the inner-loop: 77006,77007,77019,77098,77018,77008,77009
Depends. Are you buying to live in or rent? If you want to live there, is the bad neighborhood an issue for you? If you want to rent it out, what are other similar units renting for, and how long does it take to rent units? What will it cost to rehab? I assume 12% interest rate is your mortgage rate, which is VERY high. If $250 is HOA, what does that include - any utilities?, exterior maintenance?, building insurance? How stable are the financials for the HOA? Is 13 years the time left on an existing mortgage????? Is this an assumption of an existing mortgage???? Can the existing mortgage be assumed or is this a wrap?If a wrap, can you be sure the current mortgage hold will pay the mortgage when you pay them? How easy would the unit be to resell if needed in the future? If there are a lot of rented units, then any buyer in the future would have to mostly likely be a cash buyer. If you are going to rent it, how many months can you afford with no tenant in the place? There are too many unanswered and not very clear issues to give a better answer. My gut tells me that if you are not a knowledgeable investor, know up front what costs to expect, have good rehab contractors that you know well and can depend on, and cannot afford to take a hit when the unit is not rented, then this might not be in your best interest to pursue.
Bad. It scares potential renters, and improperly installed bars (no way to easily open from the inside) are dangerous. Some insures will not insure a home that have these old type of bars Same goes for homes for sale, because bars hurt the property value. I live in, and most of my business is in, the inner city. There is a lot of petty crimes, and most are crimes of opportunity. Good outdoor lighting, trimming landscaping for less places to hide,something simple as an alarm sign (whether you have one or not), and plain old common sense (don't put a big empty new TV box out on the street for the garbage workers to pick up), work well. The perps will move on to easier pickings. Why anyone would feel safe living in a cage is beyond my comprehension.
You are being SCAMMED! I've had one of my own property lease listing photos taken, reposted as a new lease listing at a bargain rate. The property was listed in a general area of the city, instead of a specific neighborhood, so it was nearly impossible for me to find it. The "owner" could only be contacted by email, was "out of the country and forgot to leave keys with a neighbor", and required money be sent by Western Union for keys in return, and was looking for a "good person" to "take care" of their property. The emails used the name of the owner taken directly from the tax rolls, and this person was DECEASED! The person being scammed drove by the property and saw my for lease sign out front and finally got a clue that they were being scammed and called me.
I had this happen on one of my rental listings on Craigslist. The perps took my property photo and info, and relisted it at a very low price in a generic area, instead of a specific neighborhood, and no address. This made the fake listing very hard for me to find without going through every single lease listing. I found out about it when a potential renter drove by the property and saw my sign out front. The "owner" had been "transferred" to Africa and had "forgotten" to leave the keys with anyone in the states. They were looking for "great tenants" that would love they property as much as they did. They wanted the tenants to send them money and they would send them the keys. The "owner" responded via email, and used the name of the owner from the tax rolls - which happened to be a deceased person. The current owner had only bought the property a few months before, so the tax rolls still had the previous owners name listed. I've not run into this problem on Zillow or Trulia, but I have had a problem with those sites overlaying a home for lease on top of a home that was also for sale, so people thought that they could buy the property at the lease price, and they would get VERY angry at me when they called and I explained that the problem was with the third party site overlaying the lease on top of the for sale listing.
Any serious buyer should have at least a pre-qual. letter. That can be done over the phone with a lender. A truly serious buyer will have a pre-approval. I won't even let a buyer into my car without at least a pre-qual. Accepting an offer without any buyer financials (whether a pre-qual. or a pre-approval) and marking the property as pending puts the seller at risk of losing other potential buyers that have done their due diligence up front. Probably the easiest thing to do is to simply tell the potential buyer that you appreciate the offer, want to make the offer work as a win/win, and make getting the pre-approval a requirement as part of the negotiations on the terms and conditions. That will buy you some time and remove the risk of losing other potential offers.
Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Realtor.com and other such third party sites are mostly fed from the local MLS boards (in my case Houston, TX is www.har.com), and manually by agents and sometimes the public. All of these third party sites are notorious for being out of date, incomplete, and inaccurate. The sites often overlay homes that are for sale and for rent at the same time as well, thus causing even more confusion and inaccuracies. Texas is a non-disclosure state as well. I always recommend to my clients that use these sites to be aware of this, and to take any home listing, or value estimates with a grain of salt. In the areas that most of my own business is in, pricing is very difficult due to no two properties being alike (inner-city), and most value estimates are always 20-30% off (mostly too low) of true market value.
I've been an agent in Houston for 23 years. Who pays is definitely negotiable, but 99.999% of the time the buyer pays for it on new construction, and the seller pays for it on resale homes.
The rate is the same, it's the value on HCAD that changes. It is very confusing. I've never quite figured out why HCAD displays the tax assessment % the way that it does. Note that West U and Bellaire and other cities within Houston proper have different rates. As a general rule of thumb, always use the worse case scenario to estimate taxes, which is 2.9% of sales price (or if not purchasing then HCAD value) without exemptions.