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West Houston Market on the Road to Recovery

Energy Realty just hosted the first annual Energy Corridor International Festival last weekend to help remind residents and local businesses why the Energy Corridor is a great place to live, work, and play. Overall, the festival was a great success as many local businesses came out and shared their food, culture, services and product on a beautiful sunny day, and the live performances and DJ created a lively atmosphere.

                This was a grass roots effort pulled together by myself and other volunteers, Amy Dukes of Energy Corridor Living Magazine and Barbara Denson, author of the Gary the Go-Cart series. As residents of the Energy Corridor, we have seen businesses and neighborhoods hit hard by first the downturn of the oil industry and second by Hurricane Harvey, and we want to revive this community again. Our hope is that this annual event will continue to grow every year and become as popular as White Linen Nights in the Heights.

                While driving through the neighborhoods that were hit hard by the release of the reservoir in 2017, I am happy to see that the neighborhoods have come back to life and are beautiful and pristine again for the most part.  As a result, the home sales in these neighborhoods and the Energy Corridor have picked up again, although the market still remains saturated with a 9 month supply of inventory.

                We are finding that in order to compete in a market full of remodeled flood homes that are often priced below pre-flood value, homeowners have to update and freshen their homes to sell, even if they did not flood. In 77077, there are 294 single family homes on the market;  205 in 77079; and 1147 homes for sale in Katy! That’s a lot of homes to choose from, so buyers can be picky right now.

                As the memory of Harvey slowly fades away and the neighborhoods look better than ever, the desire to live in the Energy Corridor will far outweigh the risks of flooding and this area will come back stronger than ever! At the same time, as oil prices continue to stabilize in the $60’s and are predicted to go up to $70/barrel in a year, the empty office spaces will start filling up again, and home values should follow this trend.

                There are great things happening in West Houston and I am excited to be in the middle of it!

As temperatures soar in Houston, so do our utility bills.  When I was a child, my grandfather was conscientious about wasting energy and constantly reminded us to “turn off the light when you aren’t in the room” and “shut the refrigerator door when you get what you want”. These may seem like small details, but there was a time when we not only worried about every penny spent, but we also worried about running out of energy at one point.

I think we have discovered that we will probably not run out of energy any time soon, but we should all be aware of energy efficiency, not just for our pocket books, but also the planet. “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned”. Why throw those pennies away when they can go into a savings account? Below are some economical tips to help make your home more energy efficient and save you some “pennies” this summer:

  • Add ceiling fans to every room.
  • Replace air filters regularly-when dirty, your AC has to work harder to cool your home, and can even stop working, costing you even more $$.
  • Install a programmable thermostat so that the temperature adjusts to 75-78 degrees when no one is home. This can save you 10% on your cooling costs.
  • Change light bulbs to LED– the average household dedicates 11% of it’s energy costs to lighting and this small change can save you 50%-70% on your lighting bill. Better yet, use natural light!
  • Add insulation to your attic. Over time, the insulation in our attic loses efficiency and volume. You can purchase batt insulation at your local hardware store and install yourself. You should have 10 to 14 inches of insulation in your attic.
  • Use electronics responsibly. Refrigerators and freezers should not be near a stove, direct sunlight, or in the garage. Most of us put an extra refrigerator or freezer in the garage, and this is one of our largest energy suckers. Also unplug phones and computers when not charging. Get in the habit of turning off all electronics, including your computers when not in use. Electronics and appliances consume 20% of our electric costs.
  • Cook smart! An enormous amount of energy is wasted when cooking. Use lids to cook faster and put pans on the proper size burners. Try not to use your oven during the heat of the day. Better yet, barbecue on the grill during the summer.
  • Change the way you do laundry. Only wash when you have a full load, and clean your lint trap every time. This will not only prevent a fire, but also help your dryer to work more efficiently.     
  • Seal and insulate your home. Your local energy provider may send an auditor to your house to help determine leakages in your home. The most common leakages occur here:
  • electrical receptacles/outlets;
  • mail slots;
  • around pipes and wires;
  • wall- or window-mounted air conditioners;
  • attic hatches;
  • fireplace dampers;
  • inadequate weather-stripping around doors;
  • baseboards;
  • window frames; and
  • switch plates.

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