Susan Hilton College Station Real Estate

Realtor & Vice President of Sales of Bryan College Station Real Estate

Wife, Mother, REO Team Leader & Sales Manager for the BEST REAL ESTATE AGENTS in Bryan/College Station! Century 21 Beal, Inc. continues to provide the highest quality training and service in the Brazos Valley and it is an honor to be affiliated with this company!

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Susan Hilton College Station Real Estate

Realtor & Vice President of Sales of Bryan College Station Real Estate

Read my blog below

Michael Beal: Second Generation of Success


For Michael Beal, of CENTURY 21 Beal Inc., real estate runs in his blood. He jokingly calls himself a “son of a broker” and claims that seeing his father work was one of the main reasons he got into the field. Thanks to his Dad, Beal got a head start into the world of real estate in 1970 starting shortly after graduating college.

Located in College Station, Beal currently has 50 agents that close about 1,250 units per year. While he has proven to be very successful in the real estate field, he says that in 2015 he wants to do a “better job of recruiting agents, improving the quality of his agents’ knowledge and skills and to develop agents who do an even better job for their clients.”

To young agents looking to get more involved in the real estate world, Beal advises them to “join a company that has a good reputation, extensive in house training program, show-up, and get involved.” He adds, “Get competent quickly—time is of the essence.” Real estate is a high paying career with relatively little time and money required to get started. “The success of your career is dependent upon you and what you put into it in addition to what is required.”

He also tells new agents to get a good trainer to help walk them through the real estate process from start to finish. Find an office with an in house trainer and an office that has the culture of “agents helping agents.” A new agent should never be left on their own to sink or swim. Real estate sales and purchases are often a client’s largest investment and they deserve quality work.

Beal says, “Wouldn’t you work out more effectively if you had a personal fitness trainer?” In this example, someone with a personal trainer would most likely be more motivated to work harder, work out more efficiently and in turn, see better results. According to Beal, in the world of real estate, agents who find a good coach and get a reputable program behind them, will be pushed harder and be more successful.

Beal has seen significant changes in the real estate industry. He remembers a time before lockboxes and online MLS. He has adjusted from “marketing through a newspaper” to buying and selling online. But, no matter what, the client and agent relationship has stayed strong. Buyers and sellers want and need a professional to help guide them through the process. No matter what technology is added to the buying and selling experience, a professional is needed to help the transaction be completed efficiently.

Besides real estate, Beal is also very involved with his family and community. He is the chair of the Board for Lake View Methodist Youth Camp and on a Personal Energy Transportation board and participates in many community charities.

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: 8 Comments »

Texas Housing Still Affordable, Says Real Estate Center’s Jim Gaines

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas’ long-standing status as a state with affordable housing continued in 2014, according to the Real Estate Center’s latest Texas Housing Affordability Index (THAI). In fourth quarter 2014, the state had an index value of 1.74.

“This means the state’s median income was 1.74 times (or 174 percent of) the income required to qualify to purchase a median-priced home with an 80 percent mortgage at the prevailing interest rate and the lender requiring that the total mortgage payment be no greater than 25 percent of the buyer’s monthly income,” said Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines. “The higher the index value, the more affordable homeownership is in the state.”

The rapid rise in home prices around the state since 2011 has caused concern regarding housing affordability for Texas residents. The statewide median home price increased a total of 24 percent between 2011 and 2014, with annual increases of 6 percent, 9 percent and 7 percent during 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively. The median price for a home increased even more in many communities.

But Gaines said these increases are somewhat misleading.

“During the ten-year period since 2004, the Texas median home price increased an average of 3.6 percent per year – less than the long-term average,” he said. “Median family income during these same years increased just 5 percent overall. The 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate fluctuated between 3.36 and 4.44 and averaged just under 4 percent, generally contributing to overall affordability. The THAI peaked in fourth quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013 at 2.21, and affordability has declined nearly 21.5 percent since then. The comparable U.S. affordability index declined nearly 26 percent during the same period.”

Gaines said home affordability in Texas has gone virtually full cycle since 1999.

“The composite THAI for 1999 in Texas was 1.74,” he said. “After dipping to 1.58, the index reached a high of 1.81 in 2003 then dropped to 1.45 by 2007. The median home price declined by 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and advanced only 1.2 percent and 0.8 percent in 2010 and 2011. With median home price holding basically flat for these four years, the THAI expanded rapidly, reaching the peak of 2.14 in 2012. The index is back to 1.72 for the full year of 2014.”

Texas remains a relatively affordable state compared with comparable U.S. measures of affordability, Gaines said.

“During the 16 years from 1999 to 2014, Texas has averaged an index value about 20 percent higher than the comparable U.S. index score,” he said. “The ‘Texas spread,’ or the differential between the U.S. index value and the Texas index, narrowed to only 6 percent in 2011 as home prices nationally bottomed out, but has rebounded to a nearly 15 percent spread in 2014.”

For more from Gaines on housing affordability, tune into this week’s Real Estate Red Zone podcast

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: 2 Comments »

2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value: Less is More

Smaller replacement projects, particularly those that enhance curb appeal, remain the most cost effective way for sellers to improve value.
With home price gains slowing in most parts of the country, sellers will be looking for ways to get top dollar for their listing. Cleaning and staging make a big difference. But for some sellers–such as investors seeking to bring a property up to neighborhood standards before the sale–remodeling work may be the ticket.
As the 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report makes clear, large-scale jobs aren’t likely to return sellers their full cost. But there are improvements worth doing in anticipation of an upcoming sale. Some will return almost 100 percent of their cost. Others may not have as great a payback, but they can  improve their market position of the property in relation to the competition. (Think about the impact of beautiful kitchen photos on online home shoppers.) In addition, several pricier projects can provide owners with a few years of enjoyment while still offering a decent payback down the road.
As a general rule:
  • Simpler, lower cost projects tend to return greater value. The national average cost for a steel door replacement was $1,230, for example.  That’s the least  expensive project on the list, and it ranks highest on the payback scale, returning 101.80 percent nationally on average. In fact, in 43 of the 102 markets surveyed, Realtors said the new door would recoup more than 100 percent of its cost. Other projects expected to top 100 percent payback in multiple markets: the midrange wood window replacement, and the minor kitchen remodel. Notice a pattern? With the exception of the kitchen job, they’re all replacement projects. In general, replacements cost less and provide a bigger payback than remodels or additions.
  • First impressions are important The replacements that offer the greatest payback are the ones that are most obvious to buyers when they first view a house in person or online, such as new door or garage door. Siding replacement also provides great value at resale–particularly this year’s one new project, manufactured stone veneer, which is expected to recoup 92.2 percent of its cost nationally on average.
  • Kitchens still offer the most  remodeling bang for the buck. The only remodeling job breaking into the top 10 in terms of payback is the minor kitchen remodel with a national average cost of $19,226 and a national average payback of 79.3 percent.
  • Expect bigger payoffs in the West. In addition to reporting national averages, Remodeling magazine breaks down Cost vs. Value data by Census region. In the Pacific region–which includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington–six projects are expected to top 100 percent payback. The nearest competitor is the East South Central region–Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee–where two projects are expected to top 100 percent payback.
Top 5 Projects Nationally in Terms of Cost Recouped:
  1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)
  2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)
  3. Garage door replacement (88.5%)
  4. Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)
  5. Garage door replacement (82.5%)- upscale
Just how much sellers can expect to recoup from home improvements depends on the job and the region of the country they live in. There are also factors that vary from house to house and sale to sale, such as what updates are typical for the neighborhood, the quality of the work, and how important the improvement is to a particular  buyer. And while you can’t apply  this data directly to any specific house or neighborhood, you can use Cost vs. Value Report as a starting point in discussions with buyers and sellers about the cost and value of remodeling.

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

Cartus Company Outbound Achievement Award

Congratulations to Century 21 Beal for achieving the Cartus Company Outbound Achievement Award for 2014!

The Outbound Achievement Award is a symbol of our company’s dedication and persistence in generating outbound referrals and is earned by only an elite group of Century 21 companies.
Our superior level of production is a critical contributor toward the goal of the Century 21 System to be the global leader in real estate transactions. This is a true reflective of Century 21 Agents: Smarter. Bolder. Faster.

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

Good morning Pebble Creek homeowners!

Below are important updates and reminders from the Association, the City of College Station, and Pebble Creek Elementary School. When you have a moment, please read them over. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a wonderful weekend!


PCOA 2015 Annual Assessment  

The 2015 Annual Assessment invoices were mailed out on December 15th and payment was due on January 15th. As of February 15th, unpaid assessments were considered past due and have begun accruing interest. If you have not yet paid your assessment, please submit payment as soon as possible. Thank you for your help!



Pest Control and Pets

Earlier this week, a homeowner called to ask if I could send out a reminder regarding pest control and pet safety. Her dog was ill, and she believed it was possible that the dog had come into contact with a poisoned rat. I have heard from some homeowners that they’ve seen rats in the neighborhood, and I am sure that some homeowners have pest control to help eliminate the rodents. If you do have a pest control professional come out or if you yourself are treating your home or yard for rodents, please be aware that after the rodent is poisoned, it may travel to other neighboring properties where it could come in contact with a pet. If you do have a rodent problem, I encourage you look into using non-poisonous ways to eradicate the pests or to contact the homeowners in your area prior to using a poison to give them a chance to take precautions with their pets (keeping the pet indoors unless supervised, checking their lawns for dead rodents before letting the pet into the yard, etc.). I know the pet owners in the neighborhood will appreciate the thoughtful effort!



City Bond Election Forums: A message from the City of College Station


Hello Neighbors:


We need your help on March 3, 4 and 23.


What will College Station look like in 10 years? And what major projects — roads, facilities and parks — are required to best meet our needs in 2025?


With growth come challenges related to mobility, infrastructure and quality-of-life amenities. Identifying and prioritizing our future needs are difficult tasks, but citizen-driven efforts are underway to do just that — which may result in a list of capital projects for College Station voters to consider in November.


Your opinions and feedback are essential to the process, so we hope to see you — please spread the word to family, friends and neighbors — at the forums listed below.


Tuesday, March 3, 7 p.m.

Community Forum: Facilities

Meeting Training Facility at College Station Utilities

1601 Graham Road, College Station


Wednesday, March 4, 7 p.m.

Community Forum: Parks & Leisure

Meeting Training Facility at College Station Utilities

1601 Graham Road, College Station


Monday, March 23, 7 p.m.

Community Forum: Transportation

Meeting Training Facility at College Station Utilities

1601 Graham Road, College Station



Preliminary information about the 2015 Bond Election process is available at And if you have any questions or comments between now and November, please reach out to us at


If there are any questions or a need for clarification, please contact Aubrey Nettles, Assistant to the City Manager and Staff Liaison to the Community Advisory Committee at or at 764-3500.


Hope to see you next week.


Pebble Creek Elementary School Spring Carnival: A message from the Pebble Creek Elementary School PTO


Carnival is our Spring fundraiser at Pebble Creek Elementary. This year’s Panthers Around the World Carnival is being held on Saturday, March 7th from 11:00am – 4:00pm. There will be bounce houses, games, raffles, auctions, cake walk, karaoke, food and drink, and much more. Don’t miss out on the fun!


The money raised at carnival helps the Pebble Creek PTO support ongoing educational programs, purchase much-needed technology upgrades that enhance classroom learning and to improve the school campus.


For more information, click here to access our Carnival flyer or read on to find out about our online auctions, how you can help our efforts, the day of carnival, how to save on ticket prices, and our sponsors. If you have any questions about Carnival, please contact Monica Brown at or Tammy Mogford at


Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

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