Easy Ways to Save for a Down Payment

Here are a few helpful tips to help you to save:

With rising rental costs and the amount of student debt at an all-time high, it’s no surprise that many potential buyers are unable to save up for a down payment. If you’ve found yourself in this boat, don’t lose hope. With the help of technology and a little foresight, you can save for that down payment — and probably sooner than you think.

Set up automatic deposits.Enable automatic deposits into your savings account. Schedule them right after paydays, when you know you’ll have the cash available. If you can’t automate your deposits, set a reminder to transfer money every two weeks.

Try a round-off app. What if you could round off every purchase you make to the nearest dollar and then put that extra cash to good use? Apps like Acorns and Clarity Money round off your transactions and either invest your money or add it to a savings account.

Cut down on spending. Find an area of spending that you can afford to cut back on — maybe eating out or grabbing to-go coffees. Each month, tally up your saved funds and add them directly to your savings account. You’ll be surprised at the impact.

Clean house. Do a little spring-cleaning, and declutter those closets, drawers and shelves. Sell anything you don’t want on Facebook, Craigslist or a consignment app. It may only be $20 to $50 at a time, but when added to an interest-paying savings account, it’ll make a big difference.

Save for down payment

Remember, you don’t need the mythical 20 percent down payment ready and available to buy a home. In fact, thanks to low down payment loan options and a plethora of down payment assistance programs, you can actually buy a property with much less than that — sometimes just 3 percent!





#rubenandnacy #thevillarrealteam #savefordownpayment

4 Home Improvements With High Returns

Curb Appeal is Key Before Selling:

Curb Appeal …aka Remodeling your home can be a great way to increase its value and ensure you get good returns when it comes time to sell. But before you go tearing out your floors or adding another bedroom, take note: Not all projects are created equal. In fact, according to recent data from Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, there’s a pretty big discrepancy between which projects deliver high returns and those that don’t.
Want to make sure your remodels are worth the effort? Here are some top options:
  • Get a new garage door. It seems simple, but replacing your garage door is the most value-adding project you can take on. On average, it delivers returns of more than 98 percent upon resale.
  • Focus on curb appeal. Upgrades to exterior areas saw serious growth over the last year. Wood deck additions increased over 18 percent in value, while stone veneer installation value was up almost 14 percent.
  • Replace your entry door. Don’t bother sprucing up old doors. Replacing them with steel models can deliver a whopping 91 percent ROI. And at an average cost of $1,471, they’re one of the most affordable updates for your home.
  • Upgrade your kitchen. Minor kitchen remodels continue to be a top value-adding project. This year, the average small remodel adds about $17,193 to your home’s value and recoups more than 81 percent of your costs.

Curb appeal

You might want to rule out projects like backyard patios, master suite additions and major kitchen remodels — they’re notorious for low returns. If you’re looking to boost your home’s value and increase its marketability, focus your efforts on projects that improve aesthetics and add ease and convenience instead.  Landscaping is a great was to spruce up value and appearance.
RE/MAX Integrity
19510 Kuykendahl Rd #B
Spring, Texas 77379
#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #curbappeal

Tejas Chocolate Craftory

Texas Monthly ranked Tejas Chocolate Craftory at #6 on their top 50 list published in late May 2017.

craftory sign

The Tejas Chocolate Craftory is honored, humbled, and overwhelmed.  And they are cooking all that they can, but the popular items are getting sold out sometimes before 3:00 PM.  The Craftory no longer accept call in “to go” orders, in addition they must maintain the integrity of the line as a true first come, first serve operation.  Please come, meet someone new while in line, and try to have some fun with it. Let them make it a barbecue party. Remember, standing in a line for good barbecue is as much Texan as family pictures in fields of bluebonnets, cheese enchiladas, and kicking armadillos.


How did you come up with chocolate & barbecue together at the same place is a question we get often. Friends, we just followed the path. We started a hobby at home making bean to bar chocolate. Sales went alright at the farmer’s market and with some retailers. So much so that we decided to open our own store. Chocolate sales alone were not going to be enough to make it our livelihood, so we decided to add a cafe to the business plan. When we found the old house on North Elm Street in Tomball and looked at the market, we decided Old Town Tomball could use a good barbecue joint. That is exactly how we got here. We make chocolate and truffles from raw cocoa beans, and slow smoke USDA certified 100% all natural Prime Grade briskets at the oldest building in Tomball. We call it The Craftory. Pretty sweet and smokey is what we were thinking. We’d enjoy having you stop by and pay us a visit.  You will not be disappointed!

Come early, hang out, eat well!

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #tejaschocolatecraftory

2017 REAL Trends America’s

The Villarreal Team with RE/MAX Integrity were recognized by 2017 REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Teams in Houston, Texas

Ruben & Nancy Villarreal’s Team were named as one of America’s most productive real estate teams as a part of REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents The ranking report produced by REAL Trends and is sponsored by Zillow Group.  The Villarreal Team are now members of the “America’s Best Real Estate Agents,” and ranked amongst the Top Teams in the State of Texas.

REAL Trends ranked over 12,600 residential real estate agents solely based on their excellence in sales during a single calendar year.

All production numbers are verified by a third-party in order to ensure accuracy and report integrity.  “This team is a highly successful real state team and represents less than 1 percent of all real estate practitioners in the United States, ” says Steve Murray, president and publisher of REAL Trends. To qualify an individual agent must have closed at least 50 transaction sides or $20 million in sales volume.  For real estate agent teams, the minimum is 75 transaction sides or $30 million in closed sales volume.  Teams ranked had an average of 144 sides and an average sales volume of almost $61 million.  Which ensures that only the best of the best are included on this prestigious list.

REALTrends Real Estate Villarreal Agents


“We are also pleased that two of the nation’s most prominent online real estate websites, Trulia and Zillow, have partnered with REAL Trends to bring a superior level of customer exposure of these sales agents’ performance,” Murray added.

As honored as The Villarreal Team feels by being recognized as part of REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents, they will all agree this ranking represents the loyalty and referrals that each of their customers provide them.  “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to build a successful real estate team.  The level of sales it takes to qualify makes it a truly special recognition,” stated Ruben Villarreal.



About REAL Trends

A privately-held, Colorado-based publishing, consulting and communications company specializing in the residential brokerage and housing industries.  REAL Trends is recognized as the leading source of trends in the industry, REAL Trends, The Trusted Source, REAL Trends The Thousand, REAL Trends 500, which ranks the top brokerage firms in the United States. Visit REAL Trends at









#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #thebestrealestateteam

RE/MAX 2017: The Fight to Find a Home. Will It Be the Same in 2018?

As we wrapped December’s RE/MAX National Housing Report, we noticed one glaring anomaly: there were no real anomalies for 2017. No real valleys and no big peaks other than the expected seasonal ebbs and flows. Throughout the year, so many of the key market indicators in the monthly housing report remained steady: tight inventories, rising median home prices and increased sales. This was all good news for sellers but bitter news for buyers – especially ambitious first-time home buyers looking to lay down roots. And although inventory remains the primary story line in the New Year, here are a few other trends we can expect for the 2018 U.S. housing market:

1. Inventory is Key 

Turn up the volume on new home building. Until that happens, we’ll struggle with low inventory and some markets will feature all-out bidding wars. In 2017, housing starts were down 2.9% year-over-year and well below the historic 50-year average. That hurts. Even though there’s a shortage of labor and a spike in material costs, the primary reason for the low starts is that builders have focused on more profitable, higher priced homes and multi-family residential construction.

We’d love nothing more than to see the next generation of home buyers start building equity now. We saw glimmers of hope at the end of the year as U.S. single-family homebuilding and permits began to surge. We’d like to see that trend continue.

2. Existing Home Sales on the Rise

Fueled by renewed consumer confidence, wage growth and an improving economy, existing home sales could increase and may even surpass record levels. What would slow us down? Any negative impacts on the stock market, or a repeat of 2017’s devastating hurricanes and fires or even the recently signed tax reform bill.

The tax bill that passed at year end, new restrictions on mortgage interest deduction and property tax deduction could deter some from buying homes. This could also deter some homeowners with existing large mortgages from selling. With the changes to the standard deductions for both individual and married filers may also remove some of the incentive to buying a home. But we’ll wait and see what the real effects are of these provisions as buyers weigh their options.

3. Changing Migration Patterns

Home buyers discouraged by affordability and low inventory in certain cities, markets and states, will look to other, more attractive and more inviting neighborhoods.  At RE/MAX we expect to see more home sales in the suburbs, less-populated markets and even more affordable states. Cities that have the most effective transportation systems, those that promote high-amenity, “walkable,” contemporary neighborhoods will benefit the most.

4. Always the Unexpected

Gadgets, apps, online tools, skilled agents with killer technology. Anything that makes buying and selling a home more plausible and less stressful will continue to evolve.

RE/MAX agents understand the complexities of a home transaction. That’s why we’re here. But, we’re all for streamlining that process by signing documents online, video chats with our clients and perusing open houses via virtual reality.

We’ll certainly see our share of challenges in 2018 but with that will come ecstatic home buyers and sellers, new and booming communities and fresh innovations in real estate that we never saw coming.



#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #thefighttofindahome

The Villarreal Team, RE/MAX  Integrity

Honored as a Top Producing Team

 January, 2018 –  The Villarreal Team, with RE/MAX Integrity, was honored as one of the Top Twenty Producing Teams (#14) in the State of Texas at the RE/MAX Statewide Convention for 2017.

Ruben & Nancy Villarreal are the owners of RE/MAX Integrity, along with their team, they provide professional real estate services.  Ruben, offers 30 years in the real estate industry, and began growing his team in 1993.  They’re continuously climbing the ladder of success, as a result their ability to thrive in a constantly changing market.  This dedicated team work together to maintain the highest degrees in continuing education, innovative marketing, social media, and market knowledge.

“This is a great honor for Ruben & Nancy, and we are highly pleased for their team’s ongoing success,” said Esther Cordova, Broker of RE/MAX Integrity. “They have built a great business, and are very dedicated to the development of our community as much as they are into helping people achieve their home buying and selling needs.”

In addition to Ruben and Nancy, The Villarreal Team consists of Ray Humphrey, Beth Perque, Andree Ward, Robin Webster, Dawnya Simmons and Ashley Silvey.

RE/MAX is the most productive real estate network with its Sales Associates averaging more sales than other real estate agents. Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX!

About Ruben and Nancy Villarreal, The Villarreal Team
Ruben and Nancy Villarreal are the founders of one of Houston’s most award-winning RE/MAX teams. Known for their customer service, market knowledge, innovation marketing, constant attention to details and genuine care for its clients. They specialize in North/Northwest Houston, The Woodlands, Spring, Klein as well as Montgomery County. For more information, please call (713) 557-7095, or visit



A New Year’s Resolution that is easy to keep!

2018 Resolutions:

This is the time of year when people make resolutions. Lose weight, save money or eat healthier are all worth while goals, but often times they don’t make to February.  Another popular resolution according to recent poll is self-improvement.  If you’re thinking maybe it’s time to advance in your life, Lone Star College has the solution to your resolution with classes that are affordable and close to home.

LSC offers nearly 200 academic and workforce programs that can put you on the path to a better life.  From two-year program to eight-week fast track workforce certification course, there is something for everyone here.

Are you interested in workforce training?  LSC recently opened its LSC-Skilled Trades and Technology Center with other centers to follow.  These state-of-the-art technology centers will educate you on the skills needed to gain employment fast. Workforce scholarships, provided through Workforce Solutions, allow students to obtain the skills needed to successfully reenter the workforce.

There are also, scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, and other related costs for individuals who enroll in one of the training programs on the Gulf Coast Workforce Board’s High-Skill, High-Growth Occupations list.

If just starting or finishing your education is on your resolutions list, now is the time to head on over to to start close and go far in 2018.



Color of Choice…Here’s a few Pointers

Learn how to implement the hot colors of 2018.

Forecasters predict:

Color can impact the overall mood of your surroundings as well as what potential buyers feel when they step inside your home. The challenge comes in choosing the right combination for your particular space.  You want it to be inviting and warm.

Hues to Use

Experts from Pantone, Sherwin Williams and other companies make annual paint color predictions based on global themes. Hues such as BEHR’s color of the year, In the Moment, along with its peaceful palette, focus on people’s need to unplug from an over connected world. Similar shades like Equilibrium and Off the Grid also promote a sense of serenity.

The Light and the Dark

Contrasting light and dark colors is a great way to create dynamism in your home decor. The lighter the shade, the more spacious the appearance. If your furniture or flooring is primarily neutral, adding dark colors to the mix can bring balance and help create attractive focal points.

Capitalizing on Color

Our mood is subtly yet consistently influenced by the colors around us. For example, soothing shades such as the powdery blue Casual Day can help you unwind and relax after a long day at work. Conversely, vibrant deep oranges like Civara invigorate and promote an optimistic tone.

Pointers for Color Pops

Both fun and formal spaces are equally enhanced by accents. Whether you use them to highlight a unique architectural feature or tie an area together, the trick is to be strategic. In design, the 60-30-10 rule is a well-known way to bring balance to a room.

What is the 60-30-10 Rule?

You don’t need to be a mathematician to use the 60-30-10 rule in your decor, nor do you need a ruler or a calculator. The rule simply states that for the most balanced, appealing look, you should choose a three-color palette for decorating a room, and use it as follows:

  • Decorate 60% of the room with the dominant color
  • Decorate 30% of the room with the secondary color
  • Use the remaining color as an accent in 10% of the space

Like all decorating guidelines, the rule is not written in stone, just follow the basic idea: one dominant color for the majority of the space, a secondary color that fills roughly half as much space as the dominant color, and a third color to add splashes of interest around the room.

New Restaurant: Uncle Julio’s Authentic Mexican Food in Spring, Texas

Our Story:

The first Uncle Julio’s opened in Dallas, Texas, in November 1986. The popularity of Uncle Julio’s food grew rapidly.  Including a drink they call The Swirl, the original frozen mixture of margarita layered with home-made sangria. Uncle Julio’s has grown to 29 restaurants in seven states: Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Tennessee, and continues to grow.

Mexican food made from a scratch kitchen, serving only the freshest locally grown ingredients. This is the quality of food that is found at Uncle Julio’s every day. They have unique customer service, plus a welcoming atmosphere to create an experience that will be remembered. Specialties are to include, chicken & steak fajitas, tender filet mignon, and bacon wrapped shrimp. A few fantastic favorites are their seafood fajitas, shrimp al pastor, and ahi tuna served with homemade corn tortillas or bibb lettuce. But don’t forget the Tex-Mex classics such as tacos, enchiladas & tamales, all with a selection of homemade sauces. Also here’s a tip, order the table side guacamole! It’s prepared for you at your table; if you like it spicy, kick it up a notch with fresh chopped jalapenos.

If you are looking for the perfect setting for a homemade sangria, a sizzling plate of fajitas, or our smash-hit dessert, the Chocolate Piñata, this is the place. Bring your friends and family to Uncle Julio’s for delicious food, one-of-a-kind drinks, an experience you’ll never forget.


MONDAY – FRIDAY 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

6835 N Grand Parkway, West
Spring, TX 77389
(346) 220-6655

#rubenandnancy #villarrealteam #unclejulios #authenticmexican

Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Lineup

RODEO HOUSTON Lineup at NRG Stadium, Feb. 27 – March 18.

The 2018 RODEO HOUSTON entertainment lineup features a mix of country, rock, R&B and Spanish pop artists. There are several RODEOHOUSTON favorites, plus six entertainers that are new to RODEOHOUSTON.

RODEOHOUSTON 2018 will feature a brand new, star-shaped stage with top-of-the-line technology that will greatly enhance the performance plus place fans closer to the entertainers inside NRG Stadium,” said Joel Cowley, Rodeo president and CEO. “There is something fun for everyone at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It has been Houston’s favorite tradition since 1932.”  Whether you are young, old, new to the area or a native Texan, there’s something you will or have enjoyed about the rodeo.

As the Stage is set:

And as the Rodeo dust settles each night, a superstar takes the stage to entertain the crowd. The star entertainers will begin their performance after the last rodeo event is completed each evening.  The actual start times for the concert can vary day to day due to the different number of rodeo competitors and other production elements.

Rodeo Houston

Here’s the fantastic entertainment lineup:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 27: Garth Brooks
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28: Little Big Town
  • Thursday, March 1: Blake Shelton
  • Friday, March 2: Leon Bridges
  • Saturday, March 3: Kelsea Ballerini
  • Sunday, March 4: Alessia Cara
  • Monday, March 5: Rascal Flatts
  • Tuesday, March 6: Jason Aldean
  • Wednesday, March 7: Thomas Rhett
  • Thursday, March 8: Luke Bryan
  • Friday, March 9: Chris Young
  • Saturday, March 10: Cody Johnson
  • Sunday, March 11: Calibre 50
  • Monday, March 12: Zac Brown Band
  • Tuesday, March 13: J Balvin
  • Wednesday, March 14: OneRepublic
  • Thursday, March 15: Keith Urban
  • Friday, March 16: Chris Stapleton
  • Saturday, March 17: Brad Paisley
  • Sunday, March 18: Garth Brooks

Tickets will go on sale next Thursday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m., through AXS Ticketing via

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #lineuprodeohouston2018

The Villarreal Team