I wrote an item last week about the still-hot real estate market in Houston, particularly at the high end. For a more gossipy look at real estate in America’s fourth largest city check out swamplot.com. The site, run by “founder and chief promoter” Gus Allen, has been following the trials and tribulations of Royce Builders, a national homebuilder that seems to be in a bit of financial trouble lately.
Swamplot’s tipsters tell of wild parties, lavish spending by the founding Speer family, and even a barking toilet seat brought out at company sales meetings. Employees were apparently encouraged to rub the seat for good luck and chant Royce! No wonder the company appears to be in the toilet.
Allen has also got some funny items on the real estate dealings of Joel Osteen, the toothy TV preacher whose chief advice to aspiring home buyers appears to be 1) pray and 2) fork some of your income over to the church and the Lord will take it from there.
Here’s how Osteen described it in his book Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps To Living At Your Full Potential:
At the time, we were making double mortgage payments on the townhome, in an attempt to pay the principal down sooner. We decided to make the one required payment, and we’d sow the second part of that money as a seed, believing for God’s favor. We did that faithfully for several months, believing for the townhome to sell. After about the fourth month, we got a call from our Realtor. She said, “I have good news! I’ve got a contract for your house.”
“That’s great,” I said. “How much is it for?”
She said, “Let me just come by your house and talk to you about it.”
My heart sank. Usually when the Realtor wants to talk to the seller about the received offer, that means the offered price is low. But when she arrived at our home, we were pleasantly surprised that the contract was for the full price we were asking for our townhome. We thought we’d have to discount it thousands of dollars. But I believe, because we sowed a seed in faith, God not only brought us a buyer, but He did more than we could ask or think. He gave us even more than we were hoping for!
That’s just how our God operates.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.