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Texas Oilman’s Tournament

The annual event, which sees more than a thousand fishing enthusiasts competing in a number of offshore, inshore, and blue water tournaments, aims to “help those who cannot help themselves,” says its website.

Founded by David Cowan, the tournament has donated $6.3 million to various charities since its inception in 2002. Many companies, event sponsors, private entities, and volunteers have rallied to the event’s worthy cause and thrown in their support.

Highlights include:

  • Snapper, cobia, and king mackerel for offshore events
  • Flounder, speckled trout, and tripletail for inshore events
  • Tuna, mahi-mahi, and bill fish (tag and release) for blue water events

Exciting sidelights

Participants not only have fun, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. They also enjoy overflowing food and drinks, and win door prizes in the evening. Exciting items like a brand-new boat, motor, and trailer, are also auctioned off.

No wonder the tournament has enjoyed success after success all these years.

In 2015, it drew 641 fishermen, 26 tent table sponsors, and numerous visitors from all over the state. Organizers donated the event’s $430,000 earnings to 39 charities. Among them were the

Matagorda County Women’s Crisis Center, Matagorda Volunteer Fire Department, and the Bay City Women’s Pregnancy Center.

Dates to remember

This year, the popular tournament casts its lines at Matagorda, Texas on July 14 to 16. Participants will compete in offshore, inshore, and blue water events.

Valuable auction items and packages, such as two framed watercolors by the award-winning artist John Dearman, dove hunts for four, and a seven-night stay for six people in the Ritz-Carlton Aspen Highlands, are up for grabs.

Organizers will start mailing registration forms on April 5.

Deadlines to remember are:

  • Payment of tent sponsor dues and angler team fees – June 1
  • Submission of registration form – June 15

Homeselling 101

Selling your home seems like a logical fit in today’s do-it-yourself lifestyle. Why get professional help when you can do everything yourself? Stake out a catchy FOR SALE sign on your lawn, hand out a few fliers, post it on your social media account, and you’re all set.

Right?

Well, not quite.

The problem is today’s market is as tight and as competitive as can be. Buyers know what they want. Sellers cater to buyers’ every want. Finding that perfect customer with the best offer can be a daunting task.

Fortunately, there are ways to make your property stand out in a crowded market.

Here are some:

  • Increase your curb appeal

  • First impressions are everything, and this age-old adage is alive and well in the real estate market. So make your front lawn as appealing as possible. Give your front door and porch a fresh coat of paint. Trim your lawn. Plant flowering shrubs.

  • Talk about your upgrades

  • Make your property stand out in a market flooded with foreclosures and short sales. Have your home inspected and
    try to rid it of all issues and problems. Pest inspections are a great way to start. You can even use upgrades as a selling point.

  • Stage everything

  • Treat your home as a model unit by presenting it in the best possible light. Schedule viewing hours when your home is at its best. Make sure you depersonalize and de-clutter your home. Little things like fresh flowers or the aroma of just-baked cookies or freshly brewed coffee will work wonders too.

  • Get professional help

  • Make this a priority. A professional real estate agent will raise your chances of selling your property faster, and at a price much better than you would ever imagine. They can help you look for buyers, market your home, and even aid you with the paperwork that will follow.

We have the best team that can help you sell property. Know more about our team of professionals here.

Homebuying 101

We all dream of getting that house with a nice lawn in a good neighborhood. It’s easy to pick out the house you want, easier still to dwell on the promise it offers.

However, buying a home requires plenty of thought and planning.

It’s a milestone purchase, after all, something you’ll be dealing with for years. One wrong step and the dream can vanish… or turn into an all-to-real nightmare.

So consider the following before you go house hunting:

  • Determine your price range

    Be practical and reasonable. Figure out how much you can pay by checking all your assets first. Yes, everyone wants a nice house. But can you afford that 5-bedroom estate you’ve been eyeing for some time?

  • Learn to be flexible
    This is the fun part of home buying. But this can be the most distracting as well. It’s easy to get swayed by every beautiful house or apartment you see. The options can be mind-boggling. This is where flexibility comes in. Learn to work around every aspect of your prospective home until you find one that suits your needs and budget.
  • Get pre-approved for a loan
    Although house prices are more affordable than ever, getting a loan is another matter. Lenders now have stricter standards following the housing market crash. So getting pre-approved for a loan tells lenders you’re a good risk. You may also check out additional assistance from the government or the state homebuyer program in your area.
  • Have the property inspected
    Once you’ve made your offer, have an expert inspect the property to determine if it has structural issues that need fixing, or if it’s worth the price tag.
  • Read the fine print… or hire an agent
    This is an often overlooked step. And with reason. Buying a house can be can be exhausting; the last thing you want to do is wade through a 50-page legal document. You need an agent or a lawyer to help you understand the fine print.

Let us help you look for the best home for your family. Check out our listings here.

Top 5 lake house trends and styles

We’ve come up with a list of trends and styles based on 10 of the most amazing lakeside homes and retreats in the world. Here are our favorites.

    1. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows
    If you’re living in a lakeside home, you’ll want to have unobstructed views. Installing floor-to-ceiling glass windows will do just that. If you’re worried about your privacy, you can add window treatments like drapes, a motorized shade, or roman shades.

    2. Green architecture
    Eco-friendly lakeside homes are big right now. Consider using solar power (even if partially), LED lighting, energy efficient appliances and water heaters, and sustainable materials to make your lakeside retreat a gift to you and Mother Nature.

    3. Classic pitched roof
    The timeless silhouette of a pitched roof on a classic or contemporary lakeside home is a statement-making architectural detail. A pitched roof is especially dramatic on a house with glass walls to create a 21st century fairy-tale lake house.

    4. Low-maintenance landscaping
    Forget the fussy. Opt for a low-maintenance garden or courtyard that blends seamlessly with your surroundings.
    Consider a rock garden, use mulch, or grow herbs (handy if you love spending time in the kitchen!).

    5. Light, neutral, or cool exterior colors
    Consider an all-white retreat, or go for cool blue-grays and slate grays that will make your home easily identifiable from the distance without disrupting the natural color scheme of your surroundings.

Looking for more inspiration for your lakeside home? Check out this article by Decoist.com.

If you’d like to know more about lakeside homes in East Texas, contact us here.

Best home improvement ideas for 2016

If you’re thinking of revamping your home this 2016, here are some home improvement ideas that will definitely jazz up your East Texas home.

    1. Update your kitchen with two-tone kitchen cabinets.
    The kitchen is the heart of the home, and what better way to spice it up than incorporating two-tone cabinets for an updated look? Houzz.com suggests you keep your upper cabinets in white or neutral tones for a clean and timeless look. As for the lower cabinets, play with wood tones and deeper colors. Aside from revamping your kitchen, you’re also adding value to your home.

    2. Increase storage space with deep kitchen drawers.
    Figuring out where to put those big pans and deep dishes is a perennial problem for every homeowner who likes to spend time in the kitchen. Installing deep kitchen drawers will provide the needed space and maybe a small boost to your home’s value.

    3. Add a workhorse island.
    Kitchen islands, if you don’t have one yet, provide additional workspace, storage, and even room for seating. Thus, they’re a practical and wise investment should you consider adding one to your kitchen.

    4. Install a bidet
    Add more convenience and functionality to your bathroom by installing a bidet. It’s easier now with manufacturers creating combination bidet-and-toilet units.

    5. Transform your bathroom into a living space
    No, you shouldn’t put a sofa in there, but it’s a big trend right now to decorate your bathroom with something other than antiseptic tiles. Crete an accent wall with bathroom wallpaper in an interesting pattern. Add decorative pieces to enliven an its simple functionality. A beautiful bathroom can relieve stress at the end of a long, hard day.

Home improvements and minor upgrades are a great way to change things up in your home while boosting its property value. Before you go and renovate, make sure the upgrade fits well with the overall feel of your home. Check out this great article by Houzz.com for design trends and more.

If you’re looking for homes in East Texas, contact us here. You may also check out our areas of expertise here.

Upcoming Bassmaster Tournament in Toledo Bend

It’s a true delight to have the prestigious Bassmaster Elite Series return to the waters of Toledo Bend Reservoir. The tournament will take place on May 12 to 15, 2016 at Cypress Bend Park in the 185,000-acre lake.

The return of the renowned tournament to Toledo Bend was first announced by B.A.S.S. sometime in August last year. It created the expected buzz among anglers wishing to participate in the event.

The announcement came at the same time Toledo Bend earned the top spot for the best bass fishing like in the United States. That’s why it made perfect sense for the Bassmaster Elite Series to hold their competition in the reservoir — where else can you get the best bass?

Hospitable community

“When you combine the best fishery in the country and a host community that has always rolled out the red carpet for our anglers fans, and sponsors, you are certain to have a fantastic event,” said Michael Mulone, B.A.S.S.’ director of event partnerships, in an interview with Bassmaster.com.

“We are grateful for our continued partnership with Many, Louisiana, and look forward to another successful tournament,” Mulone added.

According to Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall, it was fitting to name Toledo Bend as the best bass lake in the country.

An easier win

“When a lake certifies 80 bass that weigh over 10 pounds in a 12-month time frame, it’s pretty easy to name it the best bass lake in the nation,” he explained. The fact makes it easier for participants to actually catch over 25 pounds in order to win the tournament.

“The lake is simply full of big bass. And to put an exclamation point on the lake’s ranking, an event held there just after Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes were announced saw a 38.22-pound five-fish winning limit. The lake is simply on fire right now!”

We can’t wait for the upcoming Bassmaster Elite Series in Toledo Bend this year. For more news and updates, check out their official website.

Want to know more about available properties in this area? Check out homes in Toledo Bend North here, and residences in Toledo Bend South here.

Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas

The most famous Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday) celebrations occur in New Orleans. But this doesn’t stop other cities across the country from going all out with parades and parties of their own.

Port Arthur, Texas is one of the many cities that has celebrated Mardi Gras since 1993. That’s 23 years’ worth of parties these fun-loving people and their friends have enjoyed so far!

The Mardi Gras has contributed a lot to the area’s economy and to racial harmony, as people from all walks of life flock to the city to take part in this traditional celebration.

More wholesome than anywhere else

Organizers describe it as a family-friendly festival, more wholesome than celebrations in other areas.

The streets of Downtown Port Arthur burst with color and cheer as people from all walks of life watch a parade and dance to their hearts’ content.

These parties are intended as a final blowout before the fasting, abstinence and sobriety that go with Lent.

What to expect

Like most celebrations during Fat Tuesday, the Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas is most awaited.A month before it opened in early February this year, organizers mounted the Miss Mardi Gras Scholarship Pageant of Southeast Texas as prelude to the main event.

Parades — of munchkins, motorcycles, ATV/golf carts and trucks — are all-time favorites.

Music lovers can watch a series of concerts. Larry Tillery & Vagabond Dreamers, Aaron Watson, Cody Johnson Band, and Wayne Toups & Zydecajun are some of the featured acts this year.

Food stalls and arts and crafts booths, the Gumbo Cook Off, the umbrella-designing contest called Umbrella Brigade, camel and pony rides, the Royal White Tiger exhibit, a petting zoo and Dallas the Fire Guy also spice up the event.

Nudity, profanity and indecency during the parades are prohibited in this family-friendly event where children below 11 years old are admitted for free.

Fishing events at Lake Sam Rayburn

Lake Sam Rayburn is a popular fishing spot in east Texas. Touted as the largest lake in Texas, this crowd drawer attracts people who want to watch or join the exciting fishing tournaments it hosts every year.

The lake’s biggest draw is its largemouth bass, which never fails to attract anglers from all over the world. In fact, the must-see place, named after a top lawyer and legislator, is acknowledged as the best largemouth bass lake in Texas.

Lake Sam Rayburn hosts several tournaments each year for those who want to land the prize game fish. Bluegill, red ear sunfish, and the hybrid striped bass, known for its fighting characteristics, also make for a good catch on any given day.

March 2016

  • Media Bass Team Tournament – March 3
    Entry fee is $160 and membership dues is $35 per person. Call (972) 222-2207 for details.

  • Media Bass Individual Tournament – March 3
  • Entry fee is at $110 and membership dues is $35 per person.
    Little League participants (those 15 years old and under) are not required to pay any fees. For more information, call (210) 788-4143.

  • Patriots Challenge Open Bass Tournament – March 19
  • The tournament offers free and discounted stays for active-duty military members and veterans. Proceeds go to organizations dedicated to serving military members and veterans. For more information, call (936) 872-9266.

April 2016

  • Big Bass Splash – April 22 -24
  • The three-day event attracts anglers from all over the world, lured by prizes totaling $575,000. Entry fee for each day start at $160 for participants. Now on its 32nd year, the annual competition also has a junior edition, where kids in their age group can fish for bass, catfish, crappie, or brea. For more information, call (409) 698-2591.

May 2016

  • C.A.S.T Couples Tournament – May 14

  • One of the six invitational legs of the tournament, with winners qualifying for the championship in October. Entry fee is $140. For more information call (281) 796-7486.

  • Patriots Challenge Open Bass Tournament – May 21, 2016

  • This weekend tournament benefits VA patients, veteran groups, and active-duty military members. Among their list of
    beneficiaries is the Wounded Warriors Association of East Texas. For more information call (936) 872-9266.

Want to know more about available properties in this area? Check out homes in Sam Rayburn North here, and residences in San Rayburn South here.

Unique dishes to try in Texas

Texans like their food rich, juicy, flavorful, and in portions as massive as the state itself. Here are dishes that nobody does better than people in the Friendship State:

Chicken-fried steak

This Texan specialty is not called “The Great Equalizer” for nothing. Small-town folk and big-city people alike come in droves to enjoy this crispy, juicy tenderized steak coated with creamy gravy.

Chili con queso

The original recipe for this simple tortilla dip is not considered comfort alone. This local favorite (especially in Austin) is now a sophisticated dish found in upscale restaurants. Foodies love its elaborate toppings and the different kinds of cheese that give it that to-die-for flavor.

Barbecue and steak

A grill is a must in every Texas household. This makes every Texan an expert when it comes to slow-smoking beef brisket or pork ribs over wood-fired heat. Texas steaks are also cooked with wood grills and barbecue pits. Add mango, green apple, or cucumber salsa and you’re all set.

Texas chili

This combination of dried chili and beef made into a fiery stew is often called “Texas Red.” Unlike regular chili, however, this one always excludes beans. It’s the red-hot chili, the tomato base, and a few flavorings that give this classic that palate-pleasing flavor.

Fried okra

This staple of Southern cooking involves coating okras in flour, cornmeal and/or a combination of both, and frying them to perfection. Ignored elsewhere, okra gets this appetizing twist in the Lone Star State.

Pecan pie

Texans takes their pie as seriously as their barbecue. In fact, pecan is the state’s official pie, and a Thanksgiving staple as well. Pecan pies are typically made with corn syrup and pecan nuts. Chocolate, honey, molasses, bourbon, and other ingredients are added to make this dessert even more heavenly.

Tex-Mex taco

This variant has added ingredients like crunchy corn tortillas (preferably homemade), and a side of salsa and lime. Many modern Tex-Mex restaurants use other types of meat and seafood for their tacos, plus different toppings like corn or zucchini as well.

The Lake House Lifestyle: Waterfront Living in Sam Rayburn

Imagine living in a lake house where the tranquil atmosphere brings you peace of mind. Relaxing, isn’t it? What’s even better is that you can actually live out this dream along the shores of Lake Sam Rayburn — the waterfront properties in this area are unmatched.

The Ideal Place for Waterfront Living

Whether you plan to settle down in Sam Rayburn North or Sam Rayburn South, the area is filled to the brim with amazing recreational opportunities and surrounded by thriving communities.
Sam Rayburn is especially perfect for those who are looking for a laid back, lake house lifestyle while maintaining close proximity to an array of modern amenities and services.

Cozy Cabins and Sprawling Lakefront Estates

One of the things that make Sam Rayburn so attractive among home buyers is its diverse collection of real estate options — just enough to meet different kinds of needs and lifestyles.

  • If you want a low-key property with easy access to rich fishing
    grounds and recreational areas, you can opt for cabins or modest single-family homes along the lake’s shores.
  • If you want to live it up, go for an elegant lakefront estate that
    can serve as your permanent home, private getaway retreat, or
    even your retirement home.

Homes in the Sam Rayburn area are great property investment especially for those who don’t plan on staying in the area permanently. You can have your property rented out by holidaymakers as Lake Sam Rayburn is a popular retreat among weekend warriors, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Relaxation and Outdoor Recreation

Waterfront living in Sam Rayburn has several perks, including easy access to lush national forests and plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Fishing is a popular activity in Sam Rayburn, as 114,000-acre reservoir is home to a number of game fish species.

  • The most popular fish in the lake is the largemouth bass
  • Catfish and crappie are available all year round
  • Bluegill and redear sunfish will be a fun catch for beginners
  • and inexperienced angers

  • Sam Rayburn’s white bass population will test even the most
    patient angler
  • The local government annually stocks Sam Rayburn with hybrid striped bass because of its schooling nature and growth potential.

Want to know more about available properties in this area? Check out homes in Sam Rayburn North here, and residences in San Rayburn South here.