Rentsucks

Houston-area online resource launches to help new homebuyers purchase a home

A Houston real estate expert has launched a new resource for first-time homebuyers as rates of house sales soars. Getty Images

Between the expiration of a federal evictions moratorium and the coronavirus crisis, the housing market in Houston has launched into uncharted territory — jumping in June after two straight months of decline.

Houstonian and broker-and-owner of RE/MAX Top Realty, Freddy Rodriguez, launched an online resource and consulting website called Rentsucks.com to demystify the home buying process for first-time buyers who perhaps are not sure of where to start. The online resource educates and guides new buyers into a plan that works for them.

"I've been on both sides of the homebuying transaction with my experience in the mortgage industry and as a real estate agent," says Rodriguez. "I want to be a trusted resource for people who have dreams of owning their own home and need guidance and advice."

Potential buyers can use the tool to assess their options with the help of experts provided by the online consulting service. Renksucks.com touts a free no-obligation consultation that matches them with a loan officer and a local realtor, guiding them through the process from start to finish.

Rodriguez says that his inspiration for the project ignited after seeing the instability of the last few months as Houstonians struggle financially to make ends meet and pay rent.

"I saw how tough the situation is for some people, losing their jobs and not being able to pay their rent," says Rodriguez. "When I heard that I thought, 'rent sucks,' if someone has ownership of a home, they could use their equity to refinance and pull out some cash in case they need it but when you're renting you can't do that."

According to Rodriguez, most first-time buyers think you need to 20 percent downpayment to buy a home, but that's not always the case, with many first-time homebuyers eligible to pay just 3 percent of downpayment.

"I want to be able to provide brand new buyers with help on financial issues," says Rodriguez. "I want to be able to provide them with the best experts and connections using our network to link them with a realtor in their local market that has a proven track record of looking out for the best interest of buyers."

To start the process, potential buyers can apply online through the website where they will be matched with local homebuying experts with the goal to guide them into the best way of achieving their dream of a home purchase.

Rentsucks.com will also help them save money and cut down on closing costs, through a credit from the lender and a closing contribution from the realtor.

"Everyone needs a roof over their head," says Rodriguez. "While you can't change your financial situation drastically, you can build credit and make a plan to get where you want to be in a few years. Rentsucks.com is going to save you a lot of time by providing you correct information and advice, even if the best deal is with another lender or realtor."

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Building Houston

 
 

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Thomas Vassiliades of BiVACOR, Katie Mehnert of ALLY Energy, and Don Whaley of OhmConnect Texas. Courtesy photos

Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know — the first of this new year — I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from health care innovation to energy — recently making headlines in Houston innovation.


Thomas Vassiliades, CEO of BiVACOR

BiVACOR named Thomas Vassiliades as CEO effective immediately. Photo courtesy of BiVACOR

Thomas Vassiliades has been named CEO of BiVACOR, and he replaces the company's founder, Daniel Timms, in the position. BiVACOR is on track to head toward human clinical trials and commercialization, and Vassiliades is tasked with leading the way.

Vassiliades has over 30 years of experience within the medical device industry as well as cardiothoracic surgery. He was most recently the general manager of the surgery and heart failure business at Abiomed and held several leadership roles at Medtronic. Dr. Vassiliades received his MD from the University of North Carolina, and his MBA was achieved with distinction at Emory University.

“I am excited and honored to join the BiVACOR team, working closely with Daniel and the entire team as we look forward to bringing this life-changing technology to the market,” says Dr. Vassiliades in the release. “Throughout my career, I’ve been guided by the goal of bringing innovative cardiovascular therapies to the market to improve patient care and outcomes – providing solutions for those that don’t have one. BiVACOR is uniquely well-positioned to provide long-term therapy for patients with severe biventricular heart failure.” Click here to read more.

Katie Mehnert, CEO and founder of ALLY Energy

Katie Mehnert joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss the future of energy amid a pandemic, climate change, the Great Resignation, and more. Photo via Katie Mehnert

Katie Mehnert started ALLY Energy — originally founded as Pink Petro — to move forward DEI initiatives, and she says she started with building an audience first and foremost, but now the technology part of the platform has fallen into place too. Last summer, ALLY Energy acquired Clean Energy Social, which meant doubling its community while also onboarding new technology. On the episode, Mehnert reveals that this new website and platform is now up and running.

"We launched the integrated product a few weeks back," Mehnert says. "The whole goal was to move away from technology that wasn't serving us."

Now, moving into the new year, Mehnert is building the team the company needs. She says she hopes to grow ALLY from two employees to 10 by the end of the year and is looking for personnel within customer support, product developers, and sales and service. While ALLY is revenue generating, she also hopes to fundraise to further support scaling. Click here to read more.

Don Whaley, president at OhmConnect Texas

Texas is about a month away from the anniversary of Winter Storm Uri — would the state fair better if it saw a repeat in 2022? Photo courtesy

The state of Texas is about a month away from the one year anniversary of Winter Storm Uri — but is the state better prepared this winter season? Don Whaley, president at OhmConnect Texas, looked at where the state is now versus then in a guest column for InnovationMap.

"Governor Abbott has gone on record guaranteeing that the lights will stay on this winter, and I am inclined to agree. With the reinforcement of our fuel systems being mandated by the Railroad Commission, 2023 to 2025 should receive the same guarantee," he writes. "Beyond that, as the demand for electricity in Texas continues to grow, we will need to rely on the initiatives under consideration by the PUCT to attract investment and innovation in new, dispatchable generation and flexible demand solutions to ensure long-term stability in the ERCOT market.

Whaley has worked for over 40 years in the natural gas, electricity, and renewables industries, with specific experience in deregulated markets across the U.S. and Canada. He founded Direct Energy Texas and served as its president during the early years of deregulation. Click here to read more.

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