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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Tvardi Therapeutics Inc. has fresh funds to support its drug's advancement in clinical trials. Photo via Getty Images

A Houston-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company has raised millions in its latest round.

Tvardi Therapeutics Inc. closed its $74 million series B funding round led by new investors New York-based Slate Path Capital, Florida-based Palkon Capital, Denver-based ArrowMark Partners, and New York-based 683 Capital, with continued support and participation by existing investors, including Houston-based Sporos Bioventures.

"We are thrilled to move out of stealth mode and partner with this lineup of long-term institutional investors," says Imran Alibhai, CEO at Tvardi. "With this financing we are positioned to advance the clinical development of our small molecule inhibitors of STAT3 into mid-stage trials as well as grow our team."

Through Slate Path Capital's investment, Jamie McNab, partner at the firm, will join Tvardi's board of directors.

"Tvardi is the leader in the field of STAT3 biology and has compelling proof of concept clinical data," McNab says in the release. "I look forward to partnering with the management team to advance Tvardi's mission to develop a new class of breakthrough medicines for cancer, chronic inflammation, and fibrosis."

Tvardi's latest fundraise will go toward supporting the company's products in their mid-stage trials for cancer and fibrosis. According to the release, Tvardi's lead product, TTI-101, is being studied in a Phase 1 trial of patients with advanced solid tumors who have failed all lines of therapy. So far, the drug has been well-received and shown multiple durable radiographic objective responses in the cancer patients treated.

Dr. Keith Flaherty, who is a member of Tvardi's scientific advisory board and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, offered his support of the company.

"STAT3 is a compelling and validated target. Beyond its clinical activity, Tvardi's lead molecule, TTI-101, has demonstrated direct downregulation of STAT3 in patients," he says in the release. "As a physician, I am eager to see the potential of Tvardi's molecules in diseases of high unmet medical need where STAT3 is a key driver."

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