North Texas Real Estate Blog

March 4, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Events

 

Posted in Around Town
Feb. 20, 2019

2019 - Looking Ahead By Looking Back

What to look forward to in 2019

One way of determining how the real estate market will fare in 2019 is taking a look at the trends from year to year. 2018 was a decent year for real estate in Collin County. There has been some press about our market and how it is shifting. Yes, it is shifting, but we are not in trouble. Interest rates have gone back down and inventory is up. This is a great time to buy a home.

Sellers are facing more competition than we've been used to in recent years but homes are selling. Knowing how to adjust to the market is the key to success. 

 

Feb. 14, 2019

Two Things Every Homeowner Should Do In 2019

Preventing Identity Theft

It has happened more than once to our clients. It happens to dozens of people every day. It can happen to anyone, but a person selling their home is a popular target.

Here is the scenario: A client lists their home for sale. The property gets marketed to national and local websites promoting the house for sale. The next thing they know, their identity has been stolen. Bank accounts and credit cards have been opened up in their name. The homeowners catch people in front of their home, going through their mailbox! 

Why are home sellers the target?

What makes a person selling their home more susceptible to identity theft? The likely answer is because the owners tend to be away from home frequently or absent altogether. This is what makes them easy prey. 

How are thieves targeting homeowners?

The thieves sign up for Informed Delivery from the US Postal Service on the target address. They monitor mail delivery online before the owner has even received it. When the new credit cards or bank checks are due to arrive, they retrieve them from the mailbox before the homeowner can.

How can you protect yourself? 

These are the two most important steps you can take:

  1. Lock down your credit by issuing a credit freeze
  2. Sign up for Informed Delivery from the US Postal Service

How To Freeze Your Credit

The Federal Trade Commission has a great article on exactly what a credit freeze is and is not. It explains what you will be able to do with a freeze in place and how to go about temporarily lifting the freeze when needed. One reassuring thing to know is that a credit freeze does not affect your credit score. You can freeze your credit with all three major creditors. Here is the data you need to do this.

Equifax
Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
800-685-1111

Experian
Experian.com/help
888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

Transunion
TransUnion.com/credit-help
888-909-8872

Sign up for Informed Delivery

Since identity thieves are also stealing mail, it is essential to understand what is being delivered to your home each day. The United States Postal Service offers a product called Informed Delivery. You need to sign up for this service before the criminals do. Once you have signed up for it, no one else can have the same function on your address. This valuable service alerts you each day as to what is being delivered. You can know when important items are at your home and check to make sure that nothing is missing when you pick up the mail. 

Feb. 1, 2019

Winner 2018 NextDoor Neighborhood Favorite!

Posted in Around Town
Jan. 21, 2019

Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Get in on the fun! 

This Valentine's Day will be something special for one lucky couple. I've got guaranteed reservations at one of the hottest restaurants in town. The lucky winning couple will receive a $100 gift certificate and a table for 2 at Haywire in Plano. The food is scrumptious - they are going to love it. The reservation is coveted - Haywire doesn't have any more regular tables available this night. 

Who do you know?

Everybody knows someone that they think would deserve such a treat. Maybe your parents? A couple with young children in need of a night out? Or perhaps someone you want to set up for Valentine's Day? I bet you can think of a deserving couple. 

Here's how to enter:

On January 31st and February 1st between 10:00am and 2:00pm call in to 214-785-8225 to register your couple. Answer a few quick questions and they will be entered. Check back here or look for my Facebook Live event on Feb 2nd as I reveal the winner. 

Good luck!

 

Posted in Around Town
Dec. 13, 2018

Does it hurt your credit to shop mortgage rates?

It's OK to shop around!

I encounter many buyers that are nervous about talking to a lender. Many get defensive at the suggestion that they get pre-approved. Dig a little deeper into the objection, and I usually discover that the buyers are more concerned about protecting their credit score than the actual approval. 

I asked one of my lenders for some input on how I can help my clients understand the process and take the fear out of loan approval. Jason Mallett with American Mortgage provided some great resources for us. 

What happens to your credit score when you make an inquiry?

The initial inquiry into your credit from a loan application will take a few points off your credit score.  This initial dip is inevitable if you need to take out a loan for your new home. Any subsequent inquiries, within a brief time window, into your credit by any other lender will not be reflected in your score. 

This holds true in the area of mortgage loans, auto loans, and student loans. It is not the same as applying for a credit card or a line of credit at a department store. Applying for a mortgage is not the same as applying for 10 credit cards. The credit agencies recognize the difference and adjust the scores accordingly.

Buffers and Deduplication...

Credit agencies recognize the differences between credit lines and understand when a consumer is shopping around for the best mortgage product. They have designed a process that allows multiple inquiries without penalty. 

Buffers

Lenders perform one last credit check on any loan they are about to close. As long as that check is done within 30 days of the previous inquiry, FICO ignores it.

Deduplication

Deduplication is the elimination of duplicate data. When a consumer shops for a mortgage loan, the initial inquiry takes a small hit to the credit score. As long as the additional inquiries are of the same nature, and within 45 days of the initial inquiry, they are considered duplicates and will not have any adverse effects on the credit score. 

I found a great article on this...click to read more.

Where to shop?  

Now that you understand it doesn't adversely affect you to shop within that 45-day window - SHOP!!!  I have a great place for you to start your shopping - my lender-resource page.  It provides you with my favorite lenders. I can't imagine any better solution than what you will find with the lenders on my list. 

After you have shopped - then shop!

Now that you have confidence that you have the best loan product for your needs, the fun begins! Take a look at one of my most popular home searches or create your own search custom-made for your budget. 

When you are ready to take that next step, give me a call

 

Nov. 21, 2018

3 Window Options For Seniors

As a Senior Residential Specialist, I often find myself drawn to articles relating to this demographic. As an approaching senior myself, I often find myself checking my surroundings to see how my new home fits the bill for aging in place. 

I recently downsized and plan to stay in my home for the duration. It is quite an adventure but I am loving my new smaller home. 

REALTOR® Magazine published an article this month on windows suitable for seniors. I had never given windows much thought as it pertains to getting older. We will be replacing our windows in this new(old) home in the next few years and I will definitely take some of these suggestions. It does not always make sense to have a sliding window - especially as large as they can get. I will, however, make sure that the windows I get are low maintenance and easy to operate. 

Check out the article here

If you know anyone needing help in the area of senior housing, head over to my sister website I am developing just for the purpose of helping seniors. 

 

Nov. 14, 2018

A Walk In The Park

Three of my favorite Allen parks and trails

Fall can by tricky in North Texas. It can be hot; it can be dry; it can be cold; it can be wet. All in the same day even. So when we get that one day - that perfect day - you've got to go for a walk. There are so many beautiful parks in the area, you are guaranteed to have a magical walk minutes from wherever you are.

We had one of those perfect days recently, and I decided to take a walk. The problem was deciding where to take the perfect walk. Just like a kid with too many dessert choices (I'll take one of everything please), I took a walk in 3 parks.

First, was my old stand-by - Dayspring Nature Preserve. This is a beautiful place and it is walking distance to my house. I had to get that in. Next I drove to The Old Stone Dam to walk along this trail. I had not been there yet but have been meaning to take a look. Finally I went and checked out the newest park in Allen, Spirit Park. This is not so much a place to walk as it is a place to play. And take pictures. You can get some great pictures here. 

Dayspring Nature Preserve

I am just giddy that my house is steps to the Watters Creek Trail and this leads right to the Preserve. When the weather is nice you can find groups of teens hanging in their hammocks from the trees. This time of year, you have very high chances of walking up on families taking their greeting card photos. Many weekends you can witness family gatherings at the covered pavilion. I just love this place. 

   

 

You Can Live By Dayspring!

If you would like to live walking distance to this park - check out these homes for sale close by:
CLICK HERE

The Old Stone Dam

I have been meaning to go walk this trail since its grand opening. It did not disappoint. The trail is beautiful and there are educational markers along the way to inform the guests about the history of this site. This 5-minute video gives you a great overview of the site:

 

   

I parked at Allen Station Park ball fields. The trail head is right at the parking lot. The dam and old rail bridge is a short walk in.

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The graffiti bridge is a favorite local spot for high school senior photos. Every year someone puts up the new graduation year. 

You Can Live By Old Stone Dam!

If you would like to live walking distance to this park - check out these homes for sale close by:
CLICK HERE

Spirit Park

Spirit Park is the newest installment to the Allen Parks offering. It is not necessarily a "walking" park but you can easily reach it from the north end Watters Creek Trail or Waterford Parks Trail. It is an adult baseball/softball complex, nature garden, and huge playground. Here is a great article on the purpose of this unique park.

   

 

 

You Can Live By Spirit Park!

If you would like to live walking distance to this park - check out these homes for sale close by:
CLICK HERE

 

Posted in Around Town
Oct. 23, 2018

The Shifting Market - What you need to know...

Absorption Rate

It is a great indicator about the market. Let's take a look at this statistic and see how it is being used to determine the state of the market. 

 

Oct. 10, 2018

Foundation Issues Got You Down?

We have a saying in real estate when it comes to home foundations - “In Texas, it is not a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN your home will need foundation repairs.”

Don't Be Afraid Of Foundation Problems

My experience with homeowners from other states is that they tend to be leery of foundation issues. However, a seasoned Texan, sees foundation repair as routine maintenance. In fact, some homeowners prefer that the repairs are already complete on a home so that they don't have to bother.

In the past, I have written about steps you can take to prevent foundation issues.

After living in 5 homes over the past 20 years in the North Texas area, I finally had my turn at living through a foundation repair on my own home. The exterior pier installation was pretty painless. I wanted to take some time to share my experience and hopefully help alleviate the stress of the dreaded foundation repair.

Two Types of Foundation Repairs

I should start out by defining the two types of foundation repair for slab foundations.

  • External Piers - placed along the perimeter of the home. A hole is dug outside along the foundation. The piers are laid and are used to lift the foundation. The soil is replaced. If a pier is needed where an existing driveway or patio is present then these slabs will be cut in order to add the piers.
  • Interior Piers - placed under the slab from inside the home. This is a more invasive procedure that requires access to the home, removal of flooring, breaking the slab, adding the piers and repairing the slab and flooring.

My painless experience was with the exterior piers. I don't think I would describe interior foundation repair as painless. It is akin to taking on a renovation. It can disrupt the household for a week or more.

How Did This Happen?

Earlier this year, my husband and I moved from our big-family home to our empty-nester home. It was a great adventure. The home we bought had previous foundation repair but showed no signs of needing more. However, as the hot summer came to an end, we started to see the signs – cracks in the walls and ceilings, doors that don't latch close. As I was gearing up to do one of our first renovation projects on our home, I decided to have the foundation checked before we started.

I didn't want to start a remodeling project with foundation issues. Especially since my first project was to replace an exterior door. Sure enough, the home needed some additional piers. I was grateful that they were exterior piers and that none of them would pierce any existing porches or driveway.

How the Foundation Got Fixed

Being in the business, I can tell you there are some really great companies you can trust to do your foundation work. I typically will give my clients 3 suggestions. You can also ask around on social applications like Facebook or Nextdoor for great companies that your neighbors use. For this project, I chose Stratum. They are a local company, have a great book of business, and have been around a long time.

As soon as I booked the repair, I was given a great set of instructions and a video that showed how the process worked. Keep in mind that if you schedule your foundation work in the heart of the summer you will have to wait in line. Take a look at the video that shows how they do what they do. It fascinates me how it works.

The professionals showed up on time and went right to work. They removed some landscaping that was in the way and started digging. All the work took place right outside my home office window. They were quick and got all 9 piers installed in one day. I could feel my house move while they were working. It was weird.

The replaced the dirt and landscaping and so far it is still alive. There is no guarantee that the shrubs will survive. They tell you that you should have a professional do the transplanting if you want to be sure it will thrive. For us, the shrubs are overgrown and about at end-of-life so we took our chances. All the excess dirt was spread around the house and yard in low areas.

By the time they left, I did not see any trace that they were there. They were so neat and efficient. They even cleaned up areas in the brick mortar that were cracked.

You can read all about the repair process here.

Careful Attention

The foundation company made careful measurements before, during and after the installation. They tested the sprinklers before they started digging and after they were done. They performed a leak test to be sure that there are no plumbing issues as a result of the damage/repair.

They protected the grass and sidewalk and left the place as good or better than they found it. I am very impressed with the process.

How can I help you?

Do you think you may be headed to some foundation repairs soon? Take heart, it is probably not as bad as you imagine. I've got some great referrals for you from the large company to the small. Let me know what you need.

Posted in Home Improvement