North Texas Real Estate Blog

June 4, 2018

Area 4th of July Celebrations

Area 4th of July Celebrations:

Click on the links below for all the information you need.

Posted in Around Town
May 21, 2018

4 Priority Moving Tasks

Important Considerations For Your Move-In

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. Before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks

Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an exterminator

Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

Clean out the kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.

Don't forget to ask for help!

I've got great referrals to help you with all your needs as you move. Contact me today for help.

Posted in Buying a Home
April 29, 2018

Feeling All The Feels Of Downsizing


In all my time as a REALTOR®, I have had clients on all ends of the spectrum of home ownership.  I have precious first-time home buyers, fantastic folks expanding their family and expanding their homes, retiring couples downsizing to the perfect single story. It is always an emotional journey no matter what phase of life one is in. This month, I find myself not only the REALTOR® but the client in my very own adventure in downsizing.

Downsizing is the act of moving from a larger home to a smaller one. I believe it is the most difficult home buying experience to go through financially, physically and mentally. I do think it is worth it in the end. The best way to go through the experience is to be well-prepared. 

Financial aspects

In most real estate markets, smaller single-story homes sell for more money per square foot than the larger homes. This is the biggest objection I hear from my clients that downsize. “We would love to sell our big house but we don't know where we would go. We can't afford the smaller homes.”  The true way to look at this is that you may pay relatively more than you want for the smaller home, you will see the savings in reduced taxes, reduced utilities, reduced home maintenance, and upkeep. My best advice is to focus on the end-game which is getting into a more manageable space.

Physical aspects

I am going through the downsize activities right now. I am not “old” but I sure am not as physically capable as I was 20 years ago. I spent a few hours going up and down a ladder re-staining my stair banister and could barely get out of bed the next morning. It can be frustrating. My best advice is to give yourself more time than you think is necessary to get your home ready to sell and to hire professionals where possible. 

Mental aspects

This one is the toughest. As we are going through our home, I am packing away the memories. I found a stack of all the drawings my daughter did in elementary school. I just broke down and cried! That sweet little girl who used to draw her pretend mermaid family and give them all names is now headed out the door to college. Another task I have to complete next week is painting my garage wall where I marked the kid's heights as they grew. Sniff sniff. My best advice is to let it go – let go of the feelings, let go of the tears. A good cry is quite cathartic. Then after a good cry, let go of the “stuff” that has no place to settle in the new home. The gauge I use for packing up is this: 

  • Does it bring me joy?
  • Is it something I want my kids to have to sift through when I am gone?
  • Is there a place for it in the new home? 

If I can't answer yes to any of these questions then I have to let it go. Donating items will bless others. Selling items will buy my dinner. Trashing items will bring a release of the materialism I've held on to all these years. 

Where to go for help? 

If you have been toying with the idea of downsizing, give me a call. I will put my project management skills to good use by creating a details plan on what all you need to do to get ready to make the move. 

If you are curious to see what type of housing is out there for you, check out my sister website I have designed just for people looking into smaller housing or housing for the 55 and over. 




March 28, 2018

The Trend in Multi-Gen

Multi-generational homes

What is multi-generational housing?

Multi-generation housing is built to accommodate different generations living under the same roof. This can be accomplished simply by building bedrooms with private bathrooms or splitting the bedrooms to different sides of the home. It can also be accomplished by building a suite within the home that includes a private entrance, kitchenette, living space as well as bedroom and bathroom. Forbes recently put out a great article on the subject.

What are possible uses for a multi-generational house? 

There are many uses for this type of living situation: taking care of aging parents; housing an older child in college or just starting out; taking care of older special needs family members; providing housing for a nanny, missionaries, etc.

Looking for a multi-generational home? 

I have seen many newer developments incorporate these homes into their offerings in a neighborhood. Darling Homes Cornerstone Collection 7490 Plan can be found in several locations around the metroplex. I have toured them in Lawler Park and Estates of Shaddock Park. Lennar is also building these homes. They have jumped into this trend and put it in the spotlight in their marketing materials. I can help you find a home to fit your needs. Contact me for information on how to get started.  

My interview with a homeowner of one of these homes...

Several weeks ago, I had lunch with my good friend, Stacy from Texas Pioneer Title. She invited me to come and tour the home that she and her husband built for their family and for her parents. They live in a Darling home in Frisco. The home is incredible and the suite for her parents is so practical and comfortable. Here are three things I learned from them during my visit. 

Overcoming Objections

When Stacy and her parents began talking about the idea of building a home where they can live together, it was difficult for the parents. They were reluctant to live together. Truth is, both sides were hesitant to give up their independence. Everyone was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. Once they established habits, they overcame the awkward situations of whether or not to say goodnight, or tell each other where they are going, or inviting the other party to dinner. 

Assigning Expenses

Figuring out costs was another challenge they had to work out. Since a multi-generational home is technically a single-family residence, there is only one property tax bill, one set of utilities, and a single entity to insure.  Stacy and her family decided to split the costs by a percentage of total square footage. Her parents pay a proportional amount of the global expenses. They all agree that it comes out much more cost effective for her parents to live there than any apartment or retirement community. 

Managing Households

Keeping up with two households under one roof was another aspect of life that posed a challenge. Stacy's family quickly figured out that a shared Google calendar made life much easier. Everyone inputs their appointments and events. If anyone needs help from another family member for a ride they are invited to the calendar event. They all feel like this has enabled them to function quite well. 

The elephant-in-the-room question

There really isn't a good way to approach this, but the thought that came to my mind when I first started investigating these style of homes. I asked my friend what the plan was for the space when her parents were no longer able to live there. She had definitely considered that situation. Her hope is that it be used as guest quarters for when her adult children and grandchildren visit. They are also huge supporters of missionaries. They plan to use the space to host missionary families that come home to Texas for brief visits. Finally, they hope to one day transfer the home to one of their children and then move into the parent's suite. 

Is This The Home For You?

If you are considering one of these types of homes, give me a call. I can scour the MLS to find these homes when they go on sale. 

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 27, 2018

Beating the Inspection - Pt. 3

Banned Freon Air Conditioner

Will you be able to sell your home when the air conditioner becomes illegal?

Decades ago, the EPA began the phase-out of R22 refrigerant, also known as freon. We are inching closer and closer to the deadline for the substance to be completely banned. We've got less than 2 years to take action.  January 1, 2020, is the date that these systems become obsolete and can no longer be repaired when the repair requires refrigerant.


I've seen many of the homes in my area, and I can tell you that there will be plenty of households affected by this. I am already finding it hard to sell a home with an R22 equipped system. Freon costs alone are skyrocketing. This week I saw an estimate for over $400 for a small amount of freon. Ouch!

Want to know if your air conditioner is one of these doomed units? Read this article here for instructions on how to check it and what you can do ahead of the complete ban.

Beating the Inspection 

As I continue my series on Beating the Inspection, I address this looming threat to home sales. You can read my previous article on sidewalk repair here

What does it mean if you are planning on selling your home?

It can have a tremendous impact on the sale of your home. The system will be inspected at time of sale. The inspector will report to the buyer the age of the system and the use of R22. What buyer would purchase a home with an AC unit that cannot be serviced? 

What should a seller to do? 

I believe that you have 3 options. 

  • Your best option for a smooth transaction is to replace your R22 systems in the next year or so. Your maintenance cost on the old system is going to continue to rise. Bite the bullet and do what is necessary. If you have one of these obsolete units, it is likely over 10 years old.
  • The second option you have is to stipulate in your sales agreement that you will rebate a portion or all of the cost to the buyer so that the buyer can replace the system. This is the easy way out, but you have to get the buyer to agree to it. If you are tight on cash and have enough equity in your home, it might be the only option you have. 
  • The last option is the riskiest. You just hope that the buyer doesn't care and wants your home so much that they will take on the burden of replacing the system.  You need to have a super desirable house for this option to work.  

Planning On Selling Soon?

What else do you need to consider before selling your home? Give me a call. I will visit your home and give you a punch list as well as a market analysis of your home's value. This is a no-obligation service that I provide for free. I want to earn your business – let me show you why.



Jan. 6, 2018

Biggest real estate concern for 2018 isn't the new tax code – it's the …

Real estate changes in 2018

... mortgage interest rates

I just read this very thorough review of housing affordability by the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. It discusses the new tax code and how it impacts the real estate market in Texas. Truth is, very few households are affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Less that 2.8% of Texas homes have a mortgage amount over $750,000. The majority of homeowners and potential homeowners will not face the cap on the deductions.

You can read this article in its entirety here.

The most concerning situation that could impact the 2018 real estate market is the mortgage interest rate. This same article shows what an increase in the interest rates will mean to the affordability of real estate. That is the real shocker. Most experts are predicting rates to rise to nearly 5%. Here are a few predictions on the interest rates for 2018

This table shows how mortgage interest rates, combined with income, affect the affordability of a home.

We focused at the end of 2017 on the fact that our local market was beginning to stabilize or shift in favor of buyers. I think the looming presage of rate increases will make for another swift market in 2018 as both buyers and sellers scramble to lock in a deal before the rates rise.

Are you ready to make a move? The sooner the better is what I say. Give me a call today and let's make a plan for your success in real estate in 2018.



Nov. 29, 2017

Itchin' For A New Kitchen?


The kitchen is one of the areas of a home that sees the most wear and tear. All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly, so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal if you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things you should avoid:

Cheap laminate counters: The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear. It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh off the stove, and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

Flat paint: A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen, where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for eggshell or semi-gloss finishes.

Trendy backsplash: If you watch any home remodeling shows, you’ve certainly seen kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials. Those trends can be pricey to pursue, yet can look dated in a hurry. Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret—and you’ll have more room in your budget for quality materials elsewhere.

Cheap flooring: Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture). Quality flooring is worth the investment.

Ask a Pro!

If you are about to take the plunge get a second opinion. Get help from a designer and even ask a seasoned real estate professional about potential resale consequences of the choices you make. Avoid trends on the permanent items such as tile and flooring. Pick up trends in your paint colors, light fixtures, and other items that are easy to replace. 


Nov. 9, 2017

Beating The Inspection - Pt. 2

Where The Sidewalk Ends And Trouble Begins...

Today, I continue my series on beating the inspection and getting your home to closing. If you missed the previous article, click here to read about outdoor lighting. I am working my way from the outside in. Let's look at your front sidewalk. It is where the buyer takes the first step towards reviewing and considering your home. 

Sidewalks are wonderful and useful and highly desired in a neighborhood. It sure makes for a pleasant visual when buyers visit an area in search of that ideal home. However, with the shifting soils in Texas, they often detract from a home's curb appeal if they go into a state of disrepair. 

A cracked sidewalk can also be the subject of a lawsuit. I asked my friend, Dean Hansen with Farmer's Insurance, if he could tell me about the cracked sidewalk issue from his perspective. This is his response:

A neighbor slips on my sidewalk and threatens to take me to court for damages. Does my homeowner policy protect me?

Yes. Homeowners insurance will pay for damages, if the accident is the result of your negligence. It will also pay for the legal costs of defending you against a claim. Also, the medical payments part of your Homeowners policy will cover medical expenses arising from an injury to a neighbor or guest. Your local agent can periodically review your policy limits with you when you are making coverage decisions and adjustments.

He even said that insurance companies may require the repair be made in order to provide insurance coverage. If you plan on selling your home, it is important to know this and take care of these sort of issues. It could cause a contract to fall out because the home can't be insured. 

Who Fixes What?

In many communities in North Texas, the city maintains the street sidewalk. Each community will have their own policy on maintenance of them. It can take a while to get resolved and the cost is set by the city. I live in Allen and recently went through this process. The city of Allen will pay up to half the cost and the owner pays the other half. They assess the walk and determine which sections of the walk are to be repaired. Check with your city to find out how you can get help.

The city did all the repairs - I just wrote a check for my portion. It was fun to watch. 

Word of Warning......

Be aware of this caveat when the city repairs your sidewalk: They are only responsible for the street sidewalks. They are not responsible for the sidewalk that leads to your home. They are not responsible for any damage that occurs to your sidewalk during the process of making the repairs to the street sidewalk. 

I learned this lesson! There was a sink hole beneath the center section of the sidewalk that connected to my personal walkway. When they removed that center section, my personal walkway sunk into the hole. The result was about a 6 inch drop off from the repaired sidewalk to my sidewalk. Eeeek!!

My beautiful sidewalk.......

The unexpected expense of having to repair my own sidewalk was not welcome. However, I love the result. I got a few quotes to get the sunken portion repaired but was told that the new section would never match the old section. I also got estimates on replacing the entire walk. There were some other cracks in the walk so a replacement was in order. I learned that for a little bit more, I could get the stamped concrete sidewalk so I bit the bullet. I got it replaced and got the stamped and stained walk. It looks awesome and is a bit more updated that the previous use of the aggregate walk. I love it. I hired Caraway Concrete to do the work. I think they did an awesome job. What do you think? 




Oct. 16, 2017

Beating The Inspection - Pt. 1

Eliminate Inspection Obstacles - Exterior Lighting

I wrote recently about a troubled transaction I had this summer. The homeowner's had a difficult time selling the home because the inspection report scared off several buyers. It was a tough time for them. Hitting stumbling blocks like this after getting your home under contract can be frustrating. 

An inspector is going to find something. The key is to have as few issues as possible. Many little things will begin to stack up. As the buyer reviews the report with the inspector, and the report gets longer and longer, the buyer's mind begins to see the home as being neglected.

I am beginning a series over the next months on some of the common items and issues found in an inspection report that can be easily remedied. This session focuses on exterior and landscape lighting. 

Steps to make sure your exterior lighting is up to par....

Maintenance. Replace bulbs - Replace fixtures.

It sounds like a no brainer but go through all of your exterior lighting fixtures and make sure that the light bulbs are working. Replace the bulbs. Now, if any fixtures remain that are not working, have them repaired or replaced. 

Consider updating your exterior flood lights with motion sensors and security cameras.

Experts recommend that you maintain your landscape lighting once a year. Here is a handy checklist:

  • Cut back any shrubs or plants encroaching on the lighting
  • Remove debris such as dirt, mulch, insects, and leaves from fixtures.
  • Check for damage such as exposed wiring or corroded casings
  • Replace bulbs
  • Clean casing, replace caulking or sealer
  • Check and adjust fixture positions

My story.

I am in the process of getting my home ready to sell. I started on the exterior of the home. My landscape lights had stopped working a few years ago. I thought this would be a simple DIY project but I was wrong. The light fixtures were so damaged and corroded I had to call in my favorite handy man with all the tools. 

It was still a pretty inexpensive update and now my home looks great - day or night! 



Looking for more tips on landscape lighting?

I've got a great article here on the latest lighting trends for 2017

Let me know how you have improved your exterior lighting. Good luck!


Oct. 13, 2017

Tour These Homes on Sunday

What Do You Do When The Cowboys Don't Play?

You go tour homes. 

I've set up the perfect open house tour for you to go see these homes in Allen on Sunday. View them between 2:00 and 4:00. Click on each pin in the map below for home details and directions. You can also see the home photos and more by clicking here.