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How June became National Homeownership Month


June is National Homeowners Month

Celebrate National Homeownership Month 

Did you know that June is National Homeownership Month?
And it’s an official national holiday? Who knew?

A Little History

It started back in 1995 during the Clinton administration as a week – long celebration.  In 2002, President George W. Bush made June National Homeownership Month.

Here’s a link to the proclamation.

This is even more important today as our nation is still healing from the real estate bust.  Homeownership encourages personal responsibility and the values necessary for strong families.

It’s a huge responsibility and not everyone should be a homeowner.  The market continues to be demanding and competitive and will remain so for a while.

Taking the time to educate yourself on the financial responsibilities of owning a home is a good place to start.  Finding a great real estate agent to discuss the correct process is imperative in today’s market.

If you’re thinking about buying a home and don’t know where to start here’s a free home buying guide.  It’s deals specifically with today’s market and what you need to prepare for purchasing a home.  It will save you time and money.

Guide to Buying a Home – Spring 2014

It takes time to find and buy the right home.  Don’t ever feel pressured to do something you’ll regret. Coming home to something you own is one of the greatest achievements anyone can attain.

And paying off your mortgage is next. It’s possible to create real estate wealth this way.  This is a great reason for celebrating national homeownership month!

Smart Home Search


Why Use Smart Home Search?

Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in a sea of listings?  There’s so much duplicate content on third property sites and status information is not accurate. That’s bad especially in a tight market with fewer homes available. I know frustrated buyers can feel my pain. I get calls every day about bad listing data.  It’s just not right!

Custom Home Searches could be the answer to get there first.  You know how important it is!  A local source has the newest listings.  You might not know this but not all brokers or agents feed their listings to the large portals anymore.  In fact, many have stopped the last few years…

Big D. Dream. Discover. Dwell.

What is a Radius Home Search?

It’s a search that shows homes for sale within a certain distance of a specified point.  It could be your work address or school address. If you want to live close to family then enter a home address.  It’s an excellent way to shorten your commute.  Which is a number one criteria with all our clients.

I have built Radius Search pages on our sites to make it easier to find homes close to schools & work.  You can do this too by entering any address and it will automatically give you the Latitude and Longitude. Then you specify a distance from that point for listings to appear in the search results.

You can also pick other criteria like price range, bedrooms, features and more. Go the the home search page enter your city and other criteria. Then go down to line 5 and click radius and enter the address and miles (.5 to 20 miles) for your radius search. Voila – instant results!

Why Search for Listings within a Certain Distance of a Known Location?

  • Find homes for sale near friends or family.
  • Seniors needing to live close to medical care.
  • Urban home buyers wanting to be where it’s at!
  • Desire to be near a certain town or location, you can compare pricing for homes a little farther out.
  • Minimize commute time to work, #1
  • Locate near a landmark, biking routes, lake, hiking trails, parks and so on.
  • Close to private schools, major highways, businesses, employers, shopping and more.

One search I built last year that has been very popular:  Homes within a 2 mile radius of Shops at Legacy.  This radius search will show you all listings around the Shops.  Shops at Legacy only have apartment rentals and luxury townhomes for sale.  So if you wanted a single family home “close to the scene” this search would be ideal. You get the idea.

Below are a few searches I set up for you to try.  Hopefully,  they will make your home searching process faster & easier!  Smarter is better! Don’t you think?

Dallas Major Employer Home Search within 1 or 2 miles

Dallas Private School Radius Search within 1 or 2 miles

Dallas Lifestyle Searches

Plano Radius Employer Homes Searches

Plano Lifestyle Searches

Frisco Quick Custom Searches

If you know someone who can use this search please feel free to share this post.  I have added many extra features to our home search page that you can’t find or do anywhere else.

Building Blocks – Construction Costs of a $310,619 Home


Construction Costs and its affect on the Housing Recovery

home_sale

Ever wondered what the cost by category of a new home home build is?  Here’s the sales price breakdown for a home with a final sales price of $310,619 by percentage/$ cost.

CONSTRUCTION COSTS  BREAKDOWN:

    • Finished Lot Cost 21.7% or $67,551
    • Total Construction Cost 59.3% or $184,125
    • Financing Cost 2.1% or $6,669
    • Overhead and General Cost 5.2% or $16,306
    • Marketing Cost 1.5% or $4,645
    • Sales Commission 3.3% or $10,174
    • Profit 6.8% or $21,148 = $310,619/100%

TAKEAWAY: Someone building a home needs to be cognizance that there is:

“NO PERFECT HOME”

Even after you go through the build process to build that,

PERFECT… PERFECT HOME ….when you move in it still won’t be perfect.

You’ll find yourself going …. I shoulda done this …. or wish I’d done that.

And that’s perfectly normal because everyone does it!

Source: Tierra Grande, Journal of Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University

Hot Tuesday: Top 25 DFW areas that are selling fast!


Hotness Factor:  MLS Area Housing Activity Report

Arts District

On the 8th of every month MLS sales are publicly released.  They are reported by anybody and everybody.  And usually people that don’t buy or sell real estate. That’s not a dig, just a fact.

I don’t like these reports for 2 reasons:

  1. The reporting is too early in the month  for the previous month because all the sales data has not been entered.
  2. It gives broad activity of the DFW market not the micro market that we all live in.

One report that isn’t talked about too much is: Sales Closed by Area, Ranked by Hotness.

What is it?

The hotness ratio is pending sales as a percent of active listings.  In other words, where buyer demand is.  It’s put together by the Texas Real Estate Center, a very credible source.

MLS areas target more precise locations and sales activity for buyers & sellers to watch the market.  All properties are entered into the MLS by area, sub area etc.  There are 141 area in the MLS.  So without further ado….

Here’s the Top 25 MLS Areas of Hotness for Single Family

  1. Area 9 The Colony
  2. Area 90 Arlington (Kennedale)
  3. Area 274 GRAND PRAIRIE-NEW 3
  4. Area 88 Arlington SE
  5. Area 124 Grapevine
  6. Area 5 Mesquite
  7. Area 106 FW South (Everman/Forest Hill)
  8. Area 86 Arlington Central SE
  9. Area 23 Richardson
  10. Area 15 Dallas South Oak Cliff
  11. Area 130 FW-Summerfield/Park Glen
  12. Area 120 Bedford
  13. Area 122 Hurst
  14. Area 51 Allen ISD
  15. Area 24 Garland
  16. Area 22 Carrollton/Farmers Branch
  17. Area 53 McKinney ISD
  18. Area 89 Arlington (Mansfield)
  19. Area 121 Euless
  20. Area 50 Wylie ISD
  21. Area 271 GRAND PRAIRIE-NEW
  22. Area 87 Arlington SW
  23. Area 12 Dallas East
  24. Area 127 N Richland Hills/Richland Hills
  25. Area 20 Plano

The Takeaway:

#1 is The Colony, this is where the 121 corridor is being transformed and many businesses and people are moving.   You can also see areas surrounding The Colony are doing well too, Carrollton, Grapevine, Plano. Other Dallas areas are Richardson, Garland, Allen, McKinney, Wylie and East Dallas are all in the top 25. There are 141 areas in the MLS, if you want more information this link will give you the hotness ratio as well as sale, pending sales, days on market, active listings and months inventory of all DFW areas.

The Most Prestigious Undeveloped Lot in Highland Park


Celebrity Parcel For Sale

celebrity lot in Dallas

This is one of the last tracts of land to be undeveloped in Old Highland Park. Trees galore…

It’s part of the Lamar Hunt estate purchased in 1968. They were going to build but never did.

So here’s your chance to own 1.77 acres in Highland Park with views of Turtle Creek and all the privacy anyone could want.  The price?  For you?  Only…$15,000,000.

N. Dallas – “The Outer Suburb”


What is it like to live in North Dallas and Preston Hollow?
prestonhollow

I was raised in North Dallas and this whole area is going through a gentrification. These neighborhoods were developed in the 1950’s just north of Northwest Highway and the Park  Cites. The neighborhoods border 635/LBJ to the north and are  bordered east and west by the Dallas Tollway and North Central  Expressway.

What makes this area so desirable is its closeness to town and  the large lots and trees. There is a wide mix of families, young and  retirement age that live here.  It is a great well rounded community. It is really an extension of the Park Cities lifestyle. Shopping and conveniences are the same.

What has drawn young families is the proximity to several  private schools, St. Mark’s, St. Alcuin Montessori, Hockaday (Melinda Gates Alumni) Jesuit, Ursuline and Episcopal. Although  this is Dallas Independent school system, some of these schools are  recognized in the district and have strong parental involvement.

Many of the smaller homes are being torn down in these areas,  they are typical one story ranch on large lots, typically 80×160.  This comes at a price, tear downs are about 400K for the lot and new  homes are $1-$2 million. There is a nice mix of traditional and contemporary new homes being built.

Preston Hollow is the neighborhood directly north of University Park and lots here can be as much as $700K with large live Oak trees that the new home can be built around. New homes are typically 4000-6000 sq. ft. Prices here are comparable to Park Cities, however  you do not get the exemplary school district, but you do get a bigger lot, there are always trade offs and the land is what always appreciates, not the dwelling. Click here to see Preston Hollow Listings.

North Dallas population is about 30,000, so you do get a small town neighborhood feel, open spaces and trees, many dog walkers and joggers. It is not a tight or closed in as the Park Cites, with a similar population  on much less land mass. Click here to see North Dallas Listings.

North Dallas neighborhoods are safe and many have neighborhood crime watch associations beside the Dallas police department. You  get a small town feeling that is close to town and the privacy that  you deserve and all within minutes of downtown Dallas.

All the listings are directly from our MLS and are very current, let us know  if your would like more info on these areas or subscribe to this blog for local community content that is updated frequently.

10 Questions to Ask Your Condo Board


EXCELLENT QUESTIONS FOR YOUR CONDO BOARD
dallas_054

Before you buy in any one of the many Condo Projects in the Dallas area, (or anywhere else in the nation) you must consider these important questions to ask your condo board or REALTOR, especially if it is a new building that is not yet fully occupied.

A Condo Board is just like a Home Owners Association in a subdivision. Their purpose is to set standards for living in that particular community.  They will tell you what you can or can not do architecturally to your residence and usually a management company will run the show, for a fee of course. The fees can be very substantial in New Condo Buildings.

The Hook…by the developer… to get you to buy into the new condo is low condo fees upfront, then when the building becomes fully occupied the fees go way up, and it could be thousands of dollars. Of course, if many people live in the building the less it will impact you.

You need to consider what amenities your condo has to offer: Work-Out Facility, Spa, Concierge, Hotel Services, Maintenance, Valet, Pool, Common Maintenance, etc. etc.

So here are 10 Questions to Ask your Condo Board or Developer:

1.  What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage it tenant-occupied? In general, The more owner-occupied units the better it is for resale.

2.  What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find dates for when you bought by a certain date that you can not rent out your unit.  Ask for a copy of the bylaws to see if you can live with them and have a lawyer review.

3.  How much does the association keep in reserve?  How is the money invested?

4.   Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. Compare the rate to others in the area, to see if it is reasonable.

5.  What does the assessment cover and what does it not? – common maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection and if up north or west snow removal?

6.  What special assessments have been mandated in the past 5 years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some are necessary, but if there are a lot, that is a RED flag of the condition of building or boards fiscal policy.

7.   How much turnover occurs in the building?

8.  Is the project in litigation?  If the builders or homeowners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can quickly disappear.

9.  Is the developer reputable? Is it a Quality project? Find out what other projects are in the works or completed, talk to other homeowners about their perceptions. Request an engineers report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to see how roof, windows, bricks etc. are in good condition or need repair. (There are a lot of condo conversions, this is a type of investment strategy

10.   Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments there could be umbrella associations which you could be buying into and may require a separate assessment.

This may sound like a lot but it is in your best interest to find these things out before you buy. Your agent can help provide you with all this information or have the network in place to get it.

Note: Dallas has many new projects with lots of glass and windows, be sure and ask how often they clean the windows, so you can see your view that you are paying dearly for…