Dallas TX Area Real Estate Blog

7 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling A House

Mistakes to avoid when selling your homeLucky is the homeowner who has experience with selling a home. First-time sellers have a steep learning curve ahead of them and many obstacles on the road to a successful sale. Although common with first-time sellers, some of these obstacles aren't obvious.

1. Not Preparing the Home for Sale

"Dress your house for success," is probably the best advice for home sellers. Just as you wouldn't attempt to get top dollar for a car without cleaning the interior and detailing the exterior, so it goes with the sale of your home.

Cleaning the house is the first step because, face it, nobody will buy a dirty house. But, here's incentive for you to put on the rubber gloves and drag out the cleaning supplies: Clean houses sell quicker and for more money.

According to a recent survey, commissioned by one of the big real estate companies, a $402 investment in cleaning and decluttering a home realizes a 403 percent return on investment. That is a whopping $2,024 in your pocket at the closing table.

As impatient as you are to move on to the next phase of your life, it is vitally important to get the cleaning, painting, repairs and staging done before the house goes on the market.

2. Not Pricing the Home Realistically

The first few weeks that your house is in the local Multiple Listing Service database are known as the "honeymoon period." This is the time when it will get the most traffic. All the traffic in the world, however, won’t compensate for a too-high price.

Buyers aren't ignorant and neither are their real estate agents. They are well aware of current market values in the areas they are searching and will know that your home is overpriced. In the...

Homes for Sale in Plano, TX - 3921 Kite Meadow Dr, Plano, TX 75074

Come home to this beautiful oasis in desirable Plano neighborhood with gigantic yard and three-car garage. Backyard boasts sparking pool and spa with flagstone coping + huge yard for play. Entry includes soaring ceilings and spiral staircase leading to 3 oversized upstairs bedrooms and huge open gameroom, PLUS media room! Secluded master retreat downstairs plus large kitchen overlooking living area. Downstairs also houses a study with French doors and stacked formals with plenty of space for even a large family to gather and spread their wings. Just add your own updates and designer touches to this fantastic floorplan to make this house your home! House is partially owned by an estate and is being sold as is.

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Road to Homeownership

The home-buying process is a long and complicated one. Even those who have purchased homes before may need guidance with some of the more convoluted steps. The Market Leader blog staff has boiled the process down as much as possible while still maintaining all the important parts and weren't able to get the total number of steps under 20!

The below graphic, "The Road to Homeownership," is designed to make the home-buying process easier for aspiring homeowners to understand. A more complete walk-through of the home-buying process can be found below the graphic.

The Road To Homeownership

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FRISCO APPROVES RESIDENTIAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION OF 7.5%

Frisco TX Homes for Sale

Frisco homeowners will soon get a break on their property tax bill in the form of a ‘homestead exemption’ beginning in fiscal year 2018.  
 
Tonight, the Frisco City Council unanimously voted to adopt a 7.5% residential homestead exemption.
 
The exemption translates to an average savings of $143.00 on a future property tax bill based on a .45 cent property tax rate and Frisco’s average home value, which was $391,923 in fiscal year 2017.  Preliminary appraisal projections show Frisco’s average home value will increase by as much as 9% next year.  Council may vote to raise or lower the exemption annually. 
 
“We’ve heard our residents’ concerns over rising home values and the impact those values are having on home affordability,” said Mayor Jeff Cheney.  “Our city has a history of being fiscally conservative and this is the most effective way to give Frisco homeowners immediate tax relief.”
 
In a memo to council, staff noted the ‘proactive approach’ will not compromise maintenance and operations and maintains adequate reserves. 
 
“It will provide the high level of services residents expect,” noted Jennifer Hundt, Assistant Finance Director.
 
Staff estimates the exemption will affect city revenue by approximately $3.2 million dollars.  Currently, the City of Frisco is in the early stages of its budget process.  
 
Homeowners must have ‘homestead’ status to receive the exemption benefit. To qualify, you must:

  • Own the property on January  1;
  • Occupy property...

Homes for Sale in Allen, TX - 1437 Lampasas Dr, Allen, TX 75013

Homes for Sale in Allen, TX - 1437 Lampasas Dr, Allen, TX 75013

Homes for Sale in Allen, TX

1437 Lampasas Dr
Allen, TX 75013

When looking at homes for sale in Allen, TX or evaluating Allen real estate, there are, obviously, thousands of things to consider. Let’s look at specifics for 1437 Lampasas Dr, a part of the Twin Creeks subdivision.

Don't miss your opportunity town these amazing homes for sale in Allen, TX in the master planned community of the Twin Creeks. Completely updated gem in the heart of Plano. 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths plus downstairs study with French doors, hardwood floors throughout, spacious updated kitchen with SS appliances and subway tile backsplash, built-in wine fridge, soaring entryway ceilings, double-sided gas fireplace, renovated secondary baths, oversized corner lot with sparkling pool and spa, covered patio and yard to spare

Allen ISD | Homes for Sale in Allen Independent School District

1437 Lampasas Dr is perfectly located in some of the best schools in the Allen Independent School District (Allen ISD) - more specifically Allen High School - are some of the best schools in the state of Texas and also one the football powerhouses. These amazing Homes for Sale in Allen, Texas are rarely rivaled for their academic excellence, but this home in particluar feeds into Evans Elementary, Lowery Middle School, and Allen High School.

The Brent Germany Team specializes in ...

Homes for Sale in Frisco, TX - 12176 Terrazzo Ln, Frisco, TX 75035

Homes for Sale in Frisco, TX - 12176 Terrazzo Ln, Frisco, TX 75035

Homes for Sale in Frisco, TX

12176 Terrazzo Ln
Frisco, TX 75035

When looking at homes for sale in Frisco, TX or evaluating Frisco real estate, there are, obviously, thousands of things to consider. Let’s look at specifics for 12176 Terrazzo Ln, a part of the Dominion of Panther Creek subdivision.

Don't miss your opportunity town these amazing homes for sale in Frisco, TX in the master planned community of the Dominion at Panther Creek. This 5 bedroom, 4 bath, 3 car garage home has everything including a new roof and gutters to be installed before closing. This home is perfect for entertaining with it's back patio and kids with it sitting on over a third of an acre with a playset that will stay for your kids. The home has all new, gorgeous hardwoods downstairs, with updated bathrooms, and a remodeled kitchen. Don't forget about the extra game room and media room upstairs. This home comes with tons of privacy, room for a pool, and the community has plenty of amenities for the family.

Frisco ISD | Homes for Sale in Frisco Independent School District

12176 Terrazzo Ln is perfectly located in some of the best schools in the Frisco Independent School District (Frisco ISD) - more specifically Heritage High School - are some of the best schools in the state of Texas. These amazing Homes for Sale in Frisco, Texas are rarely rivaled for their academic excellence, but this home in particluar feeds into Tadlock Elementary, Maus Middle School, and Heritage High School.

Homes for Sale in Plano, TX - 6104 Birkdale Dr. Plano, TX 75093

Homes for Sale in Plano, TX - 6104 Birkdale Dr. Plano, TX 75093

Homes for Sale in Plano, TX

6104 Birkdale Dr.
Plano, TX 75093

When looking at homes for sale in Plano, TX or evaluating Plano real estate, there are, obviously, thousands of things to consider. Let’s look at specifics for 6104 Birkdale Dr., a part of the Heather Glen Estates subdivision.

Absolutely gorgeous one-owner home on quiet cul de sac in the heart of West Plano. Completely updated, top to bottom. Soaring ceiling in main living area, crown moldings, hardwood flooring downstairs, travertine flooring in kitchen, SS appliances, double oven, two-sided fireplace connects two living areas (one open to kitchen), double staircase leads to gameroom and four large bedrooms up, master down, spa shower in master, all ancillary bathrooms updated, beautiful pool with flagstone coping and water feature. Don't miss this one! Plano has to offer amazing parks and some of the best schools in Texas that people looking for houses for sale in Plano or those investigating Plano real estate are interested in.

Plano ISD | Homes for Sale in Plano West Schools

6104 Birkdale Ln is perfectly located in West Plano because the Plano Independent School District (Plano ISD) - more specifically Plano West - are some of the best schools in the state of Texas. These amazing Homes for Sale in Plano, Texas are rarely rivaled for their academic excellence, but this home in particluar feeds into Barksdale Elementary, Renner Middle School, Shepton High School, and Plano West Senior High.

Youth Sports in Frisco

Youth Sports in Frisco

It’s time for the kids.

The Brent Germany Team is often asked by people looking to buy a home in Frisco, TX or investigating Frisco real estate options about sports and recreational opportunities in and around town, not for mom and dad but for the kids.

And if there is one thing Frisco loves — heck, the whole North Texas area — it’s sports . . . the professional teams, leagues and fitness for mom and dad, and youth sports for the kiddos.

As you’d imagine, there’s pretty much every youth sport played in Frisco — from the majors like football, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, and hockey to the minors like swimming, wrestling, volleyball and martial arts.

In this post we help parents looking to buy a new house in Frisco or are contemplating real estate in Frisco with a basic understanding of the youth sports scene in town.

Facilities

The local schools, of course, offer a full range of boys and girls sports. The focus of this post, however, is on what else is out there for the kids to join. Frisco, you see, is home to some of the best youth  sports facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which attracts not only residents but families throughout the Metroplex.

Here’s one other thing to know about youth sports in North Texas:

Athletics are so incredibly competitive for kids in the area that if Bobby or Susie have aspirations to move from the youth ranks into high school athletics and beyond, they pretty much have to play year around in summer leagues, on select teams, and (often) with additional coaching and instruction.

There is plenty of these...

Recreational Athletics in Frisco

Recreational Athletics in Frisco

As amazing access as Frisco, TX residents have to professional sports in the Dallas area, they also have tremendous pickings for adult recreational and kids sports in town, which is of interest to those looking to buy a new home in Frisco or simply investigating Frisco real estate opportunities.

The Brent Germany Team is often asked about adult recreational and kids sports opportunities in Frisco — residents sure do love their games — so we’ve assembled a list of what’s out there for weekend warriors and their baseball-playing, soccer-playing, swimming, Tae Kwon Do-kicking kids.

This post focuses on the adults.

Adult Athletic Leagues

These are available through the Frisco parks and recreation department. There are other league opportunities available through clubs or membership businesses.

Softball

Softball leagues are offered three times a year — spring (late February to mid-May), summer (late May to mid-June), and fall (late August to early November.

The whole North Texas area is full of softball-playing fanatics and every bedroom community has softball fields and leagues. Some even boast huge softball/youth baseball complexes.

Flag Football

Flag football, that sport you used to play in grade school, is offered in the spring (late February to mid-May) and fall (late August to early November.

Kickball

Not to be confused with dodgeball, kickball is another sport you may have played in grade school. It even shows up as a recreational sport played at companies in the DFW area because it involves men and women playing the same game. Kickball is offered in the spring (late February to mid-May), summer...

Professional Sports in Frisco

Professional Sports in Frisco

If you are a sports fan or weekend warrior looking to buy a new home in Frisco, TX or just investigating Frisco’s real estate options, get out that No. 1 foam finger and softball mitt.

There are so many sports to attend and play year ‘round that the new lawn will never get mowed — at least by you. To help newcomers to the area, The Brent Germany Team has put together a few lists of sports to attend as a fan, to play as a weekend warrior, or to get the kids involved.

We’ll start with the professional teams and their ties to Frisco.

Professional Teams (Part 1)

One thing that’s a super sell for sports fans who are looking to purchase a new home in Frisco or who are contemplating Frisco real estate is the plethora of professional sports in North Texas.

Professional football and baseball are about 30 minute drives from Frisco to Arlington to the west and south, depending on time of day and traffic.

Professional basketball and hockey also are about 30 minute drives from Frisco to downtown Dallas to the south, again depending on time of day and traffic. What big city and its bedroom communities don’t have traffic?

Professional soccer is the most accessible sport to Frisco residents as the team plays its home games in the city.

Here’s the rundown:

The Dallas Cowboys

Widely recognized as America’s Team, the Cowboys are as storied of a franchise as any in American sports. Dallas, 5-3 in Super Bowl appearances, now plays in a billion-dollar spaceship of a stadium in Arlington, but that’s not all (read on).

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Restaurants in Frisco

Restaurants in Frisco

Another question I am asked by people looking to buy a new home in Frisco, TX or simply investigating the myriad of real estate options in Frisco is: “How are the restaurants in the area?”

Um, fantastic. But not in the way you might expect.

First, a little perspective. For those of us who have lived and worked in the Frisco (and Dallas) area for a long time, every few years there will be a report that exclaims (!) Dallas and the Dallas area has more restaurants per capita than any place in the U.S.

I decided to see if that’s true and, well, I have no idea. There’s a lot of information on the internet but it doesn’t make sense to me — a real estate guy, not a restauranteur.

This is what I did find: Dallas and surrounding communities have the fourth largest number of restaurants in the entire country behind New York/New Jersey (an astounding 46,000+), Chicago (30,000 +/-), and Los Angeles (20,000 +/-). Depending on the year and the health of the economy, the Dallas area boasts upwards of 14,000 restaurants — or, as one local news outlet put it, one restaurant for every 508 people.

To people wanting to buy a new home in Frisco, TX or considering Frisco real estate options, this is what’s interesting: Much of Dallas’ growth in the dining industry is actually attributed to real estate. When we see a trend in real estate like the rise of mixed-use developments, there is a corresponding uptick in restaurants to serve those developments, which includes commercial, retail, residential, and entertainment.

Frisco is the perfect example. So if you’re looking for a new home in Frisco or checking...

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that mean to...

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?

Increasing Mortgage RatesThere are some who are calling for a decrease in home prices should mortgage interest rates begin to rise rapidly. Intuitively, this makes sense as the cost of a home is determined by the price of the home, plus the cost of financing that home. If mortgage interest rates increase, fewer people will be able to buy, and logic says prices will fall if demand decreases.

However, history shows us that this has not been the case the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased.

Here is a graph showing what actually happened:

Dramatic Mortgage Rate Increases

Last week, in an article titled “Higher Rates Don’t Mean Lower House Prices After All, the Wall Street Journal revealed that a recent study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc. found that:

“[P]rices weren’t especially sensitive to rising rates, particularly in the presence of other positive economic factors, such as strong job growth, rising wages and improving consumer confidence.”

Last week’s jobs report was strong and the Conference Board just reported that the Consumer Confidence Index was back to pre-recession levels.

Bottom Line

We will have to wait and see what happens as we move forward, but a decrease in home prices should rates go up is anything but guaranteed.

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Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Getting a Home Mortgage

There is no doubt that mortgage credit availability is expanding, meaning it is easier to finance a home today than it was last year. However, the mortgage market is still much tighter than it was prior to the housing boom and bust experienced between 2003 - 2006.

The Housing Financing Policy Center at the Urban Institute just released data revealing two reasons for the current exceptionally high credit standards:

  1. Additional restrictions lenders put on borrowing because of concerns that they will be forced to repurchase failed loans from the government-sponsored enterprises or Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  2. The concern about potential litigation for imperfect loans.

What has been the result of these concerns?

6.3 Million Less Mortgages

The Policy Center report went on to say:

“It was so hard to get a mortgage in 2015 that lenders failed to make about 1.1 million mortgages that they would have made if reasonable lending standards had been in place. From 2009 to 2014, lenders failed to make about 5.2 million mortgages thanks to overly tight credit. In total, lenders would have issued 6.3 million additional mortgages between 2009 and 2015 if lending standards had been more reasonable.”

In an interview with DSNews, Laurie Goodman and Alanna McCargo of the Policy Center further explained:

“Our Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI)* measures the probability that mortgage borrowers...

Shopping in Frisco

Shopping in Frisco TX

Don’t laugh: Whenever prospective homebuyers contact me about Frisco, TX real estate or homes for sale in Frisco, the first question they ask me beyond the usual house stuff is “What’s the shopping like in Frisco?”

I’m not joking. Every part of the country has something it’s known for: mountains outside of Denver, beaches along the coasts in Florida, golf courses pretty much everywhere. Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, particularly North Dallas and Frisco the quality of shopping and local eateries are big attractions in lieu of mountains and beaches.

So, when it comes to shopping, Frisco — and surrounding communities of McKinney, Allen, Grapevine and Southlake . . . heck, pretty much everywhere in the DFW area — has amazing shopping that’s not just spend, spend, spend. It’s enjoy, take your time, browse, have lunch (or dinner or coffee), maybe even catch a movie while you’re out. Shopping is an experience here, not just a necessity.

For people looking at homes for sale in Frisco, TX or are investigating Frisco real estate, The Brent Germany Team has produced a quick overview of shopping in Frisco (and surrounding areas).

Signature Shopping

For a “bedroom” community outside of Dallas, Frisco features one of the premier all-around shopping malls in the entire area — Stonebriar Centre — to rival NorthPark Center in Dallas and Galleria Dallas in North Dallas.

NorthPark and Galleria Dallas both feature high-end, luxury shopping, which is certainly attractive to prospective homebuyers considering new homes in Frisco or Frisco real estate. Both are about a 30-minute, easy-access...

What Happens After Your Offer is Accepted?

What Happens After Your Offer is Accepted?

I don’t mean to be an alarmist. I just want you to know that, once you have a contract in hand to purchase a new home, there’s more to do to get the transaction closed.

Statistics from various organizations show that, for various reasons, anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of pending home sales don’t close. That sounds high to me, but failed closings do happen. Our work together — as home buyer and realtor — isn’t finished until the papers are signed and the keys are in your hands.

In this post The Brent Germany Team takes a look at what happens after your offer is accepted — and what can go wrong.

Errors in Processing Documents

One of the most common closing problems is an error in documents. These can be as simple as misspelled names, incorrect addresses, transposed numbers, or a missing page. No matter the reason, errors cause delays.

The Brent Germany Team recommends asking to see every piece of paperwork far in advance, if possible. By law, you will receive your Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms three days before closing. Look at them immediately and carefully. If you don’t understand something, let us know. We are involved until the very end.

Mortgage Delays and Last-Minute Requests

In a hot real estate market, lenders are inundated with requests. Your file could easily fall to the bottom of a pile on an loan officer’s desk with more urgent loans to process. Lenders also ask for information at the last minute, and that can leave you scrambling and lead to closing delays.

I remind home buyers to find out early what documents, exactly, are needed to complete your file and write the loan in a timely manner. I also recommend...

Typical Issues on a Home Inspection

Typical Issues on a Home Inspection

If you are a first time home buyer, chances are you’ve never encountered a home inspection. They’re an interesting balance between really helpful information and too much information.

Here’s why they are important and, sometimes, a nuisance — like Aunt Betty who keeps showing up unannounced.

Home Inspections and Inspectors

Simply put, a home inspection is performed by a professional inspector, who visually inspects every aspect of the home you are considering purchasing — the structural integrity of the house, the mechanical systems, pretty much everything you can think of.

I tell clients that home inspections are an essential part of the buying process because you want to know what you are buying, making sure big ticket items are in working order:

The air conditioner and heater are working properly.

There are no hidden leaks in the plumbing and there’s no deterioration or incompatible materials used in the system.

The major appliances work well.

The roof is in good shape.

There are no bulges, deflections, and other irregularities in the roof framing, exterior and interior wall framing, or cracks in the foundation.

And so on.

Home inspections average somewhere between 25 and 30 pages and document things you wouldn’t even think of. And that’s the rub: If an inspector finds anything major you —...

What Do You Need to Buy a House?

What Do You Need to Buy a House?

There’s so much information about real estate on the internet these days that it’s easy for first-time home buyers to become confused and drown in viewpoints and opinions.

The Brent Germany Team strives to keep answers simple, whether we’re having a conversation in the office or at a coffee shop, whether we’re answering an email or text message.

We’re asked all the time: “What do you need to buy a house?” Instead of inundating potential buyers with an exhaustive, detailed list of A to Z answers, we prefer to start with an overview or the major steps required for most home purchases.

Pre-Approval for Mortgage Loan

Once you decide to purchase a new home, the first step to take is acquiring the money to actually buy it, which means getting a mortgage. There are hundreds of mortgage lenders in the Dallas area, and The Brent Germany Team can recommend ones our clients have had success with and speak highly of. Or you can ask family, friends, or business associates for recommendations.

A good mortgage lender will explain the process, help you understand borrowing terms and options, and make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Essentially, the lender will run a credit check, ask questions about your current financial situation, and determine eligibility based on these answers.

Find out what ratios lenders are using to determine if you quality for a loan. “28 and 36” are the most commonly used ratios — 28 percent of your gross income (before taxes) must cover your intended housing expenses. Monthly payments on outstanding debts, when combined with housing expenses, must not exceed 36 percent of gross income.

The end result is a pre-approval...

The Pros and Cons of Renting Versus Buying a Home

The Pros and Cons of Renting Versus Buying a Home

It’s one of the great, simple debates in real estate. Nothing like the state of the industry, what’s next for MLS, or emerging business models due to the internet. It’s just:

What are the pros and cons of renting versus buying a home?

Is it better to rent?

Is it better to buy?

The Brent Germany Team has answered these questions many times over the years. I always respond that there are many factors that go into this decision, including:

Financial situation

Employment circumstances

Lifestyle preferences

Relationship status

To help you along, here are some of the top pros and cons and associated costs for renting or buying a home based on The Brent Germany Team’s experience.

The Pros of Renting

No Responsibility for Maintenance or Repairs

Every home, no matter who owns it, requires maintenance and repairs over time. Ignore them and they get worse. When you rent, repairs are the responsibility of the landlord or management company (this also can be a con, by the way). If you have a good landlord, your maintenance worries are minimal.

No Property Taxes

A very enticing reason to rent. Property taxes are the second highest cost of home ownership for most people — next to the mortgage payment, of course. Home owners insurance, by the way, is a close third and is often overlooked by new home buyers when working up a budget.

Paying no property taxes...