Monday, October 17, 2011

The Viking Way...Thanks to Fred!

On my wish list...a Viking Range for my kitchen.  Stephen and I love to cook together...and we have discussed that in our next home we hope to be fortunate enough to have a Viking Range!  I also over research products that I am interested in eventually purchasing.  I ran across the story of how Viking got started!  Talk about an entrepreneur!  Check the story out here!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Monthly Reflection on the North Texas Housing Market

As expected, sales in the North Texas MLS system were much better than August 2010 (up 27% in volume and up 3% in average price, for a total dollar volume increase of just over 30%).  Granted, beating last August’s sales was a pretty easy task due to the 6/30/10 tax credit expiration and subsequent doldrums in the second half of 2010.  But even if the year-over-year improvement has to be taken with a grain of salt, the actual sales volume itself CERTAINLY IS something to get excited about.  As the chart shows, August’s sales broke out from the typical shape of the sales curve.  And as of 8/31/11, pending sales remained significantly higher, up 17% versus pending sales on 8/31/10.  So there is hope for continued improvement.

Clearly we still have our challenges in the North Texas housing industry.  But there are rays of hope for a turnaround.  We are very blessed to live and work in a relatively stable market, and there are elements of good news out there along with those challenges we are facing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Housing Market Update from My Loan Officer at Starkey Mortgage

Home Prices Up for Third Straight Month:
Spring buying pushed home prices up for a third straight month in most major U.S. cities in June.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index showed Tuesday that prices increased in June from May in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. Prices rose 3.6 percent in the April-June quarter from the previous quarter. Neither of those numbers is adjusted for seasonal factors.
Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington and Boston posted the biggest monthly increases. Metro areas hit hardest by the housing crisis, including Las Vegas and Phoenix, reported small seasonal increases.
Analysts say home prices have stabilized in coastal cities over the past six months. Seasonally adjusted prices have fallen a modest 1 percent over the past six months, according to the index. That's less than a third of the decline from the previous six months.
Foreclosures and short sales—when a lender agrees to sell for less than what is owed on a mortgage—made up about 30 percent of all home sales last month, up from about 10 percent in past years. And 1.7 million potential foreclosures are being held up, according to real estate firm CoreLogic, either by backlogged courts or lenders awaiting state and federal probes into troubled foreclosure practices.
What Happened to Rates Last Week:
Mortgage backed securities (MBS) gained +47 basis points last week which helped to move mortgage rates lower from last Friday to the prior Friday.  This more than made up for the prior week's -40 basis point loss.  We actually were on a downward trend for mortgage backed securities (higher mortgage rates) for much of the week after getting much better than expected economic news such as the Chicago PMI, Factory Orders and ISM Manufacturing.  But the market reversed course on Friday after the Unemployment report was released.  While the Unemployment Rate remained unchanged at 9.1%, the market reacted very strongly to the data that showed that we created/added exactly zero jobs over the last month.  Economists believe that the U.S. needs to add at least 150K new jobs each month to get out of this stand-still.
What to Watch Out For This Week:The following are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week.  They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages.  I will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises:
4-Sep20:00Labor Day
6-Sep10:00ISM Non-Manufacturing
6-Sep13:10Fed's President of the Minneapolis speech
7-Sep7:00MBA Mortgage Applications
7-Sep14:00Fed's Beige Book
8-Sep8:30Continuing Jobless Claims
8-Sep8:30Initial Jobless Claims
8-Sep8:30Trade Balance
8-Sep11:00EIA Crude Oil Stocks change
8-Sep13:00Fed's Bernanke Speech
8-Sep15:00Consumer Credit Change
9-Sep10:00Wholesale Inventories
It is virtually impossible for you to keep track of what is going on with the economy and other events that can impact the housing and mortgage markets.  Just leave it to me, I monitor the live trading of Mortgage Backed Securities which are the only thing government and conventional mortgage rates are based upon. 

Texas Economic Indicators Point UP

Texas existing-home sales were up 1.5% in July, and are up 22% over last year.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently reported good news for the Texas economy. In its "Texas Economic Indicators" published on September 7, 2011, The Dallas Fed reported that Texas gained 33,000 jobs in June, and another 25,900 jobs in July, bringing the Texas unemployment rate to 8.4%, well below the national average of 9.1%.
The overall economy in Texas continued to grow at a moderate pace, with Texas exports, crude oil prices, and Texas manufacturing all showing gains.
Only one state (North Dakota) has grown faster than Texas since 2009.
So, aren't we all grateful to be in Texas?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Adorable Lease Listing - 5611 W Amherst - $1900/mo

Adorable Devonshire cottage. Light filled with fresh neutral paint and refinished hardwoods.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Energy Conservation

ERCOT (The Electrical Reliability Council of Texas) is encouraging Texans to conserve their electricity use through the next few days, as peak temperatures and energy demand occur throughout the state.

“We are requesting that consumers and businesses reduce their electricity use during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. today, particularly between 4 and 5 p.m. when we expect to hit another peak demand record,” said Kent Saathoff, vice president of system planning and operations.  “We do not know at this time if additional emergency steps will be needed.”

For more information, see Aug. 1 news releases:
The Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) procedures are a progressive series of steps that allow ERCOT to bring on power from other grids if available, beginning with a Power Watch (Energy Emergency Alert Level 1).

If the situation does not improve, ERCOT escalates to a Power Warning (Energy Emergency Alert Level 2), allowing operators to drop large commercial/industrial load resources under contract to be interrupted during an emergency.

If the capacity shortage is not relieved by the contract demand response, ERCOT escalates to a Power Emergency (Energy Emergency Alert Level 3) and will instruct utilities to reduce demand on the grid by conducting temporary outages at the local distribution level.  These controlled temporary interruptions of electrical service - or rotating outages - typically last 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood.

Consumers should contact the utility company/ transmission provider listed on their electric bill for information about power outages at their homes or business, or about rotating outage procedures for their area.

Conservation Tips

Consumers can help by shutting off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances between 3 and 7 p.m., and delaying laundry and other activities requiring electricity-consuming appliances until later in the evening. Other conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission’s “Powerful Advice”  include:
Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans in occupied rooms to feel cooler.
When away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 85 degrees and turn all fans off before you leave. Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.
Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.
Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.
Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.

Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible. Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hotter Than Hell in The Big D

Ahhh...Dallas!  Where we actually have runs named Hotter Than Hell that people voluntarily run in mid July here!  CRAZY PEOPLE that is!

So since we are going on 12 consecutive days of 100+ about some pool action?

6131 Stefani offered by Kay Weeks at: $696,000 has a good looking one!
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If you have a bit of a larger budget Kay is also offering 5834 Park Ln at: $2,995,000
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Sandy Donsky is offering:  6902 Echo Bluff at:  $318,500
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Then again, if you don't have a budget...and would just rather have the ocean, Laura Crowl and David Figueroa are offering 1 Blackbird Caye, Belize at $35,000,000.  They actually have a few of these properties Mark, Dirk, Terry, Kidd, Chandler, Barea, and could each have your own!  You did after all win The Championship this year and I think this might just beat a Trip to Disney!
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These are just a few properties currently offered by Ebby Halliday, REALTORS that have pools!  If you are interested in a property with a pool for lease or sale...shoot me a note or give me a call!  Here to help...and then come swim at your place!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Favorite Home Of The Day - 5736 Southwestern

This home is offered at $375,000 by Bill Zeman.  He and I work together at Ebby's Little White House!  It is a fantastic 2 bed 2 bath in Devonshire that I would love to show you, your family and friends.  
It is move in ready too!    
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It has a beautiful open kitchen and the main living area as well as master bedroom have vaulted ceilings giving the rooms more height.
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There is a second living area that is not included in the photos.  It is currently being used as a study/living area.  It could easily accommodate a pull out sofa for out of town guests.  It even has a closet!  
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Who wouldn't want to enjoy a nice evening out by the fire pit or grill with a glass of wine?  Perhaps you might even want to add a pool!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Greenville Avenue

Greenville Avenue is known for its unique specialty shops, restaurants and nightlife. Retail and residential have co-existed in this pocket neighborhood on the fringes of downtown Dallas for many years, and have maintained their values through many market trends. Situated along the "M" streets in Dallas, Greenville Avenue area's blend of ethnicity and urban living attracts buyers who enjoy older renovated homes in a metropolitan area. 

Best on Greenville According to me:

Best Sandwich: The Corner Market
Best Cupcake: Society Bakery
Best Tex/Mex: Blue Goose
Best Breakfast: Cafe Brazil

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Few Summer Tips!

Now is a good time to have your AC units checked and make sure the drain lines on the drip pans are unstopped- this prevent a Water Loss issue along with secondary damage. If you need the name and information on trusted AC Companies, let me know and I will gladly provide some to you.

Turn off your water at the street while on Vacation to avoid any leaking issues while you are gone.

While on vacation do not turn your AC united off (to save on electricity) as this will cause all wood products in your home to expand, swell, and crack.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

4th of July Fun In Dallas - Fireworks

Kaboom Town (July 3)
This is the BIG ONE!  For sure the one to see!

Texas Rangers Stadium (July 4)
Watch the Rangers play the Orioles and then stay for the "Captain America-Disney Independence Day" fireworks show!

The 4th at Fair Park (July 4)
Fireworks start at 9:30pm.  For the best view you can watch from inside The Cotton Bowl, but families with young children note: no strollers allowed.

Lake Grapevine (July 4)
Watch from the shore or from the water.  Fireworks start at 9:30pm

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why Getting to Home Sweet Home?

A friend asked me the other day why I titled my blog Getting to Home Sweet Home.  The answer is twofold.  A few years ago I had the opportunity to take the Berkman Personality Test through the Junior League of Dallas.

At that point I had been working for PricewaterhouseCoopers a little over 4 years.  I enjoyed the people I worked with, but my career path didn't really suit me.  I wasn't excited about what I was doing, but I wasn't sure how to change it.  I knew I wanted to make a difference in peoples lives.  I also knew that working full time for a non-profit wasn't an option for me.  I love volunteering, but I have a bad habit of getting emotionally attached.  I would never go home.  Therefore, I continued with my job and volunteered my time with a few great places whenever I could.

After taking the personality test my previous thoughts were confirmed.  Did I have the head for numbers?  Yes!  Did I have the heart for numbers?  Numbers don't even have hearts!  Heck no I didn't have the heart for numbers!  Why on earth would you "heart" something that could never "heart" you back?

During this year of soul searching Stephen and I also began looking for our first home.  We had been in an apartment for 3 years and finally decided that we wanted to call Dallas home.  The best way to do that was to lay down some permanent roots.  It was during this time that I discovered I really liked real estate.  At the time we were not using a REALTOR® and I was doing most of the home searching myself while still holding down a full time job.  Talk about work?  It wasn't until the end of the process that I finally gave in and found a REALTOR®.  I immediately understood the value a full time agent brings to the table.  She knew her stuff and was one of the best in the business.  

I sat down and told her of my new love of real estate, my passion for helping people, and the desire to find a career that fit.  She told me that if I was serious about the change she would support me 100%.  She cautioned me that I would work harder than I ever had and that it had to be my full time career.  So, I took the plunge!

During that time I learned a lot about myself.  Stephen and I found our home sweet home and I found a career that feels like home.  Thus, the name of my blog and my motto... helping my clients get to home sweet home!  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


That was one nasty storm early this morning in Dallas, huh?  I woke up to some crazy thunder and lightening this morning and one heck of a downpour!  Did you wake up to much of the same?  You might have even heard the dreaded drip...drip...drip and I don't mean a leaky faucet.  When you find you have damage to your roof or any other part of your house from a storm you might think that the first person you should call is the insurance adjuster.  However, if the damage does not exceed your deductible you might be doing yourself more harm than good.

Did you know that when an insurance adjuster comes out a claim is automatically filed on the house whether the insurance company ends up paying or not?  A tip I picked up from an insurance adjuster is to go ahead and have a roofer check the issues out first.  If it exceeds your deductible call the insurance company.  If not, you have just saved yourself a claim against your property.

The reason behind this theory is that homes with a lot of insurance claims attached to them can be hard to insure.  If your property is hard to will be even more difficult to sell.

Friday, June 10, 2011

White Rock Lake - A True Dallas Star (Part 2)

In 1930, White Rock Lake became more than just a became a lake with a beach!  The Bath House (the same that stands today) was constructed along with a sand bathing beach on the east side of the lake and a boathouse was built for speed boats on the west side.  A year later a picnic shelter was built complete with stone and concrete picnic tables in the pecan grove.  These tables are still there today!

Until the 1940's more than 100 fishing cabins dotted the Lake's shoreline and Regatta's and speedboat races  were among the regularly scheduled activities.  There was also a dance pavilion beside the bathhouse as well as a floating dance pavilion and excursion boat, owned by Johnny Williams, named Bonnie Barge!

1952 was the last year the White Rock Lake Beach was open.  The summer of 1953 brought a drought in which the Lake was put back into service as a water supply and swimming was banned.  Fueled by fears of racial conflict the City of Dallas built smaller neighborhood pools and the beach was never reopened.  The ban on swimming in the lake remains in effect today.  

In 1971 the first "Run the Rock" marathon was held.  Run the Rock has become a major Dallas event over the years.  It typically starts in the Downtown area, winds its way through historic Highland Park, University Park, Lakewood, Swiss Avenue and back through Downtown.  The Marathon is capped this year at 6,000 and the Half Marathon is capped at 13,000.  Along the way are 28 sponsored bands and 28 water stops.  Many of the neighborhoods along the route also throw Marathon Watch Parties that also include their own bands.  It is a marathon that has sell out participation as well as terrific crowd support!  Remember, it was training for this marathon that I found the Lake when I first moved to Dallas!  Trust me, it's a lot of fun...and a nice "flat" course.

In 1995 a group of caring Dallasites formed For the Love of the Lake.  A grassroots effort created specifically to take care of White Rock Lake.  They have helped enhance the lake and park with projects such as picking up litter during their monthly Second Saturday Shoreline Spruce-Up events, helping to create the White Rock Lake Museum and The Celebration Tree Grove, working to restore the historic Big Thicket building and other park facilities, as well as, painting buildings and restroom murals.  Thanks to the efforts of few, many have a park to enjoy.  

From a tree lined valley, to water source, to recreation, White Rock Lake has worn many hats since its creation 100 years ago!  It truly is a a Star in Dallas and one worth celebrating this year and for many years to come!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

White Rock Lake - A True Dallas Star (Part 1)

When I moved to Dallas 5 years ago I stumbled across White Rock Lake when I began training for the White Rock Lake Marathon.  Go figure, right?  Over the years it has become my own little get away within the city.  A quiet place where I can be alone with my thoughts and unwind!  On any given day of the week  many Dallasites come out to the Lake to do much of the same whether walking, running, or cycling.

This year, White Rock Lake and Ebby Halliday have something in common.  Their 100th Birthday!  Much  like Ebby (who is also the Centennial Celebration Honorary Chairman) the Lake's party is a year long celebration.  The conclusion of the party is at the end of this month with a party at The Bath House!  However, White Rock Lake wasn't always such a "happening" place.  In fact, in the beginning, it wasn't even a lake!

Before Dallas County was even a county the land where White Rock Lake now stands was a tree lined valley in which Native Americans hunted bison!  Crazy, huh?  It wasn't until the 1840's that settlers started home steads around the valley; the names of which you might recognize. (Cox, Dixon, Humbard, McCommas and name a few)

After the Civil War many families moved to the area and established communities that surrounded the valley.  Egypt (yep, we had one of those in Texas at one point too) was on what is now the northeastern shore of The Lake, Fisher on the northwest side, and Reinhardt (roughly where what is now the Casa Linda area).  In the 1890's a Swiss immigrant, Jacob Buhrer, started a dairy farm, most of which is now below the present day Lake.

So by now you have either quit reading or are wondering why a Lake.  One word.  WATER!  Dallas was growing and without an abundance of water in sight a reservoir was needed.  By 1914, White Rock was declared full and although it was not built with recreation in mind, Dallasites quickly discovered a great place for outdoor recreation.  Fishing, boating, camping and hunting were among the first activities at the Lake.  Yep, hunting!  Hey, it's Texas!
*It was also during this time that the road around the lake was constructed  by order of the mayor Joe E. Lawther.

In the early '20's a new reservoir was constructed (what is now Lake Lewisville) and White Rock Lake became a city park.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summertime Home Projects

Summertime is almost here and millions of Americans will be starting home improvement projects.  Whether they're classified as maintenance, updating or energy saving, they should make homeownership more enjoyable.

Remodeling magazine's 2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report suggests that some improvements are a better investment than others.  Front door and garage door replacements are two of the easiest and return the greatest percentage of cost on resale.
Kitchen and bathroom updates transform an older home and instantly give visitors and buyers a fresh impression. Countertops and appliances can be expensive but yield great results.  Painting the cabinets and replacing the hardware is much less expensive to change the look and feel of the rooms.
Energy efficiency enhancements can improve your enjoyment of the home and help save money on utility costs.
  • Replace older appliances - refrigerators, ceiling fans, water heaters, air-conditioners
  • Add insulation to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter
  • Seal air leaks around doors and windows; holes in attics and crawl spaces with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping -more information
  • Seal all heating and cooling system ducts - more information
Looking through the eyes of a buyer could show you what features most date your home and could order the priority that you tackle the projects.

Monday, June 6, 2011


The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
What is the Federal Housing Administration?
The Federal Housing Administration, generally known as "FHA", provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories. FHA insures mortgages on single family and multifamily homes including manufactured homes and hospitals. It is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world, insuring over 34 million properties since its inception in 1934.  Did you know that you can get an FHA loan on a duplex, triplex, and quadplex as well?
What is FHA Mortgage Insurance?
FHA mortgage insurance provides lenders with protection against losses as the result of homeowners defaulting on their mortgage loans. The lenders bear less risk because FHA will pay a claim to the lender in the event of a homeowner's default. Loans must meet certain requirements established by FHA to qualify for insurance.
Why does FHA Mortgage Insurance exist?
Unlike conventional loans that adhere to strict underwriting guidelines, FHA-insured loans require very little cash investment to close a loan (3.5%). There is more flexibility in calculating household income and payment ratios. The cost of the mortgage insurance is passed along to the homeowner and typically is included in the monthly payment. In most cases, the insurance cost to the homeowner will drop off after five years or when the remaining balance on the loan is 78 percent of the value of the property -whichever is longer.
How is FHA funded?
FHA is the only government agency that operates entirely from its self-generated income and costs the taxpayers nothing. The proceeds from the mortgage insurance paid by the homeowners are captured in an account that is used to operate the program entirely. FHA provides a huge economic stimulation to the country in the form of home and community development, which trickles down to local communities in the form of jobs, building suppliers, tax bases, schools, and other forms of revenue.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Open House 5738 Greenbrier (Sunday: 3:30-5:30pm)

Charming Devonshire home beautifully updated with three bedrooms and three full baths. Light filled living and dining rooms with floor to ceiling shuttered windows, hardwoods, crown moldings and a cozy fireplace in the living room. Gourmet updated kitchen with granite countertops, stainless appliances, gas cook-top and a breakfast bar opens to large slate floored family room. Sunny breakfast room with a window seat and French doors views private brick patio and beautiful landscaped backyard. Master bedroom has two closets and a spacious master bath with a tub-shower combination, built-in vanity and a large walk in closet. Separate utility room with a sink, cabinets above the full size washer-dryer, closet and a door which accesses the backyard. Enjoy the front porch. Security. Sprinklered. Four Windows Replaced-2011. Paint-2011. Hi Efficiency Trane Indoor Gas System Replaced-2011. This home is adorable!

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Open House 7703 Kilbride Circle (Sunday: 1-3pm)

Wonderful open, light,bright floor plan on a cul de sac. This 4 bedroom 3 bath is great for entertaining indoor or outdoor by the pool. Two living areas. Nice large kitchen with granite counter tops, breakfast room that opens to the main living area. Roof with radiant barrier. Located in Richardson school district.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011



Nationwide home prices hit a new low in the first quarter of 2011.

Standard & Poor's Case Shiller Index published May 31, 2011, showed that the U.S. National Home Price Index declined by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011.


The average sale price in the Dallas - Fort Worth and North Texas market increased 6% in the first quarter of 2011 according to NTREIS MLS statistics.

The average sale price for homes sold by The Ebby Halliday Companies - Ebby Halliday, REALTORS, Ellen Terry, REALTORS, and Dave Perry-Miller & Associates - increased 15% in the first quarter of 2011 according to company sales records.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 a GREAT DAY!

As you know, a few weeks back I wrote an article on Protesting Your Property Taxes.  Because of this article I had the opportunity to help many of you determine the market value of your home and whether it was worth protesting or not.  No charge to you of course!  As stated in a previous article, I consider helping protest property taxes a public service that I owe you!  Not the other way around!

Several of you were "lucky" enough not to have to protest...meaning your property value actually did go up.  Perhaps not so great for you to have to pay higher taxes, but property value increasing is a good thing in many ways in that it shows recovery in the market place (HURRAY)!

Some of you were "lucky" enough that your property had not gone up in value as the Dallas County Appraisal District stated and your property taxes will remain low until the next evaluation period in which we hope...most properties will have recovered by then.

This morning I received the sweetest call from one of the folks I was able to help.  A sweet man called our office a few weeks back asking for help in regards to protesting his taxes.  He is 82 years old and lives in Preston Hollow.  He already had the 65 and up deduction applied to his property taxes and the Appraisal District was still trying to increase his taxes by increasing his property value.  The number they through out was just so over the top I couldn't believe it.  So, I ran the numbers a few times to make sure that I wasn't nuts.  Then called him back and gave him the news that I thought he could get somewhere between a $40,000 and $50,000 property tax reduction.  I put the information together and put it in the mail...not thinking much of it after that.

That sweet man called me this morning and told me that with my help he was able to reduce his property value by $43,000!  This made my day!!!!  This is why I am in Real Estate - it gives me a great opportunity to serve great people!

Do you have a great property tax protest story to share?  Would love to hear it!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saving for a down payment to buy a home: It's a marathon...not a sprint!!

I recently started training for the New York City ING Marathon and on my long run yesterday morning I realized that buying a home is much like training for a marathon.  That is, not many people can just go out and buy a house...just like not many people can go out and run a marathon with out preparation.  When buying a house there are a few steps that you need to make sure of first.  The essentials are that: you get pre-approved for a home loan and that you have a down payment saved up.  Saving for a down payment can take a long time!

I am often asked how much you need to put down on a house.  The answer is that it depends.  It can depend on the kind of loan as well as the lender.  General guidelines are that for an FHA loan you only need 3.5% and you can have a credit score as low as 640.  These loans are also assumable.  However, you cannot borrow more than $271,050 (on a single family home) and you will pay MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium).  A future blog article in the near future on FHA.  If you have any questions in the mean time...please don't hesitate to give me a call.

General guidelines for a Conventional Loan:  10%-20% down
This too depends on the lender.  Some will even go lower than 10%, but you will have to pay PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)

Side note: If you are a doctor or lawyer...there are a few banks out there that will offer 100% financing for you.  There is only one bank in Dallas that I know of that offers this!  The reason they do this is that they are banking on you making a lot more money in the future.

The bottom line is to choose a lender that you trust!  Never borrow the maximum that the bank says you can borrow.  Use a lender that is local!  Ask your REALTOR for a few recommendations.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

6739 Meadow Road Dallas, TX 75230 Open Sunday: 1-3pm

Beautiful traditional completed in 2000 offers a neutral palette and many recent updates. The dramatic entry has a sweeping staircase with gorgeous ironwork. It is open to the formals and library and lends a nice view to the patio and backyard. The oversized kitchen is a chef's delight! Complete with two Jenn Air ranges; two ovens and eight gas burners, forty-eight inch Sub-Zero, wine refrigerator, island, desk and breakfast bar. Open to breakfast and family rooms. The downstairs master offers a sitting area, fireplace and luxury bathroom. A split fifth bedroom also downstairs makes a nice private guest room. Three bedrooms, media, gameroom and workroom are upstairs. Attractive finishout, exquisite millwork, replaced hardware, handscraped hardwood floors and twelve foot ceilings downstairs are some of the many features of the home. Pretty landscaping front and back! Move-in ready!
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Stunning Home in Preston Hollow Area
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Perfect for Entertaining!
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Soaking Tub?  Yes Please!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The "M" Street area...for when you are thinking about growing up

The "M" Street area became our new home sweet home last year!  We decided that we were growing up a little and did not want a condo or a townhouse, but we did want to own something.  We wanted a place to call our own and we wanted a little bit of grass to go along with that.

However, Stephen works downtown and I work at Ebby's Little White House...neither one of us are exactly early risers or fans of moving outside the loop (and I mean loop 12...not 635) wasn't really all that appealing to us.  After researching some of the neighborhoods in Dallas, we felt our best fit would be East Dallas and in particular the "M" Street/Lakewood area.

We could not have picked a better spot for us.  Our neighbors are great!  We are within walking distance to Greenville Avenue and within running distance to White Rock Lake!  Many of our friends live in the area or very close by and it has been fun to have the room that we didn't have in Uptown to entertain.

If I had to pick the Top 5 best things about our neighborhood I would have to say:
- Location
- Style of homes
- Great elementary schools
- Outdoor activities (White Rock Lake, kickball leagues, parks, etc)
- Neighbors

Sunday, May 22, 2011

6933 Greentree - Open Sunday 3:30-5:30

Fantastic opportunity to own in desirable Mockingbird Meadows and in Lakewood Elementary. Minutes from White Rock Lake! Major updates in 2010 include refinished hardwoods, 30 year roof with radiant barrier, HVAC including duct work with 10 year warranty, fresh paint inside and out, updated fixtures and ceiling fans, and more! Features additional living area with fireplace, built-ins, and wetbar not included in tax rolls. Storage shed in back.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Uptown Dallas - Urban Living Texas Style

I thought I would write a few posts on some of my favorite areas in Dallas.  My hope is that if you are not from the area that these posts will help you identify possible areas that might suit your personality as well as home needs.

I lived in Uptown Dallas for three years when I first moved to Dallas.  I LOVED IT!  I was a newlywed who had moved from South Carolina to New York and wound up in Dallas a year afterwards.  I knew nothing about the city I was moving to and I was pretty sure I presumed the rest of Texas...was full of cowboy hats and spurs.  How wrong was I?  I think Dallas, in particular, Uptown Dallas is currently one of the best kept secrets in the world (yes friends from Oak Cliff, M Streets, HP and UP your posts are coming).  It is a fantastic urban area stashed in the middle of the country with a low cost of living.  You can find apartments, condos, town homes... and even a few houses if you are lucky.  It is also an area where you can find great bars, restaurants, a few clubs and people who like to be a part of the scene.  The best part that you can actually WALK to them!  These great places are just outside your doorstep...and are closer than any grocery store.  Hey, isn't the fridge just for left overs anyway?
The Dallas Trolley.  A nice ride if your feet need a's FREE!

The Katy Trail 
In 1997, a coalition of community members and city leaders banded together to preserve the greenbelt along which the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT or “Katy”) Railroad traveled through Dallas. They envisioned an urban park featuring a pedestrian and bicycle path set among 30 acres of nature in the densest part of the city. Their plan will eventually become a key link in Dallas’ plan to connect White Rock Lake to the Trinity River.  The Katy Trail extends 3.5 miles from Airline Road to the American Airlines Center. Once completed, the bike and pedestrian path will link the Mockingbird DART station near SMU to the West End in downtown Dallas. It will feature a 12-foot-wide concrete bike trail and an 8-foot-wide parallel, soft-surface running path, with several entrances and plazas linking the Trail to other area parks.

Magnolia Theater - Want to watch a new release with a cocktail in hand?  This is the place to go!

A great bar for nice weather!  Excellent patio...and if it is a bit chilly they have outdoor heaters


The Ginger Man - A great afternoon watering hole!  As laid back as Uptown gets!

Nick and Sam's - Best Steak in Dallas and it's in Uptown!  Bar scene is very much a scene and somewhere you could have found the Rat Pack hanging out back in the day.

These are just a few of my favorites!  Would love to hear about your Uptown Favorites!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

When it comes to commitment...are you the chicken or the pig?

I had the privilege to attend the United Way Young Leaders Luncheon yesterday.  Our speaker, Randy Tomlin, is the Senior VP of U-verse field operations for AT&T, and is a company man through and through.  He has been with AT&T throughout his entire career and worked his way from the bottom up!  You can tell that he really loves AT&T and what he does!  I can only hope that after I have been a REALTOR for the same amount of time he as been with AT&T that I love my job just as much as he does!

Something Randy left me contemplating yesterday when it comes to growing my business is whether I am a chicken or a pig!  What is my level of commitment to my business, my clients, my family and my future.  This might have you scratching your head, as was I, when he first gave the analogy.  He went on to say that when it comes down to breakfast...there are eggs and there is bacon.  The chicken is only partially she just gave up an egg or two...but the pig...well, he's all in!

So where do I stand you might ask?  Well, I have to say I am pretty much all in when it comes to serving my clients.  However, I am at the point in my career that I am putting so much into my business that time with family is suffering a bit and I am working on finding a better balance.  (That is another post)

Reasons I say I am all in are as follows:
1.  I am a full time REALTOR!  A lot of folks out there do this job part time (still not sure how they do that and fully serve their clients, but that is another post).
2.  My husband and I own a home.  I understand the financial and emotional aspects of buying your first home.
3.  I am just as excited about finding the one that fits you as you are!  When you find THE just know it.  You might look one might look for 8 months or more...that part is up to you...but when you find the feels like home.  That is the magic moment that I got in the business for!  I know it's there...we just have to find it!
4.  As my client, my goal is to build a relationship with you.  (I know you might be thinking...sure...that's what they all say) but the difference is that I am not a salesy person.  I tried sales once and I was horrible at it!  My goal is to be a trusted advisor/consultant!  I will look and look and look!  I will tell you the truth even if it is sometimes hard to swallow.  (Example:  You might not be able to afford the area you really really want to live in with all the amenities you are looking for)  I am a friend and an advocate.  I WILL NOT push you into buying or selling if that is not what you are ready to do!  I will also recommend that you NOT spend as much as the bank says you can afford!  That is an easy way to get in trouble... really FAST!

I hope this helps you learn a little more about me and my philosophy towards buying or selling your home!  I am here to offer my time and my knowledge!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I received the below solicitation in my inbox today from another Real Estate brokerage firm. I have NO IDEA how I got on their list...never heard of them and never talked to them.  Yet, it showed my Ebby mail no less.  

I read the below and I got a great laugh and that is why I am posting this.  I consider the below a scare tactic solicitation...and I would strongly encourage anyone who ever received something like this from ANYONE to use someone else!  I don't care if it is me or not...just anyone else!

Trust is a two way street.  When we work together you trust me to be honest with you and do what is in your best interest.  I also trust you to be honest and forthcoming with me!  The below doesn't come anywhere close!

5 Reasons You Should Consider Selling NowIf you plan on moving anytime in 2011, you should strongly consider selling your house now rather than waiting. Here are five reasons why: 
  1. This is when your house will get the most exposure
The spring, and particularly the month of May, is when most buyers enter the real estate market. This surge of buyers dramatically increases the exposure for your house. The best chance of getting quality offers (perhaps even multiple offers) is RIGHT NOW!

   2.  Foreclosures and short sales will increase in about 90 days

The good news is that the number of people paying their mortgage on time is increasing. This will lead to less distressed property sales later this year and throughout 2012. The not-so-good news is that there is still a large inventory of existing foreclosures and short sales that will still be coming to market.

As an example, LPS reported in their latest Mortgage Monitor that:
  • There are still twice as many loans going 90+ days deliquent as are starting foreclosure
  • There are almost three times the number of foreclosure starts as there are foreclosure sales
  • Distressed property inventory levels are almost 45 times the rate of monthly foreclosure sales
This means that there is a backlog of properties which will start coming to the market in about 90 days as banks clear up their paperwork challenges. These properties sell at dramatic discounts. They will be your competition. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recently discussed the magnitude of this challenge.

   3. Interest rates have risen over the last six months

Interest rates have stabilized recently. However, in the last six months, interest rates have climbed over 1/2 %. Every time the rates increase 1/4%, approximately 250,000 buyers are eliminated from qualifying for a mortgage. In an environment of volatile rates, waiting could mean that there will be fewer buyers eligible to purchase your house. It also could mean that you will pay a higher rate on the next home you buy.

   4. Qualifying for a mortgage is about to get even more difficult

Besides increasing rates, there are other factors that will hinder a buyer's ability to qualify for a mortgage as we move forward. Lending standards have been getting tighter over the last year. And as the government debates the new proposed guidelines, banks are gearing up for even more stringent standards.

   5. It's time to get on with your life

Probably the most important reason to sell is so you can get on with your life. You placed your home on the market for a reason. Do not allow a less-than-sellar housing market prevent you from reaching your goals as an individual or as a family. Think about the reasons you decided to move in the first place. Are these reasons still important to you? If you have to take less than you were originally hoping to get for your house, your family has a question to ask each other: Is the dollar difference in sales price worth putting off our plans? Only you and your family know the answer to that question.


If you plan to sell this year, the reasons above prove that selling now makes more sense than waiting until later in the year.