Browsing the archives for the Resources category.

Let the Sales Season Begin

City of Dallas, Dallas Real Estate, East Dallas, Economic Outlook, Home Buyers, Home Sale Statistics, Home Sellers, Real Estate, Real Estate Finance, Resources

In a recent article in the Dallas Morning News, Real Estate writer Steve Brown notes:

  • North Texas home prices were up 2 percent in February from 2013.
  • North Texas home sales prices jumped by 13 percent in February.
  • But sales of homes in the area struggled to rise above last year’s levels.
  • The number of pending home sales for March – properties under contract but not yet sold – is down 8 percent from last year.

So why the drop in Home Sales? The cold weather not only slowed down construction, but general market activity, as fewer folks were out looking at houses. In addition, the drop in February home sales is a reflection of a shortage of properties on the market.  At the current inventory levels, it is very much a sellers market and with high demand and low inventory, prices will go up.   Year over year, median home prices in North Texas have seen a 10% increase.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, the Existing-home sales fell in January to the lowest level in a year-and-a-half, but ongoing inventory shortages continue to lift prices in much of the U.S.

Dr. Jim Gaines, an economist from Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, noted in a recent podcast that there are a few other factors to consider that have contributed to a fundamental shift in the market. At the state level, a  higher proportion of sales activity has shifted to the upper median high to high end  of the market, north of $300K.  Furthermore, in some markets the sales activity in the under $150K price range has declined.  Due to the upward shift into the higher end market, the statistics reported in the MLS will also cause a upward shift in home values.

This shift in the consumer market is a result of a tight credit market. Today’s buyers must have higher FICO scores, higher down payments,  and meet stricter underwriting conditions.  The continued Job growth in TX will continue to  contribute to above median income levels.

Housing markets to watch:
Up-Markets – Major Urban Markets
Houston  – driven by the energy sector
Austin  – driven by the  technology
DFW, San Antonio , and Chorpus Christi
These markets are doing well and will continue to do well. Population and economic growth with continue.

For more details you can listen to the housing market update with Dr. Jim Gaines here.

As always, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home, or have a property question in general, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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FHA Changes Coming Soon

East Dallas, Real Estate Finance, Resources

I recently received an update from one of my preferred lenders.   FHA has made some changes and the first change will begin on April 1, 2013.  There are several changes but there are two primary changes home buyers need to be aware of:

Changes coming soon to FHA Loans1.Beginning on April 1 the monthly mortgage insurance premium will go up to 1.35% (from 1.25%) for 30 year and 15 year loans with a loan to value of more than 95%.

2.  Effective June 3, 2013, FHA will collect this monthly mortgage insurance premium for the life of the loan, yes even when the balance falls below 78%.

What does this mean for you?  If you plan on purchasing a home using FHA financing, you will save a lot of money if you get a contract soon.

Feel free to forward or share this with anyone you think it will help and as always, if you have questions be sure to contact me.

If you have any financing questions, give Les a call.


Les Tuttle #313115
Cendera Funding #179242

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The New 3.8% Tax Rate

City of Dallas, Economic Outlook, Governmental Affairs, Investors, Lakewood, Multi-Family Property, Property Management, Real Estate, Real Estate Finance, Resources

Here is a report by the National Association of Realtors that explains the New 3.8% Tax Rate. When the legislation becomes effective in 2013, it may impose a 3.8% tax on some (but not all) income from interest, dividends, rents (less expenses) and capital gains (less capital losses). The tax will fall only on individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $200,000 and couples filing a joint return with more than $250,000 AGI.

To get you up to speed on the new tax legislation, the National Association of Realtors has prepared an informational resource. Click HERE to read.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions. You can also find more info on my website:

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Having Guts in 2012

Home Sale Statistics, Real Estate, Resources

Looking ahead to 2012, I feel lucky to live in Texas. And better yet, to live in Dallas! The Dallas economy is so strong, that we continue to attract new business and people are relocating from across country to take advantage of the opportunity for growth.   I feel 2012 will bring a slow and steady rise in property values. Nothing dramatic.  But it remains a great time to purchase Real Estate.  Interest Rates are still low. Inventory is still high. It is still a competitive market. And IF you got the guts, now’s the time to buy!

I’m including an article from the Texas Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, providing some great resources.

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas’ economic outlook for 2012 is positive. Job growth is occurring in several sectors, and a low cost of living is enticing businesses to move to the Lone Star State.

It will be tougher going for the nation, however, because of several factors. The housing market needs to clear a high number of foreclosures. Consumers need to pay off their debt. The banking system needs to write off bad debt. Small businesses need to start hiring again.

Writing for the January issue of Tierra Grande magazine, Real Estate Center Chief Economist Dr. Mark Dotzour says, “Fortunately, Texas is poised to outperform the U.S. averages. Home sales volume in Texas should show modest improvement over 2011, and prices should be stable throughout 2012.” Dotzour’s economic outlook is titled “Texas Sails On: Nation Battles Headwinds.”

Other articles detailing findings from the nation’s largest publicly funded real estate research organization are in the issue scheduled for mailing in late January.

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Northeast Division Crime Alert!

City of Dallas, East Dallas, Resources

Alert: B.O.L.O. Possible Police/Volunteer Impersonator: B.O.L.O. Possible Police/Volunteer Impersonator: Bret Angle W/M/48, driving whit…e Chevy truck with red/blue lights and the words “Dallas VIP #537” and “Dallas County VIP #537”. This individual is driving around the Northeast Division in a white truck with red and blue lights. This person is not connected in any way to DPD. If any vehicle matching this description attempts to help you or pull you over, please call 9-1-1 immediately and caution should be exercised.See More For full details, view this message on the web.  Click on the link and check out his photo!

Remember to stay safe this holiday season!

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Why Realtors Support Proposition 2

City of Dallas, Governmental Affairs, Lakewood, Neighborhood Events, Resources

The following information is provided by TAR – The Texas Association of Realtors.

Do you like water? Then vote for Proposition 2

Proposition 2 saves taxpayer dollars on water projects needed by many communities. For example, it gives cities a lower-cost way to repair and replace water mains and to keep treatment plants from being overwhelmed.

How does Proposition 2 save money?
If Proposition 2 passes, communities can finance these much-needed projects through Texas Water Development Board bonds—a low-cost way to pay for them. Without Proposition 2, communities will be forced to finance these projects via alternate, more expensive methods.

What about the other propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot?
The Texas Association of REALTORS® has also endorsed Propositions 1 and 8. Proposition 8 extends a tax exemption to Texans who manage their land to conserve water and protect water quality. Proposition 1 would allow the surviving spouse of a 100% or totally disabled veteran to retain the disabled veteran’s property-tax exemption after the veteran is deceased/

Watch a video explaining why proposition 2 is good for Realtors:

Why we support Proposition 2 (Texas 2011)




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Economic Forecast 2012: What you need to know!

Home Sale Statistics, Investors, Lakewood, Real Estate, Real Estate Finance, Resources

Last week I attended an economic forecast presented by DFW MetroTex Board of Realtors.

Here’s what you need to know.  Economists predict moderate job growth for 2012.

We are in a unique recession.  In the past, economic recovery has been lead by the housing market.  However, due to high unemployment rates, a lack of consumer confidence, and continued credit contraction, the demand for housing remains low.  Unless congress creates the policies to encourage businesses to hire we will see at best modest job growth. It appears that major business investment decisions will be postponed until after 2012 election, resulting in sluggish job growth into the first quarter of 2013.

The good news: Texas as a whole has outperformed the national average.  We lagged into the recession.  While real estate values are location specific, DFW did not experience the boom and bust that affected the Sand States.  Our economy has continued to grow at a rate above national levels, and the projected job growth and expected increase in population is an indicator that we will lead in the national recovery.

Here’s the best news!  There has never been a better time to purchase Real Estate! Interest rates remain low.  FHA has first time home buyer programs allowing buyers to finance a home with 3.5% down.  And a high volume of foreclosures causes distress in the market place that will continue to affect sellers’ values and provide plenty of options to the deal seekers.


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Early Voting: Your Private Property Rights

Investors, Neighborhood Events, Real Estate, Resources

To all of my REALTOR and Real Estate Investment  friends AND those concerned with protecting YOUR Private Property Rights

Early voting will be held Oct 24 – Nov 4, 2011 so that Texans can vote on ten Texas Constitutional Amendments. During the early voting period, you may vote at any early voting location in the county in which you are registered. For exact dates, times and early voting locations, visit our website at or call the MetroTex Government Affairs Department at 214-540-2726.

The Texas Association of REALTORS® supports amendments 1 (ad valorum exemption for surviving spouse of Veteran), 2 and 8 (both dealing with water rights).

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New Loan Limits are Now in Effect

Home Buyers, Investors, Real Estate, Real Estate Finance, Resources, Uncategorized

There were a few mortgage loan program changes that went into effect onOctober 1, 2011.   I contacted local loan officer, Les Tuttle, to outline the new conforming loan limits and to discuss what role they play in our market place.

Essentially there were no changes to the FHA program, so things there stay the same.   However the USDA program will increase a buyer’s’ monthly payment since monthly mortgage insurance has been added.  And with the changes made to the VA program,   buyers will benefit by having a lower funding fee that is rolled into their mortgage.

If you look at the chart below, you will see Les has included the loan limits for properties with up to 4 units.  These can be financed on an FHA note, and would require 3.5% down, with an average interest rate of 4%.  What a great way for a first time buyer to begin building their investment portfolio!

 The following is a list of the changes:

  1. Conforming and FHA loan limits have been lowered in some parts of the country.   The conforming loan limit is the maximum loan amount Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will purchase and the FHA loan limit is the maximum loan amount HUD will insure.  The good news for all of us in the DFW area and inTexasis the loan limits have remained the same so if you hear the amounts have been changed you will know that in our area they have not changed.  The limits vary from 1 unit properties to 4 unit properties and the limits are as follows:

Conventional                                       FHA

1 unit               $417,000 maximum                            $271,050 maximum

2 units             $533,850 maximum                            $347,000 maximum

3 units             $645,300 maximum                            $419,425 maximum

4 units             $801,950 maximum                            $521,250 maximum

2.   USDA has changed the guarantee fee.  There was always a 3.5% guarantee fee that was rolled into the loan amount and there was no mortgage insurance premium paid in the monthly payments.  Now the upfront fee is 2.0% but there is a monthly premium of .3%.  If the property qualifies and the borrowers qualify this is still an excellent program because there is no down payment.

 3. VA has changed the funding fee.  A qualified Veteran with less than 5% down payment (a veteran can put 0% down) using the benefit for the first time will see the funding fee drop from 2.15% to 1.4%.  This funding fee is rolled into the mortgage and there is still no monthly mortgage insurance premium.  This is an excellent benefit for our veterans.


As always, you can contact me with any questions.  Also feel free to contact Les Tuttle.

Visit my blog:    

Visit my website:

Office phone:              214-221-4008



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Staying Cool in Triple Digit Dallas Heat

City of Dallas, East Dallas, Home Maintenance, Lakewood, Property Management, Resources

We are almost 2 months in to triple digit Texas temperatures with little to no relief in sight.   As  a property manager, the most common maintenance call we receive during this time of year is about the A/C unit NOT cooling.   One of the best tips I can give residents is to make sure you are changing your A/C Filter on a monthly basis (unless you are using a 3M filter).

The home warranty companies must also be receiving a high volume of A/C calls because I received these great reminders from Nations Home Warranty .  Many Thanks to those skilled technicians who keep us cool during this Texas Heat Wave.


  • Air Conditioning systems are designed to produce a temperature split or a “Delta-T” on Home Inspection reports, between 15-22 degrees from inside the home measured before and then after the evaporator coil.
  • If the temperature split is higher than 22° or less than 15° that indicates that the air conditioning system should be serviced by a licensed HVAC company.
  • Achieving a temperature differential inside your home of 28-30 degrees from the outside ambient temperature is more than optimal. The ability of your A/C is highly determined by the age of the unit and the energy efficiency of your home.
  • Attic temperatures, in summer, are 140 degrees and UP. Therefore, air conditioning technicians are experiencing high volumes of heat exhaustion. Companies are struggling to keep them healthy enough to keep working.
  • When and IF it ever rains, exterior equipment cannot be serviced or installed because it is too dangerous for the technicians and rain can compromise the equipment. Additionally, the pressure readings are taken outside and it cannot be accomplished in the rain so servicing the A/C system would more than likely be a failed attempt.
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