Month: July 2015

What’s The Good News For July 2015 in DFW?

The Texas economy as a whole may slow due to the oil price collapse, but the DFW area economy remains strong. Job growth remains robust, with the DFW metropolitan area adding an astonishing 110,500 jobs in the 12 months ending May 2015, which represents an annual increase of 3.4 percent in employment.   As a result of the job growth, the area’s unemployment rate has dropped 120 basis points to 3.8% over the prior 12 months, its lowest point since 2001 and well below the national average of 5.5%.

In its largest U.S. investment this year, General Motors announced plans on Tuesday for $1.4 billion in improvements to its Arlington Assembly Plant to help improve production of its popular full-size sport utility vehicles.   The renovation and expansion will reconfigure the plant with a new paint shop, body shop and general assembly area upgrades.  This is intended to expand its production capacity, since the plant already operates 24 hours a day and is the lone global facility that builds full-size SUVs for the company.  It will add about 1 million square feet and 600 new jobs to the facility, over the next 3 years.

In July 2015, Forbes released a report on the Cities Creating the Most White-Collar Jobs. Over the past decade, Business Services has emerged as easily the largest high-wage sector in the United States, employing 19.1 million people.  Since 2004, while the number of manufacturing and information jobs in the U.S. has fallen, the Business Services sector has grown 21%, adding 3.4 million positions.  Texas had both No. 5 Austin-Round Rock and No. 6 Dallas-Plano-Irving.

S. builders broke ground on apartment complexes last month at the fastest pace in nearly 28 years, as developers anticipate that recent jobs gains will launch a wave of renters. The Commerce Department said that housing starts in June climbed 9.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million homes. All of that growth came from a 28.6% surge in multi-family housing that put apartment construction at its highest rate since November 1987.  Nationally, starts for single-family houses slipped 0.9% last month, while housing starts in the South were up 1.1% month-over-month and were up 10% over June 2014.

Officials have broken ground on the Town of Flower Mound’s first hotel, a Courtyard by Marriott. The hotel will be part of the River Walk at Central Park mixed-use development area and will be five-stories with 146 guest rooms, 39 of which will include balconies overlooking the River Walk.  It is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

Fairway Drive, commonly known as the Dam Road, reopened to motorists Friday, July 17th!


5 Vacation Destinations That Will Increase Your Productivity

Backpacking in Mountains Summer - Scenic view in mountain meadow with tent and incredible mountain views.  Colorado, USA.

Taking a vacation is the most relaxing way to notably increase your productivity at work. Giving yourself a break is a proven productivity strategy that allows workers to decompress so they don’t become overwhelmed by stress. So why not really make the most of your time off?

If improved productivity is one of the end goals, these vacation destinations will inspire you to hit the ground running when you get back to the office.

 Historic Landmarks of Washington D.C.

Talk about a source of inspiration. The amazing feats our forefathers were able to accomplish will make any goal seem more attainable by comparison. As will to amazing monuments and museums that have been built to commemorate the greatest moments in American history.

Washington D.C. is also the most productive region of the country — just kidding, but really — seeing all those hard-charging pages could be the spark you need to tap into the passion that led you down your own career path.

 An All-Inclusive Resort or Cruise in the Bahamas

Burnout is often the source of productivity angst. Decision fatigue is a real thing that can drain your energy and make progress near impossible. Planning a vacation can seem like work in and of itself when a million decisions have to be made about where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and what you’ll do once you make it to your destination.

An all-inclusive resort or cruise to the Bahamas is the perfect solution for depleted decision makers. All you have to do is choose the resort or cruise and just about everything else is handled for you. When you take this type of vacation you don’t have to organize schedules or make arrangements. It gives you the refreshing sense that someone else is taking care of you.

Grab a seat in the shade of an umbrella, take in the spectacular views and let the resort or cruise bring the entertainment to you.

 Colorado Camping

Being out in the sun and natural surroundings is an immediate productivity booster. Studies from the University of Michigan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and more have shown that the sounds and sights of nature, even from within an office, can increase productivity.

The majesty of the Rocky Mountains will certainly inspire creativity. The beauty of the towering tree-cover mountainside alone is a cognitive mood booster, but when you think about the men and women who carved out cities during the gold rush the area becomes even more impressive. The diverse landscape provides an array of activities from adventurous and rewarding activities like hiking a fourteener and white water rafting or more relaxing activities like lakeside reading.

There’s also the added benefit of being in a distraction-free environment. Electronics can become shackles that continually add to the to-do list, slow things down and make it impossible to take a break. Out in the mountains you can go completely au natural. Ditch the laptop and grab a notepad instead. When an inspiring ONE Thing moment strikes, jot it down or just keep a vacation diary to help ease your mind.

 Highly Productive Urban Environments

Seeing others hard at work is sometimes the motivation that you need to kick things into high gear. Metropolitans around the world are hubs for activity. The infectious feeling of importance is hard to ignore when you know millions of dollars are exchanging hands, hundreds of thousands of people are taking care of business and high rises are going up before your eyes.

The World Economic Forum and Bureau of Economic Analysis have gathered data that has helped to identify the most productive areas in the world. The top metros include:

  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Singapore
  • Berlin, Germany
  • New York, New York
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • San Jose, California

 Awe-Inspiring Libraries

Libraries are naturally conducive for productivity because they are designed to increase focus. But if you visited the Library of Congress during your productivity trip to Washington, D.C. you know not all libraries are created equal. There are a number of libraries in North America that are architectural gems with much more to do than study.

The Central Library of Vancouver is an amazing indoor/outdoor space that is a modern version of the Roman Coliseum. The Stephen A. Schwarzman Library in New York City is a historic landmark that has made an appearance in many Hollywood films. The José Vasconcelos Library in Mexico is a “megalibrary” with over 409,000 peaceful square feet to explore.

Do you find that some vacation spots help spur more productivity than others? Share your experiences with us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

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Keller Williams Dallas Metro North – June 2015 Statistics Are In!

KW Dallas Metro North is #1 in Area 41, beating its competition by double the units closed. In June we were #4 in the entire Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Keller Williams is dominating the market place!

If you have been thinking of buying, selling, leasing or investing you want a Real Estate Company that has your best interest at heart!

Contact your agent today or call 972.874.1905

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What is a Contingency?

Think of the word “contingency” as akin to “if.” When a homebuyer signs a contract agreeing to the purchase of a home, she is saying, “I agree to purchase this home for this amount of money if …” The “if” is the contingency.

Contingencies are those items that must come to pass before the sale finalizes. The list of possible contingencies is endless – you could tell a seller that you’ll purchase his home if his dog turns into a pig, sprouts wings and flies away. You could do that, although you probably wouldn’t get the house.

Contingencies in a real estate contract also represent steps along the way that allow the buyer to back out of the deal without losing her earnest money deposit or incurring a lawsuit.

Contingencies may be scattered throughout a contract. Let’s take a look at some of the more common real estate contract contingencies.

Loan Approval

This is generally the first contingency listed in the contract. For instance, in the California Association of Realtors® Residential Purchase Agreement, it is on page 2, paragraph H(2).

It begins by stating that the buyer must act “diligently and in good faith” to obtain the loan described on the previous page. “Obtaining the loan(s) specified above is a contingency of this Agreement unless otherwise agreed in writing.”

This particular contract goes on to mention that obtaining and providing a deposit, and payment of the down payment and closing costs, are not considered contingencies, but buyer obligations. At the end of this clause is a standard 17-day time period to remove this contingency, but the buyer is free to shorten or lengthen this time period in a space provided on the form.

The loan approval contingency is one that the seller’s agent will scrutinize when first going over your offer, and for good reason. The seller will be removing his home from the market if he accepts your offer and taking a chance that your loan will come through. The longer you take to get loan approval, the longer his home is off the market. If you end up being denied the loan, the seller has lost valuable marketing time.

Most contingencies work this way: Even if the contract states a time period, the buyer can choose a time frame that is more to her liking and hope the seller is OK with it.

Home Inspection

The home inspection offers the buyer an opportunity to determine, through the help of a professional, if there is anything wrong with the home’s structure and major systems. It is a visual inspection only, so don’t plan on finding out if there’s something brewing behind the walls.

Most inspection contingencies state that you have the right to back out of the contract if the results of the inspection aren’t satisfactory. Others may state that you can back out if the seller refuses to remedy any problems. Decide ahead of time how you want your inspection contingency worded.

If the inspection turns up items in need of replacement or repair, you can ask the seller to fix the problems, to deduct the cost of the repairs from the price of the house, to credit you back the money to fix them (if the lender allows this) or you can walk away from the purchase and receive your earnest money deposit back.

In some parts of the country, other inspections are customary, such as wood-destroying pest inspections in California and subsurface sewage treatment system and well inspections in Minnesota. Each of these represents a contingency.

Sale of the Buyer’s Property

It’s often an immense juggling act to sell one house before you close on another. In these cases, buyers frequently make the purchase of the new home contingent on the successful sale of their current home.

Whether a seller will accept an offer with this contingency depends on a number of factors. In a seller’s market this contingency is typically rejected. When there are few buyers competing for homes, however, sellers are more motivated to accept less-than-ideal offers.

The seller’s personal situation may play into his decision as well. If he needs to sell his home quickly, he may reject your offer, or counter it, asking for the contingency to be removed from the offer.

Inspection of HOA Documents

If the property you hope to purchase is in a community with a homeowners association, you will be provided with a mountain of documents. These include, but aren’t limited to:

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) – These include pet policies, parking rules, rules for the use of on-site amenities, exterior décor, landscaping restrictions and more.

The HOA Budget – This includes important information about where the money goes and whether the reserve account contains enough money to meet emergencies.

HOA Board Meeting Minutes – The meeting minutes will let you take a peek behind the scenes and find out what type of issues the board generally deals with, what actions they have taken against homeowners, and if there has been any discussion about raising fees or levying special assessments.

Governing Documents – Sometimes called bylaws, these documents let you know how elections are run, how a homeowner can go about getting a seat on the board, and the length of each member’s term.

You’ll need the time to read through each document carefully, especially to determine if there is any pending litigation against the HOA or the developer. If there is, your lender may deny the loan.

Ensure that you are provided adequate time to either read the paperwork yourself or have your lawyer go over it.

Appraisal Contingency

Unless you are paying cash for the home, the appraisal contingency is second in importance only to the loan approval contingency. The appraised value of the home represents the maximum amount of money the lender will give you. If the lender’s appraiser determines that the home isn’t worth what you’ve agreed to pay for it, you have several options:

Ask the seller to lower the home’s price to the appraised value.

Increase the amount of your down payment to reduce the loan amount.

A combination of the first two; the seller reduces the price and you add more cash to meet the appraised amount.

Ask for a new appraisal. This only works if the appraiser made mistakes or if you or the seller can add information that the appraiser didn’t take into account.

Walk away from the purchase.

Your real estate agent is your best source of information on the various contingencies in a real estate contract. Follow your agent’s advice about staying on task during the process so that you can formally remove the contingencies by the dates specified.


Fourth Of July Events For North Texas!


We wish you, your family and friends a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

Fort Worth’s Fourth
When: July 4 at 4:30 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Trinity River behind LaGrave Field in Fort Worth
What: Free live music and family fun including pony rides, a cardboard slide derby, and water wars. Food will be available for purchase.

CANCELED: Old Fashioned 4th
When: July 4th at 6 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Meadowcreek Park in DeSoto
What: Due to Meadowcreek Park’s location near a densely wooded area, the DeSoto Fire Marshal has postponed the joint DeSoto and Lancaster fireworks show. A celebration is still planned at the outdoor amphitheater located behind the DeSoto Public Library beginning at 6 p.m.

Fireworks at Arlington Highlands
When: July 4 at 7 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Arlington Highlands, 4000 Retail Connection Way, Arlington, TX
What: Free live entertainment by A Hard Night’s Day and free face painting and sno-cones from 7 to 9 p.m. (First 2,000 sno-cones are free. They are $1 afterwards).

Denton Kiwanis Club Fireworks Show
When: July 4 at 5:30 p.m. Music begins at 6:30 p.m.
Where: UNT Fouts Field
What: The Denton Kiwani’s Club hosts a night of live music by City Folk followed by an array of fireworks. The event is free but donations will be accepted before, during, and after the show.

Fair Park Fourth
When: July 4 at 4:30 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Fair Park
What: This event, presented by Friends of Fair Park, is the city of Dallas’ official Independence Day celebration. The evening will include free and reduced admission to Fair Park’s eight museums, Bellagio-style Esplanade Fountain shows, and live performances. Food will be available for purchase.

“Let’s Roll…America”
When: July 4 at 9 a.m.
Where: Downtown Arlington
What: Arlington’s 46th annual Independence Day Parade begins at the intersection of Mitchell and Pecan streets, parades through downtown, and ends right back where it started. The parade is expecting more than 50,000 spectators so get there early.

Addison Kaboom Town
When: July 3 at 5 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:35 p.m.
Where: Addison Circle Park
What: Rated as one of the top places to watch fireworks in the country by USA Today, Kaboom Town is a 30-minute fireworks show in the metroplex like no other. Live entertainment and an air show will precede the fireworks.

Electric Theater
When: July 2-4 at 1 p.m.
Where: Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas
What: Want to beat the heat this July 4th weekend? The Museum of Nature & Science has indoor fireworks. The Electric Theater is an interactive lesson on electro-magnetism that concludes with a light show. The Independence Day presentations are free to members and general admission for non-members.

Lone Stars & Stripes Fireworks
When: July 3 and 4 following the last races which begin at 5 p.m.
Where: Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie
What: Two-days of thoroughbred racing and family fun such as a petting zoo, pony rides and bounce houses. Following the races, there will be a 20-minute fireworks display and live entertainment.

BigTop 4thFest
When: July 4 at 12 p.m.
Where: Bedford Boys Ranch Park
What: BigTop Celebration is an old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration with a circus themed twist. 4thFest includes a free concert, bounce houses, a variety of free family activates, festival-style food and, of course, a fireworks extravaganza when the sun goes down. 4thFest visitors can also take a dip in Bedford’s Splash Aquatic Center for an additional fee.

Frisco Freedom Fest
When: July 2 at 4 p.m.
Where: Pizza Hut Park and Simpson Plaza, located in front of Frisco City Hall
What: Frisco Freedom Fest is a party in the heart of Frisco. The Taste of Frisco also returns this weekend with Frisco restaurants serving some of their most popular menu items. Freedom Fest will conclude with a 20-minute fireworks spectacle.

Fireworks over Lake Grapevine
When: July 4 at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Lake Grapevine and surrounding parks
What: The City of Grapevine will be shutting down Fairway Drive for their annual fireworks extravaganza. Admission is free at most viewing locations, although some parks along Lake Grapevine may charge a minimal admission fee.

Willie Nelson’s Annual Picnic & Throwdown
When: July 4 at 11:30 a.m., first artist take the stage at 12 p.m.
Where: Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth
What: Willie Nelson’s picnic is a Texas tradition that features a day full of country music performances. The picnic was recently revealed as a top destination for the 4th by Yahoo Travel. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the gate, and are available through Ticketmaster or Billy Bob’s box office.

Cowboys Stadium 4th of July Rally
When: July 4 at 12 p.m.
Where: Cowboys Stadium
What: Never been to the Cowboys Stadium? This year’s 4th would be a perfect time to go. Cowboys Stadium is hosting a Texas-sized Fourth of July Rally for the whole family. The event will include alumni player autograph signing, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders appearances and photo opportunities. Everyone wearing patriotic clothing will receive $5 off the price of a stadium tour. Parking will be free with the purchase of a tour ticket.

Picnic in the Park
When: July 2 at 12 p.m.
Where: Firewheel Town Center in Garland
What: Shopping more your style than fireworks? Firewheel Town Center will be hosting a picnic offering area families an opportunity to play as well as enjoy live music , all located near the open-air regional shopping mall.

Commemorative Air Force Squadron
When: July 2, 3, and 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Meacham Field in Fort Worth
What: The Commemorative Air Force B-29/B-24 Squadron will be conducting flight experiences for $595 to $1495, depending on seat location. For those not interested in flight experiecne, warbirds and vintage aircraft will be on display. There will be a $5 fee to enter the display area.


What to Look for When Buying an Older Home

Anyone who has visited San Francisco or Cape May, New Jersey knows how beautiful historic architecture can be. In San Francisco, they’ve even named their stately, restored Victorian homes “Painted Ladies.”

But, are these older homes good buys? Considering that most of a home’s components deteriorate with age, you may be not only buying a vintage home, but vintage problems as well.

Here’s a quick look at some of the more common problems with older homes.



It would seem that an old house has done all the settling it’s going to do, right? Wrong, according to Page Engineering in Missouri. The rate at which the house settles diminishes over time, but it never completely stops – especially if the house has never been “piered.”

Piers are long steel shafts that are driven through the soil and into the bedrock below. This process takes the weight of the home off unstable soil, and the home is less prone to settlement. It’s a big job, though, and quite pricey.

Look for cracks in the walls, bulging floors and doors that won’t close. These are all signs of possible foundation damage. Not all cracks, however, indicate a problem, so don’t be alarmed – let a professional diagnose the situation.

The engineers with Page suggest taking a 4-foot bubble level with you when you visit an older home you’re interested in purchasing. Use the level to check the floors and walls. If any of them are out of level, have the house checked by a structural engineer.

Electrical System

A home’s electrical wiring system has a life expectancy of about 40 years, according to Mike McClintock, home repair writer with the Chicago Tribune. Safety risks increase when the system ages beyond this limit, he warns.

If the home was built between 1920 and 1950 and has never been remodeled, it may still have knob-and-tube wiring, which is considered incapable of handling today’s electrical loads.

Some home insurers won’t cover a home with this type of wiring and will insist that it is replaced before insuring the home.

Your home inspector should be able to determine what type of wiring the home contains and its condition, at least in visible areas.


Old houses typically have old pipes. If the house you have your eye on was built before 1960, the pipes may be made of steel or cast-iron. These materials corrode, decay and rust over time. Cast iron pipes are notorious for becoming clogged with mineral build up.

Determining the type of pipes in the home is challenging because so much of the system is behind walls. A plumbing contractor inspection is your best bet, and even then you may not learn about all of the pipes in the house.

“Replacing old pipes in a 1,500-square foot, two-bathroom home costs $4,000 to $10,000, and requires cutting open walls and floors,” claims Joe Bousquin at HouseLogic.


The last thing most homebuyers look at when they drive up to a home for sale is the roof. It’s easy to be distracted by charming landscaping and attractive paint colors, but it’s imperative that you take a good, long look at the home’s roof.

Sagging is a sign that a roof is holding too much weight. This can happen when new roofing is installed over old roofing or from prolonged contact with a significant layer of snow.

If you know you’ll be looking at older homes, take along a pair of binoculars. Before entering the home, look at the roof from the curb and determine whether the chimney and rooflines are straight.

Next, check the shingles. If they aren’t flat and instead curled or cupped, they may need to be replaced.

Ask the homeowner the age of the roof. Although the lifespan of a roof depends on several factors, if it is wood, tile or asbestos and over 15 years old, you may need to replace it in a few years.

Since a new roof may cost upwards of $8,000, it’s important to have the home’s roof inspected before obligating yourself to purchase the home.

While it’s highly doubtful that a home built in the mid-1800s still retains original components, you’ll need to inquire as to the last time these elements were replaced.

Other problems you may find in an older home include:

Lack of storage

Lack of natural light

Inadequate insulation (thus higher heating and cooling costs)

Small kitchen

While all of these items can be rectified, the cost to do so should be factored into the price of the home.

That the craftsmanship and materials of an older home have stood the test of time is a testament to its quality. But few things last forever, and a home inspection, using the appropriate contractors, is a must when considering the purchase of an older home.