KWMETRONORTH

Home Inspections – Items That Aren’t Deal-Breakers

Contract 01After making an offer on a home, you’ll enter into a contract. Part of that contract should always include getting a home inspection. It is recommended that any homebuyer make an offer to purchase contingent upon a home inspection. This allows you to withdraw your offer if there are any major issues discovered during an inspection.

More than likely, the home inspector will find problems that need to be fixed before closing. Major foundation issues and significant water damage are at the top of the list of signs to walk away from.

On the other hand, there are some home defects found during an inspection that don’t have to be deal-breakers. Many of them can be fixed, and they can be used to negotiate with the seller for a lower price point or additional help with the closing costs.

homeinspection2Lead-Based Paint
Lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but it’s still possible that you could purchase a home that contains it if it was built before the ban. The sellers should disclose this, but the home inspector may find it, as well.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how comfortable you are with purchasing a home that has lead-based paint, but it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. You can hire a contractor who is certified to remove lead-based paint, and the home will be completely safe.

Concrete Floor Cracks
Cracks in a concrete basement floor may seem like a structural problem, but this is natural and not indicative of significant damage. Small cracks occur in concrete because it’s a porous substance. These cracks can be fixed at a relatively low cost, and shouldn’t be a reason for you to back out of a contract.

What is something that’s cause for concern are cracks in concrete walls, as these may or may not be associated with the structure. If the wall has moved or if the cracks have a large opening, then these would be deal-breakers.

Mold
Mold is something that no one ever wants to see in a home you put an offer on, but a little bit of mold by the shower doesn’t mean you need to back out of your offer – at least not immediately.

If mold is found during the home inspection, have a qualified mold inspector take a look. Not all molds are toxic, but the safest way to determine if this is a deal-breaker is by hiring a mold professional.

pestcontrol1Bug Infestations
Bug infestations can cause significant damage to the home’s structure if they aren’t exterminated quickly and efficiently. A home inspector may find signs of an infestation during an inspection, but how do you tell if it’s truly a deal-breaker?

The best way to know if there is pest damage to the home’s structure or foundation is to ask a qualified pest expert to do an additional inspection of the home. Someone who is a specialist will be able to tell you if the home just has a few bugs, or if you need to rescind your offer.

When problems arise during home inspections, it doesn’t always mean you have to back out of your contract. Home inspectors will often find problems outside of their scope of expertise, so always get a second opinion from a specialist before making a final decision. In many instances, these problems are opportunities to negotiate with the seller. You can request that the seller do the repairs, or ask for money to put towards repairs.

homeinspection3You can also ask the seller to include a home warranty on the home in the contract of sale, but it won’t repair the problems found in a home inspection contract. A home warranty is there to protect you from aging systems and appliances after you buy. Think of getting car insurance on a car that was just wrecked and then opening a claim – it wouldn’t work, because the insurance was put on after the damage happened. The same goes for a home warranty.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

Bounce Back in Pending Home Sales a Welcoming Sign

Business Growth 01

After declining for three straight months, pending home sales reversed course in June as all major regions, except for the Midwest, saw an increase in contract activity, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index, a measure of housing contract activity, climbed 1.5 percent to 110.2 in June from an upwardly revised 108.6 in May. At 0.5 percent, the June index increased annually for the first time since March.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the bounce back in pending sales in most of the country in June is a welcoming sign. “The first half of 2017 ended with a nearly identical number of contract signings as one year ago, even as the economy added 2.2 million net new jobs,” he said. “Market conditions in many areas continue to be fast paced, with few properties to choose from, which is forcing buyers to act almost immediately on an available home that fits their criteria.” Added Yun, “Low supply is an ongoing issue holding back activity. Housing inventory declined last month and is a staggering 7.1 percent lower than a year ago.”

Couple Cheering 02Yun noted that there could potentially be a sliver of increased hope in the months ahead for prospective first-time buyers, who continue to struggle reaching the market. Sales to investors last month were the lowest of the year (13 percent), which helped push all cash transactions to 18 percent – the smallest share since June 2009 (13 percent).

Source: National Association of Realtors

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

 

5 Tips to find the right Realtor

Realtor 02Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you need a trusted guide by your side: Realtor, of course! Your realtor will be a trusted partner in this most important of all transaction. Here are 5 ways to find a Realtor who’s right for you.

Gather referrals, but take them with a grain of salt

There are a lot of agents out there. So how do you choose? Go ahead and ask your pals for referrals, but don’t fall into the trap of picking an agent purely because of rave reviews. The old mantra of location, location, location applies to real estate agents as much as homes.

“You want a Realtor who is very familiar with your area—and not just what he can pull up online,” says Wendy Flynn, a Realtor in College Station, TX. The reason is simple: If they’ve spent time in the area, they’ll know how to market your house there.

So a better question to ask your friends than “Know any real estate agents?” is, “Know a real estate agent who’s sold any properties in my area in the past few years?”

Test their communication skills

Once you have your list of potential agents, email them or call their office, then sit back and wait. This is your first test of a key component: how responsive will your agent be? Ideally, she should get back to you that same day.

“If it takes longer than four business hours without a decent explanation, I would be cautious,” says Chandler Crouch, broker for Chandler Crouch Realtors in Fort Worth, TX. Imagine if you’ve got competing offers on the table, or if some problem comes up with the home inspection. You don’t want to wonder where your agent is and whether you’ll hear back from her!

Probe their experience

Your initial conversation with a prospective listing agent should be like any job interview: Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions right off the bat. A good agent should know his stats, and any dancing around these numbers could mean he’s hiding something. According to Crouch, you should ask the following:

  • How long have you been in business? Aim for Realtors with at least two years of experience, enough time to learn the ropes and finesse their marketing and selling plans. Time (on the job) is money (in your pocket).
  • How many houses did you sell last year? Look for agents with double-digit sales. “I wouldn’t consider an agent unless they had 20 or more sells a year,” Crouch says.
  • What percentage of your listings do you sell? Ideally you want an agent who has sold an average of 60% to 80%.
  • What is the average list price to actual sell price ratio for your listings? This can fluctuate by market, but you should still look for high numbers. “I would set a low bar of 95% to be acceptable for even the worst market conditions,” Crouch says.

Assess their marketing skills

Everyone knows that to sell a house quickly (and get the big bucks) you need to reach as many eyeballs as you can. And the way to suss out an agent’s ability to do that is to ask these questions:

  • How will you market my home? A Realtor should use at least a good brokerage website to showcase your listing, national listing portals such as realtor.com®, and an email subscription list.
  • How will you use social media? They should use at least Facebook and Twitter to market listings; they get bonus points if they post photos on Instagram.
  • What offline materials do you use? While most marketing is done online now, your Realtor should still make use of tried-and-true methods such as fliers, yard signs, and brochures, especially at an open house.
  • How much do you spend on advertising? “Don’t stop asking until you get a solid dollar figure,” Crouch says. Advertising costs vary widely by area, but Realtors should consistently spend a portion of their business expenses on advertising. By asking for a set amount, you’ll know if they’re doing that or not.

Don’t shoot for cheap

Finally, don’t assume the most inexpensive agent is the one for you. While agents work at different price points and some may take a lower commission, they should be confident enough in their abilities to stand by their prices, according to Crouch. So when you’re talking terms, he recommends asking agents if they’ll work on a discount. If they jump at the chance early on in the conversation, that might be a red flag.

“Think about this: If the agent can’t even negotiate to protect their own money, how likely do you think it will be for them to go to bat to protect your money?” Crouch says. “It’ll be a test of confidence in their own services at least.”

by Angela Colley, real estate writer for Realtor.com 

 

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

How To Hire a Mover

Moving - 2When moving, there’s a million small details to juggle. Hiring a moving company can save you a bundle of stress, but it’s important to note that not all moving companies are the same, and you want to make sure your items are safe and secure in the hands of your movers.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking to hire a moving company:

Hire a licensed company – Be sure to only use a licensed moving company and check for a valid U.S. Department of Transportation number on the main DOT website.

Find reassurance in valuation – Even if movers are bonded and insured, verify if belongings are covered during the move. Some states require a valuation of 60 cents per pound of coverage but in many cases additional valuation can be purchased for the move.

shutterstock_28772560Avoid imposters – Visit the official site of the moving company and ensure there is a local address and the office is staffed.

Get a real quote – Inspect the website to ensure they will not sell personal information to other movers to provide the quote and avoid sites that feature multiple quotes from different companies. Never pay for an estimate and consider an on-site estimate to ensure accuracy for larger moves.

Inquire about the movers – Be careful if choosing to move forward with a company that employs temporary or day laborers and does not have Workers’ Compensation coverage should anything happen.

moving - 3Research options – The Internet is filled with reviews and comments on social media pages, so take the time to read about pros and cons of a potential company. Learn from customers’ experiences and look into complaints on the Better Business Bureau website, as well. Understand, not every move can be perfect, but if the company is taking time to respond to customers comments and work toward resolution, it is a good sign.

Don’t fall for a too good to be true price – If the price seems like it is too good, it probably is going to cause headaches and problems down the line. Moving is expensive – even if completed without movers – be sure to look at all of your options as it’s best to go into the process prepared. Also, never move forward with a company that only accepts cash.

Check for hidden fees – When asking about pricing, be sure to understand what is included and if there are cancellation fees or a nonrefundable deposit. Most companies will refund a deposit if within a certain amount of days before the move, and see if there are extra fees for stairs, mileage or large items. Some movers will offer complimentary padding and stretch wrap to protect furniture, but not all companies will.

Movers - 6Reputation is important – Many reputable movers belong to the American Moving and Storage Association. Identify if a prospective company is a member before booking a move.

Ask for references – Get advice from friends and family who have had a good experience with movers. Did they feel like they were communicated with throughout the process and were told a window of time for the movers to arrive? Don’t forget to ask questions to feel confident with booking a company.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. It’s highly beneficial to have a professional knowledgeable, local real estate agent by your side. Call Keller Williams Dallas Metro North today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

North Texas Paints it Forward!

rocksIt ROCKS to live in North Texas! Not only are its residents friendly, but they seem to take genuine pleasure in paying it forward. We often hear of people buying a Starbucks® for the next person in line, buying groceries for the person who forgot their wallet, or posting pictures to Facebook groups of found pets, wallets, backpacks. With this much kindness to spare, it only makes sense that North Texas has embraced the rock painting craze that is sweeping the country!

boy in playgroundAccording to the Facebook group Flower Mound Area Rocks, “young and old are participating in this fun community fad, which spreads happiness, love and inspiration through the simple gesture of painting rocks and hiding them throughout the community for people to find.”

mom painting rocksIt’s simple to take part – you decoratively paint small rocks, then hide them where community members gather (parks, trails, etc). The lucky finders of the rocks are asked to post a picture of the rock on Facebook, using the hashtag on the back of the rock. The finder can then keep the rock, or re-hide the rock.

So paint it forward, North Texas! You just might brighten someone’s day!

Inspiration and instructions can be found on Pinterest, via google search, or in any of these local Facebook rock painting groups: Denton Rocks / Flower Mound Area Rocks / Lewisville Rocks / Colony Rocks

It’s highly beneficial to have a professional, knowledgeable, local real estate agent by your side. Call Keller Williams Dallas Metro North today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

What’s the GOOD News for July

Good News1July 25, 2017

Uber Freight – Uber’s going big into trucking and nowhere bigger than Texas. This spring, Uber launched Uber Freight, an app that matches truck drivers with loads of goods to pick up and deliver.  Texas, and routes between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, served as the test ground before the app’s launch.  Texas’ large truckingUber_logo.svg business made it an obvious place to start, since about 14%  of U.S. freight comes in and out of Texas.  About 70% of Uber Freight’s loads and drivers are based in Texas.  Similar to the ride-hailing app, Uber Freight allows truck drivers to pick up extra work when they want to. They also can find a job that fills up their truck on the way home.  Nearly 10% of the nation’s truck transportation workforce lives in Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has the third highest number of tractor-trailer drivers, trailing only New York and Chicago, according a recent study by Dallas consulting firm Site Selection Group, so Uber Freight will continue to be active in the North Texas trucking industry.

Flag_of_Plano,_TexasFrontgate –  On July 21st,  the choices for furniture shopping in North Texas improved with the opening of the flagship store of Frontgate in Plano’s Legacy West.   The luxury lifestyle brand already has more than 20,000 catalog customers in this area.  In total, today Frontgate sends monthly catalogs to 10 million affluent households, and its website has 25 million visitors a year.   The store has 21,337-square-feet with a covered 2,500-square-foot outdoor patio.  Inside, there’s a bistro area where customers can have a complimentary glass of wine, an espresso or a snack.   Frontgate has a another store in Atlanta similar to this north Texas store, and also has a handful of outlet stores.

 3.eia.logoElectricity Prices declining in Texas! – Shopping for electricity is becoming cheaper for most Texans, according to a new study from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.  About 85% of Texans can purchase electricity from several providers in a deregulated marketplace, while the remaining 15% must buy power from a single provider in their area.

The report from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which advocates for cities and local governments and negotiates their power contracts, pulls information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to compare prices for Texans in the two models. 3.electric-632731_960_720Most Texans could begin choosing their electricity provider in 2002.  Between 2006 and 2015, average residential electric prices for Texans in a competitive market decreased by 17.4%, while average prices increased by 5.5% in the regulated areas.  Overall, the average price of electricity in Texas — including the price in the deregulated marketplace, for the third time in four years — was below the national average in 2015.  A separate study from Rice University – one that looked at different and more recent data – found that in 2016, both regulated and deregulated parts of Texas had electricity prices that were decreasing year over year, and cheaper than the national average.

4.homebuildersBuilders answering the demand for lower priced homes – Dallas-Fort Worth builders started 8,812 houses in the second quarter — the greatest quarterly building total since fourth quarter 2006, housing analyst Residential Strategies Inc. reports.   Builders sold 8,244 homes in the second quarter, up almost 13% from a year earlier, scaling a new peak in quarterly sales since the summer of 2007.  Starts during the period were 12% higher from second quarter 2016 — most of the rise in home construction came for houses priced under $300,000.  With the high demand for more lower priced inventory homes, the median price of new homes started in the area fell to $344,094, down from almost $352,000 a year earlier.  Higher land and materials costs, and a shortage of labor have inflated the price tag on new houses, however with brisk demand at prices under $500,000, builders are answering the need.  The biggest increases in starts during the quarter were in Celina, Southwest Fort Worth, Forney, Wyly, the Colony and Princeton.

 5.DFW.airport.parking.termDDFW Airport parking prices not expected to rise – For the first time in five years, there are no new parking rate increases planned at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.   The airport’s parking revenues are expected to remain flat in its next fiscal year as more customers choose to use services like Uber and Lyft instead of parking their cars at the airport. Currently, terminal parking costs $24 a day while parking at the express and remote lots costs between $10 to $15 a day.

DFW Airport receives fees from the car-for-hire services, which is becoming a larger percentage of the airport’s ground transportation revenues. The fees have grown from 6.5% in 2015 to an estimated 11.5% for 2018.

Summer in North Texas – Fun Fun Fun!

Summer Heat? … Pshaw!! North Texas has it all when it comes to fun summertime outdoor activities. So many things to see and do under our beautiful Texas blue skies. So grab a Texas sweet tea and explore all North Texas has to offer!

Bartonville Farmers Market
Bartonville Town Center, 2652 FM-407 Bartonville TX 76226
Every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to sell-out

Lakeside Music Series
The Shops at Lakeside DFW, 2314 Lakeside Parkway
Every Friday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. through the second week of November.

Dallas by Chocolate Foodie Tours
chocolate tourA fun way to learn more about our area, these luxury bus and walking tours take groups and individuals on Corporate Team Building, Taco & Margarita, BBQ, Bishop Arts, Best of Everything, Hidden Dallas, Italian, Bacon, Wine, Scavenger Hunt, Best of Everything and Chocolate Tours. Named “One Of The Ten Best Things To Do In Dallas” by USA Today.

Walking Friends and Fun Meet-up group
Nature hikes, urban hikes, park walking, leisure bike riding and the company and friendship of nice people – the motto of this group is “Get off the Couch!” The group is not about extreme exercise but they do enjoy getting out and being active.  Everyone is welcome!

Evenings on Oak Street Concert Series
Austin Street Plaza, 221 N. Oak Street, Roanoke. 7 – 8 p.m.
Next concert scheduled for August 10 – continues through September 21. Check website for exact datesfireworks.jpg

Friday Fireworks in Grapevine
A 12-minute show every Friday night over Lake Grapevine at 9:30 p.m.
Fridays, May 26 – September 4, 2017

Yoga in the Plaza
Wayne Ferguson Plaza, 150 W. Church Street, Lewisville
Every Wednesday until September 20, 6 p.m. Bring your yoga mat or towel/blanket, water, and your family & friends!

Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) Nature Preserve
offers a variety of outdoor experiences for all ages. Kayaking, hiking, stargazing, bird walk, nature hike, tours of Minor-Porter Log House. LLELA is 2,000 acres of prairies, forests, and wetlands managed as a wildlife preserve by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, University of North Texas, City of Lewisville, and Lewisville ISD.

Denton County Farmers’ Market
Corner of Mulberry Street and Carroll Boulevard, Denton TX
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to sell-out, through September

Highland Village Concerts in the Park
Doubletree Ranch Park, 7:00 p.m.
Through September 23Events - Balloon Festival

Highland Village Lions Club 30th Annual Balloon Festival
Friday, August 18-Sunday, August 20, 2017
HV Unity Park, located near intersection of Briarhill Blvd and FM-407

Glow in the Dark Nerf Wars!
The Battlefield, 1512 I-35W, Denton 76207
Saturday, July 22, 2017 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Fort Worth Rockin’ the River – Tubing on the Trinity & Live Music Series
Panther Island Pavilion
Every Saturday until August 5th

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Over 400 qualified real estate agents to assist you with all areas of real estate. Contact us today!