North Texas Real Estate & Community News

June 5, 2020

7 Reasons To Buy a NEW Home

 

Top 7 reasons to buy a NEW home

 

Have you ever thought about buying a brand new home?  Not just a “new to you” home, but a brand-new, no-one-ever-lived-in-it-before home.  There are some great benefits to building a home or buying a “spec” home that a builder has already started.  Let’s look at a few of the benefits.

 

  1. Design

When you build a brand new construction home you have the ability to pick and choose the design elements that you want in your next home.  However, even if you choose to buy a home from a builder that is already partially or completely built (sometimes called a spec home) you still get the benefit of the latest in design trends.  The builder may have chosen the colors, cabinets, flooring – but rest assured it will be the most current trends in homes.

  1. Energy Efficiency

Today home builders are more energy conscious than in years past.  Part of that is due to building codes and ordinances, and partially because consumers are asking for more energy efficiency in their homes.  This could be anything from additional insulation, energy-star rated appliances, low-e windows, and more.  Homes that are newer could even have energy ratings through The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index from Resnet.  

  1. Maintenance

Newer homes need less maintenance. Since everything is new in the home, there should not be any major system repairs needed.  In fact, during the first year you own your home the builder may possibly assist with some general maintenance/warranty issues.  You will still want to perform regular maintenance items such as changing your air filters, smoke detector batteries, and caring for your landscaping and foundation.

  1. Personalization/Customization

You have the ability to choose the lot that you want, the floor plan that works best for you, and all of your design elements during the new construction/home building process.  Pick a corner lot, choose a larger lot, or maybe you like interior lots near a neighborhood park.  Then look for the floor plan that fits your lifestyle, the builder may also have available modifications to that floor plan.  Once you are under contract to build, you will meet with a designer for a consultation at the design center where you can choose the counter tops, cabinets, flooring, faucets, fixtures, paint colors, and more. The choices are completely up to you.

  1. Warranty

Most home builders provide a minimum of a 1 year warranty that covers materials and workmanship, and some even provide a 2 year warranty for those items.  However, various specific warranties carry even further than the “bumper to bumper” type warranty you get in the beginning.  For example, the foundation and structural components usually have a 10 year warranty.  Additionally, all of the major components come with separate manufacturer warranties.  This means that your water heater, HVAC system, windows, and appliances all have their own specific warranty timelines.  If you would rather have an extended warranty on everything in one place you could also consider getting a Residential Service Contract from a company like OneGuard Home Warranty, Fidelity Home Warranty, or another company like them.

  1. Neighborhood Amenities

Most new construction neighborhoods in today’s real estate market include some pretty great neighborhood amenities.  You may find neighborhood parks, trails, playgrounds, and green spaces.  Some neighborhoods also have community pools, splash parks, meeting/party rooms, amphitheaters, or other amenity centers. You might even find sport courts such as basketball or volleyball courts depending on the neighborhood development design.

  1. Location

You will find that many new construction neighborhoods are located just outside of the hustle and bustle of the bigger city.  This could mean less traffic, more sense of community, and retail and other nearby stores are likely also newer.  However, sometimes you will find small pockets of development within the larger more established communities too.  Depending on the wants and needs of your lifestyle, you can find a location that suits you best.  After all one of the most important rules of real estate is location, location, location.

 

If you would like more information about buying or building a new home in North Texas, call 469-759-3899 and our agents are happy to answer any questions.  Our agents represent home buyers to protect their best interests when building or buying homes directly from a home builder.  There is never a cost to you for our services as the builder pays the real estate commission.  You deserve someone on your side to help you navigate the process and be aware of all of your options.



About the author:

 

Melissa Hailey is the Broker-Owner of North Texas Top Team, REALTORS in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  Our Team helps home buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants move across North Texas and we connect clients to other great REALTORS across the country.  She is a real estate instructor and coach who loves to see others succeed.  She is a serial volunteer helping others in her community and in her industry.  Connect with her at https://www.northtexastopteam.com/melissa-hailey/

 

Posted in Blog
June 4, 2020

How to buy a house without seeing it

How do I buy a house if I can’t see homes in person?

You are ready to buy a home, but are not able to view them in person. This could be because you are moving across the country, or it could be due to a specific event such as the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. When you come across a home you think might be a fit, you ask your REALTOR to show you homes virtually. In order for you to take full advantage of virtual showings in your decision making process, both you and your agent will need to go through the following steps.

1. Get pre-approved

Regardless of how you intend to tour homes, this is always our starting point. Most home buyers think that the process will be time-consuming, or that they are not prepared to take this step. However, this step is of utmost importance. In a matter of minutes, you can complete a pre-approval process with a lender. This will give you peace of mind that the homes you are considering meet your budget.

2. Determine your search criteria – and understand the “why” behind it

You will want to decide which items are most important to you in your next home, but more importantly, WHY are they important. Ideally, you want to have a list of 3-5 “must-haves,” or things that you cannot live without. The key to narrowing down what’s most important starts with your motivation. Ask yourself, why are you moving in the first place? What will buying a new home help you to achieve? When you connect your criteria to something that powerful, you will be surprised how quickly you find clarity. 

Your agent will be a valuable resource in this stage. Their role here is to confirm your criteria, ensuring that together you are digging down to what matters most to you. They are the sounding board for your home search ideas and will be there to tell you if the ideal home you are imagining is realistic given the area you are looking in.

Regardless of whether you will viewing homes in person or via video, this step sets the stage for the rest of your home buying process. 

3. Select your favorites 

When viewing homes online before your tour of homes, you will want to be hyper-realistic about whether or not the homes you are saving on-line as your favorites are actually a good fit.  For example, if one of the top items in your search criteria is a large back yard for your dog, but you find a listing on-line that has a fabulous media room and the most gorgeous finishes, yet the home doesn’t have much of a yard, you need to stop and review your criteria. Ask yourself, “Is what has drawn me to this home more important than the criteria I’ve created?” You may also ask yourself, “Do I need to revisit my must-haves?” Of course, there is no right or wrong answer, but you want to think through the process. You should also discuss any changes to your wants/needs with your agent. 

One thing we encourage our home buyers to do (when viewing homes in-person or virtually) is to only keep the top 2 homes in their sight. We do that by ranking homes as you view them. After seeing the first 2 homes, we determine which one would be the best fit if there were no other homes available. Then with each new home toured, we compare the newest home viewed with the current number 1 choice on the list.

4. Narrow your search – gather more facts

Once you have a few homes you really like on-line, it’s time for your agent to help you learn as much as possible about the homes. This could include viewing any other video or walk through tours provided. This should also include review of any disclosures, list of updates, or previous repair receipts that could be available. Your REALTOR may also contact the listing agent to ask any further questions before setting an appointment. If you have specific questions regarding the home, now is the time to bring those to your agent’s attention.

5. Schedule a live virtual tour

It’s best to think about virtual home tours in the same way you think about touring a home in person. You normally set time aside to go out with your agent, so it’s best to create an experience that is as close to this as possible when touring homes over video.  The ultimate goal is to simulate viewing the home through your eyes. The most important result of virtual home tours is that you can see the property in a way that gives you confidence in making a decision, and being there live is a great way to ensure that.  

Keep in mind that when you walk through a home in person, you instinctively take in the home through all of your senses. If the home features certain smells, you pick up on it immediately. If the floor dips in an area, you feel it. If there is a busy road nearby, you might hear noise in person. Knowing this upfront, and having an agent who understands this, is what separates great virtual home tours from bad ones. Your agent is truly your eyes, ears, nose, etc. This explains why those discussions your agent in advance are so important. It is critical for them to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for when you walk through a house. 

6. Schedule a second showing if needed 

After reviewing all of the information in advance, doing all of your due-diligence, and participating in the Virtual Home Tour with your REALTOR, you may still be unsure about making an offer. You should schedule a second showing with your agent to see the house. If you are able to attend in-person, this is the best option. However, if you are unable to attend in person for any reason, ask your agent to schedule another Virtual Home Tour. Many times, if all of the steps above have been done thoroughly, you won’t need to schedule a second showing. However, if there are any questions at all – it’s best for you to work with your agent to see the home again. Please know that seeing a home a second time is not an inconvenience at all….however, knowing that you missed out on a home you loved is heartbreaking.

Purchasing the home

Remember, when you are buying a home your REALTOR is there as a trusted resource for you. They are your advocate, and they are there to help you through the entire process. Not only can you view homes virtually, you can complete the contract paperwork remotely through electronic signatures, and many of the purchase documents can be emailed to you securely. However, we understand that viewing the home in person is an important step. Our goal is to provide you with all of the tools and options to help make your move go as smoothly as possible.

During these current times of uncertainty, and stay at home orders, you should consult with your agent or check your county's website to learn more about the shelter in place policy in your area.  As we continue to navigate this “new normal” world we live in, you may see more mentions of virtual home tours ramping up, keep one thing in mind — they aren't created equal.

  • Want to know more about the home buying process?

  • Have questions about how the mortgage rates are changing?

  • Need to talk to someone about your specific situation?

 

Give our agents at a call at 469-759-3899 for a free and confidential discussion about real estate. We have been helping change lives, one home at a time, for 15 years.

Posted in Blog
April 30, 2020

North Texas Top Team Supports DFW Schools

 

 

We have learned that homes in areas with higher-ranking schools sell faster and often for more money than homes in areas with lower-ranking schools. In North Texas we are lucky to have some really awesome school districts.  Most of the areas that we serve are known for their great school systems. While it's not a complete list, below you will find some stand-out programs at school districts that we serve:

 

Allen ISD serves as one of the fastest-growing communities in Texas. Coming in 8th for the best district in the state of Texas their schools have much to offer students. The average graduation rate is 98% with an A+ rating for college preparedness. With both IB and AP programs offered students are sure to excel in this district’s schools.  For more information about Allen ISD visit here: Information about Allen ISD

 

Garland ISD is the second-largest district in Dallas County.  There are no attendance zones so you can select the campus you want your children to attend. Over 98% of students are accepted into their first choice of school.  School choices include magnet programs with specialized curriculum for math/science/technology, dual language, global business/leadership, International Baccalaureate, and more.  There are also 200 Career and Technical Education Programs such as agriculture, architecture, arts/audio-visual/communications, health sciences, information technology, law enforcement, and more.  For more information, visit Information about Garland ISD

 

Lovejoy ISD is a 5A school district for athletics, fine arts, and academic competitions. Lovejoy will remain a district with only one high school, with 9-12 enrollment not to exceed 1,900 students. Lovejoy graduated its first senior class in 2010, and consistently receives both state and national recognitions in academics, fine arts and athletics.   In fact, Lovejoy High School ranked in the top 1% of all high schools in the nation by “U.S. News and World Report”.  Lovejoy ISD also offers tuition-based admission for those living outside of the school district boundaries.  You can get more information about Lovejoy ISD here: Information about Lovejoy ISD

 

Plano ISD serves over 50,000 students at over 70 campuses.  In Plano, the high schools really focus on college-readiness.  In fact, students in grades 9-10 attend high school while students in grades 11-12 attend the Senior High Schools.  Each Senior High operates almost as a community college offering a large campus experience with dual-credit courses allowing students to graduate from public school with college credits.  Due to its size, Plano ISD also offers just about any extracurricular activity your student might be interested in.  You can get more information about Plano ISD here: Information about Plano ISD 

 

Richardson ISD has continuously been recognized on a state and national level for it’s educational excellence. Since 2009, Richardson ISD has had more than 60 seniors named National Dell Scholars. All eight junior high schools have received at least three academic distinctions from TEA. It’s PTA members total more than 22,000 helpful volunteers who collectively work more than 250,000 hours per year. For more information about Richardson ISD visit here:  Information about Richardson ISD 

 

Wylie ISD has some awesome programs such as its culinary arts program.  At Wylie High School they have the 544 Cafe which serves breakfast & lunch to the public during the school year. The students prepare the menu, the food, and provide the service.  You can get more info about the 544 Cafe at https://www.facebook.com/the544cafe/  and you can get more information about Wylie ISD here:  Information about Wylie ISD 

 

Posted in Blog
April 30, 2020

How do I buy a house if I can’t see homes in person?

You are ready to buy a home, but are not able to view them in person. This could be because you are moving across the country, or it could be due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. When you come across a home you think might be a fit, you ask your REALTOR to show you homes virtually. In order for you to take full advantage of virtual showings in your decision making process, both you and your agent will need to go through the following steps.

1. Get pre-approved

mortgage guy with dollar signRegardless of how you intend to tour homes, this is always our starting point. Most home buyers think that the process will be time-consuming, or that they are not prepared to take this step. However, this step is of utmost importance. In a matter of minutes, you can complete a pre-approval process with a lender. This will give you peace of mind that the homes you are considering meet your budget.

2. Determine your search criteria – and understand the “why” behind it

You will want to decide which items are most important to you in your next home, but more importantly, WHY are they important. Ideally, you want to have a list of 3-5 “must-haves,” or things that you cannot live without. The key to narrowing down what’s most important starts with your motivation. Ask yourself, why are you moving in the first place? What will buying a new home help you to achieve? When you connect your criteria to something that powerful, you will be surprised how quickly you find clarity. 

Your agent will be a valuable resource in this stage. Their role here is to confirm your criteria, ensuring that together you are digging down to what matters most to you. They are the sounding board for your home search ideas and will be there to tell you if the ideal home you are imagining is realistic given the area you are looking in.

Regardless of whether you will viewing homes in person or via video, this step sets the stage for the rest of your home buying process. 

3. Select your favorites 

When viewing homes online before your tour of homes, you will want to be hyper-realistic about whether or not the homes you are saving on-line as your favorites are actually a good fit.  For example, if one of the top items in your search criteria is a large back yard for your dog, but you find a listing on-line that has a fabulous media room and the most gorgeous finishes, yet the home doesn’t have much of a yard, you need to stop and review your criteria. Ask yourself, “Is what has drawn me to this home more important than the criteria I’ve created?” You may also ask yourself, “Do I need to revisit my must-haves?” Of course, there is no right or wrong answer, but you want to think through the process. You should also discuss any changes to your wants/needs with your agent. 

One thing we encourage our home buyers to do (when viewing homes in-person or virtually) is to only keep the top 2 homes in their sight. We do that by ranking homes as you view them. After seeing the first 2 homes, we determine which one would be the best fit if there were no other homes available. Then with each new home toured, we compare the newest home viewed with the current number 1 choice on the list.

4. Narrow your search – gather more facts

Once you have a few homes you really like on-line, it’s time for your agent to help you learn as much as possible about the homes. This could include viewing any other video or walk through tours provided. This should also include review of any disclosures, list of updates, or previous repair receipts that could be available. Your REALTOR may also contact the listing agent to ask any further questions before setting an appointment. If you have specific questions regarding the home, now is the time to bring those to your agent’s attention.

5. Schedule a live virtual tour

computer and mouseIt’s best to think about virtual home tours in the same way you think about touring a home in person. You normally set time aside to go out with your agent, so it’s best to create an experience that is as close to this as possible when touring homes over video.  The ultimate goal is to simulate viewing the home through your eyes. The most important result of virtual home tours is that you can see the property in a way that gives you confidence in making a decision, and being there live is a great way to ensure that.  

Keep in mind that when you walk through a home in person, you instinctively take in the home through all of your senses. If the home features certain smells, you pick up on it immediately. If the floor dips in an area, you feel it. If there is a busy road nearby, you might hear noise in person. Knowing this upfront, and having an agent who understands this, is what separates great virtual home tours from bad ones. Your agent is truly your eyes, ears, nose, etc. This explains why those discussions your agent in advance are so important. It is critical for them to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for when you walk through a house. 

6. Schedule a second showing if needed 

After reviewing all of the information in advance, doing all of your due-diligence, and participating in the Virtual Home Tour with your REALTOR, you may still be unsure about making an offer. You should schedule a second showing with your agent to see the house. If you are able to attend in-person, this is the best option. However, if you are unable to attend in person for any reason, ask your agent to schedule another Virtual Home Tour. Many times, if all of the steps above have been done thoroughly, you won’t need to schedule a second showing. However, if there are any questions at all – it’s best for you to work with your agent to see the home again. Please know that seeing a home a second time is not an inconvenience at all….however, knowing that you missed out on a home you loved is heartbreaking.

Purchasing the home

Remember, when you are buying a home your REALTOR is there as a trusted resource for you. They are your advocate, and they are there to help you through the entire process. Not only can you view homes virtually, you can complete the contract paperwork remotely through electronic signatures, and many of the purchase documents can be emailed to you securely. However, we understand that viewing the home in person is an important step. Our goal is to provide you with all of the tools and options to help make your move go as smoothly as possible.

During these current times of uncertainty, and stay at home orders, you should consult with your agent or check your county's website to learn more about the shelter in place policy in your area.  As we continue to navigate this “new normal” world we live in, you may see more mentions of virtual home tours ramping up, keep one thing in mind — they aren't created equal.

  • Want to know more about the home buying process?
  • Have questions about how the mortgage rates are changing?
  • Need to talk to someone about your specific situation?

Give our agents at a call at 469-759-3899 for a free and confidential discussion about real estate. We have been helping change lives, one home at a time, for 15 years.

 

 

 

 

About the author:

Melissa Hailey is the Broker-Owner of North Texas Top Team, REALTORS in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  Our Team helps home buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants move across North Texas and we connect clients to other great REALTORS across the country.  She is a real estate instructor and coach who loves to see others succeed.  She is a serial volunteer helping others in her community and in her industry.  Connect with her at https://www.northtexastopteam.com/melissa-hailey/

Posted in Blog
April 27, 2020

How to find the right mortgage lender

You are thinking about buying a house, and don’t know where to start on getting a mortgage. Most home buyers have more questions than answers: Do you need a 20% down payment?Is my credit score high enough?Can I get down payment assistance? Below you can find the answers to those questions, and you will also learn some things to consider when choosing the right mortgage lender to help you.

Find a Local Mortgage Lender

Once upon a time, people borrowed money from their local banker and things were done through relationships, and sometimes based on a handshake.That is not the case in today’s world.Most people don’t have relationships with their banker because we are just one of millions of other clients they have, so it’s not about the loyalty to your bank.

However, having a local, well-known, and trusted mortgage lender is important when buying a home.While it doesn’t matter if the mortgage lender is located near your home (because everything can be done online) it is important they are located within your time zone. You wouldn’t want to be unable to get last minute documents complete because it’s after hours where your lender is located.

Additionally, you should hire a local mortgage lender that is known to other real estate agents. When you make an offer on a home, having a local lender that the listing agent or home seller recognizes could make them feel better about accepting your offer.

Find a Mortgage Lender With Good Reviews 

The number one thing to consider when you are picking a mortgage lender is customer service. Buying a home can be stressful, so having someone who can help you through the process is paramount to an enjoyable home buying experience.You need to find the mortgage lender that has the best reviews from satisfied customers, and one that you feel comfortable with.

The best mortgage lenders are those who take personal responsibility for your loan. This means they communicate in a timely manner—and deliver necessary documents without delay. They anticipate complications and take proactive steps to avoid these problems. They oversee the loan application process thoroughly and competently and they meet crucial deadlines.All of this boils down to having great customer service.

Here are some things to consider:

·Will they be responsive to your requests?

·How do they communicate with clients – email, text, phone calls, in person?

·Will they get your file complete in time for closing?

·How long are their turnaround times on preapproval, appraisal and closing?

·Do they have multiple types of loans?

·Do they offer grants, down payment assistance, or other special programs?

·Will they answer your questions and help explain the process?

 

Ask Your Agent to Recommend the Best Mortgage Lender

Your real estate agent is probably in the best position to offer you advice on choosing the best mortgage lender for your needs. Your agent should possess firsthand knowledge of which mortgage lenders get the job done and which ones fall short. Your mortgage lender is extremely important in a real estate transaction. Most transactions that don't close on time are traced directly to the lender's inability to complete the loan on time.

 

Is My Credit Score High Enough

To be clear, you don't need to know your credit score before you start shopping for a mortgage lender. However, checking your score beforehand can give you an idea of what sorts of terms mortgage lenders may offer you and whether you're even ready for a mortgage in the first place.

Once every 12 months, you’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three main reporting bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Many credit card issuers offer a free FICO score as a perk, but if you want your complete (three-bureau) credit report, you may have to pay for it. MyFICO.com is one popular website that sells FICO scores from all three credit bureaus. Generally, we don’t recommend paying for your credit score report since you can get it for free and the lender you choose will be running a credit report on you that they can share with you.

If you have a lower-than-expected credit score, look through your credit reports for errors, late payments, delinquent accounts in collections and high balances.

Not everyone can qualify to buy a home; you have to meet certain credit and income criteria to assure mortgage companies you can repay the loan. Generally, if you have a score under 580, you’ll have a tough time qualifying for most types of mortgages.However lending guideline do shift and change over time, so your best bet is to speak to a mortgage lender to get the current facts about your credit score and how it will impact your ability to get a mortgage.

How much money will I need

Some people believe that you need to have a 20 percent down payment saved up before you can buy a home.That is not true in today’s mortgage world.Many lenders offer conventional loans with as little as 3 percent down, and some government-insured loans require no down payment while others require just 3.5 percent down. Keep in mind that if you put down less than 20 percent, you will likely be required to pay mortgage insurance.If you or your co-borrower is a veteran, you could qualify for a VA loan with zero percent down payment.Another zero percent down payment option is a USDA rural development loan.

 

Know the Difference

While most home buyers don’t need to get too technical with this, you may want to dive a bit deeper and learn about the types of mortgage companies that you may encounter during this process.

Mortgage lenders: These are companies that lend money to a borrower to purchase a home and set the terms of the mortgage, including interest rates, term, conditions, repayment schedule and lending fees.Some mortgage lenders “sell” the loan after closing to another company that “services” the loan.

Mortgage brokers: Brokers are independent, licensed professionals who act as matchmakers between lenders and a borrower to find loans that best suits the borrower’s needs. Brokers are paid by either the borrower or the lender (but not both) and charge a small percentage of the loan amount (1 to 2 percent) for their services. They do not fund loans, and they don’t set interest rates or loan origination fees, or make lending decisions.

Retail lenders: Retail lenders (also called direct lenders) sell their own mortgage products directly to clients, without a middleman. Retail lenders do this in person, by phone or online, and offer their companies’ loan products only. (Think of your big banks and credit unions)

 

 

Once you have decided to move forward and buy a home, and once you have decided on a mortgage lender, you have a few more steps before buying a house.

Get Pre-Approved

Getting a mortgage pre-approval letter before you start looking at houses will give you an edge when bidding against other buyers. The letter shows the seller that you're a serious buyer whose loan is likely to close. It is evidence that a lender has evaluated your finances and figured out how much you can afford to borrow, and therefore how much house you can afford.

Getting pre-approved now will also save time later. When you're ready to make an offer on a home, lenders will already have the information they need to process your home loan.

To get pre-approved, you’ll have to provide lenders your financial information. 
Here’s a list of what a lender typically requires:

·Two years of tax returns, W-2s and 1099s

·Salary and employer information, including pay stubs from the past 30 days

·Bank, savings, checking, investment account information, including statements for the past 60 days

·Outstanding debt obligations, including credit cards, personal and auto loans, student loans, alimony or child support

·Information about how much of a down payment you can make, and where the money is coming from

·Social Security numbers for yourself and any co-borrowers

·Driver’s license or other government photo ID.

·Residential address history, as well as names and contact information for landlords in the past two years.

 

Ask Questions

Now that you have a mortgage lender in mind, you should use them as a resource to ensure you get the best loan available for your specific situation.You may want to ask them some questions like:

·What lender fees will I be responsible for at closing? (Fees may include commission, loan origination, points, appraisal, plus credit report and application fees.)

·Will you waive any of these fees or roll them into my mortgage?

·What are the down payment requirements?

·What loan products will work best for my specific situation?

·Do you have any down payment assistance or grant programs available that may work for me?

·If I am getting money from a family member for my down payment, what do I need to do to be able to use those funds?

Also, check with your mortgage lender or broker if buying discount points to lower your rate makes sense. If you buy points, you’re paying some interest upfront in exchange for a lower rate on your mortgage.

Compare Loans

As you get farther into the home buying process, you may want to consider getting a second opinion by getting pre-approved by another lender. Then you can compare “Loan Estimate” forms from each one to determine who offers you the best rates and terms. Keep in mind that the rate quote you see online is an estimate. A lender or broker will have to pull your credit information and process a loan application to provide an accurate rate, which you can then lock in if you’re satisfied with the product.

When comparing your options, you should take a close look at all of the cost information involved. When going through the process, you're going to want to ask each loan officer and broker for information on their present mortgage interest rates, whether the rates are fixed (or negotiable), whether the quoted rate is for an adjustable-rate mortgage, and you should ask about the loan’s annual percentage rate (APR).

Once you have compared the Loan Estimates, you can always ask one lender to match what another lender offers.You might be surprised that you can get the best deal and still stick with the lender you chose in the beginning.

If you want more information about the home buying process, we would love to answer your questions.Feel free to call 469-759-3899, or reach out to us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.We are here to help you throughout the entire home buying process.

Happy house hunting!

 

 

About the author:

Melissa Hailey is the Broker-Owner of North Texas Top Team, REALTORS in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  Our Team helps home buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants move across North Texas and we connect clients to other great REALTORS across the country.  She is a real estate instructor and coach who loves to see others succeed.  She is a serial volunteer helping others in her community and in her industry.  Connect with her at https://www.northtexastopteam.com/melissa-hailey/

Posted in Blog
April 20, 2020

Recipes from Taylor's Kitchen, Episode 2

 

Dad’s green chicken curry 

My dad should be on Master Chef. He would totally win. One of my favorite meals my dad made growing up with a delicious green curry. It is out of this world delicious and very simple! I’ve made this recipe myself more times than I can count and it’s different every time. I always try new veggies that give the meal a whole new flavor. Easy on the green curry paste- it will burn your mouth off! 

 

Ingredients: 1-1.5 pounds of chicken tenders, 1 cup of jasmine rice, 2 tablespoons of green curry paste, 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, 1 4 ounces can of bamboo shoots, 3 chopped carrots, 2 cups of fresh green beans, 1 green bell pepper, 1 white onion, salt and pepper to taste. Pro tip- use your favorite vegetables in this dish! It’s fun to add new flavors to the dish like mushrooms, red bell peppers, jalapenos, etc. 

 

  1. Cut up your chicken tenders into small cubes. Cook over medium heat in a large skillet with a bit of olive oil until lightly browned. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate to use later. 

  2. In a medium-sized pot, cook your jasmine rice. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of jasmine rice. Reduce heat to low/medium. Cover and let simmer. 

  3. In the same skillet add your chopped garlic, ginger, and full-fat coconut milk. Cook on high heat until it starts to simmer. 

  4. Add all your vegetables and bamboo shoots to the skillet and cover. Reduce heat to medium and cook until your vegetables are tender (about 10-12 minutes). 

  5. Add the green curry paste and chicken. Stir everything together until the curry paste is fully incorporated. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until fragrant. 

  6. Serve rice into a bowl and dish out the beautiful curry you made on top. Enjoy!

 

About the Author:

 

Taylor Redfearn joins our team with 5 years of multi-family property management experience. Her attention to detail and event planning skills are a perfect fit for our client-appreciation parties.  Her can-do attitude, and passion to help others makes her a great Client Care Coordinator. In her spare time, she enjoys tending to her garden and listening to music. 

Posted in Blog
April 19, 2020

Why hire a REALTOR?

For most people, buying or selling a home is an infrequent transaction with enormous financial and emotional considerations.  Think about it….moving is stressful and emotional. Having a REALTOR® help you with pricing, listing, selling and purchasing a home is important.  Real estate is not entertainment (like you see on HGTV) – it’s major life decisions.  Having inaccurate information or incorrect “value estimates” on websites creates confusion about what’s really happening in a market.

We understand that serious consumers want the real facts about their real estate market.

But searching for homes and researching the market is just the beginning. Market conditions vary from city-to-city and neighborhood-to-neighborhood. So when you are ready to move forward with buying or selling a home, call the North Texas Top Team, REALTORS at 469-759-3899.  We can take the science of real data and apply it to the art of local real estate.

For sellers, we navigate changing markets and help price your home appropriately. We professionally market your home to the highest number of potential buyers, and we give advice and guidance throughout the process.

For buyers, we are an advocate during contract negotiations and we help you navigate the entire process from finding the prefect house, all the way to the first day in a new home.

Ultimately, there is a lot more than a home sale or purchase to consider such as:  Pricing. Negotiations. Offers. Counter-Offers. Contracts. Addenda. Financing. Contingencies. Appraisals. Inspections. Walk Through. Punch Lists….and more.  The list goes on and on and on. Navigating all of this takes skill and determination, and the REALTORS® at the North Texas Top Team are just the folks that can help.

After all, it’s what we do for a living, 24-7, 365.

 

Posted in Blog
April 18, 2020

Recipes from Taylor's Kitchen, Episode 1

When in doubt, cook or bake it out! Now that we have all the time in the world hopefully you’re in the kitchen mixing up new recipes and mastering those familiar recipes from your nana. What better time to connect with your loved ones about those secret family recipes you’ve been dying to get your hands on all these years! I have two recipes that both my grandmothers have passed down to me. Try these at home with your families, just don’t tell my nana I gave them to you! 

 

Sausage and peppers roll up

Ingredients: 2 cans of crescent rolls, 1 pound of Italian sausage (you can also substitute for ground beef or turkey), 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 1 large Texas sweet onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 can of Prego Traditional Pasta Sauce, ½ tablespoon of basil, 1 teaspoon of oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. 

 

While most of you have probably tried a version of this recipe before, you’ve never had it like my grandma makes it. This is a perfectly messy recipe that warms your heart and fills your belly completely full. You might also try it with Tabasco hot sauce for some heat! 



  1. Chop the yellow onion and bell peppers and set aside. If you don’t have pre-minced garlic, go ahead and chop that up as well. 

  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the Italian sausage until browned (you can also substitute for ground beef or turkey). Once cooked, place on a plate with a paper towel to remove some of the oil. 

  3. In the same skillet cook your garlic until fragrant, then add chopped sweet onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the chopped yellow, red and green peppers. Cook on medium heat until the peppers are starting to soften. 

  4. Mix the meat into the skillet with the peppers and onion. Add your ½ tablespoon of basil, 1 teaspoon of oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on the lowest heat setting. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350. 

  5. Mix the dough of your crescent rolls together. You’ll then need to flatten the dough (not too thin or you won’t be able to roll the meat + peppers).

  6. Once your dough is flat, place it on a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the dough, add ¼ of the mix to create a thin layer on the dough. 

  7. Add the remaining pasta sauce into the meat and peppers mixture. Slowly add the mixture onto the dough. Be careful not to add too much. Once you’ve got a good amount of mixture on your dough, add your mozzarella cheese. 

  8. Roll up your dough so that it covers the mixture and cheese. Pinch the ends that come together to prevent the mixture from spilling out. If it looks messy and cracks a little- that’s okay. It’s meant to be perfectly messy! 

  9. Bake on 350 for 18-20 minutes. Bon appetit! 

 

About the Author:

 

Taylor Redfearn joins our team with 5 years of multi-family property management experience. Her attention to detail and event planning skills are a perfect fit for our client-appreciation parties.  Her can-do attitude, and passion to help others makes her a great Client Care Coordinator. In her spare time, she enjoys tending to her garden and listening to music.

 

Posted in Blog
April 17, 2020

6 Reasons to Buy a Home

6 reasons to buy a home infographic

6 Reasons to Buy a Home

Happiness!

Everyone could use a little more happiness in their life.  J  You can fix it up the way you want it, you can plant a garden or plant a tree, and you can improve your house to be YOUR dream home!  Home really can be your happy place.

Tax Savings

You may be able to write off the interest paid on your mortgage, additionally there could be other tax credits for eco-friendly home improvements.  Either way, this equals money saved!

Appreciation

Over time, home prices have always increased.  While home values do go up and down (like the stock market, but less volatile) but over time prices have historically risen.  When you sell or refinance your home, you will reap the benefits of the higher home values.

Equity

Not only does your home value appreciate, you are also building equity with every house payment made.  As the principal balance owed goes down and the value goes up, your equity grows.  This is the BEST way to build wealth over time.

Roots

Most home owners stay in their home much longer than a renter.  This allows you to connect with your neighbors which builds a stronger community.  The stronger the community, the more value you will find in your neighborhood.

Education

Research shows that children with stability in their home get higher test scores and graduate at a higher rate.  Even if you don’t have students living in your home, this benefits all of the residents in the neighborhood because this too builds a stronger community.

Posted in Blog
April 17, 2020

Spring Time in Texas during Covid 19 Pandemic

thankful blessed wordsIt may have snowed in Amarillo this week, but it’s sunny and in the 60s-70s in the DFW area today.  Make no mistake - it's definitely Spring in Texas.  The flowers are blooming and my seasonal allergies are definitely letting me know!  Spring is a time of renewal, a time to be thankful that things are coming back to life.  As this season moves into full swing in the weeks ahead, here are some things you may be thankful for and ways you can give help others that may be hurting right now.

Health - if you are healthy, be thankful.  There are so many in our midst that have illness as a part of their daily lives.  Of course, some are suffering with Covid-19, but others have afflictions that they have had for much longer than the past few weeks/months of coronavirus.  Be sensitive to the fact that others may not be as fortunate as you….and offer to help if you can.

Family - If your family is healthy and safe, that is a huge blessing.  I know, I know, there are some relatives you really don't want to claim as your own...or you could just be stressed because everyone is home….or that the kids are doing on-line school….but remember family is ALWAYS there for each other. If you know someone who doesn't have family nearby, make sure to check in on them.  They may need help during this time and they don’t have anyone to turn to.  YOU could be their saving grace.  If you know someone who is not as fortunate as you are – maybe their family is fighting for their life right now – reach out with a phone call or text to tell them you are there for them. 

Front-Line Workers – during times like this, during a global pandemic, we should all be thankful for our first responders, our healthcare workers, and even our retail store workers.  They are literally risking their lives by going to work each day to make sure that others are taken care of.  If you know someone who is working in those capacities, say Thank You to them often.

 

I saw this on social media recently, and I think it’s a good reminder to be thankful and keep things in perspective.

We are all in the same boat. We are NOT all in the same storm.

For some people, it's sprinkling. This is a break. It's a rest. It's a pause. A time to reconnect with family and put priorities in order.

For some, it's a storm. It's scary, maybe even terrifying. It's disruptive and brings with it worry and concern, perhaps some sleepless nights.

For some, it's a Category 5 Hurricane. It's pulling at boards, tearing off the roofs and washing it all out to sea. It's dark and unknown and life changing.

It's not wrong to enjoy the sprinkle or even to quietly endure the storm, because you can. But don't doubt that your neighbor may be in a hurricane and it's very real to them.

Laugh at a meme, but get on your knees for a friend.
Get in someone else's storm and help to calm the winds.
At the end of the day, we are ALL in this together because we are mankind. That very word --"mankind" --- Man and KIND.

Love one another! 💜

 

I agree.  Love one another.  Stay positive, look for the silver lining, and be a friend to those in need.  We are part of the QuaranTEAM.  We are all in this together.

 

 

Posted in Blog