Past client Katherine J. posted on Facebook that she enjoyed working with Luke and that he was "Very professional and informative". Way to go Luke. Congratulations on your new home Katherine.
We just love it when we get to help clients move more than once. Many of our clients become friends, and this client is one of those friends we have made over the years.
Helping people is what we do!
Melissa and Donna were fantastic to work with. This is the second time that Melissa has helped us with a house and if we are ever crazy enough to do it again we will ask go back to both of them. They were both very helpful regarding the process and helping us find what we wanted, answering questions. We couldn't have asked for better people to have helped us sell our old home and find our new home!!
Homes are getting smarter, and homeowners who want to stay ahead of the trends need a real estate professional who understands the latest in smart home technology. Voice Control and Home Security were the hottest trends in 2020 with regards to Smart Home technology. Here are the Top 5 smart home features our agents found in 2020.
1. Home Security
Everything from a full security system with door chimes and cameras to a lamp with a motion sensor camera could be considered part of the smart home security category. Home owners have plenty of options and many systems come bundled from the companies that provide monitoring services. There are also stand-alone security items available such as a pan-and-tilt security camera that recognizes frequent visitors and zooms in automatically on suspicious activity. Prices vary greatly depending on the home size, interior vs exterior security, and monitoring. Remember that if you plan to install home security, you should check with your local municipality to see if an alarm permit is required in your area.
2. Video Doorbells
Video doorbells are one of the most popular smart home devices being purchased. Additionally, they provide a low-level of security if you don’t want the expense of the full home security package. There are plenty of options with prices ranging from $99 to $249. If you are considering getting a video doorbell, you may also want to consider a few things such as ongoing subscription costs, local versus cloud-based video file storage, video quality, available power supply, and other smart home products you may want to integrate with.
3. Smart Thermostats
Generally speaking, nearly half of a typical utility bill goes towards heating and cooling. That’s why installing a smart thermostat could save you hundreds of dollars each year. According to the US Department of Energy installing a smart thermostat can save about 10% a year. The cost of adding a smart thermostat is generally between $150 - $300 depending on the one you choose. Some utility companies even offer rebates of $50 to $100 for installing one.
4. Lighting & Switches
Now that you know almost 50% of your utility bill goes to heating and cooling, let’s tackle another 25% of your utility costs – lighting. This category involves not only smart light bulbs, but also smart switches, and room sensors. All of these devices work together with the “hub” and most are sold in a kit which includes everything you need. When choosing smart lighting, look for devices that use low-power communication so that you don’t offset the energy savings with the cost of energy to control them. Total cost per item could be anywhere from $10 to $100, and getting started with a kit could cost $60 or more.
5. Smart Locks
Many homeowners are choosing to replace their locks on the home instead of just re-keying the lock when the purchase. Smart locks allow you to control access to your home remotely, assign entry codes to different people, and monitor who is entering your home and when. Many smart locks are available at big box home improvement stores and are priced between $100-$300.
There are plenty of other smart-home technology items such as microwaves that you can watch Netflix on while you cook, and ovens that allow you to preheat or set a specific cook time from your phone. There are smart washing machines, smart sprinkler systems, smart plugs, smart vacuums, solar panels, and even a smart camera that can feed treats to your pet. The possibilities are only limited by our imagination.
Well, it’s been a hot sellers’ market in the DFW area for quite some time, and there is no end in sight yet. We are continuing to find such a shortage of homes available for sale that home buyers are seeing multiple offers in almost every price point and every city. Interest rates are still very low and home buyers who have the ability to move, are looking to do so while the rates are so low. However, beware home buyers that you will most likely have to pay above the listed sales price in order to secure a home.
In fact, this may give you a glimpse into how low our inventory is in the DFW area.
Our historical numbers for December won’t be available for another 10 days, but below you will find November 2020 statistics included with the current real estate inventory for today. As of today, January 5, 2021, per the North Texas Real Estate Information System (NTREIS), which is our MLS for the region, we found the following listing information:
As of 1/5/2021 in Murphy, TX there are only 2 homes listed for sale. Period. Forget price point, forget amenities. If you want to buy a home in Murphy, Texas you have 2 home choices at this moment.
In November in the Murphy-Parker area listings were down 13 percent with 20.8 percent ore sales, driving prices up 8.9 percent from the prior year.
As of 1/5/2021 in Wylie, TX you have a few more options as there are 47 homes listed for sale. Only 1 house is listed for under $250k, and another 24 homes priced between $250-350k. The other 22 homes are listed for more than $350,000.
For Wylie, the November numbers showed that listings were down 15.6 percent and closed sales were up 41 percent. Of course, that drove prices 16.7 percent higher than November 2019.
In larger cities like Richardson, TX we found 101 homes for sale and 7 that are coming soon to the MLS. Please note that the city of Richardson had a population of 127,257 in 2020, based on information from the website World Population Review. That means that listings available equates to only .07% of the population.
For Richardson, the November stats show listings were down 4.3 percent and sales were up 36.7%, which lead to a 5.1 percent price increase year over year.
Another large city is Plano, TX and they currently have 168 homes for sale and 9 that are coming soon. Plano’s population is 288,359 which is more than double that of Richardson.
The November numbers in Plano showed a 14.5 percent decrease in listings with an 18 percent increase in sales. Of course, this led to a 10.1 percent price increase year over year.
Keeping all of this in mind, if you are planning to buy a home you need a REALTOR on your side that can help you navigate multiple offers and really knows what it takes to buy a home. If you are considering selling, the market is still very strong and you could likely get the maximum return on your investment.
Our team of real estate professionals are here to help. Call our office at 469-759-3899 and our knowledgeable REALTORS will help you with your move in the DFW area. If you are planning a move outside of the North Texas area, we will connect you with a top-notch agent from our vast network of professionals from across the country.
Affordable Ways to Depersonalize and Stage Your Home
When you are getting your home ready for real estate listing photos or an open house, it’s important to make it as appealing as possible to the largest number of buyers. When buyers are shopping for a new home, they don't want to see your photos, collectibles, unusual artwork, and other personal stuff. Therefore, you will need to stage your home by depersonalizing, decluttering, and using other methods listed below for a smooth and affordable home selling experience.
Pack up your stuff
In addition to photos and personal collections, you should also remove knickknacks, framed certificates, trophies, sports equipment, political items, and most toys. You might love all your belongings, but buyers don't. They want to imagine their own things in the house, and that's difficult to do if they can't see through all your clutter.
Prospective buyers will open your closets, and if they are messy or packed with clothing, it may discourage a sale. You should remove as many clothing items as you can to make the look more spacious. Pack the clothes you don’t need right away in cardboard boxes, which are cheaper than hard plastic ones.
Clean it up
After your home is decluttered and depersonalized, it needs a thorough cleaning. Pay special attention to bathrooms and the kitchen, where buyers will really notice any grime. Remove all small appliances from your kitchen countertops, and make sure your refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, and range sparkle. If there are any stains on your carpeting, you’ll want to remove these as well by hiring professional carpet cleaners (averages $25 to $75 per room). Make sure to ask them to steam clean your carpets to avoid potential damage.
Right before a showing, take all your toiletries and personal items off your bathroom counters and out of showers and tubs. You can easily tuck them away in a tote under the sink. Stage your bathroom like a model home with a simple hand towel and maybe some affordable fragrant bath salts in a jar.
Downsize your furniture
Big, bulky furniture pieces make your home look smaller than it is – especially in photos. Before taking photos for your listing, remove large or outdated pieces. If necessary, rent small, more modern furnishings to stage the main rooms of your house.
Furniture placement also has a significant impact on how large and open a space feels. Pull furniture away from the walls, and use area rugs when you need to delineate different conversation areas. Show off hardwood floors whenever possible. Kiplinger.com indicates that hardwood flooring is one of the most sought-after features by homebuyers.
Additionally, take out the leaf in your dining table and use fewer chairs. Never use a tablecloth in photos or at showings, as it will make the room appear smaller.
Check out the competition
Search for listings in your area that are similarly priced to your home. While searching online for homes, look at the online photos and videos to see how the houses stack up to yours. If possible, visit these homes during open houses to see how the sellers are staging and depersonalizing their homes. Also make sure to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable real estate professional from North Texas Top Team for staging and other home-selling tips. If you feel your home won’t meet buyers’ standards, you may need to invest in a professional stager to get your home ready to sell (which averages $500 to $600 per room).
Get rid of odors before showing
You are used to the smells in your home, but off-putting odors can really turn off buyers. Have a friend come by your house and smell around for odors. Remove any trash, food, and pet items that are causing the smells. Your garbage disposal might also be causing your kitchen to stink. A DIY mixture of baking soda and vinegar can help deodorize your drain. Right before your open house, try baking cookies or brewing coffee to fill your home with inviting scents.
It can take up to 70 days to sell a home, but it’s worth the effort if you make a significant profit. Though the housing market can be tough for sellers in some areas of the county, with a little bit of cleaning, decluttering, and staging, your home can be primed to sell—without the need to stretch your budget.
For outstanding real estate service dedicated to selling your home for top dollar, partner with the realty experts at North Texas Top Team! Call (469) 759-3899 or email Melissa@NorthTexasTopTeam.com today!
Photo via Pixabay
Generally speaking, everyone agrees that buying a home with a lower mortgage interest rate is a good idea, right? But let's look at the breakdown of how much a small interest rate change makes in your monthly payments. These low rates really allow you to buy more home right now - which is why NOW is the best time to buy a house.
Before we break down the payments, let's look back at interest rates over the past almost 50-years. Most mortgages are sold on the secondary market. Freddie Mac is one of the largest participants in the secondary market. Freddie Mac keeps track of their interest rates online. You can go back and review all of the rates since 1971 by visiting http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html
In October 2020, interest rates were 2.83%
· Just 10 years ago, rates were in the 4.5% - 5% interest range
· And 20 years ago, rates were in the 7.5% - 8.5% interest range
The difference these interest rates make when buying a home could make the difference between you being able to afford a new home or not. Now, let's break down how those rates would change your purchasing power.
· TODAY if you purchased a home for $300,000 with a 2.83% interest rate – your house payment would be approximately $1,237.00
· However, if you purchased that same home for $300,000 with a 4.5% interest rate – your house payment would be approximately $1,520.00. That is almost $300 more per month and over $3,300 more per year.
· And if you bought that same home for $300,000 with a 7.5% interest rate – your house payment would be approximately $2,098.00. That’s over 850 more per month, and over $10,000 more per year.
*Note: These illustrations do not include any taxes or fees.
As you can see – NOW is a great time to buy a house. If you are thinking about making a move in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, give us a call at 469-759-3899. Our team of experts are here to personally help you with your move. If you are moving outside of North Texas, give us a call and we will introduce you to an amazing REALTOR wherever your move takes you.
About the author:
Melissa Hailey is the Broker-Owner of North Texas Top Team, REALTORS in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (and a huge fan of la Madeleine French Bakery restaurants). 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/
Are you planning to launch a home-based business? Before you get to work, you’ll need a home office where you can enjoy unbroken concentration. Whether you’re interested in looking for a new home with the help of the realtors at North Texas Top Team, or you’d like to remodel a spare bedroom into a workspace, these guidelines will help you design a home office space that will allow you to reach your full potential as an entrepreneur!
If you’ve been thinking about moving into a larger home, and you’ve realized that you’ll need more space to accommodate your business, it’s time to start house hunting! Consider purchasing a bank-owned or foreclosed home to save money — you can invest those excess funds back into your business.
If you decide to buy a foreclosed home, make sure that you understand the home’s limitations, move forward with a home inspection, and get pre-approved before making an offer. In addition, it’s best to work with a real estate agent who has helped clients buy foreclosed homes before.
Constructing New Space
Perhaps you’re happy with your current home but you simply don’t have any extra space to transform into an office. The remedy: Constructing an additional space! If you have a backyard, you might want to put up a shed and choose an appropriate heating system to keep it toasty in the cooler months. Alternatively, you may have the savings to build an addition on to your home.
Finally, you’ve selected the right space for your home office, and now it’s time to furnish it. First, you’ll need to invest in a desk that fits the size of your office space. A writing desk is a good choice for small offices, while a U-shaped desk will be great for larger workspaces. Test out a few different office chairs to find one that feels comfortable for your back, neck, and shoulders.
Once you put together your new desk, come up with a basic organizational system to keep your office clean from day one. Business Know-How recommends keeping office supplies in your desk drawers and installing floating shelves or a book shelf for extra storage space.
Time for New Tech
Now that you’ve set up your desk and chair and organized your supplies, you’re ready to purchase a monitor that will help you work more efficiently. You don’t have to be a tech whiz to shop smart! CNET recommends getting the largest monitor that you have space for; you might struggle to work with a small screen, and a large monitor will be more convenient.
Starting Your Business
Once you’ve outfitted your space, it’s time to officially form your business entity! To get started, you’ll need to make sure that the name you plan to use for your business is not already in use. You’ll also want to research the filing fees and other requirements in your state. Once you have gathered all of the necessary documents, you’ll need to submit these items, pay your fees, and be patient - your days as an entrepreneur are just beginning!
When switching from working in a cubicle at your employer’s office to running your own home-based business, you might find yourself craving privacy and order. Finding a space for your home office is the simplest solution to your remote work woes. As an entrepreneur, there’s nothing better than having a clean, quiet workspace all to yourself!
Looking for the perfect home in North Texas? The realtors at North Texas Top Team can help you find your dream property at the right price! Call today at 469-759-3899 to start your search!
Photo via Pixabay
Article written by: Lisa Walker
Thinking of building your dream home? There are some very important things that you should consider when building your next home. Below are our Top 7 Things to Know when building your dream home!
Some questions to consider for yourself are: Do you need to sell your current home in order to buy your new home? Do you have a place that you can live temporarily while the home is being built? Do you want to build from scratch or choose a “spec” home? Are you willing to choose a floor plan option from a builder, or do you want to truly build a custom home? Would you prefer to be in a subdivided neighborhood, or on acreage? Some of these questions are covered in the information below.
Of course, our experts are always available to help you answer all of your questions regarding building a brand-new construction home with a builder. We have the experience and information that you need to make the most informed decision.
1. You should hire a professional REALTOR to assist you. Many times, home buyers believe that the sales person for the builder is there to help them. While the sales person will help to facilitate the purchase, they do NOT represent the buyer’s best interests. In fact, they actually represent the seller’s best interest. That means that part of their job is to get the most money for the builder that they can get. When you hire a REALTOR, they will not only look out for your best interests regarding the sales price, they will also be an invaluable resource throughout the process. From negotiating price and understanding the timeframes, to building permits and city inspections – your agent will be your advocate.
2. You should consider the comparable sales. You should be aware that builders generally price their homes for the market, however everything in real estate is negotiable. Your REALTOR will be able to let you know what other homes have been selling for in the area, and give you guidance on where the market is today….as well as where the market will be when the home actually goes to closing. If the market is hot, the prices could increase while you are in the construction phase. That is important to know because the appraisal will be done closer to the time when you will complete the sale.
3. You have choices regarding your lender. If you are not paying cash for the new home, you will most likely be getting a mortgage from a 3rd party lender. Many builders have a “preferred” lender or an “in-house” lender. Sometimes the builder will offer incentives when buying a home if you use their specific lender. However, in Texas, the builder cannot force you to use their lender of choice. As a buyer, you always have the right to choose the lender you want to work with. Ask your REALTOR for recommendations on other preferred lenders in the area as well. If you have a lender that you love (or that your REALTOR recommends), ask them to give you a quote against the builder’s lender to see which one is a better deal. Really compare apples to apples. Sometimes you will find that the builder’s preferred lender gives you incentives, but also increases their fees somewhere else. Do your homework before choosing which lender you want to use.
4. Appraisals Matter. As you get closer to the day your home will be finished, your lender will order an appraisal of the value of the property. Many times, a builder will not want to reduce the sales price if the appraisal report shows the value is not as high as needed. Know your options, and speak to your REALTOR if this comes up as an issue.
5. Contingencies are a concern to most builders. Most home builders will not accept a contingency offer on a new-build home. The builders that will accept contingencies generally want those contingencies waived about 60-90 days prior to closing. Many times, the marker for when the builder needs a contingency cleared is when the cabinets are ordered or installed. Once that happens, many builders will not allow any changes or modifications to the design of the home as they are working toward the closing deadline and don’t want any issues to cause a delay. What this means for most home buyers is that they must sell their home early in the build process, move into temporary housing for a few months, and then move again into their new home once it’s complete. There are some ways around having to move twice. The most common is buying a spec home that is already complete (a builder may take a contingency on that specific house). The second most common way to avoid moving twice is to work with your lender to qualify for both loans.
6. Inspections are important. Many times, a home builder will discourage a home buyer from getting phase inspections during the build process. While the builder does have to comply with the city/county inspectors and follow all local building guidelines and ordinances, those inspections are generally the base-line for what is required. Talk with your REALTOR about your inspection options and the benefits of having an independent third-party inspector perform either a phase inspection or a general home inspection prior to closing.
7. The little things can add up. Once you choose your builder and your floor plan, and you have agreed upon a price, that does NOT mean that you have determined how much you will spend building your new home. If you are going with a large-scale builder in a subdivision your next step will likely be visiting their “design center” to choose what color flooring, cabinets, counter tops, and other finish outs you want in your new home. This design center appointment could be expensive. Many times, the price of the home only includes the minimum finish outs, while the model home you visited usually has the highest quality finish outs. This means that you will spend extra money getting those faucet fixtures you loved or getting that extra electrical outlet to hang your TV on the wall. Talk to your REALTOR about ways to lower your costs here before you finalize your contract.
We hope these top 7 tips for building a new home were helpful to you. For more information about building your dream home, call us at 469-759-3899. Our team of experts are here to help you navigate the process and help your home building dreams come true!
North Texas Top Team serves the North Texas area and we have a network of trusted professionals across the country. If you need real estate assistance outside of the DFW area, we will gladly connect you with one of our amazing REALTOR friends all across the USA. Give us a call today!