North Texas Real Estate & Community News

Sept. 19, 2020

Oktoberfest Food Drive for Feed Lake Highlands

Feed Lake Highlands Food Drive

Join the North Texas Top Team, REALTORS on now through 9/30/2020 as we give back to our community.  This food drive benefits Feed Lake Highlands which is a faith-based program that feeds the body, mind, and spirit of Lake Highlands residents who live on fixed, limited, and low incomes. 

 

Stop by either of the Taco Joint locations in Lake Highlands or Lakewood between now and September 30th and drop off your donation.  While you are there enjoy some of their amazing tacos like Clyde’s Combo or maybe The Lester.  If you love those veggies then maybe check out The Sophie.  Whichever tacos you choose, just pick them up when you drop off your canned food donation.  Win-Win!

 

Take a selfie of yourself helping out and tag us on social media so we can say Thank You!  Follow us and tag yourself on FacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn

Posted in Blog
Sept. 15, 2020

Windsong Ranch in Prosper Texas

mainvue homes

Did you know that having a REALTOR on your side when building a home was important?  The builders have a representative working for them, and you deserve representation too.  There is never a cost to you as a home buyer for our services – and we are experts when it comes to working with home builders.

 

windsong amenitiesWindsong Ranch is over 2,000 acres, including 600 acres of open space, lakes, wooded creeks, parks, hike & bike trails, outdoor fields and resort-style amenities, Windsong Ranch is one of the largest and most naturally beautiful master-planned communities in North Texas.

 

Neighborhood amenities include a 5-acre freshwater lagoon with white sand beaches, paddleboarding, and kayaking; a 2-acre lake with adjacent amenities such as tennis, pickleball, basketball, fitness center, as well as multiple swimming pools, 30+ miles of trails, and even an 18-hole disc golf course.

 windsong model home

There are multiple builders to choose from when building your dream home at Windsong Ranch.  From American Legend to Drees to MainVue, and more – there is a home style and price for everyone at Windsong Ranch. 

 

Whether you are relocating from out of state or looking to escape the busy city, Windsong Ranch will provide the perfect setting for peaceful, comfortable living in a convenient location.

 

For more information about this neighborhood, you can visit their website at https://windsongranchliving.com/location/

 

If you want more information about the new construction homes available for sale in North Texas, feel free to search the builder database or search our website for more homes built this year.

 

Posted in Blog
Sept. 14, 2020

Oktoberfest Food Drive for Minnie's Food Pantry

Food Drive for Minnies

Join the North Texas Top Team, REALTORS on Friday 9/18/2020 as we give back to our community on North Texas Giving Day.  Our Team is partnering with the Collin County Association of REALTORS (CCAR) for a drive up food drive.  Stop by the CCAR office at 6821 Coit Road, Plano, TX anytime between 9am-11am on Friday 9/18 and drop off your donation.  

If you see our signs, follow them through the parking lot to Academy Mortgage (6833 Coit) and say “hi” to our broker Melissa Hailey.  She will be working with one of our great lenders, Don Thomas, and they will be helping out with the food drive from across the parking lot!   J

 

Take a selfie of yourself helping out and tag us on social media so we can say Thank You!  Follow us and tag yourself on FacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn.  

Posted in Blog
Sept. 11, 2020

Inspiration Neighborhood in Wylie Texas

New Home Spotlight – Inspiration Neighborhood

 

Did you know that having a REALTOR on your side when building a home was important?  The builders have a representative working for them, and you deserve representation too.  There is never a cost to you as a home buyer for our services – and we are experts when it comes to working with home builders.

 

Beautiful living roomInspiration is a 638-acre Master Planned Community created by Huffines Development.  You will find this lovely neighborhood nestled among the rolling terrain and scenic views of Lake Lavon in the towns of Saint Paul and Wylie, Texas.  Neighborhood amenities include multiple resort-style pools, playgrounds, specialty parks, and open green spaces. There is an elementary school within the neighborhood, and the lots along the Eastern side of the subdivision have stunning views of Lake Lavon. 

 

There are multiple builders to choose from when building your dream home at Inspiration.  From Bloomfield to Gehan to Pulte, and more – there is a home style and price for everyone at Inspiration. 

Lovely kitchen

 

If that wasn’t enough, this neighborhood has won the ‘Community of the Year’ award by the Dallas Builders Association three times.

 

Whether you are relocating from out of state or looking to escape the busy city, Inspiration will provide the perfect setting for peaceful, comfortable living in a convenient location.

 

For more information about this neighborhood, you can visit their website at https://inspirationtexas.com/

 

If you want more information about the new construction homes available for sale in North Texas, feel free to search the builder database or search our website for more homes built this year.

Posted in Blog
Sept. 9, 2020

The Story Behind the Soup

Today was a rainy day.  The first cooler-weather day, full of rain, sort of the beginning feeling of Fall here in North Texas this year.  It was exactly the kind of dreary day that makes you want to have soup or other warm/autumn foods.

tomato basil soupOne of my favorite things in the world is the Tomato Basil Soupe at la Madeleine French Bakery.  I love walking into la Madeleine for a lunch with a friend, sitting by the warm fire, and enjoying a cup of soup along with a salad or quiche (sometimes I even get the Chicken Friand or Spinache Pochette, which are both equally amazing).  Of course, you wouldn't want to leave la Madeleine without trying something from their amazing bakery either.


Did you know that their famous Tomato Basil Soupe was created when someone made an inventory mistake?  Apparently, they were supposed to order just 1 case of Roma tomatoes, but instead ordered 10 cases.  Of course, not wanting them to spoil the first executive chef at 
la Madeleine (Remy Schaal) created what would become on of their top selling items.

 

Whatever the story, or however it came to be, I am just so glad that the Tomato Basil Soupe was created.

 

Bon Appetit

 

 

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/

 

Posted in Blog
Sept. 9, 2020

What NOT to do When Getting a Mortgage

As REALTORS, we help people through the entire home buying process.  Many times, that includes getting a mortgage.  Here are a few tips from one of our trusted lenders, to ensure a smooth loan process and closing.

You will find that these tips to ensuring a smooth mortgage process mostly include the list of what NOT to do when you are buying a home.  This list includes some of the most common reasons for stress and possible delayed closings due to the mortgage process.

Mortgage Guy with Dollar Sign

  • ·        Don’t move money around until your lender has had an opportunity to review your documentation. (Call them before you transfer funds so they can advise you accordingly).
  • ·        Don’t deposit funds that come from a source other than your paycheck without speaking to your lender first.
  • ·        Don't borrow funds (not even from family).
  • ·        Don't deposit cash on hand, aka "mattress money", or any cash whatsoever.
  • ·        Don't open ANY new credit cards.
  • ·        Don't buy a new car unless you are trading in your current vehicle or a current lease vehicle. 
  • ·        Don't open any new loans or lines of credit.
  • ·        Don’t change jobs, especially if you are changing careers/industries

If you are thinking about doing any of these things, please call your mortgage lender first to avoid unnecessary issues or delays. 

To be clear, we’re not saying you can’t do any of these things. We’re just saying don’t do them without calling the lender first. They can give you advice on how to move forward and what documentation will be required for underwriting.

 

 

*Thanks to Mortgage Mark for the great advice and tips on what NOT to do!

Posted in Blog
Aug. 25, 2020

Real Estate Glossary - the letter C

Today we will focus on the letter C.  We will add more posts in the future with additional terminology that you may run across during a real estate transaction.  If you would like to see our previous terminology, click here.

 

CHAIN OF TITLE – Beginning with a conveyance out of an original source of title such as a government, each succeeding deed, will or other document that conveys/transfers the title to succeeding owners constitutes a link in the chain of title. The chain of title is the composite of all such links.

 

CLOSING –The process of completing a real estate transaction. Closing occurs when the deeds, mortgages, leases and other required instruments are signed and/or delivered, an accounting between the parties is made, the money is disbursed, the papers are recorded, and all other details such as payment of outstanding liens and transfer of hazard insurance policies are attended to.  This is what finalizes and completes the sale of real property.

 

CLOSING DISCLOSURE – Sometimes referred to as the “CD”, the Closing Disclosure must be provided to the consumer three business days before they close on a loan to purchase real property. The Closing Disclosure details all of the costs associated with their mortgage transaction.

 

CLOUD ON TITLE – An irregularity, possible claim, or encumbrance which, if valid, would affect or impair the transfer of the title to the real property.

 

COMMISSION – The amount due to a real estate broker or a mortgage loan broker (or other real estate professional) for services performed in conjunction with a real estate transaction.

 

 

COVENANT – A formal agreement or contract between two parties in which one party gives the other certain promises and assurances. This could include covenants of warranty in a warranty deed.  This is also commonly used by home owner associations. 

 

 

 

We hope these glossary terms are helpful to you as you buy or sell your next home.  If you would like more information about how we help our clients, visit our website If you are moving in or to North Texas, our Team would love to help you personally.  If you are moving anywhere else in the United States, let us know and we can personally recommend a REALTOR to assist you wherever your move takes you.

Aug. 19, 2020

Client Stories: Mary and Anthony

Congratulations to this amazing family!  It is always rewarding when we get to help veterans buy their first home. Plus both Mary and Anthony make the world a better place by their service to others.
Thank you Anthony for protecting our freedom.  Thank you Mary for positively influencing children's lives that are impacted by Autism and ADHD.
When I first started working with them I knew we needed to find a bigger home for their family. They really wanted more space for their adorable daughter to run around and play.   And that's exactly what they got. (You should see the video of her running around in her brand new home the 1st day they owned it.)
When we found the perfect house for them there were multiple offers but Mary and Anthony took my expert advice when making their offer. While we weren't the highest offer the seller still chose to work with us.  
I am so glad that they got their dream home.  Congratulations Mary and Anthony!  
Posted in Blog
Aug. 7, 2020

Zoom Etiquette for Work

10 Tips for Successful Video Conference Calls

ZoomMeetingOnLaptop

No matter what kind of business you are in, if you had interviews, office meetings, training classes etc. in person previously you now know that those meetings and classes continue despite social distancing.  This is made possible through video conference tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Groups and more.  Think of your video meeting the same as a face-to-face meeting...just with a few new things to consider.

You may have already found that there are a new set of guidelines to follow, or best practices to use when meeting through video conference tools.  You might not have thought about these manners or this etiquette when meeting in person because it just came naturally, however they are important to consider in our new video-tech age.  If you haven’t considered these acceptable behaviors yet, now is the time to learn the new business etiquette or polite manners of video conferencing. 

 

1. Turn your video on whenever possible

When you use your video function, people can communicate better with you.  Did you know that experts say between 55%-93% of all communication is non-verbal?  That included body language and facial expressions.  It’s especially important to use your video function when you are hosting or speaking at the meeting.  If you are a participant in a large group, you might have the ability to turn this off – but it shows less professionalism regardless of how many people are in attendance.  If you are in a smaller meeting, classroom, or interview - it's even more important to be seen on video.  In fact, for some education classes you must be seen on video in order to obtain credit for the course.

2. Dress for success on the video

Do not just plan to stay in your pajamas all day.  Would you dress like that if you were going to work?  Not if you wanted to keep your job!!  The good news is that people can only see your head and shoulders most of the time.  That means you can still wear a nice shirt, put on makeup/jewelry, brush your hair and then look great without having to change out of your pajama pants.  My secret is that I wear shorts and flip flops many times….but my shirt, jewelry, hair, and makeup are always done!  Plus, if you get dressed for the day, your work day may feel a little more normal.

3. Pay attention to your video area

Keep in mind that other people are going to see whatever your camera is pointed at behind you.  If you are working in the kitchen, pick up the dirty dishes behind you.  If you are working in your bedroom, face your camera away from the pile of dirty laundry.  You may even consider “staging” an area of the home to look nice as your backdrop.

4. Be aware of your audio/video settings

Check yourself in the video before beginning

If you followed step 2 above, you likely looked at yourself in the mirror and you are put together. If you skipped step 2, this step becomes even more important.  Either way, sit down at your computer, and click to join the meeting.  Most video conference systems allow you to view yourself on camera before joining the meeting.  Do a quick look – is your hair sticking up, is there food in your teeth?  If so, fix that quickly before jumping on the Zoom call.

Check your sound before beginning

Are you going to be somewhere quiet, or in a noisy location?  Consider using headphones or earbuds if needed to be sure other participants can hear you.  If you are lucky enough to be in a quiet location without distractions, your computer audio may be just fine.

 

5. Check your lighting

Generally speaking, more light is better.  Your video quality will be better when you have light in front of you, not behind you. If you have the ability to turn on a lamp or overhead light that is optimal.  If you have natural light from a window, be sure it's in front of you not behind you.  If you are going to do alot of video conferences, you could even invest in a ring light.  You can find a ring light that clips to your laptop/phone or one that sits on your desk and prices start at under $10.

 

6. Look into the camera when speaking, or at the speaker who is talking

If you are the person conducting the meeting or you are the featured speaker, looking into the camera will give the appearance of eye contact with whoever you’re talking to.  If you are watching the meeting, pay attention!  Look at the person who is speaking and focus and be present during the meeting.  (Plus this is better than staring at yourself just to realize your hair is sticking up)

7. Stay Muted

If you are participating in a large group video conference, you should keep yourself muted.  Background noise and echoes from your computer volume can be a huge distraction. This is especially true if you have kids at home or a pet that makes lots of noise. It can be very hard to be productive when people are talking over each other or with overlapping audio from others.

 

8. Don’t eat on camera

If your meeting was in person, would you bring your lunch and not share? No one wants to watch you eat (or if your sound is on, hear you chew).  If you can’t wait until the meeting ends then at least turn off the video/sound until you are done with your food.

9. Consider your privacy

I have heard some crazy horrible stories about people taking their phone/laptop with them to the bathroom and forgetting to turn the camera or sound off.  All I can say is just don’t do it!!!  There could be other private things you don’t want to share on camera too.  Picking your nose, having kid drama, a family member coming to visit you at your desk while dressed in their robe.  Turn off your video, mute yourself, and leave your device on your desk – then deal with the personal issue.  When you are done, jump back on promptly and continue the meeting.

10. Stay Focused

Remember – this is just like meeting with people in person, only it’s virtual.  Don't do other tasks during the meeting such as email, surf the web, or check your texts.   If you are participating in an interview, give the host your full attention.  If you are in a classroom setting, give the instructor your undivided attention.  If you are in a meeting, don’t make it go longer than necessary.  Stay on task, be productive, and you will find that video conferencing gets just as much done as meeting in person.  

 

A few other thoughts on this new age of video conferencing.  One is to ensure that only people that are supposed to be in the meeting are invited.  If you are the host, you may consider using a password for your meetings or being sure that others don’t have access to your meeting link or meeting ID.  Additionally, if you are the host of the meeting and there are unfamiliar faces in the group, you should consider introducing people before your meeting begins. If you were meeting in person, you would start with that same introduction.  Another thing to consider is that the host should always be the last one to leave the meeting.  If you are the host, be sure that everyone has finished talking and that participants feel they have had a chance to be heard before closing out the meeting.  This gives your meeting attendees a feeling of importance and relevance instead of just being cut off when you are done with what you had to say.

If you liked these video meeting/virtual classroom tips, you might also like some additional tips on working from home or tips for being productive while working from home.  

I hope that all of these tips are helpful to you.  Especially tip #9 above – don’t be that person (for your own sake).  Good luck in your new George Jetson's style communication in our world of Zoom!

 

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
Aug. 3, 2020

Why Hire a CRS REALTOR®?

Posted in Video