KRLD Interview – Home Prices in North Texas

On The Air Interview

I did an interview with Mitch Carr on KRLD News on May 31st. With all the news of rapidly decreasing property values across the nation, he wanted to know what the Dallas Fort Worth market was doing.

“Texas likes to buck the trends” I told him. Property values in North Texas are up 3.5 percent and Collin County home values are up 5.4 percent.

Mitch asked the logical follow-up question, “Why?”

There are many reasons. First, Dallas has a stable economy. Second, Dallas never saw the run-up in prices so there was no bubble to burst. We do have our share of distressed properties, but the market is absorbing them at a reasonable rate.

I looked deeper into the local statistics and noted that listings are down 17 percent and home sales are down 14 percent over 2010. That’s also a good sign for housing prices. Fewer listings helps keep inventory down and prices stable.

Know the value of your DFW home.

Search the MLS for North Texas Homes for Sale.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Flipping Versus Income Producing Real Estate Investing

Modern Home for Rent

I did an interview with Bonnie Petrie on KRLD Radio last week. It was an interesting conversation. She wanted to talk about the shift away from flipping homes to buying homes to use as income producing investments. We’ve been talking about this shift for the past several years yet the emphasis has remained on flipping houses.

Why the shift? The primary reason is the lack of “easy” money that once fueled the flipping engine. Investors were able to purchase properties, rehab them, and then get them back on the market. Buyers were able to take advantage of the “easy” money, securing a mortgage and becoming homeowners.

The lending market softened with mortgage meltdown. Underwriting guidelines tightened on both borrowers and the properties. This left fewer buyers able to purchase and lenders began asking lots of questions about why a property that sold for $100k two months ago is now worth $150k.

The conditions that have made flipping properties much harder are what make investing in income-producing properties the thing to do now.

Investors can purchase properties at a discount, rehab them, and then lease them to produce a steady stream of income. I find investors with cash have a much easier time of it but money is available. Investors need to be prepared to put 20 to 30 percent down and carry the costs of rehabbing the property.

Investors need to carefully select properties. Not only is initial price important, but the cost of rehabbing the property has a huge impact on the long-term capitalization rate. This is where working with a seasoned real estate professional and having a solid pool of trusted contractors is critical.

Property management has lots of pitfalls, so investors need to outsource the management of their properties or become very familiar with state and local laws.

Looking to invest in real estate in the Dallas area? Contact us!

Lease and Rental Homes in the DFW Metroplex

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Carpenter Ants in North Texas

Caprenter Ants in Plano TX

I was out showing homes yesterday afternoon.

As we walked the outside of the home, I noted a trail of larger ants on the white stone wall. They were blazing a trail from the ground into the house where the stone transitions to siding. 

Bad news! While I’m not a specialist, I’m almost certain these are carpenter ants.

Homeowners need to watch their foundations and the exterior walls of their homes. Trees and shrubs should not be allowed to touch the home as these give insects an easy and hard-to-detect path into the home.

According to Texas A&M:

Carpenter ants are social insects that make their colonies primarily in wood. They hollow out wood to build their nests, making their galleries and chambers velvety-smooth as if a carpenter had sanded the surfaces. Their tunneling in wood and foraging for food and water lead to their “pest” status in and around homes.

The presence of carpenter ants can mean that a building has problems that need attention, such as moisture, rotting wood or other conditions conducive to ant infestation. In Texas, there are at least 14 species of carpenter ants that destroy wood. Homeowners can minimize damage to their houses by learning how to identify the ants, knowing where to look for them, and understanding ways to prevent and control them.

Homeowners can treat carpenter ants themselves with residential insecticides purchased locally. Larger infestations may require professional treatment.

Pest Control Companies Serving the Dallas Suburbs

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Memorial Day Holds A Special Meaning For Me

Memorial Day 2011

As a retired combat veteran, Memorial Day holds a special meaning to me. I’ve lost friends who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our way of life. While the memory of the personal loss fades with time, the ideals that they believed in have grown stronger.

Seeing the flag raised and hearing the National Anthem played still brings tears to my eyes. I’m beginning to think that only those who have served her and accepted the unlimited liability clause can love her and see her the way we do.

Ronald Reagan may have captured it best in his farewell address to the nation. Reagan said, “I’ve spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”

I’m not naïve enough to believe we don’t have problems and challenges, but I do believe that the founding fathers of this great nation had extraordinary vision. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are timeless in their statement of those beliefs.

John F. Kennedy wrote, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Ridgeview Ranch Splash Day 2011

Ridgeview Ranch Splash Day

For the fourth year, Gina and I sponsored the Ridgeview Ranch Splash Day. Hosted at the Bellerive Pool, the annual event was attended by over 200 homeowners and their families. In addition to food and drinks, there was a huge waterslide, a DJ, games, and lots of prizes.

Splash Day is one of many social activities hosted by the Ridgeview Ranch Homeowners Association. Located in North Plano, Ridgeview Ranch offers golf course living in four distinct sections.

About Ridgeview Ranch in Plano, TX

Ridgeview Ranch Homes For Sale

Golf Course Homes For Sale

Another Happy Home Buyer in Frisco TX

Happy Homebuyers in Frisco Texas
Happy Home Buyers are Handed Their Keys

Handing over the keys is one of the best parts of working with home buyers. It’s the culmination of weeks or months of work.

Friday evening Gina handed the keys to a new home to her clients after a celebratory dinner at The Outback in Frisco, TX. Larry and Theresa purchased a nice home in Frisco’s Saddlebrook Village. 

Part of Lone Star Ranch, Saddlebrook Village is located just west of Teal Parkway and north of Lebanon Road. The location offers easy access to highways, shopping, recreation, and dining in Frisco and North Dallas.

See Saddlebrook Village Homes for Sale.

See Frisco TX Homes for Sale.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR


There is a Crack in the Sheetrock

Crack in Sheetrock

I was out showing homes the other day to some out of state buyers. As they looked at homes, they would spot some hairline cracks in the sheetrock of some of the homes. They were concerned about potential foundation issues. Welcome to Texas!

North Texas is notorious for expansive clay soil. Why is this important? The foundations of our homes are built on top of this soil and this causes the foundations to move with changes in the water content of the soil. When the foundation moves, hairline cracks can appear in the sheetrock.

The key to minimizing the movement is to keep the soil around the foundation at a consistent moisture content. What does that mean?  Water the lawn or add soaker hoses around the foundation. Dried up soil contracts and allows the foundation to move.

Foundation movement is not the only reason that cracks appear in the sheetrock. In new construction, the studs may not have been completely dry when the home was built. As the wood dries, it shrinks and can cause minor cracking.

If you’re purchasing a home and you have concerns, hire an engineer to inspect the foundation of the home. The cost ranges from $250 and up depending upon the size and type of foundation.

Dallas Foundation Repair and Inspection

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR