Joe T. Garcia’s – A Fort Worth Landmark

The chorus to George Strait’s hit song titled, “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” played on a local station today and got me thinking about Joe T. Garcia’s.

Gina and I had dropped by the restaurant, located just south of the Fort Worth Stockyards, after we listed a property in North Richland Hills and I had taken the photo below on my iPhone as we stood in line waiting for a table to open.

Joe T. Garcia's - A Fort Worth Landmark

Copyright 2010 - Tom Branch

Joe T. Garcia’s, known as “Joe T’s” among locals, was first opened on July 4th, 1935. The original restaurant seated 16 people and people would line up for hours to try out the famous enchiladas and hand-made tortillas.

Joe believed that the best form of advertising was word of mouth and did no traditional advertising. Joe and his family provided great meals and great service so despite no traditional advertising their family business flourished and grew.

Joe passed away in the early 1950’s leaving his wife and family to take over the reins. In the 1970’s a garden patio was added and every year after that saw an expansion of the gardens or the addition of a room. Over the years seating capacity has increased to almost 1000 and you still have to wait in line to get a seat!

The next time you’re in Fort Worth consider dropping by this landmark and give the food and hospitality a try! Don’t be surprised if you have to stand in line…

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

The Finish Line – Another Short Sale Closing – Garland TX

Another short sale closed! The sellers avoided foreclosure, the buyers purchased a nice home at a discount, and the lender did not have the losses involved with a foreclosure.

Garland TX Homes For Sale - 3310 Western

Copyright 2010 - Imaged2Sell

Many people feel that the nation’s economy rises and falls with the housing market. While this is often true, we believe the current housing crisis is a direct result of the economic downturn and massive job loss across the nation.

In the Short Sale community, the vast majority of homeowners did not get a bad loan or buy more house than they could afford; they’re just good, hardworking Americans who fell on bad times.

All indicators point to Short Sales being on the real estate horizon for the foreseeable future, at least through 2012, and maybe longer. Industry experts see another wave of distressed homeowners surfacing when the once popular Pay Option Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) begin to adjust in the coming months.

These mortgages allowed the borrower to essentially “pick a payment” that fit their budget in order to get into the house they wanted to purchase. These loans have the potential to negatively amortize and the rate will adjust upward – it’s just a matter of time. Pay Option ARMs were widely used in California and will begin adjusting soon.

We encourage homeowners across the United States to get educated on the options available should they become financially distressed. Short Sales are a great tool, providing relief to all parties.

Just remember to choose a REALTOR® with a proven Short Sale track record to negotiate on your behalf. Making the right choice can mean the world of difference to your financial future.

Plano TX Homes For Sale – 3512 Bellwood

The Branch Team | Real Estate Broker 0547597 | RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs

Plano TX Homes For Sale - 3512 Bellwood

Copyright 2010 - Imaged2Sell

3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths | 2-Car Garage | 1816 SF/Tax

Plano TX Homes For Sale – Nice home located on a cul-de-sac lot with large shade trees. Open single-level floor plan. Wood laminate flooring in entryway and kitchen. Kitchen opens to dining room and family room with wood-burning fireplace. Lots of updates-all windows replaced with Sears Energy Efficient in 02, board-on-board fence in 06, dishwasher in 02, AC condenser in 04, HVAC inside in 06. Zoned to the new McMillan High School opening Fall 2011.

Click here for current status, pricing, photos, and a virtual tour.

Source: NTREIS

Carrollton Texas Homes For Lease – 2005 Robin Hill

The Branch Team | Real Estate Broker 0547597 | RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs

Carrollton Texas Homes For Lease - 2005 Robin Hill

Copyright 2010 - Imaged2Sell

3 Bedrooms | 2.1 Baths | 2-Car Garage | 1814 SF/Tax

Carrollton TX Homes For Lease – Immaculate, Greenbriar home with pool in High Country. Gourmet kitchen with granite counters, flat cook top, updated appliances, and tumbled marble backsplash. Oversized master suite has direct access to the backyard oasis with pool and spa. Master bathroom updated in May 2009. Energy efficient with new Low E windows, updated HVAC, radiant barrier, and extra insulation. Lease price includes refrigerator and pool maintenance! Will not last! 

Click here for current status, pricing, photos, and a virtual tour.

Source: NTREIS

Fall Colors Come To North Texas

Having lived all over the world as a result of being both a military brat and then serving for 21 years on my own, I’ve been witness to the change of seasons in many states and countries.

I’m a huge fan of fall colors as the trees make their transition into winter. Colorado and New Mexico have their yellow Aspens, Montana’s Rocky Mountains were wonderful, but the best color I’ve ever seen were the Maple trees in the Northern Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

Fall Foliage in Frisco Texas

Copyright 2010 - Tom Branch

Last week I was out listing a Short Sale property in Frisco, Texas and came upon a Silver Leaf Maple that reminded me of my time spent in Tupper Lake, New York after my father retired from the Air Force in the early 1970’s.

Rather than a bright red, the leaves were a shade of scarlet, but it was nice to see the color.  Sometimes you just have to stop and admire nature’s beauty. 

It’s been almost 35 years since I last witnessed the change of color in New England. Dallas, Texas is my home but it reminded me that I need to make a trip back one fall to take it all in again. 

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Watch Out For Jury Duty Scams

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a Fraud Alert titled, “The Verdict: Hang Up – Don’t Fall for Jury Duty Scam” on the FBI website.

Watch Out For Jury Duty Scams

Licensed from iStockPhoto

According to the Fraud Alert, “The scam’s bold simplicity may be what makes it so effective. Facing the unexpected threat of arrest, victims are caught off guard and may be quick to part with some information to defuse the situation.”

The scam starts with a phone call claiming there is a warrant out for your arrest. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo; your identity was just stolen.

The fraud has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma , Illinois , and Colorado . This scam is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system.

The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.

Source: FBI Website

Would the Elimination of the Mortgage Interest Deduction Hurt the Housing Market?

I was reading the news this morning and came upon an article titled, “Commission Offers Controversial Solutions to Axe Deficit — Members Balk” on the FoxNews website. The “Deficit Commission” appointed by President Obama is working on a plan to reduce the nation’s deficit. 

US Federal Tax Forms

Licensed from iStockPhoto

One of the commission’s suggestions is to eliminate the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction in favor of a lower tax rate for all.  Personally, I think this plan will have a huge negative impact on the housing market and our economy in general. 

Let’s look at a $250k, 5 percent mortgage.  The homeowner pays $12,500 in interest per year and likely itemizes deductions of about $18k. If we remove the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction, the same homeowner now uses the standard deduction and pays taxes on an additional $7500. If the homeowner is in the 25 percent tax bracket, the loss of the deduction adds $1875 to their tax bill. It gets worse with larger mortgages and higher tax brackets.

Basically, they would eliminate the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction and lower the tax rates across the board at the same time.  It appears that this plan will “spread the wealth” increasing taxes on homeowners and reducing taxes for all. 

With so many homeowners in distress, they simply cannot absorb any increases in costs and stay in their homes.  Combine this idea with the various new taxes beginning in 2011 along with rapidly increasing energy/food costs and we have all the right conditions for another economic collapse.

As a nation, we have to focus on reducing costs and creating jobs in order to get out of this mess. Taxing the middle class will only make it worse.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR