Mortgage Lenders See Tighter Credit in Wake of New U.S. Rules

We’re finally getting the housing market going again and now new Federal Regulations may make it even harder for buyers to obtain a mortgage.

Mortgage bankers and Realtors are warning that it could become even harder for  borrowers to qualify for a home loan early next year as the industry faces a  barrage of new rules.

Read more: Mortgage Lenders See Tighter Credit in Wake of New U.S. Rules

We’ll have to wait and see what impact this has on our fragile housing recovery.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle 

Drive Your Dream

DFW Drive Your Dream

At 53, I’ve had the chance to own and drive a number of really cool cars–Porsche, Audi, BMW and an assortment of American muscle cars (my 68 Pontiac Firebird was one of them). Sunday afternoon changed all of that! Gina purchased a “Speed Tour” (I have the coolest spouse!) from DFW Drive Your Dream last holiday season. We’ve been so busy that I had not had the time to set up the tour earlier in the year.

We arrived at their location in Haltom City about thirty minutes early and spent the time chatting with some others waiting to Drive Their Dream. It was Sunday afternoon and the city was quiet. The sound of exotic muscle coming up the street got our attention. It’s a sound that just cannot be ignored in this day of high mile-per-gallon and under-powered cars. The cars pulled into the parking lot and while the first set of drivers went into the office to finish up their paperwork, we had a chance to look under the hoods of the four cars we would “pilot” in a few minutes.

Sunday’s line-up included two Ferraris (a 599 and a 430) , a Lamborghini Gallardo, and the Aston Martin Vantage. After signing our lives away on close to $1m in automobiles (have I mentioned I love USAA?) we listened as the tour director gave us a run-down on each vehicle and the safety rules that would be followed during the tour.

Gina and I started the tour in the Lamborghini. As I started the V10 engine and listened to the 512 horsepower engine growling just behind our backs, a kid-like euphoria overcame me. We eased to car onto the street and we were off on an adventure. The 599 and pace car were in front of us as we pulled up onto the Interstate. The next thing I knew they were gone. I pressed down on the gas pedal and the Lambo took off like a rocket. I’d never driven a vehicle that could accelerate that quickly. The next thing we knew we were doing 90 in third gear and catching up with the tour. The Speed Tour takes place on some quiet and twisty back roads outside of Fort Worth. The Gallardo would go effortlessly through the turns at any speed. We both felt the car was way too performance oriented to be a daily driver.

Our second car was the Ferrari 599. The V12 engine produces 612 horsepower and will do zero to sixty in 3.7 seconds! The 599 is a fantastic car. While it is quick, the front-mounted engine makes the back-end light. It tends to drift a little under heavy acceleration and in tight turns. The cockpit is sexy! Supple leather, race-inspired wrap-around seats, and lots of bright yellow accents. This could be a daily driver if I had $365k lying around!

Our third car was the Aston Martin Vantage. We left the top down to enjoy the late Fall afternoon sun. The Vantage was very refined. I referred to it as “gentleman’s sports car.” The V8 produces 379 horsepower and will do zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds. After driving the 599, the Vantage felt lethargic by comparison. It’s cool but not in the same class as the others. James Bond needs to update his ride!

Our final car was the Ferrari 430. The 430 is a formula 1 inspired  design with a rear-mounted V8 engine that produces 483 horsepower, a more utilitarian interior, and some really sexy lines. It’s not nearly as refined as the 599 but on some levels that’s not a bad thing. You can really hear the engine growl at any speed. This car was fun to drive!

After two and a half hours of adrenalin filled driving, we arrived back in Haltom City. Gina and I jumped into our SMART Car and headed back to Dallas for dinner with friends. I felt like I had been rode hard and put up wet. Be prepared for a post experience emotional crash as the adrenalin wears off!

If you really want to experience the thrill of driving some really exotic cars–check out DFW Drive Your Dream. It is a great experience that will not be soon forgotten.

Photo Copyright 2012 Tom Branch

Scammers in the Neighborhood

We’ve reported on this type of rental scam for several years. It appears to be happening all over the country now.

No one wants to take the blame for the housing bust in this political season, but scammers and rip-off artists in the hundreds are working overtime to siphon dollars from the wreckage of the crash and its still-vulnerable victims.

Read more here:

Scammers in the neighborhood |

If you’re looking to lease a home, we suggest working with a licensed professional.

Find My iPhone – The Essential App

Last week Gina misplaced her iPhone. Usually this would not be a huge problem but we were leaving town the next morning for several days. I had installed the “Find My iPhone” app on my phone and iPad but had not yet updated her phone.

“Find My iPhone” is a “must have” application. It allows you to log into iCloud and locate your iPhone or iPad on a map. If your phone or iPad is ever lost or stolen, you can not only locate it, but the application also allows you to lock the device or delete all the data.

Gina’s phone was on silent that night so calling it did not help. “Find My iPhone” will over-ride silent mode and play a tone at the highest possible volume.

For some people losing their phone is an inconvenience. However, for many of us, our phones are a central part of our businesses. Do yourself a favor–install the free “Find My iPhone” app now. It will save you lots of time an aggravation later.

We wound up leaving town without her phone but we did find it when we returned home. “Find My iPhone” is now installed on her phone as well.

Click here to download “Find My iPhone” from iTunes.

Buyers, Buyers Everywhere But Few Sellers in Sight

Frustrated Buyer

While the rain drought in the greater Dallas area appears to be over, the number of available homes for sale continues to dry up. Buyers who have been sitting on the fence for two years are finally in the market but are finding few homes for sale.

Many sellers we’ve talked to want to wait until the spring to list their homes. While conventional wisdom is that the spring is the best time to list, I’m going to argue that now is the time rather than waiting until the spring.

Why? It’s about supply and demand.

Currently we have high demand and low supply. Listings are up 2 percent but sales are up 17.3 percent. Homes are selling almost 9 times faster than they are being listed. Days on market are down to 61 days and the average sales price is up 2.5 percent year-over-year.

In the spring, conventional sellers will be listing their homes driving up supply.

Thinking about selling?  This is one of the best times in years. Want to know your home’s value? Click here to get a free market analysis.

Are you looking for an experienced listing team? The Branch Team was named a 2012 Residential Real Estate Top Producing Team by D Magazine. Contact us at 214-227-6626.

Photo licensed from iStockPhoto

North Texas Inventory Shortage – It’s Simple Math!

Sold Sign

We’ve been talking about the lack of housing inventory for the past six months. We have a huge demand for houses and the ones on the market that are properly prepared, priced, and show-ready are under contract in a matter of weeks (in a few days below $200k).

The question we get asked the most is “why” is this happening.

It’s simple math! Take a look at the chart above–over the past 12 months we seen new listings rise 2 percent, yet closed sales are up over 17 percent. There’s more good news. Days on Market has dropped from 95 days to 71 days and the average sales price is up 2.5 percent over last year. Even more significant is the Months of Supply which is down 36.8 percent to just 3.4 months.

What’s the take-a-way for home sellers and buyers?

If you are looking to sell, this is the best time in years. Selling now allows you to move up or move down taking advantage of the market condition not only in selling but also allows you to take advantage of the historic low mortgage interest rates.

If you’re looking to buy, you need to move quickly. Gone are the days of searching for months and coming back to see how much prices have been reduced. Wait a few weeks and the house will be under contract. The same is true for making low offers just to see what happens. We’re seeing multiple offer situations on many houses.

Looking to sell or buy a home in the North Texas area?  Click here to search for homes for sale in north Texas.

Contact us at 214-227-6626 if you need more information or want to work with an award-winning real estate team in the north Dallas suburbs.

Photo licensed from ShutterStock | Chart created by the Collin County Association of REALTORs

Fall Creek in Allen, Texas

Fall Creek in Allen Texas

Phase 1 of Fall Creek is now under construction! Standard Pacific Homes is offering nine home plans ranging from 2500 to 4100 square feet with prices beginning in $340’s. There are 75 homesites in Phase 1.

Fall Creek is zoned to Allen ISD with children attending Kerr Elementary, Ereckson Middle School, the Lowery Freshmen Center, and Allen High School.

Fall Creek is located on Ridgeview between Exchange and Alma. This area is less than a mile from the Sam Rayburn Tollway offering easy access to fabulous shopping, entertainment and sports venues.

View Larger Map

Contact us at 214-227-6626 for more information about Fall Creek or any other new home development in the north Dallas suburbs.

Photo Copyright 2012 – Imaged2Sell

New Home Rebate

Purchase a new home through us and we'll help you with your closing costs! We'll give you a credit of 1.5% of the price of the home at closing to use towards your closing costs.

Click here for our New Home Rebates page.