The Branch Team Named One of the Best Real Estate Teams in Dallas

D Magazine Best Real Estate Agents in Dallas 2012Tom and Gina Branch, The Branch Team, with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs were named as Top Residential Real Estate Producers in Dallas by D Magazine at a reception held at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving.

In the July 2012 issue D Magazine’s editor wrote, “Racking up tens of millions in home sales in the hotly competitive North Texas market isn’t easy.”

The Branch Team closed more than $15m in sales in 2011 with 112 sides and 96 listings.

Gina Branch stated, “We’re proud that the vast majority of our business comes from referrals. We stay focused on providing quality service before, during, and after the sale.”

Source: D Magazine, July 2012 | Logo used with permission


Lorraine Branch 1930-2012

Lorraine BranchJune 16, 2012 will go down as the worst day of my life. It’s the day I lost my mother.

Lorraine Branch was a remarkable woman who deeply enjoyed her journey through life.

That journey began in May of 1930 in Queens, New York as the daughter of Thomas and Cecilia LeMaitre. She never lost her New York accent nor that famous New York attitude–it was still there in the final hours of her life.

When the nurse removed her from life support, they confided in us that she only had 10 to 15 minutes. I think she over heard him and said, “Really? Watch this!” She remained with us for another two hours passing away at 3:55 PM.

After raising three children and travelling around the states and the world as a military spouse, she moved to Ocala, Florida in 1984 and worked for Marion County as a licensing clerk until she retired. Even after retiring, she volunteered in the community working in the hospitals and performing as part of the Golden Troupers.

She was infused with life and freely shared that spirit with the people around her. She had a way about her, always helping people to see things more clearly. I will personally miss her wisdom.

Most people slow down in retirement but my mother would have nothing to do with slowing down.  I would often call her and hear stories that sounded like they should have been on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” with some 40-something rather than a great-grandmother globe-trotting around the world.

As always, she journeyed the world with Parker, her husband of 56 years, at her side. Germany, France, Spain, Italy Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, the Caribbean, Greece, Turkey…the list goes on and on.  She walked on the Great Wall of China, visited the Great Barrier Reef, and lived life to its fullest.

The journey continued up until a couple of weeks ago when she flew out to Kansas City, Missouri to attend her grand-daughter’s high school graduation.

While the public records will show that her journey ended on June 16th, she believed that death was the beginning of another journey.

Lorraine Branch was a remarkable woman. Let us not mourn her death. Let’s celebrate her life and wish her Godspeed on her new journey. Rest in peace, I love you and will miss you.

Photo Copyright 2012 Patrick Branch

Over Promise, Under Deliver, and Ask For More Business?

There are days I wonder how some people stay in business. It seems the new way to do business is to “over promise, under deliver and then ask for more business.” I don’t know about you, but this tactic seems all wrong. Do people really fall for this?

Lenders seem to be the worst lately. I understand that underwriting guidelines change daily and that lenders are at the mercy of many other providers. However, a smart lender would factor that into any estimated closing date they set.

These are not just mortgages, these are people lives. Sellers and buyers are trying to plan moves,  schedule time off, change over utilities, and the myriad of other tasks that come with a move. As a major listing broker, I prepare every seller for what seems to be the inevitable lender delay. We’re to the point where we have to do seller temporary lease-backs just to insure the buyer can close before the seller moves out of the home. It’s insane.

There are good lenders left out there that can deliver what they promise. Good agents surround themselves with great service providers who can deliver results.

Need a proven provider? Click here for our Business Directory.

Photo licensed from iStockPhoto

Tied of Chasing Your iPad or iPhone Cable?

Cable ClipI’d like to be able to take credit for this one but I was out showing homes the other day and noticed that the owner had kept their cables from falling behind the desk with a simple binder clip.

The clip is attached to the overhang on the desk and the cable is run through the wire handles. When the wire is removed from the iPad or iPhone it usually slides back to the clip making it easy to find and reconnect later.

Photo Copyright 2012 – Tom Branch

Memorial Day 2012 – Some Gave All

Some Gave All

Click for Larger Image

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.”

– Ronald Reagan


Photo: Copyright 2011 – Tom Branch

Sellers Disclosure In Texas

Texas Sellers Disclosure NoticeWe seem to receive questions about disclosure requirements in Texas on a weekly basis. Section 5.008 of the Texas Property Code spells out the requirements:

“A seller of residential real property comprising not more than one dwelling unit located in this state shall give to the purchaser of the property a written notice as prescribed by this section or a written notice substantially similar to the notice prescribed by this section which contains, at a minimum, all of the items in the notice prescribed by this section.”

Basically if you’re selling a single family home you are required to complete a Sellers Disclosure Notice. Note that, “a seller or seller’s agent shall have no duty to make a disclosure or release information related to whether a death by natural causes, suicide, or accident unrelated to the condition of the property occurred on the property or whether a previous occupant had, may have had, has, or may have AIDS, HIV related illnesses, or HIV infection.”

There are 11 exemptions from disclosure:

(1) pursuant to a court order or foreclosure sale;

(2) by a trustee in bankruptcy;

(3) to a mortgagee by a mortgagor or successor in interest, or to a beneficiary of a deed of trust by a trustor or successor in interest;

(4) by a mortgagee or a beneficiary under a deed of trust who has acquired the real property at a sale conducted pursuant to a power of sale under a deed of trust or a sale pursuant to a court ordered foreclosure or has acquired the real property by a deed in lieu of foreclosure;

(5) by a fiduciary in the course of the administration of a decedent’s estate, guardianship, conservatorship, or trust;

(6) from one co-owner to one or more other co-owners;

(7) made to a spouse or to a person or persons in the lineal line of consanguinity of one or more of the transferors;

(8) between spouses resulting from a decree of dissolution of marriage or a decree of legal separation or from a property settlement agreement incidental to such a decree;

(9) to or from any governmental entity;

(10) of a new residence of not more than one dwelling unit which has not previously been occupied for residential purposes; or

(11) of real property where the value of any dwelling does not exceed five percent of the value of the property.

When in doubt you should discuss the issue with your agent or an attorney.

Memorial Day 2012 – A Time to Remember

Memorial Day 2012As a retired military combat veteran, Memorial Day holds a very special meaning for me. It’s a time to reflect back and honor those who not only served, but made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation and her people.

Many people have tried to capture the essence of it. Few accomplished it.  Billy Ray Cyrus’ song titled, “Some Gave All” is one of them:

All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all

What non-veterans cannot comprehend is the guilt felt by many of those who make it home. Jamey Garner’s song titled, “That’s What Soldiers Do” showed remarkable insight :

Those emotional wounds run deep and those veterans returning home need our support more than ever.

Freedom is not free. We enjoy our liberties because brave men and women have always been willing to put everything on the line in order to insure them.

If you love America and our way of life, thank a veteran. Their blood has been shed preserving the liberty that we enjoy and many take for granted.

Photo licensed from iStockPhoto