The Chateau at The Settlement at Craig Ranch

The Chateau at The Settlement at Craig Ranch

CB JENI Homes has broken ground on their latest development in The Settlement at Craig Ranch offering single-level upscale townhomes. Located in the heart of Craig Ranch, the townhomes will be priced from $195k to $230k. The three new floor plans are Camille, Julia, and Natalie.

Presales have begun and the builder should have the model and first building completed in late summer or early fall.

This is a small development of about 40 townhomes. We will post more information as it becomes available.

Townhomes for sale in McKinney, TX

The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs is the exclusive listing broker for CB JENI Homes.

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.

National Open House Weekend – 5605 Southampton

Open House - June 6 - 5605 Southampton

OPEN HOUSE – June 5, 2011 – 1 PM to 3 PM

4 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | 2-Car Garage | 2743 SF/Tax | $229,900

Open single story floor plan with tall ceilings in Plano ISD. Secluded master suite has jetted tub, separate vanities, walk in closet, and patio access. Chefs island kitchen with built in desk features granite counters, double ovens and recent stainless steel sink. Living area has wall of windows overlooking extended covered patio and back yard. Walk to exemplary elementary school and Breckenridge Park. New high school opens fall 2011. 

Map to 5605 Southampton, Richardson, TX

Click for Larger View

Come out and take a look at this home during National Open House Weekend.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Are Dallas Home Buyers Sitting On The Fence?

Home Buyers Sitting on the Fence

I was out working in one of my new home developments today.

As I chatted with the sales staff about how things were going, a common theme became apparent. Potential buyers are sitting on the fence waiting on home prices and interest rates to drop further!

This has been fueled by the reports of nationwide home price drops by many of the national media outlets. The old adage,”location, location, location” comes to mind.  All real estate is local!

I did an interview locally last week when this news was released discussing the local numbers.   Dallas Fort Worth is actually bucking the national trend with average sales prices up 3.2 percent in North Texas and 5.4 percent in Collin County. Prices are not going down here.

I looked deeper into the numbers and found that new listings are down 17 percent while sales volume is down only 14 percent. What these numbers indicate is that the market is absorbing inventory at a rate greater than new inventory is coming on the market. The supply of available homes is getting smaller. This helps keep prices stable or rising.

To be fair, values may continue to drop in other places depending on a number of factors.  Contact a local real estate professional to find out what’s going on in your area.

Mortgage interest rates are at 50 year lows. They may fluctuate slightly but I don’t see them trending much lower. The only reason they remain so low today is because the government is buying most of the mortgage paper and holding the rates low. Eventually the government is going to want to push this back into the private sector but the private sector is not going to get back into mortgage backed securities until rates climb.

What does all this mean for Dallas Fort Worth home buyers? Now may be one of the best times to purchase a home. Prices are stable in most areas and we’re seeing an upward trend over the past year.  Mortgage interest rates are at 50-year lows.

It’s time for home buyers in DFW to get off the fence.

Search the North Texas MLS

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

WSBA Interview – Rental Revival: Census Shows Shift Away From Home Ownership

For Rent Sign in Front of Home

I did an interview with Gary Sutton with WSBA in York, PA on June 1st.

It was a follow-up piece to an article published in USA Today titled, “More Than 500 Cities See More Homes Become Rentals.” The authors wrote, “In the aftermath of the nation’s housing-market collapse and recession, more than 500 midsize and large cities have seen a rise in the share of homes that are rented rather than owned”

Most of the cities with the higher changes towards renters were same cities hit hard by the mortgage meltdown and subsequent foreclosures. I saw another news story showing that home ownership peaked at 69 percent and had dropped to 66 percent .

Clearly this should not be a big surprise. Not only did we have a housing bubble, but a home ownership bubble as well. Further, the people who lost their homes to foreclosure still need a place to live and will likely be tenants for a number of years.

The good news is that investors are buying homes in these areas and rather than flipping them as they did in years past, they are converting them into income-producing rental properties1.  It’s a great time to purchase income-producing properties as prices have dropped, interest rates are low, and the demand for rental homes is up.

Contact us for more information on investing in income-producing real estate.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

1. See “Flipping Versus Income Producing Real Estate Investing

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