Cash for Clunkers Comes to the Housing Market

I was interviewed by our local CBS affiliate a couple of weeks ago. They were doing a story on the slowing housing market.  There was only anecdotal evidence of the slow-down.  My view was that the current slow-down was the backlash from the Federal Tax Credits. I coined it, “Cash for Clunkers Comes to the Housing Market.”

This week the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) released the July sales figures.  NAR states, “Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 27.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million units in July from a downwardly revised 5.26 million in June, and are 25.5 percent below the 5.14 million-unit level in July 2009.”

A couple of their charts say it all. The first is the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate:

The second is the Months of Supply:

If my “Cash for Clunkers” analogy is correct, we will see prices continue to fall before they start rebounding.

While these are national numbers, it will be interesting to see how local markets are impacted as data become available. 

The Finish Line – Another Short Sale Closing – Fort Worth, TX

Short Sale Closing - Fort Worth, 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.

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.

Achieving Rock Star Status with Our Clients

Achieving Rock Star Status

We often talk about providing a level of service that creates “Raving Fans”, people who really appreciate that service and go out of their way to tell others.  We call it, “Rock Star Status.”

It’s a goal that we strive for in every transaction.


A Letter from A Recent Client

To Whom It May Concern:

I am sending this letter with the hope that you will post it on your web site, as I believe others need to know about your outstanding team at RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs. I hope you will excuse me for being so lengthy.  I know there are many people who may have walked in my shoes, or struggling today to make ends meet.   I hope they will find my story beneficial.

With our nation’s financial debt and in this economic downfall, we sometimes need to take a look at where we are and what we ourselves with God’s help can do about our present personal financial situation.

I moved to Texas in 2008.  My husband and I  had purchased a beautiful home and planned to be there the rest of our lives, but  sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you need to know what to do next.

Deep in debt I was working two jobs, but my income was not enough to support my outgo and I was using up all of my assets.  I was faced with something that no one wants to have to do. I took a hard look at my numbers and realized I had two options. Option one, look for a “Government bail out” and wait……….and wait………..or option two, sell my dream home.  I made the choice to sell my home.

I ordered a course by Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace University.  I highly recommend this course to all of you.  I did everything he instructed me to do. My goal was to make my home look like a model home, price it to move and not sit on the market along with so many other homes.  It needed the “WOW “factor.

My next step was to interview real estate agents.  I interviewed six real estate agents and hands down I chose the best team out there, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs.  Tom and Gina Branch were experienced, knowledgeable and motivated.  After all they would be in charge of my largest asset and I needed a professional not my relative who is an agent or someone new in the business who had just gotten their license. Let me say it again. I needed a professional to handle my greatest asset.  I was serious.  I knew immediately we were on the same page. They knew exactly what I needed.

We filled out the paper work, and scheduled a photo shoot for the MLS listing. Within the first week I had two offers on my home, and within a few weeks, I handed over the keys to the new owners.  I know selling a home this quickly in this economy is rare but The Branch Team can make it happen. They were the combination that brought about this whole process smooth and pain free.

For some of us it’s hard to make the decision to sell your home, even when you are faced inevitably with the possibility of losing it down the road, just  because” life happens.” I personally know how hard it is.  Don’t wait until you are headed to foreclosure. Once you have made the choice to sell your home, make your next choice, “The Branch Team.”  They make it happen!!!

I am so grateful to Tom and Gina Branch and I am looking forward to doing business with them when I purchase my next home.



Margorie T. – Wylie, Texas


The Branch Team Re-Launches Allen Texas Real Estate Website

Welcome to Allen, Texas! Our residents enjoy a wholesome community atmosphere with something for everyone. The City boasts an award-winning park system featuring neighborhood and community parks, hike and bike trails, and greenbelts. City facilities include a 27-hole public golf course, a large fitness and aquatic center, a recreation center, youth center and extreme sports park, a senior recreation center and a 54,000 square feet public library.

Allen ISD offers a diversified curriculum with 13 elementary schools, three middle schools, a freshman center and a high school. The high school campus (582,000 square feet) features an on-site Collin County Community College campus.

Residents have access to excellent medical care with five hospitals in a ten mile radius. A variety of health and medical services are readily available – dentists, chiropractors to physical therapy and convenient care clinics.

New home builders in Allen include Grand Homes, DR Horton Homes, Drees Homes, Shaddock Homes, Standard Pacific Homes, Hillwood Residential, Highland Homes, Huntington Homes, Wynne Jackson, K. Hovnanian Homes, Bill Bobbett, Crescent Signature Homes, Steve Roberts Luxury Homes, Tony Rossi Custom Homes, Rick R. Shipley Custom Homes, Sanders & Associates, and David Weekley Homes.

New home prices start around $150k for a townhome in the Villas of Twin Creeks to $3m+ for a custom home in Wimberly Place in Twin Creeks.

Come and discover what makes our hard working community a great place to live. Click here for to visit the new Allen TX Real Estate website.

Allen Texas Real Estate


Texas Chili Cookoff – An Inexperienced Judge’s Perspective

Leslie Ebersole’s blog titled, “Selling Out of Area? Lost in the Burbs? When and Why I Accompany a Showing” had me laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes. It reminded my of an old Texas chili story that makes the email rounds a couple of times a year.  This one still makes me laugh so hard that I can’t continue to read because of the tears!

Leslie, this one’s for you!

Texas Chili Cookoff – An Inexperienced Judge’s Perspective

Notes from Frank, an inexperienced chili judge, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast: “Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking directions to the beer wagon, when the call came.

I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy, and besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting. So I accepted.”

Here are the scorecards from the event:


JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

FRANK: Holy crap, what the heck is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one. These Texans are crazy.


JUDGE ONE: Smokey, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of the reach of children I’m not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.


JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.

FRANK: Call the EPA, I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting wasted from all the beer.


JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it, is it possible to burnout taste buds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills; she is starting to look HOT, just like this nuclear waste I’m eating. Is chili an aphrodisiac?


JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very Impressive.

JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I passed gas and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage, Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off? It really irritates me that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Darn rednecks!


JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped myself when I passed gas and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sally. She must be odder than I thought. Can’t feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone!


JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Judge Number 3, He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a darn thing. I’ve lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava-like stuff to match my darn shirt. At least during the autopsy they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing; it’s too painful. To heck with it. I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.


JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare it’s existence.

JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor guy, wonder how he’d have reacted to a really hot chili?

Source – Unknown | Adapted by Tom Branch


Seller-Financing Licensing Exemption Reinstated

Great news for sellers who finance in Texas: Texas Department of Savings & Mortgage Lending Commissioner Doug Foster has issued a notice that allows the continuation of the de minimis exemption until further action is taken by the Legislature. This exemption, which was briefly repealed by the federal SAFE Act, means that a seller can once again finance up to five properties in a 12-month period without being licensed as a residential mortgage loan originator. The Texas Association of REALTORS® worked closely with the agency in its efforts to continue to allow the exemption to apply in Texas.

The de minimis exemption has not yet been recodified, but the Texas Association of REALTORS® will continue to work during the next legislative session to see that it is reinstated in statute. 

Source:  Texas Association of REALTORS®


Nations Home-Warranty August Newsletter

Maintenance of the foundation of the home is the August topic.

Because there are so many first time homeowners and people who have just moved to Texas, this topic is very important in the current hot dry weather. A foundation watering system is necessary. Walk the property to check the foundation for separation or concrete cracks.

Residential service companies do not cover foundations, but soil integrity around foundations can affect systems that we do cover. If the foundation shifts, it can cause plumbing leaks or breaks that are not normal wear and tear.


  • After you water the lawn, also water the foundation.
  • 1st and Best solution: Install a buried foundation watering system.
  • 2nd Best: Bury a soaker hose three inches deep and one foot from the edge of your foundation.
  • 3rd Best and most economical: Rotate a soaker hose around the perimeter of the home to maintain moisture in the soil around the house and foundation.
  • DO NOT place the hose against the foundation. If soil is dried and cracked, the water will drop to the lowest point of the cracks and accumulate at the bottom of the grade beam (the thick part that is under the exterior walls).
  • You need enough water to keep the deep soil wet all the time. If only the surface is damp, your watering program is not working.

Your water bill may rise- but you will be saving money by avoiding foundation or plumbing problems later.

Source:  Sharon Harrison – Nations Home Warranty