Is This A Good Time to List My North Texas Home?

Sold Sign in Neighborhood

Is this a good time to sell our home? This is a question we get quite often. Local data have indicated a Sellers Market since January 2012.

I just received the results of survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) that shows that the trend is actually nationwide.

According to the NAR report, “Demand continued to expand faster than supply. The Buyer Traffic Index rose to 56 from 36 in the same period last year, while the Seller Traffic Index barely moved, ending at 38 from 37 last year. REALTORS® reported numerous cases of multibidding resulting in “properties selling above the list/asking price” or “distressed sales selling close to market price.”

NAR Buyer and Seller Trends

In our local market, 2012 was a great year for sellers. Home sales outpaced home listings by almost 10 to 1 and we don’t see that letting up in 2013. We have many sellers waiting for the “spring sales season” to list their homes.

If you want to get your home sold, get on the market as early as possible to take advantage of the lack of inventory!

Click here for more information on selling your North Texas home.

Click here to request a Market Analysis of your North Texas home.

Contact us at 214-227-6626 if you have any questions.

Tom and Gina Signatures

Graph: Copyright 2013 National Association of REALTORs® | Base Photo: Licensed from Buffini and Company

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

Do I Really Need a Real Estate Agent for a New Home Purchase?

New Home Under Construction

We get this question all the time from potential new home buyers. Do you really need one? No. Would retaining an agent to represent you in the transaction be a good idea? Yes, it would.

Some people believe they can get a better “deal” on a new home by working directly with the new home sales staff.

Most of the builders we know will not lower the price of the home simply because you don’t have an agent. Agent commissions are usually paid from a different fund that is not related to the sale of the home. Further, real estate professionals often know about unadvertised discounts and close-out pricing on new homes.

More importantly, there are many pitfalls in the buying process that are not related to pricing! Real Estate Professionals have the experience and knowledge to negotiate and guide you through the new home buying process.

Looking for a great deal on a new home?

Photo: Licensed from ShutterStock

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.

Having Trouble Selling Your House? Consider Leasing.

For Rent Sign in Front of Home

Even with housing prices rising in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, many homeowners are still unable to sell their houses. Many of those impacted have refinanced or did 100 percent financing, others are simply in pockets of homes that have seen a correction over the past few years.

Either way, they are unable to sell at a price high enough to cover the mortgage and the closing costs. That leaves the homeowner with a couple of choices. Take to house off the market and wait a couple of years for some more appreciation or consider leasing the house.

Leasing and property management is not right for all homeowners.

If you are considering leasing your home, the first step is to do the research. You really have to know the numbers to make sure that leasing makes good financial sense. You need to know the following:

How much rent you can reasonably charge? A local real estate professional should be able to give you details on comparable leases in the area. I usually advise clients to work on an 85 percent occupancy rate meaning the property is only leased and generating rent 85 percent of the year. On a monthly basis, simply use 85 percent of the projected rent as your base rental income.

How much are your monthly costs (including the mortgage, maintenance, taxes, insurance, HOA dues)? It is critical that you accurately project these costs.  Not only are there expected monthly costs, but you have to factor in maintenance and repairs as well. I usually recommend a Residential Service Contract for houses I manage.

How much will it cost to lease? You can advertise and lease it on your own or you can hire a real estate professional to market the property for you. Real estate professionals usually include tenant screening and lease preparation in addition to marketing the property. If you decide to go it alone, you need to figure in the costs of advertising, tenant screening, and document preparation. Proper and legal leases become critial if you have to evict or take other legal action against a tenant.

How much is ongoing property management if you decide not to manage it yourself? Like everything else, the cost to have professional property management varies. Cost is not the primary factor in my opinion. What you’re looking for is a company that will find good tenants and take care of your property.

Once you know the potential income and expenses, you can do the math. Most of our owners are generating positive cash flow from renting their houses while they wait for housing prices to climb some more. Others are losing money each month, but they have decided that losing a few hundred dollars each month is better than selling at a loss or facing foreclosure. 

As mortgage approval criteria tightened, the demand for lease and rental homes have risen along with it. Not only is demand up, but rental and occupancy rates are climbing as well. If you’re having problems selling your house, you might want to look into leasing it.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Lease and Rental Homes in DFW

Are you looking to lease or rent a house, townhouse, or condominium in the Dallas Fort Worth area? Check out

Lease and Rental Homes in DFW

As tenant representatives, we can assist you in your search, show you properties, and negotiate the terms of the lease. The best part is our fee is paid by the property owner!

There Is No Cold Water and We Need A Plumber

One of our past clients dropped us a note on FaceBook this morning. She was looking for a referral for a plumber. We asked her to describe the problem. Apparently several of the cold water faucets and one of the toilets are not working.

Frozen Water Pipes

Licensed from iStockPhoto

She’s likely going to need a plumber in a few days. The temperatures have been at record lows. We’ve had lows in the teens and highs in the 20’s for the past two days. What she is experiencing is most likely frozen water supply pipes in the exterior walls of the house.  The cold water has frozen and the pipe is plugged.

Sadly the worse is yet to come in many cases. Copper is soft and as the water in the pipes freezes, it expands. This expansion will often cause the pipe to rupture. The extent of the damage will not be known until Saturday when temperatures climb above freezing for the first time in about four days.

Given the number of calls plumbers will be taking starting Saturday, we suggested that she locate the master water shut-off valve for the house. That way she can shut off the water supply and prevent extensive water damage to the house.

If you’re concerned about this happening to your home, you can leave the cabinet doors open so warm air from the house circulates under the sinks and you can crack the water faucets allowing a small trickle of water to flow. Moving water is far less likely to freeze.

As it begins to warm up, be sure to check around your home for water leaks and be prepared to take action.

Dallas Superbowl Leasing in the Media

I recently took part in an NBC 5 News story by Grant Stinchfield. The story titled, “Super Bowl Rentals Could Become Brothels, Group Says” focuses on the possibility that leased homes could be used for illegal activity.

Superbowl Leasing in the Media

Licensed from iStockPhoto

With the Superbowl coming to town in 2011 and the hint of big money, some homeowners close to the stadium (and those not so close) are considering leasing their homes for the event. Grant raises a great point that anyone considering leasing their homes needs to exercise caution.

While this is true in any lease situation, these short-term leases represent a huge risk to the owner. If you are looking into a short-term lease consider the following:

Take a Lease Application. Most of us would never lease our home without one so why do it now? 

Run a Background Check. Part of the lease application should be an authorization to do a background check including criminal and credit.

Put the Lease in Writing. While Texas Law recognizes a verbal lease for less than one year, it’s critical to get the details in writing. Contact a local real estate professional or an attorney to have the document drafted. You have to plan for holding-over or damage to the property. If you don’t, you may find yourself having to go through the eviction process and find damage that exceeds any profit made on the lease.

Remember the Golden Rule of Business. If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is.

The Superbowl will have a huge economic impact on the DFW Metroplex. If you decide to lease your home to cash-in on that impact, take steps to protect yourself and your property.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR