NE TEXAS Real Estate News

#1 Financial Benefit of Homeownership: Family Wealth

#1 Financial Benefit of
Homeownership: Family Wealth | MyKCM
While growing up, we were taught by our parents and grandparents that owning a home is a financially savvy move. They explained how a mortgage is like a forced savings plan. When you pay rent, that money is lost forever. When you make a mortgage payment, much of that money accumulates as equity in the home. So, what exactly is equity? The equity in your home is the amount of money you can sell it for minus what you still owe on the mortgage. Every month you make a mortgage payment, and every month a portion of what you pay reduces the amount you owe. That reduction of your mortgage every month increases your equity. A recent study by CoreLogic explained that homeowners gained substantial equity over the last twelve months, and are essentially sitting on large sums of cash in their homes. In the study, Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic explained:
“The CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded a quickening of home price gains during the fourth quarter of 2019, helping to boost home equity wealth. The average family with a mortgage had a $7,300 gain in home equity during the past year, and a total of $177,000 in home equity wealth.”
For most families, their home is their largest financial asset. This increase in equity drives the net worth, or family wealth, of the homeowner. Renters are not earning that benefit. Instead, they're building the net worth of their landlord.

Bottom Line

Home price growth will moderate during the pandemic. But once a cure is available, most experts agree that home values will again begin to appreciate at levels similar to what we've seen over the last several years. In the long run, our family elders will be proven correct: owning a home is a savvy financial move.
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on June 25th, 2020 11:58 AM

A 365 Day Difference in Homeownership

A 365 Day Difference in
Homeownership | MyKCM

Over the past year, mortgage rates have fallen more than a full percentage point. This is a great driver for homeownership, as today's low rates provide consumers with some significant benefits. Here's a look at three of them:

  1. Refinance: If you already own a home, you may want to decide if you're going to refinance. It's one way to lock in a lower monthly payment and save substantially over time, but it also means paying upfront closing costs too. You have to answer the question: Should I refinance my home?
  2. Move-up or Downsize: Another option is to consider moving into a new home, putting the equity you've likely gained in your current house toward a down payment on a new one that better meets your needs – something that's truly a perfect fit for your family.
  3. Become a First-Time Homebuyer: There are many financial and non-financial benefits to owning a home, and the most important thing is to first decide when the time is right for you. You have to determine that on your own, but know that now is a great time to buy if you're considering it. Just take a look at the cost of renting vs. buying

Why 2019 Was a Great Year for Homeownership

Last year at this time, mortgage rates were 4.63% (substantially higher than they are today). If you're one who waited for a better time to make a move, market conditions have improved significantly. Today's low mortgage rates combined with increasing wages are making homes much more affordable than they were just one year ago, so it's a great time to get more for your money and consider a new home.

The chart below shows how much you would save based on today's rates, compared to what you would have paid if you purchased a house exactly one year ago, depending on how much you finance.A 365
Day Difference in Homeownership | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If you've been waiting since last year to make your move into homeownership, or to find a house that better meets your needs, today's low mortgage rates may be just what you need to get the process going. Let's get together to discuss how you can benefit from the current rates.

Posted in:General and tagged: Home Owner Tipsbuyingahome
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on January 14th, 2020 2:01 PM

Is Your House "Priced to Sell Immediately"?

Is Your House “Priced to Sell Immediately”? | MyKCM

In today’s real estate market, more houses are coming to market every day. Eager buyers are searching for their dream homes, so setting the right price for your house is one of the most important things you can do.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, home values have risen at over 6% a year over the past two years, but have started to slow to 3.6% over the last 12 months. By this time next year, CoreLogic predicts home values will be 5.4% higher.

With prices slowing from their previous pace, homeowners must realize that pricing their homes a little over market value to leave room for negotiation will actually dramatically decrease the number of buyers who will see their listing (see the chart below).Is Your House “Priced to Sell Immediately”? | MyKCMInstead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price their house so demand for the home is maximized. By doing so, the seller will not be negotiating with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers competing with each other over the house.

The secret is making sure your house is Priced To Sell Immediately (PTSI). That way, your home will be seen by the most potential buyers. It will sell at a great price before more competition comes to the market.

Bottom Line

If you’re debating listing your house for sale, let’s get together to discuss how to price your home appropriately and maximize your exposure.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on December 10th, 2019 11:13 AM

Everybody Calm Down! This Is NOT 2008

Everybody Calm Down! This Is NOT 2008 | MyKCM

Last week realtor.com released the results of a survey that produced three major revelations:

  1. 53% of home purchasers (first-time and repeat buyers) currently in the market believe a recession will occur this year or next.
  2. 57% believe the next recession will be as bad or worse than 2008.
  3. 55% said they would cancel plans to move if a recession occurred.

Since we are currently experiencing the longest-ever economic expansion in American history, there is reason to believe a recession could occur in the not-too-distant future. And, it does make sense that buyers and sellers remember the horrors of 2008 when they hear the word “recession.”

Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at the real estate consulting firm Meyers Research, addressed this point in a recent interview:

“With people having PTSD from the last time, they’re still afraid of buying at the wrong time.”

Most experts, however, believe if there is a recession, it will not resemble 2008. This housing market is in no way the same as it was just over a decade ago.

Zillow Economist, Jeff Tucker, explained the difference in a recent article, Recessions Typically Have Limited Effect on the Housing Market:

“As we look ahead to the next recession, it’s important to recognize how unusual the conditions were that caused the last one, and what’s different about the housing market today. Rather than abundant homes, we have a shortage of new home supply. Rather than risky borrowers taking on adjustable-rate mortgages, we have buyers with sterling credit scores taking out predictable 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. The housing market is simply much less risky than it was 15 years ago.”

George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, also weighed in on the subject:

“This is going to be a much shorter recession than the last one, I don’t think the next recession will be a repeat of 2008…The housing market is in a better position.”

In the past 23 years, there have been two national recessions – the dot-com crash in 2001 and the Great Recession in 2008. It is true that home values fell 19.7% during the 2008 recession, which was caused by a mortgage meltdown that heavily impacted the housing market. However, while stock prices fell almost 25% in 2001, home values appreciated 6.6%. The triggers of the next recession will more closely mirror those from 2001 – not those from 2008.

Bottom Line

No one can accurately predict when the next recession will occur, but expecting one could possibly take place in the next 18-24 months is understandable. It is, however, important to realize that the impact of a recession on the housing market will in no way resemble 2008.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on September 25th, 2019 10:30 AM

A Great Way to Increase Your Family's Net Worth

A Great Way to Increase Your Family’s Net Worth | MyKCM

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts its Survey of Consumer Finances. Data is collected across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data covers 2013-2016.

The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner is $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth.

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

That is why Gallup reported Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the sixth year in a row. According to this year’s results, 35% of Americans chose real estate. Stocks followed at 27%, then savings accounts and gold.

Bottom Line

If you want to find out how you can use your monthly housing cost to increase your family’s wealth, let’s get together to help you through the process.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on September 13th, 2019 11:02 AM

Preparing Your Space for Painting Success

Spending just a little time prepping your walls can make your new coat of paint look sleek, sophisticated, and professionally applied. Setting up your space for success doesn’t have to be a chore—just follow these five easy steps and you’ll be painting in no time.

  1. Cover Up Your Stuff

    Cover up any valuable items that you want to protect from stray paint. The cover-up job doesn’t have to be fancy. A drop cloth, old bed sheet, or even an old shower curtain will work. Then, simply remove any secured items from your walls, such as wall hangings or shelving units.

  2. Tape the Edges of Your Space

    Apply tape around your room’s trim, windows, edges, outlets, and switches. Later, when you’ve completed Step 5, make sure you remove the tape before the paint dries to prevent a sticky situation. Pull the tape off carefully and at an angle to get a clean, finished paint line.

  3. Get Rid of that Hole in the Wall

    Fill up any holes and cracks with spackling material. Lightly sand the spots when you’re done filling them. A dry sponge is a great tool to use for sanding the repaired area.

  4. Give Your Walls a Good Wash

    Wash the walls with a mild household cleaner and let them dry completely before priming or painting.

  5. Prime Time

    Priming is recommended when painting new, bare, or exposed surfaces. You will also want to prime if you are using a light color over a previously dark color. Priming will make your paint go on more easily and will have the best color accuracy.

Posted in:Home Owner Tips and tagged: Home Owner Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on June 24th, 2019 12:21 PM

Homeowners have big windows that bring light, views and the outdoors into their homes or recreational properties. But all that glass can be a killer. Every year, millions of birds die when they fly into glass.

Commercial buildings were once thought to be the biggest culprit, with confused birds flying into windows at night. That still accounts for large numbers of bird deaths, but more recent research shows that one and two-storey homes and cottages are to blame for the majority of bird strikes. Most of those strikes happen during daylight hours.

Putting visual markers on the exterior of the glass is more effective than pulling down blinds or closing curtains but they have to be installed correctly. Many people put up hawk silhouettes, but they don't work well. Birds may avoid the immediate area where the silhouette is because they see something is there, but the rest of the window is still exposed.

Residential tape or dots placed on the outside surface of windows is more effective. Spacing dots in 2x2-inch or 2x4 inch patterns is enough of a visual cue and from inside the dots aren't noticeable.

Pick a contrasting color, for example white dots on a window shaded by overhangs.

Being bird friendly may even be an excuse to get out of a household chore.

During mating season, aggressive male robins and jays tend to bump against the window, thinking their own reflection is another bird.

Applying soap to the windows will help. On the bright side, when it rains you'll have clean windows, but the downside is that you'll have to reapply.


Winter is also a bad time for bird strikes, as more people put bird feeders in their yards. Position bird feeders less than 1.5 feet from your windows, or more than 30 feet away, to prevent birds from flying into bird feeder reflections. Having the feeder more than 30 feet away reduces the chance of a feeder being reflected in the window and having it closer than 1.5 feet away means birds have already started to slow down and if they do hit the window may not be as badly injured.

If you find an injured bird contact your local wildlife rehabilitator for further instructions.


Posted in:Home Owner Tips and tagged: Home Owner Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 8th, 2019 2:50 PM
Some of us look at our garage as a place meant for storing tools, toys, sporting gear, landscaping equipment and perhaps an extra fridge or two. We often lose sight of its main purpose: to store and protect some of our most valuable possessions - our vehicles. With winter coming on, there are more reasons than ever to get that garage cleaned out so it can serve its intended purpose well, and some aren't as obvious as just protecting it from the bad weather.

1. Use it as a Protective Shield


Parking in a garage protects your car from dangers like hail, which can crack windshields and ding sheet metal in extreme cases. But perhaps more importantly, it also reduces the chance of damage from a more common overhead source: our fine feathered friends. Bird droppings are highly acidic, and that, combined with what alternating sun and cold can do to an exposed car, is a recipe for potentially expensive paint damage. Additionally, while parking in your driveway may be safer than parking in the street, where your vehicle is right in the path of traffic, moving into a garage raises the bar. Now, you're out of the way of delivery trucks, visitors and people turning around, too.

2. Think about the Bottom Line

Beyond protecting your vehicle from accidental damage, putting your vehicle out of sight helps decrease opportunities for the intentional kind of damage as well. After all, a locked garage puts another layer of security between your vehicle and potential thieves, and it decreases the chance of vandalism in the same way. There's a double advantage here: First, you can guard against any costs that could arise out of those malicious actions themselves, but then you can further save on insurance. This is because many insurance companies offer lower rates if you regularly garage your car or truck.

3. Keep it Made in the Shade

If you've ever had to start your work day by digging your car out of a snowy driveway, and/or scraping off a layer of ice from the windows, you already know of the key benefits to parking in a clean garage. It's also better for your car. Even in the dead of winter, your car is warmer in a garage than if it's exposed to the wind and elements, and the warmer your car's oil and other fluids, for example, the easier it is on the engine when starting up.

The flipside to those winter benefits will show up with the better weather. Your car will stay out of the heat of the sun and won't have to work as hard to reach comfortable operating conditions. Parking in a garage will also limit your car's exposure to UV rays, which can be particularly harmful to a vehicle's interior. Along with causing the cabin surfaces to fade and crack, the hot sun also can be surprisingly harmful to you—by heating up the steering wheel and seats to painful levels. None of that is an issue with a garaged vehicle.

4. Bring Out Your Inner Mechanic

Doing your own minor car repairs can be both economical and great for your ego, and a picked-up garage can provide a clean, relatively weather-free place for your efforts. You'll also have access to electrical outlets for handy resources such as tools, lights, heaters and fans. Learning to change the oil is a simple starting point that can give you the confidence to try other automotive challenges—although if this seems daunting, there's always topping off your own windshield-wiper fluid. A garage keeps you covered from the elements, so you can tinker to your heart's content.

5. Keep the Critters Away

Finally, you should clean your garage not just to keep your car in, but also to keep pests out. Messy garages make attractive homes for rats, mice, spiders and other unwelcome critters, many of which are eager to follow you right into your home. Some, like termites, bring destructive results anywhere they're found. With that in mind, you'll want to reduce mess as much as you can. And don't forget to go the extra mile to weatherproof your garage when you're done, so the pests can't get back in. This also will help prevent pets and other animals from taking shelter in a warm engine compartment or other areas of a vehicle, then getting injured—or worse—when the vehicle is started.

Posted in:Home Owner Tips and tagged: Home Owner Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 1st, 2019 2:50 PM

Is Family Mortgage Debt Out of Control?

Is Family Mortgage Debt Out of Control? | MyKCM

Some homeowners have recently done a “cash out” refinance and have taken a portion of their increased equity from their house. Others have sold their homes and purchased more expensive homes with larger mortgages. At the same time, first-time buyers have become homeowners and now have mortgage payments for the first time.

These developments have caused concern that families might be reaching unsustainable levels of mortgage debt. Some are worried that we may be repeating a behavior that helped precipitate the housing crash ten years ago.

Today, we want to assure everyone that this is not the case. Here is a graph created from data released by the Federal Reserve Board which shows the Household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages as a percentage of disposable personal income. The ratio is the total quarterly required mortgage payments divided by total quarterly disposable personal income. In other words, the percentage of spendable income people are using to pay their mortgage.

Is Family Mortgage Debt Out of Control? | MyKCM

Today’s ratio of 4.44% is nowhere near the ratio of 7.21% during the peak of the housing bubble and is instead at the lowest rate since 1980 (4.38%).

Bill McBride of Calculated Risk recently commented on the ratio:

“The Debt Service Ratio for mortgages is near the low for the last 38 years. This ratio increased rapidly during the housing bubble and continued to increase until 2007. With falling interest rates, and less mortgage debt, the mortgage ratio has declined significantly.”

Bottom Line

Many families paid a heavy price because of questionable practices that led to last decade’s housing crash. It seems the American people have learned a lesson and are not repeating that same behavior regarding their mortgage debt.

Posted in:Home Owner Tips and tagged: Home Owner Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on April 19th, 2018 3:45 PM

Is a Major Home Renovation Worth It in the Long Run?

Is a Major Home Renovation Worth It in the Long Run? | MyKCM

Last week, we shared 7 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Home To Retire In.For some homeowners, these seven factors can be taken into account with a home renovation, but is it worth it to remodel or change floor plans?

Let’s look at this example.

Let’s say you have a 4-bedroom colonial style home in a great school district. The neighborhood is amazing, and you are very comfortable there, but your kids are all grown up and the original benefits of the home no longer apply.

You’ve always wanted a huge master suite and are considering merging 3 of the smaller bedrooms on the second floor to achieve this dream.

In the short term, you are over the moon excited about your newly renovated oasis.

In the long term, when you go to sell your home down the road, you’ve now taken a 4-bedroom home in a great school district and turned it into a 2-bedroom home. Your pool of potential buyers has shrunk significantly and so has the value of your home (unless you are able to find someone who has the exact needs you have today!).

Why not consider listing your 4-bedroom home now and moving into a gorgeous 2-bedroom with a master suite? Your house can become a home for the next family looking for that perfect neighborhood with a great school district to raise their kids in!

You may even be able to achieve your dream in the same area you love, without having to give up your favorite restaurants and grocery stores.

Bottom Line

If you are debating a major renovation that would change the layout of your home, before you pick up that sledgehammer, let’s get together and discuss the available listings in our area that might meet your needs today!

Posted in:Home Owner Tips and tagged: Home Owner Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on March 21st, 2018 10:13 AM

What Impact Will the New Tax Code Have on Home Values?

Every month, CoreLogic releases its Home Price Insights Report. In that report, they forecast where they believe residential real estate prices will be in twelve months.

Below is a map, broken down by state, reflecting how home values are forecasted to change by the end of 2018 using data from the most recent report.

What Impact Will the New Tax Code Have on Home Values? | Simplifying The Market

As we can see, CoreLogic projects an increase in home values in 49 of 50 states, and Washington, DC (there was insufficient data for HI). Nationwide, they see home prices increasing by 4.2%.

How might the new tax code impact these numbers?

Recently, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted their own analysis to determine the impact the new tax code may have on home values. NAR’s analysis:

“…estimated how home prices will change in the upcoming year for each state, considering the impact of the new tax law and the momentum of jobs and housing inventory.”

Posted in:Home Owner Tips and tagged: Home Owner Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on January 19th, 2018 10:53 AM
The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health | Simplifying The Market

The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled 'Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the health of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • There is a strong positive relationship between living in poor housing and a range of health problems, including respiratory conditions such as asthma, exposure to toxic substances, injuries and mental health. Homes of owners are generally in better condition than those of renters.
  • Findings reveal that increases in housing wealth were associated with better health outcomes for homeowners.
  • Low-income people who recently became homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.
  • Homeowners report higher self-esteem and happiness than renters. For example, homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they report higher self-ratings on their physical health even after controlling for age and socioeconomic factors.
  • Renters who become homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction but also obtain a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they resided as renters.
  • Social mobility variables, such as the family financial situation and housing tenure during childhood and adulthood, impacted one’s self-rated health.
  • Homeowners have a significant health advantage over renters, on average. Homeowners are 2.5 percent more likely to have good health. When adjusting for an array of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing–related characteristics, the homeowner advantage is even larger at 3.1 percent.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 11th, 2017 11:27 AM
Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market | Simplifying The Market

The real estate market is moving more and more into a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the summer, supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

"Sellers are in the driver's seat this spring as the intense competition for the few homes for sale is forcing many buyers to be aggressive in their offers. Buyers are showing resiliency given the challenging conditions. However, at some point — and the sooner the better — price growth must ease to a healthier rate. Otherwise sales could slow if affordability conditions worsen."

Tom O’Grady, Pro Teck CEO

“The lack of inventory is very real and could have a severe impact on home sales in the months to come. Traditionally, a balanced market would have an MRI (Months Remaining Inventory) between six and 10 months.

This month, only eight metros we track have MRIs over 10, compared to 27 last year and 48 two years ago—illustrating that this lack of inventory is not being driven by traditionally ‘hot’ markets, but is rather a broad-based, national phenomenon.”

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia

“Nationally, housing inventory dropped to its lowest level on record in 2017 Q1. The number of homes on the market dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter, falling 5.1% over the past year.”

Freddie Mac

“Tight housing inventory has been an important feature of the housing market at least since 2016. For-sale housing inventory, especially of starter homes, is currently at its lowest level in over ten years. If inventory continues to remain tight, home sales will likely decline from their 2016 levels. …all eyes are on housing inventory and whether or not it will meet the high demand.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strongest at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 9th, 2017 12:13 PM
Get All the Facts about PMI | Simplifying The Market

When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It's a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you've built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.” 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 6%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their home). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

Get All the Facts about PMI | Simplifying The Market

The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

“It's no doubt an added cost, but it's enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, let’s get together to discuss our market’s conditions and to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 2nd, 2017 11:34 AM

Although your homeowners' insurance offers financial protection against property damage or destruction, your policy includes coverage exclusions if your residence is unoccupied. If you plan to leave your residence vacant for several months or years, you'll need to insure your house accordingly.

There are many reasons why you may choose to vacate your residence for an extended period of time, including: 

 

You own a rental property. If you own a rental property and are between tenants, you may leave the property vacant until you find a new tenant.

You moved to a new home. If you purchased a new residence but your previous house remains unsold, the latter residence may stay vacant until you sell it.

You are completing home renovations. If you embark on a massive home renovation project, you may need to vacate your home and find a temporary residence until the project is completed.

You are selling a house to close an estate. If you are the executor of a loved one's estate, you may leave the home vacant as you try to sell it.

Home insurance providers will use two questions to define a vacant residence:

  1. Is anyone living at the residence?
  2. Is there enough property inside of a home for someone to live there?

Ultimately, there are many risks for homeowners who choose not to insure a vacant residence, including:

Water Damage: If a pipe freezes and bursts in winter, substantial water damage could occur. Meanwhile, a vacant homeowner may fail to identify and resolve this problem immediately, which could cause the issue to escalate.

Vandalism and Mischief: An abandoned residence could become an "attractive nuisance," increasing the risk of vandalism and mischief. In addition, if an individual is injured on the property, a vacant homeowner could be liable.

Squatting: An individual may "squat," i.e. claim the rights to a property based on occupation rather than ownership. In this scenario, a vacant homeowner could face a legal battle to evict the squatter.

Theft: An unoccupied residence may be more susceptible to theft than others, which means any personal belongings or building elements like plumbing fixtures that are left behind could be in danger.

A vacant residence raises numerous concerns for homeowners, but there are several things you can do to safeguard your house, including obtaining a vacancy permit endorsement or vacant home insurance.

What Is a Vacancy Permit Endorsement?

A vacancy permit endorsement extends coverage past the 30 or 60 days that a homeowners' policy may give you for vacancy. It can also void vandalism, water damage, theft and other exclusions that commonly appear in a homeowners' policy for a set amount of time.

Obtaining a vacancy permit endorsement is paramount, and failure to do so could result in you paying for losses or a lapse in coverage. Fortunately, getting a vacancy permit endorsement can be simple, particularly for those who contact their insurance provider as soon as possible.

If you intend to leave your house for 30 days or longer, getting in touch with your home insurer will enable you to find out if you can obtain a vacancy permit and if you need a vacancy permit endorsement. If your insurance company fails to provide this endorsement, you will have sufficient time to find and purchase vacant home insurance from another provider.

What Is Vacant Home Insurance?

Your home insurer may determine it is too risky to offer a vacancy permit endorsement for your unoccupied home. Therefore, you may need to purchase vacant home insurance to supplement your existing homeowners' policy.

Vacant home insurance safeguards your residence against vandalism, theft and other issues that may arise with a vacant home. It is an ideal choice if you know you'll be away from your residence for many months or years and guarantees your unoccupied house will be protected against a broad range of risks.

Like standard homeowners' insurance, vacant home insurance includes costs that will vary based on several factors, such as:

Your Home's Location: Insurance companies will look at where your home is located and the risk factors in that area to guarantee you can receive the right vacant home coverage.

How Much Coverage You Want: Insurance providers may offer coverage recommendations for your vacant home, but the total cost of your vacant home insurance policy may increase or decrease based on your coverage preferences.

Your Home's Risk Factors: The age and condition of your home may cause your vacant home insurance rates to rise or fall accordingly.

When it comes to a vacant home, it is essential to get the necessary insurance to protect your residence even when you're not living there. With a vacancy permit endorsement or vacant home insurance, you'll be able to safeguard your unoccupied residence at all times.

Posted in:Home Owner Tips and tagged: Home Owner Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on January 10th, 2017 1:57 PM
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NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP

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NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP
November Newsletter
Easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids
Thanksgiving is always a great time to spend with family and friends. It's also a great time to teach the kids about being thankful and to make your home festive and inviting for everyone who visits. Check out these fun crafts that will keep the kids busy (and happy) and also get your home ready for Thanksgiving Day. Click here to read more.
Dining room inspiration
With all the holidays this time of year, chances are, you're spending more time than usual in the dining room, entertaining (and feeding) guests. Check out these awesome dining room photos for inspiration on design, decor, furniture, and more here.
NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP • NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP (903) 361-2733•sherrydicksonteam@gmail.com
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Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on November 8th, 2016 5:31 PM

Five Reasons Why You Need To Buy A Carpet Cleaner


              

When the time comes to give your carpet the deep cleaning experience of its life, you really have 3 options: hiring a professional; renting a carpet cleaner; or buying a carpet cleaner. We think buying your own carpet cleaner is a worthwhile investment, and here are 5 reasons why:

1. Over time, it makes financial sense. A professional carpet cleaner with truck-mounted cleaning equipment might do a more thorough job, but at up to six times the cost of renting a machine for the day - 'easy but expensive' was the verdict of Consumer Reports. Meanwhile, the more often you clean your carpet, the more cost-effective it will be to buy rather than rent a carpet cleaner. Experts suggest you should be cleaning your carpet every 12 to 24 months, but if you have pets, kids or other sources of regular mess - and/or if anyone in your home has allergies that can be exacerbated by dust, dirt or pet hair - your carpet will thank you for a more frequent deep clean. If you can get into the habit of using your carpet cleaner regularly, you could extend the life of your carpet, too.

2. You have a better guarantee of quality than with a rental machine. Ask yourself this: if you inadvertently rented a carpet cleaner that was not in good repair, would you know? Would you be able to tell if it was releasing too much detergent, or too much water? We don't think we would. But if you buy a carpet cleaner, read the directions and keep it well maintained, you'll a) be assured that it's not been used before and b) get to know it, so you can tell when it's not working like it should.

3. It saves time. You see all that above about reading the directions and getting to know your carpet cleaner? If you rent, you're going to have to do that every time, even if you're able to rent the same model on every occasion (which is not guaranteed!). If you buy a carpet cleaner and use it regularly, you'll only need to figure out how it works once.

4. You can avoid hidden extra costs. Do you need extra accessories, like an attachment for cleaning the stairs? That could cost you extra if you rent a carpet cleaner. What about if your carpet is badly in need of a clean and you have to use your carpet cleaner twice? That's going to cost you extra with a rental, both in terms of the rental period and extra cleaning fluid. And don't forget about the cost - in money and in time - of picking up and dropping off a rental carpet cleaner: an extra hassle if you don't drive, or don't have a vehicle big enough to transport the unit.

5. You have more choice. As we hope our top 5 and top 10 lists show, there are a lot of carpet cleaners out there: but not all of them are available as rental units. If you buy, you have a better chance of finding a carpet cleaner that is right for you.

6. No judgey strangers coming into your home. Cast your mind back to the Jimmy Kimmel video. OK, if you buy your own carpet cleaner you will have fewer opportunities to pull pranks on carpet cleaning professionals, which is a definite con. But if your carpet has gotten so dirty that the idea of anyone taking a close look at it, besides close family members and maybe your regular cleaner, fills you with juuust a little shame, then consider the benefits of owning your own carpet cleaning machine to use whenever you like.

How Do Carpet Cleaners Work?

Professional carpet cleaners use a variety of methods to get the nasty out of your carpet - but since you've read the article above, we're going to go ahead and assume you're interested in buying your own carpet cleaner to keep and use at home, rather than having to call in the pros once or twice a year.

With the exception of spot cleaners like the #2 choice in our top 5 list, the vast majority of carpet cleaners available for you to buy for use at home use a method that is often called steam cleaning but is more accurately known as hot water extraction (it's actually about as 'steamy' as the Pope's Instagram feed, as opposed to the separate industrial process of steam cleaning, which is steamier than a screening of Black Swan shown in a sauna).

Hot water extraction involves spreading hot water, or more usually a hot solution of detergent and water, over the carpet, working it deep into the fibers, and then vacuuming it out (ie extracting it), along with a load of lurking dirt. It's important that your carpet cleaner performs this 'extraction' part of hot water extraction effectively, both to ensure a thorough clean and a speedy drying time. If your cleaned carpet takes forever to dry, not only is that going to be inconvenient for you - how long can you go without setting foot in an entire room of your home?! - but it could cause discoloration or even mildew in your carpet.

Some carpet cleaners also come with a 'pretreatment' solution. If you want to pretreat your carpet before deep cleaning, look for a solution that promises to rinse easily: you don't want to swap a dirty carpet for a carpet with trodden-in cleaning solution.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on October 30th, 2016 4:49 PM

10 Budget friendly ways to improve your home's value

Selling your home in today's market can seem like a challenge, especially if your home could use some tender loving care. But what if you just don't have it in your budget to invest thousands of dollars into a remodel? For many cash strapped homeowners this is the dilemma that keeps them awake at night.

Rest easy, there are many small projects that you can do around the house that will increase your home's value without breaking the bank. Let's take a look at 10 budget-friendly ways to increase your home's value:

  1. Landscaping

    By spending just a few hundred dollars on grass seed or replacement sod, new flowers, bushes, or trees, any homeowner with a shovel and some elbow grease can dramatically improve their home's curb appeal over a long weekend. For inspiration check out Landscaping.com.

  2. Wash instead of paint

    If you can't afford to paint the home, how about giving it a good wash? With a ladder and an extension brush any homeowner can give their home's exterior a thorough scrub down. Don't forget to wash the screens, windows, and gutters while you're at it. And when you're done outside, move inside.

  3. Paint the trim and front door

    Another way to revitalize your home's exterior is to paint just the trim and front door - two items buyers' eyes are naturally drawn to when driving by your home. Just be sure that the paint is a good match to the base color and to you avoid embarrassing drips.

  4. Clean the floors

    If you can't afford new flooring, consider steam cleaning carpets, washing or waxing laminate, hardwood or linoleum floors, and cleaning the grout on tile floors. Have a hole or permanent stain in the carpet? Consider replacing the flooring in just that room by talking to your local flooring vendor and ask about large remnants (left over materials from larger jobs that may fit smaller rooms).

  5. Re-caulk plumbing fixtures

    Over time caulk, the silicon that protects surfaces from water seepage around plumbing fixtures, can discolor, tear, or degrade. Stripping this material out and replacing it with a fresh bead of silicon is an inexpensive way to improve both bathrooms and kitchens. Caulk now comes in different grades and colors, so be sure to shop for a product that is appropriate for the job and matches your décor.

  6. Pressure wash sidewalks and driveways

    Over the years dirt, dust, and grime work their way into the driveways and sidewalks of every home. The good news is that a few hours with a pressure washer can turn back the clock on these surfaces. A word of warning: while it might be tempting to use the same device to wash your home, don't. The high pressure stream can easily peel the paint off your home ( which is not a good selling point).

  7. De-clutter the home

    A home packed full of furniture, clothing, collections, exercise equipment, and memorabilia can cause a home to look much smaller than its actual size. Have a garage sale, rent a storage unit, or start making trips to the landfill and be sure to whittle down your home's contents to a manageable size.

  8. Fix the small things

    Every homeowner keeps a list of the small projects that they never seem to have time to complete. Now is the time to jump on those projects. Need a gentle reminder? Replacing light bulbs throughout the home, fixing holes in doors or walls, greasing squeaky cabinets or doors, cleaning the gutters, fixing leaking plumbing fixtures, and changing the air filters would be a good start.

  9. Update lighting fixtures

    You can spend a fortune on lighting fixtures but you don't have to. Consider selectively changing lighting fixtures that date the home. Exterior garage lights, bathroom lights, or bedroom lights are all great choices.

  10. Deep clean the home

    A deep cleaning isn't just straightening up or rearranging the dust bunnies. It's a no holds barred war on dirt. Starting from the highest point in the home clean every single surface. Yes, you will have to move furniture, clean out closets, and lift up the couch, but the results will be well worth the effort.

Improving your home's value doesn't always have to mean taking out a second mortgage. Sometimes small projects can improve the value of your home in big ways. So roll up your sleeves, put on your gloves, and have fun!

Posted in:Home Owner Tips and tagged: Home Owner Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on August 23rd, 2016 5:51 PM
7 things you should never put in the tumble dryer
                                       
1. Swimming costumes
While they can stand the heat on the beach, the harsh temperature in a tumble dryer will leave lycra brittle and broken. Small amounts of lycra (like you might find in the band of your jeans) are fine.

2. Tights
The delicate mesh material will shrink in the heat, while the tumbling motion can also cause them to get tangled. Have you ever tried to untie a knot in a pair of hosiery? You don't want to.

3. Rubber-backed rugs
Sure, these rugs that keep you from slipping and sliding in your bathroom are small enough to fit inside your handy dryer, but the rubber on the back won't stand up to the intense heat and might even crumble. Plus, overheating it could cause a dryer fire.

4. Bras
Your delicates are, in fact, too delicate to throw in the dryer as the heat and agitation of a dryer can damage the bra's elasticity and shape. Instead lay them flat to dry.

5. Clothes with embellishments
Don't put anything with sequins or stones in the tumble cycle as these may get damaged, while simultaneously snagging other items in the process. It's far easier to hang dry them or – if the material is thin or delicate – lay them on a towel to air out.

6. Anything with a care label that warns against tumble dryers
This seems obvious, but even laundry veterans shouldn't toss in a load without double-checking the label - especially if you're not sure what sort of fabric your clothes are made of. Items with silk or wool, for instance, often shouldn't get thrown in the machine. If air-drying or dry cleaning is recommended, it's for a good reason – it'll help your items look new for longer, while preventing shrinking, warping, and more.

?7. Running shoes?
The heat can shrink the rubber, ruin your cushioning, and weaken adhesives, leaving your sturdy trainers weak and useless. However, trainers that aren't for athletic purposes, like tennis shoes, can be thrown in the dryer with several towels on a cool-air cycle.
Posted in:General and tagged: Home Owner TipsGeneral
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on July 18th, 2016 12:47 PM

Selecting the Right Interior Colors

Decorating your home is an exciting event, and paint offers you the ability to make colorful changes to your home. You can create a dramatic difference and make your home reflect your family's personality. It's easier than you think, too. You just need to know where to start!

Before beginning any project the most important question to ask is: What is the end result you want in your space? Once this question has been answered its simply a matter of determining how to use what you already have, or what you still need to acquire to complete your project.

Here are some basic ideas to consider when choosing colors for your interior painting project.

Light

  1. How much natural light is available in the area? Determine the dynamics of light in the space to be color styled. Does the light come from the North, which is softer; the East, which is strongest in the morning; the South, which is more intense; or the West, which is stronger in the afternoon and evenings?
  2. Studying the cycle of light in a space and considering your lighting needs will help you determine if you should use a light, medium or dark paint color. Additional artificial lighting may be added in many ways to assist you with manipulating your lighting requirements.

This is an excellent time to think about if you would like the space to be light and airy, in which case you may wish to select a color that is lighter in value. Conversely, if you’d like a dramatic area, you may want to select a deeper wall color.

Temperature

  1. Does the area feel warm or cold? Consider how you want the room to feel when it is complete. If you want to warm up the space consider colors that come from the warmer side of the spectrum.
  2. Colors such as reds, pinks, corals, copper, yellows, golds and beiges will have a decidedly warmer feel about them. If youd like a space to be cooler, you may wish to consider colors such as greens, teals, aquas, blues, violets, and greys that will provide a cooler feeling to the area.

Existing Elements

  1. What existing decorative items need to be considered in the overall design of the area? It is critical to consider what elements you will be keeping in your design concepts, such as upholstery, floor coverings, draperies or artwork. You will need to carefully examine the colors of these items to achieve harmony of all colors in the space.

Specific Colors

We have listed seven color areas below and the general color feelings that are associated with them. Explore each one to determine what color may best suit your project. Keep in mind that the lightness, darkness, or intensity of a color all must be considered in determining the overall effect that will be presented.

  • Red is generally considered an energetic color. If you wish to design a stimulating area that motivates, promotes alertness and enhances activity, select the red color family.

    The temperature of this color is interpreted as warm or hot. Warm colors from this area of the palette, include pink, rose, magenta, cranberry, maroon, burgundy, wine, mauve, ruby and crimson which have the feeling of advancing toward us.

    The effect of this color creates vitality, encourages achievement, enhances activity, increases pulse rate, nurtures passion, promotes alertness and stimulates excitement.

  • Orange is generally considered an active color. If you wish to create an active setting that promotes movement and excitement, select the orange color family.

    The temperature of this color is interpreted as warm or hot. Warm colors from this area of the palette, include melon, clay, salmon, coral, peach, rust and copper, which have the feeling of advancing toward us.

    The effect of this color creates a fun atmosphere, encourages movement, invites friendliness, promotes a pleasurable spirit and suggests joyfulness.

  • Yellow is generally considered an innovative color. If you wish to develop a creative atmosphere which nurtures a sense of freedom, select the yellow color family.

    The temperature of this color is interpreted as warm or hot. Warm colors from this area of the palette include ochre, buttercup, cream, gold, ivory, almond and lemon, which have the feeling of advancing toward us.

    The effect of this color encourages spontaneity, inspires creativity, has a lightness of spirit, raises alertness level and suggests a feeling of serendipity.

  • Green is generally considered a calm color. If you wish to compose a color scheme that provides a relaxing ambience and incorporates the feeling of stillness, select the green color family.

    The temperature of this color is interpreted as cool or cold. It should be noted that yellow-ish greens, may be considered warmer, while cooler greens tend to be on the blue side of the spectrum. Cool colors from this are of the palette include khaki, sage, moss, lime, mint, hunter, celadon, aqua, turquoise and teal, which have the feeling of receding away from us.

    The effect of this color enhances concentration, facilitates judgment, nurtures relaxation, provides a refreshing atmosphere, renews the spirit and suggests a thoughtful essence.

  • Blue is generally considered a serene color. If you wish to provide a soothing environment which will offer a relaxing and peaceful surrounding, select the blue color family.

    The temperature of this color is interpreted as cool or cold. Cool colors from this area of the palette, include robin’s egg, azure, delft, sky, denim, wedgewood, blueberry, royal, periwinkle, cobalt, ultramarine and navy, which have the feeling of receding away from us.

    The effect of this color creates a calming spirit, combats tension, offers serenity, promotes thoughtfulness, provides introspection, has a soothing nature and supports relaxation.

  • Violet is generally considered an inspirational color. If you wish to create a sensitive environment that nurtures a sense of balance and purpose, select the violet color family.

    The temperature of this color is interpreted as cool or cold. It should be noted that some violets, which are bluer may be considered cooler, while violets that are warmer will tend to be on the red side of the spectrum. Cool colors from this area of the palette include iris, amethyst, lilac, orchid, purple, lavender and plum, which have the feeling of receding away from us.

    The effect of this color allows meditation, balances thought, expresses mystery, invites surprise, promotes elegance and has a sensitive nature.

  • Beige and grey are generally considered conservative and sophisticated colors. If you wish to create a thoughtful environment that exudes a feeling of comfort, select the color palette of beiges and greys.

    The temperature of the beige color area is interpreted as warm; while the grey color area is considered cooler. Beige colors include shades of off-white, tan, taupe, ivory, oyster, pearl, sand, bronze and brown; Grey colors include shades of white, frost, charcoal, slate, graphite, onyx, silver and stone.

    The effects of these colors suggest a comfortable attitude, imply stability and sophistication, promote a secure feeling, suggest a subtle environment and have a versatile nature.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on June 29th, 2016 2:12 PM

Top 10 Home Improvement Myths
                      
So you have decided to tackle a home improvement project, but like a mosquito buzzing in your ear a question lingers - Are you making the right choices when it comes to investing time and effort into improving your home? It's a valid concern because not all home improvements are created equal.

To separate fact from fiction let's take a look at the top 10 home improvement myths:

  1. Any remodeling project will add value to your home

    Not true - while many remodeling projects will add value to your home, some can be seen as a negative by future buyers. For instance, combining two smaller bedrooms to create one larger bedroom may better fit your lifestyle today, but it may cause the home to lose value in the eyes of a future buyer who needs the two separate rooms.

  2. Buying the highest quality materials attracts more buyers

    Installing the highest quality materials always seems like a wise decision, but it can backfire. For instance, using the most expensive tile in a bathroom may impress your friends, but value conscious buyers may opt for a more affordable home if you have over improved for your neighborhood.

  3. Adding square footage always adds value

    A better way to think about this statement is to insert the word useable into the sentence. Square footage in attics and basements that are finished, and by county standards considered livable, may not be attractive to a buyer if the space is sub-standard compared to the rest of the home.

  4. Colors and textures - safe and simple is better

    Keeping a home vanilla so that buyers can choose their own style and décor sounds like a safe bet, but it ignores the fact that most buyers just don't have the ability to visualize the home differently. Without splashes of color and mixtures of texture, you could lose value to other sellers that have taken the time to consult with an interior designer.

  5. Inside improvements are better than outside improvements

    Not necessarily. If a home buyer can't get past the exterior of your home because it has been neglected or doesn't offer good curb appeal, all of the work you have done on the inside may not net you any more dollars. To get the biggest bang for your remodeling buck, start from the outside and work your way in.

  6. Adding a bedroom is better than adding a bathroom

    It depends on the starting point. If you only have one or two bedrooms to start with, adding a bedroom before adding a second bath is probably a wise choice since most buyers are more attracted to a three bedroom home. On the other hand, if you already have three bedrooms and only one bath, your next investment would probably be in a new bathroom.

  7. Paint hides a multitude of sins

    Dry rot? Fungus damage? Mold problems? Carpenter ants? Termite issues? Nothing a can of paint can't fix, right? Wrong! Not only does this practice violate disclosure laws in most states, it can set you up for liability after the sale as most buyers will want you to foot the bill for these hidden issues.

  8. Converting a garage to living space is a great trade off

    Nope. A garage conversion is almost always viewed negatively by future home buyers unless you replace the lost garage with another space of equal size (but then what's the point?). If you are going to do one anyway make sure that the space can be easily converted back to a garage at the time of the sale.

  9. Doing the work yourself will save you money

    For many homeowners wiring a new lighting fixture or plumbing a new dishwasher is a no-brainer, for the rest of us it may end up costing us more later in repair costs when we have to order the work redone by a professional. Another consideration is local and state laws regarding remodeling work. In many states if you have purchased a home to remodel and resell, you must either hold a contractor's license or hire a contractor to do the work for you.

  10. Pools add value to your home

    This is only true if you live in areas where they are must have amenities. Be warned that this isn't true for most areas of the country and the idea of maintaining a pool for ten months out of the year when it can't be enjoyed won't appeal to most buyers.

Becoming an informed home owner is the first step in making wise and profitable decisions when it comes to choosing the right remodeling projects. But don't stop here. Talk to remodeling professionals, contractors, home improvement specialists, and local agents about what amenities are coveted most by home buyers in your market.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 23rd, 2016 3:05 PM

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