08/27/15 3:51pm

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Some people ask us why we think Guardian Mortgage is such a great company. There are lots of reasons, but it’s hard to articulate them when you haven’t worked as closely with the entire staff as Brian McCary has. It actually took leaving for another company for McCary to see what makes Guardian so great, and it was a pleasure to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

This month’s Guardian Angel started his career in the mortgage industry at Guardian only to leave the company and then return. It’s that varied experience and Guardian’s company culture that shows why this mortgage business is able to attract top talent all over the Dallas-Fort Worth region and beyond.

Read on for more about Brian McCary, a family man and dedicated mortgage professional at Guardian Mortgage.

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08/27/15 12:44pm
On Monday, the City of Austin filed suit against the Texas Comptroller's Office over the state's ad-valorem tax system.

On Monday, the City of Austin filed suit against the Texas Comptroller’s Office over the state’s ad-valorem tax system.

The end of sales price non-disclosure might be near, if the suit filed by the City of Austin against the Texas comptroller’s office is any indication. Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who submitted the 10-page suit on Monday, argued that the ad-valorem taxation system is unconstitutional because it isn’t “equal and uniform.”

Texas is one of the few states that, instead of relying for sales figures for tax purposes, employs an appraisal system. However, with skyrocketing values for residential properties in Travis County, commercial valuations haven’t grown nearly so much. It’s becoming a big problem, the suit suggests.

“The lack of sales disclosures has made it nearly impossible for appraisal districts to comply with their statutory and constitutional duty to assess all properties at market value so that taxation is equal and uniform,” the lawsuit states.

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08/26/15 1:39pm
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Builders and home buyers have purchased the last of the available tracts in Phillips Creek Ranch.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. Republic Property Group’s Phillips Creek Ranch is officially 100 percent sold to either builders or homebuyers according to this report from Candice Carlisle of the Dallas Business Journal. The community was brought to market in 2011, and RPG’s officials thought it would take 10 years to sell out. Turns out they only needed 4.

“Everything has been sold to home buyers and builders for future lots,” [Jake Wagner] added. “We’ll probably still have another three or four years of development, but 100 percent of the project has been committed to either builders or home buyers. The success of the project and the velocity of home sales have greatly surpassed our expectations.”

With 102 acres of open space and greenbelts, plus amazing schools and amenities, it’s not hard to see why people have flocked to Phillips Creek Ranch in droves. Location has a lot to do with it, too, as Carlisle notes the community’s proximity to the under-construction Toyota headquarters had to help things along.

Besides those factors, another reason the development sold so far ahead of schedule is the strong housing market in Frisco and in Collin County. Builders have been drawn to award-winning communities such as Phillips Creek Ranch and Light Farms like ants to a picnic, bringing a building boom to our northern suburbs.

“Being able to reach this milestone six years ahead of schedule is a testament to the confidence our builders have in the continued success of Phillips Creek Ranch,” Wagner said in a press release.

Congratulations to RPG on a successful development! We can’t wait to see what’s next for the brand.

08/25/15 3:48pm

Texas Unemployment and Housing over Time

Well, well, well … looks like Texas is more attractive than ever, thanks to it healthy employment rate and housing market. The Motley Fool notes that not only did Texas recover from the recession faster than most states, but it’s thriving at a more substantial clip than other metro areas. It beat Washington, North Carolina, and Colorado.

Buoyed by the oil and gas industry, Texas sailed a relatively smooth course through the financial crisis. A 2009 study by BusinessWeek put five Texas cities in the top 10 cities least effected by the recession in all of the U.S.

Today, the oil and gas industry is having some issues, but Texas remains a solid market in which to own a house. Home prices have proven strong through multiple economic cycles, and the Texas employment market remains strong.

Further, Austin, Texas, was ranked as the top local economy to raise a family in a study that considered the town’s growth, economic stability, and housing market.

But what areas in Texas are the best spots to buy? Believe it or not, it’s Collin County. Jump for more.

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9655 Lakemont Front

Sometimes investors start with a mixed bag of a home, where they could get by without changing the floor plan while making key upgrades elsewhere. Other times the whole home is due for a makeover, with no finish being spared. There’s a certain alchemy to flipping, though, and sometimes the formula bubbles over before it’s set right. However, this Midway Hollow home hits the high notes so well it sings like Mariah Carey.

Of course, this listing from Virginia Cook Realtor Maria Centeno is under option, but when you spot the perfect home for your family in a hot neighborhood like this one, you have to call Lisa Peters at Caliber Home Loans to make sure you can put in your highest and best offer before someone else does. Are you ready to find your high-caliber home? Contact Lisa today.

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08/25/15 9:00am
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Yes, there’s a house behind those overgrown bushes at 1231 Walter Drive. (Photos: Jo England)

On the other side of Fort Worth Avenue, just off of W. Colorado Blvd. is a quiet enclave of 176 homes called Stevens Park Village. The North Oak Cliff neighborhood, first developed by Annie Stevens between 1939 and 1941, feels homey and quaint, full of Austin stone Prairie-style cottages — even a few Dilbecks! – and bungalows with neat lawns and groomed hedges.

The homes are all sturdy, set upon the meandering tree-lined streets of the neighborhood. Though Cliff Manor Apartments, a public housing project, is just down Fort Worth Avenue from Stevens Park Village, there’s not much traffic and very little crime. It’s idyllic and charming with greenbelts and friendly neighbors.

But there’s one home that didn’t look tidy or loved, with overgrown hedges and peeling paint masking the rotted window frames. That’s the home that Donovan Westover fell in love with.

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08/24/15 2:37pm
James A. Perry (via LinkedIn)

James A. Perry (via LinkedIn)

After a few negative headlines, including a potential FBI inquiry and some trepidation about some serious losses, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has created a new position to oversee the $3.1 billion portfolio that funds the retirement income of our city’s first responders.

The pension system has brought in Texas Tech University System assistant chancellor James A. Perry as the Chief Investment Officer. Perry has more than 20 years of investment management experience, according to the pension board. He’s overseen public assets in California and in Texas.

Perry is scheduled to start Sept. 1. He’ll report to the pension system’s executive director, Kelly Gottschalk.

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08/24/15 11:50am
Jo Alex Candy

The CandysDirt.com Executive Team with Rogers Healy Realtor Alex Prins.

The Eberhard hosted an unlikely combination of causes and brands that turned out just right. It was where Rogers Healy Realtors Alex Prins and Ryan Schwartz hosted a fashion show for designer Stephen Goudeau, all benefiting no-kill shelter Operation Kindness. And it was a raging success.

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