French Hill

So the House passed bipartisian legislation Wednesday afternoon to to help keep the mortgage process moving despite the noise from the White House about a veto. The bipartisan vote was 303-121, which is significant.

The bill, called the Homebuyers Assistance Act, gives companies working in good faith, trying their best to comply with the onerous legislation, a four-month grace period to escape steep fines and hand slaps. Which could also delay closings. The TRID is about 1,888-pages of rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that went into effect Oct. 4.

Realtors, mortgage lenders and title companies have been spending months in preparation and millions of dollars to comply.

“I have talked to lenders who tell me they have spent millions on extra staff and new software,” said Brit Fair of Hexter-Fair Title Company.

Does he think those extra expenses will ultimately be passed onto the consumer?

Absolutely. (more…)

The annual conference of the National Association of Real Estate Editors kicks off today with some really fabulous panels. Candy landed in Miami this morning and is already covering the Luxury Real Estate panel, featuring “The Apprentice” alum Katrina Campins.

Don’t miss the reports! Follow @DallasDirtCandy to get Candy’s perspective on hot-ticket panels on luxury real estate and second homes. You can tag along virtually, too, through the #NAREE15 hashtag.


Kevin Caskey, Dallas City Center Realtors director, talks to WFAA about how school ratings influence home prices.

Kevin Caskey, Dallas City Center Realtors director, talks to WFAA about how school ratings influence home prices.

With the Texas legislature set to approve a new letter grading system that adds more clarity and precision to the TEA’s rating categories, Realtors are wondering how the new approval guide will affect housing prices. The measure just cleared the Senate and is headed for the house.

Lake Highlands resident and Dallas City Center Realtors director Kevin Caskey weighed in during this report from WFAA (Channel 8) on the matter. Caskey and his husband have two children at Richardson ISD’s Wallace Elementary, and has seen how changes in demographics have influenced school ratings, and thereby impacting home prices.

“Those rankings are not always representative of what the school truly is,” he said. “I have two children at Wallace Elementary in Lake Highlands, and that school, particularly, has a huge population of Burmese refugees. When those children came in — of course, because of language barriers and such — the scores did go down… therefore the rating did go down.”

Jump for the video!


Bryan Hagan

Ya’ll know Bryan Hagen, who works with D.W. Skelton at Skelton & Associates. Those folks have been appraising Dallas Real Estate for a very long time, and for some very smart clients. We reached out to Bryan to help us zero in on the really hot neighborhoods, the sleepers, and give us the straight scoop on what he sees in his day to day life as a certified Real Estate appraiser in North Texas this month: (more…)

Curbless shower master bath Graf Developments

Bruce Graf says that aging-in-place can be stylish with key updates in often-used rooms, such as master suites.

A survey recently released by the Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business polled 1,000 people ages 50 to 80 years old. Only about 1 in 5 respondents to the survey had any plan to remodel their homes or incorporate technology to help them as they age, and yet, the vast majority (96 percent) of respondents said they want to remain independent while they grow older, and 91 percent said they wanted to stay in their own home, commonly referred to as ‘aging-in-place.’

Bruce Graf, a nationwide renovation consultant with over 32 years of experience and a Baby Boomer himself, scoffs at these survey results.

“It’s funny, people will spend $50,000 for a car. This is something with a relatively short life and depreciates the very second it’s driven off the car lot,” Graf said. “However, they think twice about spending that amount on their home, a place they could spend the next 30 years in easily, and it appreciates greatly.”



If you think coffee is only good for getting you moving in the morning, this new study will wake you up. Apparently, it can also provide a jolt nearby home values.

That’s according to Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Chief Economist Stan Humphries. In their New York Times bestseller, Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, they crunched the numbers and found that houses located within a quarter mile of a Starbucks location appreciated more quickly than houses overall.

Rascoff and Humphries knew the traditional guideline for finding real estate that would appreciate the most – good schools, easy access to major job centers, or a quick drive to the grocery store. They wanted to dig deeper.

“We were looking for other markers that could tell us where home values would appreciate the most, and in doing the research, we found that if you live near a coffee shop, chances are your house outperforms other houses further away,” Humphries said. “When we dug even deeper, we found that living close to a specific coffee shop – Starbucks – was the best indicator your house would out-perform other houses in the area.”

This trend held true nationwide, although results varied by region. In North Texas, there was a 7.2 percent difference during the time measured.