Klyde Warren

Thanks to Texas’ mild fall and winter and relatively low cost of living, there’s plenty of room outside for first date spots with access to food trucks, which is good news for singles on a budget.

Texas is for singles? It may be cold comfort if you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone this year, but when it comes to being single, there are worse places to live than Texas. Forty-four worse places, in fact!

A recent report by WalletHub ranked Texas the No. 6 ‘dating-friendly’ state to live. Lends a whole new twist to the Lone Star State, right?

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When the Texas legislature gavels into session in January, education will be a hot topic. (Photo courtesy Nicolas Henderson/Flickr)

When the Texas legislature gavels into session in January, education will be a hot topic. (Photo courtesy Nicolas Henderson/Flickr)

When the Texas legislature reconvenes January 10, it will have a laundry list of things to tackle – some controversial, some mundane (you can keep up to date on the full list of bills filed here). But some of the biggest issues will involve the trajectory of public education in the state.

While we can’t provide an exhaustive list of everything the legislature will address this session (although rest assured – we’ll be keeping you abreast of the most vital pieces of legislation), I thought it would be a good idea to look at three key things legislature will have to address this session.

The biggest, of course, will be school finance. This is the one that not only affects how schools budget for education and innovation, but also how good and great schools stay good and great schools, and schools that need improvement have the tools to improve. And this, of course, directly impacts the bottom lines of Realtors and homebuyers and sellers, since schools are frequently in the top five considerations when it comes to looking for that family abode.

And, of course, school finances are currently tied to property taxes, which makes whatever the legislature does of vital importance to homeowners. And trust me, the legislature will have to do something – the courts have mandated it. It won’t be cheap, and it won’t be easy, but expect much discussion over better funding formulas in the 85th legislative session. (more…)

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Who cares about Beverly Hills, 90210? What buyers really want is Highland Park, 75205. Cathy Witte, with Allie Beth Allman & Associates, has just listed the most extraordinary home, at 3509 Gillon Avenue for $5.475 million. It has the exceptional, understated elegance you expect from America’s best zip code. (more…)

Plano BFSIR3

After their expansion west to Fort Worth, and east to Lakewood, where else will Briggs Freeman International Realty go? North to Plano and Two Billion Dollar Mile, where they will christen a new office in the Shops of Legacy Tuesday afternoon.

Plano BFSIR
We know that two of the fastest-growing American cities by percentage, Plano and Frisco, are north of Dallas and residential sales north of LBJ are actually faster than they are SOUTH of LBJ. Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty has opened a new office located at the Shops at Legacy with a team of 20 neighborhood experts serving North Texas neighborhoods. (more…)

empty nesters

Aging in place is a big trend in real estate and housing.

Oh man, I’ve got to start this post with a quote:

“The back to the city” meme appeals to urban boosters and reporters but in reality the numbers behind it are quite small. A 2011 survey by the real estate advisory firm RCLCO found that among affluent empty nesters, 65% planned to stay in their current home, 14% expected to look for a resort-type residence, and only 3 percent would opt for a condominium in the core city. Most of those surveyed preferred living spaces of 2,000 square feet or more. RCLCO concluded that the empty nester “back to the city” condominium demand was 250,000 households nationwide, a lucrative but small market out of the 4.5 million empty nester households in the metropolitan areas studied.

250,000 nation-wide? I found this story by my pal Joel Kotkin to be very interesting and worth a mention or five. First of all, where ARE the most Baby Boomers living now? They currently make up 15 percent of the nation’s population, that figure expected to expand to 21 percent.

Answer: Tampa-St. Pete, Pittsburgh, Tucson, Miami, Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester, Providence, Hartford, St. Louis and interestingly, Birmingham, Alabama, probably because of its manufacturing history. Two sand states and the rust belt.

The cities with the smallest percentage of Baby Boomers are Austin, Salt Lake City, Houston, DALLAS, and Raleigh, NC.

Why is this so important? (more…)

Photo: Brendan DeBrincat/Flickr

Photo: Brendan DeBrincat/Flickr

In December, Congress approved a bill (and President Obama signed it into law) that would send the much-maligned No Child Left Behind to the glue factory once and for all.

With No Child Left Behind, the involvement in education on the federal level was intense. High-stakes testing and uniform, rigorous goals that didn’t take into account how wildly student populations and backgrounds vary made it unpopular with many.

In its place is the Every Student Succeeds Act (formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act), which scales back federal involvement and emphasis on testing, and allows states to set up their own guidelines, albeit with federal oversight and parameters. The re-tooled ESSA also requires states to track student performance and intervene when necessary. It also prevents current and future Education secretaries from requiring things like Common Core be taught universally, and also limits what the department can specifically regulate.

It also offers more money for pre-school development grants, helping states expand and enhance early childhood education programs.

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Alex Prins Head Shot

We love the diverse background that Rogers Healy and Associates Realtor Alex Prins brings to the real estate industry. He’s done everything, it seems. From skincare to writing, Prins has turned his personality and tenacity into a successful career in one of the most demanding industries in America.

For those reasons, Prins has been named our Great Western Home Loans featured Realtor. What has your lender done for you lately? Find out more about the unequaled service you can expect from Great Western Home Loans by calling Jeff Lindigrin today.

Jump to read more about how Prins, an animal lover nonpareil,  has turned challenges into character-building moments that define him.

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Photos: Shoot2Sell

Sometimes homes have little, niggling things that bother you. Perhaps it’s a 1950s post-war with a laundry area in the kitchen. Maybe it’s an ugly color combination of backsplash and countertops in a bathroom. Or perhaps it’s a master suite with no bathtub. Rarely do I come by a home that is priced less than a million bucks that I wouldn’t change at all. This listing in Allen‘s Twin Creeks subdivision fits that bill.

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