Articles by Contributor

06/09/19 9:15am

Nearly 700 builders from across the nation converged on Capitol Hill in June for NAHB’s 2019 Legislative Conference to urge lawmakers to pass policies that will support building quality, affordable housing (Photo courtesy NAHB).

From the National Association of Home Builders

As the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) celebrates National Homeownership Month in June, builders are urging Congress to address America’s housing affordability challenges.

“Removing regulatory barriers that contribute to the increased costs of housing will pave the way to homeownership,” said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Greg Ugalde, a builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “Home builders and the residential construction community are committed to working with Congress to ensure homeownership is within reach of hard-working families.” (more…)

06/04/19 12:05pm

By Lisa Ferguson
Special Contributor

The 2019 Celina Garden Tour, an exclusive showcase of eight private home gardens and area wineries, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 8.

This popular biennial event, hosted by the Celina Garden Club, drew hundreds of attendees from throughout North Texas in 2017. The self-guided tour will be presented rain or shine.

“Our tour homes are full of gardening glory,” Celina Garden Club President Lynn Balint said. “This year, we have a couple of repeat venues because they were so much fun and their gardens were spectacular.  We have also recruited some outstanding new venues.”


06/04/19 9:45am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

If you’re in debt to the IRS, good old Uncle Sam may put a lien on your property. And he isn’t going to let you sell your home without paying that lien.

When someone has a federal income tax lien filed against them, the debt attaches to all of their property, which includes their homestead. Federal income tax liens (also known as IRS liens) are called Super Liens. That basically means you can be super sure they’re going to collect the money owed them when the house sells. 


05/28/19 9:30am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor
Disaster can strike a home at any time. Even the day before it’s scheduled to be sold. Be it hail, wind, fire or water, a casualty loss to property while it’s under contract can be disastrous.

But, there are remedies. The Texas real estate contract folks thought of many ‘what if’ scenarios and they’ve incorporated them in the standard sales contract. A casualty loss results from a sudden, unexpected event like a storm or fire. Casualty losses are addressed in paragraph 14 of the contract. It states that if any part of the property is damaged or destroyed by casualty loss between the time the contract is executed and the closing, the seller shall restore the property to its previous condition as soon as reasonably possible.

That sounds simple on paper but not so much in real life. Often the damage can’t be repaired prior to closing due to no fault of the seller. For example, when a hail storm hits the neighborhood two days before closing, it isn’t likely the roof will be replaced or repaired that quickly.

The seller has obligations and responsibilities for the property when it is under contract and before closing. They must make efforts to restore the property to its previous condition by the closing date. No messing around here. If the seller doesn’t comply, the seller can be in default. There are options available if the seller cannot restore the property before closing due to factors beyond the seller’s control. Note that I said, “due to factors beyond the seller’s control.”

If the seller cannot restore the property by the closing date due to factors beyond their control, the buyer has three options:


05/21/19 9:15am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Lots of folks are dying to buy or sell a home. They may be eager, desperate, impatient, or anxious. However, they’re not literally dying.

Except when they are.

Yes, it has happened that a buyer or seller dies while they have a property under contract. They could die the day after the contract is signed or as they are walking into the title company on closing day. Both of those scenarios have occurred in offices where I’ve worked and it’s awful for everyone.

But what happens to the deal?


05/17/19 9:45am

By Phil Crone
Executive Officer
Dallas Builders Association

In the midst of a nationwide, 10-year low in affordability, the housing industry is bracing for additional tariffs. From tile to countertops, laminates, lighting, and furnishing, about 450 products commonly found in new homes and remodeling projects are seeing tariffs rise from 10 percent to 25 percent due to the escalating trade war between the United States and China.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), homeowners and homebuilders nationwide will be paying an additional $2.5 billion. Existing tariffs on Chinese imports and Chinese retaliatory tariffs already reduce U.S. Gross Domestic Product by 0.15 of a point. These additional tariffs will lower GDP by another half a point. While painful, they should not, in and of themselves, induce a recession.


05/14/19 9:15am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Selling the marital home. Some refer to this as the great divide. Getting divorcing spouses to agree on selling their home, an asking price, an agent, the final sales price, etc. can be difficult and stressful at best. Emotions and tensions can run high well before we add on the legal requirements of transferring title of the property.

The unfortunate, but real, scenario of legally selling a home while divorcing can combine some difficult tasks. It requires cooperation from all parties. While everyone’s situation is different, there are basically two ways to divide the property before, during, or after a divorce.


05/13/19 9:15am

Photo courtesy Jonathan Billinger

By Nancy Peham
Special Contributor

Nothing is guaranteed in life except death and taxes, and when we leave this world someone has to deal with — and sort — the physical things we leave behind.

While my mother was alive, she shared her worries that when she died her children would be torn apart by the process of dividing her belongings.  

I have been very fortunate to be one of four daughters who grew up in a close-knit family.  I know that’s not always the case among siblings, which can make the process of liquidating a parent’s belongings result in hurt feelings, claims of unfairness, and the rekindling of sibling rivalries.  In my family, just knowing that my mother feared a fracturing of relationships made us all work harder to come out on the other side of the process remaining close. (more…)