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CandysDirt.com Contributor

08/07/18 1:15pm

By Abigail Kuch Reynolds
Guest Contributor

During last week’s Dallas City Council meeting, council members unanimously shot down a proposal for temporary shelters spread throughout the city in recreation centers as a temporary solution to the city’s critically growing number of homeless. In lieu of that proposal, members of the Council turned their attention to a possible full-time proposal in one location in District 7: the shuttered Timberlawn Behavioral Health System.

Timberlawn’s unsuitability as the permanent location for a homeless shelter can be argued from at least half a dozen angles. The City Council’s attention on it has left many of the surrounding area residents, such as myself, baffled at the suggestion and fearful of its serious ramifications for the area we’ve invested in as our home.

Timberlawn, a former behavioral health center, is the oldest private psychiatric facility in the state and boasts architectural beauty in a building that is more than 100 years old. These characteristics may make the main building eligible to be recognized as a historic landmark in the state of Texas. Timberlawn maintains 20 acres of sprawling landscape lined with mature trees, whose shade and dignity contribute to the elegance of the property.

The iconic landmark formerly provided private health services for those necessitating in-patient care and sits south of I-30 within Dallas city limits, minutes from the bustle of downtown Dallas. But it is nestled within a thriving residential community formally referred to as “Buckner Terrace.” The neighborhood is composed of a heterogeneous group of residents whose pride and investment in their neighborhood can be exhibited in their ability to unite in protest of a potential homeless shelter. Close to 1000 signatures on an online petition to City Council garnered in less than a week. This petition, I may note, has never been formally canvassed in-person, but is the result of viral sharing on Social Media, spreading like virtual wildfire throughout our small community.

As residents of Buckner Terrace, we represent the gentrification component in an evolving city and changing landscape of Dallas, which maintains its position as a booming metropolitan area with a stable and prosperous economic job market. It’s a location many of us chose to move to from out of state for the promise of affordable housing and a stable, cohesive community.

And now, a single City Council decision could destroy it. (more…)

08/07/18 9:56am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

One of the most common mistakes and needless expenses that home sellers encounter involves the survey section of their sales contract. Despite the bold type and plain English, there are often disputes and confusion about providing a survey.

The survey section is on page 2 of the standard TREC contract. Paragraph 6C specifically addresses who will provide a survey and when it is due. Note that there are 3 options on the contract regarding the survey. One – and only one – of these options should be checked before completing the contract. The most commonly checked option is paragraph 6C (1).

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07/31/18 8:00am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) recently released the 2016 Title Agent Statistical Report. Yes, this is now the summer of 2018, so those stats are a bit dated. What can I say? It’s a government agency.

TDI licenses and oversees all title agents in Texas. Our state’s title insurance business is highly regulated and title companies are audited at least every 2 years. Every agency must account for every dime they take in and every dollar they spend.

Take a glance at this 326-page report and you can see why it could take months to compile this information. The report covers every title agency’s income, expenses, and losses. The majority of title companies on the list are Independent Agents. The others are either Affiliated Agents or Direct Operations.

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07/24/18 6:19pm

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

The closing process varies and fluctuates from property to property, from state to state, from person to person. Just like homes are different, so are closings on those homes.

However, real estate closings in Texas follow a consistent outline of steps from start to finish. They don’t always follow a straight path. Some steps are rigid requirements while others are more flexible guidelines. Some of the steps take place simultaneously while other steps cannot be taken until a previous task is completed. Some steps are short and others are long and complicated.

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07/17/18 9:00am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

When it comes to Texas title insurance, there are two kinds of title policies. Most folks don’t realize it because there are so many figures and fees on their closing documents. It’s easier just to lump the title premiums together and ignore the details.

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07/04/18 7:30am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

There are several actions a buyer or seller can take to help their real estate transaction go smoothly. Here are my Top 4 July 4th Tips for keeping your closing from going kaboom:

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06/26/18 7:30am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

A hidden hazard on your property is not the kind of thing you’re going to stub your toe on. At least not the kind of hidden hazard that we’re talking about here.

In the title business, a hidden hazard is an issue that is not uncovered in a traditional search of property records. Most title companies are really good at finding potential problems in the research of deeds, maps and plats, mortgages, tax records, court records, liens, abstracts of judgement, probate and divorce actions, etc.

Issues that can be found by a typical title search are considered “discoverable.” These would be items like outstanding mortgage loans, tax liens, court judgments, utility easements, and such. Anyone with enough time, resources and expertise could likely find these things in court records and a search of the chain of title. Or they would find most of them at least. 

But even the most fastidious title search may not reveal a hidden hazard. Sometimes they are impossible to uncover until an event brings it to light.

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06/14/18 8:00am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

When putting a contract on a property, a buyer can usually expect to write two checks to accompany their contract — an option fee check and an earnest money check. There is no strict rule about how much each of these checks must be. The amount of this up-front money is negotiable between buyer and seller. However, the amount sends a strong signal to either buyer or seller.

A buyer offering too little in either option or earnest money can indicate they are not serious or very interested in the property. Perhaps they can’t even afford it.  A demand of too much option or earnest money from the seller may send the message that they are unreasonable or mistrustful. The state of the real estate market also influences the amount of option fee and earnest money. 

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