It’s time to buy some Snake-Away, but I think I got the last jug at The Home depot — sorry. I haven’t seen any, but I’m sure they are out there in the tall grass. We have had baby snakes in our house in years past.

But Keller Williams agent Alyssa McKissack tells me she and her hubby, Brad McKissack, went for a run about a week ago in their neighborhood, “… we came around the corner & saw this monster Copperhead just chillin’, then we go over the bridge & look down to see a water moccasin, tonight’s run was done after that… ”

Rat snake


fin heeelsUpdate, 10:47 p.m.: Virginia Cook agent Angela Downs says she wears these:


You know, I am beginning to wonder if we need to start changing the way we build our homes to accommodate all this friggin’ rain. We certainly need to change our shoes.

We have a big porch but our grill is in the open, so we had to cook with rain hats on yesterday. Note to self: next home, grill will be covered! I am grateful for my turf-covered doggie yard: next house, the entire YARD will be turf.

I was going to look at a house last week, then heard it was taken off the market because one room got some water in the house. If your home sits low, that can be a problem. We had a home (long gone!) that had a converted garage that did flood a couple of times. I packed towels all around the baseboards. But I never could get that dank smell out until July.

If you are buying, this is probably the best time ever to check out a home. This is unprecedented rainfall, but you will see how the home weathers water, lots of water. See where it flows -away from the house? Any moats in the back-yard?

I went up to tour Windsong Ranch on Friday, and man was it muddy. Looking at real estate just involves mud sometimes. So I have taken these steps: (more…)

Oklahoma house_damage

This was a luncheon I would have liked to attend, but it would have really shaken me up:

Joshua Marrow, technical director for Partner Engineering and Science Inc. who, for years, has studied large seismic events in California and other hot spots around the world including, now, North Texas, spoke to The Dallas Chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Wednesday at the Park City’s Club in Preston Center.

While he started by explaining that there are fault lines in North Texas, but they haven’t historically caused felt earthquakes, he ended by saying that could be all wrong. Our area has definitely been movin’ and groovin’ lately… and we wrote about Earthquake insurance way back. (more…)


I know the colors are pretty, but according to meteorologist Steve McCauley, this radar map makes for ugly weather.

UPDATE: Things just got real. The Weather Channel is in Dallas, according to Robert Wilonsky.

WFAA meteorologist Steve McCauley is saying that according to his readings, tomorrow evening’s weather could very well spawn a few tornadoes.

“Obviously, it is impossible to predict where a tornado will touch down this far in advance,” McCauley said in his Facebook post, “but it is likely that our first TORNADO WATCH will be posted for much of north Texas tomorrow afternoon and evening.

We’ve talked about tornado coverage before, and about how to make sure your homeowners insurance policy is up to date, but considering our recent spate of earthquakes, hail storms, and high winds, perhaps it’s time to revisit your coverage again? And have you given a second thought to installing a storm shelter?

Jump to read McCauley’s full post:


Earthquake damage

We told you all about this last week, day after Quake Day in Dallas. Under Texas law insurance carriers are not required to offer earthquake insurance, and veteran agents say they have never felt the need to write such policies.

This weekend, Pamela Yip at the Dallas Morning News quoted Randall Guttery, director of real estate programs at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Jindal School of Management, as saying earthquake insurance isn’t worth it. I think his quote is classic:

“At some point, you have to self-insure some stuff in your life or you’ll be broke.”

No duh.

Well, a source just read me a memo from a major carrier. Yep, the Texas markets are looking at carrying earthquake insurance, but it will be fluff coverage, kind of like mold. Look for coverage only for a quake of 5.0 on the Richter scale, with 5 to 10% deductibles. I love my homeowners insurance more than you will ever know, but I will not be buying earthquake insurance.

Maybe these Texas earthquakes are just nature’s way of helping us minimize?


earthquake wall crack

Reader tells us her wall cracks got worse after Tuesday’s quakes

Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, we had 12 little earthquakes in North Texas.

I definitely felt one, the strongest one said to be a 3.6 on the Richter Scale. My son lives near Palo Alto where they had a fierce 6.0 quake this summer. He usually laughs at my earthquake reports — especially the photo of knocked over lawn furniture saying, “We will rebuild.” But Tuesday night, he wasn’t laughing.

“It’s a rumble,” he agreed, as I tried to describe the sound our Texas quake made as my lights flickered for a second. I was unloading dishes from the dishwasher and had just set down a wine glass. Saw a slight shimmy. The dog was confused. My mother in law was freaking, and I got chills for a minute. My insurance man had been texting me, so I texted him and asked, do we have earthquake coverage?

He is in Lubbock. He thought I was kidding! No, he said, even when he found out about the 3.6. He says he’s never written an earthquake policy in Texas during his life. I turned the question to a few local insurers, including one of our new sponsors, Charles Polansky, a Private Client Advisor at HUB International Personal Insurance here in Dallas. He has been on the phone non-stop with clients since Tuesday.

Nick Klein with HomeTeam Insurance also says his phone has been ringing off the wall, at least 60 clients have contacted him since the rumbles. He thinks a majority will not be adding earthquake insurance, except for those with Travellers and MetLife. Those are two companies that give insureds the option to add earthquake insurance as an endorsement to their existing homeowners policy.

But those deductibles will be high — a minimum of 10 percent.

Nick also writes in California where the earthquake deductibles are 10 percent minimum. Try that on a $3 million dollar home, which is almost an average price.

“The clients we quoted are scared,” said Nick. He also thinks the more and more we have earthquakes in North Texas, the less likely insurance companies will be to add earthquake insurance as optional coverage.

“In Cali, very few companies even offer it,” he says.”People get it from a state pool, like people in hurricane-prone areas.”

I put Charles through the ringer with a Q & A Tuesday night as the earth was rumbling. Jump for the whole thing.