By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

March is a month for changes — in both the Texas weather and real estate contracts. Haven’t you heard? There are recent contract changes that became mandatory for use by agents on March 1, 2019. 

Don’t worry. You’re not the last to learn about these changes. Seems like very few agents are aware of them. They aren’t life changing, but they’re important when it comes to terminating a contract, getting a mortgage or the appraisal.

The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) recently adopted these changes to the addendums that accompany real estate contracts. I think they’re a good thing because they help clarify issues and potential disputes.

Here is the short and simple version of these changes that are now mandatory if you’re using TREC contracts (which would be everyone I know):


Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an FHA loan and a conventional loan? There’s no better person to ask than our most-trusted mortgage adviser, Bob Johnson (AKA BobMortgage). Frequently asked questions usually center on how the loan type affects appraisals, down payments, and debt-to-income ratios. How does it affect mortgage insurance, and all of the little hurdles that make up a very complex transaction?

Find out today in the 28th episode of the BobMortgage Zone from the senior mortgage adviser at the nation’s oldest private lender, Wallick & Volk


Clean it up and store it

When you’re selling your house, what do you do with all the “stuff”? Karen Eubank has solutions.

Getting ready to sell your house can be overwhelming. The first word your Realtor is going to mention is “declutter.” Then the stager will come in and remark that items need to be stored because it’s hard to see the gorgeous architectural details with your beautiful furniture blocking the columns and impeding the view.

What all of this really means is that selling your home will be a challenge unless you get rid of some stuff. But where do you turn? The general consensus is Craigslist can be hit or miss, eBay takes patience and time, and garage sales require energy and organization. You’ll probably be short on at least two of these if you’re about to list your home.

But it doesn’t have to be a headache. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite resources to help you get your house whipped into shape so you can move on down the road to your next adventure. (more…)

Electric gridNow for a bright Dallas Real Estate message from one of our readers, Dallas Realtor Lance Blann:

CANDY: I’ve met an appraiser on each of the past two days on listings about to close and there is a new appraisal item you need to know about. Please remind/instruct your sellers, agents or tenants, to leave the electricity ON until after the appraisal has been completed.

Why? There is a new guideline/requirement in place that requires the lights to be on during the appraiser’s visit. Especially for FHA appraisals.

If the lights are not on, this can cause your appraisal to be kicked back and delay closing. Underwriting may require the appraiser to come back out and take photos again after the electricity is back on. And they will charge a fee to return to the property also.

In the busier months, getting electricity service can take up to a week.

Two appraisers in the last two days have told me this, so I’m making this standard practice, and wanted your readers to be aware, too.

Thanks Lance!Lance Blann


According to Tiffany Hamil, Tarrant County residents have longer than they think to protest

“It has been common practice in Tarrant and all of the surrounding counties for YEARS that the District will send out their notice of appraised value on May 1st,” says property tax consultant Tiffany Hamil. “Tarrant County has been known to even send their notices out past May 1st, but to my knowledge they have never sent their notices out PRIOR to May 1st … until THIS YEAR.

Some Tarrant County residents may have already received their notices, which were mailed at the beginning of this month. If your valuation is lower or the same, you won’t get a notice at all, Hamil says. Still, you should check your Tarrant County appraisal online with the Tarrant Appraisal District.

“Your notice is going to say that your protest deadline is April 30th, but the law allows a property owner to protest up until May 31st,” Hamil notes.

According to her, the Property Tax Code says: 

Notwithstanding Subsection (a)(1), an owner of property described by that subsection who files a notice of protest after the deadline prescribed by that subsection but before the appraisal review board approves the appraisal records is entitled to a hearing and determination of the protest if the property owner files the
notice before June 1.

Tarrant County property owners who wish to protest their appraisal values should do so before the April 30 deadline, Hamil says. However, if you miss the deadline, you still have options. 

Find out more about Tiffany Hamil at DFW Tax Advisor’s website.