MetroTexThe MetroTex Association of Realtors is now accepting applications for board of director candidates, Texas unemployment numbers inched up slightly, and community opinion is being sought for the Harold Simmons Park — and you can read about all this and more in this week’s roundup of real estate news. (more…)

Real EstateDallas ISD is holding public information meetings for a proposed Tax Ratification Election to be held in November, a Desoto man has been tapped by Governor Abbott for a spot on a real estate advisory committee, and we take a look at how the market did in the area in July in this week’s real estate news roundup. (more…)

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We all know staging works. However, convincing sellers to stage can sometimes be a challenge. Even though they realize their homes will look better and sell more quickly, some are reluctant to spend the money or take the time required to  properly prepare their homes for sale.  Consulting with a stager prior to putting an occupied home on the market offers information that allows a seller to prepare their own home. If they don’t have time, they have the option of using the stager to complete the work.

It’s common knowledge as well that an empty home holds no emotional appeal. It’s also hard for a potential buyer to to tell the function of an empty room in online photos, much less connect with it. In other words, they are much less likely to hop in the car and race right over to make an offer.  Even in our hot market there are plenty of vacant homes lingering — some for months. People need the visual connection and the spatial understanding that only furnishing a home can bring.

The bottom line for any seller or Realtor is return on investment. Why lower the price point on a home tens of thousands of dollars when you can spend a fraction of that by calling a professional stager who will make your home look like it belongs in a magazine?

The photos of a staged home will bring in buyers who are ready to make offers because they have already connected with that home. Everyone stands to make more money if a home looks great and that’s really the name of the game.  The Real Estate Staging Association has created a handy infographic Realtors can download to help break down the return on investment, which you can see after the jump.

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Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Get caught up and read part one of Jon Anderson’s Property Tax series here.

Tax Dodging 101

Every Realtor I have asked has completely agreed with this statement, “The more expensive a home, the less accurate DCAD’s valuations are.”  The translation here is that the wealthier you are, the more able you are to pay taxes but the less likely you are to be paying your share.

And why not cheat?  We read almost daily of some large corporation relocating to Ireland to dodge taxes in what’s called a “Double Irish With A Dutch Sandwich” or the likes of Google’s outrageous UK deal to settle a ten-year tax dispute for a measly £130 million based on profits of £7.2 billion. Why not the little guy too?

We have become a society where given a choice, too many will take a shortcut when offered.

There are three components that abet property tax shortcuts.

  1. Non-disclosure
  2. DCAD inefficiency
  3. Tax challenges

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Real Estate Story
Clayon house frame pic

Clayton Bailey

“That’s going to get flagged by the home inspector.”

These words, no matter how deftly delivered, can strike fear into the heart of every home seller. So who are these “inspectors” that can make your knees tremble and hold your home hostage from a quick sale?

They are really your ally, whether you’re selling or buying. They’re the gatekeepers that protect buyers from things that are not readily evident, like old electrical wiring or a pipe about to fail. They also protect sellers from losing a sale by revealing issues that can be remedied prior to putting the home on the market. They are a necessity and we’re lucky to have some great inspectors in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Clayton Bailey owns Green Scene Home Inspections in Dallas. He’s heavily involved in supporting the real estate community, always volunteering and, full disclosure, helped me get through a giant rope spider maze, during our training with the  MetroTex Leadership Academy. He’s a good guy. Bailey took time out of crawling under houses and through attics to answer a few questions for us. (more…)

North Texas communities were ravaged by EF-4 and EF-3 tornadoes on Saturday, Dec. 26.(Photo: GJ McCarthy)

North Texas hit by EF-4 and EF-3 tornadoes on Saturday, Dec. 26. (Photo: GJ McCarthy)

American Airlines gave $100,000 to the American Red Cross for the victims of last Saturday’s tornados, and now watch out: Texas Realtors are kicking in.

As the needs of those impacted by the tornados on December 26 are evolving, MetroTex is responding in a variety of ways to help. Here’s what we’ve done so far and how you can help further:

Online, MetroTex has created a resource page with information about where to donate, volunteer, find relief and precautions to take. We are updating the site as more information becomes available.

A formal request has been sent to TAR to help activate the Realtors Relief Fund for any Realtors or members affected by the killer storm — we know of at least two.

  • President Russell Berry has appointed a Tornado Relief Task Force. This task force will be meeting to organize efforts and a plan of action to assist members who may have been affected by the devastating storms.
  • MetroTex has sent a formal request to the Texas Association of REALTORS, requesting that they activate the Texas REALTORS Relief Fund. Information on how to obtain assistance will be forthcoming and posted at the MetroTex Cares Page.

But MetroTex needs your help. Please provide them with the name, address and contact information for any MetroTex REALTOR and Affiliate members you know who have been impacted by the tornados in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall or Ellis counties.

If you can help, please consider donating cash or gift cards rather than material goods. Find out where to donate. The exception is the bottled water drive organized by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) North Texas Chapter, Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Dallas Fort Worth Chapter, Dallas Association of Realtists (DAR). You can contact them at 214-876-4567 or go to the NAHREP Facebook page for more information.

MetroTex Charitable and Educational Trust is a 501(c)(3) foundation that can be utilized to help support relief efforts for MetroTex members. Should you wish to make a cash donation for the benefit of MetroTex members please follow the directions below:

Checks should be made payable to “MetroTex Charitable and Educational Trust” and kindly write “Tornado Damage Assistance” on the check stub or on the memo line of the check. Checks can be mailed to: 8201 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75247, Attn: Cecilia Beerer.

If you prefer to make a credit card payment, please contact Cecilia Beerer at 214-540-2707 and she can assist with processing the payment over the phone.

Donations to the MetroTex Charitable and Educational Trust are fully tax deductible, and we will mail receipts to all donors during the next few weeks.

Downtown McKinney Texas

There’s a lot to love about McKinney, the North Texas town that brands itself as “unique by nature.” Looks like more people are finding the unique and natural in McKinney, as the little suburb that could ranked No. 2 in Realtor.com’s report of the most-searched Zip Codes in the nation for 2013.

McKinney was beat out only by the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago, and placed ahead of the Wellington area of West Palm Beach, Fla.

Here’s the complete list:

1. Old Town in Chicago, Illinois
2. McKinney in Dallas, Texas
3. Wellington in West Palm Beach, Florida
4. Pembrook Pines in Hollywood, Florida
5. Ballantyne in Charlotte, North Carolina

Last year’s most popular Zip Code in North Texas was Keller, but McKinney is this year’s winner for several reasons. Here’s what Candy has to say about McKinney, quoted in Realtor.com’s post:

McKinney IS fabulous, one of the nation’s fastest-growing communities because it offers a quieter, small-town style of living, yet is only 30 miles north of downtown Dallas. But that proximity really doesn’t matter because there are jobs all over Dallas and Collin Counties, spread out in “depots,” like the Telecom Corridor in Plano, Frisco, Richardson and Arlington. McKinney boasts charm, safety and great schools. Taxes are low, too, but keep in mind property taxes in Texas are high because we have no state income tax. You can choose from historic homes with quaint front porches, Victorians or brand new, “Big Hair” McMansions with master spa baths and media rooms for less than $500,000.

I think McKinney is a place to watch carefully in the future, too, for incredible growth and appreciation. Let’s look at the airport. In fact, it’s changing its name from the Collin County Regional Airport to the McKinney National Airport. It has a new, one-year-old 70,000-foot runway set to service private jets. This is important because Dallas Love Field, the city’s oldest airport, will be free from the restraints of the Wright Amendment in October of 2014. The Wright Amendment restricted air traffic at Love Field to bordering states to help grow Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Airport back in the 1970s. McKinney could benefit from Love Field’s expansion, with many private and corporate jets landing there. That is going to accelerate the real estate market like crazy. I know of some other changes coming to McKinney that will make it even hotter – stay tuned to CandysDirt.com for all of it!

Of course, there are some amazing neighborhoods and new developments inside McKinney, such as Craig Ranch. What do you love about McKinney?