Forget keeping up with the Joneses; kids these days just want to blow the Joneses out of the water.

Forget keeping up with the Joneses; kids these days just want to blow the Joneses out of the water.

Many consumers have spent too much on a luxury handbag, or signed on for a car payment that might require a regular phone call to Mom and Dad. But the price tag of appearing successful, wealthy, and independent has just gone up, as a new Bankrate.com survey shows that 30 million homebuyers have felt pressured to overspend on a home.

The survey also accounts for how peer pressure comes into play when shopping for things like school supplies or holiday gifts.

Ted Rossman, an industry analyst with Creditcards.com, said potential homebuyers should remember to identify costs beyond what’s posted on the “for sale” sign.

“You need to be careful not to overextend yourself, and you need to account for taxes, insurance and maintenance,” Rossman said. “But what feels like a stretch at first could become a much more reasonable monthly payment over time. That’s because your income could very well go up, and assuming you opt for a fixed-rate mortgage, that payment will remain static. So you’re insulating yourself from inflation in a way that renters are unable to do. Property taxes and construction costs generally go up over time, so factor that in, particularly if you’re planning major home improvements.”

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

When you review contracts every day, spotting mistakes can become routine. The number one mistake that most escrow officers see on real estate contracts involves blank spaces.

To be clear – contracts should always be filled in completely. There should be nothing left blank.

I’m referring to the standard Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) contract. Ninety-nine percent of real estate contracts received by title agencies are written on one of the standard TREC contracts. These are created by TREC for use in real property transactions in our state. They are frequently reviewed and are updated every few years based on feedback, requests, and legal issues.

There is a valid reason for each paragraph and blank space on these contracts. There are dozens of blank spaces on the most popular TREC contract. They all should have something on them. Some paragraphs have an option to choose from two or more boxes to check. One of the choices should be selected.

Yet, we see smart people submit final contracts that leave too much ambiguity because they are not fully completed. Obviously, most folks ensure the contract contains the proper names, address, sales price, who is paying for what, etc. But often they leave some parts of the contract incomplete.

How do we know the intention of all parties when a space is left blank? Perhaps the blank space means zero dollars. Then it should have a zero written. Or maybe it is not applicable? It should show N/A. Maybe it was accidentally missed? Or was it intentionally ignored? Even dashes in the space helps us see that the parties didn’t intend to mean something else.

If a space is blank because buyer and seller are still negotiating, then the contract should not be executed yet. Once it is executed, any changes must be made with an addendum. Changes are not allowed on the finalized contract once it is executed.

The riskiest and most overlooked blank spaces typically found on contracts include:

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Business conflicts always seem to revolve around money. It’s no surprise that some of the worst disputes we see at title companies are over earnest money: Who wants it. Who is entitled to it. Who thinks they’re entitled to it. Etcetera. It can get uglier than avocado appliances and shag carpet.

When a transaction fails to close, any earnest money that was deposited with the title company must be disbursed to someone. The provisions for this are in the standard contract put out by TREC – the Texas Real Estate Commission. What happens to the earnest money is spelled out clearly. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from fighting over it anyway.

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Dallas

Photo courtesy skitterphoto.com

Want to provide the city of Dallas with input regarding a comprehensive strategic economic development plan? Now is your chance.

The city rolled out two separate surveys — one for businesses, and one for residents — that will help determine how the city approaches its economy in the future, including how it can improve Dallas’ business climate and improve capital investment in communities. (more…)

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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The National Association of Realtors survey looked at multiple facets of the home buying process from mid 2013 to mid 2014. Location was a big factor, as expected.

The National Association of Realtors survey looked at multiple facets of the home buying process from mid 2013 to mid 2014. Location was a big factor, as expected.

First-time homebuyers are being squeezed out, and you gotta move fast to buy! And people are hanging on to their houses for the longest time on record, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.

Buyers are living in their homes for ten years, up from six years in 2008, and actually expect to live in their home for 12 years. Some of it is by choice, like hanging on to a fantastic rate after remortgaging, and some by necessity, like too much debt to move, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.

The study looked at the demographics of thousands of home purchases around the United States from July 2013 to June 2014, and its findings speak to many trends we’ve noticed in the market here at CandysDirt.

Take multigenerational homes, for example. We’ve seen more builders offering them, like almost every builder on our approved homebuilder list, from Park Cities to Preston Hollow and north. (I swear Mickey Munir at Sharif&Munir invented the jazzed-up mother-in-law suite.) Texas-based builder Darling Homes is selling multigenerational homes in Frisco’s Lawler Park and Houston area’s Lakes of Cypress Forest like hotcakes.

The survey says they’re right on trend: Since 1980, the number of multigenerational households around the country has doubled, with 13 percent of buyers purchasing one of these homes to accommodate aging parents and boomerang kids in a cost-saving way.

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