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October
10

Laundry Room Makeover Inspiration

Laundry Room

Even though the laundry room is one of the most frequently used rooms in many homes, the styling and functionality of the room are often overlooked. Our real estate agents encourage homeowners to overhaul their laundry room so that it's a space that fits their aesthetic preferences and household needs. Here are a few ideas for your laundry room makeover. 

  • Repaint Your Laundry Room with a Light Color
    If your laundry room feels small, closed-off, and dreary, painting it a light color is a simple, effective way to help the space feel larger and more inviting. White, beige, light gray, blues, and greens are all excellent options. Overhaul your laundry room's paint before adding your home to the inventory of Fort Worth homes for sale
  • Add Cabinets or Shelving to Your Laundry Room
    One issue that most laundry rooms struggle with is a lack of storage; many times, the top of the dryer winds up as the only functional storage area in the room. Hang cabinets or install shelves to give the laundry room valuable space. Should you decide to install shelves, use canvas or wooden bins on the shelves to make sure that everything has a designated spot.
  • Ditch Your Laundry Product's Containers
    The containers that your laundry products come in are usually big, bulky, and unattractive. Instead of storing products in their containers, pick up a set of glass jars to house your laundry detergent, fabric softener, and stain removers. Glass jars compliment nearly every type of decor, and it's easier to see if you're about to run out of one of your laundry essentials. If you're ready to add your home to the list of Dallas homes for sale, small changes can help make your home more appealing to potential homebuyers. 
  • Install a Waterfall Counter
    A waterfall counter that goes over your washer and dryer will add useful folding space to your laundry room without sacrificing any of your floor space. This addition will also prevent socks, towels, and other clothing items from getting lost in the space between your washer and dryer. 
  • Upgrade Your Lighting
    Upgrading your laundry room's light fixture with a more stylish option will instantly make the room look more appealing and inviting. Consider investing in a light fixture that you love to add character to the room and ensure that you have lots of bright lighting when it's time to do a load of laundry. 
  • Hang a Utility Rod
    Hang a utility rod above your washer or dryer in minutes using a tension rod. This provides a convenient spot to hang clothing items that need to air dry or promptly hang clothing that wrinkles easily. 
  • Incorporate a Few Decorative Elements
    Utilizing decorative pieces that you love, like a wall print, wreath, curtains, or throw rug, is an easy way to make your laundry room a space that you look forward to using. Decor also keeps the room from looking drab and boring. 

With a few simple changes, you can enhance the look and utility of your laundry room. Interested in a home with more space for your family? Contact us to get started!

August
23

Dallas-Fort Worth Only U.S. Market Where Home Sale Prices Dropped Last Month

The North Texas housing market is downshifting quickly, with Dallas-Fort Worth being the only U.S. market to see a decrease in home sale prices last month, according to a report released today.  DFW home prices are down 1.9% year over year in July, according to the latest Re/Max National Housing Report.

 

And what a difference a month makes.  Last month, DFW led the U.S. for home price increases, with June prices up 29.3% over the previous year.   In hard numbers, home sales prices in DFW fell to $413,900 in July from $422,000 in July 2021.   Homes in DFW spend an average of 23 days on the market before selling.

 

Higher interest rates and inflation, as well as record home prices, triggered a sharp drop in demand for housing, said Todd Luong, a realtor with Re/Max DFW Associates:  "Here at our Re/Max office in Dallas-Fort Worth, our listings are currently getting on average 2.7 showings per week," Luong said. "Last year, at this same time, our listings were earning on average 5.9 showings per week. That is a huge drop in buyer demand compared to the previous year. Record home prices and higher mortgage rates have forced many potential buyers out of the market, especially first-time homebuyers."

 

While the latest trends may disappoint some sellers, buyers now have more choices and better opportunities for good deals, Luong said.   Luong said that the DFW housing market has been challenged with low inventory for years and reached an all-time low earlier this year, with only a two-week supply. Now, however, inventory is increasing.  "Although buyers have more choices now, it is still not a balanced market as we only have about a two-month housing supply," Luong said. "In a normal market, you have about a five to six-month supply of housing."

 

A new report from Zillow also found falling home values, although the numbers didn't match Re/Max's precisely because of different study methods and different geographic definitions of DFW as a metro area, among other reasons.  According to Zillow's findings, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area's typical home value is $396,904, down 1.1% since June, the first month of decline. Values are up 55.4% since July 2019.

 

Zillow also reported that the mortgage payment on a typical home in DFW is $2,633 a month, including taxes and insurance. That's up 77.4% compared to July 2019.

According to Zillow, inventory in DFW has risen 10.2% since June, and the share of listings with a price cut in July was 22%, compared to 15.6% in June.  Nationwide, after two years of unprecedented growth, home values fell for the first time since 2012 as competition for houses eased, according to Zillow's July market report.

 

The slowdown is being driven by decreased competition among buyers. Zillow's analysis says that affordability pressures have pushed many to the sidelines, and buyers are waiting in the wings to resume their search if and when prices relax a bit.  Skylar Olsen, Zillow's chief economist, called the flattening of home values "a badly needed rebalancing.  This slowdown is about discouraged buyers pulling back after the affordability shock from higher rates," Olsen said. "As prices soften, many will renew their interest, and we will continue our progress back to 'normal.'"

 

Luong said he sees positive signs in the market.  The interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped below 5% after peaking in June. More than 290,000 new jobs were added in Dallas-Fort Worth last year, so North Texas has one of the strongest labor markets in the country.   "Reasonably priced homes that are in good condition and move-in ready are still selling very fast," he said. "However, the bidding wars have subsided considerably across the board."

  • Dallas Business Journal, August 19, 2022
May
31

New Home Permits Soar in the Exurbs While New Home Permits Continue to Slow in the Suburbs

Single-family building permits continue to slide in the suburbs and exurbs north of Dallas and Fort Worth, although there are exceptions.  Year-to-date home-building permits are down 45% in Frisco, 27% in Celina and 21% in Prosper, with the spring building season well underway.  In Frisco, 624 single-family permits were issued in January, February, March and April combined. That compares to 1,134 in the same period of 2021, according to data compiled by Addison-based Tomlin Investments, which tracks new home construction around Dallas-Fort Worth.  So far this year, builders have pulled 732 permits in Celina and 378 permits in Prosper. That compares to 1,003 in Celina and 476 in Celina in the first four months of last year. Permits in Princeton plunged 48%, from 606 in the first four months of 2021 to 313 so far this year.  Home permits in McKinney, Melissa and Little Elm are down, too, albeit by smaller amounts. McKinney permits dropped 9% to 597 in the first four months, Melissa is down 4% to 295 permits, and Little Elm is down 5% to 451.

It's a different story in the exurbs Van Alstyne, Sherman, Anna and Denton.  Van Alstyne is up 146% year-to-date, with 251 permits so far. Sherman has soared 98% with 208 permits, Anna has escalated 29% with 516 permits, and Denton ticked up 9% to 381 permits to date.

  • Dallas Business Journal, May 24, 2022
May
9

Tips for Buying Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor Furniture

Nothing makes a house feel more like home than setting up a cozy outdoor living space. Not all patio furniture is created equal, though, which means your choice has to be a careful one. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents on how to choose the perfect outdoor furniture.

  • Choose the Right Size 
    Sizing is important, especially if you have a small patio space. Before you start shopping for furniture, measure the space for your outdoor furniture and sketch out a quick drawing of what the space looks like, along with the measurements. Take a tape measure with you as you shop, too, so that you can measure everything rather than just eyeballing it. Outdoor living spaces are highly popular in Dallas homes for sale, but the sizes of these living spaces can vary widely, so it's important to choose your outdoor furniture specifically for your space.

  • Keep the Weather in Mind
    Anyone shopping for Fort Worth homes for sale knows that weather is hard on outdoor furniture, so it's important to choose patio furniture with the local weather in mind. Cycles of strong sun and precipitation fade fabric, disintegrate stitching, and cause wood to crack and dry out. If your furniture is on a covered patio, shielded from sun exposure and precipitation, you won't have to worry about it as much, but if it's exposed to the weather, look for fade-resistant cushions and sturdy furniture that won't require a lot of upkeep.

  • Plan for Storage
    Speaking of the toll weather takes on your outdoor furniture, you can reduce this by storing your patio furniture during the off-season and putting away the cushions between uses. You can purchase covers to protect your furniture, cushions, and all when you're not using it, but keep in mind that the covers will likely need to be replaced periodically due to the same weather concerns you're protecting your furniture from. Moving the furniture indoors during the off-season is an option too, but requires the storage space to do so. An outdoor storage trunk makes a great solution for storing cushions between uses and keeps everything nearby for when you need it.

  • Make Your Decisions Based on Comfort
    There are two kinds of outdoor furniture available, and they both have their own distinct purposes: those chosen for looks and those chosen for comfort. There's nothing wrong with choosing patio furniture for looks, especially if you're staging your home for sale or setting up an idyllic tableau in your yard. But if you plan to spend a lot of time chilling on your patio, choose that furniture for comfort. Opt for big, sturdy furniture with thick cushions and a design that allows you to kick back and relax.

  • Balance Quality with Budget
    Most of us have a budget to watch when we pick out patio furniture, but it's important not to sacrifice quality when staying within your budget, or you'll find yourself replacing your outdoor furniture much sooner than planned. Opt for heavy-duty, weather-resistant furniture with fade-resistant cushions. If this is out of your budget now, buy a piece at a time, watch for sales, or search for used furniture listed for sale in your area. High-quality furniture will be worth the investment, as it'll last for years to come.

Well-appointed outdoor living spaces are good for more than just your own personal enjoyment: They help to sell your home, too. Contact us today.

April
18

Kitchen Features Bakers Will Love

Baking Updates

Do you love baking but wish your kitchen was more functional for your culinary needs? Or, do you want to create a space that makes it easier for you to bake your favorite dishes?

By making a few simple changes to your kitchen, you can improve the functionality and efficiency of your kitchen. Our real estate agents know that many of these projects will make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Here are some features and additions that we recommend to make your kitchen more baking-friendly. 

  1. Add Storage Accessories to Your Cabinets for Your Sheet Pans and Baking Equipment
    If you have to dig through your cabinets to find a specific piece of baking equipment, outfit your cabinets with pullout shelves or drawers. This makes it easy for you to find the pan or baking sheet you're looking for without having to pull every single item out. Pullout shelves also work well for housing heavy appliances, like your stand mixer or bread machine, when they aren't in use, so you have more counter space. 
  1. Integrate Open Shelving into Your Kitchen Design
    Open shelving is an excellent way to store and display items that you frequently use when baking, like measuring cups and mixing bowls. If you have any bakeware with a gorgeous design that can also function as decor (like ceramic pieces in a vibrant color or print or items in a seasonal holiday print), open shelves are a terrific option to show them off. Or, perhaps you have cookbooks or family recipes that you utilize during your baking sessions. Open shelves work well for housing cookbooks or even displaying a written family recipe as a decorative piece. Many buyers find open shelving appealing, making this a smart addition before you add your home to the inventory of Fort Worth homes for sale
  1. Opt for Pull-Out Cabinets to Store Baking Ingredients
    If you're willing to consider more dramatic upgrades, pullout cabinets are a versatile addition that enables you to set up a more functional baking station. While pullout cabinets are frequently used for trashcans, another idea is to use them to house baking supplies that you might purchase in large quantities, like different types of flour and sugar. The design of a pullout cabinet is perfect for housing containers to store your baking ingredients. Another benefit of adding pullout cabinets is that they're a buyer-friendly upgrade when you add your home to the list of Dallas homes for sale
  1. Set Up a Kitchen Island
    A kitchen island is an excellent alternative for expanding your counter space so that you have more room for preparing your recipes, decorating cakes and cookies, and sampling your finished product. While you can install a kitchen island that utilizes your current cabinets and counters, this isn't your only option. Many furniture retailers sell rolling kitchen islands that add extra prep space and allow you to move the island according to your culinary needs. 

Want a home with a larger kitchen so that you have additional space for baking? Contact us today to get started!

February
23

January homebuilding permits plunge in Celina, Frisco, Little Elm, Prosper

Building permits fell sharply in January in Celina, Frisco, Prosper and Little Elm — some of the hottest markets in North Texas and the nation for new home construction last year.  Celina, the top residential construction market in North Texas last year, dropped 51% in the number of homebuilding permits issued in January compared to the same month last year.  Frisco's building permits fell 48% year over year in January.   Prosper dropped 44% in homebuilding permits issued in January.  The January permit plunge was similar in Little Elm which fell 56%. Homebuilding permits also fell in McKinney, which posted a 22% year-over-year decline in January.

The downturn in some of North Texas' hottest homebuilding markets isn't a sign of diminished demand as much as it is a reflection of higher construction costs. The costs of construction nationwide are the highest seen in 50 years with contractors and homebuilders feeling the effects.    Homebuilding costs jumped by 17.5% year-over-year from 2020 to 2021, the largest spike in this data from year to year since 1970, recent data from the U.S. Census shows.  Homebuilders in North Texas last year were hit by an unprecedented swell of housing demand that prompted the industry to boost its production pace, said Ted Wilson, principal with Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies Inc.  But a shortage of labor and materials has driven up costs and stretched out average building timelines, according to Residential Strategies' most recent quarterly market update.

  • Dallas Business Journal, February 16, 2022
February
21

7 Tips for Creating a Vertical Garden This Spring

Vertical Garden Tips

Limited on yard space? Consider building your garden "up" instead of "out" this spring.

Vertical gardens are a beautiful touch to any home, and they're very much in style this year. Vertical gardens consist of greenery suspended to a vertical wall, frame, or panel. Think of an ivy wall but with a wide assortment of plants. There are also super easy to build and maintain and can give your exterior a unique appeal. Some of our favorite Dallas homes for sale have had well-maintained vertical gardens that really impressed buyers.

Our real estate agents love exterior design trends that include vertical gardens, so they offered to pull together some tips to help you with yours this spring:

  1. Choose The Right Location
    Location is everything when it comes to a vertical garden. You'll want to choose a wall that is not only accessible but also receives a significant amount of sunlight. If you have a wall that could use a makeover, a vertical garden could also be a good way to conceal blemishes.
     
  2. Create A Sturdy Frame
    Your vertical garden needs to consist of a strong frame that can support pots, planters, or other soil containers. However, your garden is only as durable as the frame you select. Use thick, strong wood or even PVC pipe. Flimsy, thin pieces of wood or loose wire can lead to chaos when strong winds or storms roll in. Your structure also needs to be strong enough to support the weight of your plants.

  3. Protect Your Wall And Foundation
    Your vertical garden is going to need to be watered frequently, so it's important to take the necessary steps to protect your outer wall. Attaching a protective backing layer allows you to protect your building from any damage caused by ongoing water exposure. Also, consider adding a pooling tray to the bottom of your vertical garden. This will prevent water from pooling near the foundation of your home.

  4. Choose The Right Plants
    Not all plants are suited for a vertical garden. Since you're building up, you'll be limited on soil depth. Consequently, you'll need to choose plants with shallow roots. Aim for plants with roots that don't exceed 6 inches beneath the surface. Leafy vegetables and most popular flowers will work well.

  5. Give Your Plants Support
    Many plants don't grow vertically on their own, so they'll need a bit of extra support. Use fasteners, clips, and stakes to help keep your plants growing upward. This will be critical to keeping your plants healthy and your garden looking good.

  6. Choose The Right Watering System
    Watering a vertical garden can be a bit difficult, as gravity pulls water to the ground before it has a chance to soak into the roots. Consequently, you may need to water your vertical garden more frequently. Using a hose or a sprinkler system will work; however, a drip irrigation system will help evenly distribute water across the soil and provide the water a better chance of soaking into the soil.

  7. Prune Often
    Like any garden, your plants are going to need regular maintenance and upkeep. Vertical gardens often don't receive the same amount of sunlight as a horizontal garden, so it's important to keep adequate space between your plants and prune and trim regularly.

If you're looking to make your home stand out among these beautiful Fort Worth homes for sale, a vertical garden is a great addition to your exterior. For more landscaping tips, contact us today.

February
11

Builder's Dilemma, "We Can't Just Have a Market Where Only Californians Can Afford It"

After a year of record-breaking construction, North Texas homebuilders are starting 2022 with a backlog of sales and not enough supply.  Dallas-Fort Worth builders sold almost 46,000 single-family homes in 2021.  Even though local builders started more homes than in any market in the country, they can't keep up with demand for new housing units in North Texas.  Don't look for the supply-demand imbalance to end this year, housing analysts warn.  "2021 turned out to be one of the most extraordinary years in D-FW housing history," said Ted Wilson, principal with Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies. "Builders were enveloped by an unprecedented swell of housing demand that prompted the industry to rev up its production pace.  "Unfortunately, as builders rushed to sell houses to the wave of buyers, the resulting surge in starts was quickly met by the reality that there were limitations to the North Texas construction capacity."  A lack of labor, materials shortages and other constraints have driven up costs and stretched out average building timelines, Wilson said Thursday in his firm's quarterly market update.  Unlike in previous housing cycles, North Texas builders can't meet the appetite of consumers.  "There appears to be ample demand to sell houses at healthy margins but the reality is that no one is able to get houses constructed and completed as quickly as they would like," Wilson said.  North Texas housing demand is being driven by a combination of demographics and relocations to the state.  D-FW led the country in single family new home starts last year.

 

Phil Crone, executive director of the Dallas Builders Association, said most of the area's builders are focused on overcoming the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic-impacted industry.  And with the prospect of both higher mortgage rates and construction costs this year, affordability issues will continue to plague D-FW builders.    "We can't just have a market where only Californians can afford it."

  • Dallas Morning News, February 11, 2022

Inflation Concerns Are Sweeping the Nation

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