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August
15

What to Know When Buying an Air Purifier

Air Purifier

Want to remove pesky odors from your home and improve the quality of your indoor air? Our real estate agents suggest buying an air purifier.

An air purifier removes pathogens from your air, like pet dander, dust, and other allergens, that can affect your health. If you also work from home and spend a lot of time in your home office, an air purifier ensures that you have clean, healthy air in your workspace, helping you feel your best and boosting your productivity. 

Here are a few tips to follow when buying an air purifier. 

  • Look at the Specs for the Air Purifier
    If you're considering a specific air purifier, there are two specs you need to look at: the room size it's designed to cover and the CADR rating. The air purifier's room size lets you know how large of a space, in square feet, the air purifier works best in. For example, if an air purifier covers 300 square feet and your living space is 500 square feet, you'll want an air purifier with better capabilities. CADR stands for clean air delivery rate. This figure tells you how much clean air the air purifier produces and will help you figure out how quickly the unit filters the air in your home. When choosing an air purifier, look for a unit with a CADR spec that's at least two times the highest fan speed. 
  • Select a Device That Uses a HEPA Air Filter
    A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter removes 99.9 percent of the particles that pass through it. This includes particulates like viruses, bacteria, dust, and chemical compounds. Air purifiers that use a HEPA filter are effective at reducing the particles that can cause asthma and respiratory problems. If you're adding your home to the inventory of Dallas homes for sale, a HEPA air purifier will help freshen your home's air so that it feels clean and inviting to potential buyers. 
  • Consider the Unit's Sound Levels
    An air purifier will make noise when it runs. To minimize the background noise in your home, look for an air purifier with a decibel level of 32 or lower. Many air purifiers operate at 36 decibels. For comparison, a vacuum cleaner is 80 decibels, a normal conversation is 60 decibels, and a whispered conversation is 20 decibels. Some people don't mind background noise, while others prefer to minimize any source of noise pollution. If you're sensitive to noise or just want to minimize unnecessary sound, look for a unit that's as quiet as possible. 
  • Invest in an Air Purifier That's Designed for Your Primary Needs
    Your air purifier should suit your family's desired function. Perhaps you're adding your home to the list of Fort Worth homes for sale and want to remove any evidence of your pets. If so, look for an air purifier that specializes in removing pet dander. Or, maybe you have allergies and want to minimize your allergy symptoms. Search for a unit that removes the allergens that you find most problematic. 

An air purifier creates clean, odor-free air, making it an excellent addition to any home. Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us to get started!

June
20

Add These Gadgets to Your Kitchen

Kitchen tips

A beautiful, functional kitchen is one of the home's greatest assets. If you love cooking or wining and dining company on the weekends, investing in the kitchen is a great way to wow your guests.

Cooking just happens to be one of our favorite hobbies, and our real estate agents are always investing in the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets. But what kitchen gadgets will you actually utilize, and which ones will just collect dust? If you're looking to enhance your cooking skills or just make things more convenient, here are some of the best gadgets to add to your kitchen:

  • An Air Fryer
    Love the taste of crispy, deep-fried cuisine, but don't love the calories? An air fryer might be a great option for you. You can air-fry almost any type of food, and the entire process is quick and easy. This gadget makes cooking a delicious dinner a breeze.
     
  • An Immersion Blender
    If you're looking for a quick and easy way to blend smoothies, soups, and stews, invest in a good immersion blender. Traditional blenders can take up a ton of counter space, but immersion blenders are small and easy to store. 

  • A Waffle Maker
    Waffles are the staple of any brunch, and a nice waffle iron makes them super easy. Use it to serve up some fresh, tasty waffles to your friends on the weekends. Waffle irons can take up some storage space, so if your cabinets are too small, it might be time to upgrade to one of these Dallas homes for sale.

  • A Manual Food Chopper
    Looking to break up ground beef in the frying pan? Lose the spatula and invest in a manual food chopper instead. These gadgets make it simple to separate meat, and the best part is -- they don't damage your cookware. 

  • A Spiralizer
    Spiralizers have traditionally been used to thinly cut pasta, but now they're the go-to item for creating your own zucchini noodles, sweet potato noodles, or even creating thinly sliced potatoes. This gadget makes it super easy to prepare healthy meals.

  • An Electric Kettle
    If you drink a lot of tea or enjoy pour-over coffee, an electric kettle will change your life. Just fill it up with water, plug it in, and press the button, and you have boiling water in just a couple of minutes.

  • An Electric Can Opener
    Sometimes a manual can opener can be tricky to use and can occasionally get stuck. An electric can opener takes away the unpredictability of opening a can by making the process quick and easy.

  • The Traditional Toaster Oven
    The basic toaster is limited in its functionality, so it might be time to upgrade to the toaster oven. These small, compact appliances fit nicely on the counter and can not only make toast but can also be great for heating up any leftovers.

  • The Instant Pot
    You're sure to find Instant Pots in the kitchens of many of these Fort Worth homes for sale. So many people swear by The Instant Pot -- it makes cooking super easy. This revolutionary kitchen appliance is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and food warmer all in one. You can put almost anything in The Instant Pot.

Cooking is fun and easy when your kitchen is equipped with the best gadgets and appliances. For more tips on how to make the most out of your kitchen, contact us today.

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
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.

July
12

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen

Dallas Kitchen Upgrades

Love to cook? If so, you may be looking for a dream kitchen among Fort Worth homes for sale. You probably have some good ideas about what you want in a kitchen, but our real estate agents have some insightful advice that might make you reconsider what you're looking for. For instance, many homeowners think large when it comes to kitchen space, but experts say it's more important for your kitchen to be organized than to be expansive.

Make the most of your kitchen with these upgrades.

  1. Create a Good Workflow
    Gathering guests in the kitchen while you cook is a definite trend, but you want to arrange things so your guests can enjoy visiting and not be in the way. Place them nearby where they can enjoy a drink or some snacks, but not where you have to work around them. Plan for your cooktop to be out of the flow of traffic; take that a step further and locate the trash or the bar away from the cooking flow so you don't have to dance around obstructions. By the same token, you want essentials nearby, such as the refrigerator, pots and pans, most favored utensils, and cooking ingredients.

  2. Invest in Good Counters
    You want good quality counters, but that doesn't mean you need to invest in the most expensive materials. For instance, granite is popular, but it requires considerable upkeep and can scratch easily. Another popular material is soapstone, which is soft and can be scratched, but it's not delicate. It also ages nicely and can stand high heat. Compressed recycled quartz is a popular choice that stands up to wear and comes in several choices.

  3. Go for Quality Cookware
    Forget those 20-piece cookware sets. Rather, buy piece by piece and only buy what you need. For instance, you're likely going to use a frying pan or skillet more than, say, a saucier, so do invest in one that's of good quality. But investing in an inexpensive non-stick skillet for daily egg cooking isn't a bad idea. You can save the quality piece for the gourmet dishes, and just let the non-stick go when it wears out.  

    A cast-iron skillet is one way to acquire a quality piece that doesn't cost much. These last forever. You might also want to invest in a fully clad pot, which means it's composed of three layers of bonded metal. These pots are known for even transmittal of heat, which translates to nice browning instead of hot spots.

  4. Think Bold
    While white kitchens with a bold pop of color or two have prevailed over recent years, the trend may be shifting to more adventurous colors. For instance, bright blue cabinetry might call to you, as might a green marble countertop or a backsplash that makes an eye-catching statement. If you know you're staying in your current home, choose the colors that appeal most to you.

  5. Consider Sustainability 
    The throw-away syndrome is something we all need to lose, and no better place to start than in your kitchen upgrade. As you look to redo your kitchen, shop for quality, artisanal, sustainably made items that will last a lifetime. For example, consider adding quality food storage solutions to get rid of plastic wrap usage.

Still looking for a home complete with the perfect kitchen for all your culinary adventures? Our agents can help. Contact us today.

June
18

Dallas-Fort Worth median home sales prices exceed $350,000 for first time

The Dallas-Fort Worth median home price surpassed the $350,000 mark for the first time, but some signs nationally indicate the red-hot market is cooling.

The current median home sale price in DFW is $351,750, up 11.8 percent over last year, according to the RE/MAX national housing report released today.   DFW home sales are up 23.7 percent over last year. May homes sold faster than April, with an average of 24 days on the market, according to the report.

Nationally, there are signs the market may be cooling, with May home sales down slightly compared to April. In DFW, however, May sales are up slightly compared to April.

At RE/MAX DFW Associates, the number of closed transactions from one year prior rose 64 percent in May, according to broker Mark Wolfe, who owns the company. Total closed volume was up a record 94 percent, he said. And already, the company is breaking new records in June.  "This unprecedented market continues with each month surpassing the record from the previous month," Wolfe said. "My concern is rising inflation – home prices, car sales and cost of goods. Certainly, interest rates will begin to rise."

Nationally, the typical May ramp-up in home sales didn't happen last month, as sales dipped 0.2 percent from April and home prices were uncharacteristically flat in the report's 53 metro areas.  Also defying the trend: A 7.1 percent drop in listed homes at a time of year when active inventory is normally building for peak summer sales months.

Other metrics, however, indicate that the lopsided sellers' market continues. Months supply of inventory nationwide dropped to 1.1 months and homes changed hands in just 28 days. Both are records in the 13-year history of the RE/MAX report.

While Dallas-Fort Worth's sales price increase of almost 12 percent year over year is significant, it's far less than many other places. 

  • Dallas Business Journal, June 17, 2021

 

May
10

Small Ways to Give Your Home Office a Boost

Home Office Tips

Whether you're permanently working from home or just want a space where you can create in peace, it's important to set up an inviting home office that you look forward to working in. Our real estate agents also find that a home with a home office is more appealing to potential buyers. You don't have to undergo a complete renovation to update your home office; instead, check out these simple ways to give your home office a boost. 

  1. Add Fresh Paint to the Space
    The color of a room significantly influences the room's atmosphere and overall appearance. In general, lighter tones of gray, blue, and green work to create a soothing atmosphere for your home office. Some research indicates that a green hue enhances concentration. An additional benefit of light colors is that they reflect light, making your home office appear larger. If you're adding your home to the list of Fort Worth homes for sale, this will help maximize the home's appeal to potential buyers. 
  1. Declutter the Room
    It's distracting to work in a space that has a lot of excess stuff. Go through the room and get rid of anything that doesn't have a purpose or that doesn't suit your current needs or aesthetics. If you are setting up your office in a shared space, such as your home's living room or basement, invest in organizational materials (like bins, cube storage, and shelves) to ensure non-work items are contained in an aesthetically pleasing way. 
  1. Make Your Home Office Ergonomically Correct
    Invest in materials that keep your body healthy and comfortable while you work. An ergonomically correct desk chair is a must. Ideally, the chair will provide ample lower back support and encourage good posture so that you keep your spine and neck in alignment. If you're constantly looking down at your computer, invest in risers so that your screen is at eye level. Don't forget lighting! When you're writing or reading, a desk lamp is essential for proper illumination. 
  1. See That the Space is Functional
    Your home office should be set up in a way that boosts your efficiency. Do you like to display your reports or paper graphics? Invest in a corkboard so that you don't take up precious desk space. Or, are you a frequent memo maker? A whiteboard is a must-have for your work area. If you use books or manuals, check that you have a bookshelf to contain and organize them so that you can quickly find what you need. 
  1. Incorporate Life into Your Office Decor
    Indoor plants improve your concentration, enhance your home's air quality, and provide an easy source of decor for your room. When you list your home with other Plano homes for sale, plants will instantly make your home more inviting to prospective buyers. They also give your office a homey atmosphere. 

Searching for a home with a larger space for a home office? Contact us today to explore your options!

March
15

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Home Improvement Project

Home Improvement DFW

Renovating or updating your home is an exciting prospect. Whether you plan on living there a while longer or are fixing it up to sell soon, doing much-needed updates can be satisfying. Before you get too carried away, though, here are a few words of caution from our real estate agents.

  1. Choose your contractor carefully.
    Remember that a lot rides on your choice of contractor. This person will oversee your project, so it needs to be someone who is on board with your vision. It also should be someone who is good at what they do, so check online reviews. It's a good rule of thumb to interview several contractors and look for someone who will be a good fit for your project, understands your budget, and will be able to deliver as promised and on time.

  2. Expect the unexpected.
    That being said, always expect the unexpected, and build a little wiggle room into your budget and your timeline. You don't know what your contractor and his crew will find once they start work. The original plan may need to be changed or some issue could require attention before the work can continue. If you build a little extra into your overall plan, changes in cost or time frame won't hurt as much.

  3. Do the kitchen first.
    There are several reasons why you should do the kitchen first. First of all, it's likely to inconvenience you the most, since you won't have a kitchen to cook in. You can set up a temporary kitchen station in another room, where you can do simple food prep. But more importantly, kitchen updates have the biggest impact on your home's value. Dallas homes for sale that feature clean, modern kitchens show and sell the best. Plus, those updates feature the most functionality, so you'll likely enjoy them the most during whatever time you have left in the house.

  4. Be honest with yourself before DIYing.
    It can be tempting to save yourself the money and do the work yourself, but be honest with yourself as to whether you have the required knowledge, experience, and skill to DIY it. If you overestimate your ability to DIY your upgrades, you'll detract from your home's appeal and leave the buyer to clean up the mess. Be honest with yourself, and if you don't know enough to make the job look professional, then leave it to the professionals.

  5. Know whether you're selling or staying. 
    If you're designing updates to enjoy while you live in the home, your goals are going to be different than if you're updating a home in order to join the list of Fort Worth homes for sale. Renovations for yourself will of course be targeted to your personal preferences, whereas renovations prior to selling need to be more neutral so that they'll appeal to a wide range of potential buyers.

If you're looking to sell your home soon, home improvement projects are a great way to boost its appeal to buyers. For more information about what upgrades sell the best, or to speak to an agent, contact us today.

February
8

Storage Solutions You'll Want in Your Home

Home Storage SolutionsNo matter how big a house is, we seem never to have enough storage space. The problem might be you just haven't unlocked the secrets of a good storage strategy.

If you're considering homes among Dallas homes for sale or Fort Worth homes for sale, and you're wondering if the storage will be sufficient, just keep these tips in mind for how you might expand the storage space in your new home.

  1. Over-the-doorway shelving. 
    Bet you didn't know you had all that potential storage space right over the doorway. Install open-air shelves over the doorway in bedrooms, bathrooms, and above double doors. Depending on the type of room where the shelves are installed, you can place plants, decorative dishes, and pottery, or treasured mementos.

  2. Under-the-bed storage bins.
    Don't let that space under your bed go to the dust bunnies. Acquire long, flat storage bins and stow things such as holiday gift bags, tissue, and wrapping paper; or even off-season clothing. 

  3. Hooks for measuring spoons and cups.
    Don't you get fed up looking for measuring spoons and smaller-size measuring cups in your drawer full of miscellanea? Now you can put your hand right on them by installing hooks inside your kitchen cabinet doors and hanging them within easy reach.

  4. Drawer organizers.
    Utilize these to help organize your kitchen. Drawer organizers work well if you put some time into planning what you need to access before you buy the organizers. Make sure you measure your drawers as well! 

  5. Storage bins for cabinets.
    Same as for drawer organizers: think about what you want to place in storage bins before you buy them. For instance, maybe you have some spices you'd like to have right at hand, so you acquire a bin for the pantry where you can place them in rough alphabetical order. Storage bins in cabinets should work well for all the smaller items in the kitchen, such as packets of gravy or dressing mixes, a box of bouillon cubes, a baggie full of orphaned tea bags, sweetener packets, whatever. Obviously, storage bins for your bedroom closets will be larger so they can hold your shoes; maybe in your office, a storage bin would be useful for rounding up all those power cords and chargers you can't seem to throw away.

  6. Excess stuff.
    You know you need to get rid of stuff you never use, but it's hard. We suggest once a year going through your possessions and doing a fearless assessment of what you're likely to need or can let go of without regrets. Some of it can go in the trash or the recycling bin; the rest, such as clothing or furniture in good repair, can go to charity. 

  7. Outdoor storage shed.
    This is one of the best solutions for relieving indoor crowding. Try to arrange stored items with a top to bottom plan by stacking seldom-used items on the bottom, and stuff you might need in smaller containers near the top. Think about what you'll want to get at (holiday decorations for instance) and place them so you can access them as needed. 

All these small changes will add up and provide you and your family more space so you can live more comfortably in your home.

Need more tips? Our real estate agents can help. Contact us today.

July
28

Two Reasons We Won't See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall

Two Reasons We Won't See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall | MyKCM

The health crisis we face as a country has led businesses all over the nation to reduce or discontinue their services altogether. This pause in the economy has greatly impacted the workforce and as a result, many people have been laid off or furloughed. Naturally, that would lead many to believe we might see a rush of foreclosures like we saw in 2008. The market today, however, is very different from 2008.

The concern of more foreclosures based on those that are out of work is one that we need to understand fully. There are two reasons we won't see a rush of foreclosures this fall: forbearance extension options and strong homeowner equity.

1. Forbearance Extension

Forbearance, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is "when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to temporarily pay your mortgage at a lower payment or pause paying your mortgage." This is an option for those who need immediate relief. In today's economy, the CFPB has given homeowners a way to extend their forbearance, which will greatly assist those families who need it at this critical time.

Under the CARES Act, the CFPB notes:

 "If you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request and obtain a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request and obtain an extension for up to another 180 days (for a total of up to 360 days)." 

2. Strong Homeowner Equity

Equity is also working in favor of today's homeowners. This savings is another reason why we won't see substantial foreclosures in the near future. Today's homeowners who are in forbearance actually have more equity in their homes than what the market experienced in 2008.

The Mortgage Monitor report from Black Knight indicates that of all active forbearances which are past due on their mortgage payment, 77% have at least 20% equity in their homes (See graph below):Two Reasons We Won't See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall | MyKCMBlack Knight notes:

"The high level of equity provides options for homeowners, policymakers, mortgage investors and servicers in helping to avoid downstream foreclosure activity and default-related losses."

Bottom Line

Many think we may see a rush of foreclosures this fall, but the facts just don't add up in this case. Today's real estate market is very different from 2008 when we saw many homeowners walk away when they owed more than their homes were worth. This time, equity is stronger and plans are in place to help those affected weather the storm.

June
23

Homebuyers Are in the Mood to Buy Today!

Homebuyers Are in the Mood to Buy Today | MyKCM

According to the latest FreddieMac Quarterly Forecast, mortgage interest rates have fallen to historically low levels this spring and they're projected to remain low. This means there's a huge incentive for buyers who are ready to purchase. And homeowners looking for eager buyers can take advantage of this opportune time to sell as well.

There's a very positive outlook on interest rates going forward, as the projections from the FreddieMac report indicate continued lows into 2021:

"Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021."

 With mortgage rates hovering at such compelling places, ongoing buyer interest is bound to keep driving the housing market forward. Rates also reached another record low last week, so homebuyers are in what FreddieMac is identifying as the buying mood:

"While the rebound in the economy is uneven, one segment that is exhibiting strength is the housing market. Purchase demand activity is up over twenty percent from a year ago, the highest since January 2009. Mortgage rates have hit another record low due to declining inflationary pressures, putting many homebuyers in the buying mood. However, it will be difficult to sustain the momentum in demand as unsold inventory was at near record lows coming into the pandemic and it has only dropped since then."

There's no doubt that even though buyers are ready to purchase, it's hard for many of them to find a home to buy today. Mortgage rates aren't the only thing hovering near all-time lows; homes available for sale are too. With housing inventory as scarce as it is today – a nearly 20% year-over-year decline in available homes to purchase – keeping buyers in the purchasing mood may be tough if they can't find a home to buy (See graph below):

Homebuyers Are in the Mood to Buy Today | MyKCM

What does this mean for buyers?

Competition is hot with so few homes available for purchase and low mortgage rates are helping to drive affordability as well. Getting pre-approved now will help you gain a competitive advantage and accelerate the homebuying process, so you're ready to go when you find that perfect home you'd like to buy. Working quickly and efficiently with a trusted real estate professional will help put you in a position to act fast when you're ready to make your move.

What does this mean for sellers?

If you're thinking of selling your house, know that the motivation for buyers to purchase right now is as high as ever with rates where they are today. Selling now before other sellers come to market in your neighborhood this summer might put your house high on the list for many buyers. Homebuyers are clearly in the mood to buy, and with today's safety guidelines and precautions in place to show your house, confidence is also on your side.

Bottom Line

Whether you're looking to buy or sell, there's great motivation to be in the housing market, especially with mortgage rates hovering at this historic all-time low. Let's connect today to make sure you're ready to make your move.

-Keeping Current Matters, June 22nd

 

June
16

US Housing Shortage Sparks Uptick in Bidding Wars

How dramatic will home recovery sales be in coming months?

As more Americans jump back into the housing market, competition for limited inventory is increasing among prospective homebuyers.  Many major cities around the U.S. experienced an uptick in interest, creating bidding wars for available properties, according to real estate brokerage firm Redfin.  Nearly 50 percent of Redfin offers faced competition in May, up from 43.9 percent in April.  Meanwhile, the number of listings on the market was 18.9 percent lower than the same period last year.  "Bidding wars also jumped in May because homebuyers felt they were starting to get more clarity around where the economy was headed, with cities around the nation lifting stay-at-home orders," Redfin lead economist Taylor Marr said in a statement. "This gave house hunters more confidence to compete."

 

Single-family homes were more likely to have multiple competitive offers when compared with condos and townhouses. As previously reported by FOX Business, the pandemic has caused prospective buyers to value space and private property more than they may have in the past.  Homes priced below $500,000 are in the highest demand, Redfin agents said.  The metro area that experienced the highest amount of competition was Boston, followed by Dallas and Washington, D.C. 

  • Fox Business, June 16, 2020
June
15

Your Kitchen Reno Doesn't Have to Break the Bank

Easy Kitchen Remodel - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Kitchens pose a unique challenge when you're looking to update your home. They have to be highly functional workspaces and feel inviting. Completely renovating a kitchen would involve removing built-in cabinets and moving major appliances—an expensive and disruptive endeavor. But you can give your kitchen a whole new look on a modest budget. The Dallas homes for sale that we show can serve as inspiration, but you should also consider the following ideas. 

  • Shed New Light on the Subject
    Changing your lighting can make a world of difference in the look and feel of your kitchen. A fixture with a ceiling fan can cool things off in the summer. Under-cabinet lighting can make it easier for you to work if your counter space is mostly under wall cabinets. If you have a flush-mounted ceiling light, changing the fixture may be as simple as unscrewing the old and attaching the new.

  • A Hint of Tint
    Paint is a tried and true method of changing the look of a room, but when that room has built-in cabinets and flooring that is designed for high traffic and water resistance, your options change a bit. The kitchen ceiling and area above the backsplash, however, are ideal for pastels, brights, and if your painting skills are up to it, subtle trompe l'oeil effects.

  • Backsplash Changes Are Back
    Your backsplash needs to be durable and water-resistant, but it doesn't need to be boring. Stamped tin or copper will add a romantic gleam to a kitchen, and tiles of varying materials and colors can be used to create a colorful mosaic-like effect. If you'd like to show off bold appliances, however, subway tile provides a backdrop that won't overpower them.

  • Show Your Metal 
    Form and function can unite when you update your cabinet and drawer pulls. In the kitchen, you need cabinet hardware that will allow you to get the flour when your hands are sticky, oily, or wet. Changing the hardware will update your kitchen's look and make your kitchen easier to use.

  • Put On A Show 
    Decorative elements need not involve permanent or extensive changes. Choose embroidered or printed kitchen towels to give your kitchen a vintage touch. Display your most beautiful china or bakeware on open shelves. Place pots of herbs in the window for their color and scent, and to have them ready for the clipping in a recipe. A floor mat designed for kitchens can add a needed pop of color and be kind to your feet if you've been on them all day. Small decorative elements can be ideal if you're not ready to make a commitment to more extensive changes. 

Our real estate agents have long admired the impeccable style of DFW-area kitchens. We'd love to chat with you about your home. Contact us soon.

May
21

A Surprising Shift to the Suburbs May Be on the Horizon

While many people across the U.S. have traditionally enjoyed the perks of an urban lifestyle, some who live in more populated city limits today are beginning to rethink their current neighborhoods. Being in close proximity to everything from the grocery store to local entertainment is definitely a perk, especially if you can also walk to some of these hot spots and have a short commute to work. The trade-off, however, is that highly populated cities can lack access to open space, a yard, and other desirable features. These are the kinds of things you may miss when spending a lot of time at home. When it comes to social distancing, as we've experienced recently, the newest trend seems to be around re-evaluating a once-desired city lifestyle and trading it for suburban or rural living.

George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com notes:

"With the re-opening of the economy scheduled to be cautious, the impact on consumer preferences will likely shift buying behavior…consumers are already looking for larger homes, bigger yards, access to the outdoors and more separation from neighbors. As we move into the recovery stage, these preferences will play an important role in the type of homes consumers will want to buy. They will also play a role in the coming discussions on zoning and urban planning. While higher density has been a hallmark of urban development over the past decade, the pandemic may lead to a re-thinking of space allocation."

The Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,000 Americans, and 39% of the respondents who live in urban areas indicated the COVID-19 crisis has caused them to consider moving to a less populated area.

Today, moving outside the city limits is also more feasible than ever, especially as Americans have quickly become more accustomed to – and more accepting of – remote work. According to the Pew Research Center, access to the Internet has increased significantly in rural and suburban areas, making working from home more accessible. The number of people working from home has also spiked considerably, even before the pandemic came into play this year.

Bottom Line

If you have a home in the suburbs or a rural area, you may see an increasing number of buyers looking for a property like yours. If you're thinking of buying and don't mind a commute to work for the well-being of your family, you may want to consider looking at homes for sale outside the city. Contact a local real estate professional today to discuss the options available in your area.

  • Keeping Current Matters, May 13, 2020
May
11

Dallas: Find Your Inner Green Thumb

Gardening Tips - Dallas - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Gardeners are so lucky in the Dallas area. With a little bit of effort, you can grow vegetable crops almost all year long in our warm, sunny climate. That long growing season is also great for producing abundant flowers that nourish butterflies in spring, summer and fall.

Our real estate agents can help you find just the right gardening spot among all our Dallas homes for sale.

In the meantime, here are some things to know about gardening in North Texas, and some recommendations for spring and summer planting.

Lone Star Weather: Tough on Gardeners

Weather in North Texas tends to be changeable, and that's truer than ever in these warmer times. During our recent spring, we've seen 95-degree days, followed by a norther that sent the mercury plummeting down to the 30s. Those sudden changes can be tough on gardens, so research plants carefully before you buy. The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service in Dallas should be your go-to source for sustaining your garden through inclement weather. 

Garden experts abound in North Texas and can advise you on protecting plants from sudden frosts or too much summer sun. For instance, situating plants sensitive to frost by a sunny wall in a warm microclimate can help, as can erecting a vine-covered trellis to shade plants prone to withering from harsh afternoon sun. 

Also, watch out for exposed locations where fierce spring winds may wreak havoc, drying out or breaking your tender vegetables or flowers. Planting or erecting windbreaks can help.

Pests

It's warm here most of the year, and in summer, it's downright hot. Warm climates usually have an abundance of garden pests and diseases that plague gardens, so be prepared. While some gardeners may adopt a regimen of spraying with chemicals, organic gardening experts support more earth-friendly methods such as using organic fertilizer, compost, and mulch; using organic applications to control garden pests and diseases; and planting plants adapted for our climate. 

How to Plant

One of the best garden designs for our area is the raised bed. Raised beds keep plant roots from bogging down in our clayey soils during wet spells. A 4-foot by 6-foot frame (these are available commercially) can get you started.

Double dig your planting spot to get rid of any rocks or roots. Place the frame, making sure it's level and bracing it to keep sides from bowing. Fill it with layers of garden soil and compost, then plant plants, seeds, or seedlings. Cover with mulch. Add extra beds if you have room.

Best Plants for North Texas

When choosing plant material, you'd do well to study Texas A&M's recommendations for EarthKind landscaping. The recommended plants stand up to the heat and drought of North Texas, having lower water needs than many other plants. 

  1. Vegetables
    After March 12, which is considered the last date for frost in our area, you can plant cucumbers, lima beans, tomatoes, corn, squash, peppers, radishes, and snap beans. In late April, plant watermelon, eggplant, okra, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.

    In July, plant sweet and hot peppers, okra, and tomatoes to harvest in the fall.

    In August, plant broccoli, parsley, okra, onion, squash, collards, and watermelon for the fall.

  2. Flowers
    In May, plant hot-weather annuals, including periwinkles, salvia, zinnias, coleus, and portulaca. June annuals might include purslane, caladiums, Mexican heather, begonia, and hibiscus.

    In August, plant perennials that flower in the fall, including Mexican mint marigold, rain lilies, and chrysanthemums. 

We can help you find a dream home in Dallas where you can make your garden grow. Contact us today.

April
27

What's That Noise? Common House Noises and How to Fix Them

Common House Noises - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Creaks, groans, bangs, clanks—houses make all kinds of weird noises. Most of them aren't anything to worry about, but some could indicate a serious problem. Our real estate agents have just about heard them all, and we're here to offers some advice on how to identify and fix some common house sounds.

  • Whining Windows
    Chances are you've heard the ghostly sound of wind whistling through a drafty window. It can be downright unsettling if you don't know what it is, but once you've identified the source, leaky windows are usually an easy fix. In most cases, all it takes is a bit of caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around old windows, though if you live in an old house with a lot of drafty windows, you might want to think about replacing them to improve energy efficiency.

  • Scratching in the Walls
    If you hear something that sounds like scratching or scurrying inside your wall, you probably have some uninvited guests. Pests like squirrels, mice, and rats—even raccoons in some cases—are the likely culprits. If so, it's best to call an exterminator as soon as possible. Critters like these can chew through siding and insulation, and may even chomp on electric wires. 

  • Clanking Radiator
    Old radiators make sounds that range from faint scrapes and clanks to loud bangs that can wake you up every time the heat kicks in. The usual cause is poor drainage, leading to condensed steam getting caught in the pipes. You can solve the problem by inserting some wooden shims under one side of the radiator so that it's tipped slightly back toward the boiler.

  • Mysterious Running Water
    It's normal to hear running water inside your walls when someone turns on the sink, flushes the toilet, or runs the dishwasher. It's not normal to hear running water when no water-using appliances are on. The first thing you should check is the toilet tank to see if it's running. If so, it's an easy fix using this tutorial. If not, locate your home's main water shutoff valve and turn it off. If that puts a stop to the running water sound, that probably means you have a leak somewhere and should call a plumber as soon as possible. 

  • Rattling Pipes
    If your water pipes make a rattling sound when in use, it probably means they aren't anchored correctly. Try this: wrap the pipes in rubber pipe insulation, and use metal pipe straps every four feet to anchor them to the wall.

  • Furnace Whistling
    We sometimes hear reports of furnaces making a "whistling" or "sucking" sound. As a general rule, if your furnace starts making a new and alarming sound, you should probably call an HVAC professional as soon as possible. But that whistling sound is most likely the result of a simple clogged air filter. When that happens, the furnace will try to pull air around the filter, which puts a huge strain on the system. Remember to change your filters once a month during the heating season!

  • Bubbling Water Heater
    It's generally recommended that all homeowners drain and flush out their water heater every six months. If you don't, it can result in a lot of sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank. All that sediment will eventually start to come loose, resulting in a bubbling or crackling sound when the water heater turns on. 

Contact us today to learn more about diagnosing common household noises. We've spent years connecting families with beautiful Dallas homes for sale, and we're here to help with all your home ownership questions. 

March
10

Dallas area homeowners staying in their properties

Homeowners in Dallas and across the country are staying put longer

One reason there are fewer houses for sale is that homeowners are staying put longer.  The average Dallas-area homeowner has been in his or her house almost eight years, according to a new report by LendingTree.com.  The mortgage company looked at homeownership tenures in major markets around the country.   "Our study found that there's an inverse relationship between home price and the length of time people stay in their homes," the LendingTree report found. "In other words, prices rise more quickly when people stay in their homes for shorter time periods."   The amount of time homeowners stay in a property has grown significantly since the Great Recession.  Before the economic downtown, homes tended to turn over every three to five years. But owners are remaining in their properties longer and have been more likely to remodel or refinance rather move.  That has contributed to the shortage of houses on the market in many U.S. cities.

              • Dallas Morning News, March 6, 2020

 

October
18

Forecasters – What to Expect Over Next 12 Months

Paige Shipp, regional director with housing analyst MetroStudy Inc. fears home sales might slow next year in the ramp up to presidential and congressional elections.  "We typically have much slower selling seasons right before an election," she said. "After that happens, the flood gates open and people come out. It's not a matter of who wins."   Worries about a recession may also impact the home market.  "We spent the better part of the last decade still looking over our shoulder," said George Ratiu, senior economist with Realtor.com.  "The last recession was so bad that we are still carrying some of the scars from that."   However, Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University states that Texas economy is still expanding.  "And we are extremely unlikely to be in a recession by the end of this calendar year," he said. "We are probably pretty safe through the first six months of next year."

  • Dallas Morning News, October 14, 2019

 

July
3

Home Investors Gobbling Up Lower-Priced DFW Market

 

Investors purchased a record share of Dallas-area homes last year.  And these for-profit homebuyers are expected to continue to gobble up thousands of houses in North Texas and nationwide.  Home investors are having the biggest impact in the lower price ranges of the Dallas home market — the same sector first-time buyers are shopping.

More than 14% of low-priced houses in the Dallas area sold to investors in 2018, according to new data by CoreLogic. Overall, more than 8% of Dallas homes of all prices were snapped up by investors.  "Investor buying activity in the U.S. is at record highs," CoreLogic's Ralph McLaughlin said. "It's not the big institutional guys that are leading the increase in home buying — it's the smaller guys.  "They are buying homes that are in the lower third of prices — they are essentially buying starter homes," McLaughin said at a meeting of the National Association of Real Estate Editors in Austin.

  • Dallas Morning News, June 27, 2019
June
25

Homeowners: Ask These 5 Questions Before You Downsize

When to Downsize - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Moving into a smaller home can be advantageous on many levels depending on your circumstances and reasons why you're choosing to do so. But it's not right for everyone, and depending on your particular situation, it may actually be more of a burden than an advantage. 

Our real estate agents have put together this list of five questions to ask before downsizing.

  1. Can I afford to downsize?
    It makes logical sense that moving into a smaller home will be cheaper, whether in monthly mortgage payments or in utilities and upkeep. But doing so can be somewhat misleading, especially if you're in an area where home prices are rising.

    If you've lived in your home long enough to stack up some substantial equity, and you can either swap payment for payment or use the proceeds from the sale of your existing home to purchase your new home outright, then downsizing makes sense.

    Where downsizing can get you in trouble is when the home you're purchasing costs you far more, or your payments stretch out beyond the timeline you've established.

  2. Will I pay capital gains tax?
    Along the same lines as above, selling a home you purchased two or three decades ago will likely be far more valuable now than it was when you purchased it. As a result, you may be on the hook for the proceeds from selling your existing home.

    The IRS allows for exemptions in capital gains of $250,000 for single filers or $500,000 for those married filing jointly. Anything above those thresholds will incur a 15% capital gains tax, plus, depending on what tax bracket you fall under, your taxable income could be far greater.

    It's best to consult a financial professional or accountant if you think the sale of your home could incur capital gains tax.

  3. Am I using the space in my current home?
    Downsizing usually comes to mind when homeowners realize they're not using all of the space in their home. Naturally, you want a home that feels comfortable and has adequate space, but a home with cavernous living areas and empty rooms may seem like a little much.

    If this sounds like your situation, then it's probably time to downsize. Take into account all of the things you'll be moving and precisely what you want in a future home, then start shopping!

  4. Am I ready to downsize?
    Readiness to downsize is a function mainly of emotion and willingness to start fresh in a smaller dwelling.

    Emotions can run high when looking to move out of a home you've made a life in, but rest assured that many more memories will be made in your new home. When it comes to willingness, you'll likely have to part with some furniture, possessions, and generally get ready to live in a smaller space. Coming to that point can take some time, but you'll grow comfortable with the idea of living in, and with, less.

  5. Are my costs mounting?
    Higher utility bills, growing tax rates, and increasing home repairs may be the thing that takes you over the edge when deciding to downsize.

    All of these things will factor into your fixed income later in life (if you're looking to retire) and can potentially become a burden if you don't have some financial flexibility and options at your disposal. If your costs are getting to be more than you'd like, then downsizing is right for you.

If you're looking for Dallas homes for sale, then contact us to speak to one of our agents to start shopping for your perfect forever home.

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