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DART Cotton Belt Is Coming!

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit system has announced its latest expansion! 

Say Hello to the Cotton Belt!

Multiple cities in the Dallas metroplex will be able to connect directly to DFW Airport, thanks to DART’s Cotton Belt line.

Set to open in 2022, the new rail line will run from east to west across the north Dallas DART green and red lines allowing travelers to bypass traveling into downtown to connect to the orange line.

Major cities the Cotton Belt will connect to include Plano, Richardson, Addison, Carrollton and North Lake. The line will also allow direct transportation from the TEX Rail in Fort Worth to North Dallas cities.

View the full article here: DART Cotton Belt will connect rail lines to DFW airport – Dallas City News.

 

Is it yours? America’s 50 best cities to live: 24/7 Wall St.

We are so glad to see Richardson as #3 on the list!

The secret is out: visit City of Richardson at: www.cor.net

 

> Population: 110,827 > Median home value: $226,000 > Poverty rate: 9.5% > Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 53.2%

More than half of all adults in Richardson have at least a bachelor’s degree. With high educational attainment, incomes in the city are high and violent crime is scarce. The typical Richardson household earns $80,398 a year, and the city’s violent crime rate is less than half that of the state a whole. In many cities with higher incomes, the cost of living is also higher than normal. In Richardson, however, the cost of goods and services is roughly in line with the cost of living nationwide.

Located just outside of Dallas, Richardson residents benefit both from economic opportunities in the larger city, and the cultural amenities, without the higher violent and property crime rates.

Read the whole article here: Is it yours? America’s 50 best cities to live: 24/7 Wall St..

Burglars spill their secrets: Is your home really secure?

When considering how to keep your home safe from burglary, there are a myriad of costly options in home security systems. The rapidly changing world of technology makes it difficult to keep up, and even then sometimes that won’t keep them away.  Take it from the thieves themselves: some of the top deterrents for burglars are actually not “sold in stores”. Is your current approach warding off criminals, or are you advertising your home as a treasure chest?

See the full article: We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes | WFAA.com

Burglars prefer breaking in early morning or afternoon. 

“Between 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Anyone that was home for lunch should be gone by then and most kids should all still be in school,” wrote a convicted burglar.

Deterrent or Advertisement?

NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal,” wrote one burglar.

Burglars had mixed opinions about home security signs. Some burglars said it didn’t faze them.

Others said they knew how to disable alarms or avoid setting them off.   

All of the inmates who responded said they would knock on the front door before breaking in.

Generally, burglars agreed security cameras were a deterrent.

 But some said it also likely signaled there were valuables inside the home.

If Fido Has A Big Bark, Thieves Won’t Risk The Bite

If a homeowner had a big, loud dog most burglars would stay away. 

Small dogs don’t seem to bother them.

“Dogs are a deal breaker for me,” said one inmate.

“Big breeds, home protectors are the best to keep people out.”

Lennar plans new apartments, retail on Garland Road

A design for retail/apartments that Lennar built in Minnesota

View The Full Article Here

Source: Lakewood Advocate Magazine

Lennar Multifamily Communities wants to build a mixed-use development of apartments and retail on Garland Road near Buckner.

The company, a subsidiary of Miami-based homebuilder Lennar Corp., is requesting a zoning change for the two lots between Fire Station No. 31 and Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, formerly Doctor’s Hospital.

One of the properties, at 9353 Garland Road, is the current home of White Rock Community Church. And the other, at 9335 Garland Parkway, is a medical office.

While Lennar’s zoning-change application requests a new planned development district “to allow for multifamily residential and retail,” it doesn’t specify what kind of density they’re seeking. How many stories, how many apartments and how much retail space they’ll be requesting remains to be seen.

A representative from Lennar, Todd Cook, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This would be the first new apartment complex on that part of Garland Road since the housing bust.

Lennar in 2015 set up a $1.1-billion fund to build and hold apartments in as many as 25 major U.S. Markets, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company has one new apartment complex in Las Colinas, one in Oak Lawn and one near Glencoe Park. They also have a 23-story high-rise under construction in Victory Park.

Dallas Arboretum to Host Its First Food Fest

Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

View the full article here: Dallas Arboretum to Host Its First Food Fest.

I just wanted to share this article from Jack on the Web (100.3 JackFM) about an upcoming, new kind of special event during the Dallas Arboretum’s famous Dallas Blooms Festival. If you have never been to this treasure in Dallas, you simply must go and explore! There you will find much more than just spectacular seasonal stems and shrubs… the Arboretum also boasts a number of Historical Landmarks, corners a breathtaking view of White Rock Lake, holds a number of seasonal concert series, and recently debuted an entire children’s park. For those who have frequented the gardens, the promise of a food festival with the best our local culinary talent at such an amazing venue is something I will be sure not to miss!

Event Date: March 16th, 2017

For tickets and additional information: www.DallasArboretum.org

The driving forces behind home purchase deal fallouts in DFW:

Steve Brown, Real Estate Editor for Dallas News, recently wrote an article examining where D-FW starter home sales failed in 2016. It is certainly an important topic to consider as we trek into the Spring in 2017, and there may be more to it than Brown suggests:

View Full Article: Why are more D-FW home purchase deals falling through?

Source: Trulia

Homes selling in 3 days is the driving force behind the fallout. The article mentions what used to be the predominant drivers, and I believe those are still occurring at “normal levels”. What the article failed to address is the speed of the current market. It used to be that a Buyer would see a house, like it, go home and sleep on it, come back in the next day or two and see it a second time, and then make a well considered offer. Take that much time making a decision now, and the opportunity will be gone. So, now, Buyer will spend 30 minutes to an hour in the house, and decide to make an offer. At lower price points, they may make several offers, just trying to get to contract. Once the contract is executed, the real decision gets made. And more frequently than in the past, the Buyer decides there is just something they don’t like about the house. Or they execute the contract on their 2nd or 3rd choice home because they could, and then their 1st choice also offers them a contract. They drop the contract done in haste to execute the one they *really* want.

Rising interest rates may quell this a bit. The higher interest rates go, the more impact will be made on affordability. In turn, the ability of Buyers to offer higher and higher prices will diminish. Forecasts I am hearing for mortgage rate in 2017 is perhaps a rise over the past couple years, but likely not higher than 5%.

So I see another year of increasing prices in the DFW market. Perhaps not in the double digit range we have seen for the past 3 years, but likely in the 4-6% range, maybe as much as 8%.

 

Where to Celebrate Fourth of July 2014 in Dallas

I wanted to pass along this great list written by Chris Mosley and Alison Matlock of D Magazine on July 1st.  There’s sure to be something for everyone.

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July

Fireworks on the Fourth of July (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dallas Wind Symphony’s Star-Spangled Spectacular (July 4). Ever since Archibald Willard decided to toss a flute into his 1875 Yankee Doodle painting, The Spirit of 76, the wind instrument has played an important symbolic role in the tradition of American patriotism. The Dallas Wind Symphony takes Willard’s idea and runs with it, for an entire evening of tunes that are sure to stir the citizen in you.

Fair Park Fourth (July 4). The graceful art deco confines of Fair Park are already a great place to watch a traditional fireworks display, but the best part of this family-friendly event? It’s free. The clearest sightlines will be right inside the Cotton Bowl, but plenty of alternatives will be provided around the park grounds. While you’re waiting for the big show, kill some time at one at the attraction’s multiple museums; This free event is full of  live music, water features and access to rides, games and concessions in the State Fair of Texas Midway.admission will be discounted for attendees. Musical performances include Razzmajazz Dixieland Band, Trio Grande and more. The fireworks show will begin at 9:30 pm.

Fort Worth’s Fourth (July 4).  A night of free fun including live music featuring Party Machine and Larry G(ee), food, tubing, jet skiing and fly board shows. There will also be many kid-specific activities including pony rides, bounce houses, face painting, water slides, and more. There’s even zip lining, which I had no idea was something you could do in this area.

Kaboom Town (July 3). Let’s not dress it up: We like one thing above all else  when it comes to the 4th: Blowing stuff up. We like it more than the hot dogs, more than the swimming pools, more than the stars-and-stripes speedos. Addison’s Kaboom Town is probably the most-self explanatory of all Independence Day celebrations. It’s a fireworks show set to music while vintage warplanes conduct flyovers. Forget the geopolitical and psychological implications and embrace your inner munitions expert.

Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic at Billy Bob’s (July 4). Does it get any more American than Willie Nelson at Billy Bob’s, on the Fourth of July, in Texas? “Icon” isn’t even big enough a word for the 81 year-old singer, who has made a career out of uniting the disparate worlds of cowboys and hippies, conservatives and leftists alike. So no matter your political stripe, head out to the picnic and embrace the cultural unity that one of our state’s living musical treasures represents.

Just Fireworks

Fireworks Extravaganza at Lake Grapevine (July 4).  The show can be viewed from any lakeside location, or from a boat, should you be so lucky. The explosions begin at 9:30 and will continue no matter what our unpredictable weather has in store.

Lone Stars and Stripes (July 4).  This event will feature live music, a ford truck-themed giveaway and a firework show, following the race, of course.

Old-Fashioned Family Fireworks Picnic  (July 2—4). Fort Worth is not a place to be outdone by the aforementioned wind instruments and grandiose firework shows of neighboring municipalities. For three straight days in July our sister city will take full advantage the gorgeous backdrop of their celebrated botanical garden, while unleashing their entire symphony orchestra on our nation’s most sacred tunes. Don’t be surprised if a bald eagle flies over when they hit the high note. So pack a picnic and come celebrate Independence Day in a truly patriotic fashion by watching marches, military salutes and the inevitable fireworks show.

Texas Rangers Fan Sleepover and Fireworks Show (July 3). Ever dream of sleeping under the stars on a baseball field? No? Keep reading. Yes? You’re in luck. Pack a bag and come camp out in the outfield and watch the Rangers live broadcast followed by fireworks in the park. Bring your sleeping bags and pillows to get comfortable.

Out in the ‘Burbs 

Farmers Branch Independence Day Celebration (July 3). Along with a low-level fireworks display, there will be concessions, live music by Groove Knight and a kid-hospitable area featuring face painting, bounces houses and more.

Plano’s All-American Fourth (July 4). Tune in to 97.5 FM for a simulcast to accompany the big show.

Plano Lions Independence Day Parade (July 4). The Plano Early Lions Club, named 2012-2013 District Club of the Year,  is hosting its 34th annual Independence Day parade. It begins the Plano ISD Administration Building and end at Plano Senior High School.

Stars and Stripes Southlake (July 3). There will be live entertainment, candy art, balloon artists, crafts, games, an inflatable obstacle and fireworks. Are you still with us?

Red, White and Boom (July 4). The day will kick off with a parade and car show, followed by food, family activities, live entertainment and last but definitely not least, fireworks.

Restaurant Parties 

Brass Knuckle Corn Dog Beatdown at The Libertine  (July 4). I can’t really vouch for the tastefulness or subtlety of this event, but it should be entertaining, if not a little stomach-turning at times. Now in its sixth year, the contest includes the totally safe combination of corn-dogs and tequila. Warning, there are no fireworks involved here, save for whatever happens to the major organs of the contestants.

Driftwood Anniversary Lobster Boil Bash  (July 3). Kick off your Fourth of July festivities early by joining Driftwood for an anniversary lobster dinner. Dinner will include wine and beer pairings, and this sounds like a lovely respite from the bang-happy proceedings elsewhere in town.

Fourth of July at Double Wide  (July 4). As with many holidays, the Double Wide becomes an unofficial safe place once the formalities of the day are over. Expect some rowdiness, along with performances by Pink Smoke, Gabriel Mendoza, and more.

Taking Stress Out Of Home Buying

New home search fulfilled – THIS is the objective!!

By: Hank Bailey
From: Realty Times,
January 2014
Full Article








Buying a home should be one of the most fun times of your life, not stressful. As you look for your first home, next home, or dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

  • Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the Buyer’s Agent you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality. One thing to look for is responsiveness. Looking at sites with agent reviews like Zillow is a good way to see what others have found from their experience regarding agent responsiveness, local knowledge, process expertise, and more!

  • Remember, there’s no “right” or perfect time to buy. When you find that perfect home, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — especially if your purchase timeline is for 3-5 years or longer or you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. In a low inventoried market like we are in right now with less than 4 months of housing supply in much of our market, this can cause others to jump in and make offers and you might miss out! Zillow is predicting housing prices up 4% nationally this year so the 2014 housing market probably won’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price except for up, and a good home won’t stay on the market long. Last fall mortgage rates showed us just how quickly they can go up! Rising 150 basis points or so from the lows of last summer, we now see rates in the 4.5%-4.625% range and probably moving higher over the next six months. As the economy perceptively improves so will mortgage rates move higher!

  • Know that no house is ever perfect. I have built homes before that I still saw things I would change or do differently next time. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Ask the seller to address them upon inspection and prior to closing or if unimportant, let the minor ones go.

  • Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price in a market like this one where inventory is so low we are back in a “Seller’s Market” or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take and meeting in the middle! This is a distinctly different market than it was 2-3 years ago when there was 15-18 months’ supply of housing sitting on the market and aging rapidly with high days on market. Seeing in certain areas of our market homes going under contract in “days” once again!

  • Plan ahead and “first things first!” Buyers contact me every day wanting to know when we can go see a specific property! I always try and educate Buyers I work with that the first thing that needs to be done, is to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Takes minutes and hours not days anymore! Most of the time it can be done online without ever having to go to a mortgage company or bank! Don’t even need financial docs most times to get pre-qualified! The lending process is drastically different than it was 6-8 years ago. If it has been that long (or longer) since you last purchased a home, don’t assume because it was no problem before to get financing that today is going to be the same. Also, and this is important for first time home buyers, getting a mortgage is more than having a good credit score and a job! It is about a combination credit score, “documented income,” access to down payment funds, and falling into a precise range of “debt to income” ratios that determine how much house you can afford! Waiting until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for the home inspection is too late! Too, it makes your offer weaker, and in the presence of this being a “Seller’s Market” once again with multiple offers, low inventory, and homes not staying on the market long it might cause you to miss that purchase you are looking to make on that next, first, or dream home because you weren’t ready to fully make the strongest offer you could. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your offer much less attractive to sellers.

  • Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

  • Look at differences in MI or Mortgage Insurance. Most are still going FHA. FHA mortgage MI has gotten much more expensive over the past six months. Look at differences between FHA and a Conventional mortgage as to whether you can qualify and the cost of doing both!

  • Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

  • Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes are expected to appreciate at an average of 1-2 percent annually above inflation between now and 2020 from one report I recently read, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

  • For more information about the home buying process please contact me! Let me take your stress so you can relax and enjoy your new home!

    Housing Outlook, 2014: Home Prices Head Higher

    By: Pat Mertz Esswein
    From: Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, January 2014
    Full Article

    The housing recovery has pushed up home prices nearly everywhere. Over the past year, home prices rose in 225 of the 276 cities tracked by Clear Capital, a provider of real estate data and analysis. (See how home prices are shifting in 276 metro areas.) Prices nationwide rose by 10.9%, pushing the median price for existing homes up by $30,000, to $215,000. For people who have waited to sell their home or refinance their mortgage, that’s good news.

    SEE ALSO: The Outlook for Mortgages

    Rising home prices in Seattle enabled Mike and Kristin Litke to refinance their first mortgage last summer and pay off a second mortgage that had an 8.2% interest rate. The Litkes, who bought their three-bedroom, 1.5-bath home for $512,500 in 2007 at the peak of Seattle’s housing market, had used the second mortgage to avoid paying private mortgage insurance. In 2010, just as home prices in the area hit a trough, they refinanced their first mortgage to a 30-year fixed rate of 4.375% but were stuck with the second mortgage because they didn’t have enough equity to do a “cash-out” refi.

    This time, however, their home appraised for $521,000, allowing them to refinance into one 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage of $416,800 at 4.25%. They have reduced their monthly payment by $360, giving them some wiggle room in their budget and providing an infusion of college-savings funds for their kids: Stephen, 3½, and Stella, 10 months.

    What’s Ahead

    In 2013, a sense of urgency drove traditional buyers hoping to take advantage of still-affordable home prices and historically low mortgage rates. Buyers found selection limited, and were often forced into bidding wars with investors and other buyers who paid cash. Sellers reaped the rewards in terms of quick sales, often above the asking price. Almost half of the cities tracked by Clear Capital experienced double-digit increases in home prices, led by Las Vegas, with a gain of 32%. Such spikes reflected a continuing “correction to the overcorrection,” says Alex Villacorta, vice-president of research and analytics for Clear Capital. Buyers and investors rushed in to snap up homes with prices that had fallen too far. Homes continue to be affordable, despite recent run-ups—on average, prices are still 31.5% below their 2006 peak. The percentage of monthly family income consumed by a mortgage payment (assuming a mortgage rate of 4.1%) is just 15.6%, on average, compared with 23.5% in mid 2006. “Houses are very cheap,” says David Stiff, principal economist at CoreLogic, a property and mortgage data analytics company.

    Dallas Plans New Farmers Market

    View from Taylor and Pearl

    View from Taylor and Pearl

    Re-blogged from: http://city hall blog.Dallas news.com

    By Robert Wilonsky
    rwilonsky@dallasnews.com
    8:40 am on December 2, 2013

    Update at 10 a.m.: As expected, the Economic Development Committee voted to send the Dallas Farmer Market’s five TIF agreements to the full council for a December 11 vote. But that was after an hour-long discussion during which council member Jerry Allen wanted to make sure the new ownership group wasn’t just building a “an apartment development around an entertainment thing called a farmers market.”

    Said Allen, he was especially concerned about the loss of Pecan Lodge, which is moving to Elm Street in Deep Ellum.

    ” That’s one of the top barbecue spots in Texas, but it’s an attitude,” he said. “Those guys attract so many folks to the market. That creates an attitude. When we lost that deal that perked my ears up.” He asked Brian Bergersen to explain his “true vision” for the market.

    “We’ve always said the most important part of this redevelopment is Shed 1,” Bergersen told him. “That is the farmers market. The retail and restaurants compliment that. But the most important part of the farmers market is making sure we have fresh produce and it’s year-round.”

    He said they have a coordinator working with farmers, and that they’re attempting to bring back folks who’ve left in the last couple of years. Council member Rick Callahan also wondered what constitutes a “local farmer.” Said Bergersen it’s someone within 400 miles, but they’re hoping to limit that to 150 miles — though they will bring in “fresh” produce that’s not necessarily grown in Texas during peak seasons. At which point he mentioned Hatch chilis, because Central Market.

    He also reminded the council that on its eastern side, Shed 1 will have a band shell — and it’s being developed and assembled by none other than Angus Wynne.

    The committee was concerned about spending so much public money on a single project in an area of downtown lacking density — but not concerned enough to delay sending the item to council.

    Dallas, though, needs to “connect the dots” between Victory Park, the Perot and the market, said chairman Tennell Atkins, reiterating one of his favorite themes.

    “Right now there is a disconnect between the farmers market and the Arts District,” he said. “That’s something we need to do — infrastructure. The market is sitting on an island by itself.”

    - See more at: http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2013/12/a-very-specific-look-at-the-upgraded-dallas-farmers-market-and-how-it-will-be-funded.html/#sthash.M04hjKlo.dpuf