My Blog

Limited Service Real Estate Agents - Pros & Cons





Ever wondered about those real estate agents offering reduced commissions to list your home? Before deciding if it's the best option for you, be sure to ask if they will be reducing their services as well.  Here are some helpful questions as you interview agents to handle one of the most important transactions of your life:

1) Will they be using a professional photographer & will the photos be on the websites the day it goes active on MLS? (don't you hate those listings with no photos?)

2) How quickly they can get your property on-line to all the websites?

3) Will they still offer the Buyer's Agent 3% commission or will they pass on their reduction to that agent?  I am seeing this more often and it can discourage Buyers from viewing your property - The Buyer's Agent's can ask the Buyer to make up the difference in the commission.

4) How will they answer inquiries (ie a tape recording or a real person?)  Do they answer the phone 24/7?

5) Who will handle the paperwork & negotiations - will it be passed off to transaction coordinators who have never seen your property?  There are a lot of items for your listing agent to handle from the time an offer is accepted to the day it closes - inspections, title work, qualifying of buyer, keeping in touch with the buyer's lender to be sure it will close on time, etc.

6) How long have they been licensed in your State?

Ask yourself this question:  If they are so quick to give away their own money, what will they do when they are negotiating your sales price? 

Many times discount brokers get a lot of inventory because of their reduced commissions but then cannot keep up with the volume.  Although they may mean well, things can spiral out of control quickly. 

Feel free to contact me anytime with your real estate questions.

Your Home Is Where My Heart Is!








Market Trends

Market trends in Collin County Texas - days on market have decreased 29% since this time last year! Sales prices have increased 12.9% over this time last year! I can send regular updates to you of activity in your neighborhood so you can keep on top of your own market trends!

Richwoods in Frisco!


Fabulous new gated community in Frisco is well under way!  K Hovnanian, Toll Brothers& Landon Homes are building as fast as they can!  The Amenity Center will offer residents banquet rooms with a view of the huge pool!  Parks and soccer fields are laced among the neighborhoods.  Let me take you on a tour soon!  Close to 121 & Independence, it is in the highly acclaimed Frisco School District. 

Good News and Bad News for 2012 Taxes


Tax breaks that have been reduced for 2012

1. Bonus depreciation: During 2011 taxpayers can deduct in one year 100 percent of the cost of most types of personal property they buy for their businesses and place in service during the year. This amount is scheduled to lower to 50 percent for most types of property placed in service during 2012. However, it is possible that 100 percent bonus depreciation will be extended through 2012.

2. Section 179 expensing: For 2011, the maximum Code Section 179 deduction is $500,000, the highest it has ever been. The maximum Section 179 deduction will be reduced to $139,000 for 2012. Moreover, the 2012 limit will have to be reduced dollar for dollar by any amount by which the cost of Code Section 179 property placed in service during 2012 exceeds $560,000.

3. Employee transportation benefits: For 2011, an employer can provide up to $230 per month in tax-free transportation benefits -- this includes transit passes or reimbursement for commuting to work by vanpool. Starting in 2012, the limit will be reduced to $125 per month.

Tax breaks that have been eliminated for 2012

1. State and local sales tax deduction: For 2011, taxpayers can elect to deduct as an itemized deduction on their Schedule A (itemized deductions) state and local sales taxes, instead of state and local income taxes. This deduction is eliminated starting in 2012. This is bad news for taxpayers who live in states with no state income tax.

2. $4,000 education expense deduction: For 2011, taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less ($130,000 or less for joint returns) may deduct up to $4,000 of qualified education expenses paid during the year for themselves, their spouses, or their dependents.

Such expenses include tuition and mandatory enrollment fees to attend any accredited public or private institution above the high school level. This deduction is eliminated entirely for 2012.

3. Charitable Contributions: IRA (individual retirement account) owners age 70 1/2 and up can directly transfer up to $100,000, tax free, to eligible charities during 2011. This option, created in 2006, is available for distributions from IRAs regardless of whether the owners itemize their deductions. This provision is eliminated for 2012.

Tax breaks that have been expanded or extended

1. Hire a veteran, get a tax credit: If you hire an eligible unemployed veteran for your business during Nov. 22, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2012, you'll qualify for an expanded work opportunity tax credit. This is a tax credit against income tax of up $5,600 (more for disabled veterans).

2. Reduced Social Security Taxes? During 2011, Social Security taxes are reduced to 10.4 percent up to the annual income ceiling, instead of the normal 12.4 percent. The U.S. Senate passed a two-month extension of the 2 percent reduction, but the House rejected the Senate bill.

However, most people believe that -- one way or another -- the 2 percent reduction will be extended through the end of 2012.

(per Stephen Fishman, Inman News) 

Slow drain? Plumbing Hints



  • Galvanized pipes have a coating on the inside that protects them from rusting. Over time harsh drain cleaners will eat away the coating and eventually the pipe itself.
  • Fix a slow drain: pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda, add 1/2 cup white vinegar and follow with a pot of hot water when it stops bubbling.
  • Tubs and showers should be fitted with strainers that catch hair and soap chips. Clean the strainers regularly.
  • In a plumbing emergency, you'll need to stop the flow of water quickly. To do this, you and each member of your family need to know the location of the shutoff valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house, and how they operate. Operate these valves at least once a year to prevent seizing.
  • Garbage Disposal

    No bones and always use cold water
    Use small pieces of citrus fruits to freshen
    Though ice does not sharpen the blades as commonly mistaken, it does
    knock off debris and keeps it cleaner.
    Freeze lemon juice and grind small pieces in the garbage disposal -   smells good and disinfects, too.
    (from Nations Home Warranty)

Did you know this about your Cell Phone?


Did You Know?:

4 Things you might not have known about your Cell Phone
For all the folks with cell phones. (This should be printed and kept in your car, purse, and wallet. Good information to have with you.) There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies.
Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:
FIRST (Emergency)
The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.
SECOND (Hidden Battery Power)
Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.
THIRD (How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? )
To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following Digits on your phone:    *#06# ..
A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.
If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

And Finally....
FOURTH (Free Directory Service for Cells)
Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE411 or (800) 373-3411
without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone

Why is my BUYER giving the Seller credit for taxes?


Why is my Buyer giving the seller credit for taxes?


In Texas, property taxes are paid in arrears, meaning that 2011 property taxes are due at the end of the year as opposed to the beginning.  Tax bills are sent out around October 1st each year and are due by January 31st of the following year.  In closings that take place prior to October 1st, the seller credits the buyer for taxes from January 1 through the day of closing.  The buyer then pays the full year's property tax at the end of the year.  However, in closings that take place after October 1st, and if the tax bills are available, the buyer credits the seller for taxes from the day of closing through December 31 and the seller pays the entire year's property taxes.  Property tax debits and credits are shown on the first page of the HUD closing statement as part of the seller's and/or buyer's closing costs.
(from Old Republic Title)

First-Time Investor?

First time investor?

Investing in real estate for the first time can be a daunting proposition. Even if youve been through the home
buying process before, you may be unsure of where to begin. To make matters worse, you may be in competition with
sophisticated real estate investors.

Having a real estate professional on your side can help. An expert can get you started and guide you
throughout the process. I can provide you with information and advice on topics such as:

  • - Tips for starting out
  • - Investing in Foreclosures
  • - Fixer-Uppers
  • - Condos as Investments
  • - Vacation Homes

Investing in real estate is potentially lucrative and frequently complicated. Dont take that first step
alone. If youd like to talk about ways that I can be of assistance to you, please call. Id love to hear from

Dos and Don'ts with Credit during Homebuying Process

A fellow agent, Charles Daily, offers this valuable information regarding your credit during the time you are looking for a home to buy:

When buying your next home, changes to your credit (additional accounts, closing accounts, fluctuating credit card balances) can result in the lowering of your credit score. If your credit score changes, that can affect your interest rate and even the loan approval itself. Therefore, it is imperative that there are no major changes to your credit and information provided, during this process.

In order for your loan to reach final approval and fund, you'll want to adhere to the following:

  1. DO NOT charge any new items on your charge cards (higher balances will lower credit scores).
  2. DO NOT apply for any new charge cards or loans (new credit trade lines and credit inquiries can lower credit scores).
  3. DO NOT buy or lease any new major purchases especially cars, furniture, appliances,
    etc (even "no interest" loans as they appear as new credit trade lines and will affect your debt to income ratio).
  4. DO NOT co-sign for anyone's loans for any reason.
  5. DO NOT allow anyone to check your credit unless in the shopping process and even then, know the consequences (each inquiry may lower your credit score).

    Some other notable tips would include:

  6. DO NOT change employment may result in loan denial.
  7. DO NOT start any new remodeling jobs.
  8. DO continue to make all payments on time

A new credit report will be pulled before closing to make sure no new credit has been established and any inquiries will have to be verified to that effect. Following these simple rules, will ensure a stress free loan process from the standpoint of your credit report.

What is a HUD Home?


Many clients today are interested in the foreclosure market.  What may confuse some is the difference in who owns those foreclosed homes--sometimes you see that a bank is the seller, other times it says "HUD".  Here is an excerpt from the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) website to clarify:

"There is nothing extraordinary about HUD homes other than the fact that the mortgage used to purchase it was insured by the FHA. Whether a single-family residence, condominium  or townhome, the specifics of the room count, parking, amenities, etc. none of it matters. What does matter, however, is that the price of the home fits within the guidelines to qualify for the FHA insurance program and that the lender you use is approved to offer FHA insured loans.

It is in fact these homes ones that are originally purchased using an FHA insured loan that become what can be referred to as HUD homes when the borrower defaults on the loan. Since the FHA has guaranteed the loan on behalf of the federal government, when the foreclosure process is completed, FHA pays off the lender of record. So, instead of the property going back to the lender as in a normal foreclosure situation, it goes back to its owner (which in this case is HUD) as the responsible party for all FHA insured loans.

Like a lender, HUD does not want to own a real estate portfolio. Part of the agencys responsibilities lie in promoting affordable homeownership and equal opportunity for all citizens to own their share of the American Dream."

Real estate agents are engaged to list foreclosures for the banks as well as for HUD, so you will find both when you search your local multiple listing service.  It will benefit you great to have an agent check into these homes for you as they can see any "private remarks" in MLS that the listing agent has made and thereby help you understand the procedure that particular seller requires for making an offer.

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