8961 FM121 Van Alstyne, TX 75495 For Sale!

8961 FM121 Van Alstyne, Tx Home For SaleComing Soon!  MLS#13653995

You can own this nice brick 3 bedroom 2 bath country home on 6 acres within the Van Alstyne ISD.  It is only 2.5 miles east of Historic Van Alstyne for easy access to Hwy 75 and Hwy 5.  Just 18 miles from McKinney or Sherman, Van Alstyne is located in the path of progress but still has that country feel.  There are three bedrooms, office, two baths and a room currently used as an exercise room in this 2370 sf rural home.

Porch swing at 8961 FM121 Van Alstyne, TX 75495

The neighbors won’t bother you here, it is surrounded by a large tract of country land to the north and a horse farm across the street to the south.  The pasture with seasonal tank is on the east corner of Hynds Ranch Rd. and FM 121.

Spread out in the expansive living room with wood burning fireplace, kitchen pass through and a mud-room big enough for a washer, dryer, freezer and folding space. The 15 x 15 master bedroom even includes a small sitting room to enjoy a good book, use as a mini office or perfect as a nursery.  The office and exercise room could easily be used as bedrooms by building a closet or using an armoire.

RV Storage at 8961 FM121 Van Alstyne, TX 75495Park your boat or RV under cover and make use of a 30 x 50 metal building split for storage and livestock. There is an additional small pasture on the west with access to stall area.

30 x 50 building at 8961 FM121 Van Alstyne, TXThe 30 x 50 shop is split for half shop and half livestock.  The livestock end has two dutch doors leading to a small pasture.

Contact Van Alstyne Realtor, Keith Laursen with Fathom Realty for your private showing today!

1783 Hackberry Rd. Van Alstyne, TX – Acreage Increased!

Front of 1783 Hackberry Rd. Van Alstyne,TX 75495The 15 acre listing at 1783 Hackberry Rd has increased to 18 acres including a 30 x 30 metal storage building with only a minimal price change.

This beautiful 4 bedroom home for sale is located close in and within the sought after Van Alstyne ISD. It is ready for immediate showings. The additional acreage makes it an even better value offering you more pasture, a nice building with concrete floor, electric and a roll up door on each end.  A nice home on acreage within the school district is getting very hard to find.

This land has it all including an Ag Exemption, 2 stocked ponds, cross fenced pastures, privacy and fantastic views. It is in an area of nice homes with a rural atmosphere but only minutes from town, Grayson Community College and Hwy 75. You can live in the country and be within apx. an hour of major lakes, Dallas and DFW Airport.  People don’t realize how close Van Alstyne’s location is to entertainment, airports, and recreation.  Let’s take a quick look at a map to show you where you can be in about an hour.

Put your toys in the storage building or three car garage and enjoy a cup of coffee on the east or west facing covered porches. Inside you will find 4 bedrooms with one upstairs off of a large den. Got mud on your shoes? Just take those boots off in the large mud and laundry room. This home is exceptionally clean and offers easy living. Get more information and take a look at a few pictures of this wonderful property.

Call Keith Laursen at 469.233.1234 for more information or a private showing.

Selling Your Home? Key Reasons Realtors Hate Your Front Door

Key Reasons Realtors Hate Your Front Door

Selling Your Home? Key Reasons Realtors Hate Your Front Door - By Van Alstyne, TX Realtor Keith Laursen, Image - CanStock Photo

Don’t let Realtors hate your front door!  The key to selling your home starts at the front door. Many of today’s busy families come and go through the garage door but home buyers and their Realtors will take the scenic route via your front door.  What could possibly go wrong?  Click the plus signs to learn more.

 

Key Home Selling Problems

Do You Have A Front Door Key?
Does The Key Work?
Do You Have A Spare Key?
Do You Know Were Your Spare Key Is?
Do You Have A Key Hiding Place?

 

While we have covered the key reasons, don’t overlook other items that can hurt your home selling before you even get to the door.  An often overlooked item is your address. Regardless if it is on your curb, your mailbox or the home, make sure it is readable and in great shape. Not only does it look good and maintained but it ensures that the buyers tracking through your home are in the right place!

Buy a new doormat, replace the rusty porch light and make sure the doorbell works. If your front door looks like the picture, don’t cheap out, just paint it! Repair the walkway and address any trip hazards. Make sure you don’t have trees growing out of your gutters! Picture yourself fumbling with that key looking at the dirt daubers or barn swallow nests and take back that plant the nursery guaranteed wouldn’t die two years ago.  I cover more tips in my post about how your home showing is like a first date.

For other home selling tips, call me.  We have work to do but the key to selling your home starts at your front door and ends at the closing table when we hand that key to the happy new home owners.

1412 Canary Dr. Little Elm,TX 75068

1412 Canary Dr. Little Elm,TX 75068 For Sale | MLS#1329383

Front of 1412 Canary Dr. Little Elm, TX 75068Come home to a spacious open concept living area, light the wood burning fireplace or enjoy a beverage on the cool covered rear porch in this right size 1777 sf. 3 bedroom, 2 bath interior lot home in desirable Paloma Creek South. It can be yours if you act quickly.

In addition to this nice brick Horizon home, enjoy a relaxing summertime swim, workout, playground, bike or jog on the trails provided by the Paloma Creek HOA for only $335 per year.  In addition to the amenities there are many special interest groups and events sponsored through out the year that really make this neighborhood a fun place to live.

Your investment will only increase in this rapidly growing area with nearby restaurants, retail and Lewisville Lake within a few miles, Dallas North Tollway only 7.4 miles, I-35 is 11.4 miles.

The home features gas heat, range and hot water, a large island in the kitchen overlooking the living area with a fireplace that has barely been used.  The covered back porch is even better because it is shielded by the house from the afternoon sun. Everything is in good order and the shingles were replaced in 2011.

This home is conveniently located on a quite street near the front of the subdivision only a short distance from the clubhouse. To make things even better, new elementary and high schools are being built close to the Paloma Creek entrance.

North Texas Real Estate – Nov. Market Conditions

 North Texas Real Estate Market Conditions

North TX. Real Estate Market InforgraphicHow is the North Texas Real Estate Market?  Do you know where the sweet spot for pricing is? How long will it take to sell your home?  People will always tell you it is a great time to sell or buy a home but to be sure, look at the numbers in black and white or this Infographic in color!

Learn from this quick post why you should be buying and selling NOW in today’s real estate market.  After looking over these statistics, call Van Alstyne Realtor, Keith Laursen for an in-depth evaluation of your home’s value or to spot your next dream home.  Complied by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, Infographic by Republic Title.

 

  • Sales of single family homes are up 8% compared to last November and up 5% year to date.  This shows a continued strong market. You should expect vendors like repair contractors, inspectors, surveyors, appraisers and real estate agents to be very busy.  Without a Buyer’s Representation Agreement or Listing Agreement, you will be at a significant disadvantage competing with other home owners and home buyers that have made a commitment to professional services.  Demand in North Texas remains strong due to our economic conditions and favorable business environment.  Additionally, real estate transfer taxes have been banned in Texas!
  • The average price of single family homes are up 8% over November versus last year and 8% for year to date.  Home sellers of course will realize this gain in equity on a sale and home buyers must consider the cost of waiting another year as prices continue to increase.  To put this in perspective, sellers can easily make up the cost of selling a home in just one year.  Home buyers who sat on the sidelines last year would pay an additional $77 per month for principal and interest for the same 200K home today. (200K+8%= $16,000 @4%)   Is this a good time to buy?    Yes, because you are likely to see that same increase next year!
  • Days On Market (DOM) are down a whopping 20% for November and 16% for the year!  This is why Realtors keep banging on buyer clients to get pre-approved. Your dream home won’t last long so you need to be ready to go under contract before your competition does.  If you are listing your home for sale, you won’t have long to make repairs, start packing and looking for replacement housing.  Don’t put off doing these things or you will be under significant pressure before closing the sale.
  • The hottest price point for buyers in November was between $200,000 to 400,000 representing over 38% of all sales and inventories of just over 2 months.  If you are selling in this price range, you may have multiple offers if your home is in top condition.  Buying in this range will be a challenge so it is important to use a good Realtor and look at homes quickly.  Ask your agent about automatic MLS notice of new listings. This way you will know about new listings before other buyers do.

 

Summarizing, we have a very robust market. Both buyers and sellers need a professional on their side that understands market values, knows trustworthy and responsive vendors and can guide you on your way.  It can be easy to pay to much in this competitive environment and as a seller, you want to be sure your buyer can actually close the contract. Call Keith Laursen when you are ready to make your move, just don’t wait too long!

 

Plano, Anna, McKinney & Van Alstyne Market Comparison

Plano, Anna, McKinney, & Van Alstyne Real Estate Market Comparison

Money HouseHow many times have you heard real estate is local? This will give you an idea of how a few miles can make a difference in real estate prices and market conditions. We will compare median sales price, sold to list price, days on market and month’s supply of inventory for September & year to date.

Keep in mind, these are median or average values so there will always be unique situations.

 

Median Home Price  (Sept./YTD)

  1. Plano                                                                                                             280/291K
  2. McKinney                                                                                                     259/269,950K
  3. Anna                                                                                                              200,226/187K
  4. Van Alstyne                                                                                                  172/189K

Obviously, the further north you go, the home prices decrease. There can be many reasons for this but a big one is the perception of driving distance. There can also be a vast difference in the type of home as many are on acreage as you go north. There is a bigger pool of buyers for the cookie cutter homes in the suburbs vs. home buyers looking for elbow room in the country.

Sold to List Percentage

  1. Plano                                                                                                               98.3/99.5%
  2. McKinney                                                                                                       98.2/99.2%
  3. Anna                                                                                                                98.6/98.3%
  4. Van Alstyne                                                                                                    97.5/95.9%

This is a very important statistic. The next time someone tells you they are going to low ball a seller, take a look at the MLS home sold price vs. the list price percentage. This is where the rubber meets the road. Sure, there will always be homes that sell for more or less but this tells you the overall market condition which is very good for sellers at the moment.

Days On Market (DOM)

  1. Plano                                                                                                               25/26
  2. McKinney                                                                                                       26/29
  3. Anna                                                                                                                27/32
  4. Van Alstyne                                                                                                    40/60

You can see that Days On Market (DOM) is basically the same and hasn’t changed much until you get to Van Alstyne. We are just starting to catch up with the market and people are discovering they can get more for their money here. The recent highway construction completion will bring even more people to our area as commute times decrease.

 

Months Supply Of Inventory

  1. Plano                                                                                                                  1.8 Months
  2. McKinney                                                                                                          1.9
  3. Anna                                                                                                                   1.8
  4. Van Alstyne                                                                                                       4.0

Lack of inventory is a huge problem for the North Texas real estate market. As buyers continue to battle and lose over multiple offers in the suburbs, they will look further north. Few of them realize how close we are and how easy it is to commute to the south or to the north for more recreational activities like Lake Texoma and the Choctaw Casino.

As we come into the winter months, home sales will slow but so will the inventory. As long as rates remain reasonable, employment high and inventory low, you can expect price pressures to continue. If you are considering listing your home for sale, it is very important to price correctly. The sold to list price percentage and days on market is not only a reflection of the market, it is a reflection on Realtor market knowledge. We know where the sweet spots are in pricing to get the best price without appraisal problems and work with pre-approved buyers that can actually close in the shortest possible time.

Contact me if you need to list your property for the right price or find that home of your dreams.

 

Data complied from Collin County Association of Realtors – CCAR Pulse.

News Flash – Lake Levels Fluctuate!

News Flash -Lake Levels Can Change - Hay Bail Sitting in Stock PondIf you are buying a lakefront home the Texas Legislature now requires the real estate contract to notify you that Lake Levels Fluctuate!  This is another example of the government protecting us from ourselves and lawyers making money.  My opinion is if you so ignorant that you didn’t know this by the third grade, you probably shouldn’t buy real estate. In case you were wondering, here is a list of lakes that would be affected  from the lakes and reservoirs section of the Texas Almanac. There could be others but the point is,  the sun shines causing droughts, rain falls causing flooding and sometimes a city or other entity pumps water out like crazy, especially during a Texas summer. 

Statutory Notice of Water Level Fluctuations Contract Language

House Bill 1665 enacted by the 84th Legislature adds Section 5.019 to the Property Code. This section requires a seller of residential or commercial property that adjoins a lake, reservoir, or other impoundment of water with a normal operating capacity of 5,000 acre-feet or more to give the buyer a statutorily prescribed form of notice on or before the effective date of the contract.

If the notice is not given, the buyer may terminate the contract for any reason within seven days after receiving the notice from the seller or information described by the notice from any other person. After the date of conveyance, the buyer may bring an action against the seller for misrepresentation if the seller failed to give the notice before the conveyance and had actual knowledge that the water level fluctuates. This provision becomes effective September 1, 2015.

Until revised contract forms addressing this statutory requirement are adopted by the Commission, license holders may insert the following language in the Special Provisions paragraph of a contract if a property adjoins such a body of water.

NOTICE OF WATER LEVEL FLUCTUATIONS

The water level of the impoundment of water adjoining the Property fluctuates for various reasons, including as a result of: (1) an entity lawfully exercising its right to use the water stored in the impoundment; or (2) drought or flood conditions.

For more common sense concerning Texas real estate contact Van Alstyne Realtor, Keith Laursen.

How is the Real Estate Market? | June 2015

July Real Estate Conditions

Courtesy Republic Title

 

How did the North Texas Real Estate market do in July? Why should you sell your home now? Learn the sweet spot of home sales, how many Days On Market and the direction home sales are headed from Van Alstyne Realtor Keith Laursen.

 

Should you Sell Your Home Now?

If you are selling a home in North Texas all the news is good. This is definitely a great time to sell because we are in the summer months when your home shows best. The MLS statistics show  single family home sales are up 14%, prices up 7% and days on market down 14%  over this month last year.  This means it’s a very competitive market and multiple offers continue.  While you always want to make your home easy to buy and be in top condition, there is less pressure to give closing assistance or do upgrades.

 

Home Buyer Strategy

For buyers, it means forget about low ball offers and expecting every little thing on an inspection report being fixed. Your best strategy is to be pre-approved, know what you want and have your Realtor set you up on automatic MLS e-mail notice of new listings.  Also realize that agents are working long hours with many serious buyers. You should be working with a Realtor under a buyer’s representation agreement if you expect quality and responsive service.

 

Where is the sweet spot?

Home Sales Stats By PriceThe sweet spot for home sales in North Texas is in the 200K to 400K range.  That is where the home buyers are with almost 40% of all sales in this range.  If you are considering selling, this is where you want to be to sell quickly.

Home buyers will of course face fierce competition in this range.  As an example, the 300K to 400K range has a market share of 13.3% but the 400K to 500K range has only a 6.2% market share.  If you can bump your budget just a little over the 400K range there will be considerably less competition for the same home.

The lower end is even more dramatic. By dropping your search just below 200K you will go from 15.7% of the sales to only 3.4%!   Of course you want the right home for your family, not necessarily one you don’t have to fight so hard over.  There are many choices but being armed with this type of data from your real estate agent can save you a considerable amount of time and money.

 

Days On Market

The days that a home sits on market before going under contract is the gold standard in telling the market condition. The majority of homes selling in our area are on market less than 90 days but many selling in a little less than half that.

There will be some slow down in the months ahead. School is starting soon and we will be coming into the holiday season. That is traditionally a slower time for home sales.  Interest rates are also trending up but not enough to make a significant difference.  Remember, in the DFW area it’s all about lifestyle and jobs.  Large companies continue to relocate here and new home inventory remains low, so DOM (Days On Market) will increase but very slowly.

 Year to Date Home Sales

Year to date home sales chartIf you think July could just be out of whack, take a look at the year to date MLS statistics.   There are more sales and the average prices are running 8% higher than a year ago with an average home price of $261,417.   Even rentals are up 7% at $1,599 for an average single family home.  This is where you should be thinking, I should have bought a year ago!

What should you do?

You know the answer!  Contact a good Realtor, one that understands the overall real estate market as well as the local Van Alstyne and surrounding rural markets. I specialize in properties from McKinney to Sherman but have helped home buyers and sellers all over the metroplex acquire and market homes in the suburbs or homes on acreage. See what my clients say about my service – Call Keith Laursen today!

Home sales statistics complied from Ntries – North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.

Home Warranties – Good or Bad?

Home Warranties – Good or Bad?  

Are you afraid of buying or selling a home and having major repair issues?  I have clients who have had thousands in repairs taken care of by home warranty companies but they don’t always make sense.  Get a list of state approved companies and learn what is good or bad, especially in a hot real estate market.

Home warranties (aka Residential Service Contracts as the industry calls them) have benefits for both buyers and sellers but while a home warranty may sound like a good thing, there are times you may not need one or requesting one could cost you acceptance of your home offer

It’s Like Ragu, The Home Warranty Is In There

In Texas, the home warranty lobby must have been effective because it’s basically written into our contracts.  “If buyer purchases a residential service contract, seller shall reimburse buyer at closing for the cost …..not to exceed X.” Optional of course but ask yourself, why not request one if someone else is paying for it?

Marketing Your Home For Sale

Home warranties are often used by sellers in marketing their home.  If two homes are similarly priced and one is offering a home warranty, that makes the home more attractive to potential buyers.  You will often see sign riders displaying that the home for sale is covered by a warranty.  Home buyers get the piece of mind and often times the home warranty company will cover the seller’s home for free during the listing period.  Obviously, they are hoping the buyer will go with them and keep renewing.  However, don’t expect the warranty to cover pre-existing conditions so if you water heater leaks now, replace it.

Reduced Liability

A little unknown secret to the general public is real estate firms push their Realtors to tout home warranties for reduced liability. No one wants to buy or sell a home and then have major systems break down and real estate firms don’t want you dragging them into a fight. The two biggest items that can reduce seller and agent liability and give reassurance to buyers are home inspections and home warranties.  Sellers and agents with concerns may be looking to reduce liability by offering a home warranty.  This could because they want you to be reassured and have a marketing point or because they know something has been problematic and is likely to break soon.

What Buyers Should Know

So these residential service contracts sound great, what is bad about them?  They cover a lot of things that don’t often break. Do you need coverage on dishwasher racks or garage door openers?  There is still a call out fee so if you have a simple problem it may make sense to fix it yourself.  You must use the companies designated repairmen vs. being reimbursed for someone you choose.  Home warranty companies hire contractors that offer them the lowest rates and sometimes the contractors may not have been properly vetted.

Horror stories can be found all over the internet but you should really take most with a grain of salt.  These companies cover millions of homes so there are bound to be some unsatisfied customers.  The thing to consider is do you see a pattern of complaints against a company you are considering.

Choosing A Home Warranty Company 

If the seller has offered home warranty coverage, you can still choose any company you like but most people just go with it without further investigation.  The sign may say the home has a home warranty but it will probably be very basic coverage, like for that dishwasher rack.  You should investigate further and considering upgrading the coverage.

Residential Service Contract companies are regulated by TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission) and a list of qualified companies is posted on their website.  You should ask your Realtor, neighbors and friends what their experiences have been and who they recommend.  Some real estate agents don’t like to refer companies but others have close relationships and can get results if you are dissatisfied.

Don’t Have A Rejected Offer!

In a seller’s market, requesting the owner to pay for a home warranty may cause your offer to be rejected.  Don’t lose out in a multiple offer situation by requesting a $500 home warranty when you can buy one yourself or take the hit when the garage door opener breaks.  Home sellers are refusing to pay for all kinds of things that used to be considered normal sales expenses, including home warranties.

Consult with your Realtor about requesting a seller paid home warranty depending on the age, condition of the home and the type of market you are in. It might make sense if it is an older home with major systems like HVAC and water heaters or pool equipment long in the tooth.  However, don’t risk an offer rejection if the home is relatively new or has had recent upgrades to those type of systems.

Contact Keith Laursen when you are buying or selling a Van Alstyne home or any home in the surrounding North Texas areas. There are many things to consider when marketing your home for sale or buying your dream home. Home warranties are just a small part of the overall consideration.

 

 

How Is The Real Estate Market At Mid Year ?

How Is The Real Estate Market?

Everyone’s favorite question is how is the market?  You may have heard the North Texas real estate market condition is red hot. It is indeed a very good time to list your home for sale and the mid year MLS year to date statistics back it up.  This year to date summary for the entire MLS area shows the following:

  • The average price of a single family home is $260,710
  • Prices are up 9% year to date
  • It is taking an average of 48 Days On Market (DOM) to sell a home, a decrease of 11%
  • Active listings are down 15% so price pressure will only continue.

Remember that these statistics are for the overall area served by the North Texas Real Estate Information System (NTREIS) vs. the Van Alstyne area. There are many areas like McKinney where quality homes are selling in several days for above list.  One comment I get a lot is, “we will just rent until the market cools down”. Notice that rentals are also up 7% at $1,588 so you may find that perfect rental property is also a hot commodity.

If you are thinking of selling your home or buying a home in any of the cities close to Van Alstyne give me a call. I will explain the current market for exactly where you live and answer any questions you may have on how to structure an offer or preparing your listing.

Who Pays The Closing Costs ?

Who Pays The Closing Costs?  Image CanStockPhotosWho pays a home sale closing costs can be complex.  Each type of loan (FHA, VA, Conventional) and cash can have the home seller and buyer paying different items. Additionally, there may be other costs for HOA documents, surveys or other real estate related closing costs.  This chart provided by Hexter-Fair First American Title shows who “customarily” pays various costs.

As with everything in real estate, these things are negotiable or can be off-set by a seller assist in whatever amount is agreeable. However, in our current very hot seller’s market it seems like what was normal is not normal anymore.  Seller’s are digging in, expecting list or above asking price and expecting the home buyer to pick up a larger share of the transactions cost.

For example, while always negotiable it was pretty common for the seller to pay for the title policy and any home warranty and buyers often paid for the survey.  The logic was the seller is proving he has good title & wants to relieve any repair fears. The buyer wanted to be sure that acre was really an acre so they each paid accordingly.

That can be completely out the window in today’s market. Seller’s with multiple offers are in the driver’s seat and are demanding that buyers pay for everything.  This will all change when the market become more balanced but for now just remember that price is only one consideration of many when submitting or evaluating an offer.

Contact Keith Laursen at 469-233-1234 for guidance on buying or selling your dream home and structuring the transaction in your best interests.

 

Buying A Home As Is – Ten Things To Know

 

Picture of an old house for article Buying A Home As IsIs buying a home As Is a good deal? Does it mean no repairs will be made? Like everything in real estate, it depends and regardless of which side you are on a good agent should walk you through the possibilities.

While these homes may not be in great condition, they can offer the potential for considerable gain or enjoyment if proper repairs and updates are made. These handyman specials tend to fall in one of two extremes. Either they just need a little paint, clean up and landscaping or they need a full rehab with major systems like HVAC, wiring or foundation problems requiring repair or replacement.

Frequently buyers try to low ball these properties due to the condition not understanding they are already discounted & expect the seller to make repairs after a professional home inspection. While you can ask, don’t be surprised when the seller says no. Unless it is a safety, financing requirement or undisclosed structural problem, asking for repairs on As Is listed property normally won’t be successful.

Ten Things To Know About Buying A Home As Is

Know The Market Condition
Recognize the market condition. We are in a huge sellers market. Asking for repairs and low balling is setting yourself up for disappointment. You might even get in a bidding war with investors or other home owners due to the lack of inventory. During a buyer’s market, everything reverses.

 

Get An Inspection
Get a professional inspection. Often sellers have deferred home maintenance or major systems need repair but sellers don’t have the means or the time to fix them. This can be a really good deal or a money pit so savvy buyers should do their due diligence and set their expectations accordingly. Many investors forego the inspection process because they self inspect and are good at it. The general home owner should never self inspect. There are far too many items you will miss and the cost is minimal compared to the potential loss.

 

Have Financing Or Cash Ready
Have your financing or cash ready. A home in this condition will probably be sold for cash because most lenders will want some repairs done. If financing, get the loan officer to advise you on the various financing programs that allow for repairs, the process, limits, contractor choices and ask what the normal loan deal breakers are. If you are a cash buyer, be prepared with proof of funds when you submit your offer.

 

Be Prepared For A Surprise
Be prepared for a surprise expense. Always figure the ARV (After Repair Value) but allow a contingency fund for the unknown. Allow for a $5,000 surprise. Unrecognized old wiring, plumbing replacement, foundation and septic problems can easily turn into unexpected 5K bills. Simple kitchen cabinet painting may turn into a kitchen gut job.

 

Plan For Delays
Plan for delays and be flexible. If you have a lender involved, expect a delay while they obtain more information or approve your chosen contractor. The city may look into past building permits, code violations or request changes to your plans. A number of things from contractors, materials, rework, last-minute changes and weather can affect your repair and move in schedules. Always figure in your holding costs. While delayed, mortgage, taxes, utilities, equipment rental and insurance cost continue.

 

Make A Clean Offer
Make your offer as clean as possible. This means your offer should be as simple as possible. In a low inventory market there are many people looking for these properties. Some will even buy them sight unseen. Cash is always king as is a quick closing date. Don’t ask for the seller to pay for repairs, home warranties, accept an offer contingent on your home sale, assist in closing costs or long time frames on contract terms.

 

Recognize Emotional Attachment
Understand emotional attachment. Realize that some of these properties are the lifelong home of the seller or an estate sale. While the condition may be less than ideal, the seller and their family may have a strong emotional attachment. Estate properties can be excellent finds if the surviving relatives live out-of-state and just want to liquidate. The problem is that one sibling out of four that thinks mom’s house is worth much more regardless if it is stuck in the year 1940 and full of termites. Ask plenty of questions to see if that will be an issue or if the owners just want to unload it quickly.

 

Know The Neighborhood
Know if the neighborhood is going down or poised for a comeback? A good deal in an undesirable neighborhood isn’t a good deal for resale or rental. Check with the city, county and state concerning road, utility, employment and private industry plans. If a power plant, airport or freeway is going to be built nearby in the next few years that may be the reason the owner stopped maintenance. You may have an easy As Is purchase and remodel only to find out no one wants to live there.
s

 

Hire A Competent Realtor
Hire a competent and experienced Realtor. Ideally your Realtor should not only have market knowledge but also have experience in working with investors or rehabbing homes. They will be a wealth of knowledge on what to expect, know the good contractors and know how to make the purchase go smoothly. Ask them to set up an alert for frequently used listing key words like As Is, Handyman Special, HUD, REO, etc.

For help buying or selling As Is or any property in North Texas, call Van Alstyne Realtor Keith Laursen at 469-233-1234. I have done rehabs and understand the pitfalls.

Seven Things To Know About Real Estate Teams

Don’t be deceived; real estate agent teams are no better and sometimes worse than independent agents.  They will have listing and buyer agents, transaction coordinators, closing experts, staging experts, and various other administrative people dividing up the work. It all sounds so efficient doesn’t it?

Does having all these people and their overhead help sell your home faster and for more money or better serve you in finding and buying a home?   What these teams are best at is making life easier for them  by dividing up responsibility.  Choose wisely because not all teams are created equally.

 

Not All Real Estate Teams Are Created Equally
 Often the John or Jane Doe Team is nothing more than a name.  Behind the name is one agent, a list of vendor contacts and maybe a virtual assistant to handle the paperwork. The assistant does things like enter your home’s details into the MLS or be a long distance project manager tracking the process toward closing. Independent Realtors have the same resources but don’t tout themselves as a team.

 

You May Never See Your Agent Again
Teams are formed when the Realtor is overwhelmed or they want to make more money by bringing in other agents. The theory is other people can handle the minutiae while the main agent just does listing appointments. The problem is that may be the last time you see your agent because they are more focused bringing in new listings versus giving personal attention to yours.

Congratulations, you have been handed off to the office help.  You see, bringing in more listings is good for the team leader but not necessarily for you.  Sometimes, the agent you hired to look out for your best interests doesn’t even show up to closing. If you are lucky, a closing coordinator may attend.

 

Inaccurate or Delayed Information
You are now dealing with an office administrator who may never see your home or understand your buying needs or home selling urgency. They may be wonderful handling the teams back office but not necessarily putting your needs first.

Recently, I called a listing agent for information on utilities cost and the best closing date for the seller to make our offer more attractive. The agent didn’t want to be bothered taking calls so I ended up with the transaction administrator. She had no clue about the property or seller’s situation and had to get back to me.  When a buyer is considering multiple properties, you don’t want them writing an offer for your competition vs. yours because of information delay. 

Remember that old game where you tell one person something and that person passes their version on to the next until it’s nothing like the original at the end? That is the problem with a lot of real estate teams, things get delayed and garbled in the translation.

 

Who Is On First?
I had a client make an offer on an active home on market over 300 days. After an appropriate time without an answer I investigated to find the MLS revealed the listing was cancelled!  The team dropped the ball . The agent thought we were notified. My buyers could have been looking at other properties versus cooling their heals. Who knows if the seller ever saw the offer before cancelling the listing?

Strangely you would think husband and wife teams would be the best. I haven’t found that to be true either. In one case the husband sent me a withdrawal while the wife team member sent me a counter offer.

 

Unreachable Agents
Frequently a simple discussion between the listing and buyer’s agent can give you insight in how to structure an offer or to easily obtain additional information. Team listing agents can be unreachable and don’t always return calls.  It is not unusual to encounter full voice mail boxes  as well as agents who just seem too busy courting the next seller to return calls.
Declined Showings
On a recent week-end showing request the seller declined. There are legitimate reasons to decline a showing from sick kids to Fido just ate the couch. Since my calls weren’t returned I tried a text to the team listing agent inquiring about an alternative time. The reply was it must not have been a good time, completely ignoring my request for an alternate. When I asked again I was assured he would check and get back to me but I never heard from him again.

This was a second showing for a 300K home.  They lost a sale by not offering an alternative time and the agent’s lack of follow-up.  The buyer moved on, offering on another property they could actually see.

Lack of Showing Feedback
Part of effectively selling your home is getting agent and client showing feedback. While this is not a problem only specific to teams it is an important consideration. Team buying agents must burn and churn to meet the goals set by the team leader. Often they have shown so many homes to different clients that they don’t have time or care to provide feedback. Some even say, “the only feedback that is important is an offer”.

While an offer is the ultimate feedback, many times buyer’s agents can float trail balloons with feedback. They may say something like their client liked the home but needs closing cost assistance, or wishes the refrigerator was included. Sure they can write that into an offer but knowing beforehand that it will be acceptable goes a long way to quick offer.

Sellers have had strangers poking around their home and the least they deserve is some feedback, even if it is negative.  Team members often are not as vested as independent agents in offering feedback that doesn’t further their cause.  Most independent agents operate at a slower pace and consider providing feedback part of their duty in consideration for tromping through your home.

 

Your Home, Your Choice
When making the decision to hire a listing or buyer’s agent consider if they have your interests in mind or theirs. There are great real estate teams and great independent real estate agents. It is your choice if you want personal attention and a close relationship with your Realtor or the specialized services of various team members.

Consider the availability of the main agent and if they answer your questions or have to pass you off, and how busy with other clients they may be. A team can run like a well oiled machine or it can be a confusing mess.

I provide my clients with responsive personal service. There is no buck passing or apologizing for the inconvenience. If something goes wrong I won’t be unreachable. I will be there as your trusted adviser and real estate consultant all the way through the closing process.  You won’t be a number to discuss in next week’s sales meeting, you will be someone who deserves a dependable Realtor to lean on throughout one of the most important processes of your life. 

It’s your home, your choice – choose wisely.  Check out my testimonials. Reach out to Keith Laursen at 469-233-1234 for the service you deserve.

Cancelling The Contract – Undelivered Option Fee

Van Alstyne Homes Real Estate Question of the Week

 Cancelling The Contract – Undelivered Option Fee

 Cancelled real estate contract If I cancel the contract, do I still owe an undelivered option fee?

Yes!   If you have included an option period in your real estate contract (and you should), part of your obligation and agreement is to pay the option fee within 3 days of the executed contract.   Terminating the contract requires the use of the promulgated Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) form, Notice of Buyer’s Termination of Contract. (TAR 1902)

Most buyers have paid this fee and terminate executed contracts due to problems found during an inspection or other due diligence.  However, if you wish to terminate prior to delivering the fee you do not have your unrestricted right to terminate unless delivered within the three-day delivery period.  A buyer thought they were off the hook because they were terminating due to financing issues but that only lets you recuperate the earnest money. The option fee is still owed as agreed.

Realistically, will a seller come after you for the unpaid option fee?  That depends on how large the fee is, their opportunities with other potential buyers and if someone has done this to them in the past.  In most cases the answer is no but your word is your word and you should live up to it.  A buyer’s agent may decide if you don’t have integrity over this issue, you may not have integrity on other issues and find a new client.

Multiple Property Offers

In a hot market, buyers sometimes put in offers on multiple properties.  If more than one is accepted & executed, you will owe the option fee for all accepted contracts.  Contracts not yet accepted or should be withdrawn immediately and unwanted accepted contracts should be terminated. Sellers who have been burned by this tactic may require larger option fees and/or delivery of those fees with the contract to be considered.

 Contact Me

For help buying or selling a home in Van Alstyne (75495) or anywhere in North Texas, contact Keith Laursen at 469.233.1234.  Note –  I do not take calls when driving or with a client but will return you call as soon as possible.  Don’t text and drive!

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

The answers to these questions are the opinion of the author only and may not apply to your specific situation or state. They should not be considered legal advice.  Always consult a legal professional on matters concerning real estate contracts and the legality of steps you would like to take.

 

Van Alstyne Safe Room Rebate

If GrayAn Old Van Alstyne Home Tornado Shelterson County helped with a 50% rebate would you add a safe room or tornado shelter to your Van Alstyne home?  We got past the Mayan calendar so this might be the perfect time to install a safe room (tornado shelter) and take advantage of a new Grayson County 50% rebate program.

Safe rooms range from fancy home invasion bunkers behind bookcases to old concrete shelters like this one in a Van Alstyne farmhouse.  Unfortunately this old one wouldn’t qualify as a FEMA P-320 compliant shelter but it sure beats ducking under the dining room table.

Grayson County has qualified for a FEMA safe room rebate program where they will pay for half of the cost of a safe room up to $3000.  That is a pretty good deal no matter how you feel about it.  You can find all the details and an application at the Grayson County Main Website.  Besides the obvious savings, just think of the piece of mind and how memorable it will be.  After all the home showings blur into similarity, the home with the safe room will be the one home buyers remember.

Talk to an appraiser concerning the monetary value a safe room would bring but as a Van Alstyne Realtor I can assure you it would be a valuable selling point.  In an age of standard home features like granite counter-tops and stainless steel appliances, a safe room would stand out and draw home buyers attention, especially during the stormy spring buying season.

 Nine Reasons To Consider A Safe Room

  • You have a place to go when the weather alert radio goes off!
  • Underground safe rooms work great for wine storage.
  • Two similar homes for sale? –  The home with the safe room has the selling advantage.
  • They offer additional storage for all those survival items you don’t want to see and hope you will never need to use.
  • Safe rooms can make great play rooms for imaginative kids, just be sure no one gets locked in & firearms are secured.
  • Someone else is paying half the cost up to 3K – it doesn’t get much better than that.
  • If your mother in law is visiting you might convince her it’s a room just for her.
  • Feel secure in your safe room when something goes bump in the night.
  • Why spend money on a gun safe when your shelter can offer that and so much more? (watch the imaginative kids)

Most people think of safe rooms and tornado shelters as dark and cold spaces but picture a little bistro table, Tornado Shelter Wine Storagewine, candles, water and basic foodstuffs to get through a rough time.  Additionally, you need to have a weather radio, flashlight, batteries, pet food for Fido and if nothing else, a signal whistle.

Safe rooms built into a garage are really a negative for resale if they take up parking space.  The other negative is when you see one way out in the backyard.  Who is going to run out in the hail storm hoping they have the key to the cellar?  Be smart, build yours into an appropriate place in your house like a mud room.  That way, no one has to run outside and it can be a place your family wants to go.

Check out the criteria to qualify for your rebate at the Grayson County website.  It can be a great addition to your Van Alstyne home for family safety as well as re-sale.  Call me if you would like to find or sell safe Van Alstyne real estate! I may even have a wine recommendation.

Open House Safety

I am not a big fan of open houses but some clients expect them. Normal scheduled showings are recorded by agents, showing services, lockbox key codes and showing agents vet buyers before allowing them in your home. At an open house there is no control over who is checking out your home.  Theft, breakage and liability is always a possibility but your safety should come first!   Regardless if you are listed with a Realtor or are trying to sell yourself, you need to be aware of personal safety issues.  Here is a recent alert from the Collin County Association of Realtors:

REALTOR® Safety Alert: Suspicious Open House Visitor

We have been alerted by a few CCAR members that there is a suspicious man visiting open houses in the Richardson and Wylie areas. While he is friendly and talkative, this gentleman has been noted to invade the REALTOR’S® personal space during a conversation. In addition, several agents reported that it appeared that he had rummaged through the homeowner’s medication and jewelry. He is described as a Caucasian male in his mid-20’s, approximately 6’2″ in height, with a slender build. He has light-colored hair and wears glasses. As always, CCAR urges you to contact the police immediately if you feel you are in an unsafe situation.

As Realtors, we are tuned in to the potential safety hazards of the job and try to be prepared for what could happen.  If you are thinking of selling your home FSBO (For Sale By Owner) or are convinced that your agent should have open houses, think about your safety.  Your agent may do the open house but everyone through it now knows your floor plan, security features, possible ways in and what valuables you have.

Ten Open House Safety Tips

  • When hosting an open house, have someone with you if possible.
  • Have a keyword or phrase to signal your partner that you are uncomfortable or in trouble.
  • If alone, never lead someone through the home.  Always follow them or better yet, tell them to tour the home without you.
  • Have a set time for the open house and make sure your neighbors, spouse or friend knows the time, what you are wearing, your car and licence number in the unlikely event there is an abduction.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged and you can get to it in an emergency.
  • If needed, the horn button on your auto key fob can be used to draw attention.
  • Put away all prescription drugs, jewelery, firearms and other valuables.  As you can see from the alert above, it is common for criminals to go after drugs and jewelry. Amazingly I have shown homes where the owners left firearms out.
  • Put up personal or business papers that could lead to identity theft or just someone being nosy about what is on your desk.
  • If you have time between visitors, make a quick run through to see if anything has been taken or disturbed. Children can sometimes break or remove things but more importantly, criminals can set the stage for a return visit.
  • When your open house is finished, be sure to check all the doors and windows to ensure they are locked. A window left unlocked may be a potential way in for a returning thief or worse.

Your family’s safety during and after an open house is something to be concerned about.  Realtors know what to look for and have  alert systems when there is a known shady character. Discuss the positives and negatives with your real estate agent.  If I can help you sell your home or offer more advise, contact Keith Laursen, your Van Alstyne Realtor via www.VanAlstyneHomes.com or call 469.233.1234.

 

 

Fall Clean Up

Saturday the 27th was the Precinct 1 Fall Clean Up which covers most of the Van Alstyne area.  For those that don’t know, County Commissioner John Waltrip  does a bi- annual clean up. You can take all of the things you have lying around the house that Van Alstyne Homes Fall Clean Up Pictureyou want to get rid of to the County Barn at 1312 Hwy 1417 in Sherman and they will take them to the dump for free.  Not only that, they will even sweep out your trailer, courtesy of a trustee in a stripped suit.

It was held between 7:30 and 2 Pm on Sat.  If you missed it, there will be another one in the Spring. Just remember, nothing hazardous and no chemicals like paint.  So if your wife isn’t happy with your yard art or that lawn mower is still in the same place it died two years ago, you know what to do. They will also take up to four tires and old appliances.  It’s nice to see a benefit from your tax money and hopefully it will reduce people dumping on the side of the road.

Call 903-893-2033 for more details & to get information on the Spring Clean Up date.

Farm To Market Roads and Country Road Etiquette

FM121 Sign - Van Alstyne, TX - Photo Keith LaursenMoving from the city? Wondering what a FM (Farm To Market) road is? Most people moving to the country don’t give that FM road sign a second thought. They rush along happy for once not to have traffic holding them up. They don’t understand that part of the pleasure of country living is a slower pace.  While it may be fun to put the hammer down, livestock, horseback riders, tractors and other farm equipment have the right of way.

When you come up behind a tractor don’t get road rage because you can’t pass immediately. Just sit back, listen to your favorite music and relax. Remember that you moved to the country for all the simple and basic things that make country life appealing.  Green Acres is the place to be!

It may seem outdated but FM roads are still used for the purpose of getting farm goods and equipment to and from the market. Texas is a free range state which means unless a local law has been passed to prevent it, livestock can legally be on a farm to market roadside or driven from one field to another.  Always consider the possibility of farm animals on any road with a FM designation.   Living in the country with FM roads means learning new road habits.

  Country Road Etiquette 101

Country people wave at each other on the back roads. It’s a hold over from when we were just happy to see another human.

On two lane roads, country people will move over if it’s safe to let you pass. This startles those who can’t believe others are being that nice.

Country folk take their time getting up the on ramp. Our cars ..ahem.. pick-ups have to last longer than those ultra low mileage leases city folk have.  We drive like our vehicles have to make it to the next census.

Don’t expect country folk to move over if you are merging onto a highway. While they are polite, it’s hard to move a trailer loaded with several thousand pounds of hay, cows or horses. Learn to look for trailers and how to properly merge!

Keep your distance when following farm equipment. That little orange triangle means sloooow moving vehicle. It’s not in your drivers handbook but the vehicle may need to swing wide to turn. It also means your air conditioner may inhale some interesting odors and you may need your wipers. Sometimes the cows in the trailer just can’t hold it anymore. Be smart – keep your distance!

Don’t tell the Van Alstyne Police but sometimes we roll through stop signs. It’s not that we don’t like to stop, it’s the grabby trailer brakes and the animals trying to balance in the back of the trailer.  Slow moving also means slow stopping.  Don’t pull out in front of someone hauling a trailer expecting that they will be able to stop.

Country folk slow way down when approaching or passing someone on horseback, buggy or wagon. Contrary to what you see in the movies, not everyone can ride like Roy Rogers and not every horse is like Trigger.  Horses spook at things quickly coming into their vision and weird noises. You are risking someones life or getting a new hood ornament if you speed by.  Please drive friendly.

Speeding up hills and around curves is the surest way possible to meet a big John Deere Tractor or Elsie the cow. You need to be aware of four-legged deer, skunks, possums, coyotes, chickens and other creatures that are crossing just to get to the other side.

Country people like the peaceful environment and sounds of nature. They are not impressed with 1000 watt sound systems and subwoofers that shake the ground like earthquakes. Let you music impress you, not the entire county.

Country people like animals but are not the SPCA for unwanted pets. Please do not drop unwanted pets beside the road unless you want a few skunks delivered to your doorstep back in the city.  Don’t think your pet will be better off having room to roam because it will probably be lunch for some higher food chain animal instead.

Strangely, city folks seem to think it’s OK to toss out the Burger Doodle wrappers, cigarettes and all manner of other junk along the road. Don’t mess with Texas.  We like it clean and fire free.

I hope these words of wisdom help you in your move to the Van Alstyne area.  If I can help you find the country home of your dreams or other Van Alstyne real estate, give me a call or look for me on a FM road somewhere in Grayson County.

 

 

 

Van Alstyne Texas Real Estate News

I would like to announce two recent sales, a new listing, an upcoming 4 bedroom home for sale and local real estate stats for Van Alstyne.

  • Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs Hanning on the purchase of 10 acres on Lincoln Park Rd. in Van Alstyne, Texas.
  • Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Fox for the sale of their property on Sister Grove Rd. in Van Alstyne, Texas.
  • Congratulations to  Mr. Buchanan for listing his one acre and 2 bedroom, 2 bath home for sale at 2046 FM121 in Whitewright, Texas. (MLS #11818697) If you know anyone looking for a property that would be excellent for boarding their own horse, have them call me about this one.  It has a nice tree-shaded lot, barn, pull through driveway and several pens.  The home needs a little TLC but it would be easy to fix up and the location is only 8 miles east of Van Alstyne.
  • Stay tuned for an upcoming listing of a 4 bedroom home in the Georgetown subdivision of Van Alstyne, TX with a newly remodeled custom kitchen.

Now is a great time to buy the Van Alstyne real estate of your dreams. Interest rates remain low.  As of today 8-24-2012, according to the North Texas Real Estate Information System (NTREIS) we have:

76 Active Van Alstyne Real Estate Listings ranging from 29K to 1.3 Million.

15 Pending Van Alstyne Real Estate Listings

40 Listings were sold in the last six months from a minimum of 32k, average listing sold of 155K and the highest priced Van Alstyne listing sold was 440K.

You can see that our area is very affordable and offers a wide range of housing.  The downside is if you home is priced over 440K you should not expect a fast move.  If you are buying in the upper ranges you may be able to get a good deal do the seller’s motivation. The average days on market for sold listings in the last six months was 146 days.  Call me at 469-233-1234 if I can help you determine the best price when listing your home for sale or help you find your new dream home.

Cash Is King In Van Alstyne Real Estate

Cash Is King In Van Alstyne Real EstateEveryone likes cash and a cash offer for Van Alstyne real estate could be your key to getting your offer accepted quickly. Consider the following reasons to offer cash when you are buying a home.

Cash Means Serious

  • Cash offers always go to the front of the line because it’s obvious you are a serious buyer. No one has to worry about pesky appraisals, underwriting requirements or mortgage interest rates changing.  The freedom is enormous!  As a buyer, you can choose not to have an appraisal, inspection or a survey.  I am not saying that you should forego those things but you won’t have anyone requiring you to have them.

 Cash is Fast

  • Cash means a fast closing. The title company will not be held up waiting for lender closing instructions, lender required appraisals, repairs, surveys and other required paperwork. The documents requiring signatures to close will be much less complicated. Depending on the type of property being purchased, you may be able to close in a few days vs. weeks.

 Cash is Leverage

  • Cash gives you leverage.  A cash offer gives the seller significant advantages so they should be more amenable to other things you may need.  Another opportunity you have with cash is the ability to offer more earnest money. While you would think that earnest money wouldn’t be a big deal on a cash purchase, it can give you another advantage over someone financing.  The seller knows if something goes wrong, the increased earnest money will be theirs.

 Cash Can Lock Others Out

  •  Cash may lock others out. One of the biggest advantages is you have the ability to jump on a property as soon as it goes on market, locking out other buyers. Sellers will normally want to work a cash offer first since it will close quick and will not have the other complications.  They may even be willing to accept less for cash to avoid the requirements that come with a financed offer.

 Cash Eliminates Hold Ups

  • No closing and funding issues. In the end, a cash offer eliminates the very last hang-up a seller may have to deal with.  The seller knows that once everyone signs at the closing table, they have their money vs waiting for lender funding.

 Call me if I can help you find the Van Alstyne real estate of your dreams.  While you may not have cash, there are many other ways to buy your Van Alstyne home.  This was just one example of why it might be the way to go if you are fortunate enough to be in a cash position.  There are many other strategies that you can use to purchase the home of your dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

22 Reasons To Sell Your Home

22 Reasons to Sell Your Home

www.greatfamilyhome.com

One of the frequent questions asked is why someone is selling their home?  This sign illustrates one reason, a spouse ran off with a 22-year-old! If you really want to know that story you can go to the website mentioned on the sign.  However, with over a million hits, I would suggest its time for some professional help. Hire a Realtor!The sign got me wondering if I could come up with 22 reasons someone would sell their home. While I am sure there are more, consider if your situation fits any of these and call me if I can help you move on to a different relationship with real estate.

 

22 Reasons To Sell Your Home

  1. Divorce – As it is with the case of the sign, sometimes marriages break up and a home must be sold by court order, lack of adequate income or just the emotional scars of what may have happened there.
  2. Size – As families grow or change when children move on, owners will find themselves with more home than they need or one so cramped they can’t stand each other. See #1 !
  3. Condition – Most of us would rather have a cold beer than paint, repair the deck or re-shingle the house. All homes will experience some deferred maintenance and as time goes by systems like the HVAC and hot water heaters age. If you are selling your home, consider how your homes condition will affect the price and time to sell vs. your competition.
  4. Neighborhood Change – Like condition, neighborhoods go through continuous change. They go from newly built to stable to declining to sometimes revitalization. What was a crime free area may now be crime ridden or perhaps a new freeway is now running through the middle of what was once a nice dead-end street.
  5. Neighbors – The neighbors from hell could move next door or they could be the types who come over every day and you wonder if they will ever leave. I know my neighbors had a hard time during my work on old cars years. That was before  HOAs and I guess teenagers can now afford much better cars than I had!
  6. Job Loss – With the latest economic challenges it is now all to common to sell due to a job loss. Always try to be prepared with an emergency fund, continued education, or other options.
  7. Job Relocation – Hopefully a job relocation is for a better opportunity but it is one of the top reasons people. If you see this as a future possibility, be sure to have an agent advise you concerning days on market and seasonal selling differences.
  8. Taxes – They seldom go down. Sometimes people are taxed out of their home when they have too much square footage, bad tax appraisals or neighborhood changes. Always evaluate your tax statement and dispute it if it’s out of line. Your Realtor can help you determine if its worth the fight.
  9. Top Of Market – Finally a good reason to sell!  If you are in a hot market, have lots of equity and your personal situation allows it, selling at the top is always a good plan. You will never really know when that is but you can guess pretty close. You may need another home but cashing out will give you the option of moving to a much lower cost area.
  10. Health – Owners may experience declining health and not be able to care for their current home. Consider this when buying your home. Do you really want stairs vs. a ranch style?  Maybe a condo close to health care is a better option than a 40 acre farm in the country.
  11. Travel – Sometimes a life situation develops that affords the owner extensive travel opportunities. They buy a motor home and travel the country or take frequent trips to locations around the world. When they return they discover their idea of a dream home has changed.
  12. Schools – One of the top reasons to buy a home is the location of highly rated schools. When the children move out of the nest or change schools you may decide to relocate. Having your home is a popular school district is a huge selling point.
  13. Start A Business – Many small businesses are started in the garage or by selling a home to generate capital.  This may be a perfect time for a buyer to get a good deal. Overlook the cookies or the computer parts stacked everywhere. Mrs. Fields or Steve Jobs may need a larger facility!
  14. Upgrade – An owner could be trading up for that new home smell, need a three car garage to store the boat or just be sick of the floorplain. Often a new job, windfall or inheritance will let a current owner upsize and upgrade.
  15. Amenities – Sometimes you just want your own man cave for a pool table, rain head shower or stainless appliances and granite countertops.
  16. Low Rates – Now is the opportunity of a lifetime concerning mortgage rates. It’s very attractive to sell if you can have those amenities, more space and a better location for the same or less money per month.
  17. Estate Sale – Obviously this is not going to be your favorite reason for selling but it has to be done. Estate property frequently is outdated with deferred maintenance that the heirs want sold quickly. They don’t want to deal with the issues or the emotions. For buyers & investors, this can be an opportunity to buy below market . They can also be a listing that expires due to disagreement between or overpricing by the heirs.
  18. Age –  There is always the owners age but it can also be the age of the house that ends up in a sale. Sometimes it just doesn’t make economic sense for an owner to pour money into a home that needs expensive repairs or upgrades.
  19. New Home – When the decision has been made to buy a new home, normally the current home will have to be sold first. This is another opportunity for buyers if they know the seller is paying two mortgage payments.
  20. Stigma – The last thing you want is a home that has been stigmatised by some traumatic event. It takes a long time to forget the Amityville Horror or a home that all the neighbors refer to as the old crack house.
  21. Eminent Domain – Sometimes the government wants to build city hall, run a pipeline or build a major road right where your bedroom is. If so, consider yourself lucky because you “might” be able to get market value. The owners who really lose are the ones that end on the fringe of the development.  Make sure you get what you deserve.
  22. Environmental – They may move the new city dump or nuclear power plant next door or you may get lucky and be like the Clampetts. Wouldn’t it be nice to discover some black goo oozing out of your ground that turns out to be black gold?

Whew – that was harder than I thought!  Whatever the reason someone needs to sell there needs to be a willing and able person or entity willing to buy.  Keep in touch with a good Realtor (I know one) to understand the market conditions and obtain professional advise if you need to sell or buy a home. Those 22 reasons to sell your home are also 22 reasons for someone to buy it! Call 469-233-1234 to obtain the services of a good Van Alstyne Realtor!

 

We Can Always Come Down!

Price Down Open House Sign - Photo www.House-Crazy.com

Photo – www.House-Crazy.com

It is extremely important to price your home right from the beginning. Thinking you need room to negotiate or “we can always come down” is an excellent way to stigmatize your property and result in an expired listing.  This Open House sign is a good way to visualize the problem.  They came down and down and down until they just wanted the bus out-of-town!In a buyers market it is very important to price aggressively to be in the market vs. slowly and painfully adjusting your price trying to find the market. You have probably heard the lines before.  An expired listing means you are the highest bidder.  Pricing high only helps you sell the home down the street. Buyers will compare the value they get for your price vs. other similar homes in the same or lower price range.  The longer your home goes unsold the more money you have thrown away in holding costs vs. using that money where you want to live.  The thing is, these are not just lines.  They are all true.Home prices are dynamic. While it’s always about location, price is king and values change based on season, interest rates, inventory, competition, financing difficulty, jobs, tax rates, condition, personal situations, traffic, appraisal guidelines and many other reasons. The price you paid, your neighbors sales price or the price you think you should list for to give room for negotiation means nothing in this real changing world.

FSBO Funny Sign

Photo – www.House-Crazy.com

The best way to price right is to enlist the services of a good real estate professional to not only evaluate your home but advise you concerning the current and expected market conditions.  After pricing right, make sure your home is shown in it’s best light with proper preparation for showings and proper MLS photos. See my posts on  why showing your home is like a first date and MLS listing photo pet peeves  for more information.

After a short time on market you can tell by the number of showings and offers if you should adjust your price. Bargain hunters and investors look for homes that are stigmatised by many days on market or have constant price drops chasing the market. Why buy now when it will drop tomorrow?  I once had a seller tell me if his home didn’t sell this week-end he was dropping the price ten thousand dollars!  My buyer bought it Monday morning for ten grand less.

Then you will see people who use the opposite method shown in the sign. They will price high, never have a single offer but refuse to drop the price. In 2007 that method might have worked as the market was coming up to ridiculous prices.  It’s not 2007 anymore!  They are like an auctioneer starting the bidding at a crazy number and saying over and over again, do I hear…?   He never hears it and it remains unsold. What these sellers don’t realize it that buyer will see it’s been on market forever without a price adjustment and conclude the seller isn’t serious about selling or there is something wrong with the property.

It’s a crazy world so get some professional help!  Call me at 469-233-1234 to price your real estate for sale right so you don’t end up like the sign example.  By the way, if you love homes and are only a little off, check out Sarah Felix Burns’ blog. She is crazy about houses and let me use those pictures to make my price right point.

 

 

 

Home Sale Negotiated Repairs – What You Need To Know

Dented Garage Door - Van Alstyne HomesOne of the fun parts about buying or selling a home is addressing needed repairs, who will do them, when will they be done, how will they be done or even if they should be done.  All of those questions and more will come up somewhere in the process of negotiating the contract.  Your Realtor should be able to guide you through the pitfalls.  Here are a few things to be aware of:

 

Pre-listing Inspection

If the buyer is going to pay for an inspection, why should a seller spend good money first?  First, it’s a great marketing tool to say your home is pre-inspected and essentially problem free. Not many people do this so if you do, your house will stand out to a buyer as well taken care of and having nothing to hide. Note to buyers – always confirm condition with your own independent inspection.

Secondly, if either buyer or seller is going to have a home warranty there will be no disputes about pre-existing conditions. Third and one of the most important reasons is it identifies any unknown or serious problems, allowing the seller to take care of them with their own resources and on their own time beforehand.  After you go under contract you will be rushed or it may be impossible to make some repairs before closing. Have you ever tried to get a foundation estimate in August or a roof repaired after a spring hail storm?

Last but not least is after you go under contract, you may not be able to do the repairs yourself.  There are many owners who are very capable and experienced at plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc. However, the Texas residential contract clearly states that unless otherwise agreed to in writing, repairs have to be done by persons licensed or otherwise authorized be law.  Ask yourself as the seller if you want that liability for a few hundred dollars.  Ask yourself as the buyer if you trust an owner doing his own electrical or structural repairs.

As Is?

Remember, we once had a president who said, “it depends on what your definition of is, is”.  There are a lot of court cases over that simple definition when it comes to real estate. If you are entertaining selling As Is, make sure you fully disclose everything concerning your property.  Buyer be ware doesn’t normally work well if you are in court for not disclosing Old Faithful is under the master bedroom.

But wait, Section 7D of the contract says buyer accepts the property in its present condition!  Thats correct and you should check that unless you know of specific repairs or treatments required. Unless there is something obviously wrong you won’t know until you have a professional inspection and consider the costs involved.  If all the shingles are gone or the windows broken out you could specify that but you will still want a more in depth inspection during your option period.

Option Period

Whats an option period?  Thats another story but suffice it to say as it pertains to repairs, it’s the time when you do your due diligence. This is when you will have a through inspection done of the property to determine it’s true condition. If you find enough significant issues you can make a decision to terminate the contract or ask for repairs.

Option periods are useful for many other reasons but be aware that, time is of the essence. You have the unrestricted right to terminate the contract as long as you are within the option period, have tendered you option fee appropriately and give the proper notice before the deadline.

Amendment For Repairs

What happens when you find problems during the inspection that you want addressed?  This is where your agent will prepare an amendment to the contract requesting specific repairs.  Even new construction is not perfect and it’s the inspectors job to identify everything they can find that could be a problem.  An older home or one with deferred maintenance will have more problems than new construction but you should not expect the seller to fix everything on the inspectors report.

Ask for reasonable repairs, repairs that might be expensive or a safety issue for your family. Keep in mind that many home systems have a expected life span. Don’t expect the seller to replace an aging air conditioning system or re-roof the home 15 years into a 25 year shingle warranty unless there is actually something wrong with it.

Once you have requested the repairs, the seller will decide if they will make the repairs, negotiate back with you on them or simply say, no.  As long as you are still in your option period you can always terminate if you don’t like the results.

Price Adjustment or Repair?

Should there be a price adjustment or a repair? There are many reasons to do one or the other but let me give you something to think about.  In most cases, I recommend a price adjustment when repairs are required. Now if it’s a small repair or the owner can address it simply then by all means repair it but otherwise you will probably be glad you just adjusted the price.

My reasoning for the preference of a price adjustment is because it’s normally easier and more satisfactory for both home buyer and seller.  Sellers will want to have a requested repair done as inexpensively as possible.  Is that what you want as the buyer? You want it done right, not by the lowest bidder. Who do you call if you have problems with the repair after the purchase?  Since you didn’t pay, the repair company may not feel the same responsibility to you as the person who wrote the check.

If the buyer accepts a price reduction in lieu of the seller making the repairs they can pick their own vendor, they know who to beat up on if warranty work is required and they get to pick the quality of the person or company doing the repair.  For the seller, they don’t have to worry about a shoddy repair job coming back on them and they can concentrate on packing versus repairing. It relieves the seller of the hassle of finding, scheduling and hoping the repair person will show up and actually fix what is required.  It’s your call but I think you will thank me later if you do the price adjustment.

Repair Refusal

What happens if the seller refuses to do the repairs?  This happens more frequently in a sellers market but it does happen more often than you might imagine.  Normally repairs will get negotiated back and forth just like anything else in the contract. If you have had tensions rise during negotiations or fought hard on the home price, sellers will sometimes dig in.  As strange as it seems, sometimes sellers get sellers remorse. They may have lived a good portion of their life or watched their kids grow up in the home and then the emotions of leaving once it’s sold overwhelm them.

You may be asking for something unreasonable to repair, a laundry list of repairs or you may be asking for something that the seller has lived with for years. They see no reason why they should fix it now because it wasn’t a big deal to them all this time. In the end, it all comes down to decision time.  If the seller refuses to make any or certain repairs that you feel are important they are telling you they are willing to risk you walking away.  It’s time to get realistic if you want the home & bite the bullet or exercise your option to terminate.  Fortunately most buyers and seller will reach a compromise.

Walk Through

After agreement is made for repairs, the buyer will expect proof they were done to their satisfaction. Invoices showing the repairs were done, who did them and that they are paid if full will be expected by the buyer.  In addition, it’s a common practice to do a walk through of the home prior to closing. A walk through just confirms that any repairs were done and done correctly.

One other word on walk thorough. This is also where buyers make sure the hot tub they negotiated in the sale is still there, the home is clean and items not associated with the sale are removed. No one wants to move in and then need a dumpster or have to do an industrial strength cleaning.

Who Does The Repairs?

I’ve covered that the repairs must be done by a licensed person but just keep in mind that unless otherwise negotiated, he who pays, picks.  As long as you understand that, your life will be easy.  Refer to the section above concerning why it makes sense to do a price adjustment so you can pick!

 

When Are Repairs Made?

Per contract, repairs by the seller are always made prior to closing. Lenders will normally not fund a purchase until lender required repairs are made. Lenders also will not let buyers start making any repairs prior to ownership.  If time runs out or weather prevents the repairs from being completed the closing will be delayed or sometimes a repair escrow can be arranged.

If you have an insurance claim be aware that the check may be made out to the seller and the mortgage company. Paying the repairman and ensuring they have not put a lien on the property prior to your closing date may be a problem. It can take some time for the mortgage company to sign the check, verify the work was completed and return the check to you for payment.

Repairs Not Completed?

If negotiated contract repairs are not completed by the closing date then the buyer can extend the closing date up to 15 days or the seller will be in default. Default is not a good thing because if not corrected it normally just makes lawyers richer. The buyer can force specific performance and tie up your property so you can’t sell it to anyone else plus get a damage award.  See my section above concerning why it’s more sensible to have a price adjustment!

Disclosing Prior Inspections

Do you have to disclose prior inspections?  The very very short answer is YES.  The Texas Association Of Realtors Sellers Disclosure Notice requires that inspections are disclosed and copies provided that were done within the last 4 years.  This means any kind of inspection done by people who normally do inspections of any kind, not just home inspectors.

Also, if your home was under contract for sale and you were provided a copy of the potential buyers inspection when they requested repairs, you should also disclose that. Sellers will often balk at that because they didn’t pay for or request it but it could be a huge liability if you fail to disclose a material fact that would have prevented the buyer from purchasing.  As you will find out in the video below, you don’t necessarily have to disclose it but you will want to!

 

Van Alstyne Horse Information

I added a new page to the VanAlstyneHomes.com info/links page for Van Alstyne Area Equestrian Information.  If you know of a place I haven’t mentioned, a link to something important or would like to comment on one of your favorite horse activities, just leave me a comment or let me know.

When we first moved here we would ride the back roads.  It’s still something we enjoy but we discovered so many other activities, horse organizations and places to ride in the immediate area.  Before the Yellow Rose closed, I always wanted to ride into town, tie up by the grain store and have a nice cold milk shake. Sadly both are gone now but someday I might just show up at the Braums drive through window.

There are many good reasons for living here and buying a home on a few acres to enjoy your horses is just one of them.  Some people have horses for pasture ornaments, never venturing off their property but if you want more, there is plenty to do.  If your horses are trailer ready there are numerous shows, parades, an occasional home town rodeo and trails to ride within an hours drive. One of our favorite trail riding places is Platter Flats just across the Red River and it’s only a short drive to Lake Ray Roberts or Lake Lavon for more riding fun.

Just do a little Google searching or pick up a Lone Star Horse Report at one of the local grain stores and you will find all kinds of nearby activities. Short of that click on the link above and you will see information about my favorite areas to ride, horse info and horse organizations.  Until then, Happy Trails !

Home Inspection Surprise

If you are buying or selling a home you should have your home thoroughly inspected.  Even if you are not in the real estate market, it’s the time of year to start your maintenance chores. I am always amazed at what you find once you start really looking.

I was peering out the kitchen window the other day admiring the horses playing in the pasture.  I noticed something about the air conditioning shroud that didn’t look right but was distracted and forgot about it.  This morning we had our bi-annual maintenance check up of our air conditioning system.  It’s not a cheap date and I have considered not renewing it this time.

Snake in HVAC - Home Inspection Surprise - www.VanAlstyneHomes.comThe guy comes in with his cell phone in hand saying you won’t believe what I found.  I of course was expecting some bad news like the compressor going out when he handed me the phone with this picture. Imagine how startled he must have been walking through the tall shrubs,  getting ready to remove the cover and had this surprise staring back at him.

I have now reaffirmed my belief that everyone should have a home inspection and regular maintenance. I have also concluded that it’s a good thing to renew my HVAC maintenance agreement and I am glad I don’t do HVAC maintenance for a living.  It takes a lot to stop a Trane…technician – just saying.

Buy A Short Sale Home? My Personal Saga

Don’t consider buying a short sale home if you want to move fast.  Short Sale is an oxymoron like military intelligence.  My personal saga for an Anna,TX home for sale started 10-21-11.  That’s right, October of 2011 and in a few days it will SEVEN MONTHS later.

It all started with the home being priced for multiple bids. Of the five bids, ours was the winning bid and so it was off to the races. Fortunately I am a Van Alstyne Realtor as well as the investor so I knew the process would be full of land mines and delays.  However, I never dreamed I would be dealing with a seven month plus ordeal.   Just imagine if you were the buyer and this was your dream home turned nightmare.

We have completed 3 amendments in this time period giving the bank more time to consent to the sale. It dragged on so long that the property went to the courthouse steps for foreclosure last month. For some reason a light bulb must have turned on in the bowels of the bank so it was pulled at the last-minute.  You see the short sale folks and the foreclosure folks at the bank only wink at each during lunch.  It’s very apparent that they never really talk to each other.

At this point I don’t really expect it to ever close. If you were my client, I would have advised you to move on months ago.  I am staying with this travesty because it’s a nice house and I want to see how it all finally plays out. I would not be surprised if it ends up going to the courthouse again and the bank actually buys it back for more than we have offered.

You remember that mortgage insurance you paid for to protect the bank?  Sooner of later, they will file a claim against the mortgage insurance and use the money to invest in something really smart like derivatives.  Just ask Chase how that works.

Think about what has happened during the last five months…besides nothing.

  • The owner has been in limbo for over five months wondering if his credit will ever be good again
  • Prices have decreased somewhat since the offer was made
  • April has come and gone so now 2011 tax returns will be required for financing
  • Interest rates have remained low but could have easily gone the other way
  • The home systems have been rotting for 5 months – (water heater, HVAC)
  • No real maintenance – no foundation watering
  • The bank has had to pay for mowing but the fence has fell apart into the neighbor’s yard.

The current extension expires at the end of the month.  Stay tuned for updates on one long short sale!  There is a lot more I could say but I think you can read between the lines.  If you would like to buy or sell a home give me a call but don’t expect me to be excited if it’s a short sale. There are too many other homes that you can actually buy and sell without going through this pain.

Wait until it becomes a HUD home or Fannie Mae foreclosure. Then the process is easy for owner occupants and the home will be disposed of after a few days vs. months. Film at 11.

 

Van Alstyne High School – Van Alstyne ISD

Van Alstyne High School SignHome of The Panthers, the class 3A district high school is located on Hwy 5 just north of downtown Van Alstyne,TX. The Van Alstyne ISD overseas three schools in Van Alstyne.  All three schools are off of Hwy 5 within a few miles of each other. This makes it very easy for drop offs and pick-ups if you have school aged children in different grades.

The new high school saw its first students in the 2003-2004 school year followed by a new stadium in 2008.  Students can participate in a wide variety of athletic activities including Powerlifting, Cross Country, Track, Golf, Tennis, Softball, Baseball, Volley Ball and of course Texas Football!

For more on the high school and all of the cities schools see – Van Alstyne ISD

Van Alstyne High School

The new High School opened 2003-2004 and includes advanced courses in Latin, Chemistry, Health, Biology and Culinary Arts among others.


 

 

 

 

You’ll find most of the town’s residents cheering the Panthers in Van Alstyne’s Panther Stadium. You will know when there is a home game because the whole town will be decorated in Panther colors and signs.

 

 

 

 


 

From Images of Van Alstyne  – www.VanAlstyneHomes.com

Van Alstyne Median Sales Price

Click here for the latest median sales price for homes in Van Alstyne, TX.  Call Keith Laursen at 469-233-1234 if you need more information about homes for sale in Van Alsytne, TX and the surrounding cities of Anna, Melissa, Howe, Tom Bean, Whitewright, and McKinney.

 

Median Sales Price for Van Alstyne.

MLS Listing Photo Peeves

MLS Toilet Photo DramatizationIs your toilet the best feature of your house?  A well-known Phoenix broker, Jay Thompson has written about how ridiculous it is for agents to take MLS photos of toilets.  While it’s hard not to get a shot of the porcelain throne, I think his main point was don’t feature it (like this photo) and at least put the lid down. Funny, my wife tells me that all the time.  Maybe they both have something!

When you list your house for sale make sure your agent takes the best pictures possible. Help them by getting your home properly prepared in advance. Yes, put the lid down!  I want to follow on to Jay’s post with a few of my own agent photo pet peeves.

A description and photo that makes me cringe is, “Hurry, Won’t Last Long” with a nice photo of a snow-covered roof in the middle of August.  If you have lived through a Texas summer you know snow is really out of character in August.  That’s a dead giveaway that the listing is long in the tooth.  Doesn’t it make you wonder why the agent hasn’t changed the photo, removed the comment or the seller demanding a change?  Someone in this scenario should be awake even if there isn’t any snow.  At least It’s time to remove the, “won’t last long” & update the photo.

Have you ever seen a MLS photo of land for sale with the listing photo taken from the agent’s car?  Seriously, if the picture shows the side view mirror or smashed bugs on the windshield, find an agent with enough energy to get out of the car or knowledge to crop the image.  New Listing - MLS Photo - Mirror in Image

Do you want to highlight living on a busy street?  I saw a main listing photo with a fire truck going by in the living room window.  It was near a fire station and it just happened to be going by as the picture was snapped.  I bet that was a nice quiet place to live. It really made me want to go see it. It could be the perfect house for a fireman wanting to live close to work!

Does your MLS listing photo show Homes on Homes or Love It or List It playing on the TV in the background?  How about the agent in the mirror or someone standing off to the side?  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen photos of kitchen counters full of dishes. Don’t blame your agent for your home not selling if you won’t take the time to put the dishes away.

Home For Sale 380 Days Without A Listing PhotoLast but not least is the listing that has been on market for days without any pictures what so ever. My motto is, “you can’t sell if it’s not spotted” so that one drives me nuts. Sometimes it might take a couple of days to get pictures posted but there is no excuse for not having listing pictures after months. There has to be something worthy of a picture, even if it’s the porcelain throne!

Call me at 469-233-1234 if you are ready to put your home or land on the market. I promise I won’t have the side view mirror in the picture, snow on the roof or the toilet seat up!

Van Alstyne Panther Stadium

Van Alstyne Panther StadiumThe Van Alstyne Panther Stadium is the normally packed during football season.  Like most Texas towns, football is king here!  It opened in 1908 with room for you with a capacity of 3500 people.

What is your most memorable time at the stadium?

Get Started Today ——– Call Keith Laursen 469.233.1234

Information provided as a public service – Viewer should independently verify accuracy of all information

This should be disclaimer info
%d bloggers like this: