Hot Fun In The Summertime

Three Great Summer Activities

One month down and just one and a half to go! Summer will be over before we know it. If you are wondering what to do with your remaining time, then check out some of my favorite picks for area summer activities.

There are so many fun choices all over the metroplex, but I narrowed it down to my favorite three. Then I threw in an alternate! Let’s go!

1. Family Fun Fridays at the Arboretum

Summers at The Arboretum are splendid. The current feature is the Gary Lee Price “Celebrate the Children” exhibit of sculptures. These sculptures are so much fun to see. Be sure to check out Family Fun Fridays going on now through July 28th. There will be a petting zoo and face painting as well as other family fun activities.

2. 24th Annual Killis Melton’s Ice Cream Crank-Off

On July 21st you won’t want to miss the annual Ice Cream Crank-Off in downtown McKinney at Chestnut Square. Celebrate National Ice Cream Day bigly! There will be plenty of food vendors and TONS of ice cream. Also on the agenda are pony rides, face painting, balloon art, and a magic show. 

3. LIVE 80 – Ultimate 80’s Experience

The third item on my list of summer fun is the LIVE 80 – Ultimate 80’s Experience at Legacy Food Hall Box Garden on August 16th. The concert is a free event and a great excuse to check out all the food vendors at Legacy Hall. My current favorite food stall is the Shwarma Bar   

Indoor Alternate – Dior: From Paris To The World

Now if you are not one that enjoys the heat of the Texas summer, then I have a fantastic indoor activity for you. Check out a Day With Dior at the Dallas Museum of Art. On July 19th you can stay late and watch the film “Dior and I” (The film is rated R)

Now that I have shared my favorite picks let me know your favorite summer activities.

 

Source: Living Collin County

Four Benefits Of Owning Rental Properties

Why are rental investments so popular in North Texas?

Real estate investing is one of the best ways to safeguard your future. This is true, especially in North Texas. Historically, our housing market is on the rise. When our housing market dips, it is usually a small dip followed by a recovery. Here is a snapshot of the Collin County market trends over the past 10 years.

Consider this:

  • Properties in the area are likely to increase in value over time.
  • Population growth is exploding in Collin and surrounding counties.
  • Corporations are flocking to the state to set up headquarters.
  • North Texas schools are some of the best in the country.

All of these are great reasons to buy and also to invest in homes in the region.

4 Great Benefits Of Owning Rental Property

Cash Flow

Cash flow is the result of subtracting all expenses from income. The key to figuring out your cash flow is to understand ALL of your costs. Expenses on a rental can include mortgage, taxes, HOA dues, homeowner’s insurance, repairs, capital expenditures, property management, supplies, vacancy rate, etc. The more money you put down on the home, the higher the cash flow potential you will realize. This is a great article on calculating cash flow for your rental.

Appreciation

Beyond cash flow, investors should consider property appreciation. While not always, generally speaking, housing values tend to appreciate over time. An investor in a rental property needs to make smart and efficient repairs and improvements to the home over time, keep the home maintained, and buy in a desirable location. This sets you up for the best chance of appreciation. Read more about this subject here.

Leverage

By taking out a loan for an investment property, you can leverage your resources to own more properties. As long as you have carefully calculated your cash flow, you should realize a more substantial profit. These are some great articles showing how leverage works.   

Tax Advantages

Landlords have a few tax advantages over regular homeowners. They get to deduct items such as interest, insurance, maintenance, and even depreciation over time as business write-offs. Read more about that here.

What makes a house the right candidate?

The property should be in a desirable location where plenty of potential renters live. The home should be priced well – not over-improved or under maintained. The rental should produce a beneficial return on your investment. This is another great article to help you find the right home

When you are ready to get started on your next investment home, give me a call. We can get started right away.

Source: Living Collin County

The New Vs. Preowned Debate

29% Of Texas Homebuyers Chose New Construction

The Texas Association of Realtors recently released the 2019 Texas Homebuyers and Sellers Report. It has some excellent data on the makeup of home buyers and home sellers in our great state. It also offers some great infographics on how we compare to national statistics.

The New vs. Preowned Debate

One area where Texans differ from the rest of the nation is in the purchase of a new home. The report states that 29% of homebuyers in Texas bought a new home compared to only 14% nationwide. I think the statistic makes sense given the population surge we’ve experienced in the last few years.

Motivation Behind The Decision To Build Or Buy Existing

The reasons why people purchased a new home or an existing home were fascinating. The study cites that the motivation for buying new construction is mostly to avoid renovations and repairs, amenities of new communities, customizing the design, and energy efficiency. In contrast, those buyers that purchased an existing home stated that value, price, and charm were the most significant deciding factors.

Of all my research on this topic, I found my old buddy Dave Ramsey with the best take on the debate of new versus existing. His pro/con list is spot-on.

Last year, I took the plunge and moved to a smaller home for the empty-nest phase of life. We debated new construction, but in the end, we opted for location and the charm of a pre-owned home in an established neighborhood. The only thing I wished I had in my new-old home is better energy efficiency. We will get there eventually with some new insulation and upgrades to the mechanicals as they age.

Looking For New Construction?

What about you? Are you a buy-new kind of Texan? If so, I have an outstanding resource for you. You can view all of the new home sites in one place with this great tool. Give it a try!

Finding A Great Pre-owned Home To Suit Your Needs

If you are a pre-owned kind of Texan, then use my Advanced search feature to see all the homes available within your custom parameters.

 

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Ready To Buy?

Whether it is new construction or an existing home, I have all the tools and resources to keep you on track, on budget, and on time. I can make your Texas home dreams come true! Give me a call today.

Source: Living Collin County

Area Summer Camps – 2019

Looking for a great local summer camp?

It is that time of the year where parents everywhere are looking for ideas to keep those kids active during the summer months. If you are one of those frazzled parents, scrambling to find a great camp, I’ve got a great resource for you.

My friends at Fair Texas Title have put together a great resource. You can download this guide by following this link

I hope you have a wonderful summer! 

Source: Living Collin County

Catch The Catch Can Test

How to effectively water your lawn

I recently attended a presentation by the Texas A&M AgriLife Water University. Have you seen the new facility? It looks impressive, and I look forward to the eco-park to opening later this year. 

The Catch Can Test

In honor of Earth Day, I  bring you a simple watering test I learned about from the resources at Water University.  You can easily perform this test to ensure that you are properly watering your lawn. 

Texas A&M AgriLife recommends one inch of water per week from your sprinkler system during dry periods. The root zone of most lawns runs about 6 inches deep in clay soils. One inch of water will fill this zone. 

The catch-can test will help you understand how long you need to run each station on your system. Take a look…

 

Here are the steps summarized:

  • Place cans in a grid within the sprinkler zone. 
  • Water the zone for 5 minutes
  • Divide 1 by the number of inches you collected. (If you obtained a quarter of an inch of water, then you would divide 1 by .25 giving you 4)
  • Multiply that number by 5 – in this example, the result is 20. That is the number of minutes the station should be run to obtain one inch of water.

The dry season is coming, and it makes sense to water smart. I hope this inspires you to make a plan and participate in making water-efficient choices.

It is also house-hunting season. I’ve got the smart plan to help you in this department. Whether you are ready to buy a home, sell a home, or both, I can help you get it done. Give me a call. 

 

Source: Living Collin County

Eight Ways to Prepare to Buy a Home

Are you thinking of buying a home this spring?

I’ve got a great resource here to help you get started. They say that if you have not purchased a home in the last three years, you are essentially a first-time home buyer. That is because our contracts in Texas are changing every year. Whether you are a seasoned home buyer or a first-time home buyer, I can help you get to the finish line with finesse. 

I’ve created an infographic outlining eight things you can do now to prepare yourself to buy a home. 

Start with partnering with a genuine real estate professional. Your agent will be essential to your success. The best part is that they work for you, protecting your best interest, and it does not cost you a thing. The seller or the builder will pay the fees of your agent in most cases.

Next step is getting with a lender if you are going to be financing your home.  A  lender will make or break your deal so make sure you are using a local and reputable lender. I’ve got my favorites linked right here. 

Now that the two most important allies in the home-buying process are on your side continue your preparations by planning your budget, determining the best area and neighborhoods for you, and understanding how your investment will impact your future. 

Once you find the home you love, don’t let it get away. Be prepared to act quickly and to make the smartest offer that appeals to the seller. 

Are you looking to get started buying a home? Let me help you every step of the way. Give me a call today. 

 

Source: Living Collin County

Two Truths And A Lie About Texas Bluebonnets

Texas Bluebonnets

Spring Has Sprung!

We are coming up on one of the best spring passages in Texas. Bluebonnets! For so many of us, it is one of our favorite things about Texas. I love watching for them as I travel – they bring such peace and comfort. I also enjoy seeing my friends and family post pictures on social media of kids and pets amongst the blooms. This year promises to be one of the best years to view them because of the wet fall we had.

Today I bring you two truths and a lie about the great flower.

Truth #1

The Texas bluebonnet grows throughout the state. There seems to be a bit of a power struggle for the top spot, but Texas is big enough for more than one. The bluebonnet festivals take place the weekend of April 12th thru 14th this year. There is one in Chappell Hill, Burnet, and Ennis, with Ennis being the closest one to our area. Take a look at the Bluebonnet Trails in the Ennis area. 

 

Driving map of the Ennis bluebonnet trails

Truth #2

The state of Texas adopted the Bluebonnet as the state flower in 1901. It narrowly beat out the cactus or cotton boll. I am personally grateful for all the votes the bluebonnet received. There are actually 6 species of the bluebonnets that are all under the umbrella of the state flower – ones of different colors like red, pink, purple, and maroon.

The Lie!

There is a rumor out there that it is against the law to pick a bluebonnet. That is not true – you may pick a bluebonnet if you have permission. It is never allowed to pick OTHER PEOPLE’S bluebonnets, and you must always make sure you have permission to be in any fields you come upon. 

Another Spring Rite Of Passage

There is one other phenomenon that ushers in with the bluebonnets. That is the spring housing rush. If you are ready to jump into the market to buy a home or sell a home, give me a call

 

 

Source: Living Collin County

2019 – Looking Ahead By Looking Back

What to look forward to in 2019

One way of determining how the real estate market will fare in 2019 is taking a look at the trends from year to year. 2018 was a decent year for real estate in Collin County. There has been some press about our market and how it is shifting. Yes, it is shifting, but we are not in trouble. Interest rates have gone back down and inventory is up. This is a great time to buy a home.

Sellers are facing more competition than we’ve been used to in recent years but homes are selling. Knowing how to adjust to the market is the key to success. 

 

Source: Living Collin County

Two Things Every Homeowner Should Do In 2019

Preventing Identity Theft

It has happened more than once to our clients. It happens to dozens of people every day. It can happen to anyone, but a person selling their home is a popular target.

Here is the scenario: A client lists their home for sale. The property gets marketed to national and local websites promoting the house for sale. The next thing they know, their identity has been stolen. Bank accounts and credit cards have been opened up in their name. The homeowners catch people in front of their home, going through their mailbox! 

Why are home sellers the target?

What makes a person selling their home more susceptible to identity theft? The likely answer is because the owners tend to be away from home frequently or absent altogether. This is what makes them easy prey. 

How are thieves targeting homeowners?

The thieves sign up for Informed Delivery from the US Postal Service on the target address. They monitor mail delivery online before the owner has even received it. When the new credit cards or bank checks are due to arrive, they retrieve them from the mailbox before the homeowner can.

How can you protect yourself? 

These are the two most important steps you can take:

  1. Lock down your credit by issuing a credit freeze
  2. Sign up for Informed Delivery from the US Postal Service

How To Freeze Your Credit

The Federal Trade Commission has a great article on exactly what a credit freeze is and is not. It explains what you will be able to do with a freeze in place and how to go about temporarily lifting the freeze when needed. One reassuring thing to know is that a credit freeze does affect your credit score. You can freeze your credit with all three major creditors. Here is the data you need to do this.

Equifax
Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
800-685-1111

Experian
Experian.com/help
888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

Transunion
TransUnion.com/credit-help
888-909-8872

Sign up for Informed Delivery

Since identity thieves are also stealing mail, it is essential to understand what is being delivered to your home each day. The United States Postal Service offers a product called Informed Delivery. You need to sign up for this service before the criminals do. Once you have signed up for it, no one else can have the same function on your address. This valuable service alerts you each day as to what is being delivered. You can know when important items are at your home and check to make sure that nothing is missing when you pick up the mail. 

Source: Living Collin County