Monday Night Football – We Should Get this Excited For Real Estate This Time of Year Too!!

Even though the the large, summer time real estate season is primarily over, those of you who choose to or need to buy or sell a property in what is traditionally thought of as the “off season”, should consider getting as excited as most Americans do for Monday night football!   As I sit here watching my Cowboys finally lead a game past the half time (hold onto it guys!), I think about the excitement that spurs up at the office each Monday in anticipation for the night time showdown with the pig skin.   This energy needs to  be equally echoed in today’s real estate market!   Even though we are in the unofficial “off season” for real estate, people & families will still need to buy and sell properties regardless.   Every day, life changing events  occur all around us.   These changes  in and around us  often times trigger the movement of peoples homes.   I bet that almost every day, there are at least 10 families that learn that they are being transferred to the Dallas/Fort Worth are.   And I bet 10 more learn that they need to pack their belongings and move on to the next phase of their lives somewhere outside of Dallas/Fort Worth.   You think these numbers might be a little low?   Ya… me too.   Honestly,  I bet there are a lot more people than this, but I wanted to lean on the conservative side of things as to avoid a mass email blitz for all of you!

The point is, even though we are entering our traditional slower months, the need to buy and sell properties will still be there.   As we approach the holidays, houses will be decorated and smell delightful, buyers are typically more serious, and agents are prospecting daily more than ever to find buyers for their listings (at least I am!).  

So gear up, put your helmet on, and lets sell some properties.   It will make all parties involved happy and it will also keep this  long standing economy on a forward moving pace… much like my Cowboys tonight!

So price those homes right, get them staged, and open up  those doors for the showings because this off season is looking more like a peak season to me!

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In Today’s Market, Seller’s Should Consider Obtaining a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

It is no secret that most housing markets  are tilted towards the buyers.   In general, there are more properties on the market than this time last year, and there appear to be a lot less qualified buyers out there ready to make a purchase.   This definitely puts a downward pressure on area home prices and stresses out sellers that are currently on the market.

For myself, being primarily a listing agent, I am seeing a growing trend that is quite concerning.    In such a strong buyers market, it is no surprise that many sellers are feeling taken advantage of during the negotation process.   With the excessive intentory on hand, buyers know that they have the upper hand in selecting a home.

A negotation example would be that the seller receives what the seller believes to be a “low ball” offer.    The seller then tries to counter  the buyers offer, but the buyer doesn’t budge much.   Ultimately, the seller settles on  a price much lower than they had originally expected to sell at.

The buyer and seller then proceed to the next phase of the contract/negotiations process.   It’s called the  “option period”.   This is the period where the buyer has “X” amount of days (usually 7-10 here in Texas)  to get inspections and has the unrestrictive right to terminate the contract for any whatsoever.   Assuming that the buyer hires a home  inspector, the home inspection is completed and the seller is presented a list of repair items that the buyer wants the seller to repair.   Many times this repair list can be quite lengthy.   Especially in older homes.   The seller usually has been living in their home for some time thinking everything is just fine, and then all of a sudden an outside 3rd party comes in and picks their home apart.

So when the buyer presents to the seller their requested repair list, the seller naturally gets defensive and usually becomes upset with the buyers requests.   Not only does the seller think that the buyer has already received a great deal on the home, they now feel taken advantage of because the buyer is asking for more.

Sometimes buyer and seller are able to negotiate the repairs together and agree to terms, but I have seen many deals almost come to an end at this stage.  

The remedy I suggest to  this dilemma?   Seller’s and listing agents…. are you listening?   GET A PRE-LISTING HOME INSPECTION DONE PRIOR TO LISTING THE HOME FOR SALE (and do some repairs upfront)!   When sellers list their home for sale, they are usually excited and are  very willing to listen to realty professionals advice on all topics (recommended updates, staging, decorations, etc…).   If a pre-listing home inspection is done and the seller makes and documents the repairs made, once a contract is received, negotiations  between the buyer and seller will go MUCH smoother and a lot less emotional for the seller.   Here in Texas, it also allows the sellers to make the repairs by a handyman (can save the seller money).   However, once under contract with a buyer, any buyer requested repairs that are agreed upon by the seller must be done by licensed technichians  (can be costly).

Not only that, but when a buyer comes along and has narrowed down his/her home search to two or three homes, the home that has been pro-active and has already had a home inspection and a few repairs made, will likely be a more appealing  candidate to receive an offer from that buyer.   This point, should be very interesting to a seller in such a tough market.

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Enjoy the day!

Kevin Rhodes

North Texas September Home Sales Numbers Are In

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‘ & –>Existing-home sales in North Texas dropped 22 percent in September, marking the fourth straight month of declines compared with a year earlier, the latest Texas A&M University Real Estate Center housing market report shows.

In the 29-county North Texas region, 4,704 houses were sold, the report says. Year-to-date sales through September were down 3 percent.

If there’s any good news, it’s that the sales declines weren’t reflected in prices, said Jim Gaines, an economist at the Real Estate Center.

The median sales price last month was $147,500, a 3 percent increase from a year ago.

Locally, Colleyville bucked the sales trend, posting a 63 percent jump in September. There were also higher sales in five other submarkets: downtown Fort Worth, Grapevine, northeast Arlington, central Arlington/Dalworthington Gardens/Pantego and southwest Fort Worth/Forest Hills/Everman.

Sales in central-east Arlington were unchanged. The largest decline, 60 percent, was in Roanoke.

Gaines said home sales peaked early in the year because of the federal home buyer tax credits, and the number has been trending down since. It also peaked about this time last year, when the first round of tax credits was issued, so it’s no surprise that the numbers are down, he said.

“We expected numbers to be down, we just didn’t know how much,” Gaines said. “October and November are going to be bad. There was a big spike up late last year because of the tax credit. October and November, as far as I’m concerned, are out the window.”

It will take time for the tax credit’s effects to disappear from the market, he said, predicting year-to-year declines again next year in March, April and May because those months are compared to the peak of the tax-driven sales.

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Contract signings for homes rose in August, but buyers still leary…

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‘ & –>WASHINGTON — The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose in August for the second straight month but remained far below last year’s pace. The weak economy and fears that prices will fall are keeping many consumers away from the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 4.3 percent to 82.3. That’s still more than 20 percent below the pace in the same month a year earlier.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected the index would rise to 81.4.

The index provides an early measurement of sales activity because there is usually a one- to two-month lag between a sales contract and a completed deal.

A reading of 100 indicates the average level of sales activity in 2001, when the index started. The reading was above that threshold from March 2003 through April 2007. It sank during the recession, only to surge above 100 a year ago when the government first offered tax incentives to spur sales. When the credits expired in April, the index sank.

“With underlying economic conditions still so weak, a robust housing recovery remains highly unlikely,” Paul Dales, U.S. economist with Capital Economics, wrote in a research note.

The sales report was driven by a nearly 7 percent jump in the South, a 6 percent increase in the West and a 2 percent rise in the Midwest. Pending sales fell nearly 3 percent in the Northeast.

High unemployment, weak job growth and tight credit have hurt the housing market, despite the lowest mortgage rates in decades. Sales picked up in the spring when the government was offering some home buyers tax credits of up to $8,000. Once the incentives expired April 30, sales plunged.

Potential buyers are holding off on purchases because they are worried about jobs and the economy. Many have been scared away by the prospect that home prices could fall again — something most analysts expect. Others are having trouble meeting tighter lending standards and can’t qualify for mortgages. And some potential sellers aren’t putting their homes on the market because they don’t feel that buyers will pay enough.

Completed sales of previously occupied homes also rose in August, but at the second-slowest annual pace in more than a decade. July’s pace was the slowest in 15 years.

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1st Time Home Buyers? How About 1st Time home Sellers?!

In our industry, there has always been  so much emphasis on the first time home buyer and rightfully so.   But let’s not forget the scary steps most first time home buyers will eventually go through…. that is… becoming a first time home SELLER.  

One thing I have noticed about first time home sellers is that they trulyneed the guidance of a capable and honest REALTOR.   This will be the first time for them to sell their precious first  home and it will be definitely be their first transaction with what has likely become their largest financial asset in their portfolio.   First time home sellers tend to have an amazing amount of questions and and rightfully so!   I have found that many do not even know what the MLS is (Multiple Listing Service).   More importantly, many do not understand the cost associated with selling their home, because when they were  a buyer, they just rolled all of their closing expenses directly into their loan.  

So if you are a REALTOR working with first time home sellers, be sure to slow down a bit and really go that extra mile for these clients.   You just might create a client for life!   And if you are the first time home seller, feel free to call you local REALTOR and ask any and all  questions that you need answered.   We are here to help!