Tuesday, February 27, 2018

DFW Prices Still Rising: Appraisers Still Stupid

Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows that Dallas home prices still increasing, but slowing...


Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News writes that Big D's home prices increased 6.9 percent year over year in December, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

That's slightly higher than the nation's 6.2 percent gain, but it was the smallest percentage price rise for Dallas ​home values in almost five years.

North Texas home price increases have been slowing for months after hitting record levels in 2017.

A combination of  larger home inventories and buyer push back against high prices has slowed the rate of area property appreciation, analysts say.

In contrast to the proven reputation of the S&P index, you can find a random residential appraiser who will tell you home sales are slowing or stable.  Why?  Well, most appraisers are just involved in a transaction to get paid.  Paid through an archaic and federally supported not-needed dogma that is supposed to protect the buyer.  See, the lender has to get an appraisal so that he can resale the loan on the back side to investors but according to the too-influential FHA guidelines.

The appraiser who takes his job too seriously and refuses to allow for market pressure is a guy who think his shoulders alone can carry the burden of controlling the free market.

Appraisers... who needs 'em?  Your broker matters.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

An Amazing Blog Post

This is it.

This is the moment my website goes viral. 

I should warn the GoDaddy that their servers are about to get overloaded... Here are the new TREC advertising rules for real-estate-ors.  HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS!

These new rules are... [about] clarity of advertisements for consumers with the least restrictions on license holders. ...Senate Bill 2212, ...made changes to the regulations governing advertising for brokers and sales agents, eliminating an age-old law that the advertiser be identified as a broker or agent in all advertising. However, it clarifies that an advertisement is misleading if it fails to include the name of the broker or implies that a sales agent is responsible for the operation of a brokerage...


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How much income is enough to buy a mid-priced DFW home?

A mortgage resource website reports that a household in the Metroplex needs more than $59,500 in annual income to qualify for a median-priced house.​  That's roughly $4,100 more than the income needed at the national level.

The study, by HSH.com, is based on a median home price of $249,000 and a 20 percent down payment.​

Finding a $250K home is tough, but it is possible.

Your Broker will matter, a great deal...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Staging: Setting the Stage


World Class Mortgage Officer, Joe Boggs of Supreme Lending tell us how to take the mystery out of staging a home to sell:

Joe BoggsRemember the last time you visited a new home development? How did you feel touring the model? Usually, pleasant memories come to mind about how well the home looked. That's because it was "showcased" properly.
Home showcasing is not about remodeling, fixing up or making your home look sterile. Instead, it focuses on simple steps to make your home show like a model without spending a lot of money. The secret is setting the stage, which helps potential buyers imagine themselves and their families at home in your "home for sale."
Strip Down and Build Up
The first step is to clear the set. Take out extraneous furniture, decorations, pictures, etc. Take each room down to its most basic form, opening up the living space as much as possible. Then build it back up to the way you want it to look, as simple as possible, and without clutter.
Make the strip-down process simpler by stowing packed boxes in a staging area like the garage, or by renting a storage space to hold extra furnishings while your home is on the market. In essence, pack up early.
When building the set, try to make each room tell a story. Help potential buyers see themselves in each room. A clever arrangement of props will make it easy for buyers to imagine writing a letter at the desk in the kitchen, clicking on the television and enjoying a bowl of popcorn, turning on the stove and preparing a holiday repast.
Themes for a room can help you narrow down how to display it. You can, of course, stage the room as you use it now, or choose a particular motif, i.e. Southwestern, country style, international. Or you could pick an activity to illustrate on your stage, i.e., relaxed office or library, gourmet cooking, resort or vacation living. What would you like to do in that room? Place the props needed for those activities throughout the room.
Lots of lights open up a room and give it a larger appearance. If you've been using 50-watt bulbs, move up to 100 watts. If a large living room has only one lamp, move in another. Open curtains and add mirrors. When it's being shown, the home should be bright. It makes your home look like it's in center stage.
Do Your Homework
Ask what buyers are looking for in your community. What are they saying about the homes they don't buy? And what is it about the homes that are selling that make them so popular? By determining your ideal target buyer, you will better understand how to merchandise your home. Our experience in your specific neighborhood can help you answer all these questions and more.
Aroma Therapy
Almost as important as how a home looks is how it smells. Ask a close friend to walk through your home—objectively—and take a whiff here and there. Are there any offensive odors? Is it too perfumy? Too drab? Stale? Musty? Are there pet odors (which should be fixed—not covered up)? What can you do to impress potential buyers with aroma therapy?
When it comes time to sell your home, you'll want to work with a real estate professional who knows all aspects of the selling process—including showcasing. Call us today to talk about how we can help you display your home to sell for the best possible price!

 Email J.T. for a "backstage pass" to staging your home to sell... jt@jtoden.net

Friday, October 27, 2017

73-acre Stacy Green gets green light 

Steve Brown with the Dallas Morning News ​​reported that the Allen City council has approved​ the development of the 73-acre Stacy Green mixed-use project at the southwest corner of US 75 and Stacy Rd.
The project ​will include over 600 rental units and 500,000 sf of office, commercial, and retail space. A theater and hotels are also planned. 

A 13-acre greenbelt and park along Cottonwood Creek will be dedicated to the city but maintained by the developer. 

Provident Realty Advisors and Glaser Retail worked on the plans for 18 months. GFF and Architecture Demarest did design and renderings. Stream Realty Partners is working on the office component. 

The site is one of the last remaining pieces of the old Stacy family farm.

Monday, October 16, 2017

West Dallas is Getting some more Apartments

Steve Brown, real Estate Editor at the Dallas Morning News Says that Toll Brothers has purchased four acres at the northeast corner of W. Commerce and Pittman Streets.  A seven-story, 280-unit rental community is planned on the site, which is currently occupied by an industrial building. 

"The community will break ground in June 2018, with initial deliveries scheduled for winter of 2019," Toll Brothers' John Piedrahita said.  Davidson Bogel Real Estate brokered the deal. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Buckner Senior Living kicks off North Dallas towers

Senior Citizen
The Elderly
Old Folks

Whatever you call them (soon, 'us') they are big business.  With home values skyrocketing, why wouldn't we see an uptick in multifamily construction?  In fact, the industry has been growing for decades at a strong pace.  But if Mom and Dad can sell their house they paid $60,000 for in 1962 for half a million dollars, why not?  But where will they live?  They won't go buy another house at these crazy prices.  I know, a brand new senior-living high rise! 

Steve Brown with the (Dallas Morning News) says that construction starts this week on a two-tower seniors residential development across the street from NorthPark Center.

The $136 million Ventana development at the southwest corner of US 75 and Northwest Hwy. will have over 225 independent- and assisted-living apartments as well as memory-care, skilled-nursing, and rehabilitation facilities.

Ventana is scheduled to open in mid-2019.

D2 Architecture designed the two 12-story towers. Whiting-Turner is the general contractor. Buckner Retirement Services will operate the community.​

Makes sense to me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rockwall Lakeside Harbor Development Sold

En Fuego.

Many say that En Fuego is the cornerstone of The Harbor retail and entertainment development in Rockwall, TX.  The lake, the expensive boats, the best cigar lounge east of Murphy... and a lot of vacant stores.

That's what I remember.

Well, according to Steve Brown, Real Estate Editor at the Dallas MorningNews, Dallas-based PegasusAblon ​​has bought The Harbor development on Lake Ray Hubbard with plans to upgrade the property.

The purchase includes the 130,000-sf retail and restaurant portion as well as land for future ​construction.  The retail development at 2125 Summer Lee Dr., which includes a Cinemark Theater, is about 80 percent leased.

I hope it's a boost to The Harbor.  En Fuego can only do so much... or maybe they can do it all?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Solar Panels and Home Values

Does the HOA even allow that?
Unsightly pieces of legally installed, value adding junk?

Hey, Dr. Harold D. Hunt (hhunt@tamu.edu) is a research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.  He's not an alternate energy goof.  He's a noted economist.  

This REALTOR(R) reluctantly passes Dr. hunt's insight on to you, those stupid panels make a difference, and do apparently add value at your home's resale.  Read on... 

Residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are rising in popularity as they continue to fall in price. Different from "passive" solar systems that use the sun to heat thick interior walls during winter months, solar PV panels actively generate electricity from sunlight.
A driving force behind their popularity is a direct reduction in a home's monthly electricity bill as well as a hedge against future rate increases. Many homeowners now enjoy monitoring their level of electricity generation and energy savings on their smartphone in real time. However, a solar PV system's contribution to the market value of an existing home at resale has proven much harder to quantify.
One problem with estimating any value premium from solar PV has been system owners themselves. Academic studies have shown that people installing active solar systems tend to remain in their homes much longer than average.
Whether they are installing the systems for economic reasons, environmental reasons or both, they typically plan to enjoy their investment for an extended period. As a result, homes with solar PV seldom turn over. This has led to a scarcity of comparable sales for appraisal purposes.
A number of real estate professionals and academics have begun to look into these and other related issues in recent years as more systems have been installed. A key goal has been to expand awareness and market acceptance of residential solar.
This article examines the solar PV sector and recent research involved in accurately estimating any market premium for the systems at resale.

Grid-Tied System Most CommonThe three types of solar PV systems are grid-tied, grid-tied with backup power, and off-grid. Grid-tied systems are most common. The solar panels produce DC current that is then changed or "inverted" to AC current and fed back into the local utility lines.
Although not mandatory in Texas, some utility providers allow "net metering," in which any excess electricity generated is fed back through the homeowner's electric meter for a credit against power used. A homeowner's electrical meter can even run backward when more power is being generated by the solar panels than is being used in the home.
"The most popular misconception I've experienced from homeowners with grid-tied systems is their belief that the panels will continue to produce power for the home when their utility provider has a power failure," says Paul Roebuck, president of Texas Professional Real Estate Inspectors Association. But that is not always the case.

Home Inspection ExemptionRoebuck also notes that under the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) Standards of Practice, solar PV systems are exempt from home inspections. Although inspectors are allowed to examine systems more thoroughly than required by TREC, Roebuck says they rarely do. Randy Barfield, owner of Barfield Inspection Services in Cedar Park, agrees.
"I just note in my inspection report that I carried out a visual inspection of the system to see if it's running," says Barfield. "I actually don't know of a place I could go to obtain a certification to inspect a solar PV system." Barfield suggests that potential homebuyers looking at an existing home with solar PV should try to contact the system's installer to obtain more detailed information.
Some negotiation between buyer and seller may be required if the solar PV system has been financed and the note is not yet paid off, Barfield says. Installers report that companies financing solar systems may or may not use a mechanic's lien to insure payment of the loan.

Innovative Financing Options IncreasingOne reason for the increase in residential solar popularity has been the development of innovative financing tools. Some specialty lenders advertise that they will finance solar PV systems for as long as 15 years. However, almost none of this financing is being done by local lenders. 
Grid-tied solar with back-up power is the second-most common system. A bank of batteries is installed at the home to continue providing power in the event of an outage. The length of time backup power will be available is a function of the size of the battery system and the ability of the solar panels to continue charging the batteries during the power failure. 
The least common system is off-grid solar PV, where the home is totally dependent on electricity generated by the solar panels and stored in a bank of batteries. Off-grid systems are usually installed in homes located in remote areas and are often integrated with backup generators to lower the size of the battery bank needed.

Alternatives to Roof MountsResidential solar systems are usually mounted on the roof of the home but can be mounted on the ground or on special-purpose structures such as garages, carports, or pergolas. South-facing rooflines are most desirable but not mandatory. 
Roof-mounted systems are generally the easiest and least expensive to install and put little stress on the roof. "A roof-mounted system puts about five pounds of pressure per square foot on a roof deck," says Scot Arey, owner of Solar CenTex, a solar PV system installer in Harker Heights, Texas. These systems should be removed by professional installers when a new roof is needed.
Ground-mounted and special-purpose systems may be more expensive, depending on the level of support structure that must be built and the distance from the utility tie-in. However, the additional cost may be offset by the dual functionality of a solar carport or pergola. 
Solar PV systems are generally mounted in a fixed position, but ground-mounted versions that track the sun throughout the day are another residential option. "A two-axis tracker will produce about 36 percent more power than a fixed system," says Arey. "Although the trackers are more expensive, the economics of the extra power can outweigh their extra cost in some cases."

Growing, But Still Far to GoAccording to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a national trade group for the solar sector, almost 500 solar-related companies are located in Texas, employing over 7,000 people. The companies provide a variety of solar products and services, including installers and component manufacturers.
Arey says he is seeing a growing interest in solar-related employment. "More people are looking at solar as an industry of the future," says Arey. "Folks coming out of the oil and gas sector have really shown an interest lately as those jobs have disappeared."

Cost Continues FallingAlthough government and utility-based incentives have helped make active solar PV systems more affordable, their cost can still be significant. However, the cost of solar PV systems continues to decline. Nationally, the total installed cost of a rooftop solar PV system has dropped about 66 percent since 2010 according to the SEIA. 
Bloomberg recently reported that solar panel costs alone have fallen about 69 percent during the same period and may decline another 15 percent by 2017. With global panel manufacturers fighting for market share, 90 percent of sales are now going to just a handful of large companies that have been able to survive the price declines. 
Cost reductions discussed above reflect reductions before any federal, state, municipal, or utility-based incentives or rebates are considered. In December 2015, Congress passed a last-minute multiyear extension of the federal investment tax credit (ITC) for solar installations.
30 Percent Federal Credit Until 2020 
Looking ahead, homeowners will continue to receive the current 30 percent federal dollar-for-dollar credit if they install a solar PV system by the end of 2019. The credit will then step down to 26 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021. The tax credit will expire entirely in 2022 unless Congress chooses to pass another extension before then. Currently, the ITC has no cap. 
For other incentives, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center offers a comprehensive source of information on available energy efficiency funding programs and rebates by state, including those for solar systems at http://www.dsireusa.org. 
Recent academic and government-sponsored studies have shown that although the size of residential solar PV systems can vary a great deal, they generally average about 3 to 5 kilowatts (1 kilowatt equals 1,000 watts or 1kW). 
The most current studies also reveal a "gross" installed cost per watt of about $3.00 to $5.00 before incentives. The "net" cost would be at least 30 percent less assuming a homeowner takes advantage of the federal ITC at a minimum.
Based on a gross cost of $4.00 per watt for a 4 kW system, a homeowner would pay $16,000 before incentives. The net cost would then drop to $11,200 after the homeowner received the cash benefit of a reduction in federal income taxes by taking the ITC. Payback periods to recoup the initial investment in a system can be five to eight years or longer, depending on a number of factors including lifestyle and local power cost.

Value-per-Watt Best Resale MetricSeveral recent academic studies have found that solar PV systems do contribute to the value of an existing home. An in-depth eight-state study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2015 concluded that a net installed solar PV system cost estimate calculated at the time a home is listed for sale may be the best proxy for a solar market premium.
The study analyzed almost 4,000 homes equipped with residential solar between 2002 and 2013. Texas was not one of the eight states.
Academics generally agree that a "value per watt" is the appropriate metric for valuing PV systems, not a premium as a percentage of the home's sale price. Using a percentage value resulted in too much variability due to large differences in size of PV systems and price of homes.
The most recent academic study published in the winter 2016 edition of the Appraisal Journal demonstrated that the cost and income approaches can also be used to calculate residential solar PV premiums.
Unfortunately, several studies have revealed that some lenders' underwriters require appraisers to use the sales comparison approach exclusively when a home with solar PV is being appraised. As a result, if one of the comparables is not a similar home equipped with a solar PV system, some underwriters will assign zero value to the PV system.
The Appraisal Journal study also estimated an average PV system value premium of $3.78 per watt. Using an example of an existing home listed for sale that has installed a 4kW system, the value contribution from solar PV would be just over $15,000. All PV systems in the study were less than 12 years old.
Major Barriers: Documentation, EducationAvailable financing, reduced costs, and financial incentives have begun to aid in the growth of residential solar. Alternately, two major barriers to stronger solar PV growth are lack of documentation and lack of education.

DocumentationAcademics have suggested that, although difficult, states should aspire to implementing the following documentation improvements.
Develop a public database regularly updated by system installers, utilities, and permitting authorities that allows practitioners to verify PV system details. It should include the PV system's size, year of installation, and state whether the system is owned or leased. 
Label the electrical box with the same inputs found on page 3 of the Appraisal Institute's Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum, making a permanent record onsite. 
The addendum should also be placed in the multiple listing service (MLS) listing as an attachment for potential buyers, other sales agents, and appraisers to use in understanding or valuing the system during the listing period.MLSs should include searchable PV fields that include system size in kW, system age, warranty term, and system location (ground, roof, other).  An appraiser would ideally review the owner's utility bill for the past year to verify the home's utility rate and system output. They should also have access to net solar PV costs. 
Currently, most of these suggestions are not in effect in Texas. However, there are states where such efforts have been successful. In 2009, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) pioneered implementation of a common set of "green" fields in all 16 MLSs across the state. 
CEO worked with key partners throughout the state, including MLS and Realtor associations, the Colorado Coalition of Appraisers, and the Colorado Chapter of the Appraisal Institute. The three largest home inspection organizations in the state, lenders, underwriters, and related professional organizations took part in the effort as well.

Real Estate Agent Online CourseThe Appraisal Institute currently offers a two-day course titled Residential and Commercial Valuation of Solar to assist appraisers in attaining competency. However, as of 2015 only a few hundred appraisers nationwide had taken the course. 
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) offers a 12-hour green designation class, of which about 40 minutes to one hour is a discussion of solar PV systems. "There are 4,500 to 5,000 NAR Green Designees nationwide, but only 260 are located in Texas," says Amanda Stinton, director of sustainability and green designation at NAR. 
Elevate Energy recently received a $445,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative to create three distinct classes about residential solar.
"Real estate agents will be offered a three-hour class via the web and through NAR's online education outlet Realtor University for continuing education credit," says Pamela Brookstein, market transformation specialist at Elevate Energy.
Two other classes will be developed specifically for appraisers and appraiser regulators. The first online class should be completed sometime in May 2017. 
Certainty of Payback is CriticalResidential solar PV systems are still a niche product in Texas. But studies have shown that clear identification of the contributory value of solar PV systems will help sustain their growth. Although reduced electric bills are an important incentive, homebuyers will be much more willing to pay a premium for the systems if the market reflects at least some incremental increase in their value at resale.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Plano Real Estate $400.00 per sq. ft.????

Yup.  Well, a Plano business tower has certainly raised the price ceiling for suburban real estate!

Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News – Reports that Boston-based Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. has purchased the Legacy Tower from Trammell Crow Co. and Principal Financial.  Intercontinental paid nearly $140 million, or over $400 per sf, for the two-year-old office tower, the highest per sf price ever in Dallas' northern suburbs.

The previous high point was the $120 million, $375-per-sf sale of the Encana Tower​ in 2012.
Located at the Dallas North Tollway and Legacy Dr., the 13-story, 342,033-sf office tower is near the $3 billion Legacy West development.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Changes in the Riveting World of Mortgage Finance

MIB: Men in Black?
...not, not, MIB, no...

BMI: Body Mass Index?

PMI.  No... that's BMI, Body Mass Index... even more boring than PMI.

IPA: India Pale Ale... yum!

Nope, that's IPA, India Pale Ale.  The most interesting or appealing of the wrong answers but wrong.
PMI.  Private Mortgage Insurance.
C'mon people...

The business of mortgage insurance has been changing--like a baby going through diapers I say. Although most private mortgage insurance companies adhere to a fairly standard pricing model, you might see a difference here and there.

Starting in April 2016 year, most PMI companies made some pretty big changes to mortgage insurance premiums to make mortgage insurance more attractive for some buyers. This change has lowered the monthly payment for some higher credit score consumers. You might have buyers who now qualify for a more expensive home than they would have earlier in the year. Unfortunately, you might also have buyers who see higher premiums.

For the whole story, read Scott Hevel's article here: CCAR.NET

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Murphy Marketplace Under New Ownership!

Real Estate Editor Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News reports that An Ohio-based real estate investment company has purchased a major shopping center in Collin County.  Phillips Edison Grocery Center REIT I Inc. said that it has bought the Murphy Marketplace, a 218,598 square foot retail center located just east of Plano in the Collin County town of Murphy.  Built by Dallas' Langford Property Co. starting in 2007, the 48-acre retail center is anchored by... [Lowes,] Michaels, 24 Hour Fitness, [En Fuego cigar lounge,] and Tuesday Morning stores.
The retail buildings are constructed around a series of small parks and landscaped pedestrian trails. New owner Phillips Edison Grocery Center REIT I of Cincinnati owns and manages 149 shopping centers totaling approximately 15.9 million square feet.
Terms of the North Texas purchase were not disclosed.