Thursday, December 18, 2008

Count your blessings.... that's right. I said it.

Folks, we live in the Land of Plenty if ever there were one. An economic downturn is nothing compared to the riches and wealth we enjoy. I hope you can find very, very much to be thankful for this Christmas season. As Hanukkah begins, remember those before us who have struggled for freedom and the One true God. Remember His ever abiding love for us.

Then, have a holly-jolly laugh at the email below, that I intercepted from two of my friends. They are discussing the Christmas Holiday menu at Grandma's house this year. Tell THEM that these are hard times!!!! Ha!

Merry Christmas to All!!!


Hey Mel, I talked to mom about the non-primary meals for Christmas gatheringa at their house. This is what she’s planning to make just for snacks…

Mom’s Desert List:

* 2 blueberry pies

* 1 long dish cherry delight desert (really is 2)

* Milky Way candy bar cake

* Cheesecake

* White Christmas salad frozen desert

* Peanut Patties

* Pralines

* Fudge w/ nuts

* Fudge w/o nuts (for you)

* Chocolate chip cookies
* Sugar cookies

* (she thinks there's another desert she's forgetting)

Mom Snacks:

* Cheese dip

* Huge special bean dip

Mom Breakfast:

* Couple of big "Matt Dill" kind of breakfasts after duck hunts, etc. w/ huge "Granny Gilmore" buttermilk biscuits and/or sough dough biscuits

Dad is making:

* Grilled jalapenos stuffed with cheese

Mom suggested you could bring:

* Sunny D

* White powder donuts

* Little muffins

* Breakfast sausages wrapped in crescent rolls (pigs n blanket)

You and I could bring:

* Sausage balls

* Breakfast quiche

* Mint cookies (for Kathy)

Aunt Betty will fix her usual huge pot of shrimp gumbo for Christmas Eve just in case there isn’t enough to eat.

I can't wait!!!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

November 2008 Sold Stats

Here's the sold statistics for area communities for the month of November 2008.
Courtesy of JTOden Realty.

City -- Average Days on Market, Number of Homes Sold
Murphy -- 93, 17 homes sold
Sachse -- 106, 19 homes sold
Rowlett -- 106, 45 home sold
Rockwall -- 103, 42 homes sold
Garland -- 100, 132 homes sold
Plano -- 84, 126 homes sold
Richardson -- 59, 62 homes sold

Mesquite -- 104, 82 homes sold

What about your specific subdivision? Curious? What about that house down the street? Just ask J.T.! You don't have to be moving to talk to your REALTOR. Just ask J.T.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Third Quarter Days on Market Stats

Average Days on Market for Third Quarter (July-September) for homes in the Northeast Dallas Metro Area: Collin, Dallas, and Rockwall County by City. MLS Statistics provided courtesy of JTOden Realty.

City -- Average Days on Market, Number of Homes Sold
Murphy -- 105, 86 homes sold
Sachse -- 94, 89 homes sold
Rowlett -- 96, 260 home sold
Rockwall -- 100, 219 homes sold
Dallas NE -- 101, 528 homes sold
Lake Highlands -- 71, 145 homes sold
Garland -- 102, 554 homes sold
Plano -- 80, 1,002 homes sold
Mesquite -- 97, 428 homes sold
Richardson -- 78, 285 homes sold

What about your specific subdivision? Curious? What about that house down the street? Just ask J.T.! You don't have to be moving to talk to your REALTOR. Just ask J.T.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ever tasted government cheese?


One of the things about real estate is that you have to sell, whether the market is favorable or not. Sell, sell, sell. You have to call agents and tell them about your listings. You have to make certain your listings reflect the current market value. You have to educate and protect your clients. And you have to weed out of your clients' minds the biased rubbish of the media.

I have finally lost all interest in the 2008 presidential elections. One guy scares, one guy worries me, and the current guy disappoints me. I suspect that we can trust Obama to do things that will reduce the profit ordinary folk can count on from buying and selling real estate. It would't suprise me if McCain did something less painful along the same lines.

Neither candidate seems to have a passion for seeing the free market capitalist system live and breathe and cycle through its processes. We as a nation once believed that God would bless our good, honest efforts and provide for us. Today, it seems that many Americans believe that we shall not win but by the invasive heavy hand of government. Bail it out, buy it up, infuse it, nationalize everything and we'll all be better off?

Ever tasted government cheese?
Ever waited forever in line at the DPS, DMV, or Tax Office?
Every been frustrated because you did your taxes on a FORM 1040-EZ and the IRS said you had to use FORM 1040ES instead?
Every noticed how you had jolly well better pay the IRS on time, but they'll lolligag around about getting your refund to you?
Ever hear the phrase, "Close enough for Government work." And yet no one ever says, "Close enough for an independent small businessman."

Now, vote for whomever your mind and conscience lead you to support, but please do not allow evil forces to slip into your mind the foolishness that either Republican or Democratic governemnt will solve problems, improve quality of life, or make good moral decisions.

The Federal Governemnt should protect the innocent, build roads, and fight wars against our enemies.

I'm J.T. Oden, the Real Estate Man and I approved of this message.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Keller Williams Realty Holds Steady in Declining Market

Aliso Viejo, CA 8/29/2008 07:18 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

According to Real Estate Wiki ( despite a two-year decline in the national real estate market, Keller Williams Realty continues to be one of the fastest growing franchises in North America, growing some 330% from 16,866 agents in 2003 to 72,594 in 2007. The company’s Profit Sharing Program has also maintained a strong growth pattern from $11.7 million in 2003 to $48.4 million for 2007.

Keller Williams Realty is not all just about profits, systems and strategies. In regional retreats called Culture Summits, agent “culture icons” gather with KW leaders. The purpose of which is to discuss, vision and share learned experiences about culture and, specifically, how the Keller Williams culture can impact market centers and regions.

As for best practices, Keller Williams has itself implemented various productivity-enhancing programs such as: Operation Heart to Heart – a $1 million program providing productivity and profitability tools to help agents manage the shifting market; Keller Williams Listing System – a company-wide database allowing agents full control of the accuracy, timeliness and depth of their listing information and which is promoted on a selective list of eight of the most powerful real estate Internet sites. Keller Williams has also made available to its agents resources such as the Market Trajectory Research and Regional Graphs – a reporting system that helps agents identify shifts in the real estate market three to four months in advance of shifts being noticed in local markets.

For more information visit

Friday, October 3, 2008

Don't Worry, Be Productive!

I Still Haven't Panicked.
In fact, I'm leaving in just a few minutes to deposit a check from a recent closing.

I spent the last two days hammering away at my brain, business numbers, and emotions in an attempt to plan my real estate business in a purposeful way. I think I succeeded. If you've known me very long, you know that I really enjoy the way that my natural ability and God's grace combine to let me surf through life "on the fly" so to speak. Well, the seminar led by Antoinette Perez threatens to lead me in a direction far more exciting than the seat-of-the-pants trip I'm accustomed to.

I'm expecting great things.

POST SCRIPT: In addition to remarkable professionalism, solid expertise, and impressive competence, Antoinette amazes me because she is less than half my weight, a full foot shorter than me, and I have no doubt that she could kick my butt in about 90 seconds. Very cool.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Plano Balloon Festival

What perfect weather for an outdoor event!

The Plano Hot Air Balloon Festival was a great opportunity to be outside and enjoy a great community event. The weather was wonderful, the food and drink ridiculously expensive yet wonderfully decadent and the balloon pilots were on their game.

Yes, there was an Elvis. This one sang with the band and everything... headlined you might say. Like there wasn't enough hot air out there already? Good fun.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One more Fannie Cartoon...

I like this one too.
Most folks I talk to don't have an opinion about the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout. Most of them don't know who AIG is nore do they care. Ask them if they care in April... around the 15th... no matter who they vote for... I think they'll care then.
(Image found at

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No More New Cars!

My Appologies to any new car salesmen.

I was talking with a friend in our office today and she was sick over the fact that she owes more on her cool 2007 sports car than she can get for it should she try to sell it. Wow. If she sold it today, at the best possible price, she'd come up about $7,500 short. Ouch.

Dave Ramsey, the guru of debt-free living has one of the coolest mathematic applications I have ever seen. Dave claims that he has figured out a way for us to drive "free" cars for the rest of our lives. I like that. Check it out...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Free Market vs. Freddie's Fannie

Webster defines
"free market"
as follows...

free market
: an economic market operating by free competition

Now, if the fishmonger is selling bad fish, at some point the fish buyers will stop buying his fish and shop at the Dairy Queen instead. I think that would be an example of what the fancy-pants economists would call a "market correction." So, why does Uncle Sam have to spend my hard earned money on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae?

The obvious answer is that bad federal policy and corporate greed for decades has led the U.S. economy to a point that not bailing out the two mortgage giants would have made that bitter pill too big and too bitter for most of the politicians to get re-elected! Oh, I mean too hard to swallow for the American people. Yeah.

Frankly, this is all beyond the ken of my wee brain. I do know this though, the cartoon below is an apt summary of the end result of this temporary and costly shoring up of Freddie's Fannie.

Local Schools Turn in Mixed Results

I am a parent of an elementary student. So, whenever the TEA posts new data, you can bet I'll be tuning in! If you'd like to see the complete report summary provided by my friends at Republic Title, just drop me an email and I'll shoot you a copy. Or, if you are pretty web-savvy you can glean the same info from the Texas Education Agency at

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Steve Warren

You know...

I love selling houses. I love helping people find the place for them, for their families. The place to open Christmas presents, the place to bring babies home to, the place to bring loved ones home to for their last days.

Houses count. Houses are important.

But it's the people in the houses that make the building a home. The people in the houses and the WHO that they bring into the houses with them... that's waht matters. If I can help get them in position to expereince great things, cool. It's a good gig. But the REALTOR just opens the door, the people have to make it special.

Yesterday I lost one of my buddies. The REALTOR(R) community lost a good agent, and a family lost a great Dad. My friend Steve Warren, agent at the Keller Williams Rockwall market center, passed away after a powerful and dramatic 6-week struggle with cancer. Please remember his family and church in your prayers, and giving.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I want aCoolerHouse!

My home in Murphy is great.

It's in a great Murphy neighborhood, the elementary school is exemplary, the yard, the house, the trees, the flowers, and shrubs. It seems silly to say, "I love this house!" but I do. I do not, however, love my electric bill. This house is only 7 years old! It's Energy Star certified, etc., etc. We're not hanging meat in the living room, the Thermostat is on a mere 79 degrees. WHY IS IT SO HOT??? WHY AM I PAYING $400 TO THE UTILITY COMPANY???

Enter in my latest favorite home improvement service provider:

I really liked my initial meeting with Mike Ross from A Cooler House and I am eager to get the work started on our radiant barrier, new green ventilation options, and the sealing of our HVAC duct work. I'll be detailing our experience here on the blog... so stay tuned, stay green, and stay cooler!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Go Green for the sake of your $Green$ (2.0)

John Tierney has another list I like about being a Greedy Greenie, or an Armchair Environmentalist. The goal here isn't to turn into Al Gore or some other environment saving superhero. Don't worry, not another list of to-do's! My goal is to save money and not hinder the earth being... well, the earth. No, this is a list of 'skip it' items that at best make you feel greenish but neither green up the earth nor your wallet.

5 Environmentally Green Things Not to Sweat

• Turning off your car's air conditioner - Yes, the AC does affect fuel efficiency. But Consumer Reports figures it amounts to only one mile per gallon...

• Filling up your tank with ethanol - The corn-based fuel benefit is swamped by the adverse environmental consequences, according to an exhaustive study of bio fuels last year by Swiss researchers.

• Recycling everything - While it can make economic sense to recycle aluminum and paper, towns frequently lose money recycling glass and plastics because they're expensive to collect and aren't worth much.

• Buying local food - Foods from farther away may be grown and shipped so much more efficiently (and cheaply) that they produce fewer greenhouse gases.

• Going organic - Buying organic food makes sense if you believe it's tastier, but there is one major environmental downside: organic farms often yield less per acre thus leaving less room for forests that absorb carbon dioxide and wilderness areas that promote biodiversity.

Wow... I need a Radiant Barrier company in Murphy or Plano to sponsor this blog! Maybe Ed Begley, Jr. can come hug a tree with me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Housing Law is Good for Buyers!

Uncle Sam Wants You to Buy a House!

It's no secret that President Bush signed a $300 billion housing bill into law last week. In addition to helping cash-strapped homeowners avoid foreclosure, the law aims to help first-time home buyers to jump start their search in a tough[ish] economy.

So if you're house hunting on [etc.], the law can mean a BIG benefit. To boil it down to the basics: first-time home buyers get up to $7,500 tax credit. This basically means you get a 0% loan for 15 years if you buy a home between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009.

Of course Uncle Sam has some restrictions based on your income, so Trulia rounded up some key advice and opinions from Trulia Voices to answer your questions. Check it out on Trulia...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Go Green for the sake of your $Green$

I'm going to save the world: I declare that everyone should buy and sell their homes with me as their contracted agent. Do so, and I'll buy you a tire gauge. With that apparently you can save America?


I just read a news article that featured Senator Obama, Presidential Candidate, suggesting that properly inflating our tires is a way we could stem the impact of fossil fuel costs. "Obama had noted that keeping tires inflated and cars tuned was endorsed by both NASCAR and AAA and should be part of any comprehensive plan to reduce reliance on imported oil." Really? Sure it's a good idea, but that's like putting granite counter tops on a house that needs $30,000 in foundation repair so you can list it for $10,000 over market value! Hmmn....

I'm all for Green Living, Green Building, a Greener Murphy, and Greenpeace. But the Green I care most about, is the GREEN in my wallet! Homeowners in Murphy, Plano, Richardson, Dallas, Rowlett, Mesquite, Allen and all over the Dallas Metroplex can help the environment while seeking primarily to save the endangered species in their wallets: their cash!

There is a great article in the April 2008 issue of Reader's Digest. Like me, the John Tierney recognizes the emotional, political, and financial benefit of a little "Armchair Environmentalism." Here's a summary list of 10 things homeowners can do to green up your wallet (oh, and save a spotted owl-turtle-fish-whats-it also!):

1. Skip a Trip -- take a "stay-cation" and avoid spewing jet fuel fumes across the country. Our local communities have things to offer for fun that we can make into memorable vacation time.
2. Hire Someone to Seal Up Your House -- wow... I can get lower HVAC bills, cleaner indoor air, and feel more comfortable? Oh, and I won't be using as much fossil fuel, right. Fossil fuel bad, I got it.
3. Work From Home -- sweet, and I won't have to waste all that water showering and shaving.
4. Drive a Fuel-Efficient Car -- great Idea, I wish Detroit would build a V8 muscle car with an optional electric motor. 90% of the time I'd be happy to zip around town in a golf cart. Then I could fire up the V8 and really drive...
5. Use Cruise Control -- win-win: lazy and fuel efficient!
6. Cool Your Water-Heating Bills -- apparently scalding hot water isn't that great for clothes, skin, or the budget. Turn the HWH down to 120 degrees. Remember what Dustin Hoffman taught us, "Hot water burn baby! Hot water burn baby!"
7. Don't Wash the Dishes -- that's right, the dishwasher is your friend. He's more effective and efficient.
8. Use a Laptop, and Let It Nap -- Laptops in sleep mode save you a lot of kilowatts
9. Drink Tap Water -- My wife thinks this one is gross, but the savings is in avoiding the fuel spent on lugging the bottles either from the store, or if you pay a distributor, lugging them from the warehouse.
10. Stay Married --my wife thinks this one is gross----no, wait wrong tip, um... divorce produces two households and thus doubles the utilities bills, and doubles the greenhouse gas production. Not to mention the paperwork! My Dad the attorney says, "every time a lawyer hangs out his shingle, the forest weeps."

For the complete article and the rest of Tierney's list go to

From Reader's Digest - April 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Churches and Synagogues Near Murphy

Sunday afternoon... seems like an appropriate post.

North Pointe Church of Christ
Meeting Location: Murphy Middle School 620 N. Murphy Rd
Office Location: 231 FM 544 Ste 114 Phone Number: 972-424-2414
Woodcreek Church
Meeting Location: 3400 East Renner Rd, Richardson, TX 75082
Phone Number: 972-238-8722
Murphy Road Baptist
Meeting Location: 411 South Murphy Road Phone Number: 972-424-6026
The Springs Church
Meeting Location: Boggess Elementary Phone Number: 214-912-9715
Bridge Family Church
Meeting Location: Groves Elementary School 1100 Mc Creary Rd
Office Location: 605 Comanche Trl.Phone Number: 214-534-5438

For a complete list, click here... Also, feel free to add your place of worship in the comments below! Thanks.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

Read the whole story here:

H.R. 3221, the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,” passed the House on July 23, 2008, by a vote of 272-152. On Saturday, July 26, 2008, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 72-13. The President signed the bill on July 30, 2008. The bill includes the following provisions:
GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median home price, capped at $625,500....

FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median home price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program...

Homebuyer Tax Credit - a $7500 tax credit that would be would be available for any qualified purchase between April 8, 2008 and June 30, 2009...

FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans. ... Program is effective on October 1, 2008. ...more.

National Association of REALTORS®Summary of Key Provisions of H.R. 3221 - The Housing Stimulus Bill (as of 7/30/08)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ever been to Murphy?

I love living in Murphy, Texas.

You have to appreciate the complexities of living in a large metropolitan are like Gotham--I mean Dallas / Fort Worth. I have friends who spend one, two, even three (3) hours a day in their cars driving to and from work, taking kids to activities--they burn more rubber on the road than the Department of Public Safety! I love Metropolis--I mean, Dallas--but I'd rather be in the pool, my study, my office, the yard, the organic garden, or the floor with my boys than commuting all over town.

That's why I love Murphy, Texas.

We're so central; 15 minutes to Collin Creek Mall::15 minutes to Keller Williams Plano Central Office::15 minutes to Firewheel Mall::5 minutes to church::10 minutes to Nana's house::60 seconds to my covered back porch to watch the boys chase the bunnies in our yard.

Yup. So what are you waiting for? Move to Murphy.