Tuesday, December 28, 2010


COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – More than 13,700 existing homes were sold in Texas last month, according to newly released data from Texas Multiple Listing Services (MLS). That's a 24 percent drop from November 2009.
Meanwhile, the median price for an existing home increased by 3 percent last month to $146,700, and there was a 7.6-month inventory.
November 2010 MLS data for many Texas cities (current as of Dec. 21, 2010) are available on the Real Estate Center website. Here is a sampling:

Change from
Last Year
Change from
Last Year
 down 7%
 down 25%
 down 22%
 up 3%
 up 9%
 up 21%
 down 21%
 down 5%
 down 27%
 up 3%
Fort Worth
 down 24%
 down 7%
 down 23%
 No change
Fort Hood
 down 39%
 up 1%
 down 30%
 up 2%
 up 7%
 up 3%
 down 17%
 up 11%
Port Arthur
 down 14%
 down 24%
San Antonio
 down 22%
 up 8%
 down 10%
 up 3%
 down 6%
 up 24%
 down 24%
 up 3%

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finally! En Fuego Cigars opens in Murphy!!!


En Fuego Murphy is just hours away from opening and they want all of us to come and help break the store in properly. They will be having an opening party Thursday night. Feel free to grab your friends and come on out and party with us.

In Murphy 


Thursday, December 2, 2010

HAPPY Holidays?


I'm very disappointed in my beloved Murphy: there are scant few homes with Christmas light displays! I can find whole streets, half a mile long without one single decoration. What's the deal people??? Has Scrooge won? 

To combat this lackadaisical holiday spirit, we are announcing the JTOden Realty Christmas Lights Decoration Competition.

Winner get's $100 gift-card medley. Post your address here for evaluation, or email me if you are afraid that Jack Frost will ID-theft you. Outdoor displays only. Not at all limited to Murphy only but I'm not driving to Fort Worth or Florida. 


(PS Runner up gets maybe a slice of pumpkin pie)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Foundation Repair Sucks! (Well, actually, it blows*)

*One of the most common methods out there--thet BLOW a high pressure jet of water into the whole straight down to create a sloppy channel for the concrete piers to push through until they hit a terminal resistance.

A few years ago, we had foundation repair done to our 23 year old Fox and Jacobs home in Rowlett, Texas.  It was a textbook repair job that required a set of piers along the eastern perimeter of our house.
Three years prior we had done the same to the western perimeter.

Now, if you live in Rowlett and own a 20+ year old home built by F&J you WILL repair the foundation if it hasn't already been fixed.  That's it, I am a prophet.

Thankfully, our Murphy home is on slightly more stable soil--but some day, who knows..

Piers usually cost between $350 and $500 a pop.  You seldom will get away with stretching them out further than every 5-7 feet.  So, for a 20 ft. wall, that's likely about $1,600 bucks.  Ouch, right?

  • If you ever think you need foundation repair call me.  Your Broker Matters (TM).  
  • I have seen dozens and dozens of homes that need foundation repair.  
  • I've overseen more tan 10 repairs.  
  • I talk to agents frequently about the pluses and minuses of this company and that company.
  • I've witnessed the estimates of over 15 different companies.  Hopefully, you'll have to do this repair once or less!

I can help.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

En Fuego in Murphy -- UPDATE

Check out who was the first En Fuego customer to enjoy the new patio?

J.T. enjoying his pipe on the new patio.

That's J.T. Oden the Real Estate Man enjoying his pipe on a small pile of bricks.  Something tells me that's not the final seating design but it's going to be nice.  See why Your Broker Matters (TM)?  Yup.

Construction on the patio proceeds on...

So, I'm getting ready to run away from home.  The best coffee house of all: Saxby's in Murphy, is a scone's throw from the new En Fuego location.  Sweet.

The Moore guys reported on Facebook that the wood floors went in Tuesday.  That's going to be a lovey value add.  Nice.  I suspect that there are Murphy residents who are occasional pip and cigar  fans who have never been inside an upscale cigar establishment like En Fuego.  They're going to love it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Customer Service Post #54

It's an online backup service. No CD's, no external hard drives, secure, fast, easy---or so they said.

Guess what, it broke. It wouldn't work on my computer. Now, at only $5 a month, I didn't expect a lunch with the company president. I didn't get it. I did get a refund! Not only that, but 2 free months should I chose to stay with their service. Grand total cash we're talking about? $25. My 3 months paid when the service failed plus they gave me 2 more months free. But money isn't the point for either of us.

Customer service is what moved them and makes me willing to stay on as their customer.

Hey, you gotta give props when they're due.  I like www.mozy.com

Friday, September 17, 2010

10 Reasons to Buy a Home

Time magazine is being overly pessimistic [because Time magazine is largely edited by idiots --Ed.] in its recent cover piece that called into question the benefits of homeownership. In fact, now is a great time to buy. And, what's more, tomorrow will be a great time to own, because the fundamental strength of homeownership hasn't changed [and because Time magazine doesn't remember that there is more to the USA than California and the East Coast--Ed].

Why is now a great time to buy? Here are 10 reasons:

1. You can get a good deal. Prices are down 30 percent on average. They're at a level that makes sense for people's income.

2. Mortgages are cheap. At 4.3 percent on average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, your costs to own are down by a fifth from two years ago.

3. You can save on taxes. When you add up the deductions for mortgage interest and others, the cost of owning can drop below renting for a comparable place.

4. It'll be yours. The one benefit to owning that never changes is that you can paint your walls orange if you want (generally speaking; there might be some community restrictions). How many landlords will let you do that?

5. You can get a better home. In some markets, it's simply the case that the nicest places are for-sale homes and condos.

6. It offers some inflation protection. Historically, appreciation over time outpaces inflation.

7. It's risk capital. If the economy picks up, you stand to benefit from that, even if you're goal is just to have a nice place to live.

8. It's forced savings. A part of your payment each month goes to equity.

9. There is a lot to choose from. There are some 4 million homes available today, about a year's supply. Now's the time to find something you like and get it.

10. Sooner or later the market will clear. The U.S. is expected to grow by another 100 million people in 40 years. They have to live somewhere. Demand will eventually outpace supply.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Brett Arends (9/16/10)

Murphy is SMOKIN! ---UPDATE

En Fuego Murphy Update

I describe En Fuego as an upscale cigar shoppe (with two p's). This is no discount tobacco store. This is as delightful a location as you could imagine for sharing a cocktail, a cold beer, coffee, and sitting with friends to chat and catch up----provided you enjoy cigar and pipe tobacco smoke. We look forward to their grand opening!


En Fuego is expanding to Murphy! We anticipate opening in November. We will keep you informed of their progress.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

BP offers compensation to real estate professionals

The Texas Association of REALTORS(R) reports that real estate brokers and agents in Texas who have lost income as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill may be eligible for restitution from the BP Gulf Coast Claims Fund. To qualify for these emergency funds, applicants’ lost business must be in close proximity to the coastline.
What’s the objective of this fund?
The fund is intended as emergency assistance and pertains only to certain types of lost income with many exclusions, such as commercial transactions. Consult the claim form to determine eligibility.

How much assistance is available?
Each claim is eligible for a maximum payment of $12,000.

Who decides if a claim is paid?
Members of the Texas Association of REALTORS® Legal Department and Leadership Team will conduct preliminary reviews of claims to confirm eligibility, but the association will not determine fund allocations. The eligible claims will be forwarded to a third-party administrator who will decide which claims to pay.

How do I file a claim?
Download the claim form from TexasRealEstate.com. The deadline to file a claim is Nov. 23, 2010. Contact the Texas Association of REALTORS® Legal Department at 800/873-9155 for more information.
(Article reprinted crassly without permission, originally published by

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Murphy is SMOKIN!

En Fuego Murphy says, "Light 'em up!" Well, nearly.

Construction has begun on En Fuego's new cigar lounge & tobacco shop location in the Murphy Marketplace. The space adjacent to Sprouts on the Lowes side. Owner Larry Moore says that the Murphy location will feature an outside patio area as well! Lovely. Larry hopes the store will open around November first. If he's right, that patio will be fantastic come fall in Murphy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

5 Real Estate Scams You Need to Know About

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey | August 2010

Mortgage fraud is pervasive: An estimated $4 billion to $6 billion in annual losses result from mortgage fraud, according to FBI reports. “An entire community can be damaged by mortgage fraud,” says Rachel Dollar, a lawyer from Santa Rosa, Calif., and editor of the Mortgage Fraud Blog. Mortgage fraud can lead to a spike in foreclosures, home values plummeting, and lenders raising their rates and fees to recover losses.

The crimes are often complex, involving several parties and occurring over multiple transactions. To protect you and your clients, educate yourself about mortgage fraud and be on guard for any warning signs in a transaction. You can start by reviewing these five scams, and then test your knowledge by taking our Mortgage Fraud Quiz.

1. The Foreclosure Rescue Scheme

The Scam: “Rescuers” promise cash-strapped home owners that they can save their home from foreclosure. The rescue, which involves paying upfront fees, can take multiple forms, such as the perpetrator obtaining a new loan on behalf of the owner or by having the owner sign over the home’s deed and then rent the home until they can repurchase it. Eventually, the home owner loses the home, either to foreclosure or the fictitious rescue company.

Red Flags: With foreclosure rescue programs, borrowers are often advised to sign over the title of their house to a third party, become renters of their home, not contact their lender, or send mortgage payments to a third party, according to Fannie Mae, which provides fact sheets on mortgage fraud.

2. Loan Documentation Fraud

The Scam: This fraud involves numerous schemes in which a borrower provides inaccurate financial information — such as about their income, assets, and liabilities — or employment status in order to qualify for a loan with lower rates and more favorable terms. Occupancy fraud is one growing area: Borrowers say they plan to live in the property when they actually intend to rent it.

Red Flags: Documentation may raise suspicion if the employer’s address is shown as a post office box, accumulation of assets compared to the person’s income appears too high or low, the new house is too small to accommodate occupants, the person has no credit history, or the application is unsigned or undated, according to Fannie Mae.

3. Appraisal Fraud

The Scam: A faulty appraisal — saying a property is worth more than what it really is — is connected to many types of mortgage fraud. It entails manipulating or overstating comparables, market values, or property characteristics in order to obtain a higher appraisal. The higher property appraisal, which generates false equity, is done by falsifying an appraisal document or using an appraiser accomplice to obtain the higher value.

Red Flags: Be skeptical of appraisals that are dated prior to the sales contract, list comparable sales that do not contain similarities to the property or are outside the neighborhood, the owner is not the seller listed on the contract or the title, or a third party participating in the transaction orders the appraisal, Freddie Mac warns.

4. Illegal Property Flipping

The Scam: This entails purchasing properties and reselling them at inflated prices. These scams usually involve faulty appraisals and inaccurate loan documents. The property is then refinanced or resold immediately after purchase for an inflated value. The home is purchased at a higher price, often by straw buyers working with the “flipper,” and eventually falls into foreclosure.

Red Flags: Some key things to look for are rapid refinancing of a property; the seller recently having acquired the title or acquiring the title concurrent with the transaction; an appraisal that comes in too high; a property that was recently in foreclosure being purchased at a much lower price than its sales price; or the owner listed on the appraisal and title not matching the seller on the sales contract, according to Fannie Mae.

5. Short Sales Schemes

The Scam: Borrowers owe more than the current value of their home so they fake financial hardship and no longer make their mortgage payments. An accomplice of the borrower then submits a low offer to purchase the property in a short sale agreement. The lender agrees to the short sale, unaware that it was premeditated. The property, after being purchased at the reduced price, is then often resold at the home’s actual value for profit.

Red Flags: The borrower suddenly defaults on the mortgage with no workout discussions with the lender, an immediate offer is made to a lender at a short sale price, the short sale offer is less than current market value, or a cash back is offered at closing to the delinquent borrower (disguised as “repairs” or other payouts, for example) and is not disclosed to the lender, according to Fannie Mae.

You can report instances of suspected mortgage fraud to Stopfraud.gov.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No Shortage of Construction in DFW!

(Dallas Business Journal) – According to New York-based McGraw-Hill Construction, there is an increase in the number of future construction projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Filings for new nonresidential construction projects totaled $421 million in April, up 6 percent from the previous year, when filings were $396.3 million. The total contract value on new residential filings in April reached $383 million compared with $307.6 million from a year earlier, a 25 percent increase.

This bodes well for our area. Moving to Murphy should continue to be a great idea!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The I Am a REALTOR® Pledge

I Pledge Myself
To protect the individual rights of real estate ownership and to widen the opportunity to enjoy it;

To be honorable and honest in all my dealings;

To seek better to represent my clients by building my knowledge and competence;

To act fairly towards all in the spirit of the Golden Rule;

To serve well my community, and through it my country;

To observe the REALTOR’S® Code of Ethics and conform my conduct to its lofty ideals.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Be Prepared for Inspection Day

Adapted from an article by the Collin County Association of REALTORS(R) Affiliate Committee.

A quick guide for listing agents and sellers:

• Make sure all utilities are ON inside the home.
• Clear the areas around the electric panel, water heater, furnace and air conditioner to give Inspector full access.
• Unlock gates.
• Clear attic access and landing areas.
• Clear out closets to access crawlspace (under floor area).
• Leave the fireplace gas key on the mantle.
• Empty the dishwasher and oven.
• Make arrangements to secure or remove pets.
• Remove pet waste from the yard.
• Clean the swimming pool.
• Be prepared to leave the house for about 3–4 hours (varies).

Reducing Items on an Inspection Report – 12 easy fixes for homeowners:
• Replace batteries in smoke detectors and/or install smoke detectors in each bedroom, hall and on each floor level.
• Replace missing or broken switch and outlet cover plates.
• Repair leaky faucets.
• Tighten loose doorknobs.
• Repair or replace exterior door weather stripping.
• Caulk doors and windows at the exterior brick/siding.
• Replace damaged or missing screens.
• Replace broken panes of glass in doors and windows.
• Replace burned-out light bulbs.
• Secure loose hand and stair railings.
• Patch holes and cracks in walls and ceilings, then repaint.
• Replace heating and air conditioning filters.

These are the most common gigs on inspection reports. Keep in mind that buyers often use 10 items to leverage for the 2-3 they really want done. So, if you can reduce the list, you the seller reduce the leverage being applied against you.

Your Broker Matters (TM)