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)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Do I Need a Home Inspection?

Yup. Home inspections are good, good, good!

I think most Murphy, Plano, Rowlett, Richardson, etc., home buyers naturally gravitate toward having a home inspected by a licensed inspector when they buy. The federal Housing and Urban Development folks even have a handy flyer about buyers home inspections you can read here. http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/forms/files/92564-cn.pdf
But what about the value of home inspections to sellers? Well, did you know that the Texas Real Estate Commission's mandatory contract for resale says that if your buyer finds a needed repair, you have to pay big bucks to a licensed person for that repair?
COMPLETION OF REPAIRS AND TREATMENTS: Unless otherwise agreed in writing, Seller shall complete all agreed repairs and treatments prior to the Closing Date. All required permits must be obtained, and repairs and treatments must be performed by persons who are licensed or otherwise authorized by law to provide such repairs or treatments. At Buyer's election, any transferable warranties received by Seller with respect to the repairs and treatments will be transferred to Buyer at Buyer's expense. If Seller fails to complete any agreed repairs and treatments prior to the Closing Date, Buyer may do so and receive reimbursement from Seller at closing. The Closing Date will be extended up to 15 days, if necessary, to complete repairs and treatments.
So, let's say you have a GFCI plug that's bad (those outlets with the little test button) and you need to replace it to sell your house. Those sell at Lowes for $14.99. To have a licensed electrician come out per the contract you will spend $85 to $125!

So, if your pre-listing home inspection had revealed that issue, a simple and cheap DIY project would have saved $$$!

For more information on home inspections for buyers and getting your home ready for sale, contact us at JTOden Realty.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mortgage Industry Update

Buying a home in Murphy, Plano Richardson, etc? You'll likely need a Mortgage.

So what's up with mortgages today? Keith Bazzell at Integrity Mortgage in Dallas tells me that rates are holding strong and should be promoting some good growth in the economy. Bazzell says that 30 year fixed rates on FHA and Conventional loans are right at 5% with a couple of recent days actually dipping into the high 4’s and the 15 year rates are in the 4.25% range. Now more than ever, these rates are subjective based upon credit scores, down payment and loan amount due to investors changing their risk assessments. Overall these should be good incentive for you.

Also, Bazzell reminds us that the First Time Homebuyer and Move-Up Buyer loans are drawing closer and closer to an end. Contracts on homes in Murphy, Richardson, Dallas, Plano, etc. must be in place by April 30th in order to take advantage of these programs! So far there hasn’t been a push to extend this any further.

For folks interested in more info, Mr.Bazzell is available by phone and email and also points us toward a long but good read about the housing market (Review Housing Market Indicators.).

Your Broker Matters!