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Real Estate in Review
2 minutes | Jun 12, 2019
Do You Really Need a New Construction Inspection??
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and I'm here to answer all your questions on real estate and give you some tips and tricks. Today we're going to talk about new construction and specifically, "Do I need an inspection on a new construction home?" The answer is YES. So although the builder has every intention of building everything to code and building everything properly, he or she is also human as well and so things end up not always the way they should be. So having a home inspector come in and putting a second set of eyes on your home is a great idea and he can flag up any items that we could then use as a punch list, and those are the items that we'll want the builder to finish before we actually close on the home. This is also a great way to point out to the builder that a third party has flagged up these items, someone who's familiar with housing code and the way things need to be in a home. We recently had some clients who the air conditioning, the HVAC unit, in their house was zoned improperly. It was picked up by the house inspector and the builder gladly fixed it as he was unaware there was even an issue. So until you start turning things on and you start trying to see if they work, a lot of times we don't know if they will. It's better to have this done before you move in, we don't want to find this stuff out after you move in. So we always do an inspection right before we have our punch list meeting with the new builder. And then we use that inspection report as the punch list to go over with the builder of things that we want finished before closing. This is something that is very important and is an additional cost, of course, but it also gives you some peace of mind when you're moving into a brand new home. This is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty. Thank you. https://www.ginamullen.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ggmrealtor/ https://www.instagram.com/ginamullenrealtydfw/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginamullen/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIkjSUBak7QBJMkxng8qFXg
3 minutes | Jun 10, 2019
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and I'm here to answer all your questions regarding real estate and give you some tips and tricks. So today we're going to talk about relocation. I have relocated many times myself so I'm very familiar with the process from both sides. We are here to help you find where you're going to settle yourself and or your family when you get down here to Texas. We've worked with many companies and many relocation companies. Each relocation company has it's own relocation addendum, which is what they will help you do and cover for you. And each company that is moving a client also has their own policies as to what they will help you with. And it is our job to help you navigate that. It's also our job to help you find out where you want to settle. So if you have a child who is very sports minded and involved in sports, we can help you figure out where that is that you want to be. If you have a child who is into fine arts, we can help you figure out where that is the best place to be. And if you have a child who's great in academic decathlons, we can point you in the right direction for that as well. We have access to a lot of homes that aren't even on the market yet. So yes, you can find homes all throughout the internet, but the "coming soon" properties and or properties that are not even listed yet, we have access to a lot of those and can sometimes get you into those homes before they even hit the market. We would love to be able to help you and your family find where you want to go. If your children have specific interests such as horse riding lessons or tennis, we can help you figure out where those activities will be so that we can find a home that works well for you as far as your distance to work and your distance to your children's activities. A Google map may tell you that, you know, you're 28 minutes from the office and 24 miles, but we're familiar enough with the area that we know traffic patterns and we know that that may actually take you an hour if you live there, but if you live here, then yes, you actually will be within that 30 minute timeframe. There's a lot of navigation that needs to be done, not just with your home purchase, but you have to find school districts, you have to find doctors and dentists, and activities, and all kinds of things for yourself and your family. But we can definitely help you with the real estate relocation. We've been doing this for many years. We know exactly how to help you figure out what exactly your company will cover and help you find the best property that will be covered under your relocation addendum and that will meet all your family's needs. https://www.ginamullen.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ggmrealtor/ https://www.instagram.com/ginamullenrealtydfw/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginamullen/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIkjSUBak7QBJMkxng8qFXg
4 minutes | May 27, 2019
The Truth About The Market Shift
So there has been a shift. No, we're not saying that the market is getting ready to go bust, but what we are saying is that we're seeing some differences in the market. So no longer are we seeing houses on a regular basis selling in just a few days on the market. That seems to have gone by the wayside unless it's just a spectacular house because it has a fabulous lot or it has a fabulous finish out and is different from the other homes around it. So what we're seeing a lot of is that buyers are taking their time finding homes. No longer are they grabbing at the first thing that goes on the market and they're getting picky about what they want in a house. And houses without any updates in line with today's current trends are seeming to sit on the market longer because buyers at this point are not even wanting to do paint, which used to be just a simple change to a house. Buyers are really wanting to walk in and have a home turnkey. So some of the things that we can do that will help a buyer get most of the way there in seeing how great your home is, is put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and the trim. Try and find something that's in line with today's current trends. Most of the people out there are still looking for gray on the walls. And then of course the trim to be white. That is what most buyers are looking for. We can change out the backsplash in the kitchen pretty inexpensively. Usually most real estate agents have tile vendors in their lists that can do that for approximately $750 for most backsplashes and a current back splash, even if the granted hasn't been changed out, makes a huge difference as well. And the flooring, if that's in your budget, most of the buyers are looking for all of the flooring on the first floor to be the same type of flooring. Now that may or may not be in your budget, but if you're looking to do something for flooring, that should be what you would do. I would not replace carpet at this point. Most buyers are coming in and taking up carpet and putting down the same floor that's in the rest of the house if they can match it, and if not, they're putting in all new floor all throughout the bottom of the house. Painted cabinets is another one, if you paint the kitchen cabinets. I know that's really hard for some people with all wood cabinets, but that is what buyers are looking for is painted kitchen cabinets. So if you're looking to put your house on the market, we do a pre listing consultation, and if you do have a budget to do some things in the house, then we would love to meet with you to do a pre listing consultation and let you know where to put that money, where you're going to get the most bang for your buck and get the most return with the changes you make in the house. https://www.ginamullen.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ggmrealtor/ https://www.instagram.com/ginamullenrealtydfw/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginamullen/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOGEoaLWDLs
3 minutes | May 22, 2019
Navigating the Repair Amendment
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and I'm here to answer all of your real estate questions and give you some tips and tricks. So today we're going to talk about a repair amendment. So this is a document that the buyer gives to the seller during the option period. They are usually items that are found on an inspection report that the buyer has done and they are requesting the sellers to either do the repairs or offer a monetary credit to be given at closing. Some of the items that we see frequently on our inspection reports and repair amendments are items and issues with the roof, with the pool, with the HVAC system, water heaters, and electrical. So if you haven't had your roof checked in a while, now would be a good time to have someone check a roof. We have a roof vendor who will come out and we'll do a roof inspection for us at no charge. That lets us know if there's any problems with the roof. It is always better to handle that before the house goes on the market than during the repair amendment. It may require something as simple as a couple of shingles need to be replaced or it might be recommended that an insurance claim be placed before the house is put on the market. But again, it's always better to have this checked out before we go on to the market. Next would be the pool. We see a lot of issues with the pool. Usually the pool heater, which isn't used very frequently down here in Texas, but just like anything mechanical, if you don't use it, it's less likely to work when you try to get to use it. We would want to make sure that we knew that before the house went on the market. Any cracks or leaks in the pool, we are usually better off if we find those out before we go to repair amendment. The HVAC system, the HVAC system needs to be operating within temperature differentials. If it's a resale home, no one is expecting that a new air conditioner be placed in the home unless it's not functioning. But as long as it's tuned up and it's functioning properly, then that would not be considered an item that would be eligible for a repair amendment because the spirit of the repair amendment is for items that are not functioning properly to be repaired or replaced. If an air conditioning unit has been tuned up and it is functioning within temperature differentials than it is considered functioning. Next would be water heaters. We get a lot of questions about water heaters. "How old are the water heaters?" We see a lot of the emergency valves that at inspection don't pass, so it would be a good idea to get the hot water heater checked out too to make sure that it's functioning, that there's no rust in the pan, or anything else that needs to be addressed before you list your home. Last but not least is electrical. We want to make sure that we don't have any double tapping, that the amperage that's in the circuit panel matches what it needs to. Sometimes it's too big, sometimes it's too small, sometimes we have wires that are not grounded properly and these would all be items that we would want to get checked out beforehand that way we don't have to deal with it when the buyer puts in a repair amendment. And if it is requested during the repair amendment, we already have the documentation to show that we've had it taken care of. So this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty, giving you tips and tricks on what to get checked out before you list your home. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/ggmrealtor/ , https://www.instagram.com/ginamullenrealtydfw/ , or https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginamullen/
3 minutes | May 20, 2019
5 Misconceptions About Adding Value to Your Home
So one of the biggies is a pool. Everybody loves a pool, especially here in Texas. A pool's a great way to cool off in the summertime, but make sure you put a pool in because you want a pool because you will not see really any of that money on return on the sale side. Houses with pools do not necessarily comp out at a higher price per square foot than homes without pools. Some people, as a matter of fact, don't want pools and they will steer away from homes with pools. So there's a market range for every area, sometimes every neighborhood, and regardless of what upgrades you may have in that house, you will not exceed that range for that market area. A lot of people think that because they put a pool in that makes their house more valuable and it doesn't, it may make it more desirable to those people who want to pool, but it doesn't necessarily make it more valuable. Another item is water softener and water filtration systems. They are great to have, people love them, but they don't necessarily increase a listing price on a home. A roof is another item. Some people have a level four impact roof or slate roof or special type of roof. And although that roof may be pretty or it may be expensive or high end luxury roof, it will not add more value to your home in comparison to the other homes in the neighborhood. So if you're putting on an extra special roof and that's not a standard in your neighborhood, just know that you might not get that on return. Extra insulation or green items, those are great too. They appeal to a lot of buyers, especially those who are conscious of the environment. However, they too will not necessarily bring more value to your home. And last but not least, is an outdoor living area. A great outdoor living area is a great place to entertain. People love outdoor entertainment areas, and it may make your house stand out against another house in your neighborhood that does not have one, but sadly enough, again, this will not necessarily bring any more value to your home. So when you're thinking about things to add to your home, these are just a list of a few of the items that you really want to make sure that you want to have and that you're going to use them because they may not bring you any more money when it comes time to sell your home, but definitely may make it more attractive in comparison to some of the other houses. This is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty. https://www.facebook.com/ggmrealtor/ https://www.instagram.com/ginamullenrealtydfw/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginamullen/ https://www.ginamullen.com/
3 minutes | May 16, 2019
Buy New Construction in Argyle ISD!
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and I'm here to answer all your questions regarding real estate and give you some tips and tricks as well. We get asked a lot of times “Where can I build new and be in the Argyle School District?” So there's a lot of options right now for building new in the Argyle School District. So starting on the Southern end, we have the new development Trail Wood and that is on the south side of 1171 where it intersects with 377 and those homes start in the three hundreds. Right across the street is Canyon Falls and a large portion of that neighborhood on the east side of the neighborhood is zoned to the Argyle School District as well. And those homes in there start in the high three hundreds. Making our way a little further North and a little bit over to the West, we have Harvest by Hillwood and there are homes in there starting in the mid two hundreds, over at Harvest Town Side, that are zoned to the Argyle School District and then starting in the high two hundreds low threes is Harvest Meadows and some of the other neighborhoods that are also zoned to the Argyle School District. Coming a little bit further East and over to the 377 corridor, over there, we have the Lakes of Argyle, which is a new development on the west side of 377 North of 407 and those homes start in the high five hundreds and both Southgate and Our Country Homes are building in there. A little bit further South, and South of 407 where it intersects with 377 is the new Waterbrook community that will have Lenar in there as the builder, and those prices have not been released yet. They have batted around a certain price range, but they've not given us any definites yet. The Oaks of Argyle still have a few homes left in there and those homes are in the high fives and $600,000 mark. 5T up there off of Country Club North of 407 on off of 377 has homes that start in the high five hundreds as well. There's also lots back there where you can build a home and Southgate and Our Country Homes are building there as well. Then we have the community of Hat Creek, which is technically a Bartonville address but zoned to argyle and that is a bring your own builder and buy your lot back there. So those lots back there are some of the most reasonable priced lots right now. They're all over two acres and you can bring a custom builder in and design, any home that you would like to build. There are also lots scattered all throughout Argyle. Some of the developers are developing, you know, four or five, six lots at a time. We also have homeowners who are willing to parcel off some of the land that they own for you know, high end custom builds. Those homes would more than likely start in the $900 range and go all the way up into a couple of million dollars or even higher depending on the amount of land you have. So right now those are the opportunities that we have for new construction that is zoned to the argyle school district. If you would like help finding a home in the Argyle school district for your family, please call Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty. Thank you.
3 minutes | May 13, 2019
All About the HGTV 2019 Smart Home
Today we're going to talk about HGTVs 2019 smart home that is located in Roanoke, Texas. This home, if you've seen the pictures, is just fantastic. There are so many things in this home that appeals to the modern buyer. We've got all the technology in there such as voice activated lights. You can dim them, you can make them brighter. There is a swash clothing system in the master closet that refreshes your close in 10 minutes and you can just put them on and wear them. There is also motorized closet rods that come down and let you get a shirt off of a rod on the top of your closet. There's a virtual driving range in the garage so you can perfect your swing. There is a screen, a projection screen on the back patio so you can watch movies out there with your family. There are smart ovens that you can operate with your phone and a touchless faucet and many, many more all throughout the house. We see some of the design elements that we've come to expect with current trends and some new design elements that we're just starting to see peak into the housing industry. So we're still seeing gray this time. We're seeing varying shades of gray. We're seeing some accents of darker gray. We're starting to see pops of color again in the homes. We're seeing textured tile, so whether it's colored or whether it's white. We're starting to see a lot of texture in there and that's what's giving it the aesthetic appeal is that even though it may be monochromatic, there's a texture there that gives it interest. We're still seeing everything light and bright painted cabinets. We're starting to see some color peeking through with the cabinets as well. We're seeing lighter countertops, larger laundry rooms for folding clothes. This house, the HGTV smart home is done in what is called a modern Texas style. We see a beautiful front door that lets light in, light and airy all throughout the house. It's got beautiful beams on several of the ceilings and this also has a little bit of an industrial feel as well. In the kitchen, there is a light in there that is hanging from metal rods, so we get a little bit of that going on as well. And then the master bathroom has a very dramatic effect. There is black tile that is shaped irregularly and laid all throughout the wet areas in the bathroom. And the cabinets are painted gray. A darker gray than what we've been seeing, but still gray. So again, we see a lot of the trends through the house that we have been seeing, but there's some new trends as well. So click here and you can enter to win the HGTV 2019 smart home in Roanoke, Texas. Visit my facebook, instagram, website, and youtube for more!
2 minutes | May 6, 2019
Common Residential Home Loans
Today we're going to talk about the loans most commonly seen in a residential real estate transaction. The first is a conventional loan. This allows for as little as a 3% down payment. Mortgage insurance is required if the loan value is more than 80%. Business assets can be used for closing funds only, gifts can be used for down payment, and your credit documents are good for 120 days. We want to make sure that the whole time that we're in a real estate transaction, that we don't make any large financial decisions such as furniture purchases, cars, timeshares, vacations, no extra money on the credit cards, because it will need to be reverified along with your employment before a loan closes. On an FHA loan, you can have a down payment as little as 3.5% and the credit documents are good for 120 days as well. On a VA loan, no money is needed down. There is no mortgage insurance, and the credit documents are good for 120 days. On a USDA loan, no money down, and a septic system, you will need to have an inspection on that. So these are the kinds of loans that we see most commonly in a real estate transaction in today's market. Please call Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty, and we can hook you up with a preferred lender who will be able to give you all the information you need.
2 minutes | May 3, 2019
Creating Beautiful Curb Appeal for Your Home
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and I'm here to answer all your questions on real estate and give you some tips and tricks as well. Today we're going to talk about curb appeal. We want our curb appeal to have the most dramatic effect possible. We want people to drive up and go, "Wow, the front of the house looks great!" So how do we do that? Well, we want to clean out the flower beds and get rid of all the weeds and maybe any grass that has grown in there. Let's get in some dark black mulch. I know in previous years some of the other colors were popular, but right now that mulch that's almost black is really what people are looking for regardless of the color of the home. Let's get the bushes trimmed up. Let's get the lawn mowed and edged. Edging really gives it that polished look that we're looking for. Let's get the windows clean. You would be amazed at how much better the windows look in pictures when we have them taken and it also makes an impression when people drive up to the home and they see that it's been well taken care of. Let's clear off the front door of any decor items that we may have on there. If your door needs some touch up, either stain or paint, let's do that before we have pictures taken and we have people start seeing the home as well. If you've got any type of cedar accents and they need a fresh coat of stain, let's get that done. Same with your fence. If your fence can be seen from the front and that needs a good staining, let's get that done as well because people will notice if the fence is in need of some freshening up. We want to put a new welcome mat in front of the front door and if you have a little porch in the front, a great bistro set or some tall colorful planters would look great as well. And then last but not least, some seasonal color. Seasonal color up by the front door, throughout the flower beds, and in any other areas were plantings would be, is a great way to make a huge visual impact and they look really great in pictures as well.
3 minutes | Apr 29, 2019
Pricing Your Home to Sell
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and I'm here to answer all your questions regarding real estate and give you some tips and tricks. Today we're going to talk about pricing your home to sell. This is a great time of year to talk about this. It's the busy time and we're getting ready for a lot of houses to hit the market and one of the things that sellers want to know when you come in for a listing appointment is “What are we going to sell the house for?” That depends on a lot of different things and that depends, you know, luxury homes are comped very differently than non-luxury homes, but regardless of the price level of the home, we want to make sure that we get the price right when we first go out. If we don't get the price right, then we end up doing something that's called chasing the market. We do not want to chase the market. That means that we've gone out too high, especially if we just want to see what happens if we put it out there at this price. Then as we reduce the price of the home, the value of the home decreases because it's been sitting on the market longer and longer. So by the time you get down to the price you should have started off at, the home has lost value because it has sat on the market now for quite some time. And once it sits on the market, buyers look at the house very differently. They don't see the house to be worth what the listing price is, the asking price, they feel maybe there's something wrong with the home. They come to the home with a completely different attitude than if a house is fresh. A house gets most of its attention the first two weeks on the market. So a lot of times when I come in, if what my recommendation is, based on what the market is telling me a home is worth, sellers might have a different price in mind. And sometimes it's not something that they want to hear. But if I'm telling you something that makes you uncomfortable, you know that I'm telling you the truth. I'm not telling you what you just want to hear. I want to make sure that you go out at the right price so that we have as successful a real estate transaction as possible. If we go out at the right price, then we will see a lot of traffic during this first two weeks and hopefully we'll get you under contract during those first two weeks If we don't get the price right where we stick a price out there just to see what happens or see if anyone bites, a lot of times we end up doing ourselves and the property disservice because we tend to sit on the market longer. When I do a listing appointment, I come in with hard numbers. I show you what the other houses look like in comparison to yours. Houses that sold at this price point look like this, houses that sold at this price point look like that, and we figure out where in that range that you want to fall. And if we're priced well, then more than likely we will get a contract on the property in the amount of time that we should. So when you're thinking about what you want to price your house to sell, take into consideration what a realtor is telling you or the comps that they're bringing to the table. And realtor should never tell you what to price a home without showing you what the market is saying that your home is worth. And when the market tells you what your home is worth, and you listen to the market and you price it well, then it usually ends up being a successful real estate transaction for all.
4 minutes | Apr 22, 2019
Real Estate Agent or selling on your own? Which route should you take?
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and today we're going to talk about for-sale-by-owners versus hiring a real estate agent. So, a lot of for-sale-by-owners think that they're going to put their house on the market. This is going to be great, they're going to save all of this real estate commission. I'm not really sure for-sale-by-owners fully understand how much work goes into marketing their home. A for-sale-by-owner has to be available when there are showings. They have to be at the house to let the people in, they have to tour the house with the potential buyer, and if your house is a very desirable home, you could have many showings in a day or a showing in the middle of the workday that you would need to run home for. So that gets to be pretty inconvenient for a for-sale-by-owner. When we're talking about pricing, we talk about how for-sale-by-owners don't have access to the information to help them properly price their home and that can go either way. Sometimes a for-sale-by-owner can leave money on the table. A lot of times a for-sale-by-owner, due to an emotional attachment to the house and/or the amount of money that's put into upgrades in a home, will overprice the home which then creates what we call chasing the market, which is never a good place to be. We want to make sure that the price is right when we first go out because the most amount of traffic is during the first two weeks and we want to make sure that we get it out there at the right price so we can get an offer and as soon as possible. So the National Association of Realtors States that a home sold by a real estate agent on average will net more than 33% more than a home sold by a for-sale-by-owner. This is usually because a real estate agent is doing full time marketing of the home. We know how to market the homes, we know where to market the homes. That's our job. That's what we're trained to do. That's what we learn how to do, and so we get it exposed to a lot more people. In addition to that, we also know other agents and we know how to network with other agents to get that sold. We also get it into the MLS, which is where a lot of clients find their homes. Because even if the agent does not provide them the home, when a property is put in the MLS, it feeds across 42 different websites and that is how a lot of people today find their home, they find it on a website and then they will contact an agent to go in and, and see that home. In addition, there are many documents that need to be provided, such as a seller's disclosure. A lot of times a for-sale-by-owner is not aware of that, by state, even if there's selling their own home, they're required to provide a seller's disclosure. There are other documents as well that need to be provided. Some of those are to protect you, the seller. Some of those are for the transaction to go through as a smooth transaction. So we want to make sure that they're filled out properly. I hear more often than not, with people who have not used real estate agents before, that it's just filling in the blanks that real estate agents just fill in the blanks on a contract. If those blanks are not filled in properly, that could mean disaster for a seller or even disaster for a buyer. So a for-sale-by-owner opens himself up to a lot of liability without knowing how those documents need to be filled out and a real estate agent really has all the tools that you will need to properly market your home, properly price your home, and get it sold as soon as possible.
4 minutes | Apr 15, 2019
Real Estate and the Internet
There are a lot of websites out there that will provide you information regarding the real estate in the area. One of the most important things to know is that Texas is a non-disclosure state, meaning that when a property sells, it is not disclosed to the general public or to companies who are seeking that information. So a lot of times the Internet platforms are guesstimating what a house sold for. A lot of times you can get your hands on the mortgage information, but, a lot of these internet sites work on the 80/20 principle. That 20% was put down and the mortgage is for 80% of the sales price of the home, and that is not always the case, especially not here in Texas and in today's current market. We're seeing more buyers putting down significant amounts, which then make the loan amount much less than the 80% that we see a lot of times. This then creates a disparity of information as you go on the Internet and you see what homes sold for, that may not be anywhere near what a home has sold for. In addition to that, the status of a home could also be wildly inaccurate. For instance, in the state of Texas, we have statuses that are active, active kickout, active contingent. All these will register on these internet platforms as active, which indicates to a buyer looking on the Internet that these properties are available. However, active and active kickout, yes, those are available. But active contingent or active option contract, those homes are not currently available. So one of the best things that you can do is get set up on a search with a real estate agent who will provide you information from the MLS so that you know as soon as the property goes on the market and under contract. We also have to remember that a lot of these internet platforms are providing new information based on the general rule of thumb in the entire country. However, mortgages, property values, and taxation rates differ greatly across the country and we need to make sure that when we are looking at Internet information, that it is not just general information and the best way to find that out as to contact a real estate agent. Real estate agents also have access to houses that are not even on the market yet. There's a lot of networking that goes on with agents. And so we know a lot of times about house that's coming on the market even before it goes on the market. Although I love the Internet, when it comes to one of the largest financial purchases that you will ever make in your life, you really need to seek out a professional to help you do so. A professional will be able to provide you all that information so that you can make the best decision possible for yourself and your family.
3 minutes | Apr 8, 2019
Luxury New Construction and Appraisals
This is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty, today we're going to talk about the appraisal process. So when you go to buy a home and you are getting financing on that home, your lender is going to require an appraisal on the property. We are having a difficult time sometimes with our luxury new construction in some of the areas in and around the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. A lot of areas that were at one time mostly rural with small one story, three bedroom, two bath ranchettes now are being purchased and we are having large luxury homes that are being built on them. When it comes time for the appraisal, it gets to be a little difficult comping out those properties. And so the appraiser a lot of times has a very difficult time finding the comps that are needed in order to be able to come back with an appraisal that will be anywhere near what you're asking to be loaned from the bank. One of the jobs of a real estate agent is I will call the appraiser, or have the appraiser call, me and I will walk them through some of the comps in the area so that they have properties that they can work with that will get them to the appraisal that the buyer needs them to be. We have a lot of off MLS transactions that happen with luxury new construction. When you do an interim home construction loan, it is usually not in the MLS. The land sale is usually in the MLS, but the actual build job is not, so the appraiser doesn't have access to those. So a lot of times what we can do is we can go to a builder and we can ask the builder to provide other homes that they have built in the area and what the sales price of those homes where. These can then be provided to the appraiser so that the appraiser can come up with actual comps that are similar to the type of home our clients or building so that they can then secure the financing that they need to build the house. These comps, however, need to be gotten from people that are working in the industry in the area, and a lot of times your average person just does not have access to those builders or those people who would be able to provide the information needed to the appraiser in order for him to be able to comp it out as best possible. When I am talking a significant difference, we may have someone who is building a $2 million home, but the appraiser can only get it to $500,000 because based on the homes that had sold in the last 180 days, they may have all been older ranchette homes built in the 1970s that were small on a smaller piece of land, but there may be other homes in area, again, that were built, they're just not in the MLS for the appraiser to pull. So a real estate agent can really assist with the appraisal process and make sure that the appraiser has all the information that is needed in order to appraise your home properly so that you can get the funds you need to build your dream home. This is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty. Thank You.
8 minutes | Apr 1, 2019
Why You Need A Real Estate Agent To Help With Contracts!
I think that there are some people out there that believe that real estate agents just fill in the blanks, that there's not a whole lot to it. There's these blanks that need to be filled in, and it's pretty self-explanatory what needs to be done and they just fill in the blanks and that we are just relieving the sellers or the buyers of having to do that menial data entry type work themselves. There's a lot more to a contract then just filling in the blanks. There are many ways for a buyer to terminate a contract and unless that's something that you're keeping up with on a regular basis, you're not going to know what those are. We have a lot of instances where people are contracted on a property and something has happened. Maybe someone in the family has gotten sick, maybe someone has lost their job, maybe all of a sudden there's a relocation and they don't want to buy the house anymore that their contracted on and they need to get out of it and they need to get their earnest money back, which can be three thousand ten thousand fifteen thousand dollars and they don't want to leave that behind and give that to the seller. So they want to be able to terminate and get it back. Well just because you've been told that you need to relocate does not mean that you're going to get your earnest money back. So a real estate agent, when they're writing a contract, is keeping this in mind that there are certain things that are written certain ways so that if you do need to terminate the contract, you can do so and get your earnest money back. And if those blanks aren't filled in a certain way, then that could really come back to bite you. In addition to that, a seller is bound to a contract from the get-go and a seller really cannot get out of contract in Texas once it has been executed. So we really need to make sure that there are things in the contract to protect the seller. Even though once we’re executed, they're bound to the contract, but we can do things such as make the option period short, make the third party financing addendum time period short, make the HOA document delivery short so that the buyer is then bound to the contract shorter in the process than if they take it almost all the way to closing. There's a period of time right before closing where the seller tends to be a little safer. The buyer can't terminate usually for, usually you want a 30 day closing, about 11 days before closing the buyer can't usually terminate depending on how the contracts written without losing their earnest money. But the caveat to that is, it's how the contract is written. So there are certain ways we want to contract a read for a seller. There are certain ways we want a contract read for a buyer. In addition to that, we have a lot of buyers who make the assumption that because they have large sums of money in the bank and large amount of investments and they bring in a large income as well, that they know that they will qualify for a mortgage and they know how much they will qualify for. And that's not always the case. So if you are a business owner, own multiple businesses, that business income is treated differently than if you're an employee receiving a paycheck weekly. And so that's one of the reasons why we want to get you qualified early on and as seller wants to see that qualification letter come in with a contract. It's not so much what the contract says as it does reading between the lines, if you will. That comes down to what the buyers willing to pay, if the buyer is willing to put down more earnest money, if they're willing to pay some of the closing costs, if they're putting down a large sum of money on the house. These are all things that indicate to a seller that they're a serious buyer. USE AN AGENT. That's what we're trained to do. We're trained to fill them out so that you are getting the best transaction that you can get out of selling or buying a home.
7 minutes | Feb 22, 2019
How To Get Your House Ready To Sell
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty, answering questions that you have about real estate. Today we're going to be talking about “how do we get our house ready to sell?” So we always have a staging appointment with our clients where our team comes in. A staging appointment used to be where you decorated the home, maybe brought in some furnishings. That has changed somewhat. Now with the new trend that we have, we try and use what the client has in their home, but we also try to make the home as streamlined as possible. One of the first things we do is we remove all personal photographs. This is for privacy reasons as well, but we also want someone to come in and not feel like they're in someone else's home. We want them to be able to picture themselves in your home, which is one of the reasons we remove a lot of the decor. A lot of our clients say that their homes look empty by the time we get done with our staging appointment, and that is the way that we want it. We like for someone to be able to see their own decor items in the house. Even though a buyer may not understand that the reason they don't like a house is because of the way it is decorated, it does subconsciously affect their feelings on a home. The more that we can clear out decor items from a house and make it more of that clean, streamline look, then a buyer can come in and see their own items in the house. The second would be curb appeal. We like to have as much curb appeal as possible. People will drive by your home and see the for sale sign in the yard. We like to get all the flowerbeds cleaned out, fresh new mulch, and we like seasonal color to be put especially up by the front door. Any trees that need to be trimmed, pots with flowers in them by the front door, and also some exterior maintenance as well to make sure that everything is cleaned up, that we have leaves that are cleaned up. The lawn should be freshly mowed and edged so that it gives a really well maintained feel when somebody is looking at your house. The next is maintenance in the house. We don't want you to go ahead and, you know, do large maintenance projects, but anything that might need to be fixed in the home will be caught at an inspection anyway. So now's a really good time for you to be able to attack those things that maybe aren't working the way that they should. If you've got a faucet that dripping or a toilet that's running, things of that nature, that can easily be done by a handyman, those items should be taken care of before we put the house on the market. If you have windows that are cracked, if the windows are under warranty, then we should go ahead and request for them to be replaced or repaired under the warranty. If you have an insurance claim that needs to be done, whether it was for a leak or maybe it's a roof, then let's go ahead and get that insurance claim initiated it and get that done before we put it on the market. It looks really good when we have on a seller's disclosure that a roof is only nine months old or four months old. People really like moving into a home where some of the bigger ticket items have been taken care of and they know that they won't have to worry about them for awhile. Consider some updating. I know this is a scary thought and that's probably why a lot of our sellers are moving is that they want to update, but we're noticing that more and more buyers are not really interested in coming in and doing any updating to a home. Used to be that the standard thought process was if a home just needed to be painted, then we could go in and paint it any color we want. But what we're finding is that buyers of all budgets are not wanting to come into a home and be bothered with having to even paint the home. The number one thing that you can do to a home to give it a fresh updated look and to make the largest impact is to paint. Paint the walls, paint the trim (which is the base boards, th
5 minutes | Feb 22, 2019
What Buyers Want
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and today we are going to talk about what buyers want, which also affects sellers as well. When we look at listing a home and the seller asks, “well what should we do to our home?” Well we definitely should only do updates that are going to make an impact and updates that will appeal to what people are looking for today. We want to put it in the right spots, where nobody wants to break the bank before they put the house on the market, but we do want to make an impact so that buyers can get a vision for what the house can look like when they're in there. So what are buyers looking for? Buyers are currently looking floor a flooring that is the same all throughout the first floor common areas, whether that be hardwood floors, whether that be an engineered floor or a tile that looks like wood. Those are the types of flooring that people are expecting to see right now in homes that have been updated, or if they're going to update the homes themselves. People are looking for painted cabinets in the kitchen. I have a lot of sellers who tell me that it's a crime to paint the kitchen cabinet since they were real wood, and I can completely understand that. However, buyers today are wanting painted cabinets in the kitchen as well as in the bathrooms. So while we may see white cabinets in the kitchen, we are starting to see a little bit of color in the secondary bathrooms. We see gray, we're seeing some navy blue, we're seeing some colors peak in into those secondary bathrooms. The master bathrooms usually seem to be gray or white. The kitchens also can be gray as well and maybe we have an accent color on the island, such as navy blue or something along those lines. We're looking for gray on the walls. I know that a lot of people are not a fan of gray on the walls, but that is what most of the buyers today are looking for. So when a seller paints their home, they really should consider painting it gray, especially gray with a brown undertone because that will go with all the things that are currently in their home that were installed when cream was, you know, the big trend on the walls. It's as much of a neutral as cream, gray with brown undertone. They're also looking for white trim, so maybe not stark white but not cream either. Sherwin Williams “Snowbound” is a great color to use on your trim. It is a white that is a little bit of an off white, not quite stark white and people really seem to like using that color on their trim. Windows. We like to see windows open, no draperies, no cornice boards, no sheers. Plantation shutters, yes, blinds yes, but we liked the windows open and clear. We have buyers, most of them, who want to see the secondary bathrooms be updated. So that would mean the countertop. It doesn't necessarily have to be granite. We're seeing quartz and quartzite and other solid surfaces entering into countertops in houses and people really seem to respond to them well. Especially if it gives that clean, streamlined look that they're looking for. The counters seem to be taking more of a solid appearance, more so than a lot of the modeling and movement we used to see in the granite. The sinks even in the secondary bathrooms if they're built into the solid surface, if they are a standard rectangle, that seems to be what the buyers are looking for the most. Buyers like to see that the house has been taken care of well. So we want to make sure that our air conditioners have been serviced and we can provide receipts for that as well as any other maintenance issues on the house. The biggest questions we get from buyers is “How old is the roof?” “How old is the air conditioning?” and “How old is the hot water heater?” If any of those are needing to be replaced, now would be a great time to do that because more than likely that we'll be caught at inspection time. Buyers are not really keen on carpets
1 minutes | Feb 20, 2019
Should I Stay or Should I Go? What you need to know about buying a home.
This is Gina Mullen, with Gina Mullen Realty, answering your questions about real estate. Today we're going to talk about should I stay or should I go? We talk all the time with clients about, “well I think I want to see if more money before I move” or “I think I want to see what the market does.” So right now what we're seeing is interest rates have increased from last year. However, they have not increased significantly. They did increase some and then they kind of backed off a little bit. So we're seeing a really good percentage rate right now. If you continue to wait, market values will increase. The DFW area is showing that there's such a high demand for housing that regardless of what happens in the rest of the market, the DFW market will remain strong. So we will continue to see, more than likely, market values raise in the DFW area. So as you are saving money for your next home that you want to go into, the market value of that home is increasing and the interest rate is increasing, which can possibly negate the amount of money that you have saved. So if you're looking to move, now might be a great time to do so as interest rates are still low. Market values, yes, are high but they will more than likely get higher. So consider that when you're trying to determine whether you want to stay in your current home or whether you want to move into a new one, that taking the time to save that extra money may not necessarily get you the advantage that you think it might give. Have a great day!
2 minutes | Feb 18, 2019
What you need to know about 203K loans
Hi, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and today we are going to talk about a 203K Loan, which people refer to as, you know, “That loan that I'm going to get that is going to help me renovate my house.” So most people think that when you do a 203K Loan, that you're going to take out a mortgage that's going to be over the cost of what you paid for the house and that the mortgage company is going to hand you the lump sum of money so that you can go ahead and make the updates and renovations to the house that would increase its value. But that is not the way that it works. Yes, you do get a mortgage and it is for more than what you paid for the house, but you have to hire contractors to do the work. You cannot do the work yourself and you will have to provide the mortgage company with the progress all along the way. So this requires you to find a contractor that is insured and bonded. They need to submit an estimate to the mortgage company. You're real estate agent would need to send in comps to the mortgage company to show that the market will allow for the renovations to be done and it still not be underwater. You have to provide progress along the way. You will have an inspector that comes to the house to make sure the work is being done, that it's been done properly, that all permits have been pulled, and that the people that are doing the work on the house are people who are professionals in doing that. So a little bit of a different scenario than what most people think with a 203K Loan. So if you're thinking of buying a home and flipping it, keep that in mind that yes, you can get a mortgage for more than what you pay for the house. However, you will have some oversight by the mortgage company on who does the work and how the money is spent. If you have any questions, please give us a call at Gina Mullen Realty. Thanks.
3 minutes | Feb 18, 2019
Common Questions Answered by a Top DFW Real Estate Agent
Hi, This is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and I am here to answer some of your questions regarding the real estate market. Today, I'm going to answer the question I get asked most by my clients and that is: Is there a shift in the market? The answer to that is yes, but it is a little more complicated than that. There has been a shift in the market, however it is not a bad thing. We are not seeing the bubble burst. We are not seeing a downturn. They are predicting that there will be a downturn in the rest of the country, however the industry is telling us that DFW will be somewhat protected from that because we have such a demand for housing with all the people that are moving here as well as the companies who are moving their headquarters here. That being said, we've grown accustomed to selling homes in 7, 10, 14 days in the last several years and that is not a normal market. That is a chaotic market and it is not sustainable. It creates chaos for sellers as they may have so many offers on a house that they feel compelled to make a decision as quick as possible, however they have so many offers on the table that it can become overwhelming. Sometimes sellers don't always make the decision that they would if they only had one or two offers and were able to thoroughly think them all the way through. In addition to that, it was really difficult on first-time home buyers. Their main competitors in the previous market that we had were investors and investors were paying cash. First-time home buyers had financing and a cash contract will almost always win over a contract with financing. So, first-time home buyers became very frustrated. What we saw was that a lot of first-time home buyers were moving from the resale market into the new construction market. It was a lot less chaotic. They didn't have to worry about 15 or 18 offers on a house and they were able to contract on a house and know that it was theirs. Why are we seeing so many price reductions? This is the next question that I get. As agents, we were allowed to price ahead of the market in the previous market, meaning that we could comp a house for sale and we could push the ceiling on that somewhat because we knew the market could absorb it. The problem is now is that with the shift, we still have agents doing that but listings need to really be priced at what the market is currently telling them that they can get for their home. If a home is not updated in today's market, the listing price will need to accommodate that because we see more and more buyers who do not want to even paint at home. Those are all things that need to be taken into consideration, if the house is not updated and if the agent has priced ahead of the market. That's why we're seeing most of the price reductions that we're seeing now. All indications are that we are going to have a very healthy spring in the resale market and I think that everyone will be pleasantly surprised with how we end real estate busy season this year. We can sell houses all year long. Busy season is usually a good indication of what the market is currently doing and from what we've been seeing the last couple months in the listings that our team is getting ready to go to market, it's going to be a very strong spring. So, this is Gina Mullen with Gina Mullen Realty and if you need any help with any real estate needs, please feel free to contact us at 682-888-3217. Thank you.
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