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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
TREE LIGHTING: THE SHOPS AT LEGACY
On Sunday, Nov. 19th was the fifth annual Tree Lighting Festival benefiting the The Children's Medical Center Legacy. The festivities started at 2:00PM and lasted till around 7:00PM, the tree lighting was exposed at 6:40PM and was a little late due to some technical difficulties. (It Happens)
The atmosphere was like a Carnival, Kids of all ages, having a great time! Entertainment was plentiful: Local Choirs performed, Carriage Rides, Children's Crafts and Games, Face Painters, Pictures with Santa and the soon to be a favorite tradition if not already is the Tree Lighting Right At Dusk.
Light up a child's life and make a donation. Event was sponsored by: WFAA, Cadbury Schweppes, Dallas Morning News, City of Plano, Post Legacy and Boardwalk Auto Group.
Check out a few more photos below: it was hard to be still with camera, so a little fuzzy.
Put this on your list for next year, there is also a lot of food and drinks to make everyone happy for a long time.
Tuesday, 28 November 2006
"What is Plano really like?"
Well, I will tell you it's GREAT! and Why you might ask? This post was sparked
by an article in Texas Monthly about As Plano Goes...so goes the nation?
Plano has tied San Jose, CA, as the country's most affluent city with more than 250,000 residents.
Now, hold on Marge Ann, do you mean America is actually getting to know where Plano, TX is?
The article is all over the place but has some good facts and commentary about how Plano is not like the heartland (Kansas), but a Dallas exurb (only 20 miles north) that isn't Middle America, but an affluent island of educated blue in a sea of red. Plano is the quintessential "boomburg" and the new Peoria, who knew?
The New version of a Middle America town, success for retailers and culture watchers alike. Plano is just like Silicon Valley because it is as big and diverse. (the article goes a bit further into things, but I will stay on the surface of facts)
SO... here are a few more details about Plano that are not in the write up:
Plano is very conservative, zip code 75093 is about 90% Republican, not exact but I am close on that figure, If you travel south to the Park Cities with a population of about 33,000, it is about 50% Democrat and 50% Republican. Plano is a sophisticated mix of traditional and creative talent that loves a luxurious lifestyle.
The reason Plano exists is because Dallas does not have a good public school system, one of the worst in the country and it seems to get worse every year, Dallas also has a city council form of government and has proven very difficult to work with in all matters, unless you grease a palm, (you know what I mean).
Back in the 80's, Smart Creative Plano People decided to build the best public school system available to all. An Exemplary status for many years, and while Dallas would not give tax abatements to large corporations, Plano did. These companies are proud to call Plano their home: EDS, JC Penney, Frito- Lay, Cadbury-Schwepes (Dr.Pepper,) Ericcson etc. and the list goes on...and the Legacy Campus is a thriving community for all to live and work in. This is why Plano is diverse, it is transient, many folks from all over the U.S. will live here while they are climbing up the corporate ladder.
Real Estate is inexpensive compared to most markets and whether you buy a $200K home or a $7 Million estate, you will live very well and have great public schools with reasonable property taxes that are 2.25% on the average. No State Income tax, many Churches, (all denominations) large open areas, many parks and a government that spends your money wisely, (roads are always well taken care of in Plano). Plus it is a Safe Community with Unique Shopping at all levels, check out Shops at Legacy.
How can I say Plano is GREAT! By comparison, yours truly was born in New Orleans, has Lived in Dallas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, New York, Seattle (twice, Magnolia & Kirkland) and Plano, has traveled extensively and loves North Texas because it is centrally located and you can get away quick to visit family or friends, only 20-30 minutes to DFW or Love Field airports.
Now that Plano is finally on the map, I can be proud I bought out here 15 years ago. The appreciation is ticking up. If you are relocating to our area, or have any questions you would like answered, ask...
We are real Plano fans and your Real Estate investment will go a long way here at this point in time.
Safe to say I would have something in common with you.
Plano is not Plain-O!
Tuesday, 21 November 2006
New Policy for Discount Brokerages on Web MLS Listings
Last week during National Association of Realtors convention, the board of directors approved a new policy regarding how information is retrieved from the MLS by RE brokerage firms, generally these databases are operated by local Realtor associations. The policy approves that brokerage firms that put MLS Listings from the MLS on their own brokerage sites CAN exclude certain homes. When I read this article from the Real Estate Journal which I found from the feed on this site: Real Estate Stories, I was a bit taken back by the reasoning of this decision. Being a trusted advisor, I always look at things the way it effects our clients and the general consumer, here are my observations.
What does this mean for the general public that does home searches on the web?
You will not get all listings from brand name broker sites, ie. Remax, Keller Williams, Prudential. Ebby etc.
and this will vary from broker to broker, the revised policy states to use "objective criteria" when selecting listings for their national brokerage sites, which could include, location, type of property, compensation offered by agents who find a buyer, or "level of service". Now don't you think that is a large window of opportunity to pick and chose your listings to show the public, JUST DON'T ADVERTISE THAT YOU HAVE EVERY LISTING ON YOUR SITE!
The reasoning from the big name brokerage firms and the National Association of Realtors is that they spend a great deal of MONEY$ advertising their sites and the discount brokerages need to spend more money to promote their own sites.
OK, I can understand all this but I don't agree. Technology should be making things easier for everyone involved in the house hunting process, You cannot control all information, times have changed. I see this as another attempt to keep this information proprietary. The new web 2.0 is evolving and thank goodness for making our jobs as REALTORS more efficient, but the dinosaur won't go down without a fight and a fight... it will be.
I think it is funny how as little as 4 years ago, brokerages were downplaying the whole internet for Real Estate and now they are all playing catch up because tech world is trying to help Real Estate transcend into this brave new world! I love it! The best new Real estate search sites will not be from the Brand Name Brokers. Check out Trulia and look at the information you get, all on one screen, houses, maps, neighborhood stats and hotness zones, this is where searches are going... thank you Trulia! Now they don't have every part of the country on their site yet, but they are adding feeds quickly. Also, see propsmart and zillow, all three sites are leading the way in web 2.0 searches, a broker can submit their feed or these sites will crawl the web for listings, it takes time....and all this is for the greater GOOD of Real Estate Marketing and your home search. YEAH!
So, what is the best search tool to use? as a Real Estate Agent, besides the MLS, I like to use third party vendor services, they have agreements with all MLS boards and include all listings! You will find these on most individual agent sites that don't use their brokerage search sites. For example: we use mlsfinder and you will find every listing in the DFW metro here, you can search by city, zip, school and subdivision, no info required unless you want to save searches.
Everything is changing quickly in Real Estate technology and I will write more on MLS searches as new things come around and improve. My main concern with the change in policy for the National Association of REALTORS is by our code of ethics and a buyers rep agreement we are required to show you all listings! Yes, ALL LISTINGS! Sounds like they are talking out of both sides of their mouth...and the saga continues.
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
Finding the Perfect Neighborhood
When you start looking for your next home, location is always the number 1criteria, and the neighborhood is a huge part of this decision. Most cities and towns provide many communities for us to look at and decisions are not always easy. Here is a 6 point review of questions you should ask yourself and your family before you start the house hunting process. The Neighborhood you choose will have a huge impact on your lifestyle - including safety, modern conveniences and amenities, schools and your commute time to work and all play their part.
- Make a list of all the activities you and your family enjoy, stores you frequent, movies, health club, church, family & friends - see how far you need to travel from each neighborhood and see what is acceptable to you.
- The School District is high priority whether you have children or not. Check out the Texas Education Agency and Plano Independent School District. They will provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students the attend college and special enrichment programs. It is also a good idea to actually visit the schools if your have children before you buy in the neighborhood. Remember, a house in a good school district will be easier to sell in the future.
- Investigate to see if the neighborhood is safe. The internet is a good way to start this process. The North Central Texas City of Government site will help. Also, ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Look at the types of crimes, burglaries, armed robberies-trends increasing and decreasing, and whether the crimes are in the neighborhoods or by retail and commercial areas.
- Decide if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values are rising, stable or falling. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments do not diminish value, but it does mean more transient population movement. Are their vacant homes and/or businesses that have been for sale for months?
- Will you make money? Ask your local REALTOR® or call Collin County Realtors Association to get info on price appreciation trends in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, the information will be helpful, also to look at a 3-5 year history of appreciation by neighborhood. This will alert you to a good - solid investment. A REALTOR or City of Plano can tell you about planned development or changes going on in the area, like new schools or highways that could effect the value.
- Go see for yourself. Once you have narrowed your focus on a couple of neighborhoods, go there and drive and walk around, day & night, talk to people that are out. Are the homes neat and tidy? Are the streets quite? Are people friendly? Are their children to play with your family?
These are just a few tips to help you get started to find the perfect neighborhood and these suggestions will work for any city or town, I just happened to link to Plano, TX. Make sure your hook up with a REALTOR® that works and knows the areas you are considering, we can help you with the many nuances of the community to help you make a sound investment.
Friday, 10 November 2006
Understanding the Real Estate Market is a little different than you might think....
When you do Real Estate Day in and Day out, for many years you become an EXPERT. The one thing that never changes is the emotional ride everyone takes whether you are a buyer or seller in a RE transaction. That being said, we all tend to let our behavior run wild and the reasoning side tends to take a back seat, It gets personal....
What a REALTOR® is suppose to do is
provide the marketing expertise and business savvy skills to make a compromise between the two parties, now every situation is different, but it needs to be a WIN-WIN!
Even if it is not, we need to play psychologists to make everyone warm & fuzzy. AHHH! the multiple jobs of a REALTOR®
When I speak of understanding the market,
I am talking about the business side of it. REASON
if you will. This particular post is geared toward the seller side. If your home is on the market pay attention to these signs:
- If your house is not being shown, it means agents think your price is too high for the neighborhood.
Recommendation: A significant price adjustment.
- If your house is being shown, but you are not getting any offers, it means the Buyers are finding nicer homes for the money.
Recommendation: A moderate price adjustment.
- If your house is in the running, but the buyers buy something else, or if the buyers view the house a second time, but buy something else, it means you are close.
Recommendation: A minor price adjustment.
According to The National Association of REALTORS®, if a house is priced correctly, you should get an offer every 10 showings. In a normal market, you should get 1-2 showings a week.
This is where you need the advice and opinion of a seasoned professional REALTOR® who knows the market and what is happening, it changes all the time. The market does not care how much you paid or what you need out of your house, so if you are set on keeping the price you might be better taking it off the market for a while, get your REALTOR® to take you into your competition, it will show you how to compete and if you are priced correctly, and you might just say " Hey, I don't think I want to sell right now."
We do this for all our clients before we even price a property, it shows you what is realistic! and it is a very reasonable thing to do.
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
New Concept to Open at Shops at Legacy
Well, It's HAPPY HOUR and I just got a GOOGLE ALERT for new things that are happening in Plano.
The Shops at Legacy has put West Plano on the map and we are becoming a hot bed for new concepts.
Martini Park, latest lounge venture by New York nightclub developer Chris Barish is coming in December to The Shops at Legacy, it will cater to a wide range of clients - 30's, 40's & 50's....could be very interesting, Professionals that Lounge. It is described as "the perfect cocktail party". Can't wait!
And if you live in West Plano, it is only minutes away...get the glasses chilling! Plano has arrived.
This is a short post tonight, after all it is HAPPY HOUR.
Tuesday, 07 November 2006
When Do I Contact a REALTOR for Help in Finding My New Home?
When any of us take on the daunting task of purchasing a new home, we find ourselves overwhelmed with information and choices to make. Just get on the internet and your house will come to you! HA! It is a bit more complicated than that. Some of those ads crack me up!
Usually the time to start working with a REALTOR® is 4 to 6 weeks out from when you would like to purchase and then closing will take a bit longer assuming everyone agrees to agrees and all lender hurdles are met.
One step that should happen way in advance is to find a REALTOR® that fits your personality and actually meet or have a phone conversation about your needs and timeline. This step is crucial for the start of a smooth transaction. Ask for a consultation...(no charge)
What usually happens to the time line is LIFE, a job might change, a death in the family, we change our MINDS or direction we want to go....make sure your are working with someone you trust and will work with you through these times.
Most people when they decide to go house shopping browse the internet, find a home and call that REALTOR® to show it, that is all fine and well, but it is wiser to have a buying plan that includes pre-qualification from a lender and a timeline that fits your schedule, not the agent.
BTW, most discount buyer firms are in it for an immediate sale, and could care less, unless you are going to buy today. If they don't return your phone call that is a BAD sign.
The home buying process is one of the most important financial moments of your life, including your lifestyle, take the time to let the process happen in a timely manner and make sure you have a REALTOR® that will stick by you, no matter what!
12 reasons to use a REALTOR®, it is a step up from an agent - know the difference...we are the real deal!
Sunday, 05 November 2006
In your Opinion......How Long will My Home be on the Market?
Whenever you go to discuss putting a clients property on the market, one of the most often asked questions is: How fast do you think my home will sell? Of course... this is not a simple YES or NO answer.
The answer depends on many circumstances, below are the top three:
As a Seller, you have control of two of these: Price & Condition, hopefully you have a good interior location in your neighborhood. If you are backing up to a busy street or facing a railroad track you are going to have to price for that! Just remember, any property will sell if it is priced correctly.
By that, I do not mean the lowest price, a detailed comparative market analysis of the neighborhood and a good REALTOR can help determine that! Remember, It is always your decision to price your home for the market.
I will say one thing about price, and almost everyone will do the same thing, sellers want to bump the price up so they have room to negotiate, Did you know a home priced $1000. more than it should be can prevent you from getting a contract? The closer to pricing your home correctly means the less you have to negotiate!
Condition is crucial, go ahead...paint, clean, tweak, fix all the things you know need it, we recommend getting an inspection and fixing all items; this will also alert you to larger problems before you get a contract and need to negotiate them.
Take a look at these Current Comps for Oct 2006 for 75093, the average days on market is 67 days for homes SOLD, so if you prepare your home for sale correctly this is a good guess of how long it will take your home to sell in 75093.
Also, hire a neighborhood expert that will take the time to go back a few years on comparables. As your Realtor, we go in properties all day long and know the value of homes sold, specific neighborhoods can adjust pricing to find extra $$$ dollars for you.
Friday, 03 November 2006
I DON'T LIKE MY HOUSE NOW...
No matter how many homes you have purchased or if you are a first time homebuyer, there will be a little voice inside of you that questions if you did the right thing! Don't Worry! This happens to everyone.
Did you know that MOVING....as far as a stress level is the same emotion as a death or a job loss. You are so excited when you start the process and it is a process....that when you are finished with the experience, usually a 4-6 month window, you are usually exhausted from having to make so many decisions. Besides finding the right home, physically moving and the responsibility of mortgage payments, you will have a brief moment of buyers remorse and you will find things about the house or neighborhood you don't like.
The best way to lessen the load on this experience is to let a professional REALTOR help you find the home and neighborhood that fits your criteria. We all want everything right now. We all want the process to move quickly, but we also need to give ourselves time to decide what we really want. Take that time.
Some of the questions to ask yourself before starting the homebuying process are:
- Location vs.commute - what are you willing to do...
- Neighborhood - drive them day & night - see what is going on...
- Lifestyle choices - what do you like to do & recreational hobbies
- Schools - even if you don't have kids, crucial for resale!
- Budget - and everyone has one they can live with.
- Home Criteria - a Realtor can get you to think of key questions that are important.
Even if you don't agree with what a REALTOR is telling you they probably have a lot of experience to share about a neighborhood and can guide you the right way because of the wealth of information in dealing with
real estate transactions and an ethical & fiduciary responsibility to you. Make sure you are working with a REALTOR and not just an agent, there is a huge difference...(that will be another post)
It is a good idea to step back from the process and review information and take your time for an intelligent decision. That way, you will not be thinking did "I BUY THE RIGHT HOUSE?"
Housing Information Overload?
I Hear You!
Take a look at the monthly housing breakdown for Feb. 2013 for insight into the current real estate market. Every month new information will be posted as a trusted souce for excellent advice. Any questions about local real estate in Plano? Just ask us
for expert advice.
J.W. & Terry Smith
Common name, Uncommon service
Licensed Broker - Owner, TX Realtors®
Smith & Smith Realty
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Property Tax Rates 2013
Sales Tax 8.25%
Just Listed! 3225 Oak Hollow, Plano, 75093 -MLS 11927773 - Hills at Prestonwood, Plano Schools, Hard to find 5 bdrm,4.1 bath, 4589 sq ft, .45 acre lot, pool & spa-Updated, Lux Spa Master Bath & Outdoor Livng Area--$629K, See more info on this property. Call or text for private showing, 214.415.9829
Should Texas Home Sale Prices be Disclosed?