Dallas Fort Worth real estate news, local home price trends, statistics, and profitable insights written by Chandler Crouch Realtors.

July 18, 2019

Landscaping Trends That Increase the Value Of Your Property

 

If you’re looking to boost the resale value of your home, landscaping is a good place to start. While it’s hard to pin down an exact number, studies estimate that landscaping upgrades can increase your home’s value from 5.5 to 12.7%. So what’s hot on the Fort Worth outdoor design scene? Here are a few of the latest trends appearing in backyards near you.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor areas for relaxing with family and friends are still hugely popular. Homeowners see these as an outdoor oasis and an extension of their home. The yard can include everything from patios and decks to outdoor kitchens, televisions, and audio systems. Retractable screens and shades are an emerging trend. The screens add privacy and help keep out bugs and summer heat.

Fire Pits

 

 

These remain a top trend because they add warmth and ambiance to any outdoor space. They also extend the use of your yard through fall and winter. Fire pits are usually less expensive than fireplaces, and they can be built-in or portable.

Integrated technology

Younger home buyers, in particular, are attracted to “smart landscaping”. A few examples are cell phone-controlled pools, robotic lawn mowers, and apps that control lighting and sprinkler systems remotely.

Pergolas

 

 

Pergolas are decorative garden structures made of vertical beams and cross beams. They provide shade and protection from the elements. Adding drapes, latticework or screens adds privacy. They’re also affordable and add beauty to your outdoor space.

Metals

Metals are making a significant mark in landscape design. Iron and steel are especially prominent in water features, furniture, and accessories. While metal will rust, it can be easily painted and restored.

Water Features

 

 

You can bring a touch of serenity and natural beauty to your yard by adding a water feature. It’ll attract birds and animals, and the sound of flowing water is soothing to the soul. Popular choices are fountains, small brooks or burbling ceramic pots.

Low-maintenance Landscapes

 

 

Homeowners and homebuyers of all ages don’t have a lot of time to care for their yards. That’s why low maintenance landscaping is a big trend. Replace grass with mulch or stones, use native/drought resistant plants, or consider a hardscape design.

Outdoor Lighting

 

 

The biggest trends in outdoor lighting involve technology and LED lights. More homeowners are going with lighting systems controlled by smartphone apps (no more timers!). These smart controls allow you to dim or brighten your lights and change the lighting schedule. Outdoor lights make your home safer for nighttime guests, and they tend to discourage intruders. You can even set up distinct lighting areas with individual settings. LED lights are smaller and more energy efficient and have come a long way in the past few years. Even more exciting? They can change colors, which is a fun option for prominent features like fountains or statues.

A Well-maintained Lawn

No matter how intricate or beautiful your landscaping installations are, they won’t matter if the lawn surrounding them is not lush and green.  A well maintained lawn is not something that happens overnight; rather it takes years of following proper lawn maintenance routine that includes regular mowing of the grass, annual lawn aeration, and regular fertilization.  If you’re short on time and your lawn isn’t quite up to snuff, sod installation is another option, which will yield faster results but will cost a few thousand dollars for most lawns.

 

Landscaping investments like these are a good bet for upping your home’s resale value. You may like the upgrades so much, you decide to keep the home and enjoy them yourself.

 

Kath Meryl Johnson is a landscaper and freelance writer who enjoys working on handy projects around the house. She and her children recently helped build a neighborhood gazebo next to the community pool.

April 24, 2019

The Purpose of a Home Inspection

The Purpose of a Home Inspection

A home inspection is probably one of the most underrated and important pieces of the home buying process. A certified inspector will spend approximately 2-3 hours conducting an inspection and testing on the property. An inspection report that highlights proposed repairs can save potential buyers thousands of dollars. If you are a first time home purchaser, your realtor should strongly suggest that you pay for the inspection. There are very few reasons why a buyer would want to decline one.

Quick note: Usually an inspection is contingent upon the sale of the home. This will allow the buyer to cancel or re-negotiate the sale based upon what the inspector uncovers.

It's usually not required, and although the buyer is normally responsible, it is often negotiable between both parties. A motivated seller may even have taken initiative and have a current inspection for your review. This is called a pre-inspection. If the homeowner lives in an old home and suspects that there will be several repairs, then a pre-inspection might be suggested. This will prevent any potential surprises.

Here is what a home inspection covers, what its purpose is, and how much you can expect to pay for one.

The Motivation for an Inspection

The purpose of the home inspection is to discover any defects in the home that exist. Some will need to be repaired, while others won't require any immediate attention.

Below you can view some of the important parts of the home inspection should cover, or look for:

  • Mold
  • Pests
  • Water Damage
  • Electrical Systems
  • Plumbing
  • Foundation/Structural
  • Components
  • Status of Roof and Chimney
  • HVAC
  • Ceiling Floors

Usually, it's recommended that the buyer remain on-site while the inspector completes the inspection. This serves as two-fold.

1. You can ask potential questions you have about the process or point out any concerns.

2. It gives the buyer an opportunity to observe the inspection process in its entirety. The inspector may point out details that you can expect to view in the report.

After the inspection is completed, then you will receive a full report of what the inspector uncovered. The report should be carefully scrutinized. Remember that no home is perfect. So you will discover items that may need some sort of repair. In many cases, the report will highlight a multitude of items. Many will be so minor that you won't care. However, a homeowner should be aware of all of the items in the report.

Be sure and share this report with your realtor. They should have prior knowledge of what might raise a red flag. In the event that there are repairs that need to be conducted, have your realtor relay the information to the buyer or the buyer's realtor.

This can lead to further negotiations in the home process.

Unfortunately, an inspection can even uncover issues that will cause the sale to be canceled.

Be aware that a buyer shouldn't ask for smaller repairs to be made. These are usually cosmetic or a nominal fee to repair. Some of these will include:

  • Loose doorknobs
  • Exterior or interior paint

Sellers should walk away from buyers who ask for small repairs to be made. Re-negotiating isn't advised under these specific conditions. Read more about sellers mistakes here. 

The Cost of a Home Inspection

Each inspection will be different. The total cost will vary based upon the size of the house, the location, and the age. If you are purchasing a brand new home you should expect the home to be in near perfect condition.

Our experts at Rentkidz estimate that the cost for a home inspection will be between $300 to $600.

How did we arrive at this number? Some companies actually publish their costs online. Here is a rundown of a company in Texas that illustrates this.

  • 2500 square feet and under is a flat rate of $395
  • Homes above 4000 square feet will be charged an additional 14 cents per square foot
  • Swimming pools cost an additional $100
  • A home older than 30 years, +$100.
  • Sprinkler System +$50

Buying a home is probably the largest monetary purchase for most people in their lifetime. Spending a few hundred dollars on a report makes complete sense. Roof repairs alone can cost well over five thousand dollars!

Posted in Basics
March 12, 2019

Broken New Year's resolution, Homestead Exemptions & Market Update

Let's start the year (Well, I said "start" since we are still in the first quarter, right?) with a few pep talks-- on broken New Year's resolution, homestead exemptions, market update and property tax protest. 

I have made timestamps so you can skip directly to the exact topic of your interest:

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 0:32 Broken New Year's Resolution
  • 3:32 Homestead Exemption
  • 4:19 January Market Update
    • 4:26 Sales Prices
    • 5:15 A look at supply
    • 5:40 Accuracy of sales numbers
    • 8:54 Property Tax Protest

Broken New Year's Resolution

I will bet to my last dollar, you have broken your New Year's resolution. But let me tell you something. I did some reflecting during our company Christmas party last year when we recognized our top-performing employees. It dawned on me that at the end of the year, what we really value are the positive things and we do not dwell so much on losses and negativity. Another thing, most people choose to not lose, but we need to get out of the comfort zone, do the things that we have never done before.

Homestead Exemption

People who bought the home last year didn't qualify for homestead exemption until January 1st of this year. They still have until the end of April to have it filed. You may check out our video about filing your homestead exemptions here.

Market Update

You can see a trend in sales price, however we also discussed how these numbers may not be accurate yet, and explain the reasons why such thing happens. Details with facts and figures are explained starting at 4:19 in the video above.

March 12, 2019

Thank you for 1,000 subscribers!

One for the books! We just hit 1,000 YouTube subscribers. Hooray!

It has been an amazing privilege to have all of you with us on this journey. Real estate is a relatively complex yet interesting topic that is why we are glad to share our knowledge with all of you guys. 

We also look forward to helping more property owners in the local community in doing their property tax protests. We always believe that there is no better way to pay it forward than to serve and give love to the ones who are close to us.

Special shout out to my buddies and of course to our avid followers who made this possible. Cheers to more informational videos and to more awesome subscribers! Sending you more than a thousand of love!

Posted in Just for fun
Dec. 7, 2018

How to Sign up for Santa Home Visit & December Market Update

I can't believe it's already December!

This month's video is different. If you saw our live Halloween facebook video, you heard about all of the upcoming plans we have over the holiday season.

Many people have been asking for an update, so this video is your answer!

This video is longer than most, so I made timestamps so you can skip directly to the exact topic of your interest:

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 0:52 Update - How we fed 57 foster families a Thanksgiving dinner (Thank YOU!)
  • 1:40 Update - Chandler's botched "Dog Father" attempt
  • 2:29 Update - Chandler on his experience running his first marathon
  • 3:00 How to sign your child up for a free Santa home visit (first come first serve)  www.chandlercrouch.com/santa
  • 4:00 December real estate market update
    • 4:40 Month's of inventory (absorption rate)
    • 5:33 A look at supply
    • 6:45 A look at demand
    • 8:30 Median sales price
    • 11:10 What does this mean for sellers
    • 11:45 What does this mean for buyers
  • 12:10 Tax protest tips

 

 

Nov. 8, 2018

Market Update - Feeding Orphans - Free Santa Home Visit

Scroll below the video for a text summary.

0:45 November real estate market update

5:55 How we're feeding 56 orphans/foster families and what you can do to help

9:35 How to get Santa to visit your child at home for free

Market Update

Inventory levels are softening because demand is down. Supply remains steady. Home prices continue to stay strong.

Details with facts and figures are explained starting at 0:45 in the video below.

 

Feeding 56 Foster Families for Thanksgiving

This year we are partnering with CJ Wilson with foodtronix.com feeding 56 foster families.

We need your help:

  1. Volunteer to cook. Sign up here.
  2. Help by delivering a meal. Sign up here.
  3. Donate to feed a family here:  mychosenones.org Click "Give" in the top right corner. Click "special instructions" then enter "Thanksgiving Mission." This will ensure the funds go to the appropriate place

 

How to get Santa to visit your child at home for free

Santa is going to take a break from managing the elves to visit a few lucky families this year, for free.

We have an overwhelming demand for this. As a way to thank our volunteers, we will give priority access to sign up for Santa home visits to the volunteers of our Thanksgiving foster feeding mission.  

 

Oct. 12, 2018

Market Update - Is the bubble popping?

The most recent real estate sales numbers show a pretty grim change in our local real estate market. 

Inventory levels are up almost 14%, demand has dropped off a shelf, and it seems as if the sky is falling... but is it really?

In this month's real estate market update video Chandler and the Team take a deep dive into the numbers, consider recent headlines, and put the most recent market changes into perspective.

Also, learn about an exciting company announcement, and discover where you can get free mulch and dispose of your toxic trash (paint cans, tires, batteries, etc) for FREE!

April 16, 2018

Tax Protest FAQ's

To get our help protesting your property tax value (for free) go to www.chandlercrouch.com/protest

I apologize for the brevity. Right now I'm in the middle of helping thousands protest their taxes, so I'm making this blog post in ad-hoc fashion. This won't start as a comprehensive FAQ post, but it might be someday. As I answer people's questions, I will add my responses to this page. 

  • Why are you protesting for me every year? 
    • Originally, we helped by answering questions. Our service evolved. We now offer to protest for you for free. To do this the state requires written authorization on an appointment of agent form for us to handle your property tax account. When you complete our free protest request form, you are agreeing for us to place your electronic signature on this form. 
  • How do I cancel?
    • Just complete this Revoke Property Tax Agent 50 813 form and send it to aoa@tad.org This email is purely for appointing tax agents and revoking tax agents to your account. It's free to cancel. We just ask that you send us an email to let us know at protest@chandlercrouch.com.
  • When will my protest be complete? 
    • Filing the protest and completing the protest are two different events.  Your protest will be filed before the May 15 deadline.  We will attempt to complete your protest as quickly as possible. This year will take a little longer than next year because they are processing documentation that allows us to protest on your behalf.  They don't give us a timeline on when the hearing will be scheduled, but it will be before July 20th because that is the appraisal district's own internal deadline.  We will try to complete your protest much sooner.
  • How will I know when my protest is complete?
    • We will send you an email to the address you provided in your request to let you know your protest has been completed and what the outcome was.
  • How can I find out the status of my protest?
    • It is challenging to communicate with several thousand people, but we've figured out some ways to manage everything in a practical way so that we can still offer these services for free.  Please try to help by not emailing to ask about the status of your protest. I know this can be difficult and I understand.  Just know, that the confirmation email you receive serves as your status update that your protest will be filed as long as you completed our form with accurate info.  Due to high volume, the best way for us to update you is by posting updates on our Facebook page.  To receive notifications, please "Like" the page: https://www.facebook.com/chandlercrouchrealtors/
  • Who will send me emails?
    • Emails regarding tax protests will come from protest@chandlercrouch.com  Please add this to your email safe list to ensure you receive all our communication does not get flagged as spam.
  • Is it necessary for me to send you photos or repair quotes?
    • No.  We can complete your protest using the market data we have access to as Realtors.  If, however, you have any photographs or repair quotes that show the property was in disrepair as of 1/1/2018, you are welcome to send them to us at protest@chandlercrouch.com  Please make sure to include your property address in the subject line of the email. Unfortunately, flooring, paint, landscaping and fencing issues aren't taken into consideration by the appraisal district. 
  • What can I do to help you? 
    • The best thing you can do is share our link in Facebook groups, at church, in your neighborhood or with anyone. We are trying to help as many people as possible.  It may motivate people if you tell them all they need to do is sign up once and we'll protest for free every year and they can cancel at any time. No strings attached. Also, if you know of anyone looking to buy or sell a house or anyone that might want to be a Realtor with our company, please send them our way. 
Posted in Property Tax
April 13, 2018

Home Repair Checklist DIY Inspection

Home inspections by a licensed property inspector are well worth the money.  They have tools to test various components (eg hvac), and experience of seeing hundreds of houses. You can't replace an expert with a checklist.

 

You can, however, use a checklist like this to prepare your house for sale, eliminate issues to avoid an overly negative inspection report, and help to find issues for your property tax protest.

Here is a link to the home inspection checklist

 

March 21, 2018

Property Tax Problems and Solutions

As my team protested for over 3200 people (for free) my team and I became aware of many problems in the system. We also began proposing some solutions.

If you can help identify problems or brainstorm solutions, please write them in the comments below, or contact us directly to discuss them. We want your input!

(Also, if you would like to put your technical writing skills to good use and help edit this document, please contact us)

 

Posted in Property Tax