Land For Sale In Texas

April 18, 2010

We have heard about it, seen the signs and all the ads for this at one time or another, and even googled it, “Land For Sale in Texas“. What drives people to search for land? Is there a different type of mindset when comparing someone who wants to buy a home compared to someone who wants to build a home on a piece of land?

I have the luxury of having my office situated on an epic piece of land with a 24 acre lake in the backyard that is home to Canadian Geese, Deer, Wild Turkeys, Wild Pigs, Egrets, and various ducks and small furry creatures. Out the front window is a view of our Equestrian Center where boarded horses play under the Huge Texas Sky, it’s a very “Legends of the Fall” kind of scenery that we have here at The Bridges at Preston Crossing in Gunter, Tx. But there is soo much more! I can jump in my car, drive two minutes down the road, (I say drive because this place is huge, 1,600 acres of rolling hills, trees, Utter Greatness, and if I walked it would take forever…because I would die before I got there) and I hit our 18 Hole Fred Couples Signature Golf Course and Superb Clubhouse with a menu to die for. This is my job! I get to come to this place 40 hours a week!!
I believe the article I read on CNN.com said it best:

” Whether you’re looking to strike it rich or simply put space between yourself and your neighbors, the idea of owning land stirs the imagination. Walking the edges of a two-acre country lot may be today’s equivalent of heading west in a wagon 150 years ago.”

When it comes to buying the home-sites that we have here, I have the pleasure in talking to a great number of people, and because of this have noticed trends in the people who I have spoken with.

The One Thing


Jack’s Character in the movie “City Slickers” was right on the money when he said that the secret to life was just one thing. That’s what we have here at The Bridges. Whatever your one thing is, it can be found here. Want to get away from it all, and still have access to civilization? It’s here. Want to be able to play 18 Holes before relaxing on the patio? It’s here. Want to Ride your horse on wooded trails? It’s here. Want a home on a cul-de-sac with exemplary rated schools for the kids? That’s here too. The people that decide to come out here, after searching “Land for Sale in Texas” by whatever means, find that thing that they have looked for. But the knowing what that thing is, is the common trend I see between them all. Once you have discovered your one thing, you will discover that The Bridges is the place for you and your family.

Inner Joy

I have yet to meet a rude person who wanted to buy a home site. The landscape here is pure serenity, and it has this wonderful effect on everyone who steps foot here. We are located about 20 miles north of Frisco, Tx on 289/Preston Rd. When people get here they have been in a car for some time depending on where they are traveling from, and despite this fact, they are completely rejuvenated When they step out of the car, take a deep breath, and survey the land. That seems to be a requirement that is written somewhere, although I have yet to find the sign. Step Out of The Car, Take a Deep Breath, and Take a Look Around. They all do it, and when they do, after the stretch, comes the smile. It’s a great thing to watch. The Home-sites here range from $50,000 – $160,000 and beyond depending on what they are looking for, and we always find the perfect piece of land to match their needs. This isn’t a quick process, but it is a fun process! These clients get great joy in imagining their home on a hill, in the woods, with a tree line on the back, with a great view of the 9th hole, you name it.
Worn Shoes

I’m not saying that these customers I see are in dire need to hit up a shoe store, but it’s a phrase I like to use to describe that individual that is using the road “less traveled by”. My customers are not coming here to buy land so that they can camp out under the stars every night, as cool as that might be, they are still going to build a home and live in it. What these “Worn Shoes” have in common is the desire to have a home-built on their terms, using a licensed builder, with the features they want and need to make the house a home. This goes way beyond the “Pick from “X” number of models, or “X” number of floor-plans, but to choose every detail of your home. That is an amazing thing to see. I have walked through some of these homes and it is a wonderful tour. The homeowners talk as though they, themselves, put up every piece of drywall, laid every piece of travertine, and planted every shrub. To know your home on such a level can only be accomplished by those who have the ability to know what they want and go for it.
So, the next time you search ‘Land for sale in Texas”, save your self the endless clicking and zooming in on the countless pictures of nothing. Come out the The Bridges and Preston Crossing, and see for yourself what I have talked about. This is something you need to see and feel. No virtual tour will ever to this place justice. Come see The Bridges, I’ll be waiting.


Plain English: Credit and How It Fits into The Home Buying Process

April 12, 2010

Let’s talk about credit or “Credick” as a friend of mine likes to call it in the Bayou. It goes hand in hand when you decide to buy a house, but how? When The Kinsey Group meets a new client we like to get the “credit talk” done first. Why? It helps the buyers and sellers (Yes, Sellers need the talk as well, but more on that later). Let’s get some basic questions out-of-the-way first. According to About.com:

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number that lenders use to estimate risk. Experience has shown them that borrowers with higher credit scores are less likely to default on a loan.

How are credit scores calculated?

Credit scores are generated by plugging the data from your credit report into software that analyzes it and cranks out a number. The three major credit reporting agencies don’t necessarily use the same scoring software, so don’t be surprised if you discover that the credit scores they generate for you are different.

Why are credit scores sometimes called FICO scores?

The software used to calculate a great number of credit scores was created by Fair Isaac Corporation–FICO.

Which parts of a credit history are most important?

Use these percentages as a guide:

35% – Your Payment History
30% – Amounts You Owe
15% – Length of Your Credit History
10% – Types of Credit Used
10% – New Credit

Educating our clients is always the most important to us. The Buying and Selling of a home is a Stressful time as it is, and when you add a dash of uncertainty, it can be really, really, really stressful. We all have credit, need credit, use credit, want better credit, and so on and so on. But do we understand it? Ah ha! And there it is. This is nothing new, but this is how we like to make sure that when searching for a home for sale our clients know what to expect. Let’s attack this in two parts:
What do you need to qualify for a Loan and how do I get the Best rates?

You need a loan, unless you just plan on laying down a few hundred Gs, for your home. So let’s get some expert advice on the subject, shall we.

“Fannie Mae recently increased their minimum credit score requirement from 580 to 620. So if mortgage lenders want to sell their loans into the secondary mortgage market (through Fannie Mae), they’ll expect buyers to have a score of 620 or higher. Of course, that’s just what is needed to get approved. You’ll need a much higher score to get the best rates, probably north of 760.”

(Source: HomeBuyingInstitute.com, January 2010)

“Cecala says that borrowers will need a FICO score of at least 730 to get the best mortgage rates.”

(Source: USNews.com, December 2010)

“To qualify for a loan, first time home buyers need a credit score of at least 660 unless they try for an FHA loan.”

(Source: ThinkGllink.com, January 2009)

“About two years ago, you could have had a score of about 620 or so to get a lender’s best rate on something. Now, lenders are really looking at a rate of 760 at the least, said Kelli Grant with SmartMoney.com.”

(Source: komonews.com, January 2009)

“The top notch credit score needed for the best rate in today’s world is 740, Wickert said. It’s possible for borrowers with weaker scores to get the good rates, but they pay a risk premium that can be financed into the new loan. For instance, Wickert said, someone with a credit score between 680 and 699 could get the same rate as the person with a 740 score by paying 1.3% of the loan balance up front.”

(Source: JSonline.com, December 2008)

“Borrowers need a credit score of at least 750 to get the best deals. Keeping credit-card balances below 35 percent of their credit line is very important, but 20 percent is the maximum allowed for a top score.”

(Source: RealtyTimes.com, November 2008)

“In the latest example, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance recently boosted the minimum credit score needed for someone to buy a house in a restricted market. In August, the minimum score was 680. As of October, the minimum score is 700.”

(Source: MoneyCentral.MSN.com, October 2008)

“To qualify for the best interest rates on a mortgage loan, you’ll need a credit score of at least 760; a score below 620 places you in subprime territory.”

(Source: Kiplinger.com, October 2008)

So getting the loan is half the puzzle, and the interest rate for that loan is the other half. And when it comes to interest rate, it’s more a matter of comfort than anything. It’s the monthly payment that is the focus, or at least, should be.

For our Buyers, Getting pre-qualified is crucial, before letting the excitement take root. Why? Well, since you asked I will tell you. You are able to jump out and be ahead of the buyers that go it alone, and look at a house they may not qualify for. Everything has changed, this has been emblazoned in the news and everywhere else we turn, and with that change, People who are looking to Sell their Home are not going to take you seriously or your offer unless it has been “blessed” by the bank/lender. Our clients get to go out before the weekend folks, and when they find that house, you know the one I’m talking about, right? The house of their dreams? They get to put in an offer right then and there. How is that for a piece of Fried Gold? What? The Fried Gold thing? We Fry everything else to make it better. why not gold?

For our Sellers, I told you we would get to you, they have the comfort in knowing that when we list their house, utilizing all of our Keller Williams, Social Media Goodness, they can freely look and also make offers on their next home. I wish there was more, but Sellers become buyers in the fraction of a second, seriously.

So, BAM, there you have it, a small view of how credit fits into the big picture of the home buying process. If you have more questions, please,PLEASE, find out from the people that deal with it daily, The Kinsey Group at 469-248-7653. You are also more than welcome to email your questions to TheRook@thekinseygroup.net.

For more information about how The Kinsey Group can help you or someone you know buy or sell a home, feel free to Search for and Follow “The Kinsey Group” Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or WordPress.


How Carpet Cleaning Can Help Sell Your Home

April 7, 2010

Let’s do a little word association, shall we? Ready? Ok! Cut Pile, Saxony, Frieze, (Anything yet?) Plush, Cut and Loop, Level Loop, Multi-level Loop, Squares, Area, Scatter, Runner, Berber. How did you do? Well, I’m sure you could have just looked at the title and seen what The Kinsey Group would be discussing today, Carpet! More importantly, clean carpet and how it can help sell your home. But how you ask? Whenever we are out and about helping our clients search for the home of their dreams, the first thing that is noticed, a lot of the times, is the cleanliness of the carpet. Darth Vader could be standing in the living room, and our Clients will say, “Are they going to rip out the carpet? Are they going to take the price down because of the carpet?” Something is said about the state of the carpet. So when we have clients that want to sell their home, one of things we really suggest, on top of the De-personalization, and possible home staging, is deep cleaning. You see, You want potential home buyers to notice the layout, the views, the kitchen, and spacious backyard. You don’t want them to write off your home within the first five feet. Is that possible? Yes! It normally goes something like this:

(Door Opens)
Agent: OK, so, next on our list is this home. We have got a nice entry that opens to…
Clients: (sniff) (sniff) Did they have dogs?
Agent: um..yes it looks like they have..
Clients: yea, can we just go ahead and head to the next one?

It happens that fast. What could have prevented this? Say it with me…a clean carpet.
But this seems more common sense than anything, so let’s get a bit more involved. Remember the word association that we started with. Those are all the different types of carpet that are available, and we didn’t even hit on natural or synthetic fibers. With all these different types, it seems crazy that some homeowners are content to head down to the local supermarket, rent a machine, pick up a bottle of cleaner, and think that is enough. This is the Big Game, it is time to pull out all the stops and let the pros handle it. They are going to come in, with the right tools for your type of carpet, and get the job done right.
When we are talking to our clients about selling their home, it’s important to keep things in perspective when it comes to money in money out. Spending money to have the carpet and/or the home professionally clean will only work in your favor during the showings of your home. Now, here is a treat for all of you out there wanting to hear from the people that actually do this kind of work. The Kinsey Group was lucky enough to have Jennifer Davis from Servpro stop in and talk to The Rook about Carpet Cleaning and how it can help sell your home.
How Servpro Can Help You Sell Your Home!
For more information about how The Kinsey Group can help you or someone you know buy or sell a home, feel free to Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or WordPress.


How Homestaging Can Help You Sell Your Home

March 27, 2010

Is Home Staging worth the Money and Effort?
Yes! Several studies conducted by the country’s stop national brokerage offices have found that home staging can cut the time a home is on the market by 50% and often bring multiple offers ending up with a sale price above market averages.
Last week The Kinsey Group had the opportunity to tour a beautiful 2.8 million estate in beautiful Dallas, Texas. The home is not occupied and end result was incredible. Staging vacant homes allow potential buyers the opportunity to see the functionality of the home. We find that most buyers, when they are searching for a new home have difficulty seeing the potential of a vacant property. However, home staging isn’t just for vacant homes. Most homes, in all price ranges, on the market could benefit from some form of home staging. Home stagers offer different levels of services. For about $100.00 a home stager will walk through your house and offer advice on how to best show it. You may be told to remove clutter, hang mirrors in strategic places, repaint and clean carpets. Or, for a higher fee, a stager can perform a more hands on role, such as repositioning furniture and arranging flowers. For those willing to pay in the thousands there are stagers with warehouses full of furniture and décor items with which they can redecorate your house.
As most agents point out, the first impression is the key reason in selling your home. Typically, a potential buyer has made up their mind in ten seconds after they step in the front door. That really doesn’t leave too much room for mistakes.
In Dallas, there are many home stagers to choose from, but we would highly recommend Elam~Kelley Stagers as a place to start. Their extensive experience and variety of services will leave you with little doubt that they are good at what they do! Listen to our latest Podcast below and hear for yourself just how they lend their expertise to make your home shine! For more information head over to our Facebook Fanpage
Listen Now! How Homestaging Can Help You Sell Your Home.mp3


Plain English: Counter Offers

March 23, 2010

After your contract is delivered to the seller there is one of two things that can happen.
1. It’s accepted and you can proceed.
2. There will be a counter offer.
When The Kinsey Group works with a client either during their search for a new home, or when they are selling their home in the Frisco, TX area, one of the things we like to cover in detail is the possibilities of a counter offer and how best to deal with it, should it arise. A counter offer simply means that the seller is not totally “ok” with what you are offering and she is proposing that you make some changes to the offer before she will accept. It could be that she wants a higher price, more earnest money (deposit), change the closing date or will not pay for some of the fees that you are requesting (inspections etc). Really anything that changes the contract is considered as a counter offer.
Just as the seller can counter the offer, so can the buyer. There is no limit on how many times this can happen and it might become very frustrating; especially if the changes seem minor and not really worth the trouble. When we made an offer on a house a couple of years ago, the seller received another offer the very same day. Both offers were for the full asking price. The seller came back to both us and our competitor and asked us both to make our best offer. We decided that we were not playing that ‘game’ and said that it was our final offer. The other buyers said the same! The seller decided to go with the other buyers because they made the offer first. They actually pulled out of the contract because the seller wouldn’t pay for some of the repairs that were brought to their attention by the house inspector. The seller contacted us a week later and asked if we were still interested but by then we had found another house. The house didn’t sell for about another 6 months after that! Bet they wished they had accepted our offer after all!!!!
Timing is important here…If a counter offer is accepted, the seller just has to sign the contract and deliver it promptly back to the buyer. If it is rejected, the seller can write ‘rejected’ across the contract, sign near the bottom of the contract in the space provided or simply not respond before expiration time of the counter.
A lot more information can be found on about.com or head over to our Facebook Fan Page


Buyer’s Remorse When Buying a Home

March 19, 2010

Have you ever been on the verge of buying something of large cost and not been 100% sure? Usually when I am in that place, I can’t stop thinking about it and will discuss it with anyone who will listen to me. Sometimes someone will give you a reason why you should or shouldn’t purchase, that you hadn’t even thought about! That really puts you in a quandary!
This, of course, can also happen in the home buying process. You have a able buyer who just loved this house. They signed the contract, paid the deposit (earnest money) and then… they cancel!!! One of the ways that we at The Kinsey Group try to avoid this from happening is to make sure that the buyers are sure about what they are looking for in their home. We ask the husband and wife each to fill out their top 5 desires in a home. This way if a wife becomes excited about the huge master closets but the kitchen is on the small side, we can refer her back to her original top 5 list and explain that yes, the closets are huge but in 5 years time she may be wishing she had looked for the house with the big kitchen because now they are looking to move again. Obviously both the husband and wife will have to try to combine their lists and rank what they consider the most important features of the home. In some cases this could end up with the husband’s list getting trashed!! Ha ha.
Once a buyer had decided on a house that they wish to make an offer on, it is not a good idea to continue looking at other houses unless there is a good chance that the deal may fall through for one reason or another. You also need to be available to your buyers to help guide them in the steps that lead up to the closing. This could mean explaining that they need to get the home inspected during the 10 day option period (The Kinsey Group strongly recommends this), and what to expect until they close. If your buyer cannot reach you and have their questions answered this can lead to panic and doubts which could lead to buyers’ remorse.
As a Realtor, you realize that buyers’ remorse is quite common. Just this week, I showed a town home to a lady who said that she would like to make an offer. She signed the buyers’ rep. agreement, left me her contact information and asked me to call her later as she had to go back to work. I rushed back to the office, told the rest of my team (who started getting wildly excited) prepared the contract, talked to the listing agent, left a voice mail for my client with a suggested offer price (backed up by the CMA’s), emailed my client, and luckily stopped there. The town home was a foreclosure and so had a government contract that also needed to be completed to go with the regular contract. This would take some time to fill out and my team leader advised me not to go any further until I heard back from my client. After leaving two more voice mails, I still have not heard back from her and that was four days ago. Of course, I hope I do still get a call from her and she has a reasonable explanation of why I haven’t heard from her, but I am also prepared for the fact that I may not hear from her again. Until that purchase is closed, I do not count on it!!!
Check out about.com or our Facebook Fan page for more information on this an many other topics about the Real Estate market in the Frisco, TX area.


Plain English about Repair Contingencies When Buying or Selling a Home in the Frisco, Tx Area

March 19, 2010

Whenever your Realtor is preparing your contract, a contingency should always be included that states that the contract can be canceled if the house inspection brings to light any repairs that may make the buyer feel that they are too serious for him to go ahead with the purchase of their new home. If the buyer decided that he still wishes to go ahead, he has a choice of asking the seller to have all or some of the repairs fixed or to ask for a dollar amount to have the repairs made after closing.
One of our buyers decided last week to go this route on the home he had found, after listening to advice from the home inspector who gave the report for the clients future house. The inspector suggested that the seller might have a ‘handyman’ fix the repairs, but the quality of the work might be inferior. By choosing a contractor himself, Our client has peace of mind that the work has been done to a standard that he is happy with or he can actually do some of the work himself. We wrote and amendment that the buyer would like $XXXX in lieu of repairs to be paid at closing. The seller countered back that the exterior work was covered by the HOA, so we were given a letter from the HOA stating that the exterior work would be carried out by them. We settled on a lesser amount because of this and so both buyer and seller just initialed the changes to the $ amount on the amendment. It is worth remembering that most townhouses have HOA dues and that all exterior work is covered by these dues. You wouldn’t want to pay for that work out of your pocket if you are already covered by the HOA.
If you do choose to have the repairs carried out, have your inspector come back to do a re-check prior to closing. Please do not wait until the final walk-through. That gives you time to request that the work should be redone if you think it was not done correctly in the first place.
There is a great article that provides further information at about.com or head over to our Facebook Fan Page for more information about the Real Estate Market in Frisco, Tx.