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The rules of real estate investing

Investing in real estate, either directly or through funds or real estate investment trusts – or all of the above – can add much-needed diversification to your investment portfolio. However, real estate is a unique investment, so you can’t apply the same rules as you do to investing in stocks or bonds. Here, U.S. News contributors and SMARTER INVESTOR bloggers share their best advice for becoming a successful real estate investor.
Have an exit strategy.
REAL ESTATE STRATEGIES include buying rental properties and becoming a landlord as well as flipping properties, then hopefully earning a substantial profit upon their sale, writes Joel Cone, a business and real estate writer. “Like any investment, real estate investing requires an action plan,” he writes. Some real estate investors have found success with three-year lease options, for example. Think carefully about the characteristics unique to each investment that will make your strategy successful.

Join a local investment club, but don’t attend ‘boot camps.’

Real estate investors often become successful with guidance from other investors. That’s one reason it can be smart for novices to get involved in investment clubs. But be careful not to waste money on unnecessary boot camps or training courses, Cone writes. Browse a local bookstore for information on real estate investing, and avoid getting sucked into expensive seminars and camps.

Figure out what type of real estate investing interests you.

If investing directly in real estate, investors should “choose a specific target market and study it intensely,” Cone writes. “Next, set a goal, form a business plan and establish systems to achieve the desired goal. Lastly, investors should take small, common-sense steps daily toward achieving that goal, such as talking with sellers, owners and local real estate professionals.”

Insulate your portfolio against potential losses.

Investors should set money aside to act as a buffer in case the unexpected occurs. Once an investor has scaled out to a large portfolio of properties, it’s important to have enough CASH ON HAND to rehabilitate 10 to 15 percent of those properties every year. “Be prepared. Plan for the best, but prepare for the worst,” Cone writes. “Insurance is true asset protection. Investors should insure themselves as if the world is coming to destroy them, and insurance is their only defense.”

Investing directly is very different from investing in a REIT.

If you are debating between investing in real estate directly or buying into a REIT or real estate fund, consider the tax consequences. “For many investors, tax deductions and capital gains taxes are integral to their expected return on real estate investments. Those factors are different from those you’d face investing in a real estate ETF,” writes Joanne Cleaver, a U.S. News contributor.

However, funds are a lower-maintenance approach.

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds can offer a lower-cost way to invest in real estate, writes Barbara Friedberg, portfolio manager and consultant. She points to VANGUARD REIT INDEX ETF as an example of an inexpensive strategy for investing in real estate. “In one fund, the investor accesses a range of property types, including commercial malls, hotels and apartments … If you’re looking for income, REITs are required by law to pay out all earnings,” Friedberg writes.

Your house doesn’t really count.

It’s tempting to look at your own HOME AS AN INVESTMENT. However, property taxes, homeowners association fees, maintenance, insurance and other costs offset appreciation in property values, Cleaver writes. You won’t earn income from your home as you would from other investments. “A real estate investment produces income or appreciates in value after all costs are calculated. Not so with your house,” Cleaver writes.

Look at where millennials are moving.
Millennials are the future of the real estate market, so it may be smart to track where they’re moving and where they’re buying homes. Many members of this generation are renting now, but that doesn’t mean their habits won’t change as they get older. Real estate experts say investors can make money by renting to millennials and then selling to them as they decide to become homeowners, Cone writes. Austin, Texas, Nashville, New Orleans and Denver are just a few of the cities where GENERATION Y IS BUYING HOMES.
Source: CBRealtyCorp

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Housing Starts Soar!

In each Economic Update, the Research staff analyzes recently released economic indicators and addresses what these indicators mean for REALTORS® and their clients. Today’s update discusses housing starts.

Housing starts reached an 894,000 annualized unit pace in October, which is the highest in over 4 years, and up 42 percent from one year ago.
Even with this huge gain, further increases are needed. The 50-year historical average is 1.5 million per year. Now that the household formation is bouncing back and reaching about a million, housing starts need to be at least 1.3 million just to keep the overall vacancy rates stable after accounting for 300,000 or so uninhabitable units that are demolished each year.
Multifamily starts made a larger gain of 57 percent compared to single-family starts, which increased 35 percent. Falling vacancy rates and solid rent gains have tipped developers to focus more heavily on new apartments.
The West region showed the biggest increase with a 73 percent gain. Inventory levels are very tight in California, Seattle, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Naturally, homebuilders are responding to these market incentives and conditions. However, California lags well behind Texas in housing starts even though California has a larger population and is experiencing a more acute housing shortage because of tight land regulations and high fees associated with taking out housing permits. In Texas, just about anyone can dig earth by simply putting on a construction helmet. So expect a faster home price acceleration in California.
The northeast region experienced a slight downturn over the month and only an 11 percent gain from one year ago. Since Hurricane Sandy was at the very end of October, the lower starts are attributed to market forces in the region and not yet related to the storm. A large overhang of shadow inventory still looms in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. All three are judicial foreclosure states and hence it takes forever to turn it into an REO. Some delinquent homeowners are said to game the system by not paying mortgage but finding tenants to collect on rents.
Housing starts are likely to reach 1.1 million in 2013 and then rise to 1.4 million in 2014. That translates into a huge percentage gain of 50 percent in 2013 followed by another 25 percent gain in 2014. But such levels will still be insufficient to meet the rising housing demand. Housing shortage conditions will last for a while.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist
Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at NAR. He directs research activity for the association and regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1 million REALTOR® members.

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Located in the gorgeous gated community of Vilamoura in Flower Mound, Texas!

Located in the gorgeous gated community of Vilamoura of Flower Mound, Texas!

Market Stats

Single Family Home
Main Features
3 Bedrooms
5 Bathrooms
1 Unit
Interior: 4,300 sqft
3701 Valencia Court
Flower Mound, TX 75022
To get updates on open home dates and other property events, please click the “Like” button below:

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634


Listed by: Jim Striegel Team, Real Estate Connections

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See why Coldwell Banker is the agency of choice!

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage serving the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is owned and operated by NRT LLC, the largest residential real estate brokerage in the United States, with more than 97,600 sales associates, and 8,000 employees operating out of more than 3,500 offices, serving more than 35 large metropolitan real estate markets around the country. The strength of the NRT operations within their local markets originates from the deep roots and established traditions of successful local operations. NRT combines the experience and success of the local organizations and management with a cutting-edge infrastructure, an innovative full-service approach to real estate, and national brand recognition. Our customers benefit from our local expertise, full service, new technology, extensive market exposure and global connections.

TheColdwell Banker® brand has a global reach, with offices on 6 continents, 50 countries and territories. There arenearly 1,000 Coldwell Banker offices outside of the United States. Coldwell Banker has a presence in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.

NRT and Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation are subsidiaries of Realogy Corporation, one of the preeminent and most integrated providers of real estate and relocation services in the world. Realogy hasapproximately 264,000 sales associates and 14,900 offices, including company-owned offices and franchise affiliates.

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Fall Spruce Up Your Home Time!

It seems every year, pick a project that we can undertake to improve our home. But somehow this project always becomes an expensive ordeal. One year what started as a need to replace a window in our sun room turned into tearing down the walls and gutting the entire room.

Now that’s not to say I’m not satisfied with the end result (because I am), but I enjoyed seeing an articles that give us ideas for low cost ways to spruce up our home.

Ah, those coveted words that every home owner loves to hear when having to update their home: “low cost.”

Sometimes you get what you pay for but the ideas laid out in this article make good sense. A few of the simple things that you can do include adding an accent paint color to an existing room, using pillows to update old furniture or instead of gutting your kitchen adding a simple element to give it the feel of an upgrade.

A while back, Coldwell Banker gave 10 ideas to help whittle down the list. I think, I’ll forward it to my wife in the hopes that this may save me a couple hundred dollars this spring and a dozen fewer trips to the hardware store.

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Affordable Starter or Rental Home For Sale in Coppell, Texas!

Steal of a Deal in Coppell, Texas!

Market Stats

Single Family Home
Main Features
3 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
1 Unit
Interior: 1,500 sqft
Lot: 0.18 acre(s)
141 S Heartz Road S
Coppell, TX 75019
To get updates on open home dates and other property events, please click the “Like” button below:

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634


Listed by: Jim Striegel Team Real Estate Solutions, Coldwell Banker

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What’s Driving The Market?


The advent of spring has unleashed a new lease on life for
the housing market. Sales are up.
Inventory is down. Prices —
which have been hovering at the
bottom for a while — are now
slowly rising. So are bank-issued
It is a spring awakening, and
it’s happening nationwide.
“It’s the strongest first quarter
since 2007,” says Ken Fears, a
senior economist with the National
Association of Realtors
(NAR). “It’s a very strong and
very atypical market.”
Major banks such as JPMorgan
Chase and Wells Fargo reported
strong quarterly earnings,
indicating that buyers are again
jumping into the market. JPMorgan
issued 6 percent more mortgages
than a year ago and received
33 percent more applications,
according to the Associated Press.
Wells Fargo issued 54 percent
more mortgages compared to last
The NAR’s most recent quarterly
numbers show that prices of
existing single-family homes rose
in 74 out of 146 metropolitan
areas compared to the same period
a year ago. In the fourth quarter of
2011, only 29 areas showed gains
from a year earlier, according to
the NAR.
The association also reports
encouraging sales numbers. Sales
of existing single-family homes
and condominiums rose 4.7 percent
to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 4.57 million in the
first quarter. That’s 5.3 percent
above the 4.34 million mark
during the first quarter of 2011
when sales spiked.
Fears, the NAR economist,
says a confluence of events is
responsible for the good showing.
Strong employment gains, low
interest rates (hovering around 4
percent), a relatively warm winter
and a stable stock market boosted
consumer confidence. Throughout
the fall, consumers have been
eyeing the lucrative interest rates,

but uncertainty in Europe and at
home and the morbid employment
numbers, forced many to sit on the
fence, Fears says. Spring came with
better news.
“All of the sudden, people
realized it’s a good time to get in,”
he says.
Markets are rebounding across
regions. States such as California,
Texas and Arizona, which were
hardest hit by the bust, are now
gaining momentum as investors
are lapping up properties with
unbeatable prices. In cities such as
Seattle and Palo Alto, Calif.,
agents and sellers are witnessing
bidding wars on homes, which
shows that the market is slowly
turning around.
In the Northeast, existing
home sales jumped 8.6 percent in
the first quarter of 2012 and are 6.6
percent above the first quarter of
2011. In the Midwest, sales rose 5.5
percent in the first quarter and are
11.7 percent higher than a year
ago. In the West, sales rose 5.9
percent in the first quarter and are
1.4 percent higher than a year ago.
Meanwhile, sales in the South
increased 2.1 percent in the first
quarter and are 4.1 percent above
the first quarter in 2011.
Fears says areas such as the
Midwest, where prices weren’t
affected as much by the downturn,
are faring well now.
In the Indianapolis area, the
resurgence is pretty telling.

“What I did last year in sales, I
already did in the first three
months of this year,” says Beenu
Sikand, a Realtor with Prudential
Indiana Realty Group. “I believe
the economy is finally picking up.”
Sikand says the Super Bowl,
which Indianapolis hosted in
February, helped revive the city’s
real estate market. Investors are
coming in and buying distressed
properties with cash. Prices are not
rising, but sellers are not experiencing
huge losses either, she says.
It’s still a buyers’ market, but
homes priced right are selling fast.
In Colorado, too, inventory is
on the decline.
“In this business it’s all about
supply and demand,” says Sally
Grenier, broker/owner of Metro
Brokers/Grenier Real Estate,
outside of Denver. The state is
experiencing higher sales volume
because of shortage in inventory,
Grenier says.
Fears expects the ripple effects
of the market’s resurgence to carry
on through the summer.
“This is the bottoming year for
prices, and we see price gains
already, even though the gains are
not evenly distributed throughout
the country,” Fears says.
He expects prices to be flat or
show a slight uptick this year. But
sales, he says, will be up 8 to 10
percent compared to last year.
Madhusmita Bora/CTW Features

Source:  Dallas Morning News

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Mark your calendars for our Laviana of Lantana Open House!

The time has arrived for the “Laviana of Lantana Open House” today & Sunday from 2:00 – 4:00 pm..Food, prizes & More in the Lantana, Texas Community! Take a look at the image for details!

Source: Uploaded by user via Jim on Pinterest

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Things You Must Know Before Buying a House and Signing a Contract


Lantana 8387 Navisota Drive Lantana, TX 76226

Know the Facts

Make sure you arm yourself with all of the issues involved. Knowing the facts will help you avoid some of the common mistakes that homebuyers encounter.

Things You Must Know Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

Knowing these facts can make your payments work to your advantage.

  1. Get pre-approval before you shop for a house: This is such an easy process. It doesn’t cost anything. You are not obligated to anything. It puts you in the driving seat because you know how much house you can afford and you have a lender backing you with the money. Sellers are very interested in buyers that have been pre-approved.
  2. Know the amount of payment you are comfortable paying: Know how much you qualify to pay on a house with your lender. You might be able to pay more or less than you are willing to pay monthly.
  3. Think about your long-term goal then determine the kind of mortgage that best suits you: Ask yourself certain questions before you make a commitment to a mortgage payment. For example, how long are you going to want to live in this house, what is the interest rate and are you about to be laid off of your job?
  4. Know what prepayment privileges and payment options are available to you: Frequent payments can carve years off your mortgage total. Try to structure your payments so that you can shorten the amount of time you will be paying for your house. This helps cut the amount of interest that you will have to pay also. Also, ask your lender if prepayments are acceptable on your loan so that you will not be penalized for doing so. These two methods of payment can remove years from your mortgage, and save you tons of money.
  5. Check to see if your mortgage is portable or assumable: A portable mortgage is one that you can carry with you to the next house that you purchase and it helps you avoid penalties. You will not have to go through the entire mortgage process again on your next house. If you are going to move up, however, to a larger more expensive house, you will have to go through the mortgage process again. An assumable mortgage is the one where the buyer of your house can take over when you move to your next house. This is a very powerful tool in the negotiating process. This makes it easier and more desirable for a buyer to buy your house. It can also save you from penalties.
  6. Consult a Mortgage Expert: Deal with a professional who specializes in mortgages. Seeking their services makes a big difference in the cost of the mortgage you get.

If you are the market of buying or selling a home give the Striegel Team a call at (972) 899.0634 and talk to one of our team members today.

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