Friday, December 21, 2007

North Texas MLS Activity Report

Total number of sales is down 7% vs. 2006 but average sales price is up 5%. Average days on the market is 73 days-up 6% from 2006. The number of houses currently under contract is down 7% from 2006 and the number of active listings is up 7% from last year. 2007 will be a slightly down year but not nearly as dramatic as what you will read in the newspaper and other media sources. The national real estate market has been hit much harder than the North Texas market and December activity is way up compared with October and November.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

North Arlington Develpment Update

The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to vote today on a developer's request to re-zone 2000 acres in North Arlington.

Huffines Communities of Dallas intends to build a development around the Lakes at Bird's Fort that would feature more than 1.2 million mixed-use square feet and nearly 3,900 homes. The development would be north of northeast Green Oaks Boulevard and east of Collins Street, near the Arlington landfill and River Legacy Parks.The project, when complete, is expected to be worth $1.4 billion and bring millions of tax dollars to the city over the next 30 years.Other developers have tried to build on the flood-prone land over the past 25 years without success.City officials are working on creating a tax increment financing district to help pay for needed infrastructure such as streets and sewer lines.If approved by the commission, the project will be forwarded to the City Council for review.Project highlightsVillages: Residential areas would be divided into villages, each with its own architecture that would reflect regions of Texas. Instead of lining streets, some homes would be clustered around green spaces to create more of a community feel.Living: The average single-family home is expected to cost $300,000, but some would cost up to $1 million. The community would also feature mansion-homes -- condominiums grouped in buildings that look like mansions. Residents could also live above shops and offices lining Collins Street.Schools: At least two schools, which would be part of the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district, are planned.Passenger rail: The area could one day be the site of a passenger train depot. The Trinity Railway Express runs along the site's northern edge.Amenities: The community would feature miles of bike trails and public green spaces. The developers plan to restore 1,100 acres of wetlands and lakes around the Trinity River. The name Viridian comes from a shade of green.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Last update for November....

We had 51 homes sell in Arlington, Mansfield, and Kennedale in the last 24 hours! That is about double the pace we have been at through most of this month. Looks like people are starting to realize it is good to "buy" in a "buyer's market...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A new perspective on the real estate market

Media report: 25% of sub-prime mortgages are in default

Reality: Sub-prime mortgages only account for 25% of all mortgages. Of those, 75% are
being paid on time. The reality is that only 6.25% of loans are in default.

Media report: Prices are down in 15 states.

Reality: Prices are stable in 35!

Media Report: Real Estate sales slip 20% from 2006

Reality: 2007 will be the 4th busiest since 1997

Media: It is getting almost impossible to get a mortgage if you have credit issues.

Reality: FHA loans have never had a minimum credit score requirement!

Just wanted to put some positive news out there to counteract the media hype and the subsequent consumer overreaction.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New Service Gives You the Most Current Value of Your Home!

Free and no obligation. Just click on the link below to fill out the short form.

Graphical report includes...

What is the supply of unsold homes in my neighborhood?

How fast are homes selling right now?

How do actual selling prices compare to listing prices in my area?

How do I get more for the money in a changing market? Click below to have your free report

sent right away!

This Week's Activity

We have had 29 homes sell in the Arlington, Mansfield, Kennedale area receive contracts in the last 24 hours.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Houses Really Are Selling!

Friday, October 25th was an even better day in our local real estate market-Arlington, Mansfield, and Kennedale.
34 homes have gone under contract in the last 24 hours. Just wanted to give everyone a perspective on the market that you aren't hearing about in the Fort Worth Star Telegram!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Dose of Reality...

With all the negative things being written about the local real estate market, I wanted to let everyone know that there are home sales taking place. In the Arlington, Mansfield, & Kennedale area, we have had 20 homes go under contract in the last 24 hours. I will be updating the local market frequently to keep you posted...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In the news for a different reason!

Our family went for a fishing trip a couple of weeks ago-didn't catch any fish but look what we did find...

From CBS 11 News....


Gloria Newhouse appeared tired, weary and wet. Her 6-year-old nephew, Dre, seemingly unharmed and wet, too, wondered about all the fuss. But, there was plenty of reason to worry. The pair had taken too long and when dusk fell, tension heightened. The boy out on his first Jet Ski ride fell off the watercraft on Saturday and was lost for as many as three hours before he was found floating in the middle of Lake Arlington. "I been feeling kind of worried for the last couple of hours 'cause I knew ... I knew something was wrong. I could feel something just wasn't right," the boy's uncle, Tony Newhouse, said. Gloria Newhouse also was thrown from the watercraft and was found first. She attempted to flag down boaters for nearly two hours before someone saw her, she said. Rhonda Lawyer and her brother, Grant Froelich, only meant to go out on a quick 30-minute boat ride with relatives, but decided to turn it into fishing trip instead. They admitted when they saw something flashing in the water, their first thought was that it was a buoy. "We have four children in the boat going for a little boat ride," rescuer Rhonda Lawyer recalled. "So, we pulled her in the boat said she had a baby 6 years old on the jet ski. We're like 'What jet ski?' " The boy -- still in his life vest -- was found an hour later despite no lights on the watercraft. "I told him, 'it's a miracle you were found. We prayed for this and you're here for a reason. You need to thank God tonight,' " an emotional Lawyer said. The citizen rescuers said the whistle he blew helped them find him.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Some Positive News!

Dallas-Fort Worth Dallas-Fort Worth Projected median sales prices for single-family homes:
Q1 2008: $151,930

Q4 2009: $161,690

Growth rate: 6.4 percent

The Metroplex, as locals call the Dallas-Fort Worth region, is smoking,adding jobs at twice the national rate. Better yet, those new jobs areconcentrated in well-paying fields like banking, advertising, and healthcare. Dallas-Fort Worth sits at the center of the Interstate 35 corridor, a"megapolitan" galaxy of urban development that Virginia Tech researchersestimate will add 6.4 million new people and 2.8 million units of housingover the next two decades. Dallas also serves as the North Americanheadquarters for international high-tech employers like Nokia and Ericsson.All of this makes Dallas one of the nation's nine most global metros -cities that are hubs for international trade and foreign investment -according to an analysis by Moody's Dallas has largely avoided the boom-and-bust cycle, which is one reasonthis market is on track to post the best returns on housing of any majorU.S. city during the next two years. An added bonus: The region's servicesector has escaped the collateral damage that comes when the bubble burstsand equity-driven spending dries up. Here is the attachment if you want to view the other cities.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dallas Housing is still a Bargain

From the Dallas Morning News...

The annual price report says houses in Dallas cost about 28 percent less than the national average for similar houses. Here is the full story...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dallas Area to Dodge price declines

Dallas will probably dodge home price declines as a result of the housing shakeout, a new forecast predicts.

Moody's predicts that the Dallas area will gain about 3 percent in home prices while most other U.S. cities will see declines over the next couple of years. Here are the top markets for home price declines:

1. Stockton, Calif., -25%
2. Palm Bay, Fla., -24.9%
3. Sarasota, Fla., -24.8%
4. Reno, Nev., -22.4%
5. Modesto, Calif., -22.3%
6. Detroit, -21.3%
7. Fresno, Calif., -20%
8. Oxnard, Calif., -19.2%
9. Sacramento, -19.1%
10. Las Vegas, -18.7%

The latest residential outlook from Moody's says more than three-fourths of U.S. housing markets will suffer drops in prices.
But the Dallas area will continue to see modest gains in median home prices, the research firm predicts.
Moody's anticipates that nationwide, home prices will fall by almost 8 percent by the time the housing downturn bottoms out.
But prices are forecast to keep rising by about 3 percent in Dallas over the next couple of years, says Moody's researcher Ed Friedman. Other Texas cities, including Houston, Austin and San Antonio, may also avoid home price declines.
"Texas does so well for a variety of reasons," Mr. Friedman said. "It didn't have as much of a big housing boom, so less of a bust.
"More important, the overall Texas economy, metro by metro, is doing better than the U.S. as a whole," he said.
Brownsville and Harlingen top the nationwide list of cities Moody's anticipates will see housing appreciation in the next two years, with prices expected to rise almost 8 percent. Killeen is next in line, with a forecast of 4.6 percent price gains.

Moody's forecast calls for the Fort Worth area to see about a 2 percent drop in home sales prices.

Moody's forecast for Dallas home prices is consistent with other recent upbeat reports.
An August report from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight found that home prices in the Dallas area were up about 5 percent at midyear compared with the second quarter of 2006.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

YTD Real Estate Statistics Through July

Total number of active listings are up 8% from last year.

Total number of homes under contract are down 4% from last year.

Total number of sales is down 4% from last year.

Here is the link for the full report...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Do Your Really Need Title Insurance?

Do You Really Need Title Insurance?

When a home is purchased, title insurance is one of the closing cost items on the closing statement. This insurance protects the buyer from defects in the title that are not discovered until after the closing. There are two kinds of title insurance--coverage that protects the lender for the balance of the mortgage if the buyers have a loan, and coverage that protects the buyers' equity in the property.

It is prudent to purchase owners' coverage because most of the title problems that arise after a closing are not from a sloppy title search, but are the result of inaccurate information in the public records. The ownership chain goes back a long way, and fraud or misrepresentation anywhere in the chain could mean big problems. Title insurance will protect you if a wife or husband did not properly sign off on the ownership papers or if the property was sold as part of an estate that was later disputed.

Most people do not have to deal with the title insurance company after the closing, but this coverage could save your investment if a problem arises.

Monday, July 09, 2007

First-time home buyers throughout Tarrant County can tap into a $15 million home mortgage program starting Thursday that helps cover down payments and closing costs.
The program is also available to people who have not bought a house in the last three years.
The home loans, however, must be generated between Thursday and Oct. 1, 2008, by eight mortgage lenders that can draw from the pool administered through the Tarrant County Housing Finance Corp., county officials said.
"This helps young families that don't have the savings to get into their first home," said Patricia Ward, the county's community development director. "It's important to maintain stable communities through homeownership."
The Single Family Mortgage Revenue Bond Program offers several advantages, including:
Low interest rates. The county mortgages are all for 30 years at a fixed interest rate of 6.38 percent, Ward said. That's below the market interest rate of about 6.75 percent, said Judith Smith, one of the participating lenders.
Financial help. Home buyers are given a closing cost and down payment assistance grant of 4.5 percent of the loan, said Brian Cramer, the county's assistant community development director. On a $100,000 loan, for example, the buyer would receive $4,500.
Low down payments. The required down payment is generally between 1 percent and 3 percent of the home's cost, Cramer said. The down payment for a regular market mortgage can range from nothing to 20 percent and sometimes more, Smith said.
To be eligible, a family of two can earn no more than $63,400; a family of three or more, $72,910. And the homes cannot be valued at more than $237,031, officials said.
Residents in Arlington and Grand Prairie are not eligible because those cities don't participate, Ward said. To assist qualified first-time home buyers in Arlington, the Arlington Housing Finance Corp. has been issuing bonds since 1997. Last year the corporation backed $8 million.
The Tarrant County program was last offered in 2005, Ward said. Since then, 111 families have participated. The program is typically offered once every two years, she said.
Grapevine real estate agent Barbara Nunn said she will present the program to her first-time home buyers.
"It will definitely make Grapevine more affordable," she said.
For more information, call 817-850-7940 or go to
Staff writers Patrick McGee and Susan Schrock contributed to this report.
Home loans
The mortgage companies participating in the program with the Tarrant County Housing Finance Corp.:
Countrywide Home Loans,
Home Loan Corp.,
Judith O. Smith Mortgage,
WR Starkey Mortgage,
DHI Mortgage Co.,
Market Street Mortgage Corp.,
CTX Mortgage Co.,
Source: First Southwest Co.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Kennedale to Develop New Town Center

KENNEDALE -- When you're inviting guests, you want to spruce up the place and then put forth your best hospitality.
That's what Kennedale city officials have been focusing on as they work to get the city on the radar screen of developers; they see a new TownCenter project as the ticket to get it there.
In early May, a few dozen commercial real estate brokers from throughout Tarrant County attended an informal gathering in the community room of Kennedale's new city library, in what can best be described as a come-out-and-get-to-know-us meeting.
The brokers enjoyed a catered Mexican food lunch from Angelo's, one of the few restaurants in Kennedale, a city of 6,150 nestled between Arlington and Fort Worth along Interstate 20. They heard brief remarks from several city officials, including Mayor Bryan Lankhorst and economic development director Mike Soab.
Within a couple of weeks, Lankhorst and Soab were among a contingent of Kennedale representatives who traveled to Las Vegas to hawk the city to retailers and developers at the retail industry's massive International Council of Shopping Centers trade show, where representatives from the country's largest cities flock in an attempt to attract businesses and developers.
Lankhorst said he has received several inquiries from interested developers from their Las Vegas appearance.
Getting Kennedale noticed is getting easier to do now that a multiyear project to rebuild and widen Kennedale Parkway, also referred to as U.S. Business 287, the city's main thoroughfare, from a rural two-lane road to a four-lane thoroughfare with a turning lane, is completed, the men said.
Moreover, city officials have caught on to the "new urbanism" phenomenon that is crossing the nation, making Kennedale even more attractive to developers who want to be able to mix zoning uses, such as houses and shops, on a single parcel.
Fixing the road "has taken away one of the objections standing in our way," Soab said. "Roads are very important to developers. The city wouldn't have had a chance in the world of doing any of this the old way."
Earlier this year, the city's Economic Development Corp. bought nearly 3 vacant acres off Kennedale Parkway that lie between its municipal buildings -- the library, senior center, police station and City Hall. Plans are to spend about $500,000, collected from a half-cent sales tax, to develop a plaza and park area to be called Kennedale TownCenter.
It will feature a walking trail, water feature, gazebo, clock tower and picnic tables, and will serve as the city's core. As soon as a project manager is hired, construction will begin, Soab said. It should be completed by this time next year.
"Town center is a misnomer a lot of times because developers call everything town centers," Soab said. "A town center to me is the new urbanism concept, which is really old urbanism where people live, work, play, eat, relax and share community in close proximity."
Southlake, Keller and Colleyville have town centers that include office, single-family units, stores and shops.
The Economic Development Corp. will add to its holdings in early July when it closes a deal to buy 4 acres adjacent to the TownCenter. It is home to a 50,000-square-foot strip center with a Dollar General and Surplus Warehouse. City officials, though, will be sending proposal requests to developers soliciting ideas on how to redevelop the area with residences, shops and restaurants.
Soab said he wants to attract businesses that provide goods and services that Kennedale residents have never had. For example, there are no professionals, such as doctors and dentists, in Kennedale, he said, and the city also lacks a grocery.
A 2005 retail study conducted by Buxton Co. of Fort Worth shows that there are $1.1 billion worth of retail transactions within a seven-minute drive of Kennedale City Hall.
"We're capturing almost nothing of that," Soab said.
Nita Wilson, president of Kennedale's Economic Development Corp., said that residents have told her they will shop in Kennedale if there are places to do so, and that the city needs to be proactive in attracting retailers.
"If you take pride in your town, you want to support businesses there," Wilson said. "We don't want to be left behind. We need to take advantage of the growth surrounding us."
Kennedale covers only about 6.5 miles, and its retail growth can only come on the south side of Kennedale Parkway, Soab said.
Half the city, or the land on the north side of Kennedale Parkway, is primarily residential. Soab said home builders have about 500 lots in the pipeline. Projections are that Kennedale could triple in population, he said.
But south of Kennedale Parkway is just the opposite. It is underdeveloped, with stagnant growth, yet offers the best opportunities for commercial development, Soab said.
"We're growing residentially," he said. "We're never going to be 100,000 people; we're going to be a small community. But what we're missing are the goods and service you normally find in a community."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Arlington to get Superbowl Bid for 2011

Super Bowl XLV will be played in Arlington in 2011, the National Football League announced Tuesday. The NFL owns, produces, and controls the country's largest annual sporting event, and their vote on Tuesday is a win for the North Texas Region, said Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck.
Cluck leads the city in thanking the North Texas Super Bowl Bidding Committee for their hard work."This is an extremely exciting time for North Texas after six months of hard work," the Mayor said Tuesday. "This was a highly competitive bidding process. Winning Super Bowl XLV brings enormous economic impact and worldwide prestige to the North Texas Region."
The City of Arlington is proud to be the new home of the Dallas Cowboys, which will host Super Bowl game day festivities in 2011. The stadium will have a capacity of 100,000 fans when it opens in 2009.
Throughout the region, cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine and Irving will host a variety of other Super Bowl related events and activities, as determined by the NFL.
"With the arrival of the Super Bowl in 2011, everyone benefits," the Mayor said.
Earlier this month, Senate Bill 1424 cleared the last legislative hurdle. The bill eliminates a population bracket in the law that would have prevented Arlington from accessing the Other Events Trust Fund. The fund was created to provide cities and counties with money to attract special events such as the Super Bowl, Pan American Games, the Olympics, All-Star Games and other types of large special events. Senate Bill 1424 was authored by Kim Brimer (R-Fort Worth) and Chris Harris (R-Arlington).

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Giant Signs are proposed for GloryPark development

ARLINGTON -- Giant signs atop the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and colossal images projected on the sides of multistory parking garages and buildings could be included in the Glorypark development.
The City Council was briefed Tuesday on proposed signs for the $600 million town center adjacent to the ballpark.
Four signs suggested for the western edge of the project could cover 75 percent of the building facades. Two could be 48 feet by 64 feet, or 3,072 square feet. The average billboard in Arlington is about 600 square feet, according to Jim Parajon, director of Community Development and Planning.
Council members did not seem concerned by the sizes of the signs or that they would display advertising.
"Creativity should not be limited," Councilman Robert Rivera said. "This is a signature not only for Arlington but for the region."
What the developer wants: A variety of signs, including:
Three large static or video signs (ranging from 30 feet by 80 feet to 30 feet by 100 feet) fixed to the roof of the ballpark on the south side, facing Randol Mill Road.
Projected-image signs with no size limit.
15 kiosks that may be up to 600 square feet.
City concerns: Planners said they were apprehensive about some sign requests, including:
Off-premises advertising proposed for 20 of 24 signs in Rangers Alley, on the south side of the ballpark.
15 roof signs that could be up to 200 feet by 8 feet.
No limit to sign advertising along private streets within Glorypark.
What's next: The council will review the sign proposal and vote on the second reading of Glorypark's zoning application. If the zoning is approved, the council will consider the site plan for the project.
* * *
3 Signs the developer wants affixed to the south side of the ballpark
3,000 square feet: Area of the largest of those proposed signs
600 square feet: Area of an average billboard in Arlington.

Monday, April 23, 2007

New Interactive Map shows homes prices in your area

Go to

Townhomes to rise near Arlington stadiums

Brownstone-style development is a first for city

01:30 PM CDT on Saturday, April 21, 2007
By JEFF MOSIER / The Dallas Morning News

ARLINGTON – A glimpse of Arlington's future might be found near the intersection of two local legends: Road to Six Flags and Nolan Ryan Expressway.
On that strip of land, where only a sales trailer sits, a developer is planning 93 upscale, brownstone-style townhomes – perhaps the first development of its kind in Arlington. City leaders and real estate agents said this is a hopeful sign for an entertainment district that will soon be anchored by the $1 billion Dallas Cowboys stadium and the $600 million retail, office and residential Glorypark project.
"I see this project as a sign of things to come," said Patrick Wyatt, chairman of the Arlington Board of Realtors. "There's no question. That area will bring all kinds of interesting developments that we haven't seen in Arlington before, from townhomes to condominiums to unique retail."
The Chelsea Park Townhomes are the first major new development in the entertainment district since the Cowboys stadium and Glorypark were announced in 2004. In the previous decade, Arlington residents waited for the large-scale development, including a rumored San Antonio-style Riverwalk, which was projected to spring up around Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
That never happened, but signs of life now abound.
Eric English, an Arlington commercial real estate broker, said he was skeptical about whether the land near the Cowboys stadium would generate much interest. As a longtime Arlington resident and businessman, he was disappointed that the lofty expectations of the past faltered.
"I've heard the talk of it before, but now it's really coming," he said.
Mr. English said the combination of the stadium, Glorypark and hundreds of millions of dollars in new highway bridges and road improvements is finally generating interest. He said that some buildings in the entertainment district are selling at more than double their prices from several years ago, and investors and developers have been searching for deals.
Al Coker, whose firm is developing Chelsea Park, said he didn't see this project as a risk even though there is nothing comparable in Arlington. He said that jumping into a market first can be financially rewarding.
"No one knew they wanted a minivan until Chrysler brought it out," he said.
Sporting views
By Friday, 27 people had put down earnest money to reserve townhomes at the Chelsea Park development, which are selling for $200,000 to $340,000. About 70 percent of the units are expected to have rooftop decks with views of the ballpark and the Cowboys stadium.
The urban-style townhomes, with granite counters and hardwood floors, look like a perfect fit for the booming neighborhoods near downtown Dallas and Fort Worth.
Barbara Salser, a 37-year Arlington resident who was critical of the Cowboys stadium deal, said she's still skeptical about the expected developments. She said that Arlington's demographics – which include many older and low-income residents – don't lend themselves to this kind of project.
"I'll believe it when I see it," she said. "I'm afraid it's just more rhetoric."
Ms. Salser said that without the draw of something like the Cultural District in Fort Worth or a "real downtown," nothing much is likely to happen near the Cowboys stadium.
Arlington City Council member Mel LeBlanc, whose district includes the stadiums, said this is a chance to move into a more upscale market that usually bypasses the city.
"I would look at this as an indication of investor confidence in Arlington," he said about the townhomes. "It's the tip of the iceberg."
Aaron Schroedel, who lives in Arlington's entertainment district, said he believes he'll eventually move because of the development. He and dozens of others live in a neighborhood – built in the 1960s with homes typically valued around $100,000 – that is tucked between the townhomes and the Cowboys stadium.
"The neighbors think that it's five years at the most," he said. "It's a good possibility that we'll be bought out."
Mr. Schroedel said the value of his home has already increased by one-third in the past few years, and rumors are floating around that the neighborhood is a prime spot for a hotel.
Cowboys essential
Mr. Coker said he wouldn't have considered Chelsea Park without the Cowboys stadium.
"In Texas, we love our brands, and we love our football," he said. "We didn't conceive this project really until after the Cowboys made their announcement."
Mr. English said he doesn't expect to see a lot more development in that area until Glorypark finally opens in 2009, about the time the Cowboys start playing in Arlington. He said that many existing property owners are hanging on to their land or buildings until prices increase significantly in the next few years. Other investors are buying property now and waiting to develop until the foot and vehicle traffic that should be generated by Glorypark arrives.
"There will be people doing some short-term stuff, but I think most will be tied to when Glorypark opens," Mr. English said.
He likened Arlington's entertainment district to the Victory development surrounding American Airlines Center in Dallas. There was little progress for years and then it blossomed nearly overnight into a development with fancy restaurants, a boutique hotel and expensive high-rise condominiums.
Mr. Coker said he sees the comparisons to Victory and expects a building boom soon. He said that his customers – part suburban and part urban pioneers – are just the first wave.
"It's not just one person who has a good idea," Mr. Coker said. "It's who acts on it first." // Image1 end -->

Thursday, April 19, 2007

New Boat Inspection Program Launches as Lake Arlington

New Boat Inspection Program Launches at Lake Arlington

Lake Arlington boaters can now have their vessels inspected free of charge. Beginning Saturday, April 21, the Dive, Search and Rescue Division of the Arlington Fire Department in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be on hand to inspect boats from 8 a.m. to Noon at Richard Simpson Park Boat Ramp at Lake Arlington.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Matlock foliage barrier approved

Live oaks and hollies could be filtering the sounds and blocking the sights of Matlock Road by early June for Walnut Estates residents.
The City Council endorsed a landscaping plan Monday night to address complaints about a road project that widened Matlock and elevated it about 10 feet for flood protection. Residents said the traffic became louder and more visible when the construction ended last summer.
The staff will seek bids on 53 Nellie R. Stevens hollies and 16 live oak trees, and the council could award a contract by early May.
"As far as I'm concerned, it sounds good to me at this point," resident Chris Bardasian said, but he added that he wanted to outline the plan for his neighbors and get their opinions.
The landscaping plan would cost about $30,000 to $35,000, said senior park planner James Fish. The hollies will line the front of the subdivision's 6-foot brick wall, providing an effective noise barrier because of its dense foliage and coarse leaves, Fish said.
The live oaks will be planted on the slope leading up to the road.
The council decided last month against other neighborhood requests -- building a noise wall along Matlock at a cost of $130,000, or increasing the subdivision wall's height by two feet, which would have cost $50,000.
Council members said they were concerned about setting a precedent and about liability if the city augments a private wall.

Friday, March 30, 2007

How Do the Changes in the Sub-Prime Market Affect Our Local Area?

The Wall Street Journal just published an interesting article and map showing the percentages of all mortgages that were originated in 2006 that were sub-prime. For Arlington-Fort Worth is was 13.69%. That is allot of buyers that will not be able to get a loan as easily as last year. Here is a link to the entire article...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Year-to-Date MLS Summary Report for: February 2007


Total number of sales for the 1st 2 months is down 4%. The number of Pending sales is up 2% and the number of Active Listings is up 7%. The average Days on the Market is up 5% to 81 days.

Here is the link for the full report...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Name That Dog Park and Win A Prize!

If you come up with creative names for your pooch, you might have what it takes to dream up the winning name for Arlington's first dog park.

The city is holding a monthlong contest to name the park in southeast Arlington. The wooded, 6-acre park will include off-leash play areas for large and small dogs, water fountains, shaded seating areas, decorative fire hydrants and walking trails. It will be behind the city's planned $4.8 million animal shelter at 900 S.E. Green Oaks Blvd.

Participants can suggest names based on a person, a pet or just make a play on words, like Fort Worth's Fort Woof dog park. Entry forms will be available starting April 1 on the city's Park and Recreation Web site,, or at recreation facilities and veterinarian offices.

The contest is open to Arlington residents.

The top three winners will be announced at the park's grand opening ceremony June 16.
Arlington is seeking suggestions of names for its new dog park. The contest runs April 1-29. Winners will be announced June 16.

First place: $250, a large inscribed paver and a lifetime park pass.
Second place: Small inscribed paver and two-year park pass.
Third place: One-year park pass.

For more information, call 817-459-5476.

SOURCE: City of Arlington

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What is a Short Sale, & is it right for me?

A Short Sale is when a homeowner owes more against the home than what the home is worth. What's important to note here, is that the homeowner MUST sell.
If the homeowner does not have to sell, or does not want to sell their home, there are MANY options available to homeowners. They could move into a more affordable home and rent out their existing home, they could take on a roommate, they could refinance (although this is not always the best path. Homeowners in a short sale situation are often in financial distress, which means higher rates and fees because you're seen as a higher credit risk to a new lender), they could talk with their existing lenders to re-configure the terms of the loan. Homeowners who do not want to sell or do not have to sell ought to seek out a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Why? Because at bare minimum, SOMEONE, in this case our federal government, has deemed the housing counseling agency competent. What a homeowner should not do is to blindly trust that the signs by the side of the road are from reputable folks. In fact, the assumption ought to be that if a deal looks and sounds too good to be true, it is. There are no angels on earth. Homeowners, you can be easily taken advantage of by these folks. Wake up and keep reading.
A Short Sale, Comprosmise Sale, or Pre-Foreclosure Workout are different ways of saying the same thing.
Selling short means you're asking the underlying lender(s) to accept less than their payoff in order to facilitate a sale of the home, instead of foreclosing on the home.
Foreclosure is expensive for a mortgage lender. Mortgage lenders are not in the business of foreclosing on houses (for the sake of our banking system liquidity and stability we all hope that's not the case). Banks and lenders are in business of making loans. They don't want the house back. This is a business decision for the lender. Which means it has to make rational, logical sense.
Homeowners, you will be asked to prove financial distress. This means you will have to submit proof that you don't have the money to make up the shortage. If you do have the money, this is no longer a short sale, the industry calls this a "seller to bring cash in at closing" sale. If you ask your real estate agent to help you in hiding assets, an agent cannot assist you with defrauding a lender.
Homeowners, you will be asked to pay back the shortage. That's right, your lender will ask you to sign a brand new unsecured note in order for you to pay back the difference in monthly installments. If, out of the goodness of their heart, (don't count on it) the lender "forgives" the debt, then the IRS sees this as a taxable event. Homeowners: Go see your favorite tax attorney or CPA for tax advice if you are in a short sale scenario.
Homeowners, the worst mistake you can make is to go into denial and stay in your "happy place" and not make those hard decisions. Let's review. The best steps you can take are preventative. When you see yourself getting close to needing to sell in order to avoid foreclosure:
1) Decide if you absolutely must sell or if you're better off riding out the financial tough road. If there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and you don't want to sell, perhaps you're better off not selling.
2) Talk to a HUD-approved housing counseling agency that offers "default" counseling.
3) Don't ignore letters or calls from your lenders. I recommend renting and watching the movie "House of Sand and Fog" to wake you up from your state of denial. Talk to your lender.
4) If you're committed to selling, interview three licensed real estate agents. If one of them offers to purchase the house right there in your living room.....ask the agent if that's ethical and legal and see what they say. Real estate agents have an obligation to put YOUR interests ahead of their own interests. State agency laws vary, but this is a core concept of agency.
5) Always seek legal counsel if you are a short sale homeowner. There are things attorneys can do that real estate agents cannot do.
Real estate agents: The best steps you can take are to educate yourself about how to present your firm offer to the underlying lien holder(s). In a short sale, title is transferred using a warranty deed (in some states it is called a different sort of deed like a bargain and sale deed) which means title must be clear of all liens and encrumbances (except for items that will run with the land like easements, real estate taxes, and the like.) This means you might have to present the firm offer to more than one lien holder. Example:
Sale price: 300,000
First mortgage payoff: 250,000
Second mortgage payoff: 100,000
Real estate agents: In the above example, if you're trying to work with the first mortgage lender and they're not giving you the time of day, it's because they are expecting to get all $250K because they're in first lien postion. Your work will be with the second lien holder, who has much to lose should the first foreclose and everything to gain by negotiating with you NOW, before foreclosure.
Real estate agents, check your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) policies and procedures about disclosing the "short sale" terms to the other members of your MLS.
Real estate agents, the lender(s) will ALWAYS ask you to cut your commission. Always, always, always. It is their duty to mitigate losses. That means asking everyone to cut their fees. Don't take it personally. So, should you cut your commission? These transactions are difficult, time consuming, gut-wrenching, and ulcer-inducing. Why on earth would you accept a low fee? When asked to slice your fee to the bone, all you have to do is say "no." The lender needs you more than you need them; the lender does not want to foreclose.
Sometimes real estate agents tell me they wouldn't touch one of these deals because of the increased liability and the hard work. To that I ask, "Well, what if you were the one who sold them the house?" Then the room usually falls silent.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Arlington to Get the Cotton Bowl....

Read the full article here..

January Sales Improve...

Existing-Home Sales Improve in January
WASHINGTON, February 27, 2007 -

Sales of existing homes rose in January, reaching the highest level in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – increased 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 6.46 million units in January from an upwardly revised pace of 6.27 million in December. Sales were 4.3 percent below the 6.75 million-unit level in January 2006.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said observers shouldn’t overreact to the sales gain, or to other short-term effects. “Although we’re expecting existing-home sales to gradually rise this year, and buyers are responding to the price correction, some unusually warm weather helped boost sales in January,” he said. “On the flip side, the winter storms that disrupted so much of the country in February could negatively impact the housing market.

“Although the data is seasonally adjusted, these weather events are unusually large – many transaction closings were postponed in February, and home shopping was essentially shut down for about a week in many areas,” he said. “We shouldn’t be surprised to see a near-term sales dip, but that will be followed by a continuing recovery in home sales.”

Total housing inventory levels rose 2.9 percent at the end of January to 3.55 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.6-month supply at the current sales pace – unchanged from the revised December level. Supplies peaked at 7.4 months in October. “Inventories are looking better, but price softness should continue until spring when the market is expected to become more balanced,” Lereah said.

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $210,600 in January, down 3.1 percent from January 2006 when the median was $217,400. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Arlington Police Reports Now Online

ARLINGTON -- Someone break into your car? Vandalize your property? Now you can get a copy of your police report online if the crime was reported in Arlington.
What’s new: The Arlington Police Department launched the “Public Reports” link on its Web site last month to make it easier for people who need a copy of their incident reports for insurance or other purposes. Before, people had to come in person to the police department between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Now, with a report number and the last name of a person involved in the incident, those reports can be retrieved online any time, without waiting in long lines or missing work.
“Sometimes people come rushing in at lunch hour and it’s packed so they leave without getting a report. The line can sometimes go out the door,” said Margarita Ibarra, police records assistant. “It’s easy for them now to get it off the Web and print it out wherever they are.”
What they cost: They’re free! That compares to the 10 cents-a-page the police charge if you request a report in person.
What the reports contain: Typically, contact information for witnesses, suspects and victims and a brief description of the incident. Some incidents, such as sexual offenses or juvenile crimes, will not be available online because the information is protected under the state’s open records law, police spokesman Lt. Blake Miller said.
What else is available on the web: Besides police reports, residents can also look up information such as crime statistics, working police calls, sex offender registry, a jail inmate list and the locations of the latest traffic collisions on the police department’s Web site.
Hit parade: The site received more than 1 million hits last month, Miller said.
“It’s another opportunity for our department to provide greater access to the community when it’s convenient for them,” Miller said. “This saves you a trip to the police department. You don’t have to take time off work.”
What about traffic accident reports: Traffic accident reports are expected to be available online within the next month, Miller said. Those reports, which cost $4 at the police station, will also cost to view online but a price has not been determined.

The Arlington Police have launched a new link on their Web site,, for people to look up and print their police reports.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Here are the latest MLS statistics for Arlington

Texas Residential MLS Activity-Number of Houses for Sale

Homes for Sale Dec 2006-2829 Dec 2005 2537

That is a 12% increase from last year.

Texas Residential MLS Activity-Number of Homes Sold

Homes Sold Dec 2006-459 Dec 2005 484 Down 5% for the month

Overall, the number of sales increase 6% in 2006 from 2005.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Kennedale Looks to Town Center For Boost

KENNEDALE -- Kennedale is launching plans for a town center that officials hope will give the city an economic face-lift.
For years the city's identity has been tied to auto salvage yards, racetracks and sexually oriented businesses. But city leaders want to set a new tone for development, adding a mix of commercial, residential and recreational uses to a roughly 30-acre site that already includes city government buildings.
"What we're trying to do is get a place that is an attraction that people want to come to, a destination," said Mark White, the interim city manager.
The key is finding one or more developers who will work with the city on a shared vision for the area over several years, he said.
The site of the proposed TownCenter Kennedale -- bordered roughly by Kennedale Parkway, Bowman Springs Road and Third Street -- is already home to City Hall, the police station, the senior citizen center and the new public library.
Mike Soab, the city's economic development director, is talking with several developers about bringing in restaurants, stores, offices, town houses, a park and other attractions.
If successful, officials say, the town center could influence development in the drab business strip along Kennedale Parkway and in other parts of the city.
"We have to make our main thoroughfare reflective of the values of our community," Soab said. "We start doing that by creating a heart of the city, and that's a town center. It raises the bar of expectation of what can be done on Kennedale Parkway."
The city is also considering creating a tax increment financing district to help pay for roads, utilities and other infrastructure for the project. Such districts capture tax revenue generated by new construction or property value increases within the project site.
The motivation: The city's main guide for the project is a 2003 redevelopment study conducted for Kennedale by the University of Texas at Austin's School of Public and Urban Affairs. The study said a town center would "strengthen the sense of civic pride and identity" in the city of 6,150, which has grown more than 50 percent since the 1990 census.
"Currently, there is no 'urban core' to create a unique image for Kennedale," the study authors wrote. "With no other competition, the most indelible impressions one may derive from Kennedale may be those of sexually oriented businesses and racetracks."
Kennedale never had a town square or other well-configured economic center. Its business district sprang up along a railroad track in the late 1800s. After a fire destroyed all but one building in 1908, business migrated to what is now Kennedale Parkway, or Business 287.
Most residents work outside Kennedale, and many do their shopping in Arlington and other cities before they get back home, the study said.
"We need manufacturing, we need retail, we need grocery stores, we need a balance," said Robert Mundy, vice president of the Kennedale Economic Development Corp., which administers a half-cent sales tax for business projects. "We need something that will support the citizens' needs."
Role model: Kennedale follows the lead of several area cities that hadn't had downtown squares but are creating economic focal points.
Soab, who was Colleyville's economic development director before he came to Kennedale seven months ago, helped create The Village at Colleyville with developer Realty Capital Corp. The 30-acre town center, which opened its first building in 2002, has completed about half of its planned 750,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, offices, government buildings, town homes and lofts, Realty Capital President Richard Myers said.
Myers said The Village has a property tax value of about $60 million so far. His advice to Kennedale is to let the market dictate what goes into the town center -- how much retail versus residential, for example.
"The city needs to give the project a little bit of freedom because they're complicated," Myers said.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gas-drilling deal should end the Rolling Hills rumors

By putting the ink on what is expected to be a lucrative deal this Sunday, the members of Rolling Hills Country Club -- 97 primo mid-Metroplex acres at Interstate 30 and Cooper Street -- hope to finally dispel the rumors that the club will be sold.
The deal? There's gold under those fairways, or at least something that can be bartered for gold. Drill down roughly 7,000 feet and behold, there'll be natural-gas-rich shale.
This Sunday at 2 p.m., club President Richard Smith and Marsh Operating Co. Vice President W.B. Phillips will sign an agreement for Marsh to explore and drill for gas on the property this year. Given the realities of the natural gas presence in the Barnett Shale, it's as close to a sure thing as this business gets.
How many dollars are we talking here? Smith isn't saying, though no doubt the numbers will leak out sooner rather than later. But the combination of substantial upfront money and follow-up royalties will certainly alter the financial dynamics and long-time stability of the club; so much focus on the possible sale had affected new-member recruitment.
"Widespread reports that Rolling Hills would eventually become anything but a country club put the club in a holding position to solicit new members for almost two years," said Ralph Gilmore, a 32-year member and club spokesman. "The board is anxious to put to bed all the rumors, speculation and newspaper reports of the past year and focus on attracting new members."
Background: Built in 1954 on a former dairy farm in a rural area not then in the Arlington city limits, the club basically fronts on I-30, which did not exist in 1954. As Arlington's population exploded, the appeal of the property to developers grew. Inquiries for possible purchase became virtually an annual event.
The dollars involved also grew -- a reported $24 million offer in January of last year was followed by a midyear $34 million offer, club leadership confirmed.
There was another wrinkle as well. When the city was pursuing the possibility of Arlington's becoming the home of the George W. Bush Presidential Library it became obvious that Rolling Hills was the city's preferred site. The city did not prevail in that endeavor.
Though it's quite likely that the club could have been bought for the kind of money being waved about, the problem was that potential investors basically wanted to make the sale contingent on the getting the proper commercial zoning, which would have also required City Council approval.
That could take many months and was by no means certain. Indeed, it appeared that a majority on the council disapproved of the kind of big-box shopping center proposed. A lingering limbo with an unguaranteed payday would probably be disastrous to club membership.
Though some of the club members were inclined to approve the $34 million sale, the required two-thirds majority did not materialize, and the decision was made to proceed with the gas exploration.
So while golf members may be playing 3-irons around drilling rigs for a while, the era of to-sell-or-not appears over.
And revenues from gas proceeds will likely make the course one of the more appealing and accessible such venues in the region.
Indeed, if an expected explosion of mixed commercial and residential uses occurs in the area as expected -- the club adjoins the Lamar-Collins Overlay District -- then Rolling Hills in the next few years could easily become one of the hottest private club memberships in the region.