The Dallas Housing Market in 2014

Dallas homes for saleHouses will be going on the market soon with many folks wanting to take advantage of the 11% increase in existing homes prices we experienced in the Dallas Metroplex area in 2013. New home buyers need to be MORE aware than ever of the importance of getting pre-qualified before beginning their search.

In the next few days/weeks we’ll be posting  ideas for updating and getting a home ready to sell on our Facebook and Twitter.  LISTING HOMES FOR SALE IS NOT  OUR BUSINESS MODEL, but we know what buyers are looking for and what we recommend they focus on while searching for their new home.

Be watching for our posted tips on what buyers are looking for and how the new loan requirements will be important to buyers!  BUY NOW before interest rates are over the 5% forecasted by economists for 2014.

File Your Homestead Exemption for 2014

Dear Client,

It is time to remind you to be sure and mail in your Homestead Exemption form in order to receive a discount on your property taxes, should your property be eligible.

You will normally receive a form from your local County taxing authority in the mail between January and the end of March. You have until April 30th of that same year to file this exemption. Should you receive a request from any service or person other than the County where you reside asking for a fee to file the document for you, please disregard it. Please be aware that filing your Homestead Exemption is free through your local taxing district.

Remember, filing is free and only needs to be done once while you reside at the property. Should you have any questions regarding your homestead exemption, I’ve included a list of some of the area taxing authorities for your convenience. If you live in two separate counties, you must file in both counties.

If you receive a survey from the County or City asking you what you paid for your home, you do not have to disclose this information. Only your loan amount was recorded by the title company. This may help you keep your taxes down a little longer.

Don’t hesitate to call me if I can assist you in any way. If you know of someone who could use my services, please call me with their name and number. I’ll be happy to help them too!

Good News, Dallas Area!

Dallas Buyers Agent | Homes for Sale Less than 5% of Dallas-area homeowners are underwater on mortgages as of December 2013.
This is great news for Dallas area, indicating our area economy is getting stronger! We are looking forward to bringing in the New Year with success. People will be listing their homes and getting ready to negotiate- we are the buyers’ best chance to negotiate successfully and have their interests protected all the way to closing.

Read more about this story at the Dallas News website.

We Will Always Remember

We can never forget the greatness of our country and the needless loss of so many of our citizens. Be alert, be informed, and be open minded. God Bless America and all that sacrificed both that day and in the wars that protect our democracy and keep us respected in the eyes of the world! We must never forget that uniting event and keep America strong!

Back to School

Whether your children are veterans or this is their first year of school, starting the new year can be full of stress and anxiety. When sending your children back to school this year make sure you set a schedule and follow it! Setting a schedule that will work best for you and your family will help create structure within the home. It will also help reduce the anxiety throughout their day.

Mastering the Morning
The few hours before heading to school can be extra stressful for both children and parents alike. Kids are worried about what they are going to wear and trying to get their bags packed and ready to go. To help alleviate anxiety in the morning times, prepare backpacks and outfits the night before. Especially on the first day of school, when children are having to carry all of their supplies along with paperwork. Also, make sure your children eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Morning meals should be high in protein and include minimal sugar. A quality breakfast will increase their alertness and start their day of right.

While at School
Children tend to start losing their energy and focus around lunch time, so make sure to pack them a healthy lunch. Some optimal options would include small sandwiches, fruits, cheeses, and plain yogurt. These types of foods are going to help them replenish the energy they had previously lost and give them an extra boost. Last but not least, make sure they get the recommended 8 hours of sleep, to ensure they have enough energy to get through the day.

After-school Fun
It is important for children to have some sort of physical activity after school. Whether they are on a sports team and have to practice or just a trip to the playground. Once coming home, homework and/or additional studying needs to be done. Choose a nice location for them to do their work, but while still being supervised. Where they study could depend entirely on what works best for them but could occur at the kitchen table, or in a study nook. It is also a good idea to hold a family dinner every night, if possible. This dinner can be used as bonding time for the members of the family as well it will keep you informed on your child’s day.

Get The Most For Your Home

Are you trying to sell your home? If so, you will want to get the most for it that you can. The best way to do that is to improve your home’s overall value. Here are some budget friendly boosts to sprucing up the living spaces. These simple fixes will go a long way and will ultimately increase your satisfaction and the value.

1. Update the kitchen
A little investment can really go a long way in the kitchen. Most families do spend most of their time in this room, so splurging for that new faucet fixture set or updated energy efficient lighting will really improve the overall feel. If the cabinets are outdated, you can always hire a cabinet re-facing company to add new handles and refinish the cabinet boxes.

2. Hire a designer or realtor
These professionals will come into your home and give advice on furniture placements, paint colors, and the overall decor of the home. The small improvements that they will suggest will improve the look and feel of the home, making it more inviting and desirable to potential buyers.

3. Inspect non-cosmetic issues
Many issues, such as termite infestation and electrical issues, could be hidden from your view and could ultimately diminish the value of your home. Bring in an inspector to check that there are not any issues that need to be addressed.

4. Paint!
Adding a fresh coat of paint can liven up any living space. Remember to go for neutral colors, as they will able to a larger base of people. Not every potential buyer will appreciate the bright red that you love.

5. Create curb appeal
First impressions are key! Go ahead and add a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of your home! It will make your home look new and updated. Looking into landscaping would be a plus as well to make sure that your first impression is a great one!

6. Watch where you’re walking
After living in a home, carpets can show substantial wear and tear. Look into hiring a carpet cleaning company to make your carpets look brand new without having to break the bank on new carpeting. You could also rent a carpet shampooer, if you don’t already own one, and do this yourself to save some money.

Small Bathroom? Easy ways to make it seem bigger

Having a small bathroom can be not only inconvenient but very cluttered as well. In a recent article by Carla Aston of Aston Design Studio, Aston writes of some top ways to keep a small bathroom functional and stylish, while also giving the allusion that it is larger than it actually is. We are going to discuss a few suggestions to make your space feel more open and luxurious.

1. Using the same neutral color theme throughout the room.

The neutral color theme will allow the bathroom walls to blend with one another and expand the space. Unfortunately, darker colors will only absorb the natural light making the bathroom seem smaller than it is. You can still use your favorite colors, however, make sure the brighter and darker colors are used to a minimum and are used within accessories. The main colorways should not be as loud as the accents of the space.

2. Painting the ceiling the same color as the walls.

Using different colors on the walls and ceilings will cut the space into blocks. The idea is to blend the walls together, not allowing the ceiling to pop out and attract attention.

3. Taking complete advantage of mirrors.

Mirrors can make a huge difference in your home, especially in the bathroom. They not only reflect the space, but they reflect light as well. Again, the more light in the area the bigger it will look and feel. The light also works to play with the lighter colors and enhances that overall brightness of the room.

4. Using recessed shelving to de-clutter the area.

This tip is possibly our favorite and we had never thought of using recessed shelving previously. However, it makes perfect sense that when the shelves are built into the wall then they will not be taking up valuable space. Imagine using recessed shelving to store all of your shampoo bottles, instead of having them lined up along the wall!

In conclusion, these tips are easy and simple, and putting them to work in your bathroom will make a large impact on the overall feel/look of the space. Transforming your bathroom into the relaxing oasis it should be. Be sure to follow us on Social Media for the latest in the housing market in the DFW metroplex, redecorating and renovation ideas, as well as all other tips and tricks to make your house the home you’ve always wanted.

To read the full article, please visit the Aston Design Studio Website.

What do Home Buyers Want?

buyers agentIn a recent article by Diana Olick from CNBC, Olick wrote of what items make the top of consumers’ lists these days when it comes to buying a home, based on the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey.


According to the article, buyers are much more price-sensitive and cautious than before, with consumers considering projects and renovations for both enjoyment and resale purposes.

2013 Homestead Exemptions

Karen and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to assist you with your home purchase last year.  We hope you and your family are enjoying your new home.

Just a reminder – you need to file the necessary form to receive your homestead tax exemption for 2013.  Hopefully, your appraisal district sent you the form.  If not, the attached document provides websites and phone numbers for each appraisal district.  You have until April 30 to submit the form.

You will only need to do this once – the exemption will remain in place until you sell or no longer occupy your home.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

Thank you again,
Bill and Karen Shields
214-646-6686 ofc

Click here for info on each appraisal district:  Homestead exemption

Spring Cleaning 101: Inside AND Outside Your Home

Spring is well on its way and it’s just a matter of weeks before leaves start turning green and flowers begin to blossom. Unfortunately, with the lovely new life of spring comes a term less inviting: spring cleaning.

Why not get a head start this year on your spring cleaning and get it out of the way? Follow this checklist and make sure your house is spic and span for the rest of the year, all while taking care of any safety hazards along the way!

Inside the Home

Inside Home CleaningFloors: 1. Vacuum both wood and carpet floors. 2. Shampoo carpet and rugs, and mop wood floors. 3. Wax non-wood floors (like vinyl and linoleum).

Dust and Wipe: 1. Dust all shelves and countertops, dusting any items on top (like books, pictures, decorative pieces, etc.) of each surface. 2. Dust and wipe your walls and ceilings. Be sure to get the hard-to-reach places, like the tops of your ceiling fans, where dust tends to collect. *TIP: A vacuum with a detachable hose can help reach high nooks and crannies!*

Safety and Maintenance: 1. Change the batteries in all fire alarms throughout the house. 2. Use a resealing agent on any grout to deter staining and damage. 3. Turn off the power to your refrigerator from the circuit/fuse box, and dust the refrigerator coils to prevent from hazards. 4. Update your first aid kit, replacing any items you have used or have expired throughout the year.

(For a more detailed list of steps for spring cleaning inside your home, visit Martha Stewart’s Spring Cleaning Guide)

Outside the Home

Weathered Roof Shingles Need to be ReplacedElectrical: 1. Inspect outdoor light fixtures for any damaged wires and connections. 2. Wash covers to outdoor light fixtures. 3. Have a qualified contractor clean and service the outside unit of your air conditioning system.

Roof and Chimney: 1. Inspect roof shingles for any damages that may have occurred over winter. If any shingles are cracked or loose, it’s time to have them replaced. 2. Examine the chimney’s exterior for damage and have the chimney swept by a professional. (If you’re living in DFW, try The Chimney Sweep for all your gutter, rain leak, and chimney needs!)

Prepare for Drainage and Flooding: 1. If there are any low areas in your yard next to your home’s foundation, fill this area with compacted soil to prevent flooding and damage. 2. Check gutters for any leaks or loose parts. Make sure the gutter is draining away from your home’s foundation.

Ground: 1. Check concrete slabs for any cracks or movement. Fill the cracks with concrete crack filler and seal the concrete when possible. 2. Make sure firewood is at least 18 inches off the ground and 2 feet away from your home.

(For more spring home maintenance tips, be sure to check out HGTV