Free Tips on Buying a Home for Sale

Worst Time Of The Year May Be The Best For Buyers

Why is the worst time of the year, often the best time for real estate buyers?

The holiday season and the following “worst weather” months are widely considered the worst time of the year for selling or buying real estate. In reality, these distraction-packed months – November to February – carry benefits for determined buyers.

    • Join the “herd” of buyers who are active during traditional “good weather” home shopping months – starting with the spring frenzy of home buying – and this competition for properties can mean buyers pay more, lose out on good-value listings, and receive less attention from swamped real estate and mortgage professionals.
    • Get outside the traditional “box” of right times to buy and you’ll deal with sellers who are very committed to selling, real estate and mortgage professionals able to give you their full attention, and less competition for good-value listings. The key advantage of shopping for a home during “the worst times” is that sellers who have listed their property during these periods are serious, often very serious, about selling. Motivated sellers understand why they benefit from taking offers to purchase seriously and take the time to explore how they may be able to work with the buyers. As we’ve discussed before, it’s about a lot more than purchase price. For instance, offering to match the seller’s perfect closing date can carry considerable value for the seller just as not asking for a huge shopping list of inclusions means savings for sellers.
    • There’s a practical side, too. Viewing property at “the worst time” can tell you a lot about what you can really expect from a property:Visit a house during a hard rain and you’ll see how well the eavestrough system does its job. No overflowing gutters, waterfalls at corners, or soaked exterior walls. There should not be exterior water damage or water in the basement (at least from that source). Observe how the rain water flows off the land. Does it collect around the house or move to the street?  Pooling may indicate a potential basement problem. The longer water problems from poor maintenance continue, the greater the cost of repairing the damage. Paint may camouflage the trouble, but the problem will persist.
    • Drive by houses after a fresh snowfall and you’ll discover which are well insulated (snow on roof) and which are losing heat (melted snow).
    • Tour a house on a very windy day and drafts, insufficient insulation, and poorly-sealed windows and doors will be revealed.
    • Spend time in a house on a cold day and study how well the furnace heats the whole house. When a furnace is replaced, the duct work is not always adapted. Is it noticeably colder in the back rooms? How’s the second floor and the bathrooms?
    • During the holiday season when parties and cooking are popular pastimes tour condominium units and you’ll see how far noise and smells travel in the building and into the suite or townhome you’re considering.

Are you ready to turn “the worst times for,  home buying” into the best time for your successful real estate transaction?  Call Michele Hanigan at 214-738-5555 or email when looking for houses for sale in Dallas, or if  you want to see your home.





1. Home Odors. Because homeowners become desensitized to the odors in
their homes, they rarely realize how obvious odors can be to visitors. This is particularly true of pet owners and smokers.
2. Carpet and Flooring. One of the most visible areas of your home is your flooring. If your carpet is worn or dirty, get it replaced or cleaned. If you have vinyl flooring with corners coming up, get it glued down. Special note: Replacing flooring in smaller areas, such as kitchens, with high quality flooring can bring in premiums in price.
3. Paint and Walls. Paint is one of the least expensive ways to spruce-up your home. Consider painting outside trim and interior walls and doors.
4. Clutter. Excess clutter is a big buyer turn-off. You have to move anyway, so you might as well pack away items that make your home feel good to you, but turn off buyers.
5. Signs of Pests. If you have any sign of mice, rats, roaches, spiders, or bees, you should immediately contact a local pest control company and have them eliminated. There is no better way to show your home is filthy than by infestations. Remove all spider webs with a broom.
6. Landscaping. If your landscaping is messy, overgrown, or looks cluttered in any way, you need to fix it. Buyers make positive or negative conclusions about your home within the first five minutes.

If you need help buying or selling a home please contact Michele Hanigan at or call/text 214-738-5555.  Additionally, you can check out Park Cities / Dallas Real Estate Services.
Mobile: 214.738.5555

44 Free Tips To Selling Your Home for Sale

Here Are 44 Free Tips to Getting Your Home Ready to Sell. 



This 44 fail-proof list of simple, quick, and inexpensive things you can do to prepare your home for sale.  

Tip #1: Get into your car and drive away from your home. Drive towards your home the way a potential buyer would. Notice your first impressions of your home. Is the landscaping well groomed?

Tip #2: Paint your front door and mailbox. Polish your door and entry hardware.

Tip #3: Make sure your doorbell is functional.

Tip #4: Wash or thoroughly clean wood, aluminum, and vinyl sided homes. 

Tip #5: Rake leaves, trim shrubbery and trees, cut the lawn, and plant a few new, fresh flowers. Put down fresh mulch or peat moss around shrubs and flower beds. 

Tip #6: Sweep and hose off the walkways and driveways.

Tip #7: Clean the gutters and extend downspouts to prevent flooding or basement water seepage. 

Tip #8: Organize the garage. Get rid of clutter by either putting it in boxes, or pack ahead of time and rent a storage locker for your garage belongings. 

Tip #9: Check the locks of your home at the entry, back entry, and garage. Locks can give a first impression of a home that needs maintenance. And they’re the first thing a buyer sees. 

Tip #10: Clean oil stains from your driveway and garage. 

Tip #11: Clean up any litter in the yard or walkways. Remove any leaves or debris in the yard or walkways.

Tip #12: Touch-up the paint on the exterior of the home if necessary. In some cases, it pays to repaint the entire exterior if it hasn’t received a coat of paint in years. 

Tip #13: Look for any cracks in exterior plaster, and make sure they are fixed and repainted to match exterior paint. 

Tip #14: The entry way sets first impressions. So make sure it’s in great condition with fresh paint and clean floors.

Tip #15: Clear out about one-third to one-half of your furniture. You want your home to look uncluttered, and the rooms to feel open and bright.

Tip #16: Put away nick-knacks and items that make the home look overly personal to YOU. 

Tip #17: Do a thorough interior maintenance review. Oil squeaky doors, tighten doorknobs, clean and repair ALL windows, and repair leaking taps and toilets. Look for chipped paint and cracked plaster or drywall that needs repairing. 

Tip #18: It is a good idea to have all windows professionally washed. And clean all window shades and blinds. 

Tip #19: Replace all burned-out light bulbs and clean lighting fixtures. 

Tip #20: GIVE YOUR HOME A SPACIOUS LOOK. If you’ve ever toured a model home, you’ve noticed that the home is spacious and bright. Make your home look the same by:  A) Clear out stairs and halls of clutter and excess furniture, B) Clear counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, and C) Make closets and storage areas neat and tidy. 

Tip #21: Make sure your home is clean by doing the following: A) Shampoo carpets, B) Clean washer, dryer, and laundry tubs, C) Clean the furnace

Tip #22: Wax or polish floors, and glue down any seems if you have vinyl flooring. 

Tip #23: Make sure windows and doors operate properly and lubricate closet door tracks with a silicon spray. 

Tip #24: Glue loose wallpaper seams and remove soiled wallpaper. 

Tip #25: Clean around fireplaces and remove ashes. 

Tip #26: Organize all closets, pack up unnecessary items for storage, and put all toys away.

Tip #27: Make sure all beds are made, bedrooms are neat and clean, and laundry is clean and folded.

Tip #28: Consider holding a yard sale BEFORE you place your home on the market to get rid of excess items that can make your home look cluttered or small. Bathrooms and kitchen are some of the most influential areas of a home. 

Tip #29: Your Bathrooms. Repair loose tiles. Remove loose grout using a grout file, and apply new grout. Faded tile colors can be improved using an epoxy spray. Remove old tub and tile caulking with a hooked scraper, install new white silicone tub, and tile caulk.  

Tip #30: Your Kitchen. Clean ovens thoroughly. Clean cook tops and exhaust fans. Remember to clean behind your appliances. Double-check all burners to make sure they are working. Defrost freezers, and thoroughly clean the interior of your refrigerator. Remove mold from refrigerator gaskets. Empty the water collection tray under the refrigerator. Install new shelf and drawer liners.

Tip # 31: Save your receipts. If you need to make substantial repairs to your home, save the receipts in a manila envelope. This will show what has been updated in the home. How To Show Your Home For Maximum Profit. There ís a right way to show a home and a wrong way. Many homeowners lose money, or turn-off buyers because they simply didn’t know how to handle a home showing.  

Tip #32: Save those receipts. If you completed any substantial work on your home, save the receipts and ONLY take them out if someone questions the value of the work performed (in the negotiating process). Many times extra work will increase the value of your home beyond your costs. So only use the receipts if you need support to justify the work. 

Tip #33: Save those utility bills. Buyers frequently have questions about utility costs of owning a home. If you have past utility bills, you will greatly increase your credibility and help provide precise answers to important questions. Save electric, gas, water, oil, sewage, and waste management bills. 

Tip #34: Go away during organized showings. Three’s a crowd when your home is being shown. 

Tip #35: Turn on ALL lights. Illumination is like a welcome sign. 

Tip #36: Open all drapery and bring in as much natural light as possible. Buyers hate dark homes. Anything you can do to brighten your home will help. 

Tip #37: Turn off any radios and TV’s. Occasionally very soft, background music can enhance a showing. But generally, no music at all is your best bet. 

Tip #38: Plan a pleasant aroma. Cinnamon sticks or vanilla boiled in a pot of water on the stove emit pleasant aromas and make a home smell inviting. Apple and cherry wood smoldering in a fireplace do the same. 

Tip #39: Keep pets out of the home during showings. 

Tip #40: Do NOT volunteer conversation. Be courteous but don’t force conversation with a potential buyer. They want to inspect your home, not make a social call.

Tip #41: Stay positive: Never apologize for the appearance of your home.   

Tip #42: DO NOT Tag Along. It makes buyers fearful and uncomfortable. The showing Realtor knows the buyer’s requirements and can better emphasize the features of your home.

Tip #43: Never negotiate during a showing. Let your Realtor discuss price, terms, possessions, and other items with any potential buyers. If any negotiations arise prior to an offer, politely request the buyer to submit an offer and you can consider it.

Tip #44: Protect Your Largest Investment By Getting REALTOR Representation


If you need help buying or selling a home please contact Michele Hanigan at or call/text 214-738-5555.  Additionally, you can check out Park Cities / Dallas Real Estate Services.

Mobile: 214.738.5555

Selling a Home for Sale? Updates?? Check This Out….

2012-13 Cost vs. Value: Make the First Impression Count

Updating the outside of a home pays off, according to this year’s Cost vs. Value Report. Real estate professionals ranked exterior improvement projects as winning the buyers’ eye and providing sellers with the most return on investment.



Homeowners, if you’re wondering what home improvement projects will give you the best return on the sale of their home,  think “curb appeal.”

When buyers are shopping for a home, the exterior can make (or break) the first impression. According to the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, exterior replacement projects are among the most valuable home improvements that sellers can currently invest in, starting with the front door.

A steel entry door topped this year’s survey with an estimated 85.6 percent of the costs recouped at resale. The steel door replacement is also the least expensive of the 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects included in the survey, costing $1,137 on average.

This is the 15th year that Remodeling magazine — in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine — has released the Cost vs. Value Report. This year’s survey included more than 3,900 appraisers, sales agents, and brokers across the country who provided their opinions and estimates.

Exterior projects dominated the list with six of the top 10 most cost-effective midrange projects and eight of the top 10 upscale projects.

Top 10 Midrange Projects

1. Entry Door Replacement (steel)
Job Cost: $1,137
Resale Value: $974
Cost Recouped: 85.6 percent

2. Deck Addition (wood)
Job Cost: $9,327
Resale Value: $7,213
Cost Recouped: 77.3 percent

3. Garage Door Replacement
Job Cost: $1,496
Resale Value: $1,132
Cost Recouped: 75.7 percent

4. Minor Kitchen Remodel
Job Cost: $18,527
Resale Value: $13,977
Cost Recouped: 75.4 percent

5. Window Replacement (wood)
Job Cost: $10,708
Resale Value: $7,852
Cost Recouped: 73.3 percent

(tie) 6. Attic Bedroom Addition
Job Cost: $47,919
Resale Value: $34,916
Cost Recouped: 72.9 percent

(tie) 6. Siding Replacement (vinyl)
Job Cost: $11,192
Resale Value: $8,154
Cost Recouped: 72.9 percent

7. Window Replacement (vinyl)
Job Cost: $9,770
Resale Value: $6,961
Cost Recouped: 71.2 percent

8. Basement Remodel
Job Cost: $61,303
Resale Value: $43,095
Cost Recouped: 70.3 percent

9. Major Kitchen Remodel
Job Cost: $53,931
Resale Value: $37,139
Cost Recouped: 68.9 percent

10. Deck Addition (composite)
Job Cost: $15,084
Resale Value: $10,184
Cost Recouped: 67.5 percent

Top 10 Upscale Projects

1. Siding Replacement (fiber-cement)
Job Cost: $13,083
Resale Value: $10,379
Cost Recouped: 79.3 percent

2. Garage Door Replacement
Job Cost: $2,720
Resale Value: $2,046
Cost Recouped: 75.2 percent

3. Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl)
Job Cost: $13,818
Resale Value: $9,926
Cost Recouped: 71.8 percent

4. Window Replacement (vinyl)
Job Cost: $13,055
Resale Value: $9,295
Cost Recouped: 71.2 percent

5. Window Replacement (wood)
Job Cost: $16,361
Resale Value: $11,194
Cost Recouped: 68.4 percent

6. Grand Entrance (fiberglass)
Job Cost: $7,088
Resale Value: $4,528
Cost Recouped: 63.9 percent

7. Deck Addition (composite)
Job Cost: $34,403
Resale Value: $20,532
Cost Recouped: 59.7 percent

8. Major Kitchen Remodel
Job Cost: $107,406
Resale Value: $64,113
Cost Recouped: 59.7 percent

9. Bathroom Remodel
Job Cost: $50,007
Resale Value: $29,162
Cost Recouped: 58.3 percent

10. Roofing Replacement
Job Cost: $33,880
Resale Value: $19,194
Cost Recouped: 56.7 percent

Ending a six-year cost-value ratio decline, this year’s Cost vs. Value Report is good news for remodeling industry with a rise in the ratio by three percentage points to 60.6 percent. According to the report, lower construction costs and stabilizing house prices were the principal factors for the upturn.

While every region improved over last year’s survey, the Pacific region — Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington — had the highest average cost-to-value ratio overall at 71.2 percent, despite having the highest construction costs in the country.

Visit to find information from the 81 cities included in the survey and download free PDFs that include specific market data. Site registration is required. Also visit HouseLogic.comfor a slideshow of the report’s results.

If you need help buying or selling a home please contact Michele Hanigan at or call/text 214-738-5555.  Additionally, you can check out Park Cities / Dallas Real Estate Services.

Mobile: 214.738.5555

Selling a Home in Dallas? Buying a Home in Dallas?

Dallas-area housing market hits an all-time high in first half of 2013

Dallas Homes Stats

Dallas Homes Stats

With Dallas-area home prices in many neighborhoods up by 10 percent or more so far this year, 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years for the local housing market in decades.

Local pre-owned home sales in the first half of this year are running more than 20 percent higher than in the same period of 2012. They’ve set a North Texas sales record for a six-month period.

Some Dallas-area residential districts are experiencing the largest home price gains this area has seen since the 1980s.

Housing analysts and real estate agents predict that North Texas home sales and prices will continue to rise during the rest of this year, even with the recent increases in mortgage costs.

Concerns about the home market getting overheated are overblown, they say.

“The increase of sales we are seeing is a pure function of economics,” said Ted Jones, chief economist for Stewart Title Co. “This is not false hopes.

“It’s all about the jobs.”

With the Dallas-Fort Worth area among the top five employment growth centers in the country, Jones said, it’s only natural that demand for housing is so strong.

“In the last 12 months, the D-FW area created 104,600 net new jobs — that’s a lot of jobs,” Jones said. “In that same period, the total residential permits issued in this area were 34,720.

“We could have built twice as many homes and apartments and not overbuilt this market.”

A shortage of homes on the market is driving big price increases in many neighborhoods.

At midyear, some neighborhoods including Far North Dallas, Coppell, Richardson and Grapevine had less than a 11/2-month supply of homes listed for sale with real estate agents, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.

A six-month housing inventory is considered a balanced market.

Real estate agents say competition is still fierce for prime properties.

“You write offers on five different houses and pray one gets accepted,” said Scott Schueler, an agent with Keller Williams Realty. “We have frustrated buyers and really happy sellers.”

So far the increases in both home costs and higher interest rates haven’t dampened demand.

“Texas enjoys a comparative housing advantage to other high-growth states,” said James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Prices here are significantly below those in other states that people are now leaving.”

But for the Dallas-area, home prices have never been this high. The median pre-owned sales price is now close to $186,000.

While no one expects any kind of a downturn, most economists predict that housing activity in North Texas and across the country will moderate in 2014.

“My short-term outlook is for more of the same,” Jones said. “But I expect that housing values may not go up as much next year as in 2013.

“Supply and demand says values are going to rise.”

If you need help buying or selling a home please contact Michele Hanigan at or call/text 214-738-5555.  Additionally, you can check out Park Cities / Dallas Real Estate Services.

Dallas DFW Real Estate News


D-FW home starts up 32% and pre-owned sales rise 12% at mid-year

The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s hot housing market is kicking off the summer with big gains.

North Texas home starts rose by almost a third in the second quarter as builders hustled to keep up with buyer demand.

And sales of pre-owned homes were 12 percent higher in June than a year earlier.

Dallas-Fort Worth homebuilders started almost 6,000 homes in the second quarter — the highest quarterly homebuilding total in this area in five years, according to a new report from Metrostudy Inc.

Home starts in North Texas have been steadily rising since 2011.

“I think we are still in the early stages of a recovery,” said David Brown, regional director of Metrostudy’s Dallas-Fort Worth office. “We’re still at almost 60 percent below where we were building at the peak,” before the recession.

Brown said he anticipates that builders will start about 22,000 houses in the D-FW area this year, compared with fewer than 18,000 starts in 2012.

Local builders sold 5,147 houses in the three months ending with June — a 25 percent increase from second quarter 2012.

“Homebuilders continued to report strong year-over-year gains in net sales during the quarter,” Brown said.

Dallas builder Miles Durham is busy starting houses in several northeast Dallas locations. He’s just begun work on the first of seven homes on Fisher Road near Lakewood.

“I feel very good about the market, and product is moving quickly,” Durham said Monday. “Builders are having more success in getting funding and capital.”

The supply of new homes available for purchase is still at rock-bottom levels. Dallas-based Residential Strategies said in a new report that at the end of the second quarter there were only 2,653 finished, vacant houses available in the D-FW area.

“Despite the renewed demand for new homes, many builders remain somewhat constrained by construction capacity,” said Residential Strategies principal Ted Wilson. “Shortages of skilled construction labor, subcontractors and certain construction products persist in the market and have curtailed construction activity.”

Builders are also having a tough time finding ready, affordable home construction sites.

Wilson said that recent increases in home finance costs so far aren’t enough to affect the housing market.

“Yes, while mortgage rates have gone up — and it’s too bad if you missed the bottom of the market — they are still extremely attractive,” he said. “It has certainly been a very strong spring market.

“There is probably more demand out there than builders can satisfy.”

The supply of pre-owned houses for sale in the D-FW area also continues to be tight.

The number of North Texas houses listed for sale with real estate agents was down 19 percent last month from June 2012, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.

There is just over a three-month supply of homes listed for sale with real estate agents in the more than 50-county area.

With the latest gains, pre-owned home sales in the region are up 19 percent in the first half of 2013 compared with year-ago levels.

Real estate agents in June sold 8,708 pre-owned single-family homes in North Texas.

Median pre-owned home sales prices in June rose 13 percent to a record $185,820.

So far in 2013, median home sales prices in North Texas are 10 percent higher than the first half of 2012.


Source: Dallas News

If you need help buying or selling a home or have questions, please contact Michele Hanigan at or call/text 214-738-5555.  Additionally, you can check out the Facebook business page at Park Cities / Dallas Real Estate Services.