Friday, October 24, 2014

Trick or Treat 2014

Looking for some place to trick or treat with your kids? DFW has a lot of opportunities for you to take your little one for some candy. Maybe you can even hit up a couple so you have some extra candy to "check for poison", which was my Mom's excuse for eating my candy.

Boo on Ballard
6 pm - 8 pm
Downtown Wylie
Wylie, TX

Halloween Nights
10/23/2014 - 10/26/2014
5 pm - 8 pm
$10 tickets, $5 parking
Dallas Zoo
Dallas, TX

Scare on the Square
4 pm - 6 pm
Downtown McKinney
McKinney, TX

Trick or Treat on the Square
1 pm - 4 pm
Frisco Square
Frisco, TX

Boo at the Zoo
10/24/2014 - 10/26/2014
10 am - 5 pm
Free with Zoo admission
Ft Worth Zoo
Ft Worth, TX
Go get you some candy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ask an Agent: Disclosure of a Haunted House

In a previous Ask an Agent, we discussed whether a seller is required to disclose a death on the property. In Texas, the answer is no unless the death was caused by a condition of the property (like the roof caving in, etc). But what about if the house is believed to be haunted?

Properties were a death has occurred, might be considered haunted, or was the place of drug activity, are referred to as stigmatized properties. These are properties that buyers are wary of purchasing for a non-condition related reason. Some stigmatization requires disclosure, like known drug activity. Think when Jesse Pinkman bought the house from his parents on Breaking Bad. He got it for a steal because they failed to disclose there had been a meth lab!

But hauntings are a real blurry line....most states (like Texas) you only have to reveal physical deficiencies, and a haunting can be really hard to prove. However, if your house is widely to be reported as haunted (think Amityville Horror house) you might want to consider being upfront since sellers are likely to find out anyway. In other states, like New York, you have to disclose a possible haunting.

You might be able to turn a ghost into a selling point instead of a determent. Shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters have made it kind of cool to live in a haunted house. Since you can't prove if a house is haunted or not, I wonder how the case law will come out. What if you advertise ghosts and the person who bought the house doesn't witness any apparitions or strange bumps in the night? How do you know that a ghost just doesn't like you as much and just wants to stay in the attic? I just imagine everyone in court going to the house and the judge and lawyers using a Ouija board to find out.

If you aren't sure whether you need to tell possible buyers and/or tenants about spirits in your property, ask your agent. They should be familiar with the laws in your state to help you safely navigate the disclosure.

Additional Reading:
Selling Haunted Houses

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dallas Legends: Annie at Six Flags Over Texas

Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington has Fright Fest this time of year. It seems you don't have to just go in October to see ghosts though....Six Flags has a plethora of ghosts roaming the grounds. A lot of the old buildings you see are old farm houses that had been moved to the park and apparently some of the old inhabitants are still there.

Right by the Texas Giant, there is an old barn that has been converted into a candy shop. A little girl who the staff has nicknamed Annie has been tricking more than terrorizing the staff there. Legend says she drowned in Johnson's Creek and she can be seen in her yellow dress walking a on the railroad tracks. She has been known to unlock doors in the Candy Shop and to turn her light on and off in her bedroom usptairs. Some say she also haunts the Texas Giant itself, though I'm not exactly sure how you haunt a roller coaster. I mean, people mostly have their eyes closed and they're already screaming.

The park has a lot more ghosts, like Angus the Six Flags founder and ghosts at the Old Mill (I think they were having a party). Next time you go out to Arlington, keep your eyes peeled!

More Annie Info

Haunted Roller Coaster?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ask and Agent: Renting vs. Buying

When people talk to me about buying a home, one of the first things they mention is how the monthly payment is so much more affordable than their rent payment...same amount of house for less money! And for the most part, it's is usually higher than a mortgage for the same house because the rent covers the mortgage plus profit. But only considering monthly payments is a very short-sighted proposition. Let me give you an example from my own personal life.

Last night, I got home before my husband. The baby went down and I had a whole two hours ALL TO MYSELF. I decided to treat myself to a long bath in our garden tub. I got out, nice and relaxed, and went downstairs to watch some TV before my hubby got home. I walk into the kitchen and...SPLASH! There was a huge puddle all over the kitchen floor. The upstairs tub has a leak in the drain line, which not only requires a plumbing repair, but sheet rock and paint. ARGH.

I just wanted to relax!!
Now the moral of this story is not that this wouldn't have happened if we were renting the house...this could happen to anyone. If I was a renter though it would be the landlord paying to fix it, not me. This repair is not so bad, but unfortunately repairs have no upper limit. AC's go out, fences blow down, roofs get the picture. And as an owner, YOU have to pay for the repair. Buying a house can quickly go from blessing to curse if you don't plan to have some cash in reserve for repairs that inevitably happen.

There's other factors to take into consideration as well, like taxes and insurance, resale, etc. If you are on the fence about buying vs. renting, or have questions about the costs of owning a home, feel free to email me at and I'll answer your questions.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dallas Legends: Wanda the Ghost of Bruce Hall

I went to the University of North Texas (UNT) back in 2002-2005. I started as a Music Performance Major (go clarinet!) and like any good music major, I lived in Bruce Hall. Bruce Hall is the oldest residence hall on campus, so of course it's supposed to be haunted.

There are two or three ghosts in Bruce Hall, but the most famous is supposed to be Wanda. Wanda supposedly died in the 4th floor addict and enjoys mostly pulling pranks on people. She wasn't a mean ghost, but she did like to open doors and turn lights on and off. My husband lived on the 4th floor (I lived on the second) and he never experienced anything paranormal, unless you count a mysteriously disappearing goth roommate. Pretty sure he was real.

UNT Haunts Article - Discusses other ghosts at UNT as well!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In-Sync Exotics

DFW has some really cool zoos...the Ft Worth Zoo  is one of the best in the whole United States, and I have many fond memories of volunteering and visiting the Dallas Zoo. One of my favorite parts is the big cats. The husband and I have two cats, and it's fun to see these majestic creatures act like house cats. And they are IMPRESSIVE. You know intellectually that a tiger is big, but not until you see it in real life does it really sink in.

Now imagine a place where it's just big cats, and you can see them really close up. That's In-Sync Exotics. It's a sanctuary for large cats out in Wylie. The rescue animals that were kept as pets or abused, everything from little onyxes to full-grown male lions. You get to walk around at your own leisure and look at all the animals. Most of their stories are posted on the cages. and if you want to know more you can ask one of the volunteers walking around. They were very friendly and knowledgeable, and it was fun to see them interacting with the animals. They even have an on-site white cat called Ghost Cat who greets all the visitors.

They also have a lot of really cool programs, like overnight stays where you can watch them feed the animals and a golf tournament. You can find out more about their special programs here.

I highly recommend this place if you like big cats. I went with my family. The only thing that kinda wasn't fun is that no strollers were allowed because the ground is a little rocky..

You get to see the big cats up close!
In-Sync Exotics
3430 Skyview Dr
Wylie, TX 75098
Directions Page
$12 for adults, $8 kids 3-12
Open Thursday - Sunday 11 am - 6 pm
Facebook Page

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Brewsday: 2014 GABF

This year, Texas won 16 medals at Denver's Great American Beer Festival! We were the 4th most decorated state, showing that Texas is one of the best markets for craft beer.

Congrats to all the local breweries that won!

GABF Press Release