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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dallas Legends: Goatman of White Rock Lake

Each city has it's own ghost stories and legends. I heard most of the ones I know about Dallas sitting around the campfire in Girl Scouts, trying to scare each other. In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd share some ghost stories from Dallas and the surrounding suburbs.

At White Rock Lake, there's a legend of a 7 foot tall monster that people who wonder into it's territory. Reportedly, he has goat hooves and horns and is covered in brown fur. What little skin can be seen is greenish, and some people claim he has red eyes. He usually rushes out at unsuspecting joggers and throws trash, but there aren't any stories of him actually attacking anyone. Goatman has been spotted up to 140 miles away from White Rock Lake, some suggesting that human development has pushed him further out.

White Rock Lake is beautiful and a great place to visit, but be on the lookout! It seems to be one of the more haunted spots in Dallas.

More Goat Man Info

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 3, 2014

1527 Canadian Trail Plano, TX - For Rent

Contact info:
Mindy Henderson | North Texas Rent Homes, LLC | 972-881-4739

3 Bedroom/ 2 Bathroom Home for Rent

1527 Canadian Trail, Plano, TX 75023


Year Built: 1976
Sq Footage: 1670 sqft.
Bedrooms: 3 Beds
Bathrooms: 2 Baths
Parking: 2 Garage
Lease Duration: 1 Year (See Details Below)
Deposit: $1,695
Pets Policy: Cats & Dogs OK
Laundry: In Unit
Property Type: Single Family House


New! New! New! Just renovated. No carpet here—just hardwoods and ceramic tile. New bathrooms with tile surrounds. Stainless oven and dishwasher. Kitchen has granite counters and new cabinets. Located just North of Spring Creek between Alma and Custer. Pets considered on case-by-case basis. No violent dog breeds. No smokers. Property renovation completed the week of October 6.

  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Master bath
  • Breakfast nook
  • Range / Oven
  • Dishwasher
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Fenced yard
  • Lawn
  • Heat: forced air
  • Central A/C
  • Ceiling fans
  • Cable-ready
  • High-speed internet
  • Hardwood floor
  • Tile floor
  • Granite countertop
  • Fireplace
  • Garage - Attached
Tenant must pay for renters insurance, yard care, and all utilities.
  • Website:

Contact info:
Mindy Henderson
North Texas Rent Homes, LLC

Thursday, October 2, 2014

For Rent - 1061 Custer Rd

Contact info:
Mindy Henderson | North Texas Rent Homes, LLC | 972-881-4739

2 Bedroom/ 2 Bathroom Duplex for Rent

1061 Custer Rd, Richardson, TX 75080


Year Built: 1984
Sq Footage: 1021 sqft.
Bedrooms: 2 Beds
Bathrooms: 2 Baths
Parking: 2 Carport
Lease Duration: 1 Year (See Details Below)
Deposit: $1,095
Pets Policy: Cats & Dogs OK
Laundry: Shared
Property Type: Townhouse


Newly remodeled 2/2 duplex. Fresh paint, new flooring, remodeled bathrooms, and new appliances!! Each bedroom has its own bath. Kitchen, dining and living in open area between two bedrooms. Separate laundry room. Make ready in process. Est completion date 9/15/2014. Pet OK with additional deposit. No violent dog breeds. No smokers.

  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Master bath
  • Breakfast nook
  • Pantry
  • Range / Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Yard
  • Fenced yard
  • Heat: forced air
  • Central A/C
  • Cable-ready
  • High-speed internet
  • Tile floor
  • Covered parking
Tenant must pay for all utilities and renters insurance.
  • Website:

Contact info:
Mindy Henderson
North Texas Rent Homes, LLC

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Autumn at the Arboretum 2014

As you read last Friday, it was my daughter's birthday. So I took a little half day and we went to the Dallas Arboretum to hang out in the Pumpkin Village. It was a beautiful day, and the village was really cool. We played in the giant pumpkin patch and looked at all the pumpkin houses. We even got a membership so we could come back with Daddy! If we only come back one time, it'll be worth the cost. There were a lot of families out taking pictures. Even if you're not interested in the fall fun, the rest of the arboretum is open as well.
Crate Myrtle alley...there was a wedding being set up there.
Green paradise
Pumpkin House
They had every kind of squash you could imagine.
Another cool pumpkin house
Scarecrows and gardens
Fall Marigolds were everywhere.
Having fun in the pumpkin patch!

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Dog Park in Richardson

The City of Richardson is going forward with plans to build its first public dog park! The park will be located over at George Bush 190 and 75, on the West side. It's very close to the new State Farm complex over by Plano Rd and 190. Some of the features include play areas for both big and small dogs, artwork, and fountains. Hopefully construction will be done by year's end.

City of Richardson Dog Park Plans

New dog park coming to Richardson, TX

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brewsday: Funnel Cake Ale

The Texas State Fair starts this weekend! My personal favorite part of the State Fair is all the awesome food that comes out. I mean, this is the fair that brought you Fletcher's Corny Dog and deep-fried butter. Every year, we have the Big Tex Awards to see what cool new foods are coming out, and I wasn't disappointed. The Texas Bluebonnet is a fried blueberry muffin and Fried Texas, which is a fried pie filled with pecans, peaches and buttermilk pie.

But this is Brewsday, so I have to mention the Funnel Cake Ale  brought to us by local brewery Community Beer Company. It won Most Creative in the Big Tex Awards, and I hope to have a taste this year. This is the first year we've had an official brew of the State Fair...Dallas has a growing craft beer scene, and it's cool to see them start to get recognized for the awesome work they do.

You have to be 21+ to try (of course) but you CAN get powdered sugar on the rim. Probably would go great with the fried Sriracha balls. ;)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekend Events September 19 - September 21, 2014

My husband and I just moved out to Wylie, so we were looking for couple of things to do this weekend. And jeez, there's a lot going on! I guess everyone is just trying to enjoy the last days of summer. I'd love to check out everything, but we'll see what happens.

Wylie Rodeo
Fri-Sun 6:30 pm, Sun 1:00 pm
$10 for adults, $5 for kids and seniors, under 3 FREE!
Sponsored by the Wylie Chamber of Commerce, come watch bull riding and enjoy fair food! I heard there's even going to be a petting zoo for the kids sponsored by Wylie's FFA!

Highway 205 Trading Days
10984 Highway 205
Lavon, TX
8 am - 5 pm
Local flea market open one weekend a month...see their Facebook page for the schedule.

Rockwall Farmer's Market
101 Rusk St
Rockwall, TX
8 am - 12 pm
This is the next-to-last weekend for the farmer's market in downtown Rockwall to be open, so come out and support local farmers.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Downtown Dallas - August 2014

My husband and I were invited to a party on a rooftop in Uptown, and we had the most beautiful view of the city! You could see the Katy Trail and Fountain Place (the fancy triangle building). Reunion Tower and the new Omni are on the other bad cause it would haven been cool to get a picture with all the lights on! I think the Omni was pink the weekend this was taken because of the Mary Kay convention.

Dallas, TX

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Today is the 17th anniversary of my Mom/broker's 35th birthday! Love you Mom and have a great day!

Mindy Henderson, owner North Texas Homes

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Brewsday: Lakewood Brewery

This past weekend, my family and I went on a tour of the Lakewood Brewery  located out in Garland. They're a local brewery probably most-known for (in our family anyway) the Temptress. It was a really good time!
Lakewood Temptress..delicious when barrel aged!
 For $10, you get a nice glass and 4 samples, and they even had some of their fancy stuff to try, like their Lion's Share (which my husband got to had a cool pink color do it) and Antigoon's Revenge (no longer in production...deep cut!)
Lion's Share
They also had a local food truck. This week's selection was YimYam. We had the Fire Balls, one rice bowl with the brisket, and the pork tacos. All of it was delicious.
YimYam Foodtruck...mmmmm Thai Fusion
Doors open at 12 pm, and there's an informal tour starting at 1:30 pm. We didn't stay for the tour since our daughter was getting a little bit fussy, but it looked really impressive. It seemed like a bigger operation than Franconia in McKinney.
Warehouse full of beer!
Also, you can volunteer to help out during the tours. It seemed that the volunteers got a couple of samples as well. :) It was a great way to spend a Saturday, and of course a great way to support local brewing!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Laughs

Sorry for the long drought of posts, but we were having our mandated audit from the Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending since we process paperwork for owner-finance deals. We had a lot of work to do, but it's all done and we passed the audit. Yeah!

So I look forward to updating more regularly. In the meantime, enjoy some of this...uhhh...interesting advertising from real estate agents.

Bad Real Estate Marketing

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Texas Home Video Contest

If you love living in Texas and have a video camera, there's a cool contest going on at You can shoot a 90 second video of why you love living in Texas, and you can win up to $5000! Click on the website link for more info.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brewsday: Bishop Cider Company

Beer is good, but my REAL favorite is cider. And Dallas has it's very first cidery opening this weekend! Check out Bishop Cider Company on 07/19/2014.

It sounds like it's been a real interesting ride...I remember hearing about this place a while ago but they had a hell of a time opening because under Texas law, a cidery is considered a winery instead of a brewery which has a different set of laws and restrictions. But it's open and has THREE new ciders, including one with catnip and jalepeños (appropriately named Cat Scratch Fever). That doesn't sound good to you, don't worry! They have taps with other ciders while they gets theirs all brewed up.

I can't wait to go to this place, and I'm hoping to make it out there in August. If you go, let me know how it is!

Image downloaded from

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ask an Agent: Disclosure of a Death

As I was exploring the internet the other day, I found an interesting story where a woman found out through and A&E documentary that her house was home to a serial killer. She begged to be let out of her lease, but the landlord (who is also the killer's mother) refused. A lot of people argue that since the tenant was not notified of the house's grisly past she should have been allowed to move. But is a non-disclosure of death a legal reason for breaking a lease?

Some states require disclosure of deaths that have happened within a certain time frame or violent deaths. But Texas Property Code DOES NOT require notification of a death that occurred in the house not caused by the condition of the property (§ 5.008(c)). That means if a death was caused by the roof collapsing, disclosure is necessary. A death caused by suicide or murder, however, does not require disclosure.

That being said, you might want to consider disclosing a death if you do know about it. A tenant may find out through some other means, such as a busy-body neighbor or (as above) and A&E documentary. And finding out second-hand could put a strain on the tenant-landlord relationship, as the tenant may feel like the landlord was hiding something from them. It is best judged on a case-by-case basis. And, as always, if you have any questions or concerns on whether a death should be disclosed, speak to a real estate attorney for a real concrete answer.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Brewsday: 2014 Dallas Observer Brewfest

Tickets are on sale for the 2014 Dallas Observer Brewfest!

If you haven't been to a beer festival before, you get a card to sample 12 two oz samples from your favorite breweries from across the US (and some from overseas). Due to some of our strange liquor laws in the Great State of Texas, they are only legally allowed to "give away" 24 oz of beer. But fear not! You can buy additional sample cards for a measly price. It's a great way to try new beers (I found Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout at the last beer fest I went to....LOVE IT).

This beer-a-palooza will at the Dallas Farmers Market off of Pearl. I highly recommend the VIP passes so you can get an extra hour. These things get PACKED and the exclusive hour makes sure you're not rushed in choosing you beers. They will also have tasty food there, too. What more could you want?

Dallas Observer
BrewFest 2014
saturday, September 13,2014
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Dallas Farmers Market
1010 S. Pearl Expressway
Dallas, TX 75201

Yummy beer down into my tummy

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ask an Agent: Why no pitbulls?

Pit bulls are a divisive animal. Either you love them or you hate them. And as a renter, you may find that you have a hard time finding a house because of your dogs reputation, whether is it earned or not. We always advise our owners to NOT take certain breeds for the following reasons:

  1. Liability: The tenant may own the dog, but the landlord could also be held responsible and named in any suit filed against the tenant.
  2. Insurance: A lot of landlord insurance policies will not cover the property owner if a certain breed of animal is living on the property. It could also translate into loss of coverage for ALL of the properties the landlord owns.
  3. Laws: Some places have BSL (breed-specific legislation). Certain breeds may not be allowed inside city limits of certain towns. Here is a list of North Texas cities and their animal control policies.
Required disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, so any legal questions you have about pet restrictions please direct towards your attorney. There may be exceptions, such as ADA compliance. 

Sometimes people try to sneak a pit bull in by using another name:
  • American Bulldog
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Straffordshire Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
If one of these breeds is listed on an application, we require a picture and a note from a vet stating they are NOT pit bulls for our records.

At North Texas Homes, LLC, we exclude pit bulls, rottweilers, Akitas, dobermans, chows, their mixes, and wolf-hybrids per our insurance. 

Why won't landlords accept pit bulls?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

North Texas 4th of July Celebrations - 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Looking for some place to see fireworks this 4th of July? Here are some places in North Texas to check out...and most are free!

July 3rd, 2014
Addison Park Circle
4970 Addison Park Circle Dr
Addison, TX
Fireworks at 9:30 pm

June 29, 2014
Celebration Park
701 Angel Parkway
Allen, TX
Fireworks at 10 pm

July 4, 2014
Simpson Plaza at City Hall
6101 Frisco Square Blvd
Frisco, TX
Fireworks at 10:20 pm

July 4, 2014
Firewheel Town Center
245 Cedar Sage Dr
Garland, TX
Fireworks at 9 pm

July 4, 2014
Craig Ranch
6375 Collin McKinney Parkway
McKinney, TX
Fireworks at 9:45 pm

June 29, 2014
Southfork Ranch
3700 Hogge Rd
Parker, TX
Fireworks END at 11 pm

July 3, 2014
Heritage Park
4408 Hudson Dr
Sachse, TX
Fireworks at 9:30 pm

Didn't see your town? Check out this list at the Dallas Guide Live.

Friday, June 20, 2014

NTAREI monthly meeting

Last night, my broker Mindy and I went to the monthly NTAREI (North Texas Association of Real Estate Investors) meeting. Our property management company is a sponsor and we spend on Thursday a month at the general meeting, answering questions from investors. There are all kinds there, from people who have been in the industry for years to people who haven't even bought their first rent house yet. Everyone is welcome!

The first part of the meeting is networking, where everyone can go around and visit the sponsors. At the end of the networking section, there's a big raffle with lots of prizes. Last night they gave away a bug multi-function printer. Then there is a speaker who usually talks about specialty areas for investors. 

It's a good time and a great way to go out and meet people who do investments. Even if you're just interested and not sure yet you can at least talk to some knowledgeable individuals. They also offer classes that you can sign up and take if you are so inclined. The next meeting is July 17th....we'd love to see you there!

Monthly meetings at:
Richardson Civic Center
411 W Arapaho Rd
Richardson, TX 75080
By the Richardson Library at Arapaho and 75

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ask an Agent: When is my deposit due?

The time to figure out how much money will be due is BEFORE you sign the lease, not after. The last thing you want is to find the house that you want, spend you application fee, and then lose the property because you didn't know when deposit money would be due!

Usually, when you rent the house, the schedule for money due is as follows:

Due Date Breakdown
Lease Signing Lease Deposit
Lease Signing Pet Deposit
Before Move In Full Months Rent

Of course, there is some flexibility with in these guidelines, but generally the full deposit is due before move-in in "guaranteed funds," usually a cashier's check, money order, or wire.

If you need a payment plan that is set up a little bit differently, be up front with your agent about it. The last thing we want is for you to get into a deal you can't afford. The biggest thing is that the landlord needs to know when to expect your payment, and usually are willing to work with you if you are up front about your situation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Brewsday: 2014 TREPAC Beer Fest

Looking for something to do next Tuesday night? How about tasting a few beers at the 2014 TREPAC Beer Fest

For $25, you get to sample some beers, participate in a silent auction, and entered for a drawing of a grand prize! What is it? I don't know, but it sounds mysterious and exciting. Also you get a free beer mug, so I guess that makes everyone a winner.

$25 for beer, food, and fun. The proceeds will go to benefit TREPAC (Texas Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee).

What: 2014 TREPAC Beer Fest
When: 06/24/2014 6 pm - 9 pm
Where: CCAR Banquet Room 6821 Coit Rd Plano, TX
For more information and to register, visit the site.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ask An Agent: What are the requirements to rent a home?

Right now it's the busy time of year for real estate agents...every one wants to move and settle in by the time school starts! We're helping people buy, sell, and rent like crazy right now.

We get a lot of people asking us what a landlord is looking for. In Texas, there are several criteria that can be used to screen a tenant, some of them being:
  1. Credit
  2. Past evictions and/or landlord collections
  3. Job instability
  4. Income
  5. Criminal background
Issues with one of the above does NOT usually disqualify you, but be prepared to have a co-signor or put down extra deposit.

Also note that a landlord is supposed to provide their tenant selection criteria in writing so you decided you qualify before putting in your application and application fee. You can find an example of tenant selection criteria here.

You CANNOT be denied based on race, color, creed, national origin, religion, familial status, sex, or disability because of the Fair Housing Act. Additional protections can be available depending on your city.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Brewsday: The Holy Grail Pub

Everyone has "their pub," where they like to go and hang out for a couple hours. My pub is the Holy Grail Pub out in Plano on Preston.

Not only does this place have an awesome beer list they also have excellent food. They have a huge covered patio (a must-have for the Texas summer) and lots of special events and tappings. About once a month, they have Dogfish Days where they tap special Dogfish Head beers...last time they had the 120 IPA, a rare find in these parts.

Every time we go in, they have a large list of rotators and always something new on tap. I would advise you go early in the week though cause they tend to run out of the special drafts on Sunday. The atmosphere is relaxed and it's one of my favorite places to go. Just be careful of special tap days, cause it tends to get crazy busy. It's a great place for a brew and a burger at the end of a long working day.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Brewsday: The Blind Pig

Sorry that I missed last Brewsday....I thought I had scheduled a post and it turns out I forgot the all-important "save" button. And Brewsday on a Friday? That sir, is craziness.

Anyway, Mr. Mayo and I went to a new pub on Lower Greenville a couple of weeks ago called The Blind Pig over by the new Trader Joe's. The specialize in brews and in-house made sausages and other pub foods.

When we got there, I promptly ordered the house beer, the Franconia Meäzen, which Franconia only makes for The Blind Pig. It was a pretty tasty beer..medium-bodied and incredibly drinkable. You could order a whole liter for a pretty decent price. Their beer list was OK...not the biggest I've seen, but they had enough craft beer to keep us happy.
Franconia Meäzen
One of the best things that they have poutine menu. For those of you unfamiliar, poutine is a Canadian dish of french fried covered in gravy and cheese curds. It's not healthy, but it's one of my favorite things to eat. And at the Blind Pig, they have some pretty decadent selections. Mr. Mayo and I got the duck poutine...french fries fried in duck fat, covered in duck gravy with duck confit, cheese curds, and (why not?) a duck egg. And if you're feeling particularly fancy, you can add foie gras for $10 extra. We figured this dish was already rich enough.
Duck Poutine
We also tried two of their sampler boards. One had fresh potato chips with goat cheese and pickles. And you're thinking, "Pickles? That seems unappetizing." Nope. There was probably about 7 different kinds of pickles...from cucumbers to my personal favorite, shallots.
Chips and pickled veggies
The last thing we ordered was their sausage sampler...they make a bunch of sausages in-house and we can get a tray with three different types. We had a brisket sausage (my fav), a bacon bratwurst, and a spicy Italian sausage. On the menu, they even had a veggie sausage that I wanted to try but it wasn't on our sampler.
Brisket sausage=awesome sauce
It was a little pricey and everything was kind of rich, but over all it was worth it. The beer list was pretty good, food excellent, and they have a pretty big covered patio area if al fresco is your type of thing. I highly recommend trying this place.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ask an Agent: Why is my rent going up?

It's the middle of the month, so we sent out lease renewals. One of the biggest questions I've been getting the last couple days is, "Why is my rent going up?" A lot of tenants believe that if they pay on time and aren't too much of a bother, their rent will stay the same. There are a couple other factors at play though:

  1. Property taxes: Property taxes are based on the appraised value of the property, so when home prices go up so do property taxes. The market in Texas (especially Dallas) is red-hot right now, meaning a lot of counties are increasing the amount they are charging home owners for taxes. Increased taxes=increased expense, and that gets passed onto tenants.
  2. Insurance: Insurance is another item that increases with property values. Since most insurances cover "replacement value" (how much it will cost to rebuild the house in case it is destroyed completely), the yearly premium goes up when the market does.
  3. Market influences: We have seen rents go up in neighborhoods by as much as $150 a month. While we usually do not want to raise good tenants to market value, we sometimes have to close the gap between market value and what the tenant is currently paying. Also, the vacancy rates are extremely low, meaning owner are having no problems finding new tenants.
There are some items you can do as the tenant to decrease a rent jump. The biggest thing is call your landlord and speak with them. Most of the time, owners would rather keep a good tenant than pay vacancy costs. Some of the items tenants can offer to do to bring down the rent is sign a longer lease or offer to pay for an improvement.

Want some more information on the current landlord's market? Read this article at MSN.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

An explanation of the TAR Residential Lease

If you are renting a house in Texas, most likely you will be signing the TAR lease.

For agent and property managers who have drawn a million leases, they are pretty familiar with the form and what terms are set out. For renters who maybe read a lease every year or so it's a much more daunting task.

This video was put out by the Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) explaining the lease paragraph by paragraph. ALWAYS read your lease before signing and if you have any questions, contact your attorney.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ask an Agent: Property Management Costs

What my company mostly does is manage properties. We started with my broker's 27 personal rental properties and today we manage about 110. I've worked there for almost 5 years, so I've seen it all from awesome tenants who leave the property better than when they found it, to people leaving dead animals at move out. It gets...interesting...sometimes.

If you have that great tenant that never moves and calls in one repair request a year, this post is not for you. You can just go here. If you have 5 or more units, people calling an emailing all the time with repair requests, or trouble tenants who don't pay, you probably have wondered, "How much does a property manager cost?"

At North Texas Homes, it's one month's rent to find the tenant. We just don't throw it into the MLS and wait though. That price includes advertising on other internet sites, showings, fielding calls from interested folks, tenant screening (credit, criminal background, landlord reference, and employment verification), drawing the lease, and collecting the deposit. And since it's the in MLS, part of that one month's rent goes to paying the other real estate agent.

On a monthly basis, the charge is 10% of the collected rents up to $125. So for a $600 per month rental, the charge is $60. For a $1400 a month rental, it's only $125. We collect rents, take all repair requests (we even have an after hours emergency hotline that's available 24/7), collect late fees, and if we have to, evict. If your tenant is not paying or the property is vacant, you DO NOT pay the monthly fee.

But what about renewals? And repairs? It depends on your contract, but most of owners only pay $75 if a tenant renews. And repairs, we don't mark up. We do hold a reserve of $300 for little repairs that come up, like a clogged sink. Anything over $300, we call the owner first.

Did I cover everything? Any other questions about costs of a property manager and what we'll do? Feel free to ask!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ready to sell?

My husband and I are big Dave Ramsey fans, so of course I follow his Facebook page. Today they posted article about getting ready to sell your house. Since the market in Dallas is so hot right now, a lot of people have been asking about selling so I thought I'd share his advice.

First you need to ask yourself if you're ready financially. That means knowing how much equity you have in your house. Equity is how much you think you can get for your house minus what you still owe on your mortgage. A couple years ago, a lot of properties were "underwater" or had negative equity, meaning they owed more on their houses than what they were worth. Now prices are climbing and you may have a good amount left over if you decide to sell and pay off your mortgage. Also, you need to make sure you can afford the down payment and closing on your new home.

You also need to check if you're emotionally ready. Remember how stressful it was buying your current home? Selling is just as stressful. There's papers to sign, repairs to get done, and you need to keep your home in showing condition. And if you are buying a new home at the same time, it's double the stress.

If you are thinking of selling, see what other homes in your neighborhood have sold for by using a market snapshot.

Is it time to sell your house?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ask an Agent: Paying an agent for a rental

A lot of people who are renting a house have never used a real estate agent before, so they have a lot of questions. That's OK! You should ask questions, especially if you don't understand the process.

One of the questions I get the most is, "Am I responsible for paying the agent?" In some places, such as New York, the answer is yes. But here in Texas, the answer is usually no. For most tenants, it is free to use the services of a real estate broker or agent.

There are times when you as the renter may have to pay your agent. For example, you agent may ask you to sign a representation agreement. Part of this agreement can guarantee payment of a certain portion of a month's rent. Anything the other broker doesn't pay, YOU will be responsible for. If you have that clause in your representation agreement, double-check with your agent that any property you want meets those guidelines so there's no surprises.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Brewsday: The Bottle Shop

Any time you can taste a couple beers at once for a little bit of cash, you should do it. We got to last Tuesday at the World Beer Co. Bottle Shop.

WBC Bottle Shop
 We took their American Craft Beer class and we had a lot of fun! We got to taste 5 samples (yeah!) and learn a lot of the history of craft beer in American. Since the 1970's, the craft beer scene has grown a lot! At the end of the class, we got to take home a growler. Very nice.

Beer Growler
They have a bunch of beer on draft as well as tons of bottles. Of course something like True Wine has a lot more choices, but the selection here is not bad. And it's all BEER.

Bottle selection

So if you have time, I would definitely stop by. They have a bunch of specials, like free pizza on Tuesday night and a Cards Against Humanity tournaments. And the beer classes are a lot of fun. Come and check it out next time you're in lower Greenville!

Tasting Card

Thursday, April 24, 2014

North Texas craft beer craze

It seems that everywhere you go everyone is making a big deal about Texas beers. Remember when it just used to be Shiner? Now we have Lakewood, Franconia, and Firewheel, just to name a few. It seems to be hundreds of breweries!

What happened?

In 2013, Texas changed it's brewery laws. Now small breweries can sell their beer in their tasting rooms and beer gardens, and brew pubs call sell to distributors. In short, brewers can now make money on their beer. Also, the local food movement is making consumers aware of where their food (and beverages) are coming from. People love supporting local food, making Texas beers a better buy.

Consumers are also getting into the game by "homebrewing," or making their own beer at home. And yes, it's totally legal. My husband does it at home, and it's pretty cool to turn $75 worth of ingredients into 5 gallons of beer. That's pretty awesome bang for your dollar.

If you would like, there was a an interview on Think about the North Texas craft beer craze and it highlights some local breweries. Most of them have tours on the weekends and *glee* samples.

Mr. Mayo's Raspberry Chocolate Stout

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

721 Lakeside Wylie, TX - $129,000

Looking for a home with a country feel but not to far from the city? This 2-story home in Wylie near Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard has a large, un-fenced backyard giving a nice country feel. Easy access to Highway 78. 4/2/1 with two bedrooms and bath downstairs and 2 bedrooms and 1 bath upstairs. Asking price is currently $129,000. Call 972-881-4739 for your appointment today.

721 Lakeside Dr

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Brewsday: Community Ascension Coffee Porter

There are two things I like in this world: coffee and beer. Both are social drinks that are enjoyed best surrounded by friends and conversation. What happens when you combine them? Ascension Coffee and Community Beer got together created Ascension Community Coffee Porter. So. Tasty.

Of course, porter is one of my favorite types of beer already and it lends itself to the roasty toasty notes of coffee. You don't sip this beer and think, "It's a good porter, but I don't get the coffee part." No smells like a fresh-brewed coffee, and you can taste it throughout.

The Coffee Porter is only a limited release brew, so it is kinda hard to find at this point. But if you see it on the menu, order it up and enjoy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cool Tools: Neighborhood Scout

Say you're looking for a new home and you find the perfect house...the right number of bedrooms, the paint on the walls is perfect, and it's only 15 minutes from work!'re not familiar with the area. How are the schools? What is the crime rate? What are the neighbors like?

Some of these questions a real estate agent can answer for you, but sometimes you want to see the information yourself. I recommend a website called Neighborhood can enter the address and it will tell you all sorts of information about the area. You can compare crime rates of the neighborhood vs. the rest of the state, get school ratings, and see appreciation rates. You can also search but items such as the Best School Districts or the neighborhoods with the most families.

Some of the information is free, but some you must pay for. At the time of this blog, the pricing is all the way from $39.99 for a monthly plan to $19.99 a month for 6 months. But it's a great tool, especially if you are moving here from out-of-town or an area you are not familiar with.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Real estate sales are UP in Dallas

Of course you expect me to say Dallas is a great market...I'm a real estate. But I have a good source to back me up...KERA, the local public radio station.

According to this article, Dallas is the number one market in the US right now. 14% of homes sold in the first 72 hours. That's GREAT for sellers, but makes it really competitive for buyers. Due to the moderate price of homes and population growth, homes are going quickly.

CCAR (Collin County Association of REALTOR®) also release their monthly Pulse numbers, which discusses stats of the Collin County market for February. A healthy seller's market has a 6 month supply of house...right now, the supply is 1.6 months.

So if you have been thinking about selling, now is the time for sure. Just have plans on where you're going to live cause your house is going to sell fast!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gaming Madness

Mr. Mayo and I have gamed for a long time...since we got together in High School, actually. We still get together with a group of friends every other week for a little 3-hour gaming session. It's a skill/obsession we plan to pass down to our daughter.

The other night, we were in the area and we decided to take Addy to her first gaming shop experience. I hadn't been there since they moved to their new location, and it's HUGE! It was packed with Magic players so I didn't have an opportunity to take a picture of her amongst the piles of games.

If you're looking for a place to game, I highly recommend this store. Sunday they have free-play so you can just go up there and play a board game, and Magic is every Friday night at 7:30.
Madness Games in Plano, TX

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Allen getting a new brewery

I was driving home the other day and decided to take a different route home. As I did, I notice that Nine Band Brewing Co has finally broken ground in Allen!

I currently live just around the corner from there...figures as soon as I put my house on the market, a brewery goes up. I didn't see them at the Big Texas Beer Festival this year, but hopefully we'll be tasting some delicious brews from them soon!
Nine Band Brewing Co in Allen, TX