Friday, May 28, 2010

Tips for Buying

Homeowners insurance: 7 tips for Texans

Save on homeowners insurance
Here are seven ways to cut the cost of your home insurance from, a Texas consumer friendly Internet site:

1. Shop around - and do it early!
Check with several different home insurance companies to get rate quotes. (An independent insurance agent can provide rate quotes from a variety of companies.) And definitely do it well before your policy expires, just in case you run into an snags along the way.

2. Raise you deductible
The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance kicks in. Home insurance deductibles usually start around $250. However, if you increase your deductible to:
$500, you'll save up to 12% on your premiums
$1,000? Save up to 24%
$2,500? Save up to 30%
$5,000? Save up to 37%

3. Buy your home and auto policies from the same company
Many companies will give what's called a "multi-line" discount if you buy both home insurance and auto coverage from them.

4. Don't skimp when buying a home
If you're looking at buying a home, think about the cost of insuring the home. A newer home's electrical, heating, and plumbing systems and overall structure are likely to be in better condition than those of an older home - and can lead to a discount on your premiums.

5. Insure your home, not the land
While your home and its contents are at risk from fire, theft, windstorms, and other perils, the land your home sits on is not. Don't include the value of the land in deciding how much home insurance you need to buy.

6. Improve security and safety
Items such as dead-bolt locks, burglar alarms, and smoke detectors can usually bring discounts of 5% each. Your insurance company may also offer a significant discount of 15% or sometimes even 20% if you install a sophisticated home-security system.

7. Check your policy annually
Your policy should reflect the value of your home and belongings. If you review your policy every year, you can easily make the necessary adjustments. If, for example, you just sold a valuable painting, you won't need the same amount of personal property coverage. But if you've added a garage or other addition, you'll need to increase your dwelling coverage.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Make your finances attractive

Clean up and save: Make yourself more attractive to lenders by cleaning up your personal finances

It is never a bad time to take a hard look at your personal finances. You can clean up your fiscal household by applying a few simple steps to make yourself more appealing to lenders for mortgage, auto, and home improvement loans.

Check your credit
With an estimated 60% of information on credit reports outdated or incorrect, it's best to inspect your report annually.

For example, you're not unlikely to find factual errors and inaccuracies related to your current employer or salary. Since it's imperative to correct such errors before applying for credit and agencies can't remove bad marks from your file unless instructed by the creditor, the best thing to do is contact the creditor yourself.

Strike a balance
Think your credit is excellent because you always pay cash, never financed a car or even a had a credit card? Think again.

Regrettably, such responsible behavior can be as detrimental toward being approved for a loan as a poor credit history. Lenders want to see how well you handle your finances, and if you have no credit history, they can't make a judgement. So, if you have no credit, you must get some.

Still, several creditors are more accepting of those with little credit history than a bad one. Department stores, gasoline stations and furniture stores that want to encourage you to shop their stores are good places to start.

Conversely, too much credit can work against you. In the eyes of lenders, a fist full of credit cards is as bad as none, indicating you have too much available credit. If you have several cards, close out most of them, consolidating to one or two.

Be your own financial planner
Beyond strong credit, you need to assert self control on personal spending habits. Make a budget, determining what you must pay (rent, utilities), and what you can do without. Bear in mind you don't want to create a torturous existence that drives you from your budget, i.e., if you must have cable T.V., so be it. But if you can do without it, it's probably at least $500 a year in your pocket.

But consider the things you can credibly cut back on: eating out, coffee drinks, buying another pair of shoes. Seemingly minor accounts can quickly add up to a significant sum.

Besides conserving, you need to learn to sock it away. Saving 10% if a doable, painless proposition just about for anybody. On a $30,000 year salary, that's about $125 every two weeks and you have $3,000 put aside in a year. By tidying up now and curbing your spending habits, you can have a spotless credit record and make yourself a far more attractive and viable candidate to lenders.

Source: by Mike Sheridan

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Applying for a home loan?

Are you planning to apply for a home loan? Here are some key items you need to have with you when meeting your loan professional...

1. 30-Days fill paycheck stubs (YTD)

2. Last two years W-2's

3. If you are self-employed, you will need two years of personal and business returns

4. Last two months bank statements on all accounts

5. Copy of the most recent monthly or quarterly account statement for retirement

6. Copy of all Bankruptcy Discharge papers and list of creditors (if applicable)

7. Copy of settlement statement from sale of home (if applicable)

8. Child support information (if applicable)

Working with a trusted lending partner is key with any home purchase. For more information, or if you need assistance with your real estate needs contact the Grove Team.

Direct (817) 337-0000

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Right Price is Important

The Right Price is Important

* A property generates the most interest when it first hits the market
* The number of showings is greatest during this time if it is priced at a realistic market value
* Starting to high and dropping the price later misses the excitement and fails to generate strong activity
* Pricing your property too high may make it necessary to drop the price below the market value to compete with new, well-price listings
* Pricing your property competitively will generate the most activity from agents and buyers

If You Want to Compete, Be Competitive

* The buying market has a short attention span
* Pricing your home right the first time is key
* Proper pricing attracts buyers
* An overpriced house will not sell
* We want to generate offers before the market moves on to newer listings

How can the Grove Team assist you with buying or selling real estate? Contact us directly - we will provide you with a FREE market analysis of your home!

Office (817) 337-0000

Friday, May 14, 2010

Simple tips to make your home marketable

Here are some quick tips that will help make your home more marketable when showing!

1. Make sure your entranceway says, "Hey, look at me!"

2. Prune dead limbs from tress.

3. Paint (or touch up) exterior, and repair screens and windows.

4. Clean your windows.

5. Check A/C and heating systems.

6. Fix leaky faucets, toliets, and faulty lights.

7. Vacuum drapes and carpets.

8. Repair wall cracks, re-caulk bathrooms and kitchen.

9. Clear out closets.

10. Remove excess furniture.

11. Keep cats and dogs out of visitors' way.

12. Mow lawn, edge driveway and walkways.

13. Ensure windows, doors, and locks work smoothly.

14. Weed flower beds and trim shrubs.

15. Throw out junk from garage and storage areas.

16. Clean lawn furniture.

17. If you have a pool, make it crystal clear.

Would you like further information on how the Grove Team can assist you selling your home? Contact us for a FREE market analysis -

Direct (817) 337-0000
Email -

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Property Tax Protest

It is that time of year again - the local tax offices have mailed the revised tax assessments. Have you received yours? If you have and feel your property has been over valued for the purposes of taxes, we would like for you to call us!

The Grove Team will run the numbers and provide you with the information you will need to protest your tax value. This is of course a service we provide to you FREE of charge.

How do you begin the process?

1. Contact the Grove Team, (817) 337-0000 to tell us you plan to protest.

2. Fax, scan, or deliver a copy of your property tax assessment paperwork to the Grove Team

Fax (817) 337-8588
Email -

3. Login to to file your protest online.

Improved online procedures for protesting appraisals. As required by law, the Tarrant Appraisal District's new e-government protal, eAccess at, provides most property owners additional online alternatives to protest appraised property values.

The portal allows property owners:

* To file a timely protest
* To view comparable sales for their property
* To see other evidence that may be presented at the appraisal review board hearings
* To possibly resolve protests online

Property owners will be required to enter a PIN, which was provided to most property owners on their value notice or in an annoucement letter mailed to the homesteaded properties May 1.
Source: Tarrant Appraisal District

Contact the Grove Team for more information or to begin your protest process!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Truth about Texas Real Estate

With so much misperception created by the national news about the real estate market, our local board office, - MetroTex Association has provided the following information to update you, the consumer on what is really going on.

Why Texas is different
* Strong, diverse economy: Texas is strong in industries that are still growing (such as professional & business services, education, and health services, government) and has the second largest economy in the nation by GDP according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

* Steady job growth: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Texas added about 153,700 jobs (1.5% increase in employment) from December 2007 to December 2008m while during the same time the national unemployment rate rose 2.3%.

* Top state to relocate: According to Allied Van Lines' 41st Annual Magnet States Report, Texas is the #1 state for residential relocation for the 4th year in a row. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau confirms that Texas gained more residents (484,000) between July 2007 and July 2008 than any other state.

Statewide facts
* Texas real estate remains a strong long-term investment. The average home sales price in Texas has increased $15,600 from December 2004 to December 2008; over the same four years, median sales prices (half of all homes sold are priced higher and half are priced lower) increased to $8,600.

* Texas has a balanced market. Statewide, there was a 6.4-month inventory of homes for sale at the end of 2008. Economists at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M say that about 6.5 months of inventory is a balanced market, where homes are being sold and prices continue to increase at a moderate pace.

* Texas homes have appreciated steadily. Home-price appreciation in Texas has not fallen below zero in the last 16-years.

* Texas has steady home value appreciation. Sales prices in places like California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona have had rapid rises and drops in value, while Texas prices have remained relatively steady.

* Most borrowers are approved. According to a report by the National Association of REALTORS, 91% if buyers in Texas were NOT rejected by lenders last year.

Thank you to the MetroTex Association of Realtors for providing such wonderful information about our Texas market.

How can the Grove Team assist you with your real estate needs? Contact us directly:

Office (817) 337-0000


Friday, May 7, 2010

Every Time I See My Pansies

A mother's day wish from the Grove Team...

Every time I see my pansies
Vivid in the golden sun,
You are with my in my garden,
And I am once again a child.

Vivid in the golden sun,
Their beauty brings me close to tears,
And I am once again a child
Learning to assume your grace.

Their beauty brings me close to tears
As I join hands with you in love,
Learning to assume your grace,
Dancing to your inner music.

As I join hands with you in love,
You are with me in my garden,
Dancing to your inner music
Every time I see my pansies.

Many Mother's Day wishes to all of the wonderful Moms out there!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Grow a Natually Vibrant Garden

Organic gardening keeps your harvest healthy without dangerous pesticides
By Debra Lynn Dadd

For spots that provide such serenity, freshness and beauty, many lawns and garden are also remarkably intertwined with deadly substances. Pesticides to be precise.

While the same pesticides used by agribusinesses are on nursery shelves-in smaller bottles with prettier labels-the National Academy of Sciences reports that "suburban gardens and lawns receive heavier pesticide applications than most other land areas in the United States, " including agricultural areas.

For the time-harried gardener, it may be easy to overlook such reports. After all, it's a breeze to spray some week killer or pest spray and be done with it.

What's impossible to ignore is the National Cancer Institute finding that in households where outdoor pesticides were used regularly, children were nine times more likely to develop childhood leukemia. In addition, pesticides are the second leading cause of household poisonings in the United States.

Gardening sans pesticide
The good news is lawns and gardens can be beautifully and healthfully maintained without using risky pesticides. Instead, organic gardening methods can be applied.

Pests are nature's way of eliminating unhealthy plants. Thus the basis if organic gardening is to grow healthy plants, which naturally resist pests. In organic gardening, much emphasis is given to building fertile soil, which in turn produces healthy plants. Compost, rock dust, and other soil amendments are frequently added.

If it becomes necessary to control unwanted insects, animals, and plants, you can use methods that are more natural and harmonious than chemical pesticides. These include traps, companion plants that deter harmful insects, beneficial organisms and insects, and natural botanical pesticides and repellents.

Here are tips for keeping your lawn green without chemicals:

* Let your grass grow. Grass that is 2.5 to 3 inches tall holds moisture in the soil and discourages the growth of weeds. Mow when the lawn i s dry during the cool part of the day.
* Fertilize naturally. Leave nitrogen-rich grass clippings behind to degrade into the soil-building compost. Add compost or manure. Make your lawn self-fertilizing by including clover and other nitrogen-rich plants.
* Cut dandelions at the root, most won't grow back.
* Dethatch in late spring or early summer, then reseed.
* Dry out fungus, dehatch, add soil bacteria and reseed. Fungus grows only in wet, thatchy, over fertilized lawns.
* Aerate twice a year (compacted soil promotes weeds). Add a soil loosener, like compost, then reseed.
* Reseed bare spots and thinning laws to prevent weed growth.
* Water in the evening, deeply and infrequently. Allow the grass to dry thoroughly between watering's.
* Choose the right species. Ask your local nursery for advice.

Spending time outdoors growing flowers and food organically can be a rewarding pastime that also protects your health and health of your loved ones. Once you learn the basics of organic gardening, there is no need for unnecessary exposure to the know toxic effects of chemical pesticides.

Monday, May 3, 2010

How to Increase your Chances for Success

Prepare for Showings
* Expect short notice. Maintain your home in ready-to-show condition.
* Increase buyer's comfort level by giving them privacy. Take the opportunity to run a few errands or see a movie. If it is impossible for you to leave, step outside and remember - silence is golden.
* Showcase your home as if you were receiving guests. Put out fresh flowers, guest towels, and be aware of any unusual odors.
* Put away medications and valuables.

Maximize Curb Appeal
* Implement a seasonal grounds clean-up.
* Use color - plant flowers or decorate for a holiday.
* Repaint any faded or peeling exterior paint.
* Trim shrubs or trees that hang over walk ways.

Light Sells Houses!
* Clean light fixtures and windows and install maximum wattage bulbs recommended by the manufacturer.
* Open blinds and drapes.
* Leave lights on as much as possible during the day. Lamps, niche lighting and spotlights give your home a cozy feel.

Spruce Up the Interior
* Touch up interior paint.
* Clean carpets to remove stains and odors. Repair and re-stretch if necessary .
* Re-caulk bathroom tubs and showers.
* Make sure all doors, including closet doors, open freely and latch securely.
* Maximize kitchen and bathroom counter space. Clear off counter tops as much as possible.