Thursday, March 29, 2012

Newlyweds: Tips for moving into your first real home

(ARA) - The wedding's over, the thank yous are sent and the top cake tier is in the freezer, waiting for your first anniversary celebration. Now you and your new spouse are starting to act on the plans you've made for your life together, and are ready to take that big step in moving into your first real home.

It's a big task, joining together two households and finding the perfect location with great schools, affordable taxes and good neighbors. But once you've signed on the dotted line for the home where you will begin your life as a couple - and maybe also raise your family when the time arrives - you're ready to plan your big move.

Many newlyweds face the chore of merging furniture, kitchen equipment and closet space from two households. To start your moving process off on the right foot, consider eliminating duplicate items and having a garage sale, or donating items, before beginning the packing process. It's a great chance to upgrade household furnishings - especially if you received something new as a wedding gift.

Then determine what size of moving truck you'll need. A good rule is to plan for 150 cubic feet of space for every fully furnished room. Many young couples moving from a small apartment or condo into a larger first home will find a 12- or 16-foot Penske rental truck more than adequate. Plan to reserve your truck at least two weeks in advance. Penske Truck Rental offers rental discounts for AAA members to help young couples with savings.

For help in making moving day go smoothly, use these tips from Penske. They've been in the do-it-yourself moving business for more than 40 years:

* Start early and group items together - Get good, sturdy boxes of various sizes, and then fill them with items of a similar content. Some traditional ways to group items are by item type (i.e. photo frames) or by contents of a room. Label each box with the room name, and the contents. Make sure you have plenty of packing bubbles or towels and cloths on hand to keep breakable items from being damaged in the move.

* Still unpacking your wedding gifts? - If space isn't a concern, keep those wedding gifts in their original boxes, because the store packaging will help protect the items. But if space is tight in the rental truck, throw away the store packaging and carefully repack in your moving boxes - with plenty of padding to protect your new gifts.

* Save your muscles - Ask friends to help you with carrying boxes. If something is heavy, enlist some help to prevent injury or strain on your muscles.

* Loading the truck - Load the largest items (i.e. bed, couch, dresser) into the truck first to ensure they will fit, and then start loading the heaviest boxes on the bottom and lighter boxes on top. Having each box labeled with contents will help prevent you and your friends from packing heavy books on top of your new fine china wedding gifts. Penske features an online Truck Wizard application to assist.

When you cross the threshold of your new home the first time as a married couple you'll be surrounded by the excitement and energy of so many adventures to come in your future. Carefully unpack your moving truck, cherishing the memories of your personal belongings as you meld them to fit into your new home and life with your new spouse.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

BIG BANG Remodeling Projects

Optimizing the use of space in a home will not only attract buyers but also give sellers more bang for their buck, according to Remodeling's "2011-12 Cost vs Value Report," conducted in cooperation with REALTOR Magazine and NAR's An attic bedroom addition costing $50,148 was expected to recoup 72.5% of the cost nationally - inching up 0.3% from the 2010-11 report. The minor kitchen remodel also fared well, returning an estimated 72.1% if the nearly $20,000 job cost.

The report looks at the estimated cost and expected resale return of the 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects in 80 markets. The estimated costs and returns were derived from a survey of more than 3,000 REALTORS conducted last summer. As in past years, REALTORS picked exterior projects to recoup the most at resale. Among those, new fiber cement siding was expected to provide the highest return, recouping an estimated 78% of the $13,461 cost.

Are you thinking about some home improvement projects to prepare your house for top market value? Contact the expert Grove Team, Keller Williams to discuss your current market value and the updates that will bring you the biggest return for the least amount out of pocket!

Find us online,

Call us at the office (817) 337-0000


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Home Staging Trends, 2012

The clutter is cleared. The house is clean. Now, what accessories and accents can you use to make a room look fresh and modern? Try chunky woven blankets, reflective surfaces, and tangerine combined with neutral shades, says Barb Schwarz, CEO of

Here are some other ideas:

Nature is popular in staging this year. Popular color palettes are reminiscent of natural elements - reds found in earth and soil, blues of the ocean, lush greens of the forest, and neutrals that draw from the softer, textured look of eggs, seashells, and sane. These natural tones are being paired with color accents, such as tangerine tango, Pantone Color Institutes's color of the year. Also look for accessories that incorporate natural elements: woven blankets, leather stools, and cotton towels.

Think zebra stripe rugs or leopard print votives! But beware: Use wild animal prints in small doses only.

Framing a piece of digital fabric is a great way to create an inexpensive piece of artwork. Try textiles with fern or tree branch patterns.

Add lace in subtle ways - on top of tablecloths or paired with bold colors. Traditional quilts and crochet pieces are popular.

Vintage is in vogue. Instead of ditching that old Asian rug, use it as the foundation for your room's color and aesthetic palette. Add modern artwork and table accessories that complement vintage pieces.

Think silk with suede, furniture with studs, shiny with vintage.

Think about the clouds and water when choosing reflective white, blue, and silver objects and hardware. Mirrors are great for staging because they make rooms look bigger. Also, consider mirrors in other ways, such as for a tray holding a tea cup and saucer or on a wall in an area where there isn't a lot of light.

Realtor Magazine, March/April 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Week in Review...

Thank you Tom Sherman and Benchmark for today's awesome information!


As I am sure many of you are aware, the last few weeks have seen a lot of activity in the financial markets. First of all, we have seen the stock market set new highs and the economic news has indicated a recovery. This has lead to gas / oil prices increasing to their highest level in years, as well as interest rates increasing to their highest level of the year. Add to this the fact that we have also been alerted that FHA will be tightening it's guidelines on April 1st, and all we can say is WOW! A lot can happen in a few weeks!

Needless to say, we have known for some time that these changes were inevitable. Rates can not stay this low forever, and FHA can not keep it's guidelines so loose forever. All in all, these changes mean that fewer people will be able to qualify for homes in the coming months. It is imperative that we remind our sellers and buyers that these changes will potentially affect them, and they need to be ready to address these changes in one way or another.

The good news, however, is that these changes are all pointing to an improving housing market, economy, and economic growth. Again, yet another reason that the time is now to buy a house! Warren Buffett agreed, saying last week that anyone who could buy a house needed to do so!!

As I write this article, I am reminded of the simple principle that lack of action in anything results in lack of results. Now is the time to do something!

Make it a GREAT day!

NMLS# 188788

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guest blogger, Amanda McCandles - Premier Nationwide Lending

Thank you Amanda McCandless, Premier Nationwide Lending for this awesome information! For more information on financing your new home, contact Amanda at (817) 455-7752.

Many prospective homeowners begin their search on the Internet. Most say that they enjoy the search. It is possible your present home was select this way.

Many mistakes are made due to a lack of exceptional representation. Perhaps, you depended on the builder salesman who actually represents the builder's interest. Most home buyers or sellers have a real estate agent to guide them.

Everyday wrong purchase decisions evolve around selecting a property with an inferior location, negative curb appeal, a floor plan that doesn't work or the price was too high. If your present home fits any one of those descriptions, it will more than likely take a price reduction until it sells.

Have you heard that before? Were you informed of possible resale problems when you purchased it? Probably not. It is important to buy a home that will be rated as one of the top in the marketplace when it is time to resale. It is not always about price, but condition, upgrades, curb appeal, floor plan, location, schools, proximity to major roads and local forces that affect the area and should be considered at the time of purchase.

By now you realize your most important decision is to select a knowledgeable, experienced Realtor/Team who has competed in a larger volume of transactions within many price ranges and locations. Your Realtor should ensure you receive max representation in one of the most important investments you will encounter in your life.

For more information on having a Realtor from the Grove Team, Keller Williams represent you in the sale and/or purchase of your home, call us direct, (817) 337-0000...find us online, and LIKE us on Facebook.

Serving your real estate needs in the NE Tarrant County area since 1995 the Grove Team is knowledgeable, experienced and ready to assist you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How your credit score can impact the purchase of a home

(ARA) - Purchasing a home can be the most rewarding - and also the most frustrating - financial transaction of your life. Especially today, when the news is filled with stories about the great market conditions for buyers. One aspect of the home buying process that's often overlooked is the extra cost that interest from a home loan adds to the total price of the home.

It's true that interest rates are at historical lows. It's also true that lenders have reduced the types of loans they offer, and simultaneously have become more stringent about who qualifies.

A recent study by VantageScore Solutions, the company behind the VantageScore credit score model, shows that the rate of default for homeowners with good credit (a credit score of 700 or better based on the VantageScore scale of 501-990) has decreased dramatically since 2009. Also notable is the increase in the last two years of new loan applicants with a score of 700 or better (less than 40 percent in 2009; 90 percent in 2011). The result? A good credit score can help shave thousands of dollars in interest off the cost of a loan.

So, before you even begin looking at houses, getting your credit in good order is essential. A good credit score will help you qualify for the most favorable loan terms, and make buying a home a positive long-term experience. Here are a few tips from VantageScore Solutions that will help put you in a good position to apply for a home loan:

* Already paying your bills on time? That's a great start. In addition, check your credit report to make sure it accurately reflects your credit history. You can obtain one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three national credit reporting companies (CRCs - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) by visiting If you do find discrepancies, take the steps necessary to get those issues corrected. The FTC website lays out a process for you to follow if you believe there are corrections needed to your report. Be sure to allow at least 30 days for your credit report to reflect any information that might have been updated or corrected.

* As you prepare to apply for a loan, make sure you're following other best practices that may help you improve your credit score. For example, experts recommend keeping your debt levels at less than 30 percent of the total credit available to you. You should also avoid applying for other types of new credit (credit cards, equity credit lines, etc.) before you apply for a home loan.

* You may have heard that having your credit report requested frequently can harm your score, but do not let this keep you from shopping around for rates on a loan. A good rule of thumb is to gather research on mortgage providers over time, then tell the mortgage lenders to check your credit score within a 14-day period . Most credit scoring models will recognize that you are shopping for a home loan, and it won't significantly affect your score.

* If your credit score is lower than you'd like, be patient. Rebuilding your credit takes time. While you might be anxious to purchase your home, waiting until your credit has rebounded can save you thousands of dollars in the long run if it means a lower interest rate.

While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a home, it pays to take the necessary steps to ensure that you're getting the best rate possible on your home loan. To learn more about what influences your credit score and what you can do to improve your credit, visit

Are you ready to start your new home search? Contact the Grove Team, Keller Williams Realty - (817) 337-0000 or email us at Like us on Facebook!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Small, quick repairs have a big impact on curb appeal & value

(ARA) - As the weather continues to warm, you might be thinking about some of the home improvement projects you put on the back burner during the winter. As you once again consult your to-do list, it's the perfect time to think about a few small projects that can greatly enhance your home's curb appeal.

Where does a smart homeowner start? The answer: Begin with a few small projects that are guaranteed to greatly enhance your home's curb appeal. Whether you're preparing to sell your home, or are simply trying to protect your investment and make it easier on the eyes, there are a few common improvements that can give the exterior of your home a quick and easy facelift.

Start with the driveway

Repaving or reconstructing your driveway entirely can be a time consuming and expensive task, but for most homeowners, this can be avoided with some annual maintenance. If you neglect your driveway, cracks can quickly grow into potholes, which can cause it to lose its aesthetic appeal and pose a safety concern. A few hours work each year can greatly extend the life of your driveway.

Sakrete U.S. Cold Patch is a reliable option for every type of driveway repair because it can be used during all seasons and has a much longer shelf life - up to five years - than most pothole repair products. Because it's made without kerosene, there's no odor or mess, yet it's strong enough to win praise from road repair professionals and contractors alike.

"I use U.S. Cold Patch both on my driveway at home and out on the job," says Chad Patrick, owner of Patrick Landscapes in Pennsylvania. "The ease of use, lack of foul odor, and non-gooey application make it the logical choice for all of our blacktop repair projects."

Using a product like U.S. Cold Patch is simple: You just sweep the area, pour in the patching mixture and roll over it with a car tire. However, it is important that you completely fill the affected area and tamp it well to prevent future damage during freezing and thawing. More information on repairing cracks and potholes can be found at

In addition to maintaining your driveway, here are a few other projects that can greatly contribute to your home's curb appeal:

* Add some landscaping features along the edges of your driveway. This adds a point of distinction between the pavement and your lawn, giving it a more inviting look.

* Check your mailbox for winter wear. If it's seen better days, consider replacing it. Otherwise landscaping around your mailbox can add extra appeal. If you live in a colder region, be sure to use resilient plants, as this area can take a beating from the snowplow.

* While cleaning out your gutters is a necessary spring ritual, power washing the exterior of your home can add a little extra life to the look of your house, especially the front porch.

* Replace your house number and worn hardware on the front door, and consider a fresh coat of high-gloss paint on the door in a classy color, such as black.

* Early spring is an excellent time to trim trees and other vegetation before they begin to sprout leaves. It's easier on your plants, and it's easy to identify branches that need to be trimmed.

Are you ready for some spring clean out and clean up in preperation to sell? Call the Grove Team, Keller Williams today (817) 337-0000. Specializing in residential real estate in Keller, Southlake, Colleyville, and NE Tarrant County - we are ready to customize your real estate experience! Find us online, or friend us on Facebook -

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Employment Opportunity - Grove Team, Keller Williams


Are you or do you know someone who:

• Has an incredible willing attitude and wants to grow and learn;

• Is licensed in Texas or is willing to become licensed;

• Is detail-oriented and careful with client information;

• Has real estate experience with entering listings or is an extremely fast learner;

• Is creative and can make our listings look terrific in photographs. (We can teach the skill of photography. We want the creativity.);

• Has an interest in staging and marketing listings;

• Has an interest in technology to implement all of our ideas to market our listings online.

Of course, the person must demonstrate a commitment to the KW culture and the culture of the Grove Team.

Please call Lynn at 817-688-9437 or at the office, 817-337-0000; email resumes to

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Give grass a fresh start this spring

(ARA) - Grass is an extraordinary plant, the unsung hero of backyards everywhere. With proper care and feeding, grass can help clean the air, cool the ground, reduce erosion and provide one of the softest outdoor play surfaces. With all of these amazing benefits, it pays to start the spring season off right by giving grass a boost.

The drought and heat of last summer, combined with uncharacteristic winter temperatures in many regions, may have taken a toll on the lawn, but getting it back on the road to recovery is easy. Moderate temperatures and increased precipitation in spring are perfect for repairing, seeding and feeding grass. Well-nourished grass withstands harsh conditions better, and provides a lush, durable place to play while squeezing out unwanted weeds by blocking access to sunlight. Follow these tips to take your grass from tired to terrific.

Fill in bare or thin spots with grass seed to encourage a thick lawn, helping prevent weeds from invading your lawn by blocking access to sunlight. Use a high-quality seed appropriate for your region, like Scotts EZ Seed to fill in thin spots and thicken the lawn. To repair larger areas, use Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed with WaterSmart coating.

Grass needs nutrients to grow strong, deep roots that can endure harsh conditions and grow in thick to help block access to sunlight for weeds. If the lawn does not need reseeding, use a high-quality lawn food like Scotts Turf Builder. This lawn food can be used in any season on any grass type, and delivers balanced nutrients for strong, thick grass. Use a starter fertilizer when planting new grass to promote root growth and seedling development.

When seeding or feeding, use Scotts DLX EdgeGuard Broadcast Spreader for larger areas to direct lawn food only where desired - on the lawn and off hard surfaces - and out of storm sewers. This spreader combines the accuracy of a drop spreader with the speed of a rotary spreader.

Set your mower at the highest setting and leave grass clippings on the lawn. Mow frequently to avoid removing more than one third of the grass height, and do so when grass is dry to avoid damp clumps that could smother grass. Leaving clippings on the lawn recycles nutrients stored in the clippings keeping the soil cooler, encouraging deeper root growth and enriching the soil with organic material.

Keep these simple mowing tips in mind every time you head out to trim the grass: Mow your grass at the highest setting, keep grass clippings on the lawn and water only when needed.

Grass that is fed and kept at a taller height develops deep roots which are better able to conserve water and withstand periods of heat and drought. Rely on rainfall as the primary source of water. During periods of drought, the lawn can go without water for an extended time. Even though the lawn may look brown and wilted, it will recuperate after the rain returns. If you do choose to irrigate the lawn, water less frequently for a longer period of time rather than short frequent waterings.

These tips for a great lawn will provide a foundation for a fun-filled summer in your own backyard. For more information on seeding and feeding this spring, visit

Are you or someone you know ready to start the real estate process this spring? Call the experts on the Grove Team today to begin your custom home buying/selling experience.

Grove Team, Keller Williams

(817) 337-0000

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Video Tour - 2900 Spotted Owl Drive

Just Listed by the Grove Team
2900 Spotted Owl Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76244

This stunning home has the look & feel of new, without the 'sticker shock'. The open plan boasts an upstairs game room, lots of natural light, & walk-in closets in all 4 bedrooms. There's ample counter & cabinet space in the inviting kitchen. The luxurious master ste offers privacy & quiet. Other features include gleaming hardwood floors ('11), upgraded landscaping, recent master bedroom carpet, extended brick porch, covered patio, & much more.

Call the Grove Team, Keller Williams
(817) 337-0000

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Small-scale renovation projects continue to provide the best return for homeowners

(ARA) - Even as spring approaches, the residential real estate market continues to be rough on American homeowners more than three years after the start of the nationwide housing crisis. Although sales of existing homes are up slightly from 2010 levels, the median home price is still down throughout most of the country, according to the National Association of Realtors. This means that many homeowners are continuing to sit tight and are looking for ways to make their current houses work for them just a little bit longer, until the real estate market improves.

But even when it comes to home renovations, it is important to be smart about how you spend your money, as the value of many large-scale home improvement projects is also questionable in today's economy. Homeowners who made improvements in 2011 picked up only 58 cents in home equity on their remodeling dollar (on average), according to the Cost versus Value report released by Remodeling Magazine. Compared to figures in 2005, when home improvement projects provided a 76 percent cost return, the current data is hardly a motivator to proceed with that long-dreamed total kitchen renovation.

Less expensive home replacement projects are a much better bet in terms of recouping your costs, garnering about 64 percent back in resale value versus the 57 percent that remodeling projects earn back, on average. Some good ideas for relatively low-budget yet fruitful home improvement projects are adding an attractive front entry door, getting energy-efficient windows, installing new siding or, perhaps the most effective and rewarding option, replacing your garage door.

A new garage door is one of the best ways to improve your home with the confidence of receiving a solid return on your investment (ROI) when it's time to sell. Replacing a garage door offers the second-highest ROI at 83.9 percent, out of 35 midrange improvement projects listed on the 24th annual Cost versus Value report. In some cities, like Charleston, W. Va., Honolulu, Providence, R.I., and San Francisco, the ROI is 100 percent. Even upscale garage doors are a smart investment, offering a 69.8 ROI and ranking fourth among the upscale projects listed in this report. There's no doubt that a new garage door is an affordable replacement option that improves your house's curb appeal while also offering higher energy efficiency, safety and security to both you and future homeowners.

Knowing that every dollar you invest in your house needs to be spent wisely to offer the greatest possible return, it's best to make home improvement decisions that you'll be able to enjoy now and that will improve your resale value down the road. Replacing a garage door is the perfect residential project because it's an attractive and cost-effective way to achieve these goals. But with so many styles and materials available on the market, selecting the right garage door for your house can be a bit overwhelming. If you're not sure where to begin, check out the "How to Buy a Garage Door" guide on or at The guide is a helpful tool to get you started, offering great tips on the benefits of different materials and how to match a door with your home's architecture and character.

In a residential real estate market that's anything but certain, it's comforting to know that there are some home improvement investments that continue to be a sure bet. A new garage door not only offers a solid return at resale, but also beauty and functionality that help you to enjoy your home today.

Are you considering buying or selling a home this spring? Call the Grove Team, Keller Williams today to begin your personalized real estate experience today! Find us online, or call us at the office, (817) 337-0000.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Video Tour - 4225 Broken Bend Blvd.

Just Listed
Grove Team, Keller Williams
(817) 337-0000

Offered at 189,900

A spacious, well-designed four bedroom floorplan, decorator colors, professional landscaping, and a luxurious salt water pool! Three living, two dining, and a cook's kitchen make this home a MUST SEE. Contact the Grove Team to schedule a tour of this lovely new listing.

(817) 337-0000

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Video Tour - 7609 Grace Drive

Listed by the Grove Team, Keller Williams
7609 Grace Drive
North Richland Hills

Total custom home by Dena Davis...shows like new! This one story home features a three way split on the floorplan, open concept that is fantastic for entertaining. The finish out is top notch...plantation shutters throughout, granite, bronzed fixtures, and so much more.

Call the Grove Team to schedule your private showing, (817) 337-0000 or find it online,