Friday, September 28, 2012

How to keep cool and cut home energy costs

How to keep cool and cut home energy costs

The warm weather and long days of summer can give us a free and easy feeling - that is, until it's time to pay the utility bill. Utility costs can add up fast with increased use of the air conditioner, appliances and other household items during peak times. Yet it's easy to cut energy bills if you take simple steps to adjust your daily routine. Here are some tips for staying cool while reducing energy costs this summer.

Change your air filter
Every change of season comes with the need to change the air filter on your home's heating and cooling system. Change it at least every three months and possibly more often at high-use times like summer. A clean filter keeps dust and dirt from bogging down the airflow, helping to cool your home without racking up extra costs.

Keep cool efficiently
Installing a programmable thermostat will allow you to set a schedule for your indoor temperature throughout the day, ensuring greater efficiency and home comfort. With some models you can pre-set temperatures throughout the week to match your family's comings and goings, or even adjust your temperature remotely. Adjusting the temperature even a little can help a lot: in the summer, cooling costs can be cut up to 6 percent per each degree you raise the thermostat, according to American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning.

Get in hot water - the good way
Lower your water heating costs by wasting less hot water. Instead of taking a bath in a tub filled with hot water, take a refreshing shower using a low-flow showerhead. Other hot-water-saving habits: use only the cold water cycle of your automatic clothes washer, and when using the dishwasher, wash only full loads and use the air-dry cycle. You can even reduce hot water use around the house by simply repairing leaks in faucets and pipes - according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a leak of one drip per second can cost $1 per month.

Lighten costs with new light bulbs
Some of the newer energy saving light bulbs provide colors and light levels similar to traditional bulbs, but require less energy to produce light. For example, energy-saving incandescents provide about 25 percent energy savings; compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) provide about 75 percent savings, and light emitting diodes (LEDs) offer about 75 to 80 percent savings, according to

Get your HVAC system in shape
People often resolve to get in better shape over the summer, so keep your home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in shape as well by scheduling a tune-up with a qualified dealer. For example, an independent American Standard Customer Care Dealer can inspect your system for efficiency and recommend adjustments. In addition, if your system is more than 10 years old, replacing it with a more energy-efficient model may save you money in the long run. (ARA)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

August Existing-Home Sales and Prices Rise

WASHINGTON (September 19, 2012) - Existing-home sales continued to improve in August and the national median price rose on a year-over-year basis for the sixth straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales 1 , which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million in August from 4.47 million in July, and are 9.3 percent higher than the 4.41 million-unit level in August 2011.

Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said favorable buying conditions get the credit. "The housing market is steadily recovering with consistent increases in both home sales and median prices. More buyers are taking advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions," he said. "Inventories in many parts of the country are broadly balanced, favoring neither sellers nor buyers. However, the West and Florida markets are experiencing inventory shortages, which are placing pressure on prices."

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.60 percent in August from a record low 3.55 percent in July; the rate was 4.27 percent in August 2011.

"The strengthening housing market is occurring even with difficult mortgage qualifying conditions, which is testament to the sizable stored-up housing demand that accumulated in the past five years," Yun added.

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $187,400 in August, up 9.5 percent from a year ago. The last time there were six back-to-back monthly price increases from a year earlier was from December 2005 to May 2006. The August increase was the strongest since January 2006 when the median price rose 10.2 percent from a year earlier.

Distressed homes3 - foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts - accounted for 22 percent of August sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 10 percent were short sales), down from 24 percent in July and 31 percent in August 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 19 percent below market value in August, while short sales were discounted 13 percent.

Total housing inventory at the end August rose 2.9 percent to 2.47 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.1-month supply 4 at the current sales pace, down from a 6.4-month supply in July. Listed inventory is 18.2 percent below a year ago when there was an 8.2-month supply.

The median time on market was 70 days in August, consistent with 69 days in July but down 23.9 percent from 92 days in August 2011. Thirty-two percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month, while 19 percent were on the market for six months or longer.

NAR President Moe Veissi , broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami, said some buyers are involuntarily sidelined. "Total sales this year will be 8 to 10 percent above 2011, but some buyers are frustrated with mortgage availability. If most of the financially qualified buyers could obtain financing, home sales would be about 10 to 15 percent stronger, and the related economic activity would create several hundred thousand jobs over the period of a year."

First-time buyers accounted for 31 percent of purchasers in August, down from 34 percent in July; they were 32 percent in August 2011.

All-cash sales were unchanged at 27 percent of transactions in August; they were 29 percent in August 2011. Investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 18 percent of homes in August, up from 16 percent in July; they were 22 percent in August 2011.

Single-family home sales rose 8.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.30 million in August from 3.98 million in July, and are 10.0 percent above the 3.91 million-unit pace in August 2011. The median existing single-family home price was $188,700 in August, up 10.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 520,000 in August from 490,000 in July, and are 4.0 percent above the 500,000-unit level a year ago. The median existing condo price was $176,700 in August, which is 3.3 percent higher than August 2011.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 8.6 percent to an annual pace of 630,000 in August and are also 8.6 percent above August 2011. The median price in the Northeast was $245,200, up 0.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 7.7 percent in August to a level of 1.12 million and are 17.9 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $152,400, up 7.8 percent from August 2011.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 7.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.90 million in August and are 11.1 percent above August 2011. The median price in the region was $160,100, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 8.3 percent to an annual level of 1.17 million in August but are unchanged from a year ago. With ongoing inventory shortages, the median price in the West was $242,000, which is 16.3 percent higher than August 2011.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Winterize your home in a weekend

Winterize your home in a weekend

Preparing for Jack Frost's arrival can send a shiver down any homeowner's spine. A long to-do list for getting your home ready can feel overwhelming, leaving you wondering where you'll find the time and resources. But, with some optimism, easy tips and access to a few rental tools, you can winterize your home in just one weekend, leaving plenty of time to enjoy autumn's splendor.

Prepare your lawn and landscaping

Cold temperatures cause grass and other plants in your landscape to go dormant. Spend a few hours preparing your lawn for beautiful greenery next year.

Start by aerating. Renting an aerator is a cost-effective and efficient way to reduce thatch and provide extra space in the soil for water and oxygen to reach the roots.  After aerating, spread a quality winter fertilizer to give your grass the nutrients it needs to grow strong. If you live in an area with harsh winters, remember to cover roses and delicate perennials so that they are protected.

Winterize your deck

The harsh winter elements can take a major toll on decking, so it's important to protect it. With a little time and effort, your deck will make it through winter unscathed and ready for outdoor fun in spring.

To keep the structure's integrity intact and wood looking beautiful, clean and seal your deck before winter arrives. Start by renting a pressure washer at your local ARA member rental store. The trained rental associate will give you guidance on safe and efficient operation of the pressure washer. After you clean your deck, let it dry completely and then apply paint or sealant.

Trim your trees

Weak trees and dead branches can break and fall during winter, possibly damaging your home, your car, a utility line, or worse. Be a responsible homeowner and cut weak or dead branches in the fall so you don't have to worry.

A chainsaw is the easiest way to deal with dead branches and will take much less time than hand sawing. You can rent a chainsaw to cut the wood into small logs or pieces for disposing of properly. Chippers can also be rented for grinding up the wood and using it for mulch in the spring.

Seal windows and doors

When temperatures drop, the small leaks in windows and doors become apparent. Avoid a chilly house and high energy bills by caulking your windows and weather stripping doors.

Weather stripping is cheap and easy. Apply the adhesive strip between the door and frame for a tight seal that limits the amount of air that enters or exits when the door is closed. Caulking windows is a simple process as well when you have a caulk gun. If you need a tall ladder to reach second story windows, consider renting it since you'll likely use it infrequently. While you have the ladder, clean your gutters of leaves and other debris that can cause backups and ice dams.

All you need is one weekend to prepare your home and yard for the cold weather ahead. Plus you'll get to enjoy the crisp autumn air while you get these quick and easy chores done. (ARA)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boost your home's value: four projects with the most bang for your buck

Boost your home's value: four projects with the most bang for your buck

No matter if the housing market is up or down, you always want to ensure home remodeling projects are wise investments. Luckily, according to Remodeling magazine's Cost vs. Value Report 2011-2012, there are several home improvement projects that will provide significant enjoyment to you now - and could recoup a majority of your dollars whenever you decide to sell.

Beautiful bathrooms

According to the report, a midrange bathroom remodel ($16,000) can recoup up to 62 percent of the investment when it's time to sell ... and in the meantime, add significant enjoyment with a new, relaxing retreat.

To start, determine which updates matter most and how much assistance you'll need for each. Complex projects, such as structural, electrical or plumbing changes or installing countertops or flooring, may be best left to the professionals. However, to stretch your budget for the most impact, there are many updates you can tackle yourself.

Painting is an easy and ideal do-it-yourself task that can make a large impact with minimal cost. Similarly, installing new faucets, accessories and showerheads can be simple - even for a novice. Manufacturers, such as Moen, offer a variety of styles and full collections for complete coordination. For instance, the Moen Banbury suite offers timeless, traditional styling and is available in several finishes including Chrome, Mediterranean Bronze and Spot Resist Brushed Nickel - a unique finish that does just what it says, resist fingerprints and water spots. In addition, Moen offers matching Banbury bath accessories, such as robe hooks, paper holders, towel bars and tank levers, and matching tub and showering products for a completely coordinated and sophisticated look in your new bath. All Banbury products are available at The Home Depot.

Classy kitchen

Once you've updated your bath; the kitchen is a rewarding home renovation that - when done moderately ($19,000) - can recoup up to 72 percent of your investment. Upgrading countertops - which encompass a large area of the kitchen - is an ideal place to start. Based on your budget, you'll need to determine whether to update with a lower-cost laminate or a higher-priced option, such as solid-surface marble or granite, which can offer an upscale look, added durability and functionality. Next, lighting - while functional - also adds a significant style element to a kitchen. Replacing fluorescent fixtures with recessed cans or pendants will add ambiance and luxury to your room.

Similar to your bathroom remodel, outsource tougher projects to professionals and utilize your DIY skills to add the final accents to your new kitchen. Update your old appliances with Energy Star qualified energy-efficient models in new stainless finishes. Add a splash of paint to the walls and trim for a polished look. Finally, finish off the counter area with a new high-end kitchen faucet. High-arc pulldown styles are the fastest growing kitchen faucet category - and the new Haysfield and Benton faucets are some of the first to feature Moen's Reflex pulldown system, which offers high-quality performance with secure retraction, exceptional range of motion and generous reach.

Envious entry

It's the first thing that your guests (and future home buyers) see when they approach your home, so if your front door isn't appealing or doesn't have significant energy efficiency features, it's time for an upgrade. A new entry door adds instant curb appeal for a minimal price - and can recoup up to 60 percent of your investment.

When choosing a new door, fiberglass options, such as the Therma-Tru Classic-Craft Canvas Collection entry door system, a “Best Buy” recipient from a leading consumer magazine, are an ideal choice. The material resists denting and scratching, is easy to maintain and can make your home more energy efficient. To lower your cost, Therma-Tru offers installation guides to help you install the doors yourself; or for the less adventurous, your local home improvement store often offers installation.

Wonderful windows

Similar to your front door, replacing your existing windows with new vinyl windows will give your whole home a new look and feel - both inside and out - and payback of up to 68 percent of your investment. As a larger-scale project, this is likely a project left for the professionals. Look to your local window distributor to refer you to a reputable contractor to ensure your new windows are installed properly.

When it comes to selecting windows, vinyl is an all-around excellent choice. Unlike wood, vinyl windows resist rotting and don't require repainting. And unlike aluminum, vinyl windows will never pit or flake. Manufacturers, such as Simonton Windows, offer vinyl windows that are made from high-quality vinyl and require almost no maintenance. Plus, you can enjoy a pay off immediately with increased comfort and lower utility bills, while potentially adding significant resale value to your home in the future.

When it comes time to think about home improvement, don't fear. There are many ways to stretch your remodeling dollars to ensure you get the most bang for your buck and enjoy your investment now and in the future. For more information about Moen products, visit

Friday, September 21, 2012

Video Tour - 201 Foreman, Euless

Video Tour - 201 Foreman, Euless

Join us this weekend for an open house
Sunday, September 23rd, 3:00-5:00

Welcome to this well-designed four bedroom with master and living down and three bedrooms and second living up. Very lightly lived in and well-maintained, this home is ready for move in. Marvelous wood floors and oil rubbed bronze light fixtures create immediate appeal. Floor plan creates privacy for all with spacious living areas and generous bedrooms. Kitchen has generous counters and cabinets. This is a must-see! 

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

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thinking of selling your home?

Thinking of selling your home?

Selling your home is an involved process that affects your family and your future.  Before you begin this process, you'll want to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.  When should you sell?  How do you get the best price? What kinds of renovations should be made prior to the sale?

Visit the Grove Team's website for more information...or to get the process started, call us direct at (817) 337-0000

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Green up your home for health and savings

Green up your home for health and savings

Did you know we spend as much as 90 percent of our lives indoors and that indoor pollutant levels are often two to five times higher than outdoors? Using the principles of green design will significantly improve your home's indoor environment, leading to better health and well-being for your family.

Simple changes make a big difference. "Many principles of sustainable design and green building can be easily incorporated into your existing home without extensive remodeling," says Lilia Gomez-Lanier, interior design faculty at The Art Institute of Atlanta - Decatur, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta. Plus, such improvements can save you money.

Here's how.

Water conservation
"Efficient use of water has become a national as well as a regional concern," says Robert Brown, interior design faculty at The Art Institute of Tennessee - Nashville, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta. When replacing appliances or fixtures, look for those that use less water, such as low-flow faucets and shower heads, dual-flush toilets, front-loading washing machines and newer models of dishwashers with two drawers, so you can run small loads. Using less water can add up to big savings on your water bills.

Air quality
With many Americans suffering from asthma and allergies, indoor air quality is more important than ever. Household pollutants like mold, radon, carbon monoxide and toxic chemicals from building materials, household cleaners and pesticides can be health risks. Start by reducing dust and improving ventilation. Clean furniture, floors and carpet regularly. Consider cleaning and sealing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Ensure that range hoods, bathroom fans and gas fireplaces vent to the outdoors. Eliminate sources of asbestos and lead, and eliminate or properly store air fresheners, pesticides, certain cleaning products and paint, which can emit pollutants. When you redecorate or renovate, look for low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, stains, adhesives, carpets and hard surface flooring, as well as wood and bamboo products manufactured without formaldehyde.

Energy conservation
"Energy efficient appliances save you money in your electrical bill, and there may be tax incentives for switching to more efficient systems," says Leslie Roberts, interior design faculty at The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta. She recommends using a heat pump and a programmable thermostat, adding insulation in walls, ceiling and floor, and insulating windows, window treatments and floor coverings. Gomez-Lanier adds, "Introduce an attic fan and ceiling fans to circulate air and cool the house with less energy. Use heavy draperies to eliminate a lot of direct light and heat." And don't forget energy-efficient light bulbs.

Renewable resources
When remodeling or redecorating your home, reuse existing furniture and building materials where possible. Used furniture - either your own or items purchased at a garage sale or second-hand store - can often be reupholstered and refinished to look new. At architectural salvage stores you can purchase doors, windows, hardwood floor planks and more. When using new materials, Roberts says, "Choose materials that are produced from rapidly renewable resources, such as wool rugs, bamboo or cork tile flooring." Though these products sometimes cost more, they generally last longer and are a better investment over time. Purchasing materials with recycled-content is also an environmentally sound choice, helping ensure that recycled materials will be used again to manufacture new products. You can easily find construction materials with recycled content, including drywall, insulation, plastic lumber, kitchen countertops, glass tiles, carpet and padding - even steel.

Help in making green choices in your home
A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-accredited interior designer can help you make sound environmental choices for your home and prevent expensive mistakes. An interior designer who has achieved this accreditation knows effective green design solutions and keeps up with the newest information about sustainable products.

Start going green at home today. Your family, your wallet and the planet will thank you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Go big or go home with your redecorating? Why not both?

Go big or go home with your redecorating? Why not both?

"Go big or go home." It's a popular sports chant that's found its way into numerous other aspects of American life. But when it comes to home decor, going big at home may not seem like an option, especially if your budget is less than grand.

In reality, it is possible to make a big difference in your home decor on just a moderate budget of $5,000 or less. The room that will give you the biggest "wow" for your investment is the one your guests spend the most time in - the living room. Here are some tips for getting that "go big" feeling for less money.

Do it yourself

Look for high visibility projects that you can reasonably do yourself, like painting, tiling or even installing murals for living rooms. Keep in mind your level of DIY skill and how polished and professional you can reasonably expect your finished product to look. If you choose a project that's a bit above your current skill level, make sure you prep for the new experience with plenty of research or a hands-on class. Many home improvement stores offer low-cost or even free classes on popular home improvement projects.

Big projects look ... well, bigger

It's no mystery why repainting the walls, changing out flooring or switching window treatments all make such an impact on how a room looks. The bigger the surface area of the design element you change, the greater its affect on the room's overall appearance. Making a design change to a large room element can allow you to generate major impact with a relatively minor investment of money. Window treatments can add up if you go with custom options, but if your windows are standard sized and you're a savvy shopper, you can track down bargains that will allow you to dress up your windows for as little as a few thousand dollars. Painting is even more cost effective, and you can redo a large room for a few hundred dollars.

Borrow a designer's trick

When it comes to grand statements, designers have a trick or two up their sleeves. They also know how to make the most of a shoestring budget, so look to popular designer tricks for inspiration. One interior design technique that has held its popularity against the test of time (and the economy) is a wallpaper mural. Adding a custom wall mural to your interior design plans offers the opportunity for creativity and customization, and maximizes the use of your wall space in making a grand statement. You can find plenty of online options at websites like, many for less than $1,000 and most for well under $3,000. They're easy to install, and you can even opt for the type that is removable and reusable. So if you tire of the look, you can take it down and move it elsewhere, fold it up and store it for another time and even color match it to your wall paint color.

If you've decided to keep your fun money at home this season, you can go home and go big, with some planning, savvy shopping and a touch of DIY creativity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Five reasons why buying a home is still a good idea

Five reasons why buying a home is still a good idea

A still murky economy and uncertain real estate market may have you wondering if buying a home is a good idea. Whether you're thinking about buying, or already have and just need some affirmation, you may find it comforting to know there are still plenty of good reasons for financially stable people to buy a house. Here are a few:

* Homeownership can help make good credit even better. If your credit is in poor shape, you'll want to monitor it before seeking a mortgage. But if you have good credit, live within your means, and consistently make good financial decisions, a mortgage can be the kind of "good debt" that helps your overall financial health. Making regular payments on a mortgage shows potential lenders that you're a less risky candidate for a home loan. Before you begin home shopping, it's a good idea to check your credit. Enrolling in a product like can help you better understand and leverage your credit.

* A mortgage can function like an automatic savings plan. By now, you've read the news reports about how little we Americans save these days. Well, every year you pay on your fixed-rate mortgage, is a year of building equity, and equity is like money in the bank. When it's time to sell - whether you've stayed in your home seven years or the full 30 year term - you'll have created equity and should be able to sell your house for more than you owe.

* Homeownership comes with plenty of financial perks, including an income tax credit for property taxes you pay on your home. For detailed information on tax breaks check out Buying a home also affords you the opportunity to halt your housing costs. Rent will always go up from year to year, but if you have a fixed-rate mortgage (avoid adjustable rates) your biggest annual expense - housing costs - will be locked-in.

* Mortgage interest is a good deal when stacked up against other types of interest that don't do much for you - such as high credit card interest rates or low rates on savings accounts and CDs. Mortgage rates are low right now, meaning you can pay less over the life of a loan than at practically any other time in recent history. Plus, it's the only kind of interest that you can deduct from your taxes.

* Prices are still relatively low and inventory is high. It's been a buyer's market for a long time, but that's going to change. The question is: when will the market start to improve in your area, taking home prices with it? You'll have to do some legwork and astute research to determine when is the best time for you to buy.

If you monitor your credit and are on a sound financial footing, buying a home can still be a good idea. And now is as good a time as any to make your purchase. (ARA)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Homes Selling More Quickly, Time on Market Down with Tighter Supplies

Homes Selling More Quickly, Time on Market Down with Tighter Supplies
Source: National Association of Realtors

WASHINGTON (September 5, 2012) – A new measure shows the typical amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking, and for traditional sellers is now in the range of historic norms for a balanced market, well below the cyclical peak reached in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The median time a home was listed for sale on the market1 was 69 days in July, down 29.6 percent from 98 days in July 2011. The median reflects a wide spectrum; one-third of homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for at least six months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is a clear relationship between inventory supply and time on market. “As inventory has tightened homes have been selling more quickly,” he said. “A notable shortening of time on market began this spring, and this has created a general balance between home buyers and sellers in much of the country. This equilibrium is supporting sustained price growth, and homes that are correctly priced tend to sell quickly, while those that aren’t often languish on the market.”

At the end July there was a 6.4-month supply of homes on the market at the current sales pace, which is 31.2 percent below a year ago when there was a 9.3-month supply.

There are consistent and related findings between annual consumer research in NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, and sets of data in the existing-home sales series, that show current market conditions are comparable with median selling time in balanced markets.

In periods where the existing-home sales series averaged close to a 6-month supply of homes in listed inventory, which is near the low end for market equilibrium, the home buyer and seller series showed a median selling time of just over six weeks.

In such balanced market conditions, home prices generally rise 1 to 2 percentage points above the overall rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

“Our current forecast is for the median existing home price to rise 4.5 to 5 percent this year and about 5 percent in 2013, which is somewhat stronger than historic norms because of the inventory shortfall that is most pronounced in the low price ranges,” Yun said. CPI growth is projected at 2.1 percent for 2012 and 2.3 percent next year.

From 1987 through 2011, analysis of the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers series showed the typical time on market was 6.9 weeks, while the existing-home sales series showed an average supply of 7.0 months, just above the high end for a balanced market.

The new measure of days on market shows a longer selling time than the historic findings which measured traditional sellers of non-distressed homes. The new series include short sales that typically took three months or longer to sell. “Factoring out short sales, the median time on market for traditional sellers appears to be in the balanced range of six to seven weeks,” Yun explained.

During the peak of the housing boom in 2004 and 2005 when inventory supplies were historically low, averaging 4.3 months2 over the two-year peak period, the median selling time was 4 weeks. Prices in that time frame were bid up and rose at an annual rate of 10.3 percent, historically higher than the 3.1 percent average growth in CPI during the period.

In the economic downturn, time on market for non-distressed sellers peaked at 10 weeks in 2009 with a 10.0-month annualized supply. The median price fell 12.9 percent that year, which was the biggest annual decline on record.

“Ironically, if housing construction doesn’t pick up to normal levels within two years, supply shortages could be sustained for an extended period and lead to above average appreciation,” Yun said. “Therefore, any unnecessary hindrance to housing starts, such as excessive local zoning regulations or stringent bank capital rules for construction loans, should be carefully re-examined.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

 # # #

1 The new days-on-market figures, which will be included in future existing-home sales releases, are derived from a monthly survey for the Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at The median time on market includes all listings, which can be misleading at times because an abundance of fresh listings can skew the average downward. Previously published data were expressed in ranges of selling time, but the data has been adjusted to also show median selling time; calculations date to May 2010.

2 Supply figures are adjusted to cover the survey periods of the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Annual surveys since 2004 are based on 12 months of transactions between July of the preceding year through June of each study’s publication year. All but one of the earlier studies were on a calendar-year basis.

NOTE: Existing-home sales for August will be reported September 19 and the Pending Home Sales Index will be on September 27; release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Keller's Got Talent' October Public Art Show

"Gaga Envy Monster" by: Danny H Trash
Keller's Got Talent October Public Art Show 

Local Amateur and Professional Artists Entry
Deadline Wednesday, September 12, 2012 $20 Entry fee • 2 pieces of art per entry

We want to See You in October for the 2012 'Keller's Got Talent' amateur and professional art show. This 5th annual event is gearing up and it's time for local City of Keller and KISD area artists to enter their specialized artwork in the show. All genres of art are accepted from painting to sculpture, charcoal and colored pencil as well watercolor and textile.

If you have an visual artistic talent that you'd like to share with the Keller and surrounding communities, and are age 18+ please download your entry forms via this link and return by Wednesday, September 12, 2012. You may mail them to Keller's Got Talent, c/o Keller Public Arts, P.O. Box 770, Keller, TX 76244; e-mail:; fax: 817-743-4190 or in person to Keller Town Hall reception desk, 1100 Bear Creek Parkway, Keller, TX 76248. 

The show itself will run from October 1st to October 30th. A Critique session is planned with professional artist Tony Saladino for those artists who wish to have a professionals perspective on their work.

A reception for all of the entered artists will be held on Thursday, October 11, 2012 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Town Hall lobby. All work entered will be judged (according to guidelines) with 'Best in Show' and 'Honorable Mentions' awarded at the reception. For more information please contact 817-743-4000 or e-mail

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Prevent a foreclosure from becoming the neighborhood eyesore

Prevent a foreclosure from becoming the neighborhood eyesore 

For many Americans, as they look out the window of their homes, they see what is becoming a nightmare for many people- a foreclosed house on the block. Its yard is overgrown and littered with branches and trash. It has become a lifeless shell, a magnet for trouble and a source of worry as neighbors wonder how the property will affect the value of their homes.

As the nation's foreclosure epidemic continues to rattle the U.S. housing market, neighborhoods across the country are feeling the effects of having a foreclosed home on their block.

"A foreclosure that falls into disrepair can lower the value of other homes on a block," says George Vogl, of Ledford & Wu, a Chicago-based law firm with expertise in bankruptcy and foreclosures. "But don't rush over and start fixing it up. There could be safety issues, and you could be held liable for any repairs you make."

So what should you do if you have a foreclosed home on your block? According to, the nation's leading source of free online legal information, you and your neighbors can take a number of steps to prevent the property from becoming an eyesore and ruining your community's financial health.

Here are six tips from on what you and your neighbors can do:  

1. Be a good neighbor
If you learn that a neighborhood home is headed for foreclosure, ask what you can do to help the owners maintain their property. Foreclosure may not be the only problem your neighbor is facing, and as a result, he or she may be unaware or in denial that the home is falling into disrepair.

2. Maintain your own homes
If a house goes into foreclosure on your block, talk to your neighbors and encourage each other to keep up the maintenance on your own homes. A future home purchaser who sees that the block's other houses are being kept up will be motivated to purchase a foreclosed home and fix it up to meet the neighborhood's standards.

3. Ask permission
Many people want to just take action - start mowing the lawn or picking up trash in a foreclosed property's yard. Contact your city's building code department to see if you can get permission to do so. Taking action on your own may actually make you liable in the event that something should go wrong with the property, and you could be charged with trespassing.

4. Form a neighborhood watch group
Foreclosed homes can attract all sorts of trouble, such as graffiti, teen drinking, theft and vagrants. Neighbors should watch a foreclosed home carefully, day and night, and immediately report suspicious activity to local police.

5. Report code violations
Homeowners can do little to pressure a bank to maintain a vacant, foreclosed property. But a city can do more. When you see code violations such as an out-of-control yard, broken windows, or garbage and junk on the lawn, report them to city hall - quickly. The more calls that you and your neighbors place to city hall and your elected officials, the greater the chances that your city will take action sooner, rather than later.

6. Help find a buyer 
Instead of waiting for someone to buy the foreclosed property, look at it as an opportunity to encourage a friend or family member to move into your neighborhood. If you believe your neighborhood is a great place to live, take the initiative to attract a new neighbor to your block.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Affordable decorating tips to take your home from ho-hum to high style

Affordable decorating tips to take your home from ho-hum to high style

Feeling uninspired in your space? Updating the decor in your home is an easy way to add more color, style and personality to rejuvenate your residence. Whether you're making a few updates, like new artwork or wall colors, or renovating an entire room with a completely new look, decorating should be fun, not stressful. With a few simple tips, you can up the design ante in your home without breaking the bank.

Decorative painting for design

Painting can consist of much more than simple strokes of one color. Take things to the next level with decorative painting. Create different patterns on your walls with textured rollers to achieve an artistic design. Sponge and fabric paint rollers provide unique patterns to give your walls a one-of-a-kind look. Low in price and high in design, using textured rollers is a great option for redecorating on a budget.

Painting stripes in your room is a refreshing way to update your current color scheme. A sequence of wide and narrow stripes in complementing colors is a stylish option. To achieve crisp, clean lines between each stripe, FrogTape brand painter's tape will get the job done. The patented PaintBlock Technology applied to the edges of FrogTape helps prevent paint bleed, leaving precise lines and keeping the transition between your colors looking sharp.

A plethora of plates
Artwork is a great way to change things up and give any room a boost. Expensive traditional framed pieces of artwork aren't your only option anymore. Instead, create an eclectic art piece with plates you already own, or find them at garage sales and antique stores. Opt for various sizes and shapes and attach each one to your wall with plate hooks. You can cover an entire wall, or focus on a smaller area - but before you get started, be sure to lay out your design on the floor first. This way, you'll achieve your desired look, without extra nail holes on the wall from hanging as you go.

Perk-up hallways with runners; rooms with rugs
While re-energizing your home, the hallways may seem a little drab. Add a pick-me-up to your walkway by hanging portraits with funky frames along the walls. Add a runner along the length of the floor for a touch of pizzazz. Runners come in a multitude of lengths, patterns and colors - not to mention price ranges. Updating the flooring will keep your feet cozy and help to diminish the sound of footsteps during the night.

If you have a space you want to update, but a full room makeover isn't in your budget, consider an area rug to spruce things up. If the color in your room is dull, the rug can add visual interest and a pop of color, serving as an aesthetically pleasing addition. Area rugs also help to break up the space of a larger room and can add grandeur to a small space. A new rug will also protect your pre-existing carpet, vinyl and hardwood floors, keeping them looking newer, longer.

Opt for accents as design elements
No home redecorating project is complete without a few perfectly placed accents. These interesting items stand out from your primary colors and furniture pieces, offering a fresh look to any space. Accent pieces - like chairs, frames or vases - will spice up a monotonous color scheme, while harmonizing with everything else you may already have in a room. Consider a bright beanbag chair for your child's bedroom, a bold lawn chair on your patio to enthrall while entertaining or a lamp base in a complementary color on your console. Keep in mind accents are meant to speak for themselves; so there's no need to have another elaborate piece in the room to pair with an accent piece. Just one affordable piece is all it takes.

When the redecorating bug bites, embrace the opportunity to freshen up your home inexpensively. With a pinch of creativity and a dash of design inspiration, you can easily make over any space into one that's perfect for you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

City of Keller West Nile Prevention Information

City of Keller West Nile Prevention Information
 Posted Date: 8/31/2012 (KELLER, Texas) August 30, 2012

The City of Keller continues to practice the recommended West Nile Virus prevention program measures provided by Tarrant County Public Health. This proactive program combines public education and environmentally responsible mosquito abatement. At this time the program includes treating standing water, testing mosquito samples and educating the public.

City staff have inspected and treated more than 90 reported locations of possible breeding sites, such as residential pools, ponds, drainage sites and other areas of standing water. These locations are treated with a mosquito larvacide designed to eradicate any mosquito larvae for up to 30 days. The location is then added to a list for continued monitoring and possible treatment. Citizens are encouraged to continue reporting possible mosquito breeding locations to the Public Works Department at 817-743-4080 [Call: 817-743-4080] or

Keller staff are utilizing mosquito traps throughout the area in order to capture live mosquitoes for testing. Mosquito samples are then taken to the Tarrant County Public Health Lab for testing of the virus. There have been no positive virus carrying mosquitoes found in Keller mosquito traps.

The City continues to provide citizens with information needed to protect themselves and their families from the virus. A website,, maintains updated information about the virus and the City’s ongoing prevention efforts. The City’s cable channel is running prevention videos and helpful protection tips. The City of Keller is following Tarrant County's recommendations and is working alongside them to address this very important issue.

Additional preventative measures include distribution of educational pamphlets to homes and businesses within 500 feet of areas reported as having increased mosquito activity and within 1,000 feet of a reported positive human case location.

Positive human cases of West Nile Virus are reported to each city by Tarrant County Public Health. To date, Keller has received reports of nine human cases of West Nile Virus and no reported deaths.

During a City Council budget meeting on Wednesday, August 28, the City Manager reviewed Keller’s West Nile Prevention Program activities including the larvacide program and community outreach efforts.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 4, City staff will present a review of Keller’s West Nile Prevention Program. Also, a representative from the Tarrant County Public Health will provide a county-wide update of activities and future plans. The meeting is open to the public and citizens are encouraged to attend.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Keller Town Hall, 1100 Bear Creek Parkway, Keller, Texas 76248. For more information, please contact James Whitt, environmental services coordinator, at 817-743-4080 [Call: 817-743-4080] or