Azle News Front Page

 

Photo: WFAA

As Azle residents stormed a meeting of the Texas Railroad Commission yesterday demanding a moratorium on wastewater injection wells used in hydraulic fracturing (AKA fracking), commissioners gave no indication of halting the practice that homeowners blame for the recent spate of earthquakes in their small Tarrant County town. Here’s a quote from Nicholas Sakelaris’ coverage of the hearing:

Many called for the oil and gas companies to be held accountable for the earthquake damages at their homes.

“Contractors don’t build our homes to withstand earthquakes,” one speaker said.

Another speaker said, “We don’t know if there’s any damage to the actual slab on our foundation because we have carpet. But I’m sure there probably is. Who would have ever thought we would need earthquake insurance?”

It’s frustrating for homeowners, who say that the earthquakes have rattled the town for months, causing damage to foundations, leaving cracks in drywall, creating sinkholes, spooking livestock, and disturbing what is often a peaceful and sleepy suburb near Eagle Mountain Lake.

While the commission decided to bring in a seismologist to study the earthquakes that clock in around a 3 on the Richter scale, there is little else they plan to do, leaving Azle residents to wonder how they can protect themselves against the damage these quakes are causing.

Oil Drilling Misgivings

 

Photo: AP

According to an article on insurance underwriter website Property Casualty 360, many insurers have been scared away from offering coverage for properties near fracking wells.

One of the most overlooked facts about fracking is that the process has been used in commercial applications since 1949. Over more than six decades, the U.S. has led the way in developing technology to stabilize and streamline the fracking process.

Yet, of the leading insurance companies, only a select few have begun underwriting oil- and gas-drilling-related risks. This slow adoption has led to a shortage of capacity in the oil- and gas-drilling insurance market, strangling investors’ appetites for risk and artificially slowing the rate of growth.

Why aren’t more insurers offering coverage for fracking risks? There’s a range of reasons, but what most insurers do not understand is that fracking is no different than other highly specialized, highly technical industries. Insurers have the opportunity to provide risk management and safety techniques that will help ensure the implementation of best practices and ultimately control claims costs.

If you’re depending on your homeowners policy to take care of your home following an earthquake, think again. Earthquakes, much like floods, aren’t covered. However, because earthquakes tend to be rare in Texas, coverage for earthquake-related damage is a relatively inexpensive add-on to most homeowners policies according to the Texas Department of Insurance. It has yet to be seen, though, if coverage rates in areas near fracking sites such as Azle will be more expensive.

Have you considered buying earthquake coverage for your North Texas home?

UEP Prep Homepage

Lance Selgo of Unique Exposure Photography is a member of RESA, so as a real estate photographer he has a pretty interesting perspective about how sellers should get their homes ready for his visit.

As part of that, Selgo launched a new website that outlines the “do’s” and “don’ts” of preparing a home for listing photography. Does he still have to get the toothpaste off the vanity now that clients have a catch-all website to check out?

“Because I let new clients know about my expectations I really haven’t had to move much,” Selgo said. “I usually see people leaving out pet beds because they are a part of the family, but it’s important to put those away for photos so buyers don’t judge a home before they see it in person. Not everyone likes animals and some folks are allergic to them so it’s best to hide the furry friends so buyers come to a showing and fall in love once they are there.”

Still, not every homeowner is prepared for a photographer who is going to be shooting images so that thousands of homebuyers can pick their house apart on the Internet.

“I did have one home where the sellers weren’t ready and they had their nanny cleaning up as I went. I had to hold the master bedroom off for last because the bed wasn’t made, and sleep apnea masks/tubes were on the night stands,” Selgo said. “Luckily the sellers have always been open to my suggestions and they take care of things while I shoot other portions of the home.”

Of course, there are going to be certain rooms that have to look incredible. They’re the areas that really sell a home. So buyers should take Selgo’s tips and heed them wisely. That includes kitchens, master bedrooms, and master baths, which should have countertops that are spic-and-span with all personal items in cupboards.

Still, not every homeowner is able to depersonalize their home, especially when they have a lifetime’s worth of large collectables all across their house. This can sometimes make or break a potential listing. Selgo remembers one such listings:

LionLivingRoom

“The seller was big into hunting, so the agent requested I shoot around the big items as best I could … That photo wasn’t used on the MLS, but I wanted to have a photo of the lion to remember it! A home like this really should have a staging consultation. It’s really tough for an agent to go into something like this and recommend the seller’s prized possessions are removed from the property. And surely I should be the last person to have to have to take action on something so extravagant! A third party — a stager in this case — could be the “bad guy” and be able to better explain the purpose behind clearing the home of all of the animals and how it can impact the sale of the home in a positive way.”

That is too funny, and I’m not lion!

UEP Prep Homepage

Lance Selgo of Unique Exposure Photography is a member of RESA, so as a real estate photographer he has a pretty interesting perspective about how sellers should get their homes ready for his visit.

As part of that, Selgo launched a new website that outlines the “do’s” and “don’ts” of preparing a home for listing photography. Does he still have to get the toothpaste off the vanity now that clients have a catch-all website to check out?

“Because I let new clients know about my expectations I really haven’t had to move much,” Selgo said. “I usually see people leaving out pet beds because they are a part of the family, but it’s important to put those away for photos so buyers don’t judge a home before they see it in person. Not everyone likes animals and some folks are allergic to them so it’s best to hide the furry friends so buyers come to a showing and fall in love once they are there.”

Still, not every homeowner is prepared for a photographer who is going to be shooting images so that thousands of homebuyers can pick their house apart on the Internet.

“I did have one home where the sellers weren’t ready and they had their nanny cleaning up as I went. I had to hold the master bedroom off for last because the bed wasn’t made, and sleep apnea masks/tubes were on the night stands,” Selgo said. “Luckily the sellers have always been open to my suggestions and they take care of things while I shoot other portions of the home.”

Of course, there are going to be certain rooms that have to look incredible. They’re the areas that really sell a home. So buyers should take Selgo’s tips and heed them wisely. That includes kitchens, master bedrooms, and master baths, which should have countertops that are spic-and-span with all personal items in cupboards.

Still, not every homeowner is able to depersonalize their home, especially when they have a lifetime’s worth of large collectables all across their house. This can sometimes make or break a potential listing. Selgo remembers one such listings:

LionLivingRoom

“The seller was big into hunting, so the agent requested I shoot around the big items as best I could … That photo wasn’t used on the MLS, but I wanted to have a photo of the lion to remember it! A home like this really should have a staging consultation. It’s really tough for an agent to go into something like this and recommend the seller’s prized possessions are removed from the property. And surely I should be the last person to have to have to take action on something so extravagant! A third party — a stager in this case — could be the “bad guy” and be able to better explain the purpose behind clearing the home of all of the animals and how it can impact the sale of the home in a positive way.”

That is too funny, and I’m not lion!

2213 Stanley Ave Front

Let’s talk Tarrant County, folks, specifically Cowtown. Fort Worth, which is rated as a growth market and prime for investment by Trulia and Local Market Monitor, has some outstanding deals that are sure to make any homeowner happy.

Take this Tudor, for instance. It’s in the sought-after Berkeley Place neighborhood just east of Forest Park and South University Drive. Close to the Fort Worth Zoo and with great access to downtown Fort Worth, this neighborhood has a treasure trove of fabulous architecture at some outstanding prices.

2213 Stanley Ave Living Dining

At 2213 Stanley Avenue you’ll find a beautiful 1926 Tudor with three bedrooms, two baths, and a garage apartment for listed by Brants Realtors for $349,500. The garage apartment, which is a one-bedroom, one-bath unit with an open floorplan, could be a source of income should the neighborhood zoning allow it. You could definitely fit a Texas Christian University student in there comfortably.

2213 Stanley Ave Breakfast

In fact, this is one of those outstanding homes that you could buy as an investment while your child attends college nearby. Once they’ve graduated, spiff the place up to perfection (that means updating the kitchen countertops, the hall bath, and the powder room) and sell it for some real dough. Your child could live there rent-free, and you could lease it to two or three of her Greek sisters or brothers, or band members, or whatever — you get the drift. With that income, you could make a profit or perhaps break even in the meantime!

2213 Stanley Ave Music room 2213 Stanley Ave Master 2213 Stanley Ave Hall bath

With 1,880 square feet of living space, you won’t be hurting for room, either. The master bedroom, has a separate entrance, which is a plus, privacy-wise. There’s also a dual carport, which definitely helps with off-street parking, and there’s a laundry and storage area below the garage apartment.

2213 Stanley Ave Backyard 2213 Stanley Ave Garage Apt

The backyard features a lovely elevated deck, too, as well as a spacious lawn and privacy fence. The apartment’s square footage isn’t included in the total, and wasn’t available in the listing. The unit, pictured above, seems big enough for a student, for sure. And there is enough charm and care to make this a comfortable spot for anyone who purchases this place, including tons of new windows and beautiful original hardwood floors.

What do you think?

Swananoah Front

Homes priced at $1 million or more are moving like hotcakes in Texas, according to the 2014 Texas Luxury Home Sales Report from the Texas Association of Realtors. The figures, assembled using data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, show that every Texas metro area posted double-digit growth in luxury price ranges.

Dallas posted a 22 percent increase in luxury home sales for the period between January and October 2013, the report shows, with Austin posting a whopping 55 percent increase (no wonder Trulia is calling our capital city way overvalued). Houston came in second with a 46 percent increase in luxury home sales, and San Antonio posted an 18 percent increase.

“Data from the Texas Luxury Home Sales Report shows that million-dollar homes are playing an increasingly important role in the Texas housing market,” said Dan Hatfield, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “The housing slump is behind us and as Texas’ economy and population continue to accelerate, we’re going to see increasing development and demand in larger, higher-priced homes with luxury amenities.”

So, what’s driving the increase? It’s mostly thanks to the influx of high-paying tech jobs in Austin, and in Houston it’s likely due to oil and gas wealth moving into the area. For Dallas, a brisk job market driven by a healthy financial sector, as well as oil and gas wealth, could be fueling the luxury real estate market. The increase in sales definitely shows appreciation, though, and it makes you wonder just how many of these $1 million-plus properties are second homes or even investments.

“It’s common for luxury homes to have a significantly longer sell time and higher housing inventory than the average home simply because the pool of interested homebuyers is so much smaller,” said Jim Gaines Ph. D., and economist with the Real Estate Center. “However, this data still indicates strong demand, particularly in Austin, where homes of $1 million or higher are close to 10 percent of all active listings and are selling in less than six months, and in Houston, where housing inventory is only 7.4 months.”

Here’s the Dallas-Fort Worth market breakdown from the report:

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, 809 luxury homes were sold between January and October 2013. Luxury home sales made up 1.1 percent of the total housing market and experienced a 22 percent increase in sales compared to the same period in 2012. This is slightly higher than the 19 percent year-over-year increase of the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market as a whole. As of October 2013, there were 922 active luxury home listings, 4.1 percent of all active listings on the market. The housing inventory for a luxury home was 11.4 months, 8.4 additional months than that of the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market at large.

 

 

 

2224 Lakeridge Front

Yes, that’s right. I said Grapevine. Truthfully, there are tons of fabulous properties out in this Tarrant County suburb. And with incredible schools, proximity to Lake Grapevine, and tons of beautiful views, it’s a shame we don’t feature this wonderful town more.

Today we’re checking out 2224 Lakeridge Drive, a gorgeous property from gorgeous Allie Beth Allman agent Dona Robinson. This home has a traditional feel with some great contemporary updates, including a stucco exterior, fresh paint, imported stone and hardwood floors, as well as a majestically treed lot, giving this wonderful and unique home impressive drive-up appeal. It’s fresh to the market and priced at $997,500.

2224 Lakeridge Den 2224 Lakeridge Living 2

With five bedrooms, five full and two half baths over 6,119 square feet, this home is spacious without being imposing. Sporting three living areas and tons of floor-to-ceiling windows, this home was built for entertaining crowds in a way that adds drama and grace. I love the color palette, too, which has subtle variations of neutrals including a beautiful modern-style fireplace in one of the more formal living areas. There’s also a home theater and sauna, as well as a full-fledged guest suite should you trouble yourself hosting relatives come next holiday season.

2224 Lakeridge Kitchen 2 2224 Lakeridge BreakfastThere’s plenty of rustic appeal, too, which you’ll find in the kitchen and breakfast areas, which sport exposed wood beams and beautiful metal arched chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The kitchen is immense and well-appointed, too. It has commercial-grade stainless steel appliances tucked inside custom cabinetry and topped with granite and marble. And thanks to the open kitchen floorplan, you can enjoy the view of the pool from the den, the breakfast area, or even from behind the stove.

2224 Lakeridge Master 2224 Lakeridge Study

The master bedroom is a true retreat with an adjacent study that has tons of built-in cabinetry for a work-at-home workaholic. This is just the kind of set-up Candy and I need when we are struck with some late-night inspiration and have to bang out a blog post before we lose that manic bit of creativity. The views are just stunning, too, and an inspiration in themselves.

2224 Lakeridge Master Bath

The master bath has just a huge jetted tub adjacent to an immense multi-head shower. Just really frickin’ huge, folks. I am a little put off by the mirrored surround above the tub. Just feels a little too “skeevy porn star” to me. Easily replaced, and it’d look great with some tile or even some frosted glass.

2224 Lakeridge Backyard and view

Outside you’ll find a huge pool with diving board and a built-in spa, and of course, tons of views and a very private-feeling lot. If you’re wanting to get away from the city but not wanting to sacrifice on luxury, this could be the home for you and your family.

What do you think?

Suzanne-Parsons

Update, 7:58 p.m. It appears this was a domestic quarrel that ended brutally. Dallas media is reporting a man named John St. Angelo will be charged with the murder of Suzanne Parsons, and he is in police custody. KXAS-TV’s Scott Gordon reports that John St. Angelo was dragged out of a home in the 6800 block of Permian Lane after a four-hour stand-off by SWAT officers. Apparently, St. Angelo was married to Parsons, but the couple were estranged or in the process of divorce. 

It’s absolutely terrifying to know that anyone can make their way into an open real estate office and then stab a person repeatedly. Even scarier that it can happen in broad daylight at 4 p.m.

That’s what happened to Fort Worth Realtor Suzanne Parsons, a well-loved businesswoman who worked out of the RE/MAX office on Heritage Parkway and was considered a great friend and overall nice person.

Early on, reports from Fort Worth police said that the murder was not a “stranger-on-stranger” crime. Today FWPD has said they are on the trail of the suspect, and a SWAT team has been dispatched to the 6800 block of Permian, according to CBS DFW News (Channel 11).

FWPD SWAT Vehicle

Photo: Mireya Villareal/KTVT

An arrest warrant has been issued, but many details remain unclear. Still, I wonder what Realtors and brokers will be doing to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen at their office. Should real estate offices employ some kind of buzz-in system during business hours to help with security?

downtown fort worth at sunset, texas

Trulia’s Chief Economist, Jed Kolko, isn’t necessarily infalliable, but he does have an interesting perspective more often than not. His views on the broader economy are often spot-on, though, which really puzzles me on his recent forecast for 2014 that says increases in home values will slow next year, and that many of the markets posting big increases in 2013 will grow stale.

But don’t write off North Texas entirely, as Fort Worth made Kolko’s list of places to watch for 2014. Why didn’t Dallas, Austin, Houston, or even San Antonio make the list, but Tulsa, Okla., does? Kolko explains (emphasis added):

Why are so many of the high-profile markets of 2013 missing from our list? We ruled out markets that were more than a little overvalued according to our latestBubble Watch, which eliminated most metros in Texas and coastal California. We also struck markets with a large foreclosure inventory (thanks for the data, RealtyTrac), like most of Florida. Our 10 markets to watch, therefore, should have strong activity in 2014 with few headwinds.

Interesting… I don’t know if many sellers in Dallas would consider the market overvalued, but considering what’s for sale and how brisk the market is moving, I’d say the increases in overall value would be more of a correction from being previously undervalued.

Still, Kolko had a list of trends to watch that rings true with what we’ve been saying for the past few months. Chief among them is that buying a house will become more and more unaffordable for Americans. Kolko also prognosticated that the home-buying process would become “less frenzied,” that 2013 will be the year of the repeat homebuyer, and how much prices slow will be more important than when they slow and where. Finally, Kolko says that renters will turn more to urban apartments than any other option — good news for the people who’ve constructed all those swanky buildings in Uptown and converted buildings in the downtown area.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!