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We’ve been talking about this trend for some time, but thanks to the business-friendly environment Great State of Texas and our fantastic job market, more people are moving to our state from areas where there are fewer jobs and houses cost a whole lot more.

And of course, when more people relocate to Texas, that means more real estate clients. A total of 138,057 new clients according to the statistics from the Texas Association of Realtors’ “Texas Relocation Report.”

The report, which uses data from 2013 American Community Survey, the 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as the U-Haul 2013 National Migration Trend Reports shows that Texas is outpacing Florida, California, Georgia, and North Carolina in the number of people moving from out of state.


MetroTex Logo

It’s been only six months since Roxie Glenn took over professional development at MetroTex Association of Realtors, and her department has already pulled down a significant award for its work during the Texas Association of Realtors winter meetings in Austin. MetroTex was recognized alongside the San Antonio Board of Realtors and Houston Association of Realtors with the Education Program of the Year award.

“This event commemorates two years of record growth for the Texas housing market and honors the Texas Realtors and local Realtor organizations that have been true trailblazers for our association and our industry,” said Dan Hatfield, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors.

Roxie GlennGlenn is thrilled that TAR recognized MetroTex’s course that gives business-building tools to recent licensees during the Feb. 10 ceremony. “This is very exciting for our department,” Glenn said. “It shows Realtors that we have quality courses and education here at MetroTex.”

The course — “Building a Successful Real Estate Business” —  is a series of six four-hour classes that covers topics such as lead identification, pricing a property, and marketing tips. It’s a collaborative effort with independent educators who are experts in building successful real estate businesses. The program, which runs once a month, usually has 30 or more Realtors in the classroom, making it a popular choice.

“Basically, it teaches new Realtors how to set up their business,” Glenn said. “After Realtors get their license, they don’t know what or where to go, or what to do next. Something that Realtors aren’t always so good at is setting up a new business, and we teach them how to do that successfully.”

The program isn’t all lectures, either, Glenn added. “They get to role play and try things out on people.”

Of course, the award is a testament to the hard work Glenn and her fellow education department staff has put in to make sure that Dallas/Fort Worth-area Realtors have all the tools they need to be successful.

“It’s not just getting your [continuing education] credits,” Glenn said. “It’s real-world education that can also help you build your business.”

Find out more about the continuing education programs MetroTex offers, as well as the outstanding staff supporting the organization, on their website.



Burleson, Mary Frances, August 2010 (2)

The National Association of Realtors has good taste, that’s for sure, as the organization has selected Ebby Halliday Realtors president and CEO Mary Frances Burleson to receive the 2013 Distinguished Service Award — the highest award a Realtor can receive. Burleson was recognized by NAR chief Gary Thomas for her service at the Realtor Conference and Expo in San Francisco today, Nov. 11.

Burleson, who has been a Realtor for 47 years, started at Ebby Halliday Realtors as a Ebby’s own secretary in 1958. She has helped to grow the organization to where it is now — the largest independent real estate brokerage in Texas. Along the way, Burleson has touched the lives of thousands of Realtors and people across the North Texas community and beyond.

“I am honored and grateful to accept the Distinguished Service Award,” Burleson said in a press release. “I am also extremely fortunate to be part of a profession and organization that values service to others. Realtors have a common goal to help build strong communities and work toward improving people’s quality of life; this is something I strongly believe in and have strived for throughout my career in real estate.”

It’s true: Ebby Halliday Realtors works very hard to give back to the community. And Burleson is a perfect example of that philosophy.

“I am extremely honored to present this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Mary Frances Burleson,” said Thomas. “Over several decades, Mary Frances has demonstrated a tremendous amount of dedication and self-sacrifice to the Realtor community through her involvement in numerous volunteer positions at the local, state and national level. Mary Frances has proven herself to be a leader who believes in the principle of service above self.”

Burleson also holds the honor of being the third person from Ebby Halliday Realtors to receive the coveted DSA, an industry first.

Burleson has served as a member of the board of directors at NAR since 1991 and is currently a large firm representative on the board of directors, a position she has held since 1998. While active on a national level, Burleson has served as president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors, and was named Realtor of the Year by MetroTex  — an honor she also received from the Texas Association of Realtors.

Additionally, Burleson has served on the Texas Real Estate Commission, as chairman of the board for the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Baptist Foundation of Texas, and as a member of the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She has also been a member of the Fannie Mae National Advisory Council.

Please join us in congratulating Mary Frances Burleson on this amazing achievement!


“In the fall, Texas Realtors usually start to catch their breath as the summer selling season draws to a close, but not this year,” said Shad Bogany, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “Demand for Texas homes remains strong, keeping buyers and sellers in the market, and Texas Realtors, busy.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Shad. It’s true — while spring and summer are typically the more brisk seasons for selling homes, the phones are still ringing off the hook for a lot of North Texas Realtors. Why? Because of job growth bringing in so many new households, with sales volume in the third quarter of 2013 matching that of the second quarter, and incredibly low inventory according to the third quarter edition of the Texas Quarterly Housing Report released today by the Texas Association of Realtors.

jim_gaines“The inventory of homes in Texas is at historically low levels,” said Jim Gaines, PhD., an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University (left). “To have only 4 months of inventory in a market as large as Texas is remarkable. Of the 47 markets included in the report, 10 have less than 3 months of inventory and that includes several large markets, such as Austin and Dallas.”

Less than three months of inventory, people! Just jaw-dropping, isn’t it? We just can’t build them fast enough. Not only that, but housing prices are growing, too, increasing during the third quarter of 2013 as it did in the second. Median home prices increased 10 percent year-over-year to $177,100. Average prices increased 11.06 percent YOY, too, to $230,474.

Gaines continued, “Sales volume in Texas had been increasing for some time, but the price increases have been constrained by foreclosures and other distressed sales. Now, we’ve seen more than a year-and-a-half of price increases that outpace the average rate of appreciation in Texas, which is around 4.5 percent per year. This quarter’s annual double-digit price increase was more than twice that pace. Taken together, it’s clear that high demand for Texas homes is translating into higher prices for home sellers.”

The Texas Quarterly Housing Report also stated that 80,105 single-family homes were sold in Texas in the third quarter of 2013, which is 18.97 percent more than Q3 2012 and “the highest volume of homes sold in Texas since the Texas Association of Realtors began issuing the report in 2009.”

Sure, these reports show statewide trends, but we’re hearing a lot of the same from Dallas-area Realtors. What’s your report from Q3?

MetroTechies 3.0

We talk about how valuable staging is when marketing a listing, and for Suzy Echols Neal of Nathan Grace Realtors, she’ll get all of the value without forking over a dime! Neal won a complete staging and photography package at the MetroTechies conference Wednesday in Grapevine.

Suzy Echols NealNeal was thrilled to find out she’d won the package provided by the Real Estate Stagers Association, which includes a team of RESA stagers, MLS photos from Lance Selgo of Unique Exposure Photography, and a virtual tour for an occupied staging. According to RESA Texas State President Karen Eubank, the total value of the package is $1,200.

While the package has a price tag, Neal considers the talents and work of stagers and professional photographers as “invaluable.”

“You walk into a home and you can’t quite figure it out, can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it could be better, that the furniture could be moved. That’s where professional stagers come in,” Neal said. “Pretty soon they can have that house feeling comfortable — feeling like home.”

Of course, knowing and trusting that experts are on hand to make a listing look its best is tremendously important, Neal added. And for Selgo, staging and photographer are the one-two punch that lands big sales.

“Professional staging and photography go hand-in-hand, and utilizing both provides for an outstanding experience for a home seller,” Selgo said. “The MetroTechies event was a perfect avenue for RESA members to partner for this excellent giveaway because everyone that attended was eager to learn. We aim to bring more awareness to RESA and we love educating Realtors about how we can help them on their journey to sell properties quickly and for the highest price!”

And for Eubank, demonstrating the power of staging and expert photography to Realtors is a win-win situation for everyone in the real estate industry.

“As Texas state president and past Dallas chapter president of RESA it’s been a priority of mine to create visibility and credibility for staging. What better way to do that than by supporting our industry partners?” Eubank asked. “Our members are committed to MetroTex Association of Realtors and the Women’s Council of Realtors. We participate in a number of their programs each year. MetroTechies is such a great event. Not only do many people discover RESA at this event, we discover great tools that help our own individual businesses as well as our chapter grow.”

What are those things on the shelves behind Jennie Ling and Virginia Cook? Any agent under age 35 may NOT know what they are. Old MLS Books! Yes, boys and girls, back in the days of ice cube trays, garages you had to open yourself, and pay phones, these books were how you looked up homes for sale in the MLS. Cumbersome, you bet, but they were  updated weekly. Anyone want to complain about computers again? I was at Metrotex Association of Realtors today, talking to the most energetic group of young real estate leaders in town:  the MetroTex Young Professionals. God is was great to talk with them… no one asked me what blogging is, instead, we compared platforms (WordPress versus Blogger versus talked shadow inventory — unlike some young cub reporters, I know what it is — the rise in Dallas rentals, and the future of the market. After the talk, Joe Mazza showed me the Metrotex Library: Jennie Ling, who was number one in real estate sales probably longer than any human being has been, brought these books in along with some other relics of old real estate — lockboxes — to show the young ones what life was like back then. In just a few years, maybe they’ll add a new bookshelf of more things to keep for posterity: magazines!

Homes like Mount Vernon would be prime candidates for “Z sales.” That practice is a thing of the past as of yesterday.

I spoke to MetroTex Association of Realtors MLS Director Cathy Faulkner yesterday about “Z sales” coming to an end. In the luxury market, “Z sales” gave lofty sales prices a sense of anonymity.

I won’t bore you with the technical details of what a “Z sale” is exactly. Check out this site for a primer on the practice. The gist is this: sellers who were gun shy about disclosing what they paid for a home listed on MLS put a “Z” instead of a big number followed by a lot of zeroes.

Dallas Realtor Jeff Duffey says the death of the practice “will never affect approximately 99% of the real estate market areas throughout North Texas.” However, he estimates roughly 20 percent of the sales in high-end neighborhoods such as the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and Turtle Creek are “Z sales.”

Not anymore, though. Faulkner said the exception to the rule became problematic as “more and more people” were using “Z sales” instead of disclosing prices. This makes it difficult for sellers, appraisers, and agents, she said. “When people go to sell their home they’re going to need comparables.”

I asked Faulkner if she thought making “Z sales” verboten would just bring about more hip pocket listings and keep high-priced properties from hitting MLS all together. Part of the psychology behind “Z” sales was keeping your sales price from the Dallas County Appraisal District. But appraisers like D.W. Skelton say that doesn’t work, either: DCAD just takes last listed price.

“I certainly hope not,” said Faulkner, about hip pockets. “You are going to get more exposure … when you list a property using the Multiple Listing Service. This is for sellers to use to help buyers.”

But will it work? Will people who were previously skittish about sharing how much they spent on their home give in to the new MLS rule, or will they avoid the MLS completely? We are waiting for your comments…