July Stats Are In!

Our Stats at a Glance are here!  Click here to see our new format of the stats by county.  For more detailed information, check out this link.  Or for full stats by county, click here.  If you need past DFW Real Estate Stats information, please visit our Resource Section located on all of our office pages.

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Back To School Safety Tips

 It’s that time of year again when parents and children across the country are preparing to go back to school. Here are some great tips from ADT to help you and your student to be safe and have a great year!

School Zone Driving Safety Tips

  • Be on the lookout for school zone signals and ALWAYS obey the speed limits.
  • When entering a school zone, be sure to slow down and obey all traffic laws.
  • Always stop for school busses that are loading or unloading children.
  • Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.
  • Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets, in school parking lots, etc.
  • Never pass other vehicles while driving in a school zone.
  • Never change lanes while driving in a school zone.
  • Never make U-Turns while driving in a school zone.
  • Never text while driving in a school zone.
  • Avoid using a cell phone, unless it is completely hands-free, while driving in a school zone.
  • Unless licensed to do so, never use handicap or emergency vehicle lanes or spaces to drop off or pick up children at school.

Riding Your Bike to School

  • Check with the school to make sure your child is allowed to ride their bicycle to school. Some schools do not allow students to ride bicycles to school until they reach a specific grade.
  • Make sure your child always wears a bicycle helmet! Failure to wear one could result in a traffic citation. Furthermore, in the event of an accident, helmets reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.
  • Obey the rules of the road; the rules are the same for all vehicles, including bicycles.
  • Always stay on the right-hand side of the road and ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Be sure your child know and uses all of the appropriate hand signals.
  • Choose the safest route between home and school and practice it with children until they can demonstrate traffic safety awareness.
  • If possible, try to ride with someone else. There is safety in numbers.

Playground Safety

  • MA supervisor must always be present when children are at the school’s playground. Make sure your school has someone who monitors the playgrounds at all times.
  • Playground equipment should be surrounded by shock-absorbing material that is at least nine inches thick.
  • Protective surfaces should extend six feet in all directions around the playground equipment. For swings, it should extend twice the height of the set.
  • Due to strangulation hazards, do not attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, pet leashes or cords of any kind to playground equipment.
  • Be watchful of sharp edges or points on equipment.
  • Alert the school if you notice anything strange about the playground equipment at your child’s school.
  • Spaces that can trap children, such as openings between ladder rungs, should measure less than three and a half inches or more than nine inches.
  • All elevated surfaces, such as ramps, should have guardrails to prevent falls.

Walking to School

  • Leave early enough to arrive at school at least 10 minutes prior to the start of school.
  • Use the same route every day and never use shortcuts.
  • Go straight home after school. Do not go anywhere else without permission.
  • Always use public sidewalks and streets when walking to school.
  • Demonstrate traffic safety awareness and pick the safest route between your home and the school and practice walking it with your children.
  • Try and walk to school with other students. There is strength in numbers.
  • Teach your children to recognize and obey traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings.
  • Only cross streets at designated crosswalks, street corners and traffic controlled intersections.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street and never enter streets from between obstacles like parked cars, shrubbery, signs, etc.
  • Always walk and never run across intersections.
  • Avoid talking to strangers. Teach your children to get distance between themselves and anyone who tries to approach or make contact with them.
  • If a stranger does approach your child, make sure they know to immediately report the incident to you or a teacher.
  • Teach your children to never get into a vehicle with anyone, even if they know them, without your permission.

Clothing and School Supplies

  • To prevent injury, backpacks should have wide straps, padding in the back and shoulders, and should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of a child’s body weight.
  • When placing items in a backpack, place the heavier items in first. The closer the heavier items are to a child’s back, the less strain it will cause.
  • Children should use both backpack straps and all compartments for even distribution of weight.
  • Remove drawstrings from jackets, sweatshirts, and hooded shirts to reduce the risk of strangulation injuries.
  • Art supplies in the classroom should always be child safe and non-toxic. Be sure they have “CONFORMS TO ASTM D-4236” on their packaging.
  • Make sure your child’s school is up-to-date on the latest recalled children’s products and toys.

School Bus Safety

  • Make habit of arriving at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus.
  • Make sure your child stays out of the street and avoids excessive horseplay while waiting for the school bus.
  • Be sure the bus comes to a complete stop before getting on or off.
  • When riding the bus, make sure your child understands they must remain seated and keep their head and arms inside the bus at all times.
  • Do not shout or distract the driver.
  • Do not walk in the driver’s “blind spot” — this is the area from the front of the bus to about 10 feet in front of the bus.

Source: https://www.adt.com/resources/back-to-school-safety

Sold Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.

After Closing Reminders For Sellers

Your house has sold and the deal is closed.  Now what do you do?

Here are some reminders for you as the seller:

  • Cancel your homeowners insurance with your insurance agent once the transaction has closed, funded and your personal items have been removed from the home. There may be a prorated refund of your homeowner’s policy, based on the latest renewal date, owed to you. If you are remaining at the property after closing, you should notify your insurance agent of this change.
  • Cancel your auto deduction for your house payment with your current lender if applicable.
  • Your lender will refund all monies left in your escrow account approximately 15 to 30 business days after receipt of the payoff funds. The lender will mail a package containing your original Promissory Note marked “PAID” and the other loan file documents. Retain these for future reference. When you receive this confirmation, you may also receive a “Release of Lien” or “Reconveyance of Lien” from your lender. If the release does not appear to have been recorded with the County Clerk’s office, please forward it to your closer at the title company. We have collected for the recording of the document at closing and will send it to the County to be filed, thereby releasing the lien of record.
  • Depending on what time of the year you sold your property, the Taxing Appraisal District may not have updated the account to show a change in ownership. If you receive a Tax Bill for the property that you sold, refer to your closing statement and send the bill to the new owners.
  • You will receive a Substitute Form 1099-S from Republic Title within 30 days of closing. In addition, retain your closing statement, it serves as a Substitute Form 1099-S for tax purposes.

We hope these tips have been helpful to you in answering any post closing questions you may have had. As always, please do not hesitate to contact your closer should you have any questions. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this transaction.

Click here for printable version.

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Texas Housing Insight

Here is a great post from Texas A&M Real Estate Center regarding home sales for June.

Texas housing sales dropped 10 percent after hovering around record levels in April and May. The trend, however, remained positive with lower mortgage rates and robust demand. Falling mortgage rates and rising income levels stimulated mortgage applications for home purchases as well as the homeownership rate. The average home continued to sell in less than two months on the market. On the supply side, single-family housing permits and starts wavered on the month, but a surge in vacant lot development indicates positive momentum for future construction. Home prices continued to rise but at a more moderate pace, providing some relief to affordability constraints. The shortage of homes priced below $300,000 remained the biggest challenge facing the housing market. Texas’ robust economy and population growth, however, support a favorable outlook.

Supply*

The Texas Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index, which measures current construction activity, inched downward due to sluggish residential construction values and wages in the industry. The Residential Construction Leading Index flattened as a decline in building permits offset lower interest rates. The extended economic expansion, however, continues to bode well for the housing market.

Supply-side activity remained stable at the earliest stage of the construction cycle with a 6.3 percent quarterly increase in the number of new vacant developed lots (VDLs). Austin’s VDLs rebounded after a slow start to the year, primarily for those targeting homes selling for less than $300,000. Development maintained an upward trend in San Antonio, but activity cooled for lots targeted for homes priced more than the metro’s median ($229,750). New VDLs picked up for the second straight quarter in Houston but failed to recover all of the losses from the second half of 2018. Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) continued a yearlong decline of lot development in response to last year’s market adjustment.

Single-family construction permits receded 13 percent in June after five consecutive monthly increases. The overall trend remained positive, but permits are currently on track to fall short of last year’s total. Texas’ 9,767 monthly permits (nonseasonally adjusted) accounted for 15 percent of the U.S. total, extending a 13-year stretch as the national leader. Houston and DFW topped the list at the metropolitan level with 3,030 and 2,822 permits, respectively, but flattened after a marginal recovery from last year’s correction. In Central Texas, permits staggered in June but maintained a steady upward trend. Austin issued 1,598 single-family permits, while San Antonio issued 660.

Total Texas housing starts increased 5.2 percent quarter over quarter due to continued strength in multifamily residential investment. Approximately 22,600 single-family homes broke ground in the Texas Urban Triangle, slightly down from a solid first quarter. Most of the quarterly decline occurred in the ultra-constrained $200,000-$400,000 price range. In Austin and Dallas, single-family starts held a flat trend, but Houston showed signs of weakness. Starts fell back in San Antonio but maintained 7 percent year-over-year growth.

Revised first quarter data revealed that single-family private construction values bottomed out after a sharp decline in the second half of 2018. Austin and Houston displayed similar stabilization, while DFW construction values continued to slide in line with VDLs. Accelerating supply activity in San Antonio pushed single-family construction values up toward a cycle high.

Housing starts had little effect on Texas’ months of inventory (MOI), which held firmly at 3.8 months. A total MOI around six months is considered a balanced housing market. Last year’s stretch of slow and steady inventory growth stalled amid rebounding demand and fewer new Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings. Different segments of the market displayed wide variation in inventory levels. The MOI for homes priced less than $300,000 hovered below three months, while the MOI surpassed 9.1 months for luxury homes (those priced more than $500,000). These divergent trends exemplify the shortage of affordable housing and the current mismatch between demand and supply.

The MOI ticked down across the major metros with signs of downward pressure after marginal gains last year. Dallas and Fort Worth reached year-to-date (YTD) lows at 3.3 and 2.6 months, respectively, while Austin’s MOI fell to 2.4 months. In San Antonio, the MOI hovered around a three-year high in May, while Houston’s MOI ticked down closer to four months.

Demand

Total housing sales through an MLS dropped 10.1 percent in June but remained on an upward trajectory amid lower mortgage rates, rising wages, and more moderate home price appreciation. Per MetroStudy data, second quarter new home sales surpassed 24,000 in the Texas Urban Triangle for the first time since 2007, corroborating the overall strength of the state’s housing market. New home sales increased across the price spectrum with particular strength in the $200,000-$300,000 price range.

Austin sold a record level 4,628 new homes during the second quarter, surpassing 13 percent year-over-year (YOY) growth. San Antonio was the growth leader at 15.6 percent YOY, selling more than 3,200 new homes. Dallas and Houston accounted for two-thirds of the new-home transactions with 8,623 and 7,611, respectively.

Texas’ average days on market (DOM) hovered around its four-year trend of 58 days. San Antonio continued to track the statewide level, while the DOM in Austin and Houston both fell to 56 days. Dallas’ DOM flattened for the first time this year at 54 days, more than a week longer than in June 2018. Fort Worth remained the exception with the DOM at 43 days and showed signs of trending lower.

Slightly softer affordability pressure generated an uptick in Texas’ homeownership rate, increasing to 62 percent after three consecutive quarterly declines. The national rate held firmly higher at 64.2 percent. Homeownership is persistently lower in the major metros. Houston ranked the lowest in Texas at 58.8 percent followed by DFW at 59.4 percent. In contrast, Austin’s homeownership rate climbed above 59 percent after bottoming out at 54.1 percent in 2017. San Antonio’s rate surpassed the state level at 63.8 percent and has been relatively stable over the past two years.

Continued concerns about global economic growth and trade uncertainty pulled interest rates down for the eighth consecutive month. Economic fundamentals at the state and national level, however, remain healthy and stable. Interest rates could fall further after the Federal Reserve’s rate cut. The ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell to a two-and-a-half-year low of 2.1 percent, while the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate dropped to 3.8 percent. Texans capitalized on lower rates, pushing mortgage applications for home purchases up 15.6 percent YTD. Refinance mortgage applications, which are more sensitive to interest rate fluctuations, have nearly doubled over the past six months.

Prices

The Texas median home price reached a record high $239,000, growing at an annual rate of 3.9 percent. While still increasing, home prices are no longer soaring at double-digit growth levels. Texas’ median price for new and existing homes trailed the respective national median by $21,700 and $41,400.

The Texas Repeat Sales Index slowed to 3.3 percent YOY growth during the second quarter, the slowest rate in more than five years. The Central Texas boom maintained more than 4 percent growth in Austin and San Antonio, pushing the median price above $313,000 and $229,700, respectively. Fort Worth’s median price reached a record high $242,700 amid 3.8 percent growth in the repeat sales index. The Houston index decelerated to 2.4 percent growth as the median price hovered around $240,000 for most of this year. Home price moderation was most apparent in Dallas where the index slowed to just 1.9 percent and the median price inched upward to $289,600.

Click here for the full report.

Source – James P. Gaines, Luis B. Torres, Wesley Miller, and Paige Silva (August 6, 2019)

    https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/articles/technical-report/Texas-Housing-In…

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Living Magazine Readers’ Choice Award

We are proud to announce that we have won the Readers’ Choice award by Living Magazine for Best Title Company in McKinney/Allen, Frisco/Plano, Las Colinas, Richardson & 380 North! Thank you to our communities for trusting us with your Title and Escrow needs and to our valued customers who are the best in the business!

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Updated Seller’s Disclosure Notice Effective September 1st

The Texas Real Estate Commission has released an updated Seller’s Disclosure Notice for mandatory use Sept. 1.

It’s available for voluntary use immediately.

As of Sept. 1, 2019, the new Seller’s Disclosure Notice has questions in paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 relative to floodplains, and includes definitions of the various categories according to FEMA.  In addition, questions about previous claims for flood damage or assistance from FEMA or SBA are also included.

The notice must also disclose a seller’s knowledge of water damage not due to a flood event and requires a seller to disclose whether a prior flood-related insurance claim was filed with an insurance provider or the seller received aid from FEMA.

Click here for the red-lined seller’s disclosure notice and click here for the blank seller’s disclosure notice.

 

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Effective September 1, 2019: Texas Title Rate and Rule Revisions

Please note that beginning September 1, 2019, there will be a change to the basic premium rate for title insurance including an overall adjustment of -4.9 percent.

The Texas Commissioner of Insurance has issued an order adjusting the basic premium rate for title insurance and amending R-5, R-8 and R-20.

Summary of Changes

Basic Premium Rate – Includes an overall rate adjustment of -4.9 percent, a starting base rate of $25,000 and three new rate tiers for policies with face values over $25, $50 and $100 million.

Refinance Rate Amendment – Amends Rate Rule R-8 to provide for a 50 percent credit within the first four years and a 25 percent credit between four and eight years.

Simultaneous Issue Discount Expansion in R-5 – Allows a simultaneous issue rate credit for 90 days on transactions $5 million and above. The premium is $100 for each loan policy under these circumstances.

Construction Credit Expansion in R-20 – An extension of the credit for developers of large construction projects from one year to two years with a simultaneous issue rate for the loan policy.

These new rates will go into effect on all transactions that close (the date the papers are signed) starting on September 1, 2019.

Read the Order and View the Amendments

These changes are outlined in TDI’s adoption order. The revised rate chart and amended rules can be found in the following exhibits:

  • Exhibit A – Basic Premium Rates; Calculation for Policies in Excess of $100,000 with Examples
  • Exhibit B – (R-5) Simultaneous Issuance of Owner’s and Loan Policies
  • Exhibit C – (R-8) Loan Policy on a Loan to Take Up, Renew, Extend, or Satisfy an Existing Lien(s)
  • Exhibit D – (R-20) Owner’s Policy After Construction Period

Republic Title Online Resources

Please visit our website for additional online resources including:

As always, please feel free to contact your escrow officer if you have any questions about the new rates.  If you would like printed rate cards or need help using our online calculator, please contact one of business development representatives.