Choosing a listing agent

 

Are they Reliable 

            Sounds like a no-brainer, but it starts with the first phone call. Did they answer or even call you back? Believe it or not, this is a good indicator or how the transaction will go. I’ve earned business by answering my phone and calling back. I recently went on a listing appointment where I was basically hired because I showed up. The other agent they were going to hire never showed. How crazy is that? I’m always perplexed by realtors that don’t answer or call back.

 

Stats

            Most agents will provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA.  Did you know that some agents use an auto-generated CMA? I really don’t get that. What I do is start with the direct area and work out from there. I actually take several hours to complete my analysis. In some cases there are a lot of factors to consider. Is it by a golf course? Does it have a pool? Has anything else similar sold recently? 

 

            You really can’t compare a one story to a two story home. Most agents would know that, but there are a few out there trying to get buy without really knowing what they are doing when it comes to setting up a sales price for the home. That’s a huge mistake. 

 

Are they local? 

            In the age of tech and information being readily available, this point is arguable. Being a local realtor myself, I think its super convenient to be able to tell a client about the new Ikea and the new water park coming in soon. If you are from out of the area, how would you know? 

            

I choose to work at Remax Pinnacle in Grand Prairie, because I wanted to stay local. Honestly, I didn’t want to have an hour drive to list a property in an area that I wasn’t familiar with. It feels wrong. 

 

   Are they Friendly? 

            I learned that when you meet a jerk, they are usually accompanied by other jerks. It’s funny, but true. Think about that guy in high school that gave everybody a hard time. Wasn’t he always surrounded by others just like him? Things don’t really change much. 

 

            Trusting and actually liking the person that will sell your home is a must. If you find them abrasive, chances are others do also. 

 

Conclusion 

            Picking a Listing Agent is kind of like buying a car. If you are in desperate need of a car, you’ll get the first one that runs. Buying or selling a home is probably the biggest transaction that most people are involved in. Take your time and pick the best one. (pick me, pick me)

 

- Albert Garcia, Remax, The Garcia Team

 

Aug. 3, 2018

Selling your home fast in Grand Prairie

What does it really take to sell your home quickly in Grand Prairie? 

I guess the answer depends on why you have to sell it quickly. If you mean that you want to sell it because of impending foreclosure, then the answer is getting exposure to the right people...mainly investors. If you don't have a financial burden it is still possible to sell your home quickly. With the right marketing and flexibility of both the buyer and seller, we can obtain a win-win situation. 

I had a house for sale a couple years ago in the 75050 area code that was a wreak. Unfortunately, the home was full of trash and super outdated.

In this case my recommendations were the following:

  • have the home emptied 
  • have the home professionally cleaned
  • have the carpet shampooed 
  • dump all the trash 

This made all the difference once we took pictures and marketed to a list of investors, it sold in one day for top dollar. A neighbor had made a cash over for 40K less than what the seller actually got. 

If your situation is different I can still help. I've sold home were people have to relocate fast or they have to sell because of a divorce. Those are tricky, but I've sold many. As long as as parties agree, it can happen smoothly. 

In summary, every situation is different and should be looked at on a case by case basis. As long as the title is clear and the sales price is marketable, we can get it sold. 

Read my blog on what it takes to sell your home.

Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2018

10 Money-Saving Home Maintenance Hacks

Before we know it we’ve run out of hours in a day! If you’re like me, chances are you’ve been too busy to take care of a few (or a lot of) things around the house.

 

As a Realtor in Grand Prairie, I wanted to come come with a good list of practical things the average homeowner could use. I searched high and low for some of the easiest, most time-saving maintenance hacks, tried them and compiled a list of my top 10 favorites!

 

1.  Faucets

Recover that powerful pressure once again by finally getting rid of all the muck that it’s collected. Grab a plastic bag and pour some white vinegar inside of it enough to fully immerse your sink faucets or shower head. Wrap the bag around it with a rubber band and let it soak about 30 minutes. This will help remove those persistent mineral deposits. Just make sure that once you remove the bag you wipe it down as to not get any vinegar in your eyes or on your skin. We get pretty good water pressure in Grand Prairie, so if you have a pressure issue with more than one faucet, you might have a bigger issue that a plumber should look at.  

2.  Vent Hood Filters

Keeping up with the cleanliness of a vent hood filter can be a huge pain! Cut out some work by simply soaking it in the sink with some hot and soapy water and use a scrub brush to loosen the grime. Voilà!

 

3.  Carpet Dents

Carpet dents seem like they last forever. One easy way to get rid of those dents is by laying a moist washcloth over the dent then steaming it with your clothing iron. This works on almost all carpet types. Side note: if you have carpet in the bathroom, you should consider stripping it out and adding tile floors. I see time in the bathroom more in the Arlington area, but I have seen a couple homes in South Grand Prairie with a well worn carpet in the bathroom. 

 

4.  Chipped Windows

This is one thing you definitely don’t want to go too long without replacing. To temporarily fill small chips, use a bit of clear nail polish on your window. 

 

5.  TLC for the HVAC

Extend the life of your heating and cooling system by cleaning the condensate drain line. Pour a solution of 1 cup bleach and 3 cups water down the tube every three months to keep it algae-free. 

6.  Ceiling Fans

The simplest yet most messy things to clean! To make cleaning easy, try using a pillow case. Cover each blade one at a time with a pillow case and wipe it towards you. This will keep all of the dust inside and keep you from covering your furniture or sheets in dust.

 

7.  Stove Cleaning

An easy trick to save yourself from all of the hard scrubbing is to preheat your oven to 150°F. On the top rack, place a bowl of ammoniaand place a pot of boiling water. Your spine will thank you for this

 

8.  Window Blinds

Your tongs are your greatest weapon when combating all the dust stuck on your blinds. Wrap a washcloth around each tip and secure them with a rubber band. Squeeze the tongs and trap the dust on your blinds on both sides. No more Swiffer Duster needed!

 

9.  Crown Molding

Overcome those hard to reach places by tying a towel on the end of a long broom. A few minutes of this and you’re done. Cobwebs tend to lead the buyer to believe the whole home is a mess. Simple fix. 

 

10. Dishwasher

Keep your dishwasher from collecting iron stains and lime deposits with lemon-flavored Kool-Aid. The citric acid will break all of that down. 

 

Do yourself a favor and try some of these hacks out to save yourself time and money.  Keep up the great work and Spring cleaning won’t have anything on you!

 

 

Read my blog about what it takes to sell your home 

Posted in Market Updates
July 8, 2018

Fun things to do within 30 miles of Grand Prairie

When I first arrived in the DFW area I tried hard to find cool things to do that wouldn't break the bank. It was 1998 and my internet skills were non-existent. Actually, the internet wasn't even close to what it is now. Geez, I printed off a Map every time I went somewhere. Here's a list of things I found throughout the last 20 years. 

Hiking
Cedar Ridge Preserve is by far one of the closest places around Grand Prairie. It's actually in the Cedar Hill/Dallas area. You'll have two trails to choose from. The long trail is a loop and have a couple of harder parts. It's a nice hike. 

The short trail is well...short. I refused to take that hike for a couple of months. That was a big mistake. Once I finally decided to hike it, I realized I had misjudged. There was a small picturesque pond that will no doubt bring a sense that you are not in the metroplex anymore. 

Best part...It's free! Well kind of. There is a small donation box at the trailhead you can drop a buck in. Closed on Monday.  
7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75249

Coffee 

The Brass Bean in Grand Prairie is an independently owed coffee shop with lots of style. They know coffee. I love supporting places like this. If you are looking for a shop that is not so mainstream, this is the spot. They serve sandwiches and occasionally have live music. 

123 W Main St #112, Grand Prairie, TX 75050


I personally love the little town of Waxahachie. The people are kind and they like to have little festivals from time to time. One place that opened in 2018 is the White Rhino. It’s a very hip coffee shop that I know you’ll love. It’s snap dab in the middle of a residential area. The owner restored and modernized an old Victorian home and let me tell you…he outdid himself. There is also the original location in Cedar Hill and one inside of a church in Red Oak. I prefer the Waxahachie location. I included their website below:


http://whiterhinocoffee.com/locations

The best taco spot
Okay, Waxahachie has my heart. Mainly because of the little taco shop that could. Two Amigos started of in a tiny location with enough from for about 12 adults. They expanded a few years later and pretty much doubled their seating. Early in 2018, the owner of Two Amigos opened up a new location that was built from scratch. It’s the best Tex-Mex around. Seriously. You can trust me. You should trust me. 


Two Amigos
241 S. Monroe Street
Waxahachie, TX 


Mountain Biking 
A great place to Mountain bike is Cedar Hill State Park. The switchbacks in the trails will have your heart pumping. I would say the trail at Cedar Hill is for beginners to Mid level riders. Cost is $7 for the day or you can get a yearly membership that gets you into any Texas state park. Call and check the trails beforehand. Especially after rain. 972-291-3900 

Another great off road trail close to Grand Prairie is Bolder Park. The entrance is free, but make sure you have nothing of value in your vehicle. You basically park on the street and you park at your own risk. Don’t do this ride alone. Go with a friend and give yourself plenty of daylight. I would say the trails at Bolder are more mid-level to expert rides, although there is a beginner trail that you might choose to ride first. 

Bolder park 
6600 Pastor Bailey
Dallas, TX 75237 

Cedar Hill State Park 
1570 N. Cedar Hill Rd. 
Cedar Hill, TX 75104

Find all the awesome trails in DFW
http://www.dorba.org

 

Fresh produce

So the Farmers Market in Grand Prairie isn't huge at all, but you should stop by and grab some fresh fruit and veggies. Once in a while they have live music from local artists. I stop by a couple times a year. 

 

The Dallas farmers market is a little more time consuming. I always bring cash because not all the vendors have card readers. They have great indoor restaurant in the food court area and you always get a few free samples. Parking is not free, unless you park super far. Make sure you take a picture of your license plate, because you will need it to check in at the payment kiosk if you park at the main parking lot. 

 

More to come

I'll be updating this list from time to time. I hope you find it useful. I also sell homes. I can help you buy or sell a home. You can sign up for a home search  

 

Read my blog about what it takes to sell your home 

Posted in Market Updates
July 8, 2018

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about what the local Grand Prairie Market is performing? So are we! Actually, we are pretty obsessed. Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more.

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

 

 

Read my blog about what it takes to sell your home 

Posted in Market Updates
April 23, 2018

Is Zillow really accurate

How accurate is the Zestimate?

 

Ah, the famous question. You may be just as guilty as a lot of people of typing in your address to find out what your home is worth. Zillow uses what’s called an “automated valuation model” or AVM. This algorithm takes into account any homes that were sold, current transactions and your tax assessment. This is true of homes in Tarrant county. 

 

This seems like an easy way to come up with your home valuation, but it is also far from the truth. Zillow has admitted that their Zestimate may not determine the actual price. Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what Zillow has posted on their website

 

“Zillow does not offer the Zestimate as the basis of any specific real-estate related financial transaction. Our data sources may be incomplete or incorrect; also, we have not physically inspected a specific home. Remember, the Zestimate is a starting point and does not consider all the market intricacies that can determine the actual price a house will sell for.”

 

As of now, their algorithm in the DFW area is only accurate within 20% of the sales price. Those are thousands of dollars that people could be losing out on if they price their home according to their AVM. If there is little to no market activity, Zillow will expand the radius and the homes that it uses to valuate yours. This strategy only worsens the value estimation due to the simple fact that different neighborhoods carry different values. If the radius is too broad, the value of your property will be calculated inaccurately.

 

Sadly, there is no secret formula that will give you an accurate estimate of value, no matter how state of the art it is. Because Zillow has never seen your home, they have no way of knowing about any upgrades, improvements or even damages your house has undergone. Their algorithm is not capable of calculating different types of remodeling and how it impacts the value of your property. They may be comparing your home with the cat lady’s home. 

 

The only way to truly receive accurate information is to contact a Local Realtor in Arlington and Grand Prairie and ask for a Comparative Market Analysis. (That's me) Who better than local expert to view your home and give you real numbers to work with when it comes to your largest and most important asset. I’m here to help. 

Posted in Market Updates
April 15, 2018

What it takes to sell your home

What it takes to sell your home

 

Staging consultation

 

            I often show beautiful homes to my buyers and without exception, most of them get distracted by the family photos.

 

Why do I bring up this point? It's because a de-personalized home will keep buyer’s attention. They may have 5 homes to see that day. You don’t want them to spend a lot of time checking out your beautiful family photos and brainstorming about their next family gathering. 

            

Staging is usually reserved for listings over $500k, but I found a way to offer this type of service to any seller that wants the help. I actually do a run through with my sellers and I'm honest and upfront of potential issues and staging recommendations. 

 

The level of staging required is really up to the seller. Ultimately, it’s your decision. My job is to assist you with the most up to date information to help you stage your home using my staging assistant and the furniture you already own.     

 

 

Professional photography 

 

            One of the easiest, yet under-utilized tools is photography. The art of capturing images is a skill and requires a good eye. The majority of people don’t possess this talent, but the same people believe that they do. Just look through the MLS or your favorite real estate and it will become incredibility clear that some people actually shoot listing photos themselves…with a phone. Excuse my rant.

 

            I’m pretty good with a camera, but not good enough to say I’m a professional photographer. I’m a professional Realtor. I know my strengths as well as my limitations. I hire a photographer. Simple as that. Leave it to the pros.  

 

Marketing 

 

            I’m often asked legal questions about real estate. What do I know about law? I’m just a marketer. That’s all. I’m a master marketer of real estate. With many ways to bring attention to a home for sale, I’m still amazed that Realtors only use the MLS. Quick Disclaimer: the Multiple Listing Service is still the single most powerful tool we have to market real estate. I don’t want to take away from its importance, however it is based on filters.

 

What I mean is that potential buyers only see properties within their strict criteria. For instance, they want a 4 bedroom home under $350K in Grand Prairie. A home that is priced at $351K will not show up on their listing results.

 

By using social media, I target prospective buyers that may not ever see your home that is for sale. Some Realtors say that this is overkill and not necessary in our dynamic market here in Arlington and Grand Prairie. I’d ask, “Do you think we should do only what’s necessary or should we do everything within the scope of marketing”? The answer is simple. Saturate the market. I’ve been branding myself and my client’s properties on social media for about 3 years now. People notice. 

 

If you are thinking of buying and/or selling a home, please feel free to reach out to me. 

Posted in Market Updates