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Serving at the Local Association Level Spurs Business Success

This article was originally published January 2019 in North DFW Real Producers Magazine

To become a top producing agent is no small feat. Traits of the elite may vary from outgoing, well connected, passionate, knowledgeable, and so on. But have you ever considered service to your local association as a catalyst to high volume sales? To learn more, we spoke to two top producing agents in North DFW, who also serve in leadership roles at the Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR).

Nina Bhanot of RE/MAX Premier Properties wanted to put her thoughts and ideas into action and help shape the future of the industry. She views her appointment to the CCAR Board of Directors as a chance to make positive change in the industry.

“Getting involved is probably one of the best things you can do,” Nina notes. “The Real Estate industry is changing so quickly due to all the disruptors coming into it, getting involved is the only way to truly impact the future of our industry.”

While actively impacting the future of the industry, an unexpected byproduct has emerged; the knowledge, network and relationships that Nina has formed with other local Realtors while serving at CCAR. This byproduct has yielded smoother and more successful real estate transactions. When asked directly if her time at CCAR has impacted her success, she replies without hesitation “Yes, absolutely. Service at CCAR may be overlooked since it is not directly client related or revenue producing, but what you have to gain is so great.”

Shana Acquisto, Broker of Acquisto Real Estate, is the 2018 Chair of the Collin County Association of Realtors’ Independent Broker Network. Shana noticed the association growing and Independent Brokers becoming a large percentage of that growth. “I felt a desire to unite this growing group of Brokers together to network, discuss, share and support one another,” she says.

Her desire led her to her current position, where she keeps the Independent Brokers informed of the current trends and topics that affect their business via regular meetings with guest speakers and relevant topics, as well as social media pages and group emails. Shana feels passionate about the Independent Brokers she represents. “I am very passionate about our industry, serving our clients and bringing people together. I truly feel by uniting together, we have become a very informed and powerful group.”

Passion may have brought Shana to her local association, knowledge and community may be what she found, but a push to the next level of success may just be what keeps this top producer around. “My involvement with CCAR has guided me to achieve great things including being a top producer,” says Shana. “CCAR pushed me to get more involved which has allowed me to become more informed, better educated and more connected with other Realtors, which has taken my business to another level. The staff at CCAR is always willing to support and are truly amazing folks and the resources they provide are invaluable.”

As you compile your goals, revisit your marketing strategies, and establish new success-driven routines, don’t overlook serving at the Collin County Association of Realtors. It may be the spark your business has been looking for.

To learn more about the volunteer opportunities available to CCAR members, visit www.ccar.net/about-us/committees, email [email protected] or call 972-618-3800.

CCAR Announces TREPAC-Supported Candidates for May Municipal Elections

Each election cycle, the Collin County Association of REALTORS® (CCAR) conducts candidate interviews in order to better understand candidates’ ideas and visions for when they may be elected to public office. The Texas REALTORS® Political Action Committee (TREPAC) may then choose to support the candidate who champions private property rights and upholds our REALTOR® members’ values.

In order to ensure transparency and participation from our members, CCAR invited you to join the Government Affairs and TREPAC Committees during these interviews by observing them. Over 20 CCAR volunteers interviewed over 50 candidate for local elected office for the May 4th municipal elections. CCAR understands the importance of public service and sincerely thanks all candidates at all levels of government for their willingness to serve and their involvement.

As a result of the interviews, the following are the official TREPAC-supported candidates:

Chris Schulmeister Allen City Council Place 4
Baine Brooks Allen City Council Place 6
Bill Webber Celina City Council Place 1
Chad Anderson Celina City Council Place 6
Shona Huffman Frisco City Council Place 2
Bill Woodard Frisco City Council Place 4
Rainey Rogers McKinney City Council District 2
Frederick Frazier McKinney City Council At Large
Rick Franklin McKinney City Council District 4
Rick Grady Plano City Council Place 3
Ron Kelley Plano City Council Place 5
Michael “Mike” Korbuly Prosper City Council Place 1
Meigs Miller Prosper City Council Place 4
Ray Smith Prosper Mayor
Keith Stevens Wylie City Council at Large 3
Jeffrey “Jeff” Forester Wylie City Council Place 6

PIDs, PUDs, and MUDs, Oh My!

Melissa Condensa (NMLS 1149324), Guild Mortgage, CCAR REALTOR®/Lender Committee Member 

Everyone is likely familiar with PUDs (Planned Unit Developments), so let’s focus on the other two: PIDs and MUDs.

What are PIDs and MUDs?

They are both mechanisms developers use to raise funds for utilities and/or amenities needed in a new community.  The decision whether or not to use a PID or a MUD to fund development can have long-term implications for buyers and sellers, agents and lenders, and impact the marketability of a neighborhood. Having a basic understanding of the two financing mechanisms is important to help clients make educated decisions and avoid surprises.

A MUD is a “Municipal Utility District” or an officially classified political subdivision of the State of Texas

MUDs are created under the authority of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and provide water, sewage, drainage or other utility-related services to new developments. MUDs are likely to exist in large master planned developments that, when started, fell outside city limits or outside the area where a city was providing utility services. A few recent North Texas developments that are classified as MUDs are Light Farms in Celina, Artesia in Prosper, and Trinity Falls in McKinney.

MUDs use the sale of bonds to raise funds needed to build out infrastructure for new development. The homeowners within the MUD pay off the bonds and pay for utility services through a MUD tax. A MUD tax will be in lieu of a city tax. In theory, a MUD tax will go down over time because the initial infrastructure costs are eventually repaid, so only money to maintain services would be collected after the original bonds are paid. The only way a MUD tax is eliminated is if the MUD area is annexed by the city. If this happens, the city pays off the MUD debt and the utility payments are paid to the city.

A PID is a “Property Improvement District”

A PID is a special district created by a city or county under the authority of Chapter 372 of the Texas Local Code. This law allows a city or county to charge a tax against properties within the designated area, or district, to pay for improvements. PIDs can be used to finance the same infrastructure a MUD would finance but are more commonly used to fund additional infrastructure items such as sidewalks, landscaping, parks, and recreation. Some developers will use a PID instead of an HOA to fund infrastructure within a development. One reason for using a PID rather than an HOA is that PID assessments are tax deductible whereas HOA dues are not. Most PID assessments run 20-40 years and payments end when the bonds are paid. PID assessments can also be paid in full up-front by a buyer. Two Collin County neighborhoods that include PIDs are Mustang Lakes in Celina and Creeks of Legacy in Prosper.

So now that you know what PIDs and MUDs are, how do you know if a property has one?

Buyers of new construction are informed if a property is in a PID or MUD, but will this be the case for resales? As resales in newer neighborhoods become more common, identifying a PID or a MUD will become more important.  Sometimes “NO MUD or PID” is placed as the start to a property description for homes in areas where PIDs and MUDs are common. If not provided in the listing description, how will buyers and their agents know if a property is subject to a PID or MUD?

While the seller should be disclosing a PID or a MUD, it is wise for agents not to rely on sellers as their primary source of information. Because of this, it is important agents view the tax certificate provided by the title company to determine if a property has a PID or MUD tax. Below are examples of a MUD and a PID from Denton County tax records.

MUD Tax Example – Artesia, Prosper

PID Example – Winn Ridge, Aubrey

Knowing whether a property has a PID or a MUD tax is important in the qualification process because the inclusion of a PID or MUD tax very often results in higher overall property taxes. Higher than expected taxes can cause a buyer who is stretching their budget to no longer qualify once the higher taxes are identified.

Higher tax rates can also impact marketability and home prices and should be a consideration for buyers whether they are buying new construction or resale. A home in a PID or a MUD might be less expensive than a home in a competing development that does not include a PID or a MUD.

Bottom line, the more we know, the better we can help our clients make smart buying decisions, whether that means buying in a PID, a PUD, a MUD or none of the above–which is probably the hardest thing to find in North Texas!

Where Does That Inspection Report Go?

Lee Warren (NMLS 0536180) – Prospect Inspectors,  CCAR Affiliate Committee Member 

After an inspection is performed, often times the inspector will go over the findings with the potential buyer to let them know about all of the deficiencies that the inspector observed during the course of the inspection.

By rule, the inspector must have the report sent to the client no later than 72 hours after the inspection, unless otherwise agreed to in writing. In most cases, the agent or broker who represents the buyer would like a copy of the inspection report sent to them as well. The inspector is only allowed to send the report to the client, as they are the ones who own the report.

If the buyer’s agent would like a copy of the report, the buyer must give their permission in order for the inspector to do so. It is a good idea to inform the buyer to ask the inspector to send them a copy of the inspection report at the time of the inspection. This will help ensure that the inspector obtains the permission from the buyer to do so, and that the agent gets the report at the same time the buyer does.

In most situations, it is a good idea for the buyer to allow the inspector to send the agent the report. However, there are some situations where that may not be a good idea. One situation in particular is when the agent represents the buyer and seller. It would be best, in that scenario, for the buyer to send the report to the agent themselves, if they choose to do so.

The issue is that if an agent represents a buyer and a seller, they are not allowed to give advice to either party in the transaction. Further, if the agent gets a copy of the report, they are now aware of material defects in the property.  Being that they also represent the seller, that information should be conveyed to them as well. If the seller is aware of the material defects to a property, then they should modify the Seller’s Disclosure to reflect the known issues.

Winter’s Chilly Sales Pace Is Beginning to Warm Up

PLANO, Texas — The Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) reports that while the Collin County real estate market has had a slow winter, the promise of spring began to force its way through in February.

“Both buyers and sellers experienced positive outcomes in February. Sellers enjoyed solid offers from well qualified buyers, and buyers enjoyed more inventory than previous months,” reports David Alan Cox, CCAR President.

Indeed the February stats agree. In February 2019 there were 7.4% more new listings than February 2018, 29.4% more inventory of homes for sale than the year prior, and 2.6% more listings under contract than February 2018.

February 2019 also presented stats that are initially concerning for sellers when compared to 2018, but promising when examined next to January 2019. For instance, there was a 0.0% increase in the median sales price in February 2019 ($300,500) compared to February 2018 ($300,441). However, when compared to January 2019 ($289,450), the median sales price has increased a significant 3.7% in one month’s time.

The percentage of original listing price received in February 2019 decreased 1.2% compared to February 2018. Yet, remarkably, February 2019 was the first month since May 2018 that the percentage has increased from the month prior, with 0.8% more of the original listing price received in February 2019 than January 2019.

Homes also remained on the market 25.5% longer than the year prior for a total of 64 days. This is not an alarming increase when compared to January 2019, when homes remained on the market for 63 days.

Similarly, the months supply of homes for sale increased 38.1% from February 2018, resulting in 2.9 months of inventory of homes in February 2019. A large change from one year ago, but only a slight change from January 2019, which experienced 2.8 months supply of homes.

With such a positive experience for both buyers and sellers in February, many are hopeful that the winter chill is thawing and the real estate market will be warming up.

Good News: Cash Buyers Are NOT your Only Option for Distressed Properties

Dawn Ferreiro (NMLS 1048123), Great Western Home Loans,  Member of CCAR’s REALTOR®/Lender Committee

Unfortunately, distressed or extremely outdated properties are a common conundrum in the real estate industry. Often times when this occurs the sellers believe their only option is finding a cash buyer. What if there was another way to market these properties on the MLS? What if there was a way that the property could receive multiple offers rather than the traditionally low-ball cash offer? Good news, there is!

Positioning the listing on the MLS under “Proposed Financing” as eligible for FHA 203K financing or Conventional HomeStyle Renovation financing is a great way to open the property up to a wider audience of potential buyers.

Providing architectural renderings at open houses showing the property as upgraded along with information on rehabilitation loan products is a great marketing tactic and can spur the potential buyers to see a property’s potential. Many times, the property just need a little TLC and many families are eager to customize and love their newly and specifically renovated home.

Homes with foundation issues, handy man specials, corporate or bank-owned properties, short sales, foreclosures, and just generally unloved homes are just diamonds in the rough, and statistically speaking 83% of buyers would like to change the house they are forced to buy because of limited inventory.

These rehabilitation loans are a win/win for all involved.

Please keep the following in mind regarding these products:
  • Typically, rehabilitation loans will require a longer closing.
  • Self-help is not allowed and the contractor cannot employ the borrower. Contractors must have sufficient liability coverage for the project (check with your lender regarding minimum coverage).
  • Contractor bids must itemize and describe all work along with separate line items for labor and materials, permit fees must be included as well.
  • A HUD consultant is required in many instances (consult your lender as this requirement depends on the scope of the project). The main purpose of a HUD Consultant is to advise the client (buyer) of repairs that are necessary to bring the property to minimum property standards.
  • Appraisers will be provided the contractor’s bid in order to deliver a report with an “after-improved” value (changing out the color of tile or upgrading carpet, etc. will generally not result in the sought after “after-improved” value, the change would need to be considered a true upgrade for an outdated home or updates for items in disrepair).
  • Investment properties allowed with the HomeStyle Renovation Program. However, flips are not allowed so it would be for investors wanting to keep the property as a rental.



COLLIN COUNTY – Feb. 6, 2019 – MIPIM, the world’s leading global real estate market, business conference and networking event, will welcome Texas Realtors to its 2019 event in Cannes, France. Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) will be part of the Texas Realtors exhibition at the USA Pavilion, hosted by the National Association of Realtors, the United States’ largest real estate trade organization. NAR will be among the 3,350 exhibiting companies at the 2019 event.

“With Collin County being such a dynamic and growing commercial real estate market, CCAR is excited by this opportunity to showcase several of our major cities at MIPIM,” says David Long, CCAR president-elect.

Once again, NAR has expanded its MIPIM exposition footprint in response to the growing U.S. presence and to accommodate new exhibiting partners. The NAR-sponsored USA Pavilion provides local and regional U.S. markets the ability to showcase opportunities for foreign investors.

“The U.S. remains the top-ranked market for real estate investors,” said Charlie Oppler, 2019 first vice president of the more than 1.3-million-member trade association. “Foreign investment in the United States remains strong and investors consistently identify the U.S. as the most stable market for real estate investment and the best opportunity for capital appreciation. Strong job creation and business expansion is fueling the U.S. commercial market, and the shortage of available commercial inventory is driving continued increases in transaction prices.

“The third quarter 2018 witnessed a resurgence of large transactions in the large cap market, leading to higher deal volume and prices,” said Oppler. “Investment volume in this space totaled $152.7 billion, a 17 percent jump from the same period in 2017.

“MIPIM provides a unique opportunity to showcase local property markets on a global scale,” continued Oppler. “With sales in both gateway cities and secondary markets advancing in 2018 and several smaller markets posting record sales, we’re excited to see more of our markets taking advantage of MIPIM to attract foreign investment dollars.”

“CCAR is presenting information and commercial opportunities from the cities of Plano, Frisco, Allen and McKinney, Texas,” notes Long.

In addition to Collin County and other Texas markets, markets featured in the USA Pavilion include the states of Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington State, and the metro areas of Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles, Coastal Carolina/Myrtle Beach. Markets participating in the USA “zone,” adjacent to the USA Pavilion are Florida State, Miami and San Diego, along with the CCIM Institute and the Society of Office and Industrial Realtors.

Some 26,000 leading real estate executives from 100 countries, including more than 5,400 investors, are expected in Cannes for the four-day annual gathering of the global real estate industry. The event brings together investors, developers, occupiers, architects, hotel groups, public authorities, city mayors and property associations from around the world.

Government Affairs and TREPAC May 4 Municipal Candidate Interviews

Each election cycle, CCAR conducts candidate interviews for political offices in order to better understand the ideas and visions for when the candidates become elected to public office. TREPAC then may choose to support the candidate who champions private property rights and upholds our REALTOR® members’ values. In order to ensure transparency and participation from our members, CCAR invites you to join the Government Affairs and TREPAC Committees during these interviews by observing them. The schedule of interviews follows:

Allen February 28 12:30-3 p.m. RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs – 3915 McDermott Rd. #100 Plano, TX 75024
Frisco February 28 3-6 p.m. RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs – 3915 McDermott Rd. #100 Plano, TX 75024
McKinney March 1 9-11:30 a.m. RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs – 3915 McDermott Rd. #100 Plano, TX 75024
Plano March 1 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs – 3915 McDermott Rd. #100 Plano, TX 75024
Prosper March 4 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs – 3915 McDermott Rd. #100 Plano, TX 75024
Wylie March 4 2:30-4:15 p.m. Lawyers Title – 5810 Tennyson Parkway #105, Plano, TX 75024
Celina March 4 4:15-6 p.m. Lawyers Title – 5810 Tennyson Parkway #105, Plano, TX 75024
Anna March 5 9 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Lawyers Title – 5810 Tennyson Parkway #105, Plano, TX 75024
Princeton March 5 1:45-4:30 p.m. Lawyers Title – 5810 Tennyson Parkway #105, Plano, TX 75024
Little Elm March 5 4:30-6 p.m. Lawyers Title – 5810 Tennyson Parkway #105, Plano, TX 75024

Note, these interviews are confidential and nothing discussed inside the room or during the interviews may be shared. Therefore, you will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement, among other disclosures, if you plan on attending. Further, you may only attend if you RSVP to Adam Majorie, Chief Advocacy Officer, at [email protected]

*Schedule is subject to change, email [email protected] to confirm times.

Collin County’s Market is Becoming More Favorable for Buyers

PLANO, Texas — The Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) reports home buyers are finding themselves in a more attractive market in 2019, with more homes to choose from, a higher ability to qualify for financing, and negotiable sellers.

The year began with 8.4% more new listings than the year prior. Listings remained on the market for 18.9% longer in January 2019, as compared to January 2018; remaining active for 63 days, the longest reported Days on Market since February 2013. This combination created a market with 31% more inventory in January 2019 than January 2018.

Buyers were more easily able to qualify for the median priced home in January 2019 than they were in the previous 11 months of 2018. The Housing Affordability Index in January 2019 was 113, indicating that the median household income is 113% of what is necessary to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates. Additionally, sellers continued to be negotiable, on average accepting 5.3% less than their original listing price.

However, despite an increase in favorable buying conditions, January 2019 had only 2,528 projected closed sales, the lowest projected closed sales reported since January 2015. Listings under contract also showed a slowing in real estate activity from the year prior, with 9.3% fewer listings under contract than in January 2018.

“Buyers are beginning the New Year timid and curious which direction the market will trend,” explains CCAR President David Alan Cox.

Their curiosity is not misplaced, in January 2019 there was a 40% increase in months of inventory (2.8 months), as compared to the same time the year prior. While a bold movement towards a more balanced market, Collin County is still a seller’s market, and will only reach a “balanced market” when inventory hits six months.

With a continued increase in both median sales price (+1.6%) as well as average sales price (+1.2%) from January 2018, Cox reminds, “Patient sellers are stilling reaping rewards. Homes are selling for more money than they would have one year ago, but it is important sellers remain patient.”

Soon, we will be in spring, traditionally some of the hottest months of real estate and what is hoped to be a welcomed warm-up from winter’s chillier sales pace.

REALTOR® Day at the Capitol

Have you been hearing all the buzz and excitement about REALTOR® Day at the Capitol? Are you curious what the big deal is?

We sat down with Adam Majorie, CCAR Chief Advocacy Officer, to discuss the special day and why it is so important.

Question: What happens at REALTOR® Day at the Capitol?

Majorie: “REALTOR® Day at the Capitol occurs every Texas legislature (once every two years); it is an expression of our grassroots strength to our legislative members and demonstrates the power of the REALTOR® voice. It is an important grassroots lobby tool that ensures that our elected officials in Austin, while in Austin, truly hear our local advocacy from across the state, particularly that of Collin County’s.

This year, CCAR will be bringing four buses full of our membership to the Capitol for REALTOR® Day. While the day’s agenda has not been fully finalized, it will include the following: An early departure from CCAR the morning of March 26, arrival at the Texas Capitol around 9 a.m., listening to both the House and Senate read the REALTOR® Day resolutions from the chambers’ floors, lunch at TAR across the street, and then back to the capitol building for elected official introductions and meet-and-greets. After a full day, we will go back on the buses to head home, arriving back at CCAR at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Because CCAR has strong connections with our elected officials, our elected official delegation will be meeting with all of the CCAR attendees in an already reserved committee room (this is in lieu of cramming into the elected officials’ small office rooms). When we meet with our elected officials, we will discuss important public policy positions including property tax reform, school finance reform, HOA regulation, and annexation among other important home ownership and property rights policy.

Texas REALTORS® belong to the most influential trade association in the state for public policy and political advocacy. So, if you are a political junkie, want to get more involved, or just want a fun day trip to Austin, the REALTOR® Day at the Capitol is for you.”

Question: Who should attend REALTOR® Day at the Capitol?

Majorie: “Any member of CCAR is welcome and encouraged to come! We are promoting our association’s positions on public policy regarding home ownership and private property rights.  Further, it is our local membership who are most affected by the outcomes, therefore, all membership is highly encouraged to attend.”

Question: Why is this event important?

Majorie: “REALTOR® Day at the Capitol is important because it is an expression of the REALTOR® strength across the state. The elected officials with whom our membership will meet want to hear from their local real estate professionals regarding what they think about current legislation and how they should vote. Our elected officials want to hear from our CCAR membership, not from a lobbyist in Austin, as to what legislation and policies regarding private property rights and home ownership they should support. We are the voice of real estate and the REALTOR® Day at the Capitol is our exercise of grassroots prowess in government affairs and TREPAC.”

Question: If a real estate professional is not familiar with what policies and legislation effects them, where can they look?

Majorie: “To learn more about Texas REALTOR® public policy positions, click here.  If you have questions regarding any of the positions, reach out to me via email at [email protected]. See you in Austin!”

Are you ready to reserve your spot on the bus? Registration is open now! Please register and select your bus here: www.ccar.net/calendar/2019-03-26.