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Economic Update: Good News, Bad News, and Be-on-the-Lookout News

By Mickey Lynam (NMLS 974623), IBERIABANK Mortgage, Member of CCAR’s REALTOR®/Lender Committee

Today’s economy is anything but stable. One day the stock market is up, the next day it falls significantly. Why? Who knows. That’s why I am in the mortgage business!

However, one does not need to know the “why” to know that economic news has a direct effect on the realty and mortgage industries. This is why many home buyers and real estate professionals are keeping a close eye on the health of the U.S. economy.

So, is the economic news report good news? Bad news? Or be-on-the-lookout news? Let’s take a look at all three.

Good NewsMortgage rates are at or near two-year lows

Many feel the Federal Reserve will lower bank loan rates in July; this does not necessarily coincide with lower mortgage rates but all signs and comments by those “in the know” seem to point to lower rather than higher mortgage rates overall through 2019. Currently, the U.S. economy is strong, consumer confidence is high, while unemployment is low; these factors coupled with low mortgage rates are all positive signs for a strong home purchase market (refinances are also on the rise).

Bad News: Mortgage rates are at or near two-year lows

A recent study found that 69% of U.S.-based company CFO’s (the really smart people) expect a recession by the end of 2020. This also plays into the hand of lower interest rates, but also leads job fears and potentially lower home sales.

Good News: Home prices have moderated

Home prices have moderated and are going up in value at a much slower pace than the past few years; with wages increasing this makes homes more affordable. There is more inventory in the higher price segments of the market making the market more balanced.

Bad News: Home price increases have moderated

Home prices have moderated overall, but the lower priced homes ($400,000 and under) are still seeing steady increases as demand outweighs supply. This ongoing issue creates problems for FTHB’s.

Good News: A favorable lending market

Since the financial meltdown of 2008 and the subsequent recovery, the underwriting guidelines in the conventional mortgage market have consistently eased; creating a more favorable lending market.

Bad News: Underwriting standards are tightening

Recently, we have seen that the FHA is paying closer attention to borrower credit scores and debt ratios and have tightened their underwriting standards. FHA loans with 3.5% down payment, lower credit score hurdles, and higher allowed debt ratios are a key product for lenders lending to FTHB’s and those applicants with lesser credit quality than conventional loans.

Be-on-the-lookout: Geopolitical risks continue to influence the mortgage rate market

Trade issues with China and rising tensions in the Middle East affect the U.S. and world economy as the news changes almost daily. As investors move to safety, the demand for U.S. Treasury bonds increases pushing rates lower. When trade tensions seem to ease or resolve, “hope springs eternal” for the worldwide economy, as investors get more comfortable with other investments (stocks) and mortgage rates trend higher.

Summary: The overall economy in the United States and especially the North Texas region is very good

The overall economy in the U.S. and especially the North Texas region is very good and the housing market remains solid. We may not be in the record setting era of a few years back, but overall, it is healthy. However, as the news changes back-and-forth, it is as important as ever to form strong partnerships between REALTORS® and lenders so we can serve our clients with the expertise they deserve.

CCAR’s REALTOR®/Lender Committee strives to strengthen those partnerships, allowing us all to serve our clients more effectively. To connect with the REALTOR®/Lender Committee email [email protected].

When a Client Can’t Spring Clean: How to Know if you are Dealing with a Hoarder

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

Agents know to expect the unexpected when entering a home for a listing presentation. But what if every seat is taken by stacks of papers and rooms unable to be entered, blocked by the storage of beloved items? What if the home is located in a highly desirable area, an architectural gem, but reeking of animal urine?

This fictional client has checked the clinical markers for diagnosing a hoarder and, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), is more common than you might think. The APA reports up to six percent of the population struggles with hoarding, translating to as many as 408,000 people in the DFW area alone. The APA defines the condition as one in which the patient “excessively saves items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.”

Nathan Peterson of OCD and Anxiety Counseling in McKinney, Texas has worked as a licensed clinical social worker for five years and in the social work field for 11 years. He emphasizes that, “A hoarder will exhibit anxiety or stress when asked to depart with items. Messy people can throw things away but lack motivation, hoarders can’t due to the emotional distress it causes them.” While reality TV has led to increased fascination with hoarding, it is important to view hoarding as the severe mental illness that it is. The condition is even traceable down familial lines, genetically passed down with other hoarders or sufferers of OCD in previous generations.

So how likely is it that a hoarder will need to sell their home? Peterson acknowledges that it is unusual for a hoarder to allow outside individuals in, but he has had numerous patients discuss a desire to “move and start fresh” and a few have successfully done so. Other times, a hoarder is forced to sell due to an inability to pay for the home or repair the home before it is condemned by the city. This can be appealing for some agents, as the majority of hoarder’s homes have been inherited, and many are in desirable historic locations.

Although the hoarder may desire or need to sell their home, there is still a question if the potential client is capable of selling their home. Peterson suggests that in order to evaluate a hoarder’s capability to prepare their home for the market, “determine if they can keep a deadline, ask them to clean out a room by the time you come back next week and see if they can do it.” It is likely that although the client has good intentions, or a looming financial reality that requires them to sell their home, they simply find it too difficult.

When Peterson enters a hoarder’s home for a clinical session, he will spend three hours discussing why a pen, sitting next to a mountain of other pens, should be thrown away or kept. The task is tedious and lengthy, but the breakthrough that occurs when a decision is successfully made is the foundation for the journey ahead. That journey does not fit with the typical listing preparation timeline.

An option for those who are unable to part with items themselves is to hire a de-junking company, but this must be done with care. The Health Department in Nantucket, Massachusetts rolled out a program that allowed social workers to require and supervise forced cleanouts. Neighboring homeowners were delighted; it meant less rodents, pests, and mildew for them. However, the Health Department quickly abandoned forced cleanouts when three consecutive hoarders died shortly after being returned to their cleaned-out homes.

“Hoarders often have the same level of connection to items in their home as they do people or their family members,” Peterson explains, so to see their home stripped of their most prized possessions is truly devastating.

This is why most homes owned by hoarders are not sold, or sold as-is. If your client or loved one struggles with hoarding, help from a mental health professional is imperative. The process will be difficult, and will not fit the typical listing time line, but at the end there is freedom.

Got Buyers Who Can’t Get Approved? A New Generation of Mortgage Loans Provides a Solution

By Alexandra Swan (NMLS 117371), Willow Bend Mortgage, 2019 Chair of CCAR’s Realtor/Lender Committee

According to the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association, 30% of Texans are self-employed. Fueled by a strong economy, a swelling population in North Texas, and a new tax law that rewards small business ownership- self-employed Texans are a growing part of our society.

As these entrepreneurs earn more money they often want to purchase real estate, but for the self-employed, buying a home or investment property can create a lot of challenges. The same tax advantages that allow the self-employed to keep more of their income by writing off their expenses become disadvantages at loan application.  Traditional underwriting requires that buyers qualify off the adjusted gross income—after netting out claimed expenses. Traditional underwriting also sets  limits on the number of financed properties an investor can own—making it more difficult to build wealth through real estate acquisition.

This does not mean that the self-employed are forever destined to rent. A growing group of loan products help self-employed borrowers qualify without using their tax returns or going through traditional underwriting. These products, broadly known as non-QM, (the QM stands for qualified mortgage) qualify borrowers based on their financial picture rather than narrowly-defined agency underwriting guidelines. To help your self-employed borrowers navigate this relatively new arena of non-QM mortgages, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Non-QM mortgages are not stated-income mortgages—at least not for primary residences and not in the traditional sense of the term. To comply with Dodd Frank the borrower needs to demonstrate ability-to-repay the loan.  Some programs allow as little documentation as a one month bank statement along with a letter from the buyer stating the income, but most will require 12 months of consecutive personal bank statements or 24 months of consecutive business bank statements.  Deposits will be averaged and unusual deposit activity will either be proven as income or subtracted from the total amount of deposits.
  2. No-income verification loans exist only for investment properties—and the property must really be used as an investment. That means that the borrower has to be able to prove that he has a primary residence elsewhere that he is going to continue to maintain after purchasing the rental property.  The appraisal must support the future rental income of the property.
  3. “Reduced documentation” is a misnomer for these loan types. A few months ago, a LO in our company asked me a few questions about a bank statement loan he was preparing to submit.  As I tried to go over the guidelines, he said rather dismissively, “It’s a bank statement loan—how many conditions can there be?”  The short answer is –A LOT.  Non-QM mortgages do not sell to the agencies—Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA or USDA.  They do not have mortgage insurance.  They are portfolio loans underwritten to the guidelines of the lender who is offering them.  These types of loans require extensive documentation and are time consuming and paper-intensive—it’s just DIFFERENT documentation and DIFFERENT conditions from the ones typically seen on a traditional mortgage loan.
  4. Interest rates and fees will be higher. Depending on the product being offered as well as the reason and type of mortgage loan, the interest rate may range from the high 5% range for a primary residence purchase with 25% down to the mid 7% range for an investor cash flow loan.  Borrowers can also expect to pay higher underwriting fees, typically ranging from $1300-$1500.00 and may be charged between 1% and 3% as an origination fee.   Non-QM loans represent a much higher risk to the investor (for the reasons listed in paragraph # 2 above) and that risk is priced into the rate and the fees.
  5. There may be a pre-payment penalty. Prepayment penalties were once common—today they are as rare as a dinosaur’s egg on most transactions.  But non-QM investor cash flow loans typically require prepayment penalties.
  6. The appraisal and the quality of the collateral is REALLY important. The collateral is important on all mortgage loans, but in the case of non-QM loans, the property is the central piece of the loan.  Expect more appraisal scrutiny, additional costs, and requirements for reviews.
  7. Not all non-QM loans are created equal. In fact, they vary pretty widely by lender.  Many mortgage companies are now developing their own, in-house products, which compete with the better-known products already out in the market.  Since these products are portfolio products, each lender sets their own underwriting guidelines and terms.  That means that if one lender turns your loan down, chances are pretty good that you may still be able to find a home for it with a different lender.

Not every loan originator is skilled with non-QM loans.  Likewise, not all originators have worked with multiple types of non-QM mortgages.  If you have a buyer who needs a bank statement or non-QM mortgage, talk to the loan originator about the deal.  Ask how many non-QM transactions he has done and what his comfort level is.  Stay in communication with the loan originator and the borrower to make sure the borrower is furnishing the requested paperwork in a timely manner.  Remember that the LO never asks for documentation for the sake of creating more work for the borrower.  Getting the proper paperwork in on time is essential to a successful closing and funding.

For questions about how non-QM mortgages work, the types of loan products out there today, and the overall approval process, email CCAR’s REALTOR®/Lender Committee at [email protected]

When to Create a Facebook Event and How to Make it Successful

Facebook events are an under-utilized feature that can be a big help to real estate professionals. Whether you are hosting an open house, client appreciation event, networking lunch, family reunion, a summer cook out, or birthday party–Facebook events can help.

CCAR is lucky enough to have our own Social Media Specialist, Kendall Crawford, to organize CCAR events on Facebook. Kendall has unparalleled talent in all things social media and kindly shared her expertise, so that we can plan and promote our summer shindigs with ease.

Let’s start with the basics, what is a Facebook “event?” 

An “event” on Facebook is a separate page created to discuss and give details for an event you have coming up. It is like a chatroom for your event where people can share ideas and RSVP.

How and why do you create an event?

These events are perfect in place of paper invitations and can promote open houses, office grand openings, committee meetings, organize volunteer efforts–really anything you want people to know about. They are also really useful to gauge interest for an event or open house/listing.

An added perk is Facebook reminds users of events they have RSVPed to as “interested” or “going.”

To create an event, you go to your Facebook page and click “events” from the side bar. You are then directed to a page that has a “+ create event” button. From there, you fill in the details for your event. If you are on a personal page, you have a choice to make the event “private” or “public.” A private event is only visible to those who you add to the event, and a public event is visible to anyone on Facebook.

Business pages do not have the option of creating a private event.

What would you call a “successful” Facebook event? Is it the number of attendees?  

I consider a Facebook event successful if there is a lot of participation and interaction on the page–not the number of attendees at the actual event. For example: If only a few people come to an open house but there was a lot of interaction on the event page with users asking for details about the home, commenting on the gorgeous entry and size of the back yard–I call that a successful Facebook event.

Bonus: Interactions push your event back to the top of Facebook users’ feeds and increase your social media presence–even declined invitations!

Is there something you can do to make it successful? 

I tell people the same advice for posts and events: You engage to get engagement. It is important for you to add to the event page, comment with new details, ask questions to the attendees, and show excitement for your upcoming event. You don’t want to create an event page and then leave it unattended. If the creator of an event page is too busy to interact with the event, attendees won’t prioritize it either.

A huge benefit for business accounts is the ability to pay for promotion of their event within Facebook. You absolutely should. I suggest businesses have a dedicated budget for Facebook event promotions. When boosting your event, Facebook allows you to specify your target audience and can be a tremendous benefit.

How far in advance should you create an event and invite friends? 

If you create it too far out, you risk over marketing and repetition. For big events that you know about far in advance, I recommend three months. For smaller, casual events, a few weeks is fine. And, of course, for open houses one week or a few days prior is all you need.

Do you have any other tips? 

If your event has a flyer created, I recommend uploading that as your event image so users can quickly view all the details. If there is not a flyer, make sure you use something eye catching, fun and related to the event.

Also, it is important to note that Facebook events are exclusive to Facebook users, so it is a good idea to use alternative methods of communication to ensure those without Facebook still receive information regarding your event.


That’s everything! You are ready to host limitless open houses and pool parties this summer–just don’t forget the sunscreen.

Residential Pools are High Risk of VGB Safety Noncompliance

Tom Tracy, TREC Professional Inspector (#23433), Blue Sky Home Inspections, CCAR Affiliate Committee Member

As summer approaches and swimsuits start to make their way out of storage it is time to start thinking about pool safety. Texas regularly leads the nation as having one of the highest child mortality incidences as a result of drowning. The grim statistics & information contained in this article are intended to raise the readers awareness because the most effective drowning prevention approach is to have an actively engaged and knowledgeable adult supervisor present.   

-Drowning is the #2 cause of death in children under the age of 14.

-For every child that drowns, 5 other children received emergency medical care.

-Children with autism are five to 14 times more likely to drown than peers without autism. Accidental drowning accounted for 91% of deaths for children 14 & under who have been diagnosed with autism. (Stats care of TXDPA)

In 2002, Virginia Graham Baker (VGB), granddaughter of Secretary of State Jim Baker was just 7 years old when she drowned while being entrapped by a drain in a swimming pool. Congress acted swiftly and a series of regulations were enacted under the VGB laws which were immediately mandatory for all commercial pools but were only required for residential pools that were undergoing major remodels or newly constructed residential pools. This means that there are still a LOT of residential pools that are NOT VGB safety compliant in use today.

Basics to identify and react to a non-compliant VGB pools:
  1. Only One Drain Opening: If you are at an older home (2003 and older) and the pool only has one drain opening it may not be VGB compliant. While the pool may have had a mechanical pressure safety shutoff installed, the presence of only a single drain should immediately raise your awareness level.
  2. You aren’t stronger than a pool pump. The typical flow rate of a pool pump is 40-70 GPM (Gallons Per Minute). Reported entrapment scenarios have indicated that several healthy adult males in shallow water were unable to free an entrapped swimmer. The pressure is so great that evisceration has occurred.
  3. Know where the shutoffs are. Commercial pool/spa shutoffs are in bright red boxes in plain sight for a reason. Ask your pool owner where the residential pump shutoffs are located. Have the pool owner demonstrate how they operate.
  4. Don’t play with drains. Drains aren’t toys. End of story. Redirect children immediately and advise them of the hazards.
  5. For more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Graeme_Baker_Pool_and_Spa_Safety_Act or http://www.txdpa.com/drowning-prevention

Have a great summer and let’s work together to keep the kids safe.

Q2 Legislative Update

Texas Legislature ended Memorial Day:
140 is now over!
Quick hits:

The 86th Texas Legislature (regular session) ended May 27.

As of 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, Texas REALTORS® followed 2,784 of 7,804 bills and resolutions filed.

NAR Hill Visit: Hundreds of Texas REALTORS® advocate for real estate consumers

Follow Texas REALTORS® Government Affairs team on Twitter: @TAR_GA

Texas REALTORS® Legislative Priorities book: texasrealestate.com/issues

The end of the 86th Legislative Session is here!

May 27 was the last day of the 86th legislative session (specifically, it’s the last day of the regular session—the governor could always call them back for a special session to address emergency items or specific issues he dictates).

Many House and Senate members were appointed to conference committees to resolve the chambers’ differences between their versions of bills as they near the end, which means most of our legislators all worked throughout Memorial Day weekend!

The governor has until Sunday, June 16 to either sign or veto bills passed in the regular session.

Bill stats 2019 vs. 2017

The Legislative Reference Library of Texas compiled a few bill statistics comparing activity in this session to last session. Last session, more bills were sent to the governor to be signed into law, but fewer were signed compared to the current session.

School finance reform plan PASSES! House Bill 3:

 This REALTOR®-supported legislation is a comprehensive reform of the state’s public school finance system and property tax system. A few highlights from this version:

Lowers school property tax rates statewide

Increases the state’s share of education funding from 38% to 45%

Reduces recapture by 47% ($3.6 billion) this biennium

Raises the basic allotment $890 per student (from $5,140 to $6,030), benefiting all school districts

… and maintains the enhanced transparency measures and automatic rollback elections REALTORS® support.

The legislation’s website, TheTexasPlan.com, has more details—also outlined in a one-pager on the website.

Property tax reform PASSES! Senate Bill 2:

This version of the bill passed reserves REALTOR®-supported measures related to transparency for property owners and proactive information for taxpayers.

The changes in SB2 largely focus on rollback rates:

Most cities and counties will have automatic elections if they exceed the rollback rate

Special taxing units remain at the current 8% rollback rate, including: Cities/counties with population < 30,000, junior colleges, hospital districts

Renames the rollback rate the “voter-approval tax rate”

Annexation Bill: Signed by Governor

Governor Greg Abbott signed REALTOR®-supported House Bill 347 (Chairman Phil King) into law, effective immediately.

This legislation ends forced municipal annexation statewide, giving property owners a vote when a municipality seeks to annex their property.

Texas REALTORS® have engaged in campaigns in seven counties to end forced annexation at the county level over the past year. Visit StopForcedAnnexation.com to learn more.

*The bill statuses are up-to-date as of 6 a.m., Saturday, May 25.  You can also track specific bill via the Texas Legislature Online website.

*There are many other REALTOR® legislative priorities that have passed and are waiting for the Governor’s signature, including tax incentives, eminent domain reform, and disaster relief.

NAR Hill Visits:

What Collin County and Texas REALTORS® do in Washington, D.C?

Hundreds of Texas REALTORS® were in Washington, D.C., May 14-18 to advocate for real estate consumers during the 2019 REALTOR® Legislative Meetings.

Texas REALTORS® met with all 36 members of the Texas Congressional delegation and heard from U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, discussing federal issues important to property owners.

Check out more highlights from the week, including the Texas REALTORS® and local associations that were honored during the REALTOR® Political Action Committee Awards Ceremony.

FAQ: Collin County Runoff Elections


Are you fully informed  and ready to vote in the runoff elections beginning Tuesday, May 28 in Collin County?

If so, congratulations! If not, you are not alone. Many (perhaps most) Collin County residents are unsure what runoff elections are, why they happen, and what candidate they support.

It order to ensure our member’s success, CCAR’s government affairs department developed a Runoff Election FAQ with everything you need to know.

Question: What is a runoff election?

In Texas, local, county, and state elections require a majority vote, meaning anything over 50%of the ballots cast in a particular election.   If no candidate for a particular office receives over 50%  a runoff election is called.  A runoff election is a second general election conducted to determine who of the two top vote-getters in the first general election will reach the 50% plus one bench mark. In other words, in the first general election with three candidates, and none of the three reach above 50%, a runoff will occur with the top two vote-getting candidates thereby ensuring a plurality of one candidate over 50%.

Question: What offices in Collin County are having a runoff election?

Here are the results of the May 5th Municipal Election for municipalities that triggered a runoff election. The table below does not indicate cities in which CCAR did not initially support any candidates:

May 4th 2019 Municipal Elections Results


Supported Candidate % Opposition %


Celina Place 6 Chad Anderson 44% Jason Poncio 42% Runoff
Lanford Rogers 14%
Plano Place 5 Ron Kelley* 46% Shelby Williams 44% Runoff
Byron Bradford 10%
Plano Place 7 Lily Bao* 47% Runoff
Ann Bacchus 36%
LaShon Ross 17%
Prosper Place 4 Meigs Miller 37% Steve Thomas 38% Runoff
Richard McGrath 24%

*Ron Kelly (Plano Place 5) and Lily Bao (Plano Place 7) are TREPAC supported-candidates

Question: When is voting for the runoff election? 

Early voting for the runoff elections begins May 28th – June 1 and continues June 3-4th.  The runoff election day is Saturday June 8th.  If you did note on Saturday May 4th, you can still vote in the runoff.

That’s it!

You are ready to vote like a rock star during the runoff elections beginning May 28. If you have a question about the election not answered above, email CCAR’s Chief Advocacy Officer at: [email protected].

Collin County Job Growth Secures a Seller’s Market

PLANO, Texas — The Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) reports that while some real estate markets across Texas are approaching a plateau, Collin County is not one of them.

In April 2019, the CCAR Pulse area had 16.3% more projected closed sales than April 2018; continuing a three-month trend of month-over-month increases of projected closed sales. A trend that began in January 2019 with 2,528 projected closed sales and nearly doubling to 5,002 in April 2019.

The percent of original list price received by sellers also continued an upward climb that began in February 2019—resulting in sellers receiving 96.5% of their original list price. Contributing to a 3.6% increase in the median sales price from the year prior ($320,000 vs. $309,000).

While April 2019 exhibited favorable selling conditions, buyers experienced positive buying conditions. Healthy buying power was demonstrated by a 105 housing affordability index, as well as a 22% increase in inventory from April 2018.

This inventory is reflective of the traditional spring increase of new listings. However, April 2019 outperformed the previous spring with 3.5% more new listings compared to April 2018 (7,167 vs. 6,923). Homes also remained on the market 52 days in April 2019—up 23.8% compared to the same time last year, however the lowest Days on Market for the CCAR Pulse area since October 2018.

Correspondingly, the months supply of homes for sale increased in April 2019 compared to the year prior—resulting in 3.2 months of inventory. While a notable increase from the year prior, an insignificant change from the market performance throughout 2019. Signifying a steady seller’s market. A market is considered balanced when there is a 6 months’ supply of homes.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers? It means Collin County residents chose right. Collin County is growing, and will continue to grow as more companies move headquarters to the area and jobs are created. This provides sellers with a steady influx of buyers, while at the same time, providing buyers with steady jobs and increased earning ability—setting them up to buy when they are ready.

Rep. Jeff Leach of TXHD66 Facebook Live with Texas Tribune

The 86th Texas Legislature is coming to a close soon.  Collin County’s own Rep. Jeff Leach of TXHD66 was interviewed by Texas Tribune as part of a panel on Wednesday, May 22. The interview was captured and shared via Facebook live, and can still be viewed at the link below. Please take a moment to watch the video and hear your representative handle tough questions.  A TREPAC supported candidate and official, Rep. Leach has 802 CCAR members in HD66 and represents Collin County REALTORS® more broadly in our interests in protecting private property rights and homeownership at the Texas Capital.

Click Here for Video of Rep. Jeff Leach of TXHD66 Interview with Texas Tribune

CCAR Names Denaige Pizzutello Member Engagement Director

We are excited to announce that Denaige Pizzutello will be joining the CCAR team as Member Engagement Director beginning July 1, 2019. In this role, she will partner with CCAR’s departments to develop programs, resources, and tools aimed at ensuring extraordinary levels of success for our REALTOR® and Affiliate members.

Denaige is a known professional in the DFW real estate industry, having most recently served as Senior Vice President of Professional Development for Virginia Cook REALTORS®. Her past positions also include serving as Assistant Vice President for Real Estate Education/Regional Trainer for Republic Title, MLS Director for MetroTex, and Office Manager/Vice President of RE/MAX Columbia and RE/MAX Advantage in Columbia, Maryland.

Denaige prides herself in being an open book, and she held true to that when she shared her real estate journey. Read on to find out what motivates her, and what she envisions for the industry.


Tell me about your real estate journey, what was your first exposure to the real estate industry?

I grew up in a small bayou town in Louisiana. My parents had seven children to care for and money was scarce. We lived exclusively in rentals, moving almost every year when the rent increased.

I vowed when I grew up I was going to get a job and buy my parents a home. Unfortunately, both of my parents passed away while I was in the Army, and I never got that chance.

Once married, buying a home was one of my highest priorities. My salary as a soldier in the U.S. Army was not enough to reach that goal, so I began working on the weekends as a receptionist at a large real estate office (with my commander’s approval of course).

Back then, receptionists scheduled all showings with the owners and managed pick-up and return of keys as needed using a manual card system (similar to the Dewey Decimal system). This was before the MLS books were printed to promote listings.

That was my first exposure to the real estate process. I loved the fast pace! I especially loved the idea of helping someone own their own home, a safe space to grow families and make memories. Something I always wanted for my parents.

This was my first “why”—the reason I became passionate about the real estate industry. My second “why” came later in my career, when I saw how hard agents had to work, the knowledge they were expected to retain, and all the roles they had to take on all without a promise of a steady paycheck.

That is a powerful “why,” and evident in your passion for the industry. What is it you love the most about real estate? 

The privilege of helping others achieve their goals. While I am not the agent facilitating the actual transaction, my entire career has been dedicated to helping agents in any way that I can. They in turn, help others achieve their goal of home ownership.

While working so closely with REALTORS®, what has surprised you most?

The amount of information an agent is expected to know! The public is mostly unaware because good agents make it look easy. From contract law, to MLS systems, to inspections—agents are expected to have a basic knowledge of everything under the sun, all while taking care to not provide legal advice, tax advice, plumbing or electrical repair advice, etc.

If you could change on thing in the real estate industry, what would it be?

I would like a think-tank of industry professionals to get together and think outside the box on ways to increase real estate agents’ quality of life. Things like 401ks and healthcare benefits—that would be great!

Agents spend their life making someone else’s better. I would love to be involved in finding ways to make their lives better.

What do you look forward to doing most in your new role as Member Engagement Director of CCAR?

I am looking forward to making sure that when an agent needs a tool, they know exactly where to find it. CCAR already offers so many amazing tools! However, they may be under-utilized because members do not know where to find them, or are unaware that they exist. Along the way, if we find out there is an additional tool needed, I want to make sure we find it or create it for our members!

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

The first graduating class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point that included females graduated in 1980. Just two years later, in 1982, I received a Congressional Appointment to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; an honor I treasure to this day.

If I had completed my time there, I would have been among those first females to graduate from West Point. But after a very short stint at the academy, I was reassigned to an Intelligence unit at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, where I met my husband, Michael.

While walking away from the opportunity to graduate from West Point was one of the hardest things I have ever done, the reward of meeting my husband of 33 years was my fortune. Our pride and joy, our daughter Franki, is graduating from Plano East in June.


CCAR is dedicated to providing tools for its members’ success, and we are thrilled to have Denaige join our team and join with us in that mission.

When you see Denaige at the next CCAR event, say hello and share your real estate “why” with hershe is excited to meet you!