Knox & Associates Blog - Professional DFW Realtors

Read thoughts from professional DFW Realtors about Dallas homes and real estate trends.

March 11, 2015

6 WAYS TO MAKE SURE YOUR HOME IS PROTECTED

6 ways to protect your home security

How to Protect Your Home

When it comes to home maintenance, everyone thinks of weatherproofing, but does anyone think of thief proofing? Last year, there were 8,632,512 property crimes, costing an estimated $16.6 billion, which includes burglary.

Here are a few home security basics to help you protect your home.

Check Locks and Latches - Add checking locks and latches on windows and doors to your regular maintenance routine. All it takes for a thief to gain entry is a single broken latch.

Cut Back Trees and Hedges - Maintain sight lines to the street by removing trees and hedges that obscure key entry points into the house. The lack of a suitable place to hide is sometimes enough to deter would-be criminals.

Alarm System - Consider an adding alarm system. Modern systems offer features like remote access, security cameras and 24-hour monitoring. Here's what you need to know before buying an alarm system.

Security Lights - Install security lights anywhere a potential thief might look to gain entry to your home, including back doors, attached or detached garages, covered porches and any other outbuildings.  Home Depot and Lowes provide excellent outdoor security lighting at very minimal expense.

Beware of Bragging - Avoid broadcasting big-ticket purchases via social media - this could be an invitation for trouble. It's also a good idea to shred any receipts or credit card statements that may alert thieves to your recent purchase (this also helps prevent identity theft).

Keep Control of Keys - Get in the habit of gathering keys from contractors or household helpers after they are done. Be careful about using a smart key system that allows you to rekey locks yourself - some are easily picked.  Some security service providers are now offering digital locking keypads as alternatives to traditional keys.  AT&T Digital Life is one.  Check with your local AT&T store as they sometimes run excellent promotions to upgrade your current alarm system for a low fee.

Posted in General Advice
March 9, 2015

PERFECT OUTDOOR KITCHENS DALLAS

newest trends dallas homes outdoor kitchens

 

Newest Trends In Dallas Homes & Real Estate - The Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchens dallas real estateAs a Dallas REALTOR, Broker and real estate professional, I have noticed a trend with higher-end buyers.  My clients above the $750K price ranges are now asking me to find outdoor living spaces in conjunction with their homes and pool areas.

Maybe it is because spring and summer are around the corner or maybe it is just because it seems as if society is leaning more toward a healthy lifestyle and spending more time outdoors has become the trend.

Even without the addition of a backyard pool, buyers are still seeking a modified porch or patio for outdoor living in the DFW area.  

Speaking from personal experience, I see most of these types of outdoor oasis areas being added or built with homes in the Southlake, Colleyville and Prosper areas.  Why?  Because lots and lot sizes tend to be more spacious in these areas unlike Highland Park or University Park where the lots are very close and mostly absorbed by large home construction.

Outdoor entertaining areas and kitchens can run buyers into the thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars, hence the reason that I am being asked to find these types of properties by my higher-end buyers.

Dallas Outdoor Kitchens On A Budget

bad outdoor kitchenOK, so you may not have hundreds of thousands or even one thousand to spend on an outdoor kitchen.  From showing homes on a daily basis, I can tell you I've seen some of the best outdoor spaces to some of the worst.

I'm going to give you both my personal and professional recommendations below:

1) If you're going to build a smaller outdoor entertaining area, absolutely incorporate some sort of natural stone into the look and design.  Building trends are moving to a natural stone look because it is both "green" and mainly because buyers love the natural look right now.  This type of construction will pay in the long run.

2) Create your oasis in the most ideal spot.  Make it easy for guests and family to get to the comfy spots.  Put it somewhere in your yard where the look will blend with the rest of your backyard.

3) Make it easy to commute between your backyard living area and your kitchen.  Remember, trips to and from the kitchen will be the large majority of your trips.

4) Involve your kids in the process.  Even if they're too young to really help, have them sweep the area or carry something small and lightweight.  Make it a source of pride for your entire family.  Make everybody feel like they had a hand in creating your new outdoor space.

Charcoal Grills versus Gas Grills

big green eggPersonally, I enjoy charcoal grills over gas or propane types of grills.  The taste of a finished product from a charcoal grill will remind you of your youth when grilling with your family in the park.

Generally speaking, the undisputed king of charcoal grills is The Big Green Egg.  It is a kamado style cooker.  While a bit pricey, The Big Green Egg produces fantastic results.  I personally own an Egg and cannot complain even the least.

I wish you the best of luck if you're planning an outdoor kitchen build or renovation.

However, if you find yourself wanting to sell and buy a home with an outdoor oasis, call us directly and let one of our Dallas luxury homes agents find the perfect property designed to accommodate even the pickiest of entertainers!

 

 Shared by Jeff Knox - Broker Owner

Knox & Associates Real Estate

972-342-0000 - Direct Telephone

Posted in Dallas
March 9, 2015

Change the look of a room for cheap!

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Simple, Low-Commitment Ways to Change the Look of a Room

Want to give your space a makeover but not ready to commit to a permanent change? Sometimes all you need is a little bit of creativity and a few well-chosen accessories to completely change the look of a room.

Try refreshing your style with these temporary updates:

Rearrange the Furniture -- Change it up by reshuffling the existing furniture in the space, adding or subtracting a piece or two. You would be surprised at the number of possible ways a room can be set up once you start moving things around.

Add Style with New Accessories -- Add a little pizzazz to your room with a few carefully selected accessories. If you consider yourself a design novice, stick with a theme like wood, metallic or vintage items.

Redo Furniture with Slipcovers -- Change the look (and feel) of your tired and perhaps outdated furniture with slipcovers. If you can't find the right size in stores, try this DIY project to make your own.

Add Art -- Original art can be expensive, so create your own! Create a gallery wall with your favorite photographs, frame scrapbooking paper, or make your own color block art by painting an accent color on a canvas.

Refresh with Removable Wallpaper -- Give your room a brand-new look with removable wallpaper. Because it's easy to change or remove altogether, don't be shy about going with a bold design!

 


Shared by Jeff Knox - Broker Owner

Knox & Associates Real Estate Brokers

(972) 342-0000 - Direct Telephone

Posted in General Advice
March 3, 2015

Dallas Homes With Swimming Pool Everything You Need To Know

Swimming Pools: Everything You Need to Know From Style, Safety & Cost

Zillow 

 

 

An in-ground pool is the ultimate in backyard upgrades. If you’ve always wanted one, now may be the time. Prices have fallen during the recession by up to 30 percent. Nevertheless, it remains a big investment, so it’s important to make smart choices with regard to size, shape, site selection, and type.

Size and shape depend upon your needs, budget, available area, and design wishes. Swim spas are small pools (some only 10 to 14 feet long) that produce a manmade current against which you can swim in place. Lap pools are typically narrow but require a sizeable yard. Some are as long as an Olympic pool (25 meters) and are meant for training or exercise. Recreational pools are usually shallow at one end and deep enough for diving (9 to 11 ft.) at the other. Typically rectangular, they come in many sizes. Freeform shapes are also available and are often preferred because they blend well into the backyard landscape.

Many pool owners prefer to install their pool close to the kitchen or family room. That provides ready access to the house and makes it easier to bring food and drinks out and to clean up afterwards. It’s also easier to keep an eye on the pool from the house. That said, a somewhat secluded pool has the feel of a vacation getaway — without ever pulling out of the driveway. As long as the pool is connected to the house with a smooth, well-lit path and has a sizable pool deck around it for outdoor furniture and a grill, no one will complain. A pool cabana, of course, allows for nearby dressing and showering.

Pool Construction Methods

The majority of today’s pools are built of vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete (called either wet shotcrete or Gunite, depending upon how it’s mixed and applied). Poured concrete pools and concrete block pools have fallen out of favor. A plaster finish is troweled over shotcrete or Gunite surfaces.

Vinyl is the least expensive option. Inside a suitable excavation, a frame of wood, plastic or metal is erected. The most stable systems are set in a concrete footing. Wall panels are then fastened to the framing, plumbing is installed, and a sand base is laid. A heavy-duty vinyl liner is fastened to the top of the frame and what remains of the hole is backfilled. Masonry coping is installed over the top of the wall.

 

 

Fiberglass pools are pre-molded in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are manufactured with steps, benches, and swimouts already in place (not the case with vinyl). After the hole has been dug, plumbing installed, and sand base laid, it is lowered into the hole and leveled. To avoid bowing, filling the pool with water and backfilling with sand must be done simultaneously. No framing is required.

 

Shotcrete pools are made by shooting a mix of cement, sand, water, and aggregate from a pneumatic applicator at high speeds against the earthen walls and base of the pool excavation and around a grid woven of steel rebar (reinforcing bar). Multiple passes are necessary to build the mixture to the desired thickness. The concrete must be troweled smooth before it sets, and afterwards a coat of plaster is applied.

 

There are two types of shotcrete, wet and dry. Wet shotcrete is delivered premixed with water in a truck. Dry shotcrete, commonly known as Gunite, is a mix of sand and cement and sometimes small aggregate. It remains dry until it reaches the nozzle of the applicator and doesn’t really mix with water until impact on the pool walls and floor. There is some debate about which approach is stronger and longer lasting, but both processes produce durable pools. Gunite, however, demands a more highly skilled nozzle man to maintain the correct water-to-cement ratio.

Pool Decking

 

Decking around a pool can be poured concrete, stone, brick, tile, or any of a variety of pavers. Wood may also be used, but it will demand more maintenance, can be slippery when wet, and is prone to causing splinters. Don’t skimp on area. The pool deck, which will be used for lounging, sunbathing, and dining, is likely to get more use than the pool!

 

Pool Costs

Pool costs vary by type of pool and region. For example, in many parts of the country a fiberglass pool costs less than a concrete pool—but not everywhere. Size is probably a more important indicator of price. Small pools will cost roughly between $20,000 and $30,000. Medium-size pools will run between $30,000 and $40,000. Large pools begin at $40,000 and go up from there. Add in the extras—diving boards, slides, decking, lighting, and automatic cleaners—and the costs can easily rise by another 10 to 20 percent. Some pool contractors may be able to give you a more accurate estimate based upon the pool volume. For example, concrete pools in many parts of the country cost about $10 per cubic foot. As with any home improvement, request several quotes from reputable contractors along with as many references as possible.

In addition to initial cost, plan for ongoing maintenance expenses. Vinyl liners, for example, last about 5 to 10 years, at which time they need to be replaced at a cost of about $4,000. Concrete pools need to be resurfaced every 10 years or so, a job that can cost even more. Fiberglass pools have a life expectancy of 25 years, making them a low-cost option in the long term. In addition, fiberglass is less likely to stain or support the growth of algae, thereby reducing maintenance hassle and expense.

 

 

Pool Maintenance

The cost of a new pool doesn’t end with its construction. Depending upon how much of it you hire out, maintenance, supplies and electrical costs can run between $1,000 and $3,000 a year. There’s opening and closing, cleaning, checking connections, adjusting pH, adding algaecide, surface repairs, and liner replacements. Cost-saving green alternatives are available. Before deciding upon chlorine as your primary sanitizer (it’s a major pollutant), consider some of the natural water purifiers. They include saltwater, ionization, oxidation, sonic waves, and certain types of plants. And if you’re thinking about heating your pool to extend its use into the cooler seasons, consider solar thermal heating. Of all the solar technologies, its payback is the fastest.

Pool Safety

The Consumer Safety Protection Commission (CPSC) recommends taking measures to prevent children from accessing the water when there is no adult supervision. When planning a pool, include a fence around the perimeter in your plans. (Your municipality may demand it — and it’s a good idea in any case.) Gates should be self-closing, self-latching, and lockable. Door, gate and pool alarms should be installed along with anti-entrapment drain covers and securable pool covers. Everyone using the pool should be taught to swim, and someone in the family should be trained in CPR, first aid, and emergency response.

Related:

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos fromBob Vila television.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Posted in General Advice
March 1, 2015

3 Reasons To Buy A Dallas Condo | 3 Reaons To Be Ware

By Geoff Williams Sept. 11, 2014 | 2:52 p.m. EDT + More It's a question that comes up for anyone who’s looking to buy a house, especially in an urban area: Should I buy a condo instead?

For those who don't know, a condominium is like a hybrid between an apartment and a house. Like a house, you buy a condo and own it outright. But some elements of condo living are similar to apartment living. For starters, many condos are adjacent to others, so owners often share a wall and live in close proximity. And if you live in a high-rise building, your condo may be located above or below someone else’s. (click here to read more...)

Posted in Condos
Feb. 28, 2015

Buying Dallas Condo What To Look For

Six Things To Look For When Buying Dallas Condo

click the image below to be taken to the article

 

Is Dallas condo life right for you?

Buying a Dallas condo instead of a single-family home offers first-time buyers, urban dwellers and empty nesters many advantages, including less maintenance, access to amenities, often a desirable location and, of course, a lower price tag.

Not all condo associations in Dallas or boards are created equal, so you should definitely research the property. Here are a few things you should consider when buying a condo or a townhome.

Governance - Find out how the homeowners association (HOA) makes decisions about finances, use of common property and enforcement of bylaws. It's also a good idea to learn what your voting rights would be as a property owner.

Property Management - Determine if the property is managed by the homeowners or by a third-party management company.

Bylaws - Determine if there are any rules and regulations that you may not be able to comply with. Common bylaws include pets, noise, parking, use of amenities, maximum occupants, age restrictions, unit rental and alteration of the unit space.

Finances - Review the financial statements and annual operating budget to determine if there are adequate reserve funds set aside for future repairs and building maintenance.

Building Condition - In addition to having the unit inspected, assess the overall building and common property. Often the property management company will be able to provide a technical audit that details current conditions and anticipated repairs.

HOA Fees - Review what is included in the HOA fees. Ask if there have been any special assessments, which could signal construction issues or poor financial management.

Posted in Condos
Feb. 28, 2015

ready for some greenery after harsh winter

Ready for some greenery after a harsh winter?

 

 

Posted in Dallas
Aug. 19, 2014

Let a REALTOR® be your guide

Licensed real estate professionals provide clients with many values and services along with finding that perfect home. REALTORS ® navigate negotiations with other agents with knowledge and expertise. We are current and knowledgeable on the real estate market and local neighborhoods. We understand and are experts throughout the entire purchasing process including: financing, appraisals, inspections, and closing. We are members of the National Association of REALTORS ® (NAR) and must abide by a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice enforced by NAR. We have taken an oath to treat our clients with integrity, honesty, undivided loyalty, full disclosure, confidentiality, accounting and we take this oath very seriously. 

Some of the many duties your REALTOR ® can bring to your real estate needs are:

  • We can help you with ANY home that is listed with another agent/company, on a website, etc. This can give you peace of mind and ease with having only one agent.
  • We know the housing market from top to bottom and have the skills necessary to make it an easy process for you.
  • We are a knowledgeable source and have a wealth of information on the community and local areas such as neighborhoods, schools, churches, shopping, etc. This can save you valuable time when making the decision on an area.
  • We know and have the experience of working with the best local lenders to make sure that contract goes through. Many real estate contracts fall through due to financing issues. We have the experts to make sure that won't happen to you.
  • We know the ins and outs of closing costs, down payments, monthly payment options, etc., which takes the guess work out of the equation for you.
  • We have the knowledge and experience with contracts, offers, listings, negotiations, and the whole purchasing process. These fine tuned skills benefit you in making the process flow smoothly.
  • We have the tools to effectively market your home when selling, or finding your home when buying. This includes our website TheDallasRealEstateStore.com and many others, the North Texas MLS, communication with other agents to get your home sold! And, these are the same tools that help find that perfect home for the buyer.

REALTORS ® can save you endless and valuable time, money, and frustration. We are here to treat every client with honesty and integrity. We possess the knowledge and "know how" in a rapidly changing market. We are here for you!

 

 

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Christy Aubrey - REALTOR®

214-493-9678 Direct Telephone

The Dallas Real Estate Store by Jeff Knox

Professional DFW REALTORS

 

 

 

Interesting Image 

 

 

Aug. 19, 2014

Farmers Branch, A City in a Park

Farmers Branch Park Bench

Farmers Branch Texas, A City in a Park 

When you're looking for a place to live, finding the right house is just one priority. Community, schools and location are just as important. Farmers Branch can answer the call for all criteria.

Homes

Farmers Branch offers homes for all types of living.  There are beautiful golf course lots in the Brookhaven Community, brand new townhomes near the Dart Rail, older established homes throughout the city as well as affordable apartments sprinkled around.  You will see new, larger homes mixed in with older, smaller homes as the city experiences a revitalization. Pricing ranges from $80,000 to $725,000 for just about any size home you can imagine.  

For a free valuation of your home, click here.

Community

Roses

Farmers Branch is THE place to be for affordable community celebrations, culture and family fun.  The Historical Park is home to several free events and concerts provided by the city.  There are Symphony concerts, Independence day fireworks, Halloween in the Park and Holiday snow. People come from miles around to see the Holiday lights.  There is a skate park at the recreation center and a new water park under construction. Wonderful library, parks and shopping complete the perfect place to call home.

 Schools

Award

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District was recently ranked 7th among the 200 largest districts in Texas.  When you take a look at all the district has to offer, it's easy to see why. CFBISD boasts a unique immersion dual language program that begins in kindergarten. The middle schools emphasize the arts while the high schools all offer specific career academies that have been emulated by ivy league universities. A district focused on the success of all students, many can graduate with an associates college degree!!  Check out the disrict website to learn much more about this amazing school system.

Location

Farmers Branch is centrally located to everything Dallas has to offer.  Just north of downtown Dallas, and no more than 20-30 minute drive to Arlington, Farmers Branch MapFt. Worth, Frisco, Plano, and Flower Mound, FB is accessible to sporting events like the Cowboys, Rangers, Stars and Mavericks.  FB is even closer to wonderful shopping at the Galleria, North Park and Sam Moon.  Accordng to the FB website " Farmers Branch is home to more than 4,000 companies and more than 250 corporate headquarters, including JDA Software, Occidental Chemical, Iidon Security, Taco Bueno, SoftLayer Technologies and Maxim Integrated Products." Both DFW and Love Field aiports are close.  The DART Rail runs right through FB. What more do you need?

It's a great place to live and work!

Take a look at Market Trends.

 

Let me know when you are ready to make your move to

Farmers Branch Texas.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

 

Posted in Farmers Branch
May 27, 2014

North Dallas Community

North Dallas Community

I love the cities of North Dallas.  No matter what type of lifestyle you are looking for, the metroplex has it all.  There are beautiful landscapes of Frisco, Little Elm and Flower Mound, close knit communities of Carrollton, Coppell and Farmers Branch and wonderful restaurants and nightlife of Plano, Uptown and Addison.  No matter where you live in the area, you are only minutes away from fun, family and friends! Plano Balloons

Did you know: Most of the cities offer wonderful festivals fit for family and adults alike.  There are the Wildflower and Balloon festivals in Plano, Grapefest in Grapevine, and Halloween in the Park, Libertyfest and Holiday lights in Farmers Branch.  The libraries continually offer reading activities for the kids as well as outdoor amphitheater productions.  Parks and trails abound in the area.  There is always something wonderful to do!

 Did you know:  The school districts in the metroplex are ranked among some of the best in the state.  They offer exceptional education opportunities incorporating dual language programs, college preparedness and associate degrees, and millions of dollars in scholarships.  The arts are well represented along with a wide range of competitive sports and academic programs.

Did you knHomeow:  There is also a wide variety of home types represented in the area.  You can find quaint homes built in the 50s and 60s in many of the metroplex. There are new developments in process in almost all North Dallas cities. Ranch style homes, bungalows, traditional and luxury can be found in almost every city.  Prices range from $60,000 to $3,000,000.  Do you want to live in a golf course community?  Do you want to live on a lake?  Do you want a 3 car garage?  Master on the main floorA pool? You name it, we got it!

 Did you know: There are are hundreds of walking trails and parks in the North Dallas area. And nature abounds in the Spring Creek Forest in Garland, Arbor Hills Nature Center and Oak Point in Plano, Spring Creek Nature area in Richardson, and Blue Ridge in Allen.  Carrollton boasts walking greenbelts throughout the city while Farmers Branch is rich with rose bushes and well maintained landscaping. You don't have to venture into the country to experience the beauty of nature.

Did you know: The shopping and dining cannot be beat!  Save some cash and visit the outlet malls in Allen, Grapevine Mills in Grapevine, and the Sam Moon plaza in Farmers Branch.  The upscale shopping malls include the Dallas GalleriaStonebriar Mall in Frisco and NorthPark Center, which was named as one of the "7 Retail Wonders of the Modern World" by Shopping Centers Today. Many North Dallas cities are building outdoor malls.  You can find them already in Allen Flower Mound and Frisco.  Whether you're looking for hats and boost or gowns and crowns, you'll find it in the North Dallas metroplex. 

Did you know: Texans lovCowboys Stadiume their sports.  The Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars are both just minutes down I35 at the American Airlines Center.  You can also see big name concerts and special events there.  Down the road about 15 minutes you can cheer on the Texas Rangers and marvel at the wonder of The Dallas Cowboys gleaming stadium.  There's AA Roughriders baseball and FC Dallas soccer in Frisco.  And on any given fall Friday night, you can stumble upon that wild phenomenon known as Texas High School football.  

 Did you know: Texans love their food.  North Dallas restaurants are more than the Texan favorites of steak houses, barbecue and Tex Mex. Food is our passion and we'll surprise you with fresh seafood, eclectic bistros and fantastic worldly cuisines ranging from Brazilian to Indian to European. Addison is full of sports bars, fun restaurants music and fine dining.  Plano's Legacy center feeds the chic and trendy.  You will find family owned gems in Farmers Branch and Coppell.  

 

Did you know: You can visit the Bush library, and the Perot, Children's and 6th Floor museums .  And you can see the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center.  The Dallas Zoo is minutes away while the Ft. Worth zoo just a few minutes more.  The Dallas Arboretum is a must see every season.  Many attractions can be accessed by the DART rail which has stations in Carrollton, Farmers Branch and many more North Dallas areas. There is no excuse to lack culture when you live in North Dallas.

 

Lisa Contreras  What else would you like to know? Ask me.  I can help. 

   Written by Lisa Watten-Contreras, REALTOR in North Dallas

 

 

 

Posted in North Dallas