Rule Number 1

This is a very complex and lengthy transaction for what will be most people's largest purchase in life.  

Therefore, you must NOT get emotional, and you must go VERY slow.

Emotions are what get families into trouble, and I promise you that there are no $500-dollar mistakes in real estate.


Rule Number 2

There are no ‘dumb’ questions...So if you cannot explain it in detail to a12-year-old child PLUS the WHY you want to do this....then you are not prepared to make the decision.


Rule Number 3

Families entrust an incredible amount of money and their family's future to the real estate agent who guides them through the transaction. 

That Rreal estate agents has a license just like a medical doctor or an attorney that is issued by the State of Texas.  Part of that license requires that I exercise full fiduciary duty toward the Client.  Fiduciary duty is a legal standard applied to attorneys etc.  It requires that the attorney do only what is in the best interest of you...NOT how much money they can make.  I have that obligation and aggressively protect my Client's interests and their assets. 

The law also requires that I cannot consider in any way the financial benefits to me as part of the transaction.  I must always use my skills, training, and market knowledge to negotiate the very best outcome for my Clients.  

If you choose to work with me and if I choose to work with you then the first thing that I will do is to show you how to take my license away if you EVER feel that I am not 1000% fighting tooth and nail for every dollar of your money. 

Now that those are discussed... let me show you the smart way to buy real estate.

New credit and mortgage guidelines were instituted by President Biden on May 1, 2023, that dramatically changed the mortgage process and how much 

you will have to pay both in fees and the interest on the loan.

The law makes people with credit median scores below 780 subsidize lower credit-scoring Buyers by charging you fees to help pay for those who can barely qualify for a mortgage and thus lower their rates by charging you more. Those who are benefiting from this have credit scores in the 500s and the majority of Americans are paying for this ‘freebie.’

I seem to remember America tried this before and it did not work out that well. As a matter of fact, I personally lost a few million dollars in personal net worth from my investment properties in 2008 from this type of low-resolution thinking. Let’s hope that they don't do anything dumber than this.

As of 2023 credit and mortgage rates are divided into 20-point buckets.  

   So, 719 credit score pays a lot more than 720.  A 679 score pays a lot more than 680 etc etc. What I strongly encourage Clients to do is that on the day we start working together is to go apply with a STRONG mortgage broker to see what their middle credit score is today.   Here is why that is vital. Let’s say your middle score is 775 or 685 or 710.  We now have what is on the three credit scoring bureau’s files and we can go to work.  Any good mortgage professional will be able to tell you EXACTLY what steps are needed to get you to higher scores.  Sometimes this is paying down a credit card balance a little to bring it within guidelines or perhaps paying off the last few car payments so that your DTI (Debt to Income) Percentages get better.  

Many times, I will work with Clients for months and months and have seen them dramatically improve their scores when they are working together with a strong mortgage lender.   This saves thousands of dollars and often gives you access to more favorable mortgage programs and lending fees.   Waiting until later means that you gamble with whatever pops up once you decide it is ‘convenient’ to apply and then realize it is too late to improve your score by say 9 points and save a ton of money in interest charges. 

 PS... The way your ‘middle’ credit scores are determined is NOT through or something like that. You also don't add up the scores to get to an average number like I saw someone post to All one does is look at the 3 scores and eliminate the high and low scores.

The credit laws are very weird so the only way to know for sure is to apply and then start to build the score to the next benchmark score. Therefore, it only makes sense to shop for a lender first (more on that later) and then see what you need to do to start to raise credit which will save you tons of money, open new loan options, and even lower your homeowners and car insurance. 

The reason I say that is even your car insurance runs off of your credit scores. Think about it.... your insurance company is not extending credit to you. 

You pay upfront or divide it over a year, but the insurance is always paid before the insurance company accepts any risk. Yet they need your credit score to give you a quote because they have decided that it is a risk factor.

Waiting until you have found the ‘perfect’ house means accepting whatever comes out when you apply. Finally...It takes at least 30 days for credit scores to get updated so then you run out of time before the closing and are penalized for something that is preventable since you have to do it anyway...... do it NOW and save A BUNCH OF Money.

Credit monitoring etc

To show you how crazy the credit scoring models are; please allow me to share some personal information. I have not had a mortgage or a car payment for almost 20 years. Even though I make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and have no debt past my monthly expenses that I put on my credit cards each month which are then paid in full I cannot get over 800 credit score personally. The system is NOT FAIR and often charges you higher interest rates than you can achieve with some very small steps up front. Remember... all of those dollars flow into some of the biggest banks in the world. It is almost like they planned this...🤔

Learn the system to beat the system. Waiting to apply for your mortgage is foolish since then you have no time to shop or make those very small improvements that save you tens of thousands of dollars on your mortgage car and homeowners insurance.

Let me share another thing that happened to me personally. I had just signed a contract to buy another investment property for my portfolio and I had sent it to my regular loan officer. He started to work on getting the file into underwriting for the standard loan process and he found a big problem. 

When he ran my credit that day, he found that Discover Credit Card had a total write which is the worst thing that can happen on a credit file. Discover said that I owed almost $9,000 dollars and had not paid them. 

This is an immediate deal killer for any mortgage application. The funny thing was that I had NEVER even had a Discover card. That took almost three weeks to unwind and prove that I was not THAT particular ‘Rick Baker’. The good news is that I had an amazing mortgage broker who knew exactly what to do and held my hand all the way.  

Just goes to show you that what Coldwell Banker says is true... 

‘Who You Work With.........MATTERS’ 

This could not have happened if I did not have a great team of dedicated professionals that I was working with on that purchase. If I had waited to apply, then I could have run out of time under the contract which would have put me in breach of the contract with a potential loss of my Earnest Money. Today we have a new problem, and it is called hacking or identity theft. People get hacked EVERY day so before you start paying for things like option fees, inspection fees, and appraisal fees it is prudent to do the basics first.

 If you wait to apply and then find out that you have an unauthorized charge on your credit or identity problems, there is likely ZERO chance that you will be closing. So, while I can likely get you out of the contract and get your Earnest Money back you will have lost the ‘option fee’, the real estate inspection fee, and perhaps even the appraisal fee. The total loss in a case like this is probably more than 1,500 dollars. 

Now...with all of these negatives and no positives to waiting... Hopefully, you can see why I strongly believe that applying for a mortgage is one of the very first things that you must do to have a great outcome in your search for a new home. 

Speaking of hacking........ There is a massive amount of hacking going on in Real Estate in 2024. Just in the last 60 days, 2 title companies that I had closings at were hacked and it delayed the Closings. 

Both are some of the biggest title companies in America and have a lot of security but all it takes is one careless employee to open the wrong email and that virus is in the title company’s system. What the thieves seek is the contract that is signed by the two parties since it gives the purchase price, down payment, and address for the property being purchased. The thieves then email you the buyer the day before with an email that looks like it came from the person who is handling the closing. The email tells you that you MUST wire the down payment because so many down payment checks have bounced. They give you wiring instructions and a phone number in case you have any questions.

If you fall for this fake email and wire that money you will never see that money again. So, what I give Clients when we sign the contract is a paper that says here is the only number that you call if you have a question but that you NEVER WIRE money in response to these emails. Please CALL ME.... 

Finally, if we work together then I will give you a written warning about this scam that requires your signature to emphasize its importance.

Show every source of income and get the HIGHEST approval possible. 

Now.... I am not telling you to spend every penny you have. What I am doing is making it easier for you to get the dream home you want at the lowest possible price. In December I was working with a ten-year repeat Client, and he was looking for his dream home. 

He is very successful and for him that ‘dream’ wound up costing 2.5 million dollars. When he went to apply with my loan officer Wade Betz and Wade said that the Client could purchase up to four million dollars' worth of home. 

My client said he would not spend that kind of money and wanted it to be way below three million. I called and explained this same set of facts... whenever we find the right home then I go to work on the Seller. I promised him that I would not even send him a single home with those higher prices to ‘tempt’ him. However, when I started negotiating having a fully underwritten approval letter for 3.5 million that was in and out of underwriting means it is EASY for you to buy 2.5 million.  

The seller's agent took that letter, and the subject never came up again. That is very rare since luxury home buyers generally are scrutinized more carefully by the Seller's agent to make sure that they can perform at that high level.  

It is a psychological fact that people will always take a little less for a sure thing. That is why cash offers get a discount almost every single time. So, get the highest approval that you can, and we will be disciplined and not shop over the amount you choose but having a higher approval letter means you will save money and get the home you want for your family. 

It is a lot of money, so you have to shop around. Rates for mortgages change daily and sometimes even two or three times in a single day. So, shopping around for mortgages on different days is laughably short-sighted and uninformed. If you apply next Monday with Lender A who quotes a rate and a set of fees and then you shop with Lender B a few days later the rates might have dropped an eighth of a point and Lender B could be making a lot more money but charge you less interest because the rates dropped. Please realize also that whomever you get a mortgage through makes a lot more money if they get you to accept a higher interest rate. This is called YIELD SPREAD PREMIUM

Therefore, the only way to compare the total cost of the mortgage is if you decide what companies you will shop with and then sign the authorization for them to pull credit on 1 EXACT DAY. Say Monday, May 1st... while you may still be subject to some very small variations that can occur hour by hour on the day you select you have eliminated as many variables as possible.

Plus... it never hurts to tell the Lenders that you will be comparing their rates and fees with other companies. As President Ronald Reagan said..‘We trust everybody...but we still cut the cards!”

Anyone who quotes you a rate without the corresponding set of fees tied to that rate is wasting your time or they think you are uninformed. An interest rate without the corresponding fees is literally worthless. 

 Let’s say you get a rate that is 1/8 of a point less than other quotes you received. While you may think that you have just saved a bunch of money what if later...... right before close.......... When it is too late to change lenders, they tell you that you would need to bring an additional 18k to the closing table to ‘buy’ that rate down.

What does it mean when they tell you that you can ‘buy the rate ’ down, and is it worth the money you are spending?

Mortgage brokers never know how long a family will stay in a home.  I have seen countless examples where a family bought a home and then 18 months later it popped up for sale because of a major life event. Since the banks and mortgage brokers all have a lot of fixed expenses that go into creating the transaction, a family that has moved so quickly might not have paid enough interest and fees to pay the fixed costs from that transaction. The lender would lose money on that particular mortgage. (Not that I am worried about a lender’s profitability)

So, what is possible and sometimes smart to do is to buy the ‘rate down’ or to buy points. The two phrases mean the same thing. The Buyer pays fees up front to the lender guaranteeing them a profit. Since the lender is guaranteed that profit up front, they pass along a lower interest rate and do not mark up the rate to collect a higher commission. In this volatile and fast-moving market, sometimes makes sense... sometimes it does not make any sense. So, let's talk about what is right for your family. 

In today's market, it is almost always a sure-fire mistake because rates WILL drop in 2024 and then even more in 2025. Why spend money to get the interest rate that will be here for free in a few months? Please be sure to read my advice regarding refinancing in section 14 of this Buyer’s Guide.

A common mistake in shopping for insurance.

There are many unique challenges in shopping for and obtaining a good insurance policy in the Texas market. First, there are two types of insurance agents. ‘Captive’ Insurance agents and Independent Insurance brokers.  In my opinion, independent insurance brokers are FAR superior, and here is why.

‘Captive agents’ work for one of the big insurance companies and therefore they can only offer you one company’s perspective on the potential risks of insuring your family in a particular home with a given set of circumstances like teenage drivers or the age of the home or the home’s location. If that company has paid for a lot of hail-damaged roofs in that neighborhood or ZIP code... You WILL pay more. Another variable is if they have had a number of claims with drivers under 25 and you have two children still in the home and you want them on your policy. You WILL pay more. 

I have been insured for more than a decade with an independent insurance broker and here is why it makes a ton of sense for my family. I found the owner of one of the local franchises for the largest independent insurance brokers in both Texas and Louisiana. Every year this owner of the company shops coverage for me, and I have a good deal, Now, I would not insure with a Mickey Mouse company just to save a few hundred dollars per year, but the rates are the best that I can find. To show you how good it is... Coldwell Banker owns many entities and one of them is an insurance company. Even with my Coldwell Banker discount; the rates were not even close to what I obtained from the independent insurance broker.

The reason is that the independent insurance broker shops with each of the hundreds of companies that they are affiliated with and looks for the strongest company that is not gun shy given my unique set of insurance needs.

Roof coverage on your Texas home is regarded as a separate insured item. In effect, they are almost a separate policy. Texas roofs are by far the number one insurance claim since we are right in the buffer zone between the cold air up north and the moist air from Houston and the Gulf of Mexico. 

That means we can get strong winds with moisture-laden air and so we get more than our fair share of hailstorms.  Let's just say that if you buy a home with a 30-year shingle... I would bet a lot of money that the roof doesn't last anywhere close to the 30-year claimed lifetime. It is not an ‘IF’ it is a ‘WHEN.’

The roof coverage is always subject to a separate set of terms and a very different deductible. The insurance companies gloss over things in quoting coverage that you need to pay attention to in order to make the best decision for your family. 

The roof deductible is separate from the main deductible part of the policy and is not quoted as a dollar amount but rather a percentage of the purchase price of the home. I have met many people who have chosen a 2 percent deductible for the roof. 2% is almost self-insuring if you have a 500k home 2% is a 10k deductible which is really close to the cost of the new roof unless you have 6300 square feet of living plus 2 garages. So, these decisions need to be calculated in terms of the age of the roof in mind. Please call me so I can show you some strategies on picking your deductible and one of them is making a note in a few years to lower the deductible as the roof gets hit by more hailstorms.

In regard to the rest of the home’s coverage; I STRONGLY believe in high deductibles. Insurance exists to transfer risk that you are not willing to accept. I can accept a 10k deductible risk for the rest of my home since the odds are incredibly low on filing that type of claim. I am astounded when I sit with homeowners and discover say a $1,000 deductible. If you cannot handle more than a potential loss of more than $1,000 dollars you need to start saving money for an emergency fund. A higher deductible will save you a lot of money each year. Remember that your insurance company is betting that you will not have a problem so you should believe them and take a higher deductible but have an amount saved up for those types of emergencies.

Mistakes in picking a real estate agent. 

Also, Part-time real estate agents vs full-time professionals. 

I love what I do as a full-time Realtor, but the brutal truth is that approximately 60 percent of the real estate agents in America are part-timers. Fun fact for the day... Half of the real estate agents in America did NOT sell a house in the last year. In the article below the Consumer Federation of America studied thousands of real estate agents and concluded that the “vast majority” were only closing a deal or so each year.’

Ever heard of real estate clients saying that they cannot get their ‘real estate agent on the telephone? That might be because their real estate agent is working their ‘real’ 9-5 job.

Here in Texas, the average real estate agent makes just $45,000 per year plus they have to pay double Social Security, double Medicare taxes, and other fees since we are 1099 contractors. Add to that marketing expenses, Real Estate dues, MLS fees, Business errors and omissions insurance, costs of driving around, technology costs, toll charges, higher car insurance, office supplies, business cards, pamphlets, eating lunches and dinners in restaurants, etc etc etc 

and you can see that most are making $20-25 dollars an hour or so at best.

Half of the Real Estate agents in America have not sold a home in the last 

12 months!

Coldwell Banker will not work with these part-time agents simply because these agents are inherently riskier for the Broker. They are far less likely to be able to adequately represent a family like yours in this fast-moving market. There is little chance for that agent to be up to speed on pricing, market trends, contractual changes, negotiation strategies, etc.  

You must remember that the Broker is responsible for every action that a real estate agent performs, and Coldwell Banker thinks that those types of agents cannot represent a family anywhere close to the standards that Coldwell Banker requires. 

Furthermore, these part-time agents will be subject to financial pressures since they rarely sell anything, and the potential commission might come at a time when that agent NEEDS the money and then they instruct the Client to ignore a potential problem in hopes that the sale to go through.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2023 Member Profile revealed that 52% of agents with two years or less experience reported a gross income of less than $10,000. The median net income for new agents was $8,500. "Certainly, some of these younger agents still lived with their parents. Many of these agents eventually decided to quit," Consumer Federation of America researchers suggested.


There are approximately 2 1/2 million people (about the population of Nebraska) in America with an active real estate license but according to the National Association of Realtors there are less than half of that number who have taken the big step forward to become a ‘REALTOR’. I am a REALTOR and have personally paid many thousands of dollars to maintain my status as a REALTOR and as such there are much higher ethics laws that I must operate under. 

The terms "realtor" and "real estate agent" are often used interchangeably, however, there is a big difference between the two. A real estate agent is licensed to help clients buy or sell real estate, while a Realtor is a real estate agent and is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a professional organization. The “REALTOR” pays a lot of money out of their own pocket and takes additional training and is subject to a much higher level of ethics. 

Here are a few reasons why some people might consider a Realtor to be better than a regular real estate agent:

  • Code of Ethics: Realtors are bound by a strict code of ethics set forth by the NAR. This code emphasizes professionalism, integrity, and a commitment to the best interests of the client. Realtors are expected to adhere to higher ethical standards, which can provide an added level of confidence for clients.
  • Access to MLS: Realtors typically have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a comprehensive database that contains detailed information about properties for sale. 
  • This gives realtors a broader view of the market and helps them provide more accurate and up-to-date information to their clients.
  • Advocacy and Representation: Realtors are advocates for their clients and work to protect their interests throughout the buying or selling process. The NAR promotes the concept of "agency," meaning that realtors owe their clients a fiduciary duty, including loyalty and confidentiality.
  • Professional Development: Realtors are encouraged to pursue ongoing education and professional development. This commitment to staying informed about changes in the real estate industry can benefit clients by ensuring that their realtor is knowledgeable and up to date on market trends, regulations, and best practices.
  • Networking and Resources: Realtors, through their association with the NAR, have access to a network of other professionals in the industry. This network can be valuable in terms of obtaining advice, collaborating with other professionals, and staying informed about market trends.


What is “Getting both sides” and why should you RUN from this? 

Ever heard the term ‘getting both sides?” Here is what it means and how it can cost you a lot as the buyer. When a Seller decides to sell their property, they select one Realtor to represent their interests and have a fiduciary duty towards them in this sale. That listing agent many times will try to find a Buyer so that they can get both of the commissions involved in the sale. As a refresher course, the Seller pays the listing agent a commission for the property sale. 

The Seller also decides to pay a commission to the Realtor who represents the Buyer. So, the prospect of making TWICE as much can be a powerful driver of a Listing Agent’s behavior. 

That doubling of the commission has caused many Listing Agents to solicit Buyers who are unrepresented by another Realtor and creates a very sticky situation. 

Now, this is legal in every state in America but here is how the law says it is SUPPOSED to work. The Listing Agent is SUPPOSED to give the Buyers all comparable properties and then not offer any advice!

Not a single word of advice or assessment.........Think about THAT.............

The BUYER is somehow supposed to magically figure out all of the following:

What to offer?

What is a fair maximum price for the property?

What is a normal and customary distribution for the selling/closing expenses?

Should they offer less than the asking price?

What do all the boxes mean in the nine pages of the Texas real estate contract? 

Each box either takes money from your pocket or puts money in your pocket and again what is negotiable?

What about financing contingencies?

What if my mortgage is approved later than the proposed closing date? 

What protections, if any; are there for the Buyer that can be written into the offer? 

These are just some of the MANY questions that need to be answered before writing an offer.

Just a casual observation of the homes listed for sale will show that there are tons of homes that just sit for a long, long time on the MLS These homes then have to do price drops again and again to the correct market price and then finally get sold. Since even licensed real estate agents who are part-timers cannot price a home correctly........ How can a member of the public make a decision about even the first question, which is what amount to offer? 

Let’s pretend a Listing Agent decides to give you the potential buyer some tips when they are getting both sides of the transaction. 

First, that is a license violation and a serious one at that. Second, since they are going to get paid double because they have both sides that just MIGHT affect how much they try to motivate you to buy their listing. Third, the Seller will most likely turn around and buy with their Listing Agent so perhaps you might be wise to consider what is causing them to offer their advice. 

The way the real estate market works is that traditionally the Seller will pay a commission to any Buyer’s agent. So why would you want someone who might be subject to pressures from the Seller? 

Most likely the Listing Agent had a relationship with the Seller long before they met you so where do their loyalties lie? After all, would a criminal defendant want the District Attorney to be in charge of their criminal defense? 

That is why whenever I list a home, I put it in the listing agreement that no matter who shows up and is interested in the property I will only represent the Seller's interests. 

Is it crazy to suggest that you find someone who is only focused on protecting your money and whose license depends on the aggressive protection of your interests? 


The way the real estate market works today is that traditionally the Seller will offer to pay a commission to a Buyer’s agent. This simple yet ingenious system allows first, and 2nd-time buyers to be able to buy a home and have extra cash to put towards the down payment and closing costs. By creating more first-time Buyers the Sellers of those homes can then sell and become a ‘Move up’ Buyer and get a bigger, nicer home. 

Nonetheless, my license still requires that I aggressively protect your interests as the Buyer and not consider anything else. If it is legal, moral, and ethical then I am required by law to use my skills, experience, and training to achieve the best possible outcome for my clients. If you recall I mentioned this on the first page of this Buyer’s Guide and that requirement is a legal standard called ‘fiduciary duty’. 

So, if I am representing your family in the purchase of the property you can be assured that if I wouldn't buy it if I was standing in your shoes then the last thing that I would ever do is to advise you to buy it......

Closing costs for buyers.

Buying and selling Real Estate costs a lot of money. Because I realize the financial strain on families here is what I like to do to be sure that they are adequately prepared. First...I will generally tell you numbers that are higher than the expected reality. The reason is twofold.

Let’s say someone is expected to pay $10,000 dollars in various closing costs. If that number comes in at say $10,450 dollars some people might think that they were cheated. But if I tell them a higher number as a worst-case scenario then they can only get good news. 

Secondly, most buyers will spend tens of thousands of dollars AFTER buying the home on things like new furniture, blinds, appliances, etc having that cushion keeps them prepared to take the next steps AFTER they buy. 

Most buyers will be financing some percentage of the home therefore their closing costs are higher than a cash purchaser. Some of the expenses a noncash Buyer typically will see are the following:

  • Prepay your first year's homeowner’s insurance policy
  • Prefund part of the escrow account for taxes and insurance. This typically

            amounts to three months' worth of taxes and insurance. 

  1. Appraisal fee which is always paid before closing but I still need to 

            account for this in your plans.

  1. Discount points to ‘buy’ the interest rate down. Please make sure that you read section Number Eight of this Buyer’s Guide on the wisdom of that idea. As I write this; which is February 2024, there are ZERO reasons to buy the rate down. 

Please remember that Real Estate is cyclical and what did not make sense say a year ago may make a lot of sense today.

ALWAYS ask as there is no such thing as a “dumb question” since this entire process can be very confusing and complicated in this fast-moving market in DFW.

However, by working with me by the time we are done you will 

          have a PhD in “House-ology”. I guarantee it.                                  

  1. Buyer’s title policy. This is an extensive subject so please call me regarding the pros and cons of buying a Buyer’s title policy.
  1. Various charges for the recording of the sale and filing the deed in the County records.
  1. Paying various lender fees like credit check, loan origination, etc
  2. Various charges for the title company's service. The good news is that the State of Texas regulates these fees so there are very minor variations in the price of the title company’s fees to protect you. 
  1. When you close the Buyer prepays a per day interest charge on the loan up to the last day of the month in which they are closing the property.  
  2. When you close you then skip a month without payment for the home. As an example, if you closed a home on January 15th then you would prepay 15 days' worth of interest at closing to the last day of the month. Then you skip a payment in February and your first payment is due on March 1st with a 15-day interest-free grace period before you are considered late on the payment.

When adding it all up here are the approximate numbers that I tell families that are financing the home purchase. Budget three percent of the purchase price as your closing costs and then you will be prepared. This assumes that you are not “buying down the rate” which would significantly increase those costs and we would want to do a very careful analysis of when those “buydowns” make financial sense.

REFINANCING will be your best friend in 2024 and 2025.

 Mortgage rates are always fluctuating but America is blessed to be just one of a handful of countries that have a 30-year FIXED RATE mortgage. The rest of the world offers a 5 or 7-year mortgage and then you have to refinance the property at the rates in effect at that time. This is GREAT for the banks but horrible for the homeowner.

In the Great State of Texas, we are blessed even more by many pro-consumer laws. A favorite of mine is that Texas sets the rates and procedures for real estate and refinancing. Part of that is a great provision that allows the consumer to save a huge amount in fees when refinancing. 

The Texas law is that should you refinance within 4 years from the date of the purchase you will pay half of the regular price for title insurance. A refinance is basically a new real estate closing so the homeowner will pay the same types of fees as in Section 13 above when refinancing. After 4 years from the date of purchase up to seven years from the date of purchase then the new title policy carries a 25 percent discount.

The great news is that whenever you refinance a property that means you skip a month and then make your first payment under the refinance terms the NEXT month after skipping a month. Please read Section 13 for the breakdown of costs and time frames. So strictly from a cash perspective, the refinancing is almost never an out-of-pocket expense.

2024 and 2025 Dallas/ Fort Worth Real Estate projections. 

After a record-setting decade of growth DFW the region is now home to 7.76 million people.

The projection is that we will be very close to 9.5 million by 2030 which means that another 1.8 million people will move to DFW in the next 6 years and there are simply not enough homes for everyone. 

Add that strong demand to what is arguably the best economy in America. In addition, we do not have a state income tax, so families have more disposable income. These facts give you the perfect recipe for much higher real estate prices. Furthermore, most people are moving from places where real estate is much higher so when they sell there, they have more cash to buy here. Finally, they are psychologically predisposed to view the prices here as ‘cheap’ and usually they are under pressure in terms of time to buy to make the relocation happen for their family. 

All of these factors will mean that we will continue to see some of the highest appreciation rates per year as DFW just catches up to where every single major area in America is in terms of the price of real estate. 

In the last two years, interest rates have skyrocketed in response to the high inflation caused by poor financial policies emanating from our ‘fearless leaders’ in Washington DC. That spike has created 2 years of pent-up demand here in DFW since a lot of buyers said that they will wait for the rates to come down. 

Guess what would happen if the rates dropped today? We would go right back to the insane bidding wars from spring and summer of 2022. if you recall Buyers were frantically chasing homes because the homes were literally selling in hours. Buyers were offering $50k, $75k, and even $100k higher than the asking price after losing multiple bidding wars before on other homes. We will see a return to that insanity this summer as mortgage rates are projected to drop to 

 6 percent by the end of 2024 and 5 ½ in 2025. Feel free to ask me to send you all of the data and projections so that you can better plan for your future. 

When you couple all of these factors it is impossible to believe that the DFW market will see anything less than 5-7 % appreciation at a minimum just in 2024. Add another 5% to 7 % of further price appreciation in 2025 as the rates drop.

With all of these factors in play this is what is the wisest buying strategy in 2024.  It is FAR BETTER to buy in the Winter and Spring of 2024 than to wait for the bidding wars that are coming later this year as mortgage rates drop.  There is an old saying that you buy your summer clothes in winter and your winter clothes in summer to save a bunch of money. If you buy real estate during the “off-season”, then you will save you a lot of money. Then you just refinance as outlined in Section 14 above and you can thank me later.

Never sell real estate. 

I started in Real Estate almost 30 years ago as an investor and have personally

seen the benefits and the power of investing in the finest investment in the world.  Therefore, I feel that there are VERY few reasons to sell the home once you buy it. Buy in a quality neighborhood even if it is not your ‘dream home’.  Then live in it for a couple of years and then go buy a bigger, better newer home but DON’T sell the current home.  I always tell families that if it is good enough for you to live in then it is good enough to rent out!  

Most homes that I have rented out for Clients had the lease signed and money in their pocket before they even closed on their new home.  Since DFW has countless families moving here there is constant upward pressure for the price of rentals. Renting is a decision that needs to be carefully calculated and I would strongly encourage us to have a lengthy conversation on this.  What I routinely offer is that you pick your favorite place for lunch or dinner, and I will pick up the check. I will show you what I have done for other Clients and how well they have done financially.  

In America, about 35% of the population will always be renting about 65% own their home. Traditionally TX boasts a higher percentage of homeownership than average because our lower cost of living and lower taxes have made homeownership more attainable.  So as DFW goes up in price because of the demand and influx of millions of people this percentage of renters will go up.

The little secret that is affecting America’s housing market is that we have an absolute scarcity of homes that are available.  As America’s population has increased through births and immigration (legal and otherwise) we have not built the homes that we should have to accommodate this growth. This shortage is because of a few “once in a lifetime” factors that have simultaneously occurred.

First America after the real estate collapse in 2008 just stopped building homes and we did not build more for quite some time even though we had population growth and new households being formed.  Also to blame is a factor called NIMBY which is the acronym for “Not In My Back Yard”.  We all want things like reliable cell phone service, big highways etc but we all want them built “over there” by other neighborhoods. 😊 

Secondly, here is the issue that is making homeowners and landlords more money than they could have dreamed possible.  Approximately 1/3 of the homes in America are paid off like mine.  Once people have attained that they don’t want to go back into debt. Of the homes that have a mortgage approximately 32% are below 3 percent interest and another 30 % are between 3 and 4% interest.

Since people tend to become accustomed to certain things they become “normal”. A few years from now families that might consider moving into a new home will sit down and look at the much higher sales prices and an interest rate that is 250% higher than what they are paying and do the math on that MUCH higher mortgage payment.  Most of them will then shelve the idea as not being a good idea. This will cause a lowering of the number of homes for sale and when you have reduced the supply of anything prices go UP!  These new higher price points then force future potential buyers into the same conclusion and the cycle feeds on itself. 

So, most homeowners will not sell for a long time, so the only way out of this shortage is to build our way out of it.  The builders in Texas and Florida and making money that they could not have dreamed of say 5 or 10 years ago. Warren Buffet in August of 2023 put in almost $1 billion dollars to buy up stocks of a couple of home builders since he saw this as a massive long-term problem that only builders can solve.  Guess where those builders are heavily focused... Texas and Florida.

What I teach Clients is that the best thing to do is after living in the home for two years to satisfy the IRS requirement that it is not an investment property.  Then all they have to do is make a minimum down payment of just 5% to move into a new home and then to lease out their existing home. Rents will only go up with inflation and that creates massive wealth building by benefitting from three factors.

  • Rents tend to be higher than mortgage payments. So, this creates positive cash flow each month.
  • Each month the tenant is paying off more and more of your home.  
  • Homes tend to appreciate each year because of inflation since they are both a necessity and a commodity. 

The challenge for a lot of people is that they go talk to a real estate agent and that real estate agent is trained to get them to sell so the real estate agent can make two commissions.  One when they sell and another when they go buy their new home.  The average American family like yours will own between 5-8 homes in their lifetime. As people age they pay off their home and enjoy that mortgage-free existence, but they cannot sell the asset since they are living there.  Imagine if you had just 2 or 3 homes that you had bought and then NOT sold. First, it would give you massive amounts of dependable cash flow monthly as the tenants pay off the home.  Secondly, rents rise with inflation and if you doubt that then go back and think what rents were ten years ago. 

I have personally taken families like yours in 3 -4 years from renting to owning to landlord.  Please understand this money will not magically fall out of the sky as there is work involved. Being a landlord is not about playing golf all month and then picking up rent checks once a month.  However, I would love the opportunity to show you the systems that I have created that make it as profitable and headache-free as possible. 

At my peak, my wife and I owned 52 rental homes at the SAME time, so I have the scars that people call experience and I share that system and knowledge with Clients. Furthermore, I was named the #1 Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agents in America for this massive institutional investor that has purchased over 40,000 single-family homes for rent. You will see this mentioned on my business card and email signature. That experience allowed me a front-row seat to their strategic long-term practices to make sure that they consistently made money.  It has made me a better real estate agent and a better advisor to families like yours as I show them how to create generational wealth. All of that and I don’t charge you a dollar to share that expertise. 

My system involves everything from leasing to the right people for the right length of time to background checks that many people might find somewhat intrusive to tips to maintain the right relationship with a tenant.  The system shows you where to buy and why and guides you through decisions like bedroom and bath count to selecting whether buying a 1-story or a 2-story home is ideal. Basically, tenants are NOT your friends so do not be confused.  It is a business deal, so I maintain a cordial yet professional relationship. Frankly, having an intermediary between you and the tenant is much better for your health and net worth. Plus, I don’t charge you for that service since the more money you make the more you tell your friends and family about what I have done for you.  The vast majority of my work comes from repeat Clients and referrals so that is the best for my business.

The rewards are massive and frankly most people do not calculate the returns correctly. The average tenant pays off between $800 to $1,000 dollars per month on the mortgage balance.  Say we take a modest home of 450K and look at the average year-to-year appreciation of the home. Using just a modest 4% appreciation rate puts $18,000 dollars per year into your pocket. Add in the mortgage paydown of $10K to 12K per year and you are now at $30,000 annual profit for you.  Finally, most homes rent for between 250-400 dollars a month above the mortgage which is just an added benefit of $3,000-$5,000 per year.  

Do that for just three years and you have an extra $100,000 dollars in your pocket all because you did NOT sell. Do that again and the second three years the return is even higher as each month you are paying off more and more of the property and the appreciation on the home compounds the equity.

Now what if there are horrible problems with the rental?  

First, I believe in lifelong relationships since that is the best thing for my business.

So, without ever charging you a dollar I am always available to drive over and talk to the tenant and use my decades of experience to resolve the problem. It is wise to have that buffer or intermediary in these types of relationships.  Image though that you try renting the property out and you hate it.  I teach people that the IRS allows you to sell a property that you have lived in as your primary residence for at least 2 of the last 5 years. 

So, you can live in the home for 2 years and then lease it out for one, two, or three more years and you are still tax-exempt on the first $500,000 in PROFIT made above what you invested in the home.  This assumes that you are married as the IRS only allows a $250K tax-free shelter if you are not married. 

Therefore, this lets you “test-drive” being a landlord with my ongoing (and FREE) support for the day-to-day maintenance and problem-solving in the property.  IF you hate making that kind of additional money then we just sell it and you still have made more money than selling it before. 

The additional profit comes from the following:

  • Each month the tenant is paying off more and more of your mortgage balance.  Furthermore, the first 6 years are mostly interesting anyway and after that, you start to hit the principal balance more each month that passes. Take a look at your mortgage payment and see how much of the principal balance is paid off each year.  For even a modest home it is a minimum of $10,000 dollars per year with each month paying off more than the month before.  Therefore leasing it out for 2 or 3 years pays off $20-$30K of the balance. 
  • Real Estate is both a commodity and an investment vehicle.  Therefore, the price tends to appreciate year over year since Washington DC is addicted to printing money and that drives home prices up.  Since we are in DFW there are literally millions of families that will be moving here over the coming years and that demand will cause prices to rise.  So, holding the home even a few more years adds up to a LOT of money.  
  • Take this as an example... A 400K home today with just a modest price appreciation will add 5% or $20,000 dollars in the first year.  Then the second year compounds on that and if appreciation remains at 5% you the homeowner add $21,000 the second year.
  •  Add up the two factors of mortgage paydown and price appreciation means that you are profiting $30,000 per year or more.  Now there is work involved but we should at least have that conversation. 

Besides... When was the LAST time a real estate agent tried to talk you OUT of selling a home?

Buying New Construction vs a resale home. 

New construction is negotiated completely different that resale.  

There are many reasons, but I will break them down for you in this section. 

First there are actually THREE different types of new construction possibilities. 

They are the following: 

  • Build Jobs
  • Spec sales
  • Closeout. 

Each has its own pluses and minuses, and each negotiation is handled differently. 

First, let’s talk about “Build Jobs” This will get exactly the home you want in terms of floor plan, upgrades, lot location, etc subject only to your budget. However, it is the most expensive way to buy a brand-new home.  This is what I did 4 years ago when I bought my home in Windsong Ranch in Prosper TX. My wife and I found an amazing lot location and asked the builder to hold it for us while we looked for the right floor plan to be built there. We went around and looked at the different model floor plans that the builder we chose offered and chose one.  That builder was Highland Homes which in my opinion is the best quality home one can buy for under a million or so dollars. 

So, we now had picked out the floor plan, and then we picked out ALL of the finishes and upgrades from wood flooring, kitchen design, upgrades, countertops, baths, paint colors, etc all the way down to the thickness of the carpet pad.

 (Free tip of the day... Buy the upgraded pad if you go this way. The carpet will last much longer, wears better and just feels superior when you upgrade the pad, and the cost is minimal.)  

Now we had everything we wanted BUT this is the most expensive way to buy new construction for this simple reason.  The Builder has NO idea how much it will finally cost to build that home even if they have built that model countless times before.  The reason is that the Builder cannot contract for labor or materials past 90 days, and it takes a year to build most homes.  Therefore, if the price of labor goes up in this time of higher inflation the builder will have to pay that. Same thing for materials, permits, etc. 

Finally, there is the issue of time during the building of a new home.  In my case, We signed the contract in October and it took about 60 days to get the permits and prepare the home site for the actual building of a home.  They poured the foundation right before Christmas which is actually GREAT for a foundation since in colder weather the concrete cures slowly vs in the heat of summer.  Slower curing of the concrete is better for long-term strength of a foundation. But as it would happen God made it rain a LOT in February etc as they started to frame the home which added weeks to the building process.  We were supposed to close in June but did not close until July. Also exasperating time delays are possible issues like material delays, inspection delays, and other unforeseen issues that each add up and raise the actual cost of building the home for that builder.  

So, to offset these issues each builder will add an amount for price increases, time delays, etc so that they are insulated from these issues. The bottom line is that a “build job” will cost you the most, but your home is EXACTLY the way you wanted it. 

The second way to buy a new construction home is to buy a “Spec”.

A “spec” or speculative build means that the builder starts building the home without knowing who the actual purchaser will wind up being.  Therefore, the Builder is “speculating” as to the final sales price and how long it will take to sell the home once it is finished.  The builder therefore will be making most if not all of the selections in terms of upgrades, layout, flooring, tile, paint colors, etc but will try to make it appeal to the widest selection of potential buyers. Sometimes if you see the home in the process of being built you can modify some of the design selections as long as you negotiate the contract early enough in the building process. 

Some of the best deals can be had in a “Spec” home if you catch it near the end of the building process or if the home is completely finished and here is why.  The Builder knows EXACTLY how much money they have spent in building that home so there is no uncertainty as I mentioned in a “Build” job. Therefore, they do not have to add a cushion for cost overruns or delays which will save you money.  

Also, if the home is scheduled to be finished in the next 45 days or so the builders will often start to get very aggressive on the pricing.  Here is why this practice happens.  Once the home is built EVERY day it sits there unsold it costs the builder a lot of money. First, they have hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting there which they would rather have in their pocket to go start building another home. You might have heard of this as an “opportunity cost”. Secondly, they have to insure the home, and insuring a vacant home costs a LOT more than when a family is living in a home. Third, they have to put the utilities in their name and water the newly installed lawn a few times a day, all of which adds up quickly. Many times, a builder in DFW may have 100 homes or more that are sitting on the ground with them paying for all of those utilities, and that adds up QUICKLY.  

So, the builders will often be more flexible on these homes to sell them TODAY rather than waiting another few months for the “perfect buyer”.  In summary; your cost of purchase will be less than doing a “Build job” but you have lost the ability to make design selections. 

Of course, the builders have professional designers who come in to make those selections to make each home as attractive as possible. 

Finally, the “Closeout” purchase of a new construction home. 

This happens when a Builder has finished building a subdivision and they have a few leftovers that have not been sold.  The Builder realizes the following things are true. 

First, they have to pay employees to be there to sell those last few homes and that is a cost which they would like to keep to a minimum.  

Second, since these are the last few lots many times these will be lots that all of the other homebuyers passed on since they saw a better location in the community.  So be prepared for some unusual compromises like backing up to an eyesore or the local water tower. 

After all, these are the lots that all the other buyers looked at and said, “NO thanks”. 

In regard to pricing the builder again realizes that time is money and so they will discount these more than say a regular “Spec” home which if you can live with the reason the home did not sell can make it a great value. 

A small amount of “Closeout” homes can be a GREAT deal if the builder built that home as the model for the community. These will be located in premier sections of the community and of course are loaded with upgrades that the builder wanted to highlight. As a “Closeout” it can be an amazing value since all of the upgrades are frequently discounted so that the Builder can move on to the next project.  I have personally negotiated a few transactions where the Builder was willing to even sell the contents of the home as well which is a GREAT deal if you like the style of the furniture etc. Most of the time these are homerun-type deals since you are buying what is technically used furniture and the Builder does not want to spend all of that money moving and storing this houseful of furniture. One note... the builders are NOT going to be buying top-of-the-line mattresses since no one will have slept on them but other than this one issue; the rest of the furniture will be nice as it is meant to complement the home.  My best deal ever was the entire contents of a model home including a Samsung Stainless steel fridge was sold as a separate contract to my Buyer for a grand total of $6,000 dollars.  That was EVERYTHING down to artwork, bed sets, desks couches, and a home theater system.  Obviously, these are VERY rare but nonetheless now you know they exist, and I am always on the lookout for them as they represent a grand slam savings for my Client.  

The final difference between the negotiations with a Builder vs a resale home is that there are additional variables in a resale transaction that do not exist in new construction sales.  The first variable is of course the Listing Agent and as I pointed out above the vast majority of Realtors in America are part-timers. Therefore, they are NOT going to be proficient at pricing the home properly.  How many times have you seen a gorgeous home that just sits there for months and months and months with one price cut after another before it finally gets down to the price it should have been and the Seller surrenders since they are tired of living with showings and negotiations for all those months. The ONLY thing that cures these overpriced homes is lots of time on the market.  Having said that, I enjoy actually negotiating these sales since once they get close to reality in terms of price the Seller AND the Listing Agent are worn out and they both want to just get PAID.  

Therefore, one can negotiate aggressively with them as I point out that the market has clearly been speaking to you about these insane asking prices, and you as the Seller or Seller’s agent have refused to listen.  

Another advantage when negotiating with these agents that sell one house a year MAYBE.... is that I can get more things thrown into the contract that benefit my Client.  As the deal gets closer to reality that agent starts to get excited as they have not cashed a commission check in say 12 months or so and they have been living off of their 9-5 “day job.”  The appeal of that commission check will get most of them “flexible” in terms of their negotiation stance. 

One of the most important differences in the negotiation differences between resale and new construction is the financing of the property. 

New Construction Builders traditionally have sold about 15% of all sales each year but in the last few years, they have been employing a strategy that is now getting them about 35% of all home sales in the DFW market.  That strategy is to offer much lower mortgage rates than resale Buyers can get in the open market.  

What the Builders are doing is going to the big mortgage lenders like Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, etc, and negotiating rates that are unheard of in the marketplace. Since the Builders are buying these low mortgage rates for hundreds of millions of dollars the bulk purchasing power makes it more affordable, and the Builder then adds that cost into the new home price. As an example, I just helped a new construction Buyer in Feb 2024 get a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of just 4.99% when the marketplace was 6.75%. 

Homebuyers are always on a monthly budget and while there has always been a premium price to be paid for new construction when the Buyer factors in these huge interest savings along with the energy efficiency of a brand-new home, no repair costs likely for years to come the math speaks for itself. 

 Also, if you recall as I explained in Section 14 the vast majority of homes in America have mortgage rates of around 3%.  Those families will NOT be selling anytime soon and that is driving up resale values because of the law of Supply and Demand so the price in terms of a monthly payment between brand new homes and resale homes is shrinking.

Other costs that you MUST keep in your budget. 

When owning a home there are ALWAYS going to be things that you are spending money on that are just part of the ownership experience.  Generally, they fall into two types which are upgrading the home and maintaining the home. 

The costs of upgrading a home can be controlled since they are voluntary, but you might be interested that the average homeowner in America spends $18,000 dollars in that category in the first year of owning a new home. These costs might be things like new furniture to go with your new home, a new stainless-steel fridge to match the other appliances or new blinds or drapes.  Again, this is all voluntary, but Rule #1 is to stay out of debt.  If you cannot pay for an item, then you just think if you NEED it or WANT it. I always tell Clients to work towards having NO debt on credit cards as that is nothing less than a boulder that you have to carry each month. 

The second category of expenses is going to happen and oftentimes will happen at the WORST possible time so you must be prepared for them. Those expenses are repairs or maintenance.  When you were renting you just called the Landlord and hoped that they took good care of the issue.  In homeownership, YOU need to be ready.  The first thing to avoid major repairs is to be sure to systemize your maintenance schedules on the home.  

Just like your car will let you know when it is time to change the oil you need an external reminder for these issues otherwise things get lost in our busy lives. I have a series of reminders in my Coldwell Banker calendar that automatically remind me of things as they come due. 

The biggest issue for many Texans is that they do not maintain their heating and air conditioning systems properly.  I have a reminder pop up every April first to remind me to call and have the AC systems cleaned and tuned up. This is the BEST money you will ever spend as an AC system works extremely hard here in Texas and if you do not maintain it properly you will be calling me in the middle of some July heatwave asking if I know anyone who can get out to you TODAY since it is miserable in your home. 

I buy a yearly package from a local AC contractor that has been in business for 60 years and I will be happy to share their information with you.  They are honest and good and those are the most important factors for me in picking contractors.  

On April 1 my calendar also notified me to go re-install the foundation watering system that keeps my home’s foundation in great shape.  Here in DFW, we have some VERY funny soils that are mostly clay, and this system is a MUST-have.  Otherwise, you may wake up in a few years with a $10-$15K dollar repair to your foundation and your homeowner’s insurance does NOT cover it. We call that a BAD day.... (Go see Section 19 in Rick’s Realty Rewards for more information on this) 

On November 1st I have another set of yearly reminders to call my Heating/AC contractor for the yearly cleaning and check on the heating system.  On November 1st Another alarm told me to go remove that foundation watering system so the winter weather does not harm the unit’s timers etc. I am also prompted to turn off the sprinklers and drip lines for my lawn and flowers and drain them so that they do not freeze.  

But no matter what happens you will have things that break in a home, and you need to have an emergency fund set aside from your regular checking account just for these issues.  By the way... putting the repair on a credit card is NOT the same unless you are getting a rebate and ALWAYS pay off your credit cards each month. 

These repairs will come in all types of things like dishwashers, garbage disposals, hail-damaged roofs (Be sure to have read Section 9 on common insurance mistakes), etc and that money needs to be in a separate “emergency account”. I am a Dave Ramsey Approved Realtor, and that man makes a TON of sense.  Please go to YouTube and find his “7 Baby Steps”.  It will literally be the best thing you can do financially for your family and your peace of mind. 

The great thing about Dave Ramsey is that he gives away 99% of his system for FREE on YouTube so I am not trying to get you to go buy a book or a course but instead read it and follow it.  Being debt-free is magical!

Rick’s Realty Rewards

I like to show my appreciation when a family like yours entrusts me with their real estate needs.  So therefore, I have created a little set of bonuses and gifts that I will pay for as a way of showing my appreciation for that trust.  In total “Rick’s Realty Rewards” is literally thousands of dollars in goods and services that I pay for in hopes that your new home is a trouble-free experience. 

The first gift is a 1 year home warranty including kitchen and laundry appliances $850 dollar cost.  I will pay for the highest level of service that American Home Shield offers. That plan is called Shield Platinum coverage.  They are the largest home warranty company in America, and they are a partner of Coldwell Banker.

Rekey service... $200 value.  Buying a home is a very emotional happy time however I will pay for a licensed locksmith to meet you the afternoon of closing at the home, and they will rekey up to 6 locks for you.  We never know who had keys to the property before and it might have been a cleaning company, handyman or relative. This way they change the locks in front of you and hand you the keys.  That is now a safe and secure home for you and your family.  

Roof leak repair protection up to $1,000 dollars in roof leak repairs during the 1st year of ownership.  $1,000 dollar value. 

First-year service calls to tune up one HVAC unit. $200 dollar savings. 

I will pay for the highest level of a service which includes UNLIMITED replacement of Freon or other refrigerants like R410 A.  Freon refrigerant can cost up to 150-200 per pound and bigger units can take 10 to 15 pounds since in Texas we tend to have larger AC units.  That alone can save you over $2,000 dollars in your first year of ownership. $2,000 dollar value. 

Free foundation watering system $200 dollar value. I will go and buy the exact same system that I use to protect my home and then install it personally and show you how to set up this vital maintenance procedure so that you are far less likely to need a foundation repair which is at epidemic levels in DFW. If we have not talked about this issue yet then we MUST!  Please give me a call and let me show you why this should be the FIRST thing you do to your new home. 

Yearly property tax protest assistance by me personally.  Most companies charge you 25-33 percent of the saved amount, so this is worth a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on how much tax savings there are for you. 

Free utility connection service. $150 dollar value.  Moving to a new home is so exciting but calling and being on hold for the electricity, water, cable, internet, security, gas hookups etc etc is a pain.  I will have a 3rd party vendor handle all of that for you for FREE.  Plus, they can shop around for savings that you may not even be aware of to save you even more money. 

Never waste money on a pest control service.  If you recall I was an investor before I was a Realtor so I certainly had to find effective pest control products to maintain the properties.

I will give you a product that has been around for 30 years and is devastatingly effective on anything that walks or crawls into the home.  My daughter has a Maltese and we have used this product for the 12 years of her life and there have been no problems.  This product can be bought for about $40 dollars for about four- or five-years' worth of product. I found it when a friend of mine who owned a pest control company shared it with me.  He said that this is EXACTLY what they put in their pump sprayers. Feel free to try it and then stop paying $25 dollars a month (Savings $300 per year)  

Yearly insurance shopping to save you money.  I utilize the largest independent insurance brokerage in TX and Louisiana and will personally have the owner of that franchise work with you to maximize your insurance savings. 

I will personally be attending everything, every show, every inspection, and closing.  Being there at the inspections etc, it makes it MUCH more effective when negotiating repair credits, etc since I tell the other agent that I was there and saw it all. 

I will personally handle every detail of the transaction.  I don't hand it off to a junior associate for them to “learn on your purchase” like most Real Estate teams do.  There is generally one great Realtor at the top and then once you have signed the Buyer’s Representation Agreement, they hand you off to another buyer’s agent who is often learning on the job.

Researching the history of every property that you are interested in. DFW has countless builders because of the incredible demand for housing in our market.  Some of them are great... others the lines are not even straight, and they have horrible quality.  If you would like I can walk through some of them and point out the glaring quality issues. 

Wouldn’t you like to know if you are looking at one of the best builders or one of the worst? Researching that tells us what type of quality we can expect down the road.  Frankly, there as some builders that I personally believe are so poorly built that I have NEVER even shown them to Clients.  Included in that list are: 

  • Megatel
  • Grand Homes
  • Lennar
  • Sumeer
  • First Texas
  • LGI

Now in today's world, you might wonder how a mediocre company can survive. Here are the facts.  Many of them will pay MASSIVE bonuses to the Buyer’s agent as an inducement to bring in a Buyer.  Since the Buyer is relying upon the Realtor to guide them these types of homes can be sold.  Frankly, what I do is if there is EVER any bonus paid as an incentive to the Realtor to show the home, I will tell you about it upfront so that you know the truth about that property.  It helps you to know when I give advice if there are any incentives like that in the transaction. One of these builders will routinely offer a DOUBLE commission to the Buyer’s Realtor. Do you think an extra say $10,000 dollars just MIGHT influence the Realtor? PS... I have NEVER sold a home by those builders above. 

Please call and I can send you some amazing things that I have found when digging into the history of a home. Here are just some of the things that I have found when digging into a property for a client:

One of the biggest problems is that the reported square footage of homes gets inflated by the Seller’s agent.  Since real estate is sold by the price per square foot, they “magically” add some square feet and POOF inflates the value by tens of thousands of dollars. Frankly, this is almost an epidemic since there is no enforcement mechanism in place as of now.  When a Realtor lists a home, they are just doing basic data entry like so many beds and baths etc. What happens all too frequently is that they just enter in higher square footage for the home without proof of that inflated number.

I have seen them put in 300 sq feet and more for a home which even at $200 dollars/ square foot is a LOT of money.  I personally think it should be a felony since they are attempting to deceive buyers into paying more for the home.  What they do to cover themselves is put in a disclaimer that you the Buyer and I as the Realtor have to verify everything they put into the MLS. So... They did not lie... you did not verify their lie...isn’t that great??  Well, I go back to the county tax records which are generally taken from the blueprints to make sure that you are not buying “air”.  Another one of my favorites was when the previous owner disclosed there was termite damage and the buyer, who is now the seller, signed off on this. When this homeowner decided to sell it a few years later he ‘forgot” and put down in a seller's disclosure that he knew nothing about previous termites and no previous termite damage... AND the seller was a licensed Realtor which is of course a huge license violation. Ask me about this home and I can pull it up and show you the proof of some of the games played out there. 

By digging into the history of the home BEFORE we go out there, I save your time and save you from buying a troubled home or one with hidden defects. 

Finally, I will give you access to my Coldwell Banker Concierge List for everything from a tailor to a plumber to a master electrician. This gives you the assurance that you will have quality professionals who have either worked on my properties or done a great job for some of my clients. Either way, I never accept a dollar for a referral fee from contractors since that is a massive license violation. 

  1. In summary; Thank you for reading my Buyer’s Guide. My sincerest hope is that there are many things that have been explained to you that will make you a more informed purchaser of Real Estate and hopefully will save you money. 

By using the principles and methods here you will make a great decision and have a quality home that your family can enjoy for years to come. Equally as important it will be a financial blessing for you and your family for decades.  I realize that most people are just now gathering information, but I look forward to talking with you either on the phone, via Zoom or in person at a local Coldwell Banker office to share tons of data to help you make the best decision possible. 


Rick Baker 

Coldwell Banker Realtor. Texas Real Estate license # 0632045

Top 2 % of ALL the Realtors in America. 


Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Professional

Address is 11901 Dallas Parkway Suite 100 Frisco TX 75033 Cell is (972) 836-8880

Work With Rick

Elevate your real estate journey with Rick Baker, a top-tier real estate agent renowned for delivering truly remarkable service. Rick empowers clients through personalized insights, navigating the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market.