Need to Sell? Get Exposed Through VIP Realty

July 14th, 2014

 

Selling your home is like selling anything else ‒‒ you need exposure. You need people to know the important details. And you need to get your home in front of as many potential qualified buyers as possible.

And these days, the surest and best way to get your home in front of the right buyers is online. In fact, more than 80 percent of buyers check the web first when looking for a home, and this is a part of your marketing strategy that you can’t afford to miss.

That’s why VIP Realty has one of the most dominant internet presences in the industry and why we work so hard to make sure our technical knowledge and our understanding of the ever-changing home sales market are always cutting edge.

Our internet presence goes far beyond our easy-to-use, easy-to-read website (after all, we need to know all the technical stuff, but you shouldn’t have to worry about it). Each home we list gets its own individual website and e-marketing campaign. And each home for sale through VIP benefits from our strategic insight into market conditions and community information to help steer the right buyers your way.

Our highly respected blog, ranked by national real estate industry firm Movoto as one of the best in DFW, keeps us at the forefront for buyers and sellers who need to find the best, most qualified agents to help them negotiate the best deals for everyone.

Our YouTube presence brings you loads of helpful videos to help you make sure you understand what you need to know about selling your home, as well as what VIP can do to make sure you sell it (and without paying thousands in commissions).GUARANTEED SOLD

Our strategic market plans start with developing your home’s unique, most saleable characteristics and then telling the world through our network of websites and social media outlets. Our innovative website lets us place your home in highly visible places around the web, from CraigsList to Google; from Backpage to the New York Times. If there’s a way for us to get your listing out there online, we know it. And we use it. What does this all boil down to? It boils down to faster, broader, and more complete exposure for your home. We work to make sure as many people see your listing as quickly as they can, because the more exposure to buyers, the more chance you have to sell and find your new home.

 

Get the message out faster and to more people with VIP Realty.

Where Do Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers Live?

July 10th, 2014

 

What’s bigger in Texas than football, and what football team could be bigger than the Dallas Cowboys? Around these parts, Cowboys, present and past, are some of the top celebrities.

And if you’ve ever wondered where many members of America’s Team live, or wanted to see them off the gridiron, a good place to start would be Southlake.

Hailed for its low crime rate (half the Texas average rate), its abundant shopping (nearly 260 retail venues), its top-tier schools (which lie within the Carroll ISD), and its upscale living, Southlake is a popular choice for many of Dallas’ current and former pro athletes. Cowboys who’ve called Southlake home include Frank Edgard Cornish IV, Tony Romo, Demarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Tony Tolbert, Jason Witten, Julius Jones, Greg Ellis, Terrence Newman, Russell Maryland, and Babe Laufenberg.

And don’t be too offended to know that even the bane of Cowboys fans everywhere, former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, has also called Southlake home.

If you’re not into football, or also just love baseball, fear not. Several past and current Texas Rangers have also lived in Southlake. Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels calls Southlake home, as have Rangers David Murphy, John Burkett, Ken Hill, and the only Rangers pitcher to ever throw a perfect game, Kenny Rogers.

Suffice to say, if you can’t get to see some of your favorites on the field, you might just spot them on the streets of Southlake.

Top 5 Master-Planned Communities In North Dallas

July 7th, 2014

 

With Downtown Dallas booming, it might be easy to overlook the oases in the city’s growing suburbs. But Dallas and its surroundings offer some of the choicest master-planned real estate in all of Texas.

GleneaglesGleneagles

Like golf? Well, then you’re in luck, because one of DFW’s premier master-planned communities also has one of the Lone Star State’s top golf courses. Considered the best country club in DFW by Avid Golfer and one of the Top 100 clubs in Texas by the Dallas Morning News, Plano’s Gleneagles features a King’s and Queen’s course, each featuring a full view of the club’s gorgeous water features. The residential communities feature more than 300 homes that feed directly into the Plano ISD. Playgrounds, jogging paths, and greenbelts are protected by a guarded gate. Prices range from the mid-$300,000s to about $1 million.

 

 

willow bend in planoWillow Bend

Also in West Plano and equally accessible to the Gleneagles Country Club is the much larger (but still stellar) Willow Bend. This community contains more than 1,700 homes dating from 1979. Most homes at Willow Bend sit on about an acre and all residents can access the playground, bike paths, pond, and nature walks within this gated and guarded neighborhood. Homes range from the mid-$300,000s to more than $1.1 million.

 

 

Lakeside On Preston

Of course, if you want to live in Plano and not worry about the golf courses or the gates, your best bet for a top master-planned community is probably Lakeside On Preston. This luxury community features more than 500 homes, plus several amenities: A community club house and swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a private 15-acre park with fishing lakes, greenbelts, bike paths, and a playground. Home prices at Lakeside range between the mid-$400,000s and $2.4 million and the community is served by the Plano ISD.

 

 

Highland Shores

In beautiful northwest Highland Village, nestled on south shore of Lake Lewisville, sits Highland Shores, a 1,600-home master-planned community served by the impressive (and growing) Lewisville ISD. Built mainly between 1985 and 2007, Highland Shores is one of the rare master-planned communities that can equally serve emerging families and upper-scale residents. Homes here range from the higher-$100,000s to $1.2 million.

 

 

 

CastlewoodCastlewood

Also located in northwest Highland Village near Lake Lewisville is the cozy, younger master-planned village of Castlewood. Castlewood’s first homes were erected in 1997 and there are fewer than 350 on the site. But those lucky few residents get to  enjoy a community club house and swimming pool, tennis courts, parks, greenbelt, jogging paths, and a children’s playground. Homes range from about $300,000 to the mid-$500,000s.

 

Top 5 Master Planned Communities around Fort Worth

July 4th, 2014

In rugged Fort Worth, where some say the true West begins, there is still plenty of high-end living. Fort Worth, in fact, offers some of the finest master-planned communities in the whole state, much less North Texas.

 

Heritage

Perhaps the most indicative of the fusion of living large and the Frontier spirit is Heritage, a 2,300-acre master-planned community that was once part of the Chisholm Trail. Popular among families with younger children, Heritage lets residents live large through amenities like the 10-acre Amenity Center, which features seven pools, three playgrounds, courts, a 5,000-square-foot rec center, and a web of hiking trails. Heritage was also the first fiber-optic-wired community in the Metroplex.

 

Creekwood

Creekwood is part of the massive Alliance, Texas, corridor of communities that spans from Denton County, through Saginaw, and into Fort Worth. This 260-acre master-planned community in Fort Worth is replete with trails on which to run, walk, or bike, multiple play areas for the kiddies, a private swim club, and 50-plus acres of open space. Key to its allure for families, Creekwood is served by the highly-touted Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, featuring Saginaw High School and the Hollenstein Career and Technology Center. New homes are still being built.

 

 

Wildwood

Another luxury-home neighborhood in Keller, just north of Fort Worth, Wildwood features nearly 130 homes and is served by the respected Keller ISD. The community features a neighborhood swimming pool, bike paths, sports courts, and a playground Homes range from the low $500,000s to about $850,000.

 

 

Hidden LakesHidden Lakes

A final stop in Keller is Hidden Lakes, located in the southeast part of the city. This is a large master-planned community that is still building and is expected to house nearly 1,850 homes when its finally done. Besides the Keller ISD, the big draw to Hidden Lakes is  Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club, which offers some of the best golf in northern Texas. Hidden Lakes itself offers a community club house and swimming pools, parks and ponds, a bike path, and a playground

VIP Launches Community Outreach Project in Carrollton

June 27th, 2014

VIP Realty - Community OutreachVIP Realty kicked off its first Community Outreach Project in style recently, with a gift of time and money at the Carrollton Friendship House of First Baptist Carrollton. On June 17,2014 VIP broker Richard Soto, broker associate and vice president Shawna King, executive assistant Heather Hopper, and senior buyer’s agent Cecilia Miranda donated $500 to the charity and volunteered to help the Friendship House arrange its donated clothing and sort donations for its food pantry.

The Friendship House provides food, clothing, and small household items to people needing assistance. The majority of its food items are purchased through the North Texas Food Bank, and VIP’s donation allows the Friendship House to help feed hungry members of the community.

The timing of the donation, coinciding with the beginning of summer, allowed the volunteers to help at a time of year when donations to the Friendship House typically slow down.

Timing aside, the point was to give back and help a valuable community resource.

VIP Realty

“It’s simple,” said Soto. “Our philosophy in our business is based on helping people. And that doesn’t just mean helping them find or sell their homes, it means getting out there in the community, giving back to the people of North Texas, and helping those who need a leg up sometimes. You can’t be a positive member of the community by just sitting behind a desk or talking on the phone.”

Soto called the donation “a successful and inspirational event.”

Best Private Schools in Fort Worth

June 23rd, 2014

 

 

Where to send the kids to school is a major part of the decision to move. But if private schooling is an option, you can rest easy if you decide to live in the Fort Worth area. Fort Worth is home to many great private schools, including these upper-echelon academies:

Fort Worth County Day

When it comes to independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory schools, none in the entire DFW Metroplex gets more acclaim than Fort Worth Country Day School. The school serves K-12 students in its Lower, Middle, an Upper Schools. FWCD’s mission is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of its students. The students are put through a rigorous academic curriculum that includes mentoring by older students for younger students. The college prep program mimics college life, with a concentration on the arts and athletics.

 

Fort Worth Christian

Fort Worth Christian School, in North Richland Hills, serves students from preschool through grade 12. The school marries its college-prep curriculum with several advanced-placement and dual-enrollment courses and boasts that 100 percent of its graduates pursue higher education (and earn up to $2 million in scholarships in the process). All grades study Bible classes, but the school also combines its Christian missions with a hefty nod to mathematics, science, and technology. Students often make field trips to NASA, near Houston. In 2010, former president George W. Bush spoke to the students.

 

 

Oakridge

If you’re looking for a private school without the religious aspect near Fort Worth, Arlington’s Oakridge School is notable for its high academic standards and focus on the arts throughout its pre-K-12 program. The school’s policy is to admit “good fit” students who will excel in its programs and pursue higher education. The school offers a visitor exchange program with several nations in Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. Oakridge is also a major sports school and has turned out numerous professional soccer players, such as Bruno Guarda and Andre Akpan.

Money-saving Tips for New (and Maybe Not So New) Homeowners

June 20th, 2014

 

Recession or not, well-off or not, everyone loves saving money around the house. The added bonus is that many means of saving money in your home are great for the environment as well. So read on, save up, and manage to stay cool this summer.

Insulate

You know how keeping your hat on in the winter keeps the rest of your body warmer? Houses work the same way. Attics are where most heating and air conditioning go to waste, so make sure you bundle up on the insulation. There should be at least six inches of insulation around the attic to keep extreme temperatures out and away from your living areas. Also make sure to insulate your water heater. A water heater blanket will keep the tank water’s temperature from dropping too rapidly, meaning the heater has to work less to keep water hot. Insulate the pipes too, to protect them from freezing and to keep the cool from seeping in and lowering the water temperature.

Temperature

Start by lowering your thermostat two degrees. You won’t notice much difference except in your energy bill, which will add up. Installing ceiling fans can also lower your heating and cooling bills by circulating enough air to allow you to keep the thermostat lowered (or raised) a few degrees. Just remember to switch the directions in different seasons. Fans should blow down in summer and up in winter to best circulate temperate air. Speaking of thermostats, install a programmable thermostat that lets you schedule automatic increases and decreases while you’re not home.

Clean Vents

Clean out your vents and make sure your air filters are clean or new. The more choked with dust and grit vents and filters are, the harder they have to work to make your home temperate. The savings of energy and money will add up quickly.

Go Old-school

Odds are, your mother or grandmother washed clothes in a washing machine and then hung them out to dry on a clothesline. This old-school method of drying clothes still works, and using an outdoor line can save you big on energy bills. Even if you only hang certain items, like cotton shirts and underwear, the savings can be dramatic. After all, if you only hung half your clothes, you’d run your dryer only half as much.

 

Electrical

Energy-efficient bulbs are no mere pipe dream. They really do save money and energy, and they last a whole lot longer than incandescent bulbs. When it comes to appliances, try to find those with higher energy efficiency ratings. Air conditioners, for example, should be rated 9 or higher to get the most efficient cooling possible. And try to remember to turn off lights and appliances when you’re done with them. Lots of energy and money get wasted when the lights are on and no one’s home.

Best Private Schools in Dallas

June 19th, 2014

 

Choosing the right school district is a big factor in your decision to move. But if private school is in the budget, the Dallas area offers some of the finest private schools in the state. Before you move specifically for a school district, consider these elite academies of learning.

Cistercian Prep

Cistercian Preparatory School is a Roman Catholic boys school just outside Dallas, in Irving, that serves grades 5-12.   Each grade is assigned a priest or a dedicated teacher as a “form master,” who follows the class over the years and is responsible for helping the students become members of the community outside. Though the school does not accept girls, it is considered one of the top private schools in the Metroplex. It is especially noted for its broad athletics program and its vaunted literary and art magazine, Reflections, which is conceived, written, and laid out by student editors and staff. From 2005 to 2011, Reflections won the Columbia Scholastic Press Gold Crown Award, which only the top 8-14 magazines in the nation win.

 


St. Marks

The St. Mark’s School is a nonsectarian preparatory day school serving grades 1-12. Like Cistercian, St. Mark’s is a all-boys school with a reputation for turning out a bevy of successful athletes, entrepreneurs, and artists. In its many incarnations over the years (the original school founded in 1906 grew and eventually merged with Texas Country Day School to become St. Mark’s School of Texas in 1953), the school has educated the likes of H. Ross Perot, musician Steve Miller, actor Tommy Lee Jones, and composer Stephen Scott Arnold. In addition to its highly regarded academic program, the school’s extracurricular activities have garnered awards like the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown in 2013 (the highest award given by the to scholastic journals). There’s also a state-best photography program that was recognized by the Association of Texas Photography Instructors for seven consecutive years (2007–2013).

 
Greenhill

Greenhill School is a nondenominational co-ed day school just north of Dallas, in Addison. Greenhill offers pre-K-12 learning and features 15 advanced placement courses in its Upper School. Its Class of 2008 had 21 commended finalists for National Merit scholarships, and 10 actual finalists for the scholarship, as did Cistercian and St. Mark’s. In addition to academics, students are required to complete 48 hours of community service for graduation. Like Cistercian and St. Mark’s, Greenhill has turned out its share of successful graduates, including two members of the Dixie Chicks, Oscar winner Ronald Judkins, and ESPN’s Jared Sandler.

Home Prices Up, Foreclosures Down in Dallas

June 17th, 2014

With the Great Recession easing further in the rearview mirror, the Dallas Business Journal recently found two bits of great news for the Dallas home market ‒‒ home sale prices are higher than ever, and foreclosures are way down.

According to the DBJ, Dallas’ home prices have hit a record 134.51 on the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report. On top of that, the city’s home prices have risen 10 percent year-over-year.

Part of the reason for the higher home sales prices is a tight inventory in Dallas. This has created eager competition among buyers, who, according to the DBJ, are increasingly paying above asking prices and moving in quickly. Nationally, homebuyers have turned toward paying cash for homes in an effort to secure a place to live, rather than chance a mortgage that could go awry if the economy melts down again. Likewise, certain markets, such as Dallas, are seeing buyers looking to move fast, shore up a home, and get on with their lives, perhaps motivated by the same desire for housing security.

However, in addition to the tight housing market, the cost of new homes is rising along with prices for building materials and a shortage of subcontractors in DFW. Still, Dallas in one of only two markets in the U.S. (Denver is the other) that have higher indices this year than last.

With the good news about the soaring seller’s market in Dallas comes the equally welcome news that foreclosure rates are way down in the city and its suburbs, according to real estate tracking firm CoreLogic. Dallas/Plano/Irving recorded fewer than 6,800 foreclosures in 2013, down from the more than 10,000 it recorded in 2012. According to the firm, the inventory of homes in foreclosure and serious delinquency status are back to 2008 levels. These numbers are still higher than most in the industry would like them to be, but the fact that foreclosure rates keep declining ins a healthy sign for the booming Dallas market.

Victory Park is Making a Comeback

June 13th, 2014

Victory Park, developed by Ross Perot, Jr., son of the billionaire who might have once been the President, took off more than a decade ago when Perot, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, envisioned an “urban lifestyle destination” hub of residential, business, and amenity spaces in which to build a home for his basketball team. Then interest in the area waned as the Recession set in and Victory Park took some heat for being a place of high-end chain stores, Vegas-sized video screens that pumped bright images toward condo towers, and overly expensive restaurants. Moreover, the park was cut off from the rest of the city by a pair of freeways and was not walk-friendly.

But the with Recession fast becoming a bad dream, Victory Park, just off the Arts District and Uptown, is making a comeback. Last year, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science opened to great acclaim, bringing new, bright eyes to that part of the city. Access to and from the arena and the shopping/dining neighborhoods in Victory park have expanded, and new construction is furthering the evolution of a walkable, livable urban oasis.

Today, Victory Park has more than 1,000 residences and 620,000 square feet of office space. The Katy Trail, one of Dallas’ prettiest and most famous park trails, starts in Victory Park (just across from American Airlines Center) and can  lead residents from Victory Park straight into Uptown, Highland Park, or SMU, if they care to walk that far.

And it seems people like this mix. Activity to buy condo space in Victory Park has grown as Uptown continues to boom and the area surrounding Victory Park Expands. Also, the Trinity Rail Express, which connects Victory Park to other parts of Dallas and Fort Worth, has begun service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

There are many exciting things in store for Victory Park as well. Developers are taking steps to transform the district into an inviting, vibrant, pedestrian friendly, sustainable and neighborhood, connecting Uptown to the Design District.

Victory Park is also growing again thanks to several key initiatives including additional retail outlets, new restaurants, and expanded entertainment and office space. Victory Park Lane redevelopment, to make it easier to get in and out of the arena, is also on tap and North Houston Street and Victory Avenue are to be converted to two way-traffic. Enhanced sidewalks, storefronts, graphics, and landscaping will make walking around Victory Park more enjoyable and improved signage will help residents and visitors find their way around more easily.

In short, if you had written off Victory Park, you’d better take another look.