McKinney TX Real Estate

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hot on the Market! 1805 Lafayette Plano TX 75075** $230,000**Call 972-396-9100

MAPSCO: Plano 658.T
Style: Contemporary/traditional
Living Area: 2,639 Sq. Ft.
Description: 3/2.5/2/3LA
Schools: Shepard/Wilson/Vines/PSHS
Lot Size: Approx. 48 x 101
LR: 26 x 12
DR: Living and dining open
Kit: 17 x 10
Brk: 5.4 x 7.8
Den: 10 x 13
Game: 17 x 12
BR#1: 14 x 12
BR#2: 12 x 13
BR#3: 12 x 10
Gameroom/Large Study

Prestigious neighborhood in West Plano on a quiet street. Craftsmanship, luxury and quality.

Open and bright two-story floor plan with many upgrades. Excellent condition.
Zero-lot line custom home (front, back and one side yard).

Great location. Easy access to Central Expwy.(I-75), President George Bush Turnpike & Collin Creek Mall.
David Weekly home in a planned neighborhood with greenbelts throughout. Quiet, safe neighborhood with two entries and curved streets. Park Bridge Homeowners’ Association (approx. 160 homes) and Neighborhood Watch Program. Award-winning schools.

General Features:
Unique, open layout with no enclosed hallways. High ceilings throughout. Two walk-in floored attics.
Downstairs master suite. Built-in Nutone central vacuum system with 4 wall inlets and accessories.
Trane zoned heat (2 units) / air (2 units) up and downstairs. Wired for Verizon FIOS high speed Internet.
Phone and cable connections in most rooms. Custom-built home with one previous owner, no pets or children. Anderson hardwood floors and matching cabinetry.

Recent Upgrades:
Central zoned Trane 60 energy-efficient furnaces (2) with warranties; permanent filters (2004-$2,800; 2005-$3,100). Central zoned air condenser 4-ton American Standard (2002-$2,260).
Roof: Elk asphalt shingles; 3 wind turbines; 30-year warranty (2003-$4,200).
Tile floors in bathroom, utility room and pantry (2008). Stained concrete two-level patio (2000-$5,400).
8-ft. stained & sealed privacy fence: Cedar board-on-board; steel posts; side & back yards (2000- $5,000).

Exterior Overview:
BV siding and red brick. Brick mailbox. French drain on side yard. Galvanized steel gutters. Underground utilities. Covered, two-story brick lighted front porch. Beveled, leaded glass entry door. 3-zone auto yard sprinkler system. Custom landscaping with year-around GroGreen professional maintenance (trees, shrubs, lawn. 8-ft stained cedar fence with steel posts and two gates. Termite detection system with 29 maintained stations by Home Pest Defense (2001-$1,300). Stained concrete, two level patio (2000-$5,400) and sidewalk from patio to back gate.

Garage: Alley-entry, storage and 2-car capacity. Phone jack. Lift-Master auto garage door and openers.
Driveway dual motion sensor flood lights.

Interior Overview:
Security Ranger American 4-zone alarm system. Extra energy-conserving insulation throughout.
Recessed lighting. 3 ceiling fans. Hunter Douglas Duette energy-efficient, honeycomb, horizontal blinds throughout.
Open stairway with two-way landing. Smoke detectors. Ivory Berber carpet in master suite and upstairs.
Trane variable speed, energy-saving heating & air systems. Walk-in attic with full flooring over the garage.
Second attic with folding stairs. Double-pane low-E glass windows. Fresh, neutral paint. Custom drapes.

Front entryway: Chandelier in two-story arched interior doorway. Coat closet. T-shaped stairway to upstairs. Under-stair storage closet.

Formal living and dining area: Open and bright with soaring 2-floor ceiling over dining room.
Anderson hardwood floors. Lighting on dimmers. Deep double-crown molding and picture frame molding on walls.
Built-in dry bar/cabinet and shelves in living room.

Guest half-bath: Tile floor (2008). Beveled, custom mirror.

Family room: (Open to kitchen) Fireplace trimmed with marble and 6-ft mantle. Gas logs or wood-burning fireplace. Ceiling fan with lights. Paned glass door opens to patio and side & back yards. 8 x 3 ft. beveled wall mirror.
Screened windows. Solar control, thermo safe, tinted windows for 98% UV elimination (family room and kitchen).

Kitchen: Black GE appliances: Modular downdraft electric stove with grill. Built-in wine rack. Pantry.
Built-in microwave, dishwasher and self-cleaning electric oven. In-sink-erator food disposal (2007).
New kitchen sink faucets and instant hot water dispenser (2007-$340). Two-door matching refrigerator for sale (optional).
Hardwood floor and matching cabinets. White ceramic tile backsplash and counter tops.
Spotlight and chandelier lighting on dimmer. Breakfast area with bay screened windows and built-in seating.

Utility room & large storage closet:
(First floor) Tile floor (2008). Cabinets above washer/dryer. Sound insulation. Door to two-car garage. Gas and electric dryer connections.

Master suite: (First floor)
Bedroom: Ceiling fan with lights. Crown molding. Large walk-in closet with shelving. Double door entry to bathroom.
Large bathroom: Oversized Jacuzzi whirlpool bath tub and wall mirror. Large skylight. Custom full-wall shelves and storage with white cabinet doors. Glass-enclosed shower (new pan & tile 2007). Double sinks with white ceramic tile vanity counter. Separate toilet area with door and built-in magazine rack.

Game room or large study: (Upstairs) Open to first floor. Ceiling fan. Ivory berber carpet (throughout upstairs).
Two walk-in doors to large floored attic.

2nd bedroom: (Upstairs) Raised ceiling. Display shelving on two walls. Large windows with honeycomb blinds plus blackout pull-down shades. Hallway linen closet.

3rd bedroom: (Upstairs) Unique, open catwalk to the bedroom. Double-door closet. Separate cedar closet.
Display shelving installed on two walls. Fresh neutral paint.

Full bath: (Upstairs) Textured & neutral painted walls (2008). Two sinks and bathtub with shower.
White ceramic tile on vanity counter.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Pre-Listing Inspection

Tips on How to Sell Your Home FAST for the BEST PRICE

Most Realtors and Home Sellers will tell you that a detailed home inspection is the responsibility of the Home Buyer to have done prior to closing. We would like to offer another point of view on this subject. One that may help you sell your home a little faster and help ensure your home closes.

In today’s housing market, homes are not selling as quickly as before. You need every tool available to ensure your home sells and closes. So, how can a pre-listing inspection help? We believe there are 3 ways a pre-listing inspection can help which we have listed below.

Create confidence and trust for potential home buyers. When a home buyer knows of potential problems ahead of time, they are more likely to feel comfortable with the purchase and prepare themselves for the repairs. They are going to find out later anyway and deals have a tendency to fall apart when problems are discovered at the last moment.

Knowing about problems ahead of time allow the home seller to budget for repairs. Imagine receiving a contract on your home, getting excited about moving and then find out you have to come up with a thousand dollars to replace a few windows just days before closing. If you can’t get it fixed in time, the closing could be delayed or worse, buyer’s remorse could set in and the buyer cuts and runs. If you know ahead of time, you can have the money set aside or be able to adjust the listing price ahead of time to be able to come down on the sales price as part of negotiations.

Market your home as “Certified Pre-Owned”. Okay, so this may sound funny but Steve Rodriguez with Realty Times made a good point in his recent article.

“Pre-listing inspections allow agents to market homes as “Certified Pre-Owned;” and homebuyers, like those purchasing new cars, are willing to spend more money on properties that have been professionally inspected.”Source: Realty Times, Steve Rodriguez (12/27/07)

It makes a lot of sense to spend the few hundred dollars on a Home Inspection prior to listing your home. The benefits are real and can help reduce the stress level during the negotiation when everyone is already on the same page. Please let us know if you have questions about home inspections and what your responsibilities as a home seller are.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Valentine's Day in McKinney - Where to go to Wine 'n Dine YOUR Sweetie!

This week men in McKinney will inevitably go into a frenzy as Valentine's Day approaches and they realize that plans need to be made, and QUICK! But where should you go to make a big impression? You could always make a romantic candlelit dinner in the comfort of your own home, but if you're not so hot in the kitchen then McKinney offers some really romantic choices without the hassle of going south to Dallas or Plano.

Here are some of the most romantic spots that McKinney has to offer! Make sure you leave us a comment and let us hear about your favorite place!:

1. Goodhues Wood Fire Grill - Rated as one of the best restaurants by D Magazine! Get your reservations early! GREAT atmosphere - GREAT food!
2. Poppy's - AWESOME outdoor cafe with live music! Their website says they have a special Valentines Dinner with live music by Sean Holden. Half price wine on Wednesdays! A definite winner!
3. La Misha - This place drips with sexiness! From their website : "Let Valentine's dinner at La Misha rekindle that special spark with luminous candlelight and the romantic sounds of a live cello player. Enjoy a four-course dinner, complemented with a bottle of Prosecco champagne, and ending with a chocolate dip strawberry. A rose for each couple. February 14, 15, 16 For reservations, call 469-361-1400 $45 per guest for lunch, $65 per guest for dinner plus service charge"
4. Rick's Chophouse - at the new Grand Hotel and Ballroom on the historic McKinney Square! Recently renovated. Totally romantic.
5. The Pantry Restaurant - From their website: "We have carefully chosen foods and spirits known to play on your romantic tryst. Please join us for this exciting event where 5 courses of food and wines are paired together in a celebration of passion. Ambiance and Romantic atmosphere is created by using scents, sounds and taste. Make your reservation today to be sure you don't miss out on any of this divine evening! Plan on celebrating this romantic evening with your loved one. Special menu prepared by chef Kate Montgomery. Contact Landon Winery to make reservations. 972-542-3030"
6. Landon Winery - See above for information about the Winemaker's Dinner, catered by The Pantry Restaurant. This award winning winery has a totally unique and sultry, cozy atmosphere! I'd be surprised if they aren't booked up already! Hurry, guys! Hurry!
7. Zin Zen Wine Bistro - A totally unique wine bistro located in the new Adriatica Croatian Village in Stonebridge Ranch. Cuddle up with your sweetie and a bottle of one of their many wines.
8. Mama Emilia's Italian Restaurant - A favorite Italian restaurant located on McKinney's Downtown Square. White tablecloths, great food and drink and romantic atmosphere!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

50 Free & Fun Things To Do And See In Dallas!

Looking for something to do?

Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive
A growing number of bronze, larger-than-life-size steers and their cowboy escorts moo've along Pioneer Plaza - adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center. This bronze cattle drive is located on the actual Shawnee Trail drive of the 1850s - and is the largest bronze monument of its kind in the world.
Downtown, Young & Griffin Streets

Outdoor Sculpture Tour
Discover over 30 distinctive sculptures on the sidewalks of Downtown. Along with pieces from the 19th century, there are contemporary works, including a painter capturing magnificent Dallas on canvas - Can you find him?

Art Garden
Enjoy the Sculpture Garden at the base of the statuesque Trammell Crow Center in Downtown. More than 20 statues from the French masters, including Rodin, reside in this peaceful setting with cascading waters and beautiful gardens.
Free/Donations AcceptedTues. - Sun. 10 am - 5 pmThurs. 10 am - 9 pm
Downtown, 2010 Flora Street, 214-979-6430

Uptown and West Village
Dallas' popular Uptown District is exploding with new residential and retail centers with a variety of elements coming together for a shopping, dining, and entertainment experience that will appeal to all types of tastes. The West Village focal point is the new Magnolia Theater that supports independent film and arts.
Uptown, McKinney Avenue and Routh Street, 214-922-9622

Mustangs Sculpture in Las Colinas
Nine mustangs, bronze, beautiful and larger-than-life, splash their way across a stream cut through the stone and granite plaza of Williams Square. Stroll across the plaza and visit the Mustangs of Las Colinas Sculpture & Exhibit, which includes an informative 20 minute film about mustangs and the making of this breathtaking sculpture.
Exhibit Center Open: Tues. - Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
In nearby Irving, O'Connor Road, North of Highway 114, 972-869-9047

Tour the Morton H. Meyerson
The acoustically renowned Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, designed by I.M. Pei, is yours to tour on selected Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. (please call in advance for monthly tour schedule as tours are subject to change with rehearsals and performances) Discover the 4,535 pipes on the Herman W. Lay Family Organ - this $1.36 million organ, crafted by C.B. Fisk Inc., is truly an acoustical wonder!Enthusiastic and experienced volunteer docents are available to welcome visitors, school groups, conventions, families, and others for a one-hour tour detailing points of interest throughout the Meyerson. Once a month, schedule permitting, a thirty-minute organ demonstration of the Lay Family Concert Organ is presented, followed by a tour of the Center.
Free one hour tours at 1 pm. Events hosted at the center are by admission only.
Downtown, 2301 Flora Street, 214-670-3600

Dallas Central Library
Read all about it at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. This public library includes one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, printed in 1776 - also on permanent display, is William Shakespeare's First Folio of Comedies, Histories & Tragedies. The library's Children Center is one of the largest in the country.
Mon. - Thurs. 9 am - 9 pmFri. - Sat 9 am - 5 pmSun. 9 am - 1 pm
Downtown, 1515 Young Street, 214-670-1700

Spanish Art at the Meadows Museum
The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University has the most comprehensive collection from the Spanish masters outside of Spain. There are also special exhibitions, a sculpture garden, and the tree-lined SMU campus is an eye-catcher itself. Call about special exhibits.Free on Thursdays after 5 p.m.
Wed. - Fri. 11 am - 8 pmSat. - Sun. 11 am - 5 pm
5900 Bishop Blvd, 214-768-2516

Mary Kay Cosmetics
Take a walk through history and experience a dream that began more than three decades ago - when Mary Kay set out to build a company that would give women unlimited opportunities to achieve success in every aspect of their lives. During your visit, you'll relive the rich heritage of our Company and see how it progressed from a tiny storefront to the amazing success that it is today. Celebrate each step in the fulfillment of one woman's dream and the marvelous achievements of women who believe in it.
Hours of operation: Monday - Friday 9am-4:30 pmReservations required.
16251 N. Dallas Parkway, 972-687-5720

Location, Location, Location
Dallas is home to some scenic and captivating, beautiful and breathtaking neighborhood communities. Walk, ride or drive around Turtle Creek and adjoining Highland Park, and don't miss the historic homes of Swiss Avenue (including the Wilson Block Historic District), Munger Place and other lovely locales! Featured: gorgeous parks, lakes and landscapes. Ask a native!

Inner-City Refuge
Dallas features more than 20,000 park acres including 18 lakes with 4,400 surface acres of water at 17 park sites and 17,196 acres of greenbelt/park land. To learn more about the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, call 214-670-4100 and be sure to ask about .The Ultimate Adventure. - a free booklet highlighting the details of all the leisure and recreational services Dallas offers.

Giving Thanks
Thanks-Giving Square - private, interfaith and educational - welcomes people of all nations, cultures and religious traditions. A unique chapel and museum honoring Thanksgiving - meditation garden, bells and fountains make this the "Home of American Thanksgiving."
Open: Mon. - Fri. 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed Christmas and New Years Day.
Downtown, Pacific, Bryan and Ervay Streets, 214-969-1977

Old - Fashioned Country Kitchen
Visit Spring Creek Farm and see how the famous Owens Country Sausage began, as you tour a museum featuring a fully equipped kitchen, workshop, butchery and country store with articles and replicas dating back to the early 1900s. Outdoors, see Belgian draft horses, miniature ponies and other animals. Self guided tours daily - guided tours for groups of eight or more by reservation only.Mon. - Fri. 9 am - 3 pmReservations requested in advance.
1401 East Lookout Drive at Plano Road, 972-235-0192

Free Admission Museums
The eight museums of Fair Park offer an exceptional variety all in one location near Downtown. Admission is charged at some but quite a few are Free! Donations are accepted. Those that offer free admission:

The African American Museum (exception - special exhibitions) 214-565-9026. Tues. - Fri. noon - 5 pmSat. 10 am - 5 pmSun. 1 pm - 5 pm
The Hall of State (exception - special exhibitions) 214-421-4500.Mon - Sat 9 am - 5 pmSun 1 pm - 5 pm

City Hall of Fame
Dallas' City Hall is a site to see. Famed architect I.M. Pei designed the inverted wedge shaped building, one of the most distinctive structures in all of Dallas. The plaza is home to one of Henry Moore's largest bronze sculptures.
Downtown, 1500 Marilla Street, 214-670-3687

1A Retail Renaissance
The looking is free, but with more shopping centers per capita than any other major U.S. city, the buying may be hard to resist! Visit many of the cities fine centers and stores such as the renowned Galleria, modeled after Milan's fashion forward masterpiece; NorthPark Center, where you will enjoy over 235 world-class specialty stores; and Highland Park Village, the first planned shopping center in the United States.

Allen Premium Outlets 972-678-7000
Galleria 972-702-7100
Grapevine Mills 972-724-4900
Highland Park Village 214-521-0050
Irving Mall 972-255-0571
NorthPark Center 214-363-7441
Stonebriar Center 972-668-6255
Town East Mall 972-270-2363
Valley View Center 972-661-2424
Vista Ridge Mall 972-315-3641

Dallas Tourist Information Center
Relive the city's past with a visit to the Old Red Courthouse, site of the Dallas Tourist Information Center in the Downtown Historic District. The Center features touch screen information stations, Internet access stations, viewing room to see Dallas videos, and a full staff available every day of the week. Just around the corner you will find John Neely Bryan's Cabin, reconstructed home of Dallas. founder - just a stroll away, is the popular West End, Dealey Plaza and the DART Light Rail.
The Downtown Historic District is located in the block enclosed by Market, Elm, Commerce and Houston Streets, 24-Hour Hotline 214-571-1301

A Nation Remembers JFK
Dallas pays homage to one of its darkest times, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during his 1963 visit. Designed by Kennedy family friend, Philip Johnson, the John F. Kennedy Memorial is an open-roofed, concrete walled monument symbolic of an open tomb. It is not unusual to find flowers and notes placed here. Nearby, the infamous School Book Depository and Grassy Knoll have changed little since that devastating day in our Nation's history.
Downtown, Main and Houston Streets

Sail Away
Take to the water and leave your worries in your wake. Dallas offers many area lakes - 63 within a 100-mile radius. Dallas' largest and most popular lakes offer endless recreational opportunities including fishing, sailing and canoeing, trails for hiking and biking, playgrounds and facilities for picnicking.
(Some parks charge a small entrance fee.) 214-670-4100

Deep Ellum
Of Dallas' many different parts, possibly none is quite so intriguing as Deep Ellum. This former industrial neighborhood and cradle of Dallas' jazz scene is now home to much of the city's avant-garde culture. Discover an eclectic variety of restaurants, nightclubs, galleries and shops.
Just east of Downtown, 214-747-DEEP

M-Line All Around
The historic M-Line Streetcar meets the modern new M-Line Trolley Bus to create the M-Line service. Ride the streetcar down McKinney Avenue connecting to the Trolley Bus to St. Paul and Ross, within walking distance of the Dallas Museum of Art. Ride down Main Street to the famous West End to have lunch, shop, or just browse the shops. Whatever your interest maybe the M-Line can get you there for free!Donations AcceptedMon - Fri 7 am - 10 pmSat - Sun 10 am - 10 pm
Service 7 days a week. Call for schedule, 214-855-0006

Arts District Stroll
Take a one-hour guided walking tour of the Dallas Arts District where trained docents lead you through the largest arts area in the country. First Saturday each month. Meet at the Crow Collection of Asian Art. 10:30 a. m. Please R.S.V.P.
Arts District Friends 2010 Flora Street, 214-953-1977

Farmers Branch Historical Park
The Farmers Branch Historical Park is home to several historic structures that range in time from the 1840's to the 1940's. Structures include log cabins, the oldest stone structure on its original foundation in North Texas, and a 1930's gas station. Tours free, interactive programs available. Mon - Fri 8 am - 6 pmSat - Sun 12 pm - 6 pm
Call 972-406-0184 for information.

West End Story
What once was a warehouse and an old candy and cracker factory has been reborn into a tourist's delight. Downtown's West End Historic District, great for browsers, features over 50 specialty shops at the West End MarketPlace plus a variety of restaurants and clubs. Summertime nights in the MarketPlace are often filled with the sound of free concerts.
Downtown/Market and Munger Streets: 214-748-4801
West End Association Event Hotline: 214-741-7185

Observation Station
From the observation area known as Founders Plaza at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, you'll see some of the 2,300 daily takeoffs and landings from one of the world's busiest airports. Witness winged wonders in this area featuring 20 parking spaces, long-distance binoculars, graph board to help you identify the different aircraft, speaker system featuring audio straight from the Control Tower, plus four picnic areas.
Open daily - 6:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
2829 30th St. (Carbon Road) at DFW International Airport, 972-574-6000

Super Model Train
The U.S.' largest permanent model train display is in Dallas, and happily, it.s in the lobby of Children's Medical Center of Dallas. Eight trains run simultaneously at this free exhibit. Children's Medical Center has a small fee for parking.
1935 Motor Street, between Stemmons Frwy. and Harry Hines Blvd., 214-640-2000

Fantasy Landing
A unique and special highlight of the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department is Fantasy Landing, Dallas' first public playground where able-bodied children and those with disabilities can play together. The playground features customized ramps, tennis courts and pull tunnels with bars for children in wheelchairs. Brightly-colored brick paths help visually impaired children find their way through the play area.
Kiest Park in Oak Cliff, 214-939-2746

Dallas Farmers Market
Seven days a week from 7 a.m.- 6 p.m. (with the exception of special holidays), local farmers display and sell a mouth watering and eye pleasing selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and floral plants at the Dallas Farmers Market. A perfect place to leisurely stroll and take in the colorful, glorious sights at this open-air market.Open Daily 7 am - 6 pm
1010 South Pearl Street, 214-939-2808

Sports Connection
With teams in every major sports league, Dallas loves its hometown sports, and many Dallas Cowboys football, Texas Rangers baseball, Dallas Mavericks basketball, Dallas Stars hockey and Dallas Burn soccer games are televised. So cheer on your winning team at home, hotel or at one of Dallas' many Sports Bars.

Game Information:
Dallas Cowboys 972-785-5000
Dallas Stars 214-467-8277
Dallas Mavericks 214-747-6287
Texas Rangers 817-273-5100
FC Dallas 214-979-0303
Dallas Desperados 972-785-4900

Celebrate Good Times
Numerous festivals and parades are held each year in the great Dallas outdoors, and a good many are absolutely free. Many are holiday related, and nearly all have food, music, art and/or live entertainment. Use entertainment publications as your guide. (See "Want More")
Call the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau's 24-Hour Special Events Hotline at 214-571-1301, or visit Dallas on the World Wide Web at:

Outdoor Activities
Hiking, biking, walking or running - Dallas offers happy trails for you. The Dallas Parks & Recreation Department maintains a number of bike/hike trails such as the 9.33 mile trail at White Rock Lake, 8300 Garland Rd, which connects with the 7.3 mile trail at White Rock Creek Park.
Call 214-670-4100 to locate a trail or 214-670-4039 for bike route maps.

Dallas Symphony Summer Concerts
Dallas' outdoors beckons lovers of nature and music. During the Spring and early Summer months, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performs in area parks and you can also hear "Jazz under the Stars" at the Dallas Museum of Art on Thursday evenings.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra: 214-692-0203
Dallas Museum of Art: 214-922-1200

Freedman's Cemetery Memorial
Located less than one mile north of Downtown Dallas, is Freedman's Cemetery, a pre-Civil War African-American burial ground in what was once the Freedman's Town Area - a small Dallas community formed by Blacks freed from slavery in the mid-1860s. This historic and state landmark memorial features larger-than-life-size figures cast in bronze by African American artist, David Newton.
North Central Expressway between Lemmon Avenue and Hall Street, 214-670-3284

Fountain Place
Waters dance and leap skyward at Downtown's Fountain Place. At the base of this dramatically sculpted 1.2 million sq. ft. office tower of green reflective glass lies an oasis of colorful flowers, waterfalls, 172 bubbler fountains and central fountain. The latter is one of the world's most complex and consists of 360 computer driven water jets. Designed by the acclaimed architectural firm of I.M. Pei & Partners, Fountain Place has received international recognition.
Downtown, 1445 Ross Avenue at Field Street, 214-855-7766

Hands On
Named after one of the foremost hand surgeons in the world, The Adrian E. Flatt, M.D. Hand Exhibit is an extraordinary private collection of over 100 cast, bronze-coated hands. The contrast of sizes, and sense of personal capability, when simply viewing life-size hands is intriguing. Personalities include: Katherine Hepburn, Walt Disney, Louis Armstrong and Winston Churchill - to name a few.Mon - Fri 8 am - 9 pm
Baylor University Medical Center - Truett Building - 1st floor
3500 Gaston Ave., 214-820-6684

Retail Tale
Discover how Dallas' outstanding shopping reputation began with the opening of Neiman Marcus in the early 1900's. Over 95 years later, the Flagship Neiman Marcus in Downtown Dallas remains a ready-to-wear couture legend. The Downtown Dallas store features a museum on the fifth-floor which tells the Neiman Marcus story in the highest of style.
Neiman Marcus is Open: Mon. - Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Thurs. 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.
2628 Main Street, 214-741-6911

Lower Greenville Avenue
Greenville Avenue is one of the oldest entertainment areas in Dallas and is home to many boutique and eclectic shops as well as live entertainment clubs, great bars and restaurants. Greenville Avenue has one ot the oldest bars in Dallas, the Greenville Avenue Bar & Grill, and hosts the ever popular Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Greenville Avenue between Mockingbird & Ross Avenue
Greenville Avenue Business Association 214-368-6722

Crow Collection of Asian Art
The Crow Collection of Asian Art contains more than 600 paintings, objects of metal and stone, and large architectural pieces from China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia. Over 300 works are on display in the galleries including precious jade ornaments from China, delicate Japanese scrolls and a rarely seen 28-foot by 12-foot sandstone facade of an 18th century Indian residence.
Open: Tues. - Sun. 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursdays 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
2010 Flora Street, 214-979-6430

Dallas Nature Center
To nature, that is. Just a short drive from Downtown is the Dallas Nature Center - 633 acres of preserved wilderness and mesquite prairie, with 10 miles of hiking trails, native-plant nurseries, picnic area, nature programs and visitors center. Small donation is recommended.
7171 Mountain Creek Parkway, 972-296-1955

NorthPark Center – World-Class Art Collection and 1.4 Acre CenterPark
NorthPark Center is Dallas' premier shopping and dining favorite and a not-to-be missed destination for art enthusiasts. Ad Astra, 2005, by Mark di Suvero, Corridor Pin, Blue, 1999, by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, and 20 elements, 2005, by Joel Shapiro are the newest additions to the NorthPark Center Art Collection and carry on NorthPark's tradition of showcasing major works by world-renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Jim Dine, Jonathan Borofsky, James Rosenquist and others.
NorthPark's 1.4-acre landscaped garden, CenterPark, doubles as a serene urban retreat and an exciting venue for free community events. Relax and dine amid world-class sculpture, canopies of trees and green expanses of lawn. For a schedule of events, visit
Open 10 am to 9 pm Monday-Saturday and noon to 6 pm Sunday. Department store, restaurant, theatre, spa and holiday hours vary. North Central Expressway at Northwest Highway. Complimentary shuttle to/from Park Lane DART Light Rail Station. 214-363-7441.

Dallas Galleria
It is no wonder The Guide Section of the Dallas Morning News votes the Galleria as "Best Place to People Watch" - or shall we say "Star Watch." Such well-known faces as: Janet Jackson, Oliver Stone, Kevin Costner and Tom Cruise have been seen touring the Galleria - to name a few! Ice skaters are also fun to watch on the indoor rink Olympians Tara Lipinski, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton once performed on this glimmering ice. Rink open year-round.
LBJ at Dallas Parkway North, 972-702-7164

The Art of Sports
The Sports Legacy. The Gallery of Sports Art at Ameriquest Field in nearby Arlington is the nation's largest art gallery devoted to sports and features original art, limited edition lithographs and bronze statues representing a variety of sports including baseball, basketball, fishing, hunting and soccer. Children supervised by parents are welcome.
Open: Mon. - Sun. 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and on game nights open until the game is over.
1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington, 817-461-1994

This information is from:

Monday, February 4, 2008

So, You Want to Buy a New Home?

If you are in the market for a new home anywhere in the Collin County area, you are in luck! Right now the market is best poised to favor the buyer, rather than the seller. A "Buyer's Market" for sure. Drive down any street and you're sure to see a "For Sale" sign begging you to "Stop The Car" and check out the "Immaculate" home.

But with so many homes on the market you can afford to be a little choosy, right? Heck, you may have even entertained the thought of buying a brand new home from a builder. When given the option of buying a new home that has never been lived in versus buying a pre-owned home that doesn't have exactly the interior you desire, the choice becomes clear! Nothing beats that new car, I mean, new house smell!

There are many benefits to buying a new home:
YOU pick the floorplan, possibly modifying it to fit your taste even more. Closet not big enough? Bump this wall out a foot here, 6 inches there - PERFECT!
YOU pick the finishings: flooring, paint, brick, countertops, carpet, lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, tile, cabinets, exterior elevation, etc etc.
NO ONE ELSE has ever lived there! No "skeletons in the closet" to find later.
Builder warranty - "bumper to bumper" for ~1-2 years, structural warranty up to 10 years.
YOU get to watch it being built from the ground up!
Depending on the builder, you may even recieve closing cost assistance.

Sounds GREAT, doesn't it? Who wouldn't get excited?

We've worked with MANY buyers and I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the excitement of buying/building a brand new home. Those model homes work wonders! They've got them decked out with ALL the upgrades, beautiful interiors, over-the-top gamerooms with surround sound & up-to-date 100" Plasma TV's that have the men drooling while the kitchens are decked out with lavish granite countertops, custom cabinetry & stainless appliances that the women want. Oh, and don't forget about the picturesque landscaping out front! Yes, the model homes smell great, look great & before you know it you are collecting stacks upon stacks of folders from all of the area builders you can find. Mounds of floorplans. Elevations. Feature Sheets. Buyer Incentives. Community Features. Your mind is swimming. You begin dreaming new homes. Googling new homes. STALKING new homes.

That's where WE come in. Without a third party involved it could be very easy to make some BAD decisions when it comes to creating your dream home. Here are a few pitfalls that every new home buyer should look out for:

1. The "Prices are Going up Next Month" pitch. Suddenly, you feel you must make a decision right away. The base prices will fluctuate as long as the builder is still building in the neighborhood. Don't settle for a builder that isn't offering exactly what you are looking for. Once you are locked under contract, it could be very costly or impossible to make changes to design options that you made in a hurry.

2. The "$XX,000 Buyer Incentive IF YOU USE OUR LENDER" pitch. Most every builder out there is tied in to a "preferred lender" or "in house" lender. By getting you to use their lender, the company makes money on the loan, therefore they can offer you the discount on the purchase of your home. BE CAREFUL! Many buyers see this and think "Why wouldn't I use this lender?". The answer is easy. Unless you've done your homework, the interest rate that the "preferred lender" is charging you could be MUCH higher than the competing lenders. In the long run, the $xx,000 you got knocked off the base price of the home could be less than what you end up paying over the LIFE of the loan. My advice - SHOP AROUND! Some lenders might be able to match the builders incentives.

3. Picking out a bad lot. Once you've chosen the builder, the floorplan and the options, you've also got to choose the LOT that your home will sit on. If you choose wrong, it could cost you dearly when you try to sell. Try to choose a lot that does not back to a busy street, have a funky slope, or back to commercial. Put yourself in the mind of a buyer in a few years - would YOU want to buy a house in that location? I believe spending a little extra on a lot premium is one of the best places to spend your money when building. You can always add those upgrades later, but you can't ever get a new lot!

4. Pricing yourself out of the neighborhood. What do I mean by this? Let's say the base prices of homes in the neighborhood you want to build in ranges from $150-200K. You choose a plan that costs $175K -base price before any upgrades/lot premiums. You're pumped. You're staying in your budget. You're not the biggest house in the neighborhood, and your're not the smallest. And then comes the trip to the design center. $40,000 and 2 pages of upgrades later, you are now paying $215,000 for the same house. When you go to sell this house in a few years you will be compared to all of the other floorplans like yours that cost $175K (base price). Let's say the average homeowner tacked on $15K in upgrades. This means that your competition will be able to sell the same home for $25K LESS than yours. Thus, you've priced yourself out of the neighborhood.

5. Going NUTS at the design center/showroom. This is where the builder makes most of their money. Builders have a large mark-up on their upgrades. For example, if you choose to have the builder install a garage door opener you will pay ~$400. If YOU install the opener, you can buy one at Home Depot for $150. Get the picture? You need to have someone (cough, cough) that can help you decide what is a smart upgrade decision, and what is a bad one. Do you NEED to have the entire house covered in the most expensive hardwood flooring, or could you be happy if you just got the dining room and study done now, and did the rest later? Or could you settle for a mid-grade wood? Is it a MUST that you get the top of the line appliance package now, or could that be something you upgrade in a year or two?

These are just a few of the important decisions you will need to make when it comes to buying a new home. Having a REALTOR represent you in the transaction will be the smartest decision you could make. OH...and let me just clear up another misconception about having an agent represent you in a new home transaction:

Many buyers think that if they come without an agent that the builder can cut them a deal. The fact is, that most of the commissions paid to agents are already accounted for in the builder's marketing budget. This money has already been set aside. In fact, having an agent represent you can SAVE you money, by knowing how to negotiate the BEST deal for you!

Our job is to find you the best home for the best price! If you are looking for a McKinney Realtor or Collin County Realtor, we would love to assist you in your home search!