The death knell for the paper check rang out on September 11, 200l. At that time, paper checks went by truck to central processing centers, where workers sorted and packaged them for delivery to their next destination by airplanes. On any day about 6 billion dollars is in the air. During the confusion of 9/11 attacks, the FAA grounded all planes. $47 billion was stranded in air traffic. As a result of 9/11, one that most people are unaware that it led to the passage of the Check 21 Act. The most significant change to the monetary system brought by Check 21 is its provision for banks to accept electronic images of checks in place of checks in place of the actual paper original. In 2012 a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia notes virtually no payments made between banks by paper checks anymore. CONTINUED IN NEXT BLOG
The drought may have receded in much of Texas, but if anything, worse in many areas than they were a year ago. Look at the major Interstate 35 corridor from Dallas to San Antonio and it’s pretty dire, said Dr. Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer. 65% of reservoirs were full as of Feb. 17, but the number is misleading as most of these are in EAST TX. When traveling to central part of the state, the reservoir levels are low and some lower than the year before. Cities will see continuing water-use restrictions. Agricultural interests will depend on rivers, which may see cut-backs. Lowest are in the reservoirs fed by the Rio Grande River, where Falcon Reservoir is 33.8% full. This bodes poorly for farms in south Texas.
This is compared to a year ago. The median price increased from $164,500 a year ago to $179,100. Housing inventory was at 3.1 months, with a well balanced market at 6.5%. That is more like our Tyler and East TX market. All of this from Multiple Listing Service data compiled at the Real Center at TX A&M University. In January 15,791 homes were sold, up from 15,238 January 2014. More evidence of a solid recovery in the Texas housing market!!
(5) ENHANCE THE EXTERIOR – cost range is $150 – $7,500 and potential return is about 2 to 5%. Start with basics: mow the lawn, trim overgrown shrubs, apply a fresh layer of mulch to garden beds + plus add something that is seasonal blooming in the shrub beds. Or do potted blooming plants at front door. A fresh painted front door always inviteS inside. Also if you have a deck clean it and coat with a good semi-transparent weatherproof wood stain. Same for any siding. The roof is important and must not show excessive wear or REPLACE. Has their been hail damage in your area recently? Check with your insurance. Hairline cracks in the foundation wall are usually harmless, but wider than 3/16 of an inch can be a problem. May need to pay a structural engineer to look at this and write a report. Just be AHEAD of a buyer to GET A BETTER PRICE FOR YOUR HOME.
You can spend $2200 to $6,000 on 3 new appliances in the KITCHEN, but quality lower priced ones will get the job done OK. (3) FRESHEN UP THE BATH – cost range: $300 to $1,000 with 2-3% return. The bath needs to look clean & well maintained. Caulk the tub, re-grout the tile floor, install new faucets, mirror that blends with fixtures & maybe a new toilet. Can be bought for $100 to $425. NO bouncing bathroom floors! (4) PAINT THE ROOMS – SELECTIVELY from $100 to do it yours to $1,000 for a pro – 1 to 3% return. Pick kitchen and baths 1st, then brightly colored rooms – NOT a purple bedroom. Whites & off-whites tend to attract the most buyers + grays & beiges. $300 per for a room should do it with good quality paint. CONTINUED FOR MORE NEXT TIME.
(1) CLEAN UP, CLEAR OUT. $0 to do it yourself – $2,500 for a pro, but you get could get a 3-5% return. Get rid of odors! Musty odors could mean mildew or even mold. If you have pets in the house do regular professional cleanings till the house sells. If the weather is nice, open up windows & let fresh air in, but do not overdo air fresheners or gives the impression there is an underlying problem. Let in as much outside llight as possible before showings. Replace tired old carpet with maybe tile or vinyl which is cool & modern. (2) SPRUCE UP THE KITCHEN. Cost range: $300-$5,000, but a 3-7% potential return. Do NOT spend megabucks, but fix a leaky faucet, loose light fixture, burn mark on countertop. Paint walls, update the cabinet hardware & add new curtains. CONTINUED FOR MORE NEXT TIME.
Texas was 2 of 5 states that had the highest home price appreciation between December 2013 and December 2014. After decelerating for most of the year, home price growth rate holds firm at 5-6% growth in past 4 months, according to Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. Pockets of weakness in Baltimore & D. C. Three of the 4 states with the highest price appreciation are energy intensive and have benefited from the energy boom which is currently receding as oil prices trend downward. These states – Texas, Colorado and North Dakota – may see some downward pressure on prices in 2015, BUT WE WILL SEE, WON’T WE!!
To get local home sales go to our website RealEstate@theBains.com , then look under HELPFUL TYLER AREA LINKS ( left hand side of screen), then go to GTAR MLS Residential Data for Tyler & East Texas. Statewide 8.46% more homes sold during 4th quarter of 2014, then in the same quarter 2013. This is from Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines. He also said under 4% interest rates have helped. Now fewer homes on the market and prices will begin to slowly rise, with a shrinking inventory. In the last 2 years Texas home prices increased 10%, but will be slower during 2015. AGAIN WITH INTEREST RATES DOWN, NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO BUY!!