Thursday, August 26, 2021

Market Watch - 27 Aug. 2021

Since last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the CDC eviction moratorium. It should take a few weeks to notice any difference. The expectation is to see more properties for lease and sale after landlords have time to execute evictions and make property repairs.

Buyers need to pay special attention to properties that were formerly leased. Tenants rarely care for properties as much as homeowners. Regular maintenance may not have been completed. Ensure the house is inspected.

Prior to the ruling, New Listings were flat, Properties Under Contract and pending decreased while sold properties increased. Sold properties jumped above Listed to invert the market again.

The Lease Market saw declines in Listings and Leased properties with an increase in Pending Properties.

The lease market remains inverted again with more houses leaving the market than entering. The low Leased number is most likely a result of limited inventory rather than decreased demand.

Call, text or email when you’re ready for help when you sell or buy a residential property in this complex market.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #MarketWatch #SellersMarket #SellNow #LeaseMoratoriumEnds #LeaseShortage #evictions #InventoryShortage #StrongDemand

Monday, August 23, 2021

Market Watch - 20 Aug. 2021

Since last week, locating available housing is challenging for sale and lease. New Listings, Properties Under Contract and Sold all decreased with an increase in Pending Properties. However, Sold properties are below Listed, so the inverted market is flattening some.

It’s still a strong seller’s market due to limited supply of both lease and preowned properties. Overall preowned sale prices are flattening, but some submarkets are still strong and sell at high percentages over asking.

The Lease Market saw declines in Listings and Pending with an increase in Properties Leased as the “new” eviction mandate remains in place.

The lease market remains inverted with more houses leaving the market than entering. The low Leased number is most likely a result of limited inventory rather than decreased demand.

U.S. Supreme Court ends CDC eviction moratorium.

Call, text or email when you’re ready for help when you sell or buy a residential property in this complex market.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #MarketWatch #SellersMarket #SellNow #LeaseMoratorium #LeaseShortage #moratorium #InventoryShortage #StrongDemand

Monday, August 16, 2021

House Care and Maintenance

Whether owned or leased, all houses require regular maintenance. Regular cleaning and treatments keep the systems running and encourage a healthy environment inside the structure. Here are some tips to get the most out of your home.

Manuals and remote controls are often in the kitchen drawer after closing at new or many preowned homes. Remote controls open and close garage doors. Garage doors can often be programmed into cars or operate via WiFi with smartphones. Get the external keypad code and change the code quickly.

Spare bricks that match the exact lot of exterior bricks for the house may be in the garage. Keep these to repair any future damage with matching bricks. Similarly, there may be flooring, tiles and other samples in the attic to provide matching materials for minor repairs. When you need professional help, I've Got Your Six with an ever-changing list of local, qualified pro vendors at

Manufacturers have deemed certain products acceptable for use in a new house without voiding the various warranties. New home buyers get a document in the files titled “Countertop Care & Maintenance” (or something similar), which lists many products that can and can’t be used and helpful tips.

Sweep and vacuum luxury vinyl floors (lux) as needed. Wet mop weekly with a water and distilled vinegar mixture or the classic Mr. Clean product.

Place doormats inside each outside entrance. This allows most dirt to be trapped at the doors and saves additional abrasion on the main floors.

Put pads under chair, couch and table legs. Rubber pads or rubber-bottomed area rugs are suggested under furniture to keep them from sliding on lux vinyl floors.

In glass shower enclosures, it’s best to clean the glass and apply Rain-X or a similar glass treatment to help the glass shed water. Additionally, use a shower squeegee to remove standing beads of water after each shower. Texas hard water can leave spots and other mineral buildup like lime. The combination of glass protection and regular squeegee use will make a clear difference.

Most carpets are treated to repel spills. However, spills must be addressed immediately. Wet a cloth with clean water and apply it to the spill. It should wick up the spill. If spills are more stubborn or have been there a while, consider using Resolve carpet cleaner on the specific spill.

Whenever it’s time to deep clean carpets, only use water-based steam cleaning. Never shampoo the carpet because the chemicals stay in the carpet and attract additional dirt.

Stone Countertops
For stone counters, look for specific stone or other “multi-surface” products. Avoid anything that uses an acid base because it damages countertops and sealers.

We use “Granite & Stone Daily Wipes” from Weiman on our counters. It’s available at most home improvement stores and online. It is good for sealed quartz, granite and marble.

Often, kitchen countertops are made of granite. Although much more durable than Formica, don’t place hot pots and pans directly onto the granite from the heat source. Instead, use hot pads or trivets to protect the granite surface. To prolong the stone surface quality, use cutting boards rather than cutting directly on the counter.

Stone countertops need to be resealed at least annually. Get the materials at most home improvement stores or online for about $20. It’s a fairly simple process. Here’s a short video that shows how to reseal countertops:

Caulk and Cracks
Due to Texas’ expansive soil and weather, cracks and movement are inevitable. Homeowners need to monitor the interior for cracks. As interior humidity levels change and stabilize, hairline cracks appear due to shrinkage at the joints. Most shrinkage should happen within the first year.

Caulk is used to blend interior joints within the house. Joints lose moisture, settle and get hairline cracks. Expect to recaulk in about five years. Traditional latex caulk (called ALEX caulk when manufactured by DAP) is useful for interior repairs. For hairline cracks, hand rub some latex caulk into the crack until smooth and unnoticeable. Allow to dry overnight. Paint the next day. These are not warranty issues for new homes because shrinkage is expected.

Backsplash and tile intersections with the counters eventually need to be recaulked due to shrinkage. It will also happen in all the bathrooms because the caulk dries and shrinks over time. Use silicon caulk around showers and tubs.

There are cracks in the concrete under the flooring. This is normal. They may also appear in the sidewalk and driveway, which are separate from the foundation.

If a crack gets wide enough that a nickel edge fits in it, it’s a problem. It’s also a foundation warranty item for the first 10 years.

To learn more about the foundation, please read the Construction 101: Foundation entry on Page 75.

A diagonal crack from the door frame indicates a structural problem. Similarly, if more than one door no longer shuts properly it could indicate a structural problem. These issues need to be addressed by the builder or assessed by an engineer if it's in a preowned home. Most builders have a 10 year warranty for structural issues.

Condensation is no longer an issue with modern windows due to the way they are manufactured and insulated. However, residentss still want to keep humidity down inside the house to help with condensation anywhere within the house that might have temperature differences. Optimal relative humidity is 30-50% indoors to feel comfortable and minimize mold growth.

To keep moisture to a minimum, run the exhaust fans located in the bathrooms and laundry while those rooms are in use with flowing water. Also, use the kitchen exhaust fan while cooking any foods that evaporate on the stove top.

Most modern houses have LED (light emitting diode) lights rated at the equivalency of 60-watt traditional bulbs. However, sometimes recessed lights include a trim as part of the bulb. When those lights need to be replaced, residentss must replace the light and attached trim with a similar bulb/trim.

I personally suggest light bulbs that are colored as 5,000 K lights (light temperature/color is measured in Kelvin degrees). These are considered “natural daylight.” The short reason is that all photos will be the correct color in the house.

Also, residents will have more energy, be able to see better and will be able to tell the difference between navy blue and black. If residents need an area to nap, to relax or unwind, choose low-power 3,200 K lights (orange-color tungsten) for those areas. To learn more technical issues about light colors and balancing the light, please read my PhotoJournalism blog post about balancing light (link).

The HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system filter needs to be changed. It's often in the attic but can be in a ceiling or wall. The filter must be properly replaced to ensure the warranty is valid. The recommendation is to change it monthly. However, if it’s relatively clean it can be used a little longer. Many have one filter with 20x25x1 dimensions. Newer luxury homes have 4-inch and 5-inch filters that need to be replaced with each season.

Write the change date on the filter itself to help determine if it’s time to change the filter. Even if it isn't changed monthly, please check it monthly to ensure it’s still filtering properly and not clogged.

The Air Conditioning system creates condensation. This condensation runs down a tube and into your household plumbing - typically under a bathroom sink. Deposits and germs can build up in this tube due to the moist, warm environment.

Residentss need to pour a cup of household bleach down the tube each month that the air conditioner is in use. The tube is typically a white PVC (plastic) pipe located near the AC unit in the attic. There is probably a plastic cap on the pipe that is easily removed to add bleach. Some folks leave a funnel in the attic for this.

It is the new homeowner’s job to secure a warranty through the manufacturer for the household appliances. This is most easily done through their smartphone applications. Home warranty policies most often also cover common appliances.

The dishwasher controls can be hidden on the top of the door. It will have a countdown clock before it starts. If someone needs to open the door while it’s running, open it slightly to get the washer to turn off without spraying water everywhere. Once it stops, it will start pumping water out. At this point, open the door an extra amount to access the controls.

Newer ovens are WiFi enabled for preheating convenience, to monitor the temperature and other variables. These ovens also have touchscreens with variable settings.

The vent built into a microwave over the cooktop can have a four-speed fan. In newer quality homes, it exhausts outside to reduce smell and help control humidity inside the house. It may recirculate or vent into a cabinet in preowned homes. The sink disposal may be controlled by a button on the top of the island. There can be a master power switch to the disposal inside the cabinet under the sink. If it is switched off, the disposal won’t work.

If something gets lodged in the disposal, it will stop and trip its internal breaker. Turn off the power switch to the disposal.

There should be an sturdy Allen wrench or hexagonal “key” provided to solve most of these situations. Insert the key into the hole in the bottom of the disposal. Rotate the key back and forth until the disposal plate moves freely again.

Once it moves freely, ensure whatever was lodged in the disposal unit has been completely removed. Then, press the reset button on the bottom of the disposal and turn on the power switch. The unit should work properly at this point.

Always use cold water while the disposal is operating. Please know the disposal is meant for “soft” items. It was not designed to eliminate bones or extremely fibrous vegetation. For instance, large amounts of (formerly dried) beans should not go into the disposal unit - I learned this the hard way and had to replace mine.

If the house has an adequate irrigation system, the house doesn’t need to run soaker hoses around the foundation. However, the sprinkler system must be used to properly maintain the foundation – especially during the dry months.

Roof gutters help prevent water damage to the foundation by ensuring water is distributed away from the house. However, the gutters need to be kept clear and clean and drainage from the downspouts needs to be clear.

Homeowners don’t want standing water or dry conditions near the foundation because they’ll cause foundation damage. Residents may want combination locks for outside gates and the exterior breaker of the A/C unit. This prevents pranksters and others from cutting the A/C.

It’s ideal to apply a sealant to the fence for protection from water and to extend the life of the wood. A new coat should be applied each six months, but at least once per year should suffice. When it’s time for a new fence, most folks must negotiate costs with neighbors who share fences.

Before installing a gate in a fence to access a public area, check with the HOA. Even if other homes in the neighborhood install these gates in shared community walls, check with the HOA to ensure it is acceptable in this specific circumstance.

The exterior faucet should have a frost-proof hose bib. However, it’s important to disconnect hoses from the faucet before a freeze. It’s also helpful to cover the faucets with insulated hard-plastic faucet covers to ensure the faucet doesn’t freeze.

In about five years, the exterior caulk will degrade to the point that the windows and expansion joints will need to be recaulked. Use exterior silicone caulk because it has more flexibility than traditional latex caulk.

Lawn and Sprinklers
Level the lawn to keep moisture levels constant throughout the yard. Swails (lowered trenches between the houses) are designed to allow water to drain away from the house and protect the foundation. They are designed to drain to both the front and back. Do not fill or block the swails.

If sprinklers were installed by professional installers, a house should have about 10 zones. The one-year warranty period on the system starts when the system was installed – not when the house closes. Note the specific date the warranty will expire. It is often only a few months after the closing date.

In addition to regular water, fertilize a Bermuda grass yard with 15-5-10 fertilizer twice in the spring and once each fall. Landscaping grass, trees and shrubs are not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty if they die. To get a free demonstration of how to use a house's sprinkler system, call the installer. You can also visit for money-saving watering tips and system tutorials.

It’s my honor to help you find a beautiful new home. I’m always a call, text or email away. I wish you many years of happiness and joy in your new home!
I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

Friday, August 13, 2021

Market Watch - 13 Aug. 2021

Since last week, residential housing had setbacks. New Listings and Properties Under Contract were flat while Pending and Sold Properties decreased. There are slightly more new listings than sold, so it’s a minor improvement.
The Lease Market saw declines in new listings and properties leased since many districts started new school years and the CDC stepped in to regulate the lease market mechanisms last week.

The CDC Eviction Moratorium expired on July 31, 2021. Congress didn't impose a new moratorium.

The expectation was that more houses would enter the market after the moratorium expired. Landlords could liquidate those houses relatively quickly and extract appreciation from the properties. After months of tenants living in those properties without paying rent and most likely unwilling to perform regular maintenance, it is feasible those properties would need repairs to become market ready. Most were expected to hit the market starting on Aug. 15 after evictions and repairs.

However, the CDC issued a "new" moratorium on Aug 3. They stated it is not an extension of the previous moratorium that the Supreme Court ruled against. Instead, this is a "new moratorium" that only affects "Areas of Substantial and High Transmission" of COVID-19 - which is about 90 percent of the USA. Unless overturned or extended, the “new moratorium” is set to expire Oct. 3, 2021.

Alabama and Georgia associations of REALTORS were joined by the national association in lawsuits to stop this action.

The Lease Market had a sharp increase after the previous eviction moratorium ended. However, it was followed by a significant drop after the “new moratorium” was ordered. With a shortage of lease homes available, those potential tenants must work harder to find housing in both the lease and preowned markets.

Since the “new moratorium” was implemented, listing volume has been on a slow but steady decline. Sold properties had a spike as school began across much of the DFW Metroplex. It has since decreased below the volume of July 30.

The volume of Price Decreases had a sharp turn after the new moratorium was announced. It’s the first drop since the moratorium delay from June to July but a much higher volume as sellers understood an influx of former lease houses to the market is unlikely soon.

Months Of Supply measures demand. The Months Of Supply was at historic lows in March. The historic high point for lumber futures was in May. Unemployment stopped paying additional supplements at the end of June and unemployment numbers dropped in July. Simultaneously, many states began to roll back pandemic protocols during these months as vaccination rates climbed.

The result is that employees went back to work as the costs of building materials declined. Subsequently, new housing starts increased as builders purchased materials at bulk prices and worked on demand backlogs.

The new construction homes have affected the Months Supply of Inventory numbers while preowned listings remain relatively flat near historic lows.

The “Fourth Wave” of COVID-19 Delta and Lambda variations has put a strain on area hospitals and created a rollback to some pandemic restrictions in urban centers. These actions are new this week and are likely to affect sellers who are concerned about the disease transmission.

At this point, it’s still a strong seller’s market for preowned houses with limited supply of both lease and preowned properties. Buyers with the help of REALTORS can find more new construction homes in outlying areas of the Metroplex.

I have a variety of options for sellers who want to buy before they sell and might need a small repair budget to maximize their selling price and/or speed of sale. I also know where new construction homes are available in North Texas.

Call, text or email when you’re ready for me to help you sell or buy a residential property in this complex market.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #MarketWatch #SellersMarket #NewMoratorium #PriceStability #FlatMarket #LeaseShortage #moratoriums #NewConstruction

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Testimonial - Plano

It was my honor to help you find your ideal home during this unprecedented lease market! Thanks for your cooperation and support through the process!

“Mark gets 5* in all categories! Extremely friendly and easy to communicate with.

Mark’s slogan is the most accurate thing ever. He had our six the whole time and checked up on everything possible for us. Extremely helpful, friendly, professional and a total pro.”

- Jocelyn, in Plano

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #RealSatisfied #Plano #PlanoISD #CollinCounty #review #testimonial #lease #rent

Friday, August 6, 2021

Market Watch - 6 Aug. 2021

A new eviction moratorium was issued by the CDC on Aug. 3 in response to the "fourth wave" of Covid-19 Delta/Lambda variants. The Supreme Court already overturned the previous eviction moratorium, but didn't halt it. It expired on July 31.
Congress refused to place a new moratorium as requested. The CDC then issued a "new" moratorium that only applies to areas with heightened infection rates, which is about 90 percent of the United States. The center stated this was a "new" moratorium rather than an extension of the old moratorium that the SCOTUS ruled unlawful.
The National Association of REALTORS joined with state affiliations to challenge the CDC moratorium. Until those cases are settled at the Supreme Court, Covid cases go into sharp decline, or Oct. 31 - whichever happens first - the moratorium will stay in place.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #MarketWatch #SellersMarket #MarketCorrection #MarketShift #Flattening #LeaseShortage #moratoriums

Welcome to the DFWmark Blog!

Welcome to the DFWmark Blog! This is a collection of content by Mark M. Hancock, a REALTOR with Keller Williams North County in Celina...