Colin O’Neal: Real Estate Broker / Owner of HouseHunters 

 At a glance: Colin O’Neal is a real estate broker who helps home buyers in Keller, Texas and the surrounding Dallas Fort Worth area. He is also the owner of HouseHunters, a residential real estate brokerage that has been serving the community for more than 17 years.

 When buying a home in Dallas/Fort Worth, you need advice from a real estate professional who knows the market and has your best interests at heart. And that's exactly what you'll get when working with Colin O’Neal. Colin is a dedicated real estate professional with 32 years of experience, extensive training, and a strong focus on customer service.

 

Colin has 3 Promises he delivers to all his Clients

      1.      Always Be On Time.

2.      Always Be Brutally Honest.

3.      Always Do What He Says He’s Going To Do.

Helping You Find the Perfect Home

 Dallas Fort Worth is a dynamic, fast-paced real estate market. Home buyers need to be well prepared and "up to speed" before entering the market. Colin knows this well, having worked in the area for many years. He understands local market dynamics and knows how to find the best properties for his clients. Whether you're buying your first home, a second home, or an investment property, Colin can help you do it right.

 

 Experienced with Single-Family Homes, REO, and Short Sales

 The Dallas Fort Worth real estate markets offer buyers a lot of diversity, in terms of property types. There's a mix of single-family homes, bank-owned "REO" properties, and foreclosure homes. Colin O’Neal has successfully closed over 1500 deals on all types of properties. He is a certified REO & HUD Broker currently working with Major Banks and Servicers, making him a valuable asset to his clients. 

 

 Ongoing Education and Training

 Colin realizes the value of professional knowledge and training. He has undergone extensive training and continues to pursue advanced education, in all aspects of the real estate business. This sharpens his skills and helps his keep up with an ever-changing industry.

 

  If you need help buying a home in the Dallas Fort Worth Area, and you'd like to work with an experienced agent who will look out for your best interests, give Colin a call at 817.937.4104 Or email colin@hhdfw.com

 

Nov. 16, 2016

Offers and Counter offers when Buying a Home

Dealing With Offers and Counter-Offers When Buying a Home

When buying a home, you might have to deal with a counter-offer from the homeowner / seller. These back-and-forth negotiations are a normal part of the home buying process. But you need to be prepared for them. This article explains how to handle offers and counter-offers when buying a house.

Three Possible Outcomes of Your Initial Offer

There are three possible scenarios when negotiating the price of a house. When you submit your initial offer, the seller will likely do one of the following:

  1. Accept your offer with no other conditions or changes.
  2. Make a counter-offer by changing certain terms like the purchase price or closing date.
  3. Reject your offer entirely, without making a counter of any kind.

First-time home buyers often believe that the seller is obligated to make a counter-offer, at the very least. But that’s not the case. A homeowner can simply turn you down with no explanation, if they choose to. So keep this in mind as you try to negotiate the price.

Most sellers will either take option #1 or option #2. They’ll either accept the initial offer as it’s written, or sign a counter-offer back to you. After all, these are the only two ways to move the process forward.

Finding Common Ground

If the seller makes a counter-offer, it will probably be based on the price. If they counter with the original asking price, they are basically saying: “We are not willing to negotiate the house price with you.” If they counter with an amount that falls somewhere between the original list price and the amount you offered, it means they are willing to negotiate. They are trying to find middle ground.

What you do next will largely depend on two things:

  • The type of real estate market you’re in
  • How much you want the house

Before you start negotiating the house price with a seller, you need to have a maximum amount in mind. This is the amount you are willing to spend on this particular home. This number will be limited by your housing budget and your pre-approval amount (if you’re using a mortgage loan). But it’s also limited by the current market value of the house. After all, you don’t want to pay more for a home than it’s currently worth.

Support Your Offer With Data

Here’s another important negotiating tip. When you submit your offer to the seller, tell them why you are offering that amount. Your agent can convey this information to the listing agent, or directly to the homeowners. You don’t want the sellers to think you’ve pulled this number out of thin air. You’ll have a better chance of getting your offer accepted if you justify the amount. You can justify it by providing recent sales data that supports your offer amount.

Example: “We are offering $275,000 for this house based on the comparable sales data attached. We realize that this home has a larger lot and several interior upgrades, so we have offered an amount that is above the comparable sales to compensate for these factors. We feel this is a reasonable offer in the current market.”

Your agent can put this kind of statement on paper and submit it with your offer. If you’ve made a reasonable offer for the house, the listing agent would be wise to convince the sellers of this.

Of course, some people are simply unwilling to negotiate. If you encounter a home you feel is overpriced (based on comparable sales data), and the sellers refuse to come down in their asking price, it might be time to move on to the next house.

Posted in Buying a Home
Nov. 11, 2016

Sell As-Is, Not Recommended

We can think of several reasons why a homeowner would consider selling a home with problems, marketed in “as-is” condition. The most obvious, of course, is that there’s no money to perform the required work. This frequently happens in probate sales where the heirs inherit a home in need of work but lack the funds to put the home in market condition. As well, folks who need to relocate quickly for a job often just want the house off their hands so they can move on with their lives.

Although we understand why someone may need to sell a home as-is, we believe our clients need to know the possible ramifications of doing so. Let’s take a look at two reasons you might want to reconsider your decision to sell your home “as-is,” and what to do if you absolutely must.

1.You’ll have fewer qualified buyers if you sell as-is

When your home is advertised as a fixer, which is what most as-is listings are, you’ll partially drain the pool of buyers who can buy your home. For instance, since FHA-backed mortgages require that certain repairs be made before they’ll ok a loan, your buyer pool won’t contain many first-time buyers.

Then, those who are getting a conventional loan may be getting out of the pool as well since many conventional lenders balk at lending money for a home that needs significant work. Many conventional lenders will insist that certain items, such as a roof in need of replacement, be taken care of.

Then, there’s the fact that most buyers just don’t have the money to repair a home after moving in. Although your low price will attract the tight-budget buyer, the reality of the financial outlays after closing may prevent them from proceeding with a purchase.

Your buyer pool now contains mainly cash buyers and most cash buyers are investors – the most real estate savvy homebuyers. They’re out for a bargain and if you hope to sell your home at all, you may end up taking an offer for far less money than you’d imagined.

2.You won’t make as much as you hope

Today’s homebuyers say they want a home that they can move right into, stick their toothbrush in the holder in the bathroom and enjoy their new digs. So, why would a buyer want your home? When you consider this question, there can be only one answer: A buyer would want your as-is home because it’s cheap.

Depending on the extent of needed repairs, you will have to list your home for less than nearby homes that are in better condition. As mentioned earlier, a low listing price will bring out investors and everyone else looking for a bargain. Be prepared to get beat up over your price, regardless of how low it is, and to sell it for less than you’d hoped.

It’s quite possible that it may be more cost-effective in the long run to make the necessary repairs so that you can list at a higher price. This is something you should speak with your accountant about.

If you must sell as-is

We understand that certain home repairs may be financially out of the question for some sellers and they simply must sell the home in its current condition. Here are 3 tips to help:

Stage the home

Appearance matters more in real estate than most other industries. With attention to increasing the home’s curb appeal and some fresh paint and a good scrubbing inside, even the worst home will look better.

Most buyers will decide whether or not to view your home while shopping online, so paying attention to cosmetics makes for compelling listing photos. Sure, they’ll know that there is something wrong with the home (“as-is” advertises that), but if it looks ok, the perception will be that whatever is wrong with it can’t be that bad. Getting more people to view the home in person is the name of the game when it comes to selling quickly and for more money.

Consider a pre-sale home inspection

Sure, you have a good idea of what’s wrong with the home, but there may be more, or less, than you imagine. A pre-sale home inspection will give you the definitive answers you need and will go a long way in showing potential buyers that you’re earnest in your desire to be completely honest about the home’s condition.

Plus, if you supply the buyer with the inspection results before accepting the offer, you’ll be able to weed out those that will eventually back out, after they have their own home inspection.

Disclose everything

Protect yourself by disclosing all known issues concerning the home and the neighborhood. Yes, it feels as if you’re betraying yourself, but disclosure is important if you want to avoid running afoul of the law and winding up in court. Disclose Every. Last. Thing.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Nov. 11, 2016

Take the stress out of Selling

In a perfect world, the entire family pitches in every morning to clean last night’s clutter and mess before heading out to work/school. In the real world? Not so much. But when your home is on the market, it’s important that you strive to get as close to that perfect world as possible. A hassle? Oh, yes. Crazy making? Indeed. But we have some tips to help you retain some of your sanity until the house sells.

Start with a clean slate

A deep, deep clean, fresh paint – you’ve no doubt heard it all before. Whether it’s to set the foundation for staging or just to make the home presentable for the market, there’s no getting around the fact that to get what you want for the home, it must be incredibly clean. If you can’t get the job done by yourself, or with help from friends and family, hire someone to do it for you – it’s that important.

The next step in the process of readying the home for the market is, again, a familiar one: depersonalize and declutter. This is the ideal time to pre-pack for the move after the home sells, which, in turn, gives the family less “stuff” to have to pick up before showings.

One of the best places to start is in the children’s room. Pack up some of their toys, especially those with a lot of pieces (LEGO® sets come to mind). You don’t necessarily need to seal those boxes. In fact, if you don’t, you can rotate toys as they tire of the current inventory.

Go through the house with a mission: seek and remove anything you don’t use on a consistent basis. Box it up and move it out.

Keep it clean without losing your mind

The home is clean and it’s free from clutter. Showings will be a piece of cake, right? Not so fast – you still need to live in the home and, if you have a family, they do to. This means you’ll need to keep on top of the ongoing messes that living in a house creates.

Sure, it sounds easier said than done, but if you create a plan, it will be a lot easier than if you don’t. Each family member should have routine tasks that they perform every morning before they head out for the day. This includes making their beds, picking up any messes they made the night before, ensuring dirty laundry is in the proper place, wiping down the counters in the bathroom after their morning showers and loading the dishwasher.

Evening chores may include sorting and putting away mail and other clutter that has accumulated since day’s end.

The big jobs, such as mopping and vacuuming the floors, cleaning sinks and toilets and folding laundry can be assigned to family members on alternating days. If everyone knows what they’re supposed to do, they’re far more likely to buy into the plan.

Last-minute minute showings

So, what happens if you get a request for a showing between those times that you clean? You know, when you are actually using the home to live in? Ah, homeowners are a crafty bunch and we’ve collected some tips from our clients that are not only rather funny but realistic as well.

“With four kids in the house we go through a lot of laundry,” a client tells us. “There’s usually piles of it scattered through the bedrooms and in the laundry room. I just race through the house, grab it and dump it in the washer and dryer where nobody will see it.”

Others have told us they use laundry baskets or boxes to grab clutter and then put it in the trunk of their car. Yes, even dirty dishes.

When a potential buyer is within an hour of being on your doorstep, prioritize your cleaning tasks, because some are more important than others.

  • Pick up clutter. If you don’t have time to put it away, take it with you.
  • Wash dishes or load them into the dishwasher.
  • Empty all the trash receptacles in the home.
  • Ensure that bathroom counters are free of toiletries and wipe them down. Hang fresh towels and close the shower curtain and lower the lid on the toilet.
  • Vacuum
  • Straighten the linens on the beds.
  • Straighten the sofa cushions and pillows.
  • Open all window coverings to let the sunshine in.
  • Turn on all the lights in the home, even in the closets.

 

Should your home look perfect when buyers come calling? Sure it should, but there may be times, such as with last-minute showings, that it won’t be. Don’t stress about it. As long as it is pristinely clean and relatively tidy, you’ll be fine.

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 12, 2016

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning To Protect Your Home's Value

One of the best ways to protect your home’s value is to maintain it well. A thorough spring cleaning and maintenance routine is a great way to keep your home in top condition.

We’ve compiled this handy guide to help you break down your spring maintenance routine into manageable bits. Break tasks down room by room and you’ll be well on your way to a clean and well maintained home. And keep in mind that you don’t have to accomplish all of these tasks in a day.

In every room, start your cleaning routine by wiping down the walls and ceilings. Use a vacuum or dry mop to remove dust, then surface dirt and grime. Test your cleaner on an inconspicuous area on painted walls to make sure that your finish can withstand contact with water or gentle cleaners. Rub away finger prints and other grime. If your walls still don’t look clean after scrubbing, it may be time to repaint.

Next, thoroughly dust books, knick knacks, shelves, framed pictures, ceiling fans, window casings, molding and blinds. Take everything off the shelves, and wipe with a feather duster. Use your vacuum’s crevice tool to reach into tight spots. Wipe down all of the shelves contents before replacing them. Machine wash or dry clean window treatments. Clean furniture with a thorough vacuuming and take cushion and pillows outside to gently beat the dust out of them. Polish or wax wooden furniture. Work from top down, so you can vacuum the dust that settles on the floor. One that’s done, you can vacuum and shampoo carpets. Have them professionally cleaned or rent a machine. Throw rugs without backing will need to be professionally cleaned.

 In wet areas, like kitchen and baths, now is a good time to reseal your grout. First check to make sure the grout isn’t cracked or missing, and replace it if necessary. Then clean any dirt or stains away with a kitchen and bath cleaner. Finally, you can reseal the grout with sealant and a small foam brush. And speaking of grout, if you’ve got stone tile in your house, it may be time to wax or seal them again. Do an internet search for the best way to care for your particular stone to avoid damaging tiles.

Maintain your appliances. In the kitchen, pull the refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum behind and beneath. Clean out any dust from vents and coils, and clean the drain pan. Clean filters in the stove’s hood and clean the oven, too. In the laundry room, vacuum the dryer vent and around the lint trap. You may want to hire a chimney sweep to clean your vent lines to the exterior. Have your HVAC systems tuned up at this time and check expiration dates on any fire extinguishers. Don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Finally, a really satisfying way to wind up your spring cleaning is to thoroughly wash your windows, tracks and window screens. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter and brighter the house feels with clean windows!

For more information about maintaining a home or for recommendations on service providers, ask your HouseHuntersdfw.com Agent. Interested in buying or selling a home? Visit www.HouseHuntersdfw.com for the most accurate, local and trusted real estate information available.

Posted in Real Estate News
April 5, 2016

8 Tips For Finding Your New Home

8 Tips For Finding Your New Home

HouseHunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some buyers research, you’ll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These 8 tips for finding your new home will guide you through a smart home-buying process.

1.  Know thyself.

Understand the type of home that suits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multistory home? If you’re leaning toward a fixer-upper, are you truly handy, or will you need to budget for contractors?

2.  Research before you look.

List the features you most want in a home and identify which are necessities and which are extras. Identify three to four neighborhoods you’d like to live in based on commute time, schools, recreation, crime, and price. Then hop onto my website www.HouseHuntersdfw.com to register your dream home wish list and get daily listings right in your email. This will help you  get a feel for the homes available in your price range in your favorite neighborhoods. Use the results to prioritize your wants and needs so you can add in and weed out properties from the inventory you’d like to view.

3.  Get your finances in order.

Generally, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Create a budget so you know how much you’re comfortable spending each month on housing. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to investigate financing.

Gather your financial records and meet with a lender to get a pre-qualification letter (you will need this in order to see homes and make an offer) spelling out how much you’re eligible to borrow. The lender won’t necessarily consider the extra fees you’ll pay when you purchase or your plans to begin a family or purchase a new car, so shop in a price range you’re comfortable with. Also, presenting an offer contingent on financing will make your bid less attractive to sellers.

4.  Set a moving timeline.

Do you have blemishes on your credit that will take time to clear up? If you already own, have you sold your current home? If not, you’ll need to factor in the time needed to sell. If you rent, when is your lease up? Do you expect interest rates to jump anytime soon? All these factors will affect your buying, closing, and moving timelines.

5.  Think long term.

Your future plans may dictate the type of home you’ll buy. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for five to 10 years? With a starter, you may need to adjust your expectations. If you plan to nest, be sure your priority list helps you identify a home you’ll still love years from now.

6.  Work with a Real Estate Professional

Ask people you trust for referrals to a real estate professional they trust. Interview agents to determine which have expertise in the neighborhoods and type of homes you’re interested in. Because home buying triggers many emotions, consider whether an agent’s style meshes with your personality.

7.  Be realistic.

It’s OK to be picky about the home and neighborhood you want, but don’t be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet and secluded.

On the flip side, don’t be so swayed by a “wow” feature that you forget about other issues — like noise levels — that can have a big impact on your quality of life. Use your priority list to evaluate each property, remembering there’s no such thing as the perfect home.

8.  Limit the opinions you solicit.

It’s natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people. But remain true to your list of wants and needs so the final decision is based on criteria you’ve identified as important.

Posted in Buying a Home
March 31, 2016

Home Buying Process

The Home Buying Process

Buying a home is one of the most exciting—and complex—transactions of your life. At HouseHunters, we’re dedicated to explaining each step of the process in detail to every single one of our Clients. While there are some individuals who will have a different process due to individual circumstances, the typical home buying process includes about 17 steps:

1. Submit loan application to the lender with required documentation

2. A pre-qualification may then be obtained from the lender, this doc will be needed to submit an offer

3. Select a real estate agent- Wait you have us, The HouseHunters Team!

4. Let’s go HouseHunting

5. We’ll represent your best interest, negotiate on your behalf and write the Contract.

6. $1000 or 1% of the contract price is required as earnest money – Good Faith!

7. $50-$100 is required as an option fee – Allows 7-10 day inspection period

8. Contract is sent to the lender, who updates the application and requests updated documentation, if applicable from you, the borrower.

9. Home inspection

10. Loan officer submits the file to processing at which time the appraisal, title, and tax

        certification are ordered and borrower provides insurance information

11. File is submitted for Underwriting which may require additional documentation from the borrower to be resubmitted to Underwriting

12. Final loan approval from the mortgage company

13. Closing documents sent to the title company

14. The Closing Disclosure Statement is given to borrower 3 days prior to closing.

15. Required closing costs are established

16. It’s time to close! Borrower brings a photo ID, signed closing documents and closing costs in the form of a cashier’s check or wired funds to the title company

17. Funding – congratulations, you’re a homeowner!   

We can transform the home buying process from a complex transaction to a straightforward, rewarding experience with a trusted professional. Call, Text or Email us Today to get started!

Posted in Buying a Home
March 25, 2010

New Real Estate Website

HouseHunters is entering a new phase of real estate. We are launching a new web site, one of the most user friendly real estate search sites on the web. It provides the most up to date MLS data to our clients and visitors.

 

 

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