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Real Estate Blog

 Real Estate Blog 
Thursday, October 30 2008
As millions watch their retirement funds dwindle in the economic downturn, cost of living becomes a prime concern. Here's a look at some cities where your nest egg will take you the farthest.

A significant number of Americans will soon retire, but the economic downturn may be causing some to rethink how they'll spend their golden years.

Topping the list of second-act must haves? A place with affordable housing, low cost of living and decent job prospects.

That's what they'll find in Columbus, Ohio. This river city tops Forbes' list of cities where your nest egg goes farthest, thanks to reasonably priced housing relative to income and a 4.5% inflation rate that allows a buck to stretch a little farther than other quickly growing areas. With tens of thousands of Ohio State Buckeyes, folks will enjoy the verve and energy that comes with a bustling college town.

Texas also welcomes retirees. Dallas and Houston ranked second and fourth, respectively. A warm climate and growing economies make both of these spots great places to live up your golden years. Each city can brag about latter-year employment possibilities for the enterprising type; that's because 20% of those 65 and over collect a weekly paycheck.

Minneapolis ranked third. The South made a strong showing with No. 9 Atlanta and No. 10 Nashville, Tenn.

Top 5 cities to retire on a budget:

1. Columbus, Ohio

2. Dallas

3. Minneapolis

4. Houston

5. Salt Lake City

Click here to read the entire article from
Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 03:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 28 2008
Add space: Instead of shelling out thousands of dollars to build additional floor space for a cramped kitchen, try removing a wall, or maybe a portion of a wall to create a “window” into another room. Not only will this open up the room, and the floor plan, but it will also add light!

Add light: For more light add a large skylight; enlarge a window; add a garden window; add “tube” skylights. Wash the light fixtures & add bulbs at the max size to add more light.

Moving appliances: This can be more costly but here are some ideas, moving a sink will involve moving plumbing, which can be costly and involve a lot of additional remodeling; moving a stove to add cabinet space may not be as expensive but the gas or electricity will mostly likely need to be moved as well; moving a refrigerator could make the largest impact, however remember most refrigerators need a water line and electricity as well. By moving appliances you can create additional cabinet space, create an island, or open up a room, just remember the “accessory” needs for each appliance.

Unclutter the countertops: Limited counter space doesn’t have to mean limited workspace. Mounting a stand mixer and a food processor on heavy-duty appliance lifts from Rev-A-Shelf keeps them out of the way but instantly accessible. Consider adding pull-out shelves to cabinets. There are many “space saver” products available - knives can be stored under the cabinets; wine glasses will add a decorator feel and create more space; use racks to store baking pans, they can stand up to save space.

Freshen your countertops: Granite is nice but can be costly. Consider new laminate countertop, it will be more cost effective and yet give it a new & fresh look! Don’t forget the island top too!

Remove clutter: If you have a small eating table in the kitchen, remove it to open up the room, or make it as “small” as possible to create more space. Remove appliances and utensils from countertops. Limit towels hanging on stove or refrigerator. Sinks should be empty. No pots on the stove top.

Other ideas: Flowers always add beauty and make people feel welcomed. If you can, bake some cookies or have bread baking during showings – it will smell like home! Wipe down all of the cabinets and countertops.
Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 01:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 24 2008

Below are ratings by a PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) company about the risk of property values declining in major markets across the U.S.  PMI companies have the most to lose and are therefore considered a very reliable source for this type of information.  

Good news!  Dallas, Plano, Fort Worth, Irving & Arlington are in the very lowest class of risk of further declines in property values!  (Texas has 5 areas in the very low class!) We are rated less than a one percent chance of further declines.

Rank   MSA                                                         



    1      Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach; FL



    1      Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario; CA                         



    1      Orlando-Kissimmee; FL                                        



    1      Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall; FL                                



    1      Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater; FL                          



    1      Las Vegas-Paradise; NV                                       



    1      Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale; CA                          



    1      Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine; CA                                 



    1      Jacksonville; FL                                             



    1      Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale; AZ                                  



    1      Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville; CA                        



    1      San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos; CA                            



    1      Oakland-Fremont-Hayward; CA                                  



    1      San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara; CA                           



    1      Providence-New Bedford-Fall River; RI-MA                     



    1      San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City; CA



    3      Edison-New Brunswick; NJ                                     



    3      Nassau-Suffolk; NY                                           



    3      Washington-Arlington-Alexandria; DC-VA-MD-WV



    3      Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News; VA-NC



    4      Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn; MI                                 



    4      Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington; MN-WI                      



    4      Newark-Union; NJ-PA                                          



    4      Baltimore-Towson; MD                                         



    5      New York-White Plains-Wayne; NY-NJ                            



    5      Boston-Quincy; MA                                             



    5      Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills; MI                              



    5      Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton; OR-WA                           



    5      Chicago-Naperville-Joliet; IL                                 



    5      Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta; GA                            



    5      Seattle-Bellevue-Everett; WA                                  



    5      Philadelphia; PA                                              



    5      Cambridge-Newton-Framingham; MA



    5      Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin; TN



    5      Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor; OH                                   



    5      St. Louis, MO-IL                                               



    5      Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis; WI                              



    5      Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord; NC-SC                              



    5      Cincinnati-Middletown; OH-KY-IN                                



    5      Denver-Aurora; CO                                              



    5      Columbus; OH                                                   



    5      Austin-Round Rock; TX                                          



    5      Kansas City; MO-KS                                             



    5      Indianapolis-Carmel; IN                                        



    5      Memphis, TN-MS-AR                                              



    5      San Antonio; TX                                                



    5      Pittsburgh; PA                                                 



    5      Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown; TX                                 



    5      Dallas-Plano-Irving; TX                                        



    5      Fort Worth-Arlington; TX                                       



Feel free to pass this info along to your friends, family members and associates.  And be sure to call me if you or someone you know would like specific property value information for your neighborhood.

Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 07:27 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 23 2008

The economic storm sweeping the country has left Americans with few places to hide. But those looking to hunker down might want to head to Texas, where they can get the best value for their dollar.

Dallas is in the top 10 of the list of places where your money goes farthest. Residents enjoy affordable housing and promising prospects for job growth in coming years.

7. Dallas, Texas
Job Growth Projections Rank: 7
Inflation Rank: 39
Median House Price/Median Household Income Rank: 3
Median Income/Cost of Living Index Rank: 20
Gas Prices Rank: 21

"Texas, as a whole, is one of the few economies that are performing extremely well because of the energy and technology sectors," says Andrew Gledhill, an economist at Moody's

The state's manufacturing sector has also grown in recent years, and a reputation for affordable housing continues to lure people to the South. When accounting for median household income, a house in Dallas, for example--with a median price of about $150,000--is four times more affordable than a house in Los Angeles, the worst-ranked city on the list.

Economists predict job growth of at least 2% by 2012 in Dallas. By comparison, job growth in cities at the bottom of the list, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Cleveland, is expected to be about 0.2%.

Yet another reinforcement in what I have said before (and will probably say again) this is a GREAT time to be a buyer! If you are looking to move up, buy your first home, or invest in real estate……NOW is the time, call me!

(972) 979-9978

Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 07:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 21 2008

Plano Centre
2000 East Spring Creek Parkway

Saturday, October 25th 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday, October 26th 12:00 noon - 5:00 pm

The Official Pix presents STAR WARS Fan Days II includes comics, toys, cards, artists, collectibles, celebrities and more.

For more information call Ben Stevens at 972-420-8639 or visit

Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 07:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 17 2008

Texas has three of the hottest jobs markets, former leaders Phoenix, Las Vegas, others slip.

The past year has been a rocky one for the U.S. economy.

The nation has seen 394,000 private-sector jobs slip away since mid-2007, equaling a loss of 7,570 jobs each week. The unemployment rate has shot up a full point during the same span -- from 4.7 percent at the halfway point of 2007 to 5.7 percent this year.

But a few sections of the country have managed to dodge this economic carnage. The most prominent exception is Texas, which is home to America's three hottest labor markets, according to a new bizjournals study.

Houston, Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth are 1-2-3 in the latest employment rankings of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas. The three Texas markets have added a total of 107,200 private-sector jobs since mid-2007, while keeping their unemployment rates below 5 percent.

Texas' impressive performance, ironically enough, is partially the result of higher energy costs, the same factor that has bedeviled much of the rest of the nation.

"The state's natural resources and mining industry, helped by higher oil prices, posted an annual employment growth rate of 6.4 percent from June 2007 to June 2008 and ranked first among Texas industries in employment-growth rate," said a midyear report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Texas also has been able to avoid the mortgage bubble that burst with devastating impact in other high-growth states such as California and Florida. A bizjournals study in March identified Houston as one of the nation's 10 most-affordable housing markets, with Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin close behind in 15th and 22nd place, respectively.

Bizjournals used a nine-part formula to analyze employment trends in the nation’s 100 largest labor markets. The formula was fueled by midyear data complied since 2003 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The 100 markets, taken collectively, contained 69 percent of the nation's 116.2 million private-sector jobs as of June 2008.

The top-rated labor market outside of Texas -- fourth in the overall standings -- is Raleigh. Its job base has ballooned by 22.1 percent since 2003, dwarfing the national five-year growth rate of 6.3 percent.

Seattle ranks fifth, largely because of its addition of 20,500 private-sector jobs since mid-2007. Only Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth have posted bigger gains during the past year.

The recent volatility in the U.S. economy has shuffled the standings dramatically since they were last compiled a year ago. Phoenix, which was No. 1 in bizjournals' 2007 employment rankings, has dropped all the way to 28th place this year. Six of last year's 10 hottest markets have fallen out of the top 10 this year.

The bottom of the list is considerably more stable, though it does include a few surprises.

Last place belongs once again to Detroit, which has ranked as the coldest job market in America the past two years. The biggest problem remains Detroit's heavy reliance on domestic automakers, resulting in a loss of 30,800 jobs since mid-2007.

"Obviously, the Michigan economy has been dreadful this decade," said a recent report from Michigan Future Inc., a nonprofit group that aims to rejuvenate the state's economy. "An unprecedented seven consecutive years of job losses. At the bottom of the national rankings in both employment and per capita income. This is largely because the engine that still drives the Michigan economy is the troubled domestic auto industry."

The second-coldest labor market has suffered a dramatic decline the past couple of years. Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., which was fourth-best in bizjournals' 2006 employment rankings, now sits in 99th place, a victim of Florida's real-estate woes. It has lost 11,400 jobs since mid-2007.

Other industrial markets among the coldest job markets include: Providence, Toledo, Lansing, Mich., and Dayton. All but Providence were also in the bottom 10 last year.

bizjournals - September 8, 2008 by G. Scott Thomas

Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 02:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 16 2008
Plano Centre
2000 East Spring Creek Parkway

Monday, October 20, 2008 - 12:00 noon - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 - 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

The Scrapbook Warehouse Sale offers 50 - 70% off all items...that's wholesale prices to the public. The biggest names in the industy will be there with thousands of scrapbook products to buy.

Admission: FREE.
Posted by: Reecia Powell AT 07:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 14 2008

Saturday, October 18 at 8 pm
Eisemann Center
2351 Performance Drive, Richardson, TX

The Plano Symphony Orchestra presents "The Essential Canadian Brass" in concert. What could be more fun than the Canadian Brass, known for their dazzling technique, varied repertory, and great humor on stage? The Canadian Brass is also well known for their unique performance attire, and a varied program of "pops," "jazz" and "classical" favorites. They have been named the "world's leading brass ensemble" by the Washington Post and credited as "the men who put brass music on the map."

Reserved seating: $9 - $75; add $2 at the door. To order tickets call the Plano Symphony Orchestra at 972-473-7262 or visit

Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 07:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 10 2008

Find out the "walkability" of your neighborhood; check the Walk Score for your home. Or how far will the kids have to walk to school? If you walk for an ice cream cone, how far is it? Plan a route to get the most miles out of your daily walk. Be sure to look at things around your office too, walk for lunch instead of driving. A fun & useful tool!  

Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 11:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 07 2008

Plano Centre, 2000 East Spring Creek Parkway

Friday, October 17th - 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturday, October 18th - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday, October 19th - 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

The Heart of Texas Arts and Crafts Show features handmade arts and crafts, antiques, collectibles and home decor.

Admission: FREE on Friday with postcard invitation;
$4 for adults (good for the entire weekend); free for kids 12 and under

For more details contact Earline Walters at 903-217-8081 or visit

Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 07:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 03 2008
October 7th - 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:
-- Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
-- Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
-- Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
-- Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Plano citizens are encouraged to lock their doors and turn on outside lights as you spend an evening inside. Along with the traditional display of outdoor lights and front porch vigils, cities, towns and neighborhoods 'celebrate' NNO with a variety of events and activities such as: block parties, cookouts, visits from local police and sheriff departments; flashlight walks, and youth programs.

Contact the Plano Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit to have them visit YOUR neighborhoods National Night Out observance -- 972-941-2431
Posted by: Reechia Powell AT 08:34 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 01 2008

Your garage vehicle door may be the largest moving object in your home and could weigh up to 400 pounds. For your safety, make sure it’s in good condition.

Balance Overhead
Garage doors have gravity to deal with. In the absence of some type of balancing mechanism, the door would slam shut as soon as you let go of it and some would be too heavy for you to open. If you open the garage door about half way and let go, it should balance there.

Spring Failure
The springs used to balance the weight of the door are under enormous stress. Modern spring systems incorporate safety features to contain flying metal in the event of a spring failure. Attempting to service the spring system yourself can be very dangerous.

Auto Reverse
An automatic garage door opener should stop and reverse on meeting an obstruction. Many systems manufactured prior to 1982 may stop but not reverse. These older systems should be upgraded to protect people, especially children and even your pets.

Automatic Opener
Automatic door openers are not a replacement for a properly balanced door. The opener is not powerful enough to lift the entire weight of the door. The opener works with the help of the springs or counter balance system.

Emergency Release
Automatic garage door openers have an emergency release to disengage the garage door from the opener. Once disengaged, you can open the door by hand.

Electric Eye
Today, some form of external entrapment protection is required. An electric eye is the most common system used. The electric eye is mounted 5 to 6 inches off the floor and senses objects in its path. If your garage door opener does not have an electric eye system, you may be able to upgrade it without replacing the entire system.

More helpful hints:

  • Keep It In Good Shape -- Your garage door may require periodic lubrication and adjustment. Having a garage door expert in to inspect and adjust the system is a good idea.
  • Pinch Hazard -- Never put your fingers in the space between the door sections. To close the door, use the provided handles.
  • Security -- The remote control for your automatic opener is like a key to your garage. If your automatic opener does not facilitate, change the opener code, or consider upgrading.
  • Educate Children -- Never leave bikes and toys in the garage door path while it’s open. Do not play with the remote.


Posted by: Reechia Powell Realty Group AT 10:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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