Is it a Landlord’s Market right now?

The Only Advertising I Needed

I was reading this article from FortuneBuilders that says that we are currently in a Landlord’s Market right now, and I could not agree more.  A few of the factors leading to this are the years of higher foreclosures, tighter lending standards, and the uncertain economy. Demand for rental properties has increased giving Landlords more applicants to choose from and the ability to charge higher rents.

A property that I manage recently had a vacancy due to a tenant moving, so I was able to test the rental market for myself for the first time in over a year.  The only advertising that I use is a “FOR RENT” sign in the yard.  I took my 12-year old daughter (future real estate mogul) with me, and I let her put the sign in the yard.  We checked the time to see how long it would take to receive the first call from a potential tenant.  Two hours later we received the call from the person who ended up renting the home.  I was also able to ask for a 5% increase in the rent from the previous tenant.

Let me know if you would like more information on renting a home or becoming a rental property owner.   I would love the opportunity to share my experience with you.

David Clay



5 Household Hints for Your Home In Freezing Weather

We awoke to 12 degree temperatures this morning in Richardson, Texas, which is the coldest North Texas has seen for over 15 years.  Freezing weather can cause all sort of problems for your home, so it is always best to prepare in advance.  Preventative maintenance is almost always less expensive than repairs.

1. Pipes: Your pipes can be one of the biggest problem areas in your home when the temperatures get well below freezing.  You need to take precautions to keep the water in the pipes from freezing and expanding, causing your pipes to crack.  Be sure to wrap and cover your exterior hose bibs and pipes to protect them from the cold.  Things as easy as dish towels and duct tape do the trick.  Dripping your inside faucets on extremely cold nights will keep the water moving through the pipes, and should prevent freezing.

2. Know where your water shut off valve is located: You can take precautions against the cold, but sometimes things just happen.  You can have an emergency if a pipe cracks from expanding ice and then becomes a gusher when the temperatures get above freezing.  When this happens, you will want to know where your water shut off valve is located.  The shut off valve is usually in your front yard next to the street.  In an emergency, you should be able to turn off the valve with a pair of pliers or a wrench.  This is an activity that is usually best practiced with a dry run when water is not shooting inside your home from a cracked pipe.

3. Protect your outdoor plants: Some plants and landscaping are not affected by freezing temperatures, but some of your plants might need some help.  Potted plants can be moved into your garage to protect them.  If you have a lot of plants, you can also build a temporary green house out of plastic sheeting and pvc pipes. Plants in the ground can be protected by covering them with sheets or blankets.  One of my neighbors covered their plants with cardboard boxes and then covered the boxes with blankets.

4. Use your dryer as an emergency heater: As long as your home still has power, you can use your clothes dryer as an emergency heater if your heater stops working.  One of my rental property tenants taught me this creative idea last month when her heating unit went out at 8:00 at night with outside temperatures in the 20s.  She unhooked the dyer vent hose from the wall and then pointed the hose into the living room.  She then dried a load of towels that she needed to do anyway and probably raised the temperature in the room by twenty degrees.

5. Run your pool heater: One of my friends posted this reminder on her Facebook account this morning.  It probably does not take long in these temperatures for the water in the pipes in and around your pool to begin freezing.  Warming up pool water will hopefully help you avoid a big headache in the future.

Please let me know if you have any helpful hints for your home.

David Clay

David Clay Real Estate

Be like Yoda – Just Do It!

Tomorrow will mark the end of the 4th week of 2011. How are you doing on your resolutions? Have you been to the gym this week? Do you currently have ice cream in your freezer? Did you watch American Idol last night, or did you pick up the book on your nightstand and read like you promised yourself you would do four weeks ago? Do not worry if your answers to these questions are not in line with your New Year’s Resolutions because you change that today. The last 28 days do not matter if you resolve to start today.

"Do It"

Look to Yoda if you need a little inspiration. He was very wise when he said, “Do or not do—-there is no try.”

Want to eat healthier? Do it.

Want to exercise more? Do it.

Want to get your finances in order? Do it.

Want to organize your closet? Do it.

It is perfectly okay if you do not want to change anything in your life right now, but when the desire to change does arise – just do it.

Where Is the Mortgage Industry Heading In 2011?

We have been experiencing record low mortgages rates over the past year, but many forecast reports suggest that rates will rise in 2011.  The rates in 2011 will probably still be considered historically low, but monthly payments on new mortgages will cost you more each month as rates rise.

Another issue in the mortgage industry is the hangover effect from all of the recent foreclosures.  Due to bad underwriting and loans given to people who clearly could not afford the mortgages, we are all paying the price.  The underwriting pendulum has swung to the opposite end of financial information review.  The standards for getting a new mortgage or refinancing your current mortgage have become much stricter than in the past, and it is now extremely difficult for lenders to make individual exceptions from the normal standards.  I work with an investor client who is currently unable to refinance his single family property mortgages on his rental properties due to the fact that he holds too many mortgages for Fannie & Freddie standards.  When making their decision, mortgage underwriters cannot take into effect that the applicant has perfect credit, has never been late on any of his mortgage payments(personal or investment), and has a high income.  I have spoken to many people in the mortgage industry about this, and they all feel that although things will eventually loosen up, this is the industry reality today.

So how does all of this affect you? If you are thinking about refinancing your current mortgage, you should act sooner rather than later.  If you are thinking of financing the purchase of a new home anytime within the next 12 months, you should definitely meet with someone in the mortgage industry now.  Find out what information you will need to apply for a mortgage and find out what amount you can qualify for right now.  It is best to know if you can buy your dream home before you find your dream home.

Please contact me should you have any questions.

David Clay

Cell: 214-282-6150

When it Rains — Call Eddie

We had the Mother of all thunderstorms blow through DFW yesterday afternoon.  I was watching the rain blow sideways out my office window when my phone rain.  I saw that the call was coming from Home, and expected to hear that it was my wife calling to see if it was raining at the office like it was at home.  I received a double shock to first hear that it was my 11 year old daughter, and then second shock when she told me that Mom wanted her to tell me that water was pouring through the ceiling of our playroom.

I came home to find multiple pots and containers on the floor holding about 12 gallons of water.  Thankfully it had stopped raining, so we were able to clean up the mess.   I got up on the ladder and made my diagnosis of the problem.  My next step was to do what every man of the house should do in this situation – I called our handyman.

Our handyman, Eddie, came by this afternoon, and was up on the roof when I pulled into the driveway.  He quickly shot down my diagnosis, and found the true source of the problem.  It turned out that there was a gutter problem from when our playroom addition was built over 25 years ago.  It took the intensity of yesterday’s rain for us to find the problem.  Eddie and Nico were able to fix the problem and repair the damage to the inside of the playroom in less than an hour.  I did my part by drinking a beer with them on the patio when the job was done.  This was just another reminder to me how important it is to have your Handyman on your speed dial.

Here Today – Gone Tomorrow (The Tear Down)


I was driving near my home in Canyon Creek in Richardson last week when I saw a house that looked like a bomb had exploded in the back yard. Every tree was snapped in half and the entire fence had been knocked over. I decided to stop and take pictures of the yard, and we ran into the new homeowner as she was taking pictures as well. She and her husband had just purchased the home, and were in the process of tearing it down to build a new home.
Canyon Creek has had around 10 “tear downs” in the last few years. A “tear down” is when a homeowner demolishes the current older home to build a new home on the lot. The main reason to do this is to have all the benefits of a new home in an established neighborhood. Canyon Creek was developed over 40 years ago which means it is made up of 40 year old homes. There are very few if any places in Dallas and the closer suburbs that have individual build lots available. This means that to have a new home close to Dallas then the “Tear Down” route is the way to go.
The homeowner in Canyon Creek said that the current home was in terrible condition and had serious mold issues from previous water damage. She and her husband plan on building a 2800sf Craftsman style home that will fit in well with the other homes on the street. A few of the neighbors on the street were so happy that the old home was being replaced with a new home that the bought champagne and toasted their new neighbors on the closing date.


Hot Rental Market in Richardson

Now is a great time to have a house for rent in Richardson, Texas.  One of the Rental Properties that I manage is going to have a vacancy in next month, so I put the FOR RENT sign in the yard on Saturday morning.  I received 9 calls in 48 hours form people interested in renting the home.  Foreclosures, job losses, and the tightening of the mortgage market have all led to an increase of people looking to rent homes rather than buy homes.  Add in that summer is the best time to market a rental property and a great location with a lot of passing cars, and you develop a hot market.

Let me know if you would like more information on renting a home or becoming a rental property owner.   I would love the opportunity to share my experience with you.

UPDATE:  27 Calls on this house in 10 Days.  WOW!