Real Estate Terms for First Time Home Buyers

The world of real estate can be quite confusing for a first time buyer, and it never hurts to have a head start in the terminology you will encounter. From simple to complicated we decode the jargon for you. Comment with any questions! {interested in the home above?}



An appraisal is made by a neutral third party and determines the approximate value of the house. The appraisal will not always be the same as the asking price of the house, but it is required by the lender – who also chooses the appraiser.


The purchaser makes a bid to purchase a home – called an offer.


Comps are properties comparable to the one being considered, used to evaluate it properly.

Purchase and Sale Agreement

The buyer receives this document to sign after an offer has been accepted (including the final sale price and any other terms of the offer).

Under Contract

After the Purchase and Sale Agreement has been signed, a property is now Under Contract. Once Under Contract, financing and inspections are the only things left to do before closing.


A home is usually labeled “Pending” or “Sale Pending” once an offer has been made and all contingencies have been cleared – meaning the agreement has been signed and the financing and inspections are complete. Other outside buyers can still make a backup offer in case the primary buyer makes an emergency exit!


This is the completion of the sale of the house. The buyer and their real estate agent or attorney meets with the seller and their agent or attorney to finalize the purchase with the escrow agent, and sometimes an agent of the lender as well.

Down Payment

This is the amount that the home buyer “pays up front” and depending on the lender, is anywhere from 3% to 20% of the purchase price.


{interested in the Dallas home above? brand new construction!}


A neutral third party that uses the purchase agreement as instructions to ensure that the transfer of funds from buyer to seller and transfer of the house from seller to buyer goes smoothly.


This is the legal document that pledges the house to the lender – as conditional security for making the loan to the home buyer.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

This is a type of mortgage in which the interest rate of the loan does not change over time – the rate is “fixed” to what was agreed upon at the time of the mortgage’s signing.


The Deed is the legal document that provides proof of the transfer of ownership of a property.



Amortization Schedule

This is the schedule of payments (with interest) towards paying off a debt.


A lien is filed against a property as security for the payment of a debt or charges incurred from work done to the property. Liens are filed by courts or workers (a Mechanic’s Lien) and generally, liens must be settled and removed before a lender will make a loan for a mortgage. A lien is a type of Encumbrance.


An encumbrance is a type of liability or claim on a property.

Unencumbered Property

A property free of liens.

Debt to Equity Ratio

The method used by banks to determine how much cash the borrower should invest to obtain a mortgage. It is usually about 10-25% of the purchase price, and the amount is dependent on the borrower’s income.

Open Listing

This is a property for sale by in which the owner does not have a solitary, exclusive broker. The owner might have many, or none – and attempting the sale on their own.


A little known term for wooden supports used in the construction of floors and ceilings.


This is a guarantee made in writing.

Are you ready to start your search for a home? It’s important to know these terms going into the home buying process, and Victoria will be by your side to the very end! Call Victoria 214-213-2593 or email her at victoriabarr[at]ebby[dot]com. To view all her listings, go to and be sure to visit her Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages!

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Dallas Neighborhoods: Farmers Market District

gallery.aspxWhat do YOU think about this hot spot? Is it worth the investment?

The Dallas Farmers Market lost its luster long ago and it’s old news to you and me. Stories graced major local news sources for years with titles like “How Dallas Killed Farmers Markets”–just a little taste of the overall sentiment regarding the city’s market. The Farmers Market depended on millions of taxpayer dollars to remain open and never truly became revitalized despite the city’s best efforts.

Fast forward to today. More than 1,000 residential units are popping up in the new Farmers Market District with several newly built townhomes, a new apartment complex cropping up on a 5-acre plot and even old produce warehouses are being sold. How? The city decided to let private dollars go to work. So far so good!

For those heading over to the area to buy produce, have no fear. Shed 1 is under construction and should be ready by June and will continue to house farmers and vendors. Shed 2 will be under private control after successful Pecan Lodge moved out. Sheds 3 and 4 will no longer exist and will make way for new apartments and restaurants.

Townhouses are selling quickly and the neighborhood looks promising, but one roadblock could be the neighboring Bridge homeless shelter. The city has plans to move its entrance to the corner of St. Paul and R.L. Thornton Freeway according to this DMN article.

When was the last time you went to the Dallas Farmers Market? If it’s been a while, you may not recognize the brand new neighborhood with plans for retail and more development estimated at $65 million total. We have high hopes for this hot spot because of its private-public partnership much like uber popular Klyde Warren Park…and we hear a beer garden will be making its way to the Farmers Market District!

Dallas-Farmers-Market-Square1b farmersplan gemusestandFor more information on other Dallas neighborhoods, contact Victoria at or call her 214.213.2593.

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 11.27.20 AM

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Ebby Halliday at 103 yrs old. What an iconic, forward thinking, trail blazing, philanthropic woman!


Ebby Halliday at 103 yrs old. What an iconic, forward thinking, trail blazing, philanthropic woman! May she be an example to us all.Ebby Halliday, known as “the first lady of real estate,” turned 103 on Sunday. Halliday began her selling career at the age of 8 when she sold Cloverine salve to neighboring farmers and later opened a hat shop, Ebby’s Hats, in Dallas, before founding Ebby Halliday, Realtors in 1945.

Now, the real estate firm is the largest in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by both transaction sides and sales volume, according to Real Trends. Nationally, the firm is the 12th largest by sales volume and 15th largest by transaction sides, representing homes worth a combined $4.8 billion in 2012 in 15,915 transaction sides.

Halliday asked that, in lieu of gifts, people support an addiction treatment center, Ebby’s Place at the YWCA.

“It is our duty and privilege as Realtors to get involved, participate in the activities of our cities, and to help build our communities,” she said.

– See more at:

Original By:  Candace Carlisle Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal

Mar 10, 2014, 2:12pm CDT Updated: Mar 10, 2014, 4:36pm CDT

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Oh Where Oh Where to Shop? Favorite Grocery Store is leaving Highland Park Village.. Can you believe it?

Tom Thumb to Leave Highland Park Village

Photo: Highland Park VillagePhoto: Highland Park Village

Tom Thumb plans to close its Highland Park Village store in the next 12  months, the grocery chain announced today.

“We have enjoyed being in Highland Park Village over the years, but the store  is small and outmoded by today’s supermarket standards, with no opportunity for  on-site expansion,” Tom Thumb president Paul McTavish said in a news  release.

According to a timeline  on the Highland Park Village website, the store opened in 1935 as a Safeway.  As you may have heard this week, Safeway is in talks with potential buyers.

Those talks are not mentioned in today’s news release, which says the  Highland Park Village store is only 18,500 square feet, while the average Tom  Thumb is 46,000 square feet. The release also points out that there is a larger  Tom Thumb about 1.5 miles to the northwest, at Inwood Road and University  Boulevard.

Still, this news may crush Tom Thumb’s loyal customers in Highland Park. Last  August, we reported that Sally Cullum Holmes, daughter and niece of the chain’s  founders, still frequents the soon-to-be-shuttered store.

“That’s where I shop, and that’s where my pharmacy is,” Holmes said. “It’s  small, but it’s a friendly place where you see everybody you know. So it still  has that kind of hometown feeling.”

There was no word on what type of tenant Highland Park Village might pursue  to replace Tom Thumb. Stephen Summers, the Village’s director of leasing, is in  Europe and not available for comment. But the news release did include this  statement from him:

“Tom Thumb has been an excellent tenant and great neighbor for us. We  understand and respect their decision to leave Highland Park Village to better  compete in this marketplace.”

Read more: Tom Thumb to Leave Highland Park Village « Park Cities People

Original post By Dan  KollerFeb. 21, 2014 | 4:10 pm from Park Cities People

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Oh To Be a Seller in Dallas Texas…With a profound shortage of homes on the market, price increases soared into the double digits in 2013

Dallas-area home prices up 10.2 percent in 2013
Home prices in the Dallas area hit a new peak in December and for the first time registered a double-digit gain year over year, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
This year, the rate of increase in North Texas is expected to moderate somewhat but continue advancing.
“I expect us to have another strong year of appreciation,” said David Brown, who heads the Dallas office of housing consultant Metrostudy. “The supply of homes is as low as I’ve seen in my career.”
Prices of pre-owned homes in the area were up 0.2 percent in December from November, the S&P/Case-Shiller report said, and up 10.2 percent from the previous December.
Dallas was one of just six cities to show one-month gains. The others were Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C.
The report’s national index had home prices declining 0.3 percent in the one-month period and up 11.3 percent year-over-year.
The Case-Shiller report tracks repeat sales of homes and measures the difference in prices when the same home is resold months or years later.
In his comments with the report, S&P’s David Blitzer said national price gains are slowing and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over.
“Existing-home sales fell 5.1 percent in January from December to the slowest pace in over a year,” Blitzer said. “Permits for new residential construction and housing starts were both down and below expectations.”
Still, Blitzer said, the Case-Shiller index in 2013 had its largest gain since 2005.
Brown, who said he has been following the housing industry since the 1980s, pointed to several bullish indicators for the local market:
Interest rates remain relatively low.
At current transaction rates, there is only a 2.6-month supply of homes for sale. Supply and demand are typically seen to be in balance when there is a six-month supply.
At the end of January, just over 19,000 homes were listed for sale on MLS, Brown said. At the peak in 2008, more than 40,000 were for sale.
Only 21,000 new homes were built last year. At the peak, there were more than 52,000. In a normal market, Brown said, he would expect 30,000 to 35,000 new homes a year. However, he said, building costs have risen substantially, which is tempering new starts.
At the peak in 2006, there were more than 200,000 home transactions — sales of new, existing and foreclosed homes. That number dropped to about 100,000 at the bottom in 2011 and increased to only about 140,000 last year.
“We have quite a long ways to go before we start to talk about bubble territory,” Brown said when asked if the market were overheating.
He said a sudden spike in interest rates would slow sales because it “changes the equation on affordability” for homeowners by substantially increasing monthly mortgage payments.
Brown, though, doesn’t expect any interest rate spikes.
Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose last week but remained near historically low levels. The average rate for a 30-year loan increased to 4.33 percent from 4.28 percent, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.
Brown said the indicator he watches most closely for market shifts — his canary in the coal mine, he said — is the “finished vacant inventory” of new homes, which stands at about 22 percent here. Most of the new homes are still classified as under construction.
When the housing market is in balance, that “finished vacant” rate is about one-third. For all of 2013 it remained well under 30 percent, Brown said.
“If that number goes from 33 percent to 38 percent in one quarter, that’s a red flag,” Brown said.
Dallas-area home prices have increased year-over-year for 22 straight months, according to the Case-Shiller report. Local home prices are up more than 5 percent since before the recession.

Original Piece
By GARY JACOBSON and STEVE BROWN The Dallas Morning News
Staff Writers Published: 25 February 2014 11:41 PM

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VALENTINES DAY! And the trivia behind it.. Did you know???


VALENTINES DAY!  And the trivia behind it.. Did you know???

St. Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year and has been for many centuries; however do you know the trivia behind the holiday? Where did the celebration of Valentine’s Day originate? Or how traditional gifts of love became popular?

These silly (but intriguing) Valentine’s Day trivia and unusual Valentine’s Day fun fast facts will give you some answers.


  • 2nd Highest Card Sending Holiday. The greeting card association estimates that approximately one billion valentine’s are sent annually world-wide, making it the second highest card sending holiday, behind Christmas.
  • Valentine’s Day Cards. Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers anymore. More than 190 Valentine’s Day cards are bought every year, including cards for friends, family, and lovers. If you add in the Valentine’s that children exchange in class, that number increases to over 1 billion Valentine’s per year.
  • Married Valentine’s. During the mid-17th century, even married folk took a Valentine and that person was not always their legal significant other.
  • Meaning of the Word Valentine. The name Valentine comes from the Latin word valor, meaning worthy.
  • Name for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day was named for two men, both Christian martyrs named Valentine who were associated with romantic love in the middle ages.
  • Official Holiday. St. Valentine’s Day was declared an official holiday in 1537 when England’s King Henry VIII declared it for the first time.
  • Unmarried Valentine’s. In the Middle Ages, people believed that the first unmarried person of the opposite sex that they met on the morning of Valentine’s Day was the person they were destined to marry.
  • Unusual Foods. In Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St Valentine’s Day to make them dream of their future husband.
  • Valentine Birds. February 14th was long associated with fertility and love even before St. Valentine lived. It was the day that birds traditionally chose their mates.
  • Valentine Celtic Wooden Spoons. The Ancient Celtic tradition of giving hand carved wooden love spoons as Valentine’s gifts began in Wales. Often, hearts, keys, and keyholes, symbolizing that the receiver unlocked the giver’s heart, were carved as decoration on the spoon. Here are some samples of Celtic wooden spoons.
  • Valentine Love Messages. Elaborate handmade love messages, cards and gifts for Valentine’s Day became popular during the 17th century.
  • Valentine Pagan Fertility Festival. The Romans introduced a pagan fertility festival in England that was held every February 14th. After the Romans left the country, Pop Celsius, who established St. Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love in 496 A.D, abolished the pagan festival.
  • Valentine Robins Overhead. It was believed that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it meant she would marry a sailor.
  • Valentine’s Day Gift Spending. Consumers spend an average of over $75 on Valentine’s Day gifts, the most popular being chocolates, food, wine, and flowers.
  • Women Card Buyers. The greeting card association estimates that 85% of all Valentine cards are purchased by women.

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It might be snowing and slow going on the roads but you can’t stop the fabulous economic growth in our fabulous Dallas as well as other booming metro centers.


Nearly all U.S. cities are forecast to see economic growth this year — even places that have been slow to recover from the Great Recession, according to a report released today by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area also will see strong steady growth this year, but it will be down slightly from the fast pace of the last two years.

All but seven of 363 metropolitan areas will see economic gains, compared with about a quarter that contracted last year, according to the report.

“We’re in the real recovery, not just the recovery that economists talk about,” Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., president of the mayors group, told Bloomberg News.

Increased consumer spending and business investment drove faster U.S. economic growth in the third quarter — the fastest pace since 2011. Forecasters expected growth will accelerate this year.

While 340 metros will see economic growth of 1 percent or more this year, up from 183 in 2013, 69 metros, including Dallas-Fort Worth, will see growth of 3 percent or higher.

Dallas-Fort Worth’s economy is expected to expand by 3.3 percent this year, compared with 3.4 percent last year and 4.3 percent in 2012.

The energy factor

Some of last year’s biggest economic and job gains were in states, such as Texas, where oil and natural gas business boomed.

Midland and Odessa ranked as the nation’s two fastest-growing metro economies in 2013, growing 7.5 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.

The report’s top 10 list also included Sioux Falls, S.D.; Fargo, N.D.; and Cheyenne, Wyo. — all areas that also have benefited from increased oil and gas production.

Shreveport, La.; Decatur, Ill.; and Binghamton, N.Y., were among last a year’s worst performers. The seven areas that will see flat or negative growth are Cumberland, Md.; Salisbury, Md.; Hagerstown, Md.-Martinsburg, W.Va.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; Glen Falls, N.Y.; and Wichita Falls, Texas.

“It’s taken a long time for the economy to ramp up across the U.S.,” said report author Jim Diffley, chief regional economist for HIS Global Insight. “It’s been a horrible recession, with an even much longer period of recovery.”

Employment and unemployment

While the nation has not recovered all of the jobs lost since the recession ended in mid-2009, employment gains this year should be felt across the country, according to the report.

All but six metropolitan areas are projected to gain jobs this year.

Some 297 metros will see job growth of 1 percent or more, up from 185 metros in 2013. Seventeen metros, including Dallas-Fort Worth, will see job growth of 3 percent or higher.

Dallas-Fort Worth’s job growth is projected to be 3.1 percent, compared with 3.4 percent last year.

Forty percent of metros (148), including Dallas-Fort Worth, are projected to have a 2014 unemployment rate of 6 percent or less. And 128 metros are projected to have an unemployment rate of 7 percent or higher this year or 2014.

Dallas-Fort Worth’s unemployment rate is expected to decline to 5.2 percent by the end of this year from 5.6 percent in November.

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