Posted tagged ‘realtor’

Selling your home – how do you set your price?

March 20, 2014

Selling Home - Real Estate in DFW, pricing to sell, Sandy LuedkeIt’s the first day of spring, and a good time to plant that For Sale sign in the yard. Selling your home wasn’t a snap decision, and you’ve thought long and hard about your next move, but there’s one thing left to do – name your price. Do you list high to ward off tire-kickers, or list low in the hopes of a bidding war? What determines your price anyway?

Obtaining the help of a seasoned real estate agent (like me, Sandy Luedke!) will go a long way in getting you and your home prepared for that winning offer. Here are some questions you should ask your realtor, and they should have a ready answer for you:

  • What is the difference between list and sales prices?
  • What are the two most important factors when selling a home?
  • When is the best time to buy?
  • What is the difference between market value and appraised value?
  • What is the difference between list price, sales price and appraised value?
  • How does someone sell a slow mover?
  • How is the price set?
  • What are the standard ways of finding out how much a home is worth?
  • How do you prepare a house to sell?
  • Where do I get information on housing market stats?
  • How do I handle a low offer?

Answers to these questions and more are also available on Ideal Real Estate Group’s Resource Page for Home Sellers, in the article titled Pricing to Sell.

Contact us at any time and let us answer any real estate questions you have, and let us help you through the transition of selling your home.

How to prepare your home to sell for top dollar

March 13, 2014

Flower Mound Realtor, Selling Your Home in Flower Mound, Texas Real EstateYou stopped noticing your cracked driveway over a year ago, and the broken light fixture on your front porch has been long forgotten. Pet owners are not immune from it either – “normal” odors they are no longer sensitive to could be a big turn off for prospective home buyers. When something has been a part of our lives for so long, details that stick out like a sore thumb to anyone else can become invisible to us.

When it comes time to sell your home, you want to make it as attractive as possible to your ideal buyer. This means you want to prepare the space in such a way that they can easily see themselves being happy and worry free within the walls of your home.

To do this, it would be wise to hire someone to stage your home for you. If that isn’t an option, clear your mind and do your best to look at your home like a prospective buyer. Is there clutter on the counter? This would immediately put the thought of having to ‘clean the place’ in the mind of the person looking to buy, which will put a mark in the negative column regarding the home tour.

Are the carpets stained? Are the walls too bare or too bold? These are also considerations of buyers when looking at homes. They typically don’t want to be saddled with the need to immediately repaint purple walls or install new carpet. That alone could cause them to turn away without making any kind of offer on the home.

Another topic that is touchy for some home owners is that of family pictures. We love our family, and many of us decorate our home with years of photos that tell the story of our life. However, when selling your home, being surrounded by a ‘strangers life’ can subconsciously create tension that might block a prospective buyer from feeling like this could be their family’s new home, since it so clearly belongs to someone else. For better results, replace family photos with inviting landscapes, seascapes, mirrors, and nature prints.

If you are able to afford it, be sure to take care of any major repairs or updates that could deter a buyer from making an offer on your home. This includes:

  • Replacing any broken windows
  • Replacing a leaky roof
  • Fixing cracked driveways, sidewalks, and walls
  • Update old or outdated appliances, cabinetry, and/or flooring

It is also important to work on your home’s curb appeal. Remove any weeds, dead plants, bushes and/or trees to make your landscape look pristine. Make sure the grass is green and maintained, and plant a few annual flowers in noticeable spots near your front entryway. It is also appealing to plant greenery and flowers in decorative outdoor pots that can later be moved. These can be placed along the sidewalk, by your driveway, or set by the front door.

For a few other quick fixes that don’t cost a lot of money but can help you get top dollar for your home, be sure to visit our Ideal Real Estate Group’s Website. Go to the Seller’s Resource Page and see our article on Common Questions and Answers about Selling Your Home.

As an expert real estate agent in the Dallas / Fort Worth area for over two decades, I can help you make sure your home looks its best when buyers come knocking, so contact me, Sandy Luedke, today and we’ll get started on selling your home for top dollar!

Appraisals and Market Value

February 27, 2014

Flower Mound Real Estate, Home for saleSpring is right around the corner. This is the time of year home owners get the urge to dust the cobwebs out of the house, clean out the closets, and give each room a good shine. It’s also when people envision sprucing up their yard, planting flowers, adding foliage and improving the home’s overall curb appeal.

Then again, there’s also a group of dreamers who would rather just pack everything up and start over at a new place – a different place – a place that better meets their current needs.

The decision of whether to stay or go could depend heavily on what you already have. Obtaining a current, accurate appraisal of your home can help you determine your starting point. Home values rise and fall based on the current economy, the real estate market as a whole, and what’s going on in and around your own neighborhood.

What you don’t want to do is make a decision on the purchase price of a new home based on an assumption of what you think your current home is worth. An experienced real estate agent will make sure you have covered your basis during your introductory meetings, to ensure your home buying adventure is a good one.

For help in obtaining a current appraisal on your home, give us a call. Because of Ideal Real Estate Group’s long-standing community involvement and networking expertise, we have developed relationships with partners throughout the Metroplex to help ensure the best possible experience regardless of what your needs may be.

For more information on what your home may be worth, market value, and appraisals, visit our Buyer’s Resource Page on Ideal Real Estate Group’s website. Let us help you find your next home!

Relocating to Texas? Here are some things you need to know about Property Taxes!

February 20, 2014

Property Taxes
Because Texas does not have a state income tax, it makes us a popular place for relocations. When you dig a little deeper, you realize our property taxes may be higher than some states, but when all is considered, the various trade-offs for calling Texas your new home are worth it.

However, if you are a transplant from another state, your former state may still expect you pay their property tax. It pays to plan ahead and make sure you have cut the proper ties. Just because you many no longer consider yourself a resident of your previous state, there may be some other factors that cause them to think otherwise.

Here are a few points to review. If any of these apply to you, it will be wise to be proactive and get it handled and changed over, instead of procrastinating and receiving a penalty letter from the IRS:

  • The amount of time you spend in your previous and current state
  • Where your spouse and children live, and where your children go to school
  • The state where your driver’s license is issued
  • The state where your vehicles are registered
  • Where your professional licenses are maintained
  • Your location of employment
  • Where you file your tax returns
  • The address of any professional listing (online, social media, yellow pages, etc.)
  • The location of any property tax exemptions you claim

If you are planning on making a move from one state to another, be sure to get professional advice from a tax specialist on what your particular tax caveats might be. It is not wise to assume the tax laws will be logical.

Please visit our Buyers Resource Page regarding Property Taxes for more information you may find useful.

For any of your relocation needs, whether you’re selling your home in Flower Mound, looking for a family home in Colleyville, or you simply want to explore your options, Sandy Luedke and Ideal Real Estate Group have the expertise and long-standing record of Texas hospitality and service to help you get where you need to go.

After all, there’s no place like home, and we’d love to help you find yours!

Buying Your Home – Finding the Right Home

January 4, 2014

Buying your homeWhat are the pros and cons of adding on or buying new? Before  making a choice between adding on to an existing home or buying a larger one,  consider these questions:

  • How much money is available, either from cash  reserves or through a home improvement loan, to remodel your current house?
  • How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a  second floor or does the lot have room to expand on the ground level?
  • What  do local zoning and building ordinances permit?
  • How much equity already exists in the property?
  • Are there affordable properties for sale that  would satisfy your changing housing needs?

Do we dig deep and buy a dream home or settle for a starter  home? Choosing between a smaller house in an affluent neighborhood, an  older, bigger house in a more working-class community or a brand-new home is not  easy. If you’re in this situation, start by examining your priorities and asking  the following questions:

  • Is the surrounding neighborhood or the home itself  the most important consideration?
  • Is each of the neighborhoods safe?
  • Is quality of the schools an issue?
  • Do any of the areas seem to attract  more families with children or adult residents? And where do you fit in?

As for the return on your investment, home-price appreciation is hard to  predict. In the late 1980s, and again 10 years later, the more expensive move-up  housing appreciated wildly. But during the recession that followed, smaller  homes tended to hold their value better than more expensive ones.

How  do you choose between buying and renting? Home ownership offers tax  benefits as well as the freedom to make decisions about your home. An advantage  of renting is not worrying about maintenance and other financial obligations  associated with owning property. There also are a number of economic  considerations. Unlike renters, home owners who secure a fixed-rate loan can  lock in their monthly housing costs and make prudent investment plans knowing  these expenses will not increase substantially. Home ownership is a highly  leveraged investment that can yield substantial profit on a nominal front-end  investment. However, such returns depend on home-price appreciation.

10 Breathtaking Swimming Pools from the Down Under

December 22, 2013

Looking to put in a Swimming Pool this year? Here are some great ideas!

Starting to work with your Agent

October 10, 2009

The first thing that your real estate agent will do for you is to have a relaxed, but thorough, conversation about what kind of home you are looking for. He or she will listen carefully at what you want in your new house and clarify the main details so that he/she will have a very clear picture of it. Another main consideration to be discussed is of course, your price range.
Having the right information about what you are looking for will help the agent in focusing their search, and will avoid wasting the time of both parties. Once the agent is clear on everything, including how much you are willing to spend, the search for the most fitting home will speed up.

A New Opportunity For Realtors in ’09?

January 12, 2009

After about 30 years of being a successful Real Estate Agent in DFW, in late 2008 I finally made the decision to get my broker’s license and create my own Real Estate company. Thus, Ideal Real Estate Group, was born!

How many realtors have you known over the years that get frustrated by: Giving away a significant portion of their commissions to their brokers; unreasonably high monthly office rent and overhead; and not getting a significant level or training and/or on going support from their broker.

Having personally experienced all of these things at one time or another during my career, I made the call that I was going to put together a different kind of opportunity for Realtors to take advantage of that would address these issues. That’s where the name Ideal came from…for I wanted to create the ideal environment for Realtors to become successful!

At Ideal Real State Group, we provide an effective solution to basically two types of real estate agents. For the experienced agent, we offer the opporunity to greatly reduce their monthly overhead, with a pricing structure that is one of the best deals in all of DFW, while still providing them with access to a professional, state of the art and brand new office infrastructure. For the new or struggling agent, we offer something that’s hard to find in this profession…an environment that provides them with ongoing training, weekly support and mentoring sessions, while still keeping their overhead at the lowest possible level…to better faciliate them being able to build a successful business quickly.

Here’s an overview of Ideal’s Realtor fee structure.

-$200.00 a month office fee
-$200.00 per transaction
-E & O fees will be deducted out of the first closing.
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).

-$200.00 a month office fee.
-20% of each commission earned
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).
-Weekly support meetings to discuss and develop: Managing your business; goal setting/achievement; how advertise at little or no cost; how to find listings and buyers.

-$200.00 a month office fee.
-50% of each commission earned
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).
-Weekly support meetings to discuss and develop: Managing your business; goal setting/achievement; how advertise at little or no cost; how to find listings and buyers.
-Total mentoring environment, where I will personally work with you hand in hand on all aspects of the profession, including: Writing the paper correctly; Going along with you on your listing appointments, new buyer appointments and showings.

*This package is designed stictly for either, new agents or agents who once licensed, have never gotten proper intruction on not only to the technical aspects of this business, but more importantly, how to deal with the different kind of people you’ll encounter in this profession.

Agents can start at any level that they feel they need and can switch to another to lower their overhead as their business begins to develop.

Compare these programs to what you’re paying now and I think you’ll find this is one of the most competitive in all of DFW!

If you’d like more information, or would like to discuss your particular situation, please contact me directly by phone at, 469-635-3234, or by email at:

I’m here to help you succeed!

Sandy Luedke
Ideal Real Estate Group

Tips For Home Selling

November 7, 2008

In times past many home sellers held the belief made popular by the Kevin Costner Movie, Field of Dreams ( …that if you list it they will buy!

Truth be told in today’s crowded marketplace you can sell your home, but you’ve got to go above and beyond the norm to make sure you get top dollar for your home.  That’s where a Realtor experienced in staging your home properly and the nuances of what turns buyers on and off, is so important. 

Here’s some information that may help you get some extra value out of your home sale:

Don’t Let Tiny Closets Shut Out Buyers
Experts in home staging and closet organization share their best tips on how to make the most of sparse storage space.   By Kelly Quigley

Walk-in closets and roomy pantries are a necessity for many of today’s home buyers, who have lots of stuff and need a place to store it.  So when your listing is lacking in storage space, you have a big challenge to overcome in order to maximize buyer appeal.

You’re most likely to encounter small storage areas in older homes, condominiums, and lofts. In many cases, the problem is compounded by cluttered living areas, as items that would normally be kept out of view become part of the décor.

“We’re a consumer society, and we have more stuff than ever before,” says professional organizer Barry Izsak, owner of Arranging It All in Austin, Texas (  “Twenty or 30 years ago, people lived with less.  They didn’t have three sets of dishes and 15 pairs of black shoes.”

“But even tiny closets and other storage problems are surmountable.  All of their hard work purging and organizing will give them a head start on packing for the move — and will go a long way in winning over potential buyers”, says Izsak, a former president of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

Izsak suggests telling sellers: “If a closet is packed to the gills, it’s only going to draw attention to how small it is. The smartest thing you can do is weed through what you have so the closets look ample, not overflowing.”

Apply the Two-Thirds Rule

Whether you’re facing a jam-packed closet in the bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen, you should ask sellers to sift through their belongings and clean out everything that’s not used regularly. “A rule of thumb is to have closets no more than two-thirds full,” says Terrylynn Fisher, CRS®, GRI, a broker with Diablo Realty in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Fisher, who’s also a trained staging expert, says prospective buyers should be able to look inside a closet and think: “I have more stuff than this. But there is extra room in the closet, so surely my things will fit.”

Bedroom closets, which can make or break a sale, need special attention when they’re on the small side.  That means removing clothes, shoes, and bulky jackets that are out of season or worn only on formal occasions. “It’s a fact that most people wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time,” Izsak says.

But sometimes it’s not just clothes and shoes clogging up a closet.  Ramona Creel — a professional organizer in the Washington, D.C., area who has worked with home owners and real estate practitioners to get homes in shape for sale — says purses, hats, and sports equipment also are commonly misplaced in bedroom closets — making the space seem smaller than it really is.

Box It Up, Move It Out

If the extra items can’t be moved to an emptier closet in the home, they should be packed away in labeled storage boxes, which can be neatly stored under the bed, in the garage, or in a basement. But if these options aren’t feasible, which often is the case in condos, consider doing what Fisher encourages her sellers to do: rent storage space.

The cost of storage is usually well worth the improved appearance of closets and other cluttered areas of the home, she says.

What if sellers have weeded out clothes they don’t wear and closets are still packed?  Make sure drawer space, hanger space, and shelving in the bedroom are being used wisely, Izsak says.  Jeans and tee-shirts that are hanging in the closet are prime candidates for moving to the drawers — if there’s space.

Sellers also can consider buying an inexpensive closet organizer that can double a closet’s capacity. Many discount stores and online retailers sell rods for less than $20 that hang from the existing closet rod and create a second level of hanging space.

Declutter Kitchens, Baths, and Beyond

You can encounter closet challenges in virtually any room of a house. In each instance, follow the same advice given for bedroom closets: clear out the items that aren’t used often and box them up for storage, either on-site or off-site.

In the kitchen, have sellers pack up their little-used pots, pans, and other cooking utensils that fill up valuable cabinet space. Non-perishables can be donated to a local food bank or stored in boxes in a less conspicuous part of the house. Pot racks are a viable option for some, but not for all. “You have to have nice-looking pots,” Fisher says. Otherwise, they can work against you.

For overstuffed bathroom closets and shelves, sellers should remove extra towels and toiletries. If a bathroom lacks a closet or shelf space, you must find innovative ways to make sure sparse storage isn’t the first thing a potential buyer notices. Fisher has placed rolled-up towels in iron wine racks, while Iszak relies heavily on decorative baskets to group small items.

“It looks pretty to the eye, but it serves a very functional purpose,” Izsak says.

An excess of toys can be a big problem in kids’ closets. Under-the-bed trundles can store toys out of sight, as can attractive storage bins and toy chests — which can double as benches or tables in the bedroom or playroom. Parents can work with their kids to cut down on the number of toys in the room by donating them to charity or boxing them up.

Details That Make a Great Impression

Your next task is to attend to details that make a storage area go beyond looking ample to truly shine.  Experts say it helps to paint the inside of closets a bright, neutral color and to clean the lighting fixtures so the space won’t appear dark and dingy.

Creel, who runs the Web site, says quality hangers also improve the look. “It’s amazing what a difference consistently sized and shaped hangers can make,” she says.

Toss out the wire hangers and put those big bulky suit hangers in storage, Creel says. Instead, use plastic tubular hangers, which can be purchased in bulk from almost any discount retailer.  Izsak suggests taking it a step further by grouping similar clothing items together and facing the same direction.

If a seller decides to empty out closets entirely before showings, it’s smart to add a few decorative touches by hanging a dress and placing a hat box on the top shelf, Fisher says. Just as it’s smart to make sure closets are no more than two-thirds full, it’s also important that they’re not completely barren.

Always Think Creatively

One thing is certain: it’s always better to show off a home’s closets in their best light — even if they’re small — than it is to act as if the storage space is a downside of a property. As popular as walk-in closets are, some buyers may not be put off by smaller storage spaces.

As is the case in any other room of the house, if a small closet is “too cluttered and too personalized, buyers won’t be able to picture their belongings in your space,” Fisher says.

But by putting the best face on any small space, you should be on track for a successful home showing.

Sandy Luedke-                                                     

Want a $7500 Tax Credit for Buying A Home?

November 7, 2008
If you’re considering taking advantage of this incredible buyers market to purchase for your first home, here’s some more good news that will help lesson the financial sting.  The $7,500 home ownership tax credit, which the federal government created earlier this year as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221) is a tool created by our government to encourage buyers, who may be sitting on the fence, to jump off and get into the real estate market.   

When you combine the tax credit with today’s low interest rates, wide selection of for-sale inventory, and affordable home prices, many of the pieces are in place for you to buy now.  But I understand that our tax codes and system of tax credits can be confusing. So, to help you understand how the credit works and why it would help you…you must learn the details.  


1. Buyers have until July 2009 to make a purchase that qualifies. 

The tax credit was passed in July of this year (2008) as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221). It’s worth up to $7,500 and can be taken in a single tax year. Authorization for the credit ends July 1, 2009, so if you wait to buy in the first half of 2009 they can take the credit on your 2009 tax return. Taxpayers can take the credit on their 2008 tax return if you bought your house this year after April 9. 

2. Buyers don’t really have to be “first-timers.”

The tax credit is actually available to any individual or household that hasn’t owned a home for at least three years. And the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) has asked Congress to expand the credit to all buyers, not just those who haven’t owned a primary residence in recent years. 

3. Even if buyers exceed the income limit, they can benefit from the credit. 

The actual credit amount is set as a percentage of the home purchase amount. That percentage amount is 10 percent, so you can get 10 percent of the home price credited against you tax liability, up to a maximum $7,500.  Sounds like a great deal.  But what if you make more money than the income limit of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for households?  Good news: Individuals whose income exceeds the $75,000 limit but don’t make more than $95,000 can still take the credit but on a reduced basis. The same thing applies to households earning up to $170,000.  By the way, any house is eligible as long as it’s a primary residence and is in the United States. 

4. Think of it as an interest-free loan.  

The federal government requires the tax credit to be paid back in small, 6.67-percent increments over 15 years, although repayment will be no more than $500 yearly and payments will not start until 2011. For that reason, some analysts have likened the credit to a 15-year, interest-free loan to help make home buying affordable.  NAR is pushing congress to remove the repayment provision, making this tax credit a true tax credit rather than an interest-free loan.  

5.  You don’t have to be authorized before making a home purchase. 

There is no pre-purchase authorization, application, or other approval process. Eligible buyers simply have to claim the credit on their IRS Form 1040 tax return and/or any form that the IRS might devise.  Check with your tax professional at Tax time to make sure all the i’s and dotted and t’s crossed. 

6. New-home construction qualifies. 

For a home that a you construct, (or contract for), the purchase date is the first date the buyer occupies the home.  However, any home that is not a primary residence, such as a vacation home or income property, does not qualify.    

NAR Asking Congress to Expand Credit   

As mentioned above, NAR has asked Congress to do away with the repayment provision of the first-time buyer tax credit and expand the credit to all home buyers, not just first-timers. The proposals were part of a four-point housing stimulus plan the association submitted in mid-October.  “Housing has always lifted the economy out of downturns, and it is imperative to get the housing market moving forward as quickly as possible,” said NAR President Richard F. Gaylord.It is vital to the economy that Congress take specific actions to boost the confidence of potential homebuyers in the housing market and make it easier for qualified buyers to get safe and affordable mortgage loans.”

For more information about this, Here are some resources to check with:  

Sandy Luedke-

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