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By Ronda Allen | Agent in Amarillo, TX
  • What is a pocket listing?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Amarillo  |  October 24, 2013 8:13 PM  |  428 views  |  No comments
    A pocket listing happens when you tell an agent that you want them to list their home, but not offer it to the multiple listing service for a period of time.  The agent can market it outside of the public listing, to select agents and customers.  This allows the seller to build anticipation about their upcoming public listing, or even attract a buyer before the home goes into the Multiple Listing Service.  If you have a unique property, and want to test a price to see what the market will bear - a pocket listing can be a way to test out a price on the higher end of the price range.  If there might be some deferred maintenance, comments during this pocket listing period can tell you where to focus time and money to fix up the home for maximum impact.  If you have reservations about selling, a pocket listing is a way to see how the market responds, but without the permanence of an MLS listing and the history that gets captured in the MLS.

    You don't have to be a million dollar property to be a pocket listing.  Agents know buyers in every price range.  A pocket listing is just one tool that a licensed agent may offer to their customers.

    Have a blessed day.

    Ronda Allen, C.P.M. SFR, TAHS
    Referral Agents of Texas

  • Cold weather home sales in Amarillo, Texas

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Amarillo  |  October 24, 2013 8:05 PM  |  428 views  |  No comments
    There is a chill in the air.  Leaves are falling.  It's getting dark earlier.  And, you have decided you want to sell your home.  There are a few things you can do to make your home stand out - even in the winter months:

    1.  Clean the windows.  Don't give in to the wind and dust of the Panhandle.  Let all the light into your home that you can.  Nobody says they want to buy a dark home.  People respond to light and bright.

    2.  Keep your home picked up.  Nobody wants to see your towel on the floor of the bathroom, still wet from your morning shower.  How can they make the home their own, when your presence is so visible?  Make the effort, so the buyer can see themselves living there.

    3.  Be aware of smells in the home.  The nose knows.  People can be turned on to a home by one smell in particular...the smell of nothing.  Just clean air.  If the home has any other odor - eliminate it.  Don't mask it with candles or scents.  That just makes people suspicious.

    4.  Decorate for the holidays.  If listed in October, put out some Halloween decorations. November - Thanksgiving festive decor.  December - absolutely deck out the house for the holidays.  Pretend you are throwing a party.  Better yet - actually throw one.  The more people who come to your home - the more people who might talk up your home.  Bring in the friends, relatives, and neighbors.  And, ask them to help pick their new neighbor.

    5.  Pack a few moving boxes and put them in the garage.  Leave some packing supplies out where they are visible.  It sends a message to the buyer that you are ready to move.  The first concern out of most buyers, when a home is 'show-ready' and there isn't a moving box in sight is "I wonder if they can be out of the house soon, so we won't have to make interim arrangements?"  

    6.  Keep the porch lights on, and the blinds open, into the evening.  It can feel like you are living in a fish bowl.  However, even though it gets dark earlier in the Winter, buyers tend to do a little stalking of the homes they like the most, before they offer on them.  Give them what they want...lights on, a view of the home, and the ability to emotionally connect with your home while your competition remains in the dark.

    7.  Give them a reason to stay.  In the Summer, it's easy to get the Buyer to want to stay in your nice, cool, air-conditioned home.  Put a bottled water out for them, to show you are compassionate about their having to be in and out of the car and the Texas Panhandle heat. But, what to do for the Winter months?  On an especially cold day, the heater works just as well.  Don't scrimp on the heat bill by keeping the home too cold.  Put out some beautiful Fall apples.  Steep some tea and leave the hot kettle on a cozy with a personal note and some travel cups.  The agent, and the buyers, will appreciate the gesture.  Or, support a local business and leave a gift card on the counter for the agent to use at Roasters, Starbucks, etc... - anything to let them know you appreciate their visit to your home and consideration for purchase, despite the weather.

    8.  Add a pop of color.  Winter can be drab.  Make sure your home is not.  Some bright throw pillows, some Fall mums in pots by the front door or on the back patio, fresh kitchen towels, or a cute and colorful lamp in your entryway.  All these things can take the drab to fab.

    Please notice that I did not recommend that you light a fire in the fireplace or leave candles burning in your home.  Keep safety first, and don't leave any fires burning when you are out of the home and expecting a showing.  

    Have a blessed day.

    Ronda Allen, C.P.M., SFR, TAHS
    Referral Agents of Texas


  • What is a Referral Agent in Texas?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Prosper, Home Selling in Prosper, Rent vs Buy in Prosper  |  March 28, 2012 5:41 PM  |  2,805 views  |  No comments
    When the real estate market in DFW took a turn for the worse in 2008, we knew our time had come to feel the effects of the recession.  We (real estate agents) had to decide if we would ride this market out, like the typical waves of good times and bad times in this industry, or if we'd bail out of the industry altogether.  I watched very good real estate agents make both decisions in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. 

    There is a third option for agents, and I'm surprised that many of them don't know about this particular option.  In 2010, I had my own decision to make, as the recession was still going strong, and I was considering offers from corporate America that were looking much more attractive than carving out a living in real estate while the country continued to recover.  I opted to become a Referral Agent.

    A Referral Agent sends buyers and sellers to an awesome agent for a high level of personal service.  Referral Agents can make that critical connection for people, so they can feel confident that they're going to be working with a professional agent who really works the immediate area in which they're looking.  Haven't you noticed that many agents will claim to work everywhere, but they're not really an expert anywhere?  Referral Agents make connections.  They have no skin in the game on which home you choose, which loan you choose, and they won't be along for the ride when you tour homes.  Their area of expertise is matching sellers and buyers to the right agent.

    What are the benefits of being a Referral Agent?  Our real estate license is ACTIVE, and our fees are REDUCED (no showings = no Supra keycard or board dues).  We're in the business of people.

    Ever wish you could fire a real estate agent, but you are too uncomfortable with that prospect, so you just keep working with them (or hide from their phone calls and emails?).  Your Referral Agent can handle that for you, and then assess your needs and connect you with the right real estate agent.  Every agent cannot be a match for every buyer and seller.  There are just some personalities that don't mesh well.  You truly cannot please everyone.  So, it's important that someone know how to ask the right questions about what you want from your home buying or home selling experience. 

    Want an agent who specializes in buyers only, listings only, or a buying agent who will also be happy to help you lease a home instead?  The Referral Agent can weed through the list of agents on your behalf, so that you remain anonymous. 

    Referral agents, because they are fully licensed real estate agents, can accept referral fees from other agents.  Because of that, they can offer their services free of charge to the buyer or seller.  The agent lucky enough to earn your business is happy to hear from a referral agent.  Their marketing, or their reputation, or even the past transactional experiences with the referring agent helps them stand out.  Results matter.  Earning business through a referring agent is a high compliment in real estate.  It's one professional calling upon the services of another professional of equal measure.  Peer-to-peer referrals build trust between the agents and the clients.  When both sides are happy, nobody is looking for an escape hatch, and they can focus on the task at hand.  There are enough things to focus on when buying or selling a home.  Not knowing how to find/select the right agent can be taken right off your plate with one phone call to a Referral Agent.

    Have a blessed day!

    Ronda Allen, C.P.M., SFR, TAHS
    Referral Agents of Texas, LLC
    Phone:  972-816-4369

  • Prosper, TX: I know something you don't know...

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Prosper, Home Buying in Prosper, Home Selling in Prosper  |  November 9, 2010 5:56 PM  |  5,421 views  |  1 comment
    Any real estate agent who considers themself to be 'hyper-local' to a specific area can begin to create an environment where they really are the expert in local real estate.  So much of what we do as real estate agents isn't what we're working right this very minute, but what we have in our pipeline.  As a hot growth market, I am currently working 32 buyer/seller leads just in Prosper, TX.  Many of these clients haven't actively begun their home sale or home search.  But, I know who they are, where they are, and how to reach them.  I will sell some of them homes on our very first day out.  I know the inventory, which makes it easier on them.  They can sit back and enjoy a ride around Prosper to less than half a dozen houses that they would be perfectly content to call home.  In Prosper, TX, they can have new construction build jobs or builder specs, or a sampling of resale homes in all price brackets.  I say sampling, because there are typically fewer than 200 homes available in Prosper at any given time.  And, sometimes the home that is just right is actually one that is in the pipeline and not even known by the general public.

    Have a blessed day!

    Ronda Allen, Realtor
    C.P.M., SFR, TAHS
    RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs
  • Expired homes of Prosper - Off the market does not mean a home is unavailable

    Posted Under: General Area in Prosper, Home Buying in Prosper, Home Selling in Prosper  |  October 29, 2010 4:39 PM  |  5,472 views  |  No comments

    Today, one of my listings that came off the market in Prosper, TX is being shown to a prospective buyer.  That listing actually came off the market a couple of weeks ago.  The owner decided not to sell the house.  That was, until a buyer made contact through their agent and asked me if this home was still available.  We reactivated the listing, for this buyer, and they are touring it now.  They have no competition for this home.  Nobody else is aware the home is available.  And, the owner is thrilled that this buyer liked their home enough from the marketing that they all but demanded to have it included in their home tour.

    Sounds like a win/win, right?  You would be correct.  Sometimes, a home comes off the market early, because the sellers become fatigued waiting for their buyers to get their current home sold.  That was the case here.  But, that does not always mean that the home is unavailable.  It never hurts to ask, and this is not one isolated incident of this occurrence.

    There are currently 328 expired listings in Prosper, TX that expand the list of available properties for every Prosper buyer in every price point.  Ruling out these homes would be unthinkable.  Every one of these sellers was highly motivated to sell, and committed to the process.  But, they got tired of waiting for their buyer.  And, I'll let you in on a secret that buyers just don't realize.  There was nothing wrong with the overwhelming majority of these homes.  Their buyer just didn't show up in the timing the seller wanted.

    By no means a Prosper-only scenario, buyers need to ask their agents to research all available and expired options in the local community, and not lose out on the opportunity for just the right home, rather than limiting the search to only those homes that are currently posted in active status in the MLS.

    Have a blessed day!


    Ronda Allen - Realtor

    Certified Purchasing Manager - C.P.M.

    Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource - SFR

    Texas Affordable Housing Specialist - TAHS

    CEO of comingsoonhomes.com since 2005

    Activerain.com #1 Realtor in Prosper, TX and Top 130 in Texas (10/2010)

    RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs #1 Office for RE/MAX in the North Texas region 2009 and first half 2010!

    Follow us on twitter:  www.twitter.com/comingsoonhomes and http://www.twitter.com/prospertxhomes

  • Prosper, TX - Affordable neighborhoods in Prosper, Texas (2010)

    Posted Under: General Area in Prosper, Home Buying in Prosper, Home Selling in Prosper  |  October 28, 2010 3:17 PM  |  6,537 views  |  No comments

    With one of the highest home sale averages in the DFW Metroplex, Prosper, TX is a hot commodity.  But, don't assume there are no affordable housing options in Prosper, Texas.  Luxury homes are defined in DFW as homes with a price over $350,000.  In Prosper, I consider the luxury market to start at $300,000.  But, all of these Prosper neighborhoods contain homes that are much more affordable:


    Legacy Homes is down to a single spec home left before they are all closed out in Glenbrooke.  D.R. Horton is still building.  Starting in the $140,000's, this neighborhood sits on the Western edge of Prosper, next to the Savannah master-planned community.


    Originally a Centex master-planned community, this neighborhood was sold by the company a couple of years ago.  Homes listed in this neighborhood typically start in the $170,000's. 

    Hillside and Valley View

    What we refer to as 'original Prosper', or the downtown area.  Homes built in the 1960's to current construction, with no HOA.  Currently, listings in Hillside start in the $120,000's.  Valley View listings start in the $140,000's. 

    Rhea Mills Estates

    These acreage properties are not govered by an HOA.  Typically built post-1990, this is a great neighborhood to consider when you'd like an acre or more of land and a price tag starting around $200,000.

    Cedar Ridge Estates

    Originally a K. Hovnanian neighborhood, Bloomfield Homes came in a couple of years ago to finish out the subdivision.  Homes in this neighborhood, which is centrally located on First Street, just East of Preston Road, start just above $200,000 for single story home built this year.  If you are looking for affordable new construction, then touring both of Bloomfield's models is a must.  If you have an interest in a home with the same great location, but more upgrades, I have the former K. Hovnanian model home listed at $429,000 in Cedar Ridge Estates. 

    Collin Green

    If a home with just under 2,000 square feet of living space is more to your liking, and you like lots of land, then Collin Green listings currently start at $210,000.  That buys you a 1997-built, single-story home on just over an acre.  Personally, I like a reasonably sized home with lots of outdoor space.  Collin Green is a great value, and has no HOA.

    Preston Lakes

    From $212,500 - Preston Lakes is a neighborhood that currently starts lower than it should, due to having a couple of distressed properties.  That $212,500 buys you a home over 3,600 square feet, built in 2003, with a 3-car garage and a lot size of more than .30 acres.  That's phenomenal buy for a real-estate owned property (REO) that is no impacted by any foreclosure freeze.  Preston Lakes does have an HOA of $150/quarter.

    Trails of Prosper

    Trails of Prosper homes currently list starting below $225,000.  New and resale options are available in this central Prosper community.  Lot sizes are mostly in the quarter acre range and the HOA is $350/year.  There is also a mix of 2-car and 3-car garages in this subdivision.

    Village at Prosper Trail

    Megatel Homes just started building in Prosper this year, and they have home listings currently from $229,000 for a 4-bedroom, single story home with almost 2300 square feet of living space.  Getting an EnergyStar certified home for under $250,000 is pretty amazing!

    Lakes of La Cima

    What?  One of the prettiest master-planned communities in Prosper is on the affordable housing list?  Yes.  Homes on the East side of La Cima Boulevard currently list from the $230,000's.  Keep in mind that with 3 stocked lakes, 2 playgrounds, community pool, party gazeebo, and 40 acres of greenbelt space, Lakes of La Cima's HOA is just under $200/quarter, so some who are looking for affordable housing may have to rule it out of their search.  But, as a resident of Lakes of La Cima, I can attest that the value of those HOA amenities to my family are priceless.  I took a 30-minute walk this afternoon down to one of the lakes to feed the ducks and around past one of the parks (where a family was flying kites today), and that is a welcome daily respite from the stresses of my day.  I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

    Stone Creek

    Located off Preston Road, just North of Broadway, Stone Creek homes were mainly built in the early 2000's and currently start in the $230,000's.  This is a great subdivision for folks who don't require a community pool and want a little distance from their neighbors (lot sizes are mostly around .50 acres).  Also, the HOA is an affordable $300/year.  Comprised of only a few streets, I would describe this as a niche neighborhood. 

    Bradford Farms

    Another acreage community with no HOA, Bradford Farms is a great option for those who want more of a country-living experience in an area with superb schools.  Starting from $250,000 for a 4-bedroom home built in the late 1990's, with a little over 3,000 square feet of living space, and a full acre of land, Bradford Farms definitely makes my 'affordable' category.

    Raewood on Preston

    More acreage choices with no HOA in the heart of Prosper, Raewood is located off Preston Road and Preston Trail.  Starting in the $250,000's, this a great choice for all the conveniences in Prosper and the land associated with country properties.  Most lots are just over 1 acre of land. 

    Gentle Creek Estates

    A golf community in Prosper with homes currently starting in the $250,000's, Gentle Creek Estates is situated between Prosper Trail and 1461 at Coit Road.  We refer to Gentle Creek as 'sought after' in much of our marketing, because it is often the reason people start to search for homes in Prosper, TX.  With a top home sale price well over $1 million, it isn't what we would refer to typically as an affordable neighborhood.  But, some of the smaller, single story homes do fit the category.  With an HOA of $780/year, this factor may rule out the affordability factor for some buyers.

    So, the next time you hear someone say that they'd love to live in Prosper, but the homes just are too expensive, remind them that the advertised average price is just an average, and that there are plenty of affordable housing options in Prosper, TX.

    Have a blessed day!


    Ronda Allen - Realtor

    Certified Purchasing Manager - C.P.M.

    Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource - SFR

    Texas Affordable Housing Specialist - TAHS

    CEO of comingsoonhomes.com since 2005

    Activerain.com #1 Realtor in Prosper, TX and Top 130 in Texas! (10/2010)

    RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs #1 Office for RE/MAX in the North Texas region 2009 and 1st half 2010!

    Follow us on twitter:  www.twitter.com/comingsoonhomes and http://www.twitter.com/prospertxhomes

  • Life in Prosper, TX: Remember to schedule routine checks on gas fixtures

    Posted Under: General Area in Prosper, Home Buying in Prosper, Home Selling in Prosper  |  October 22, 2010 6:00 AM  |  5,529 views  |  No comments

    You moved to Prosper, TX.  You love your home.  You change your air filters out quarterly.  You mow your lawn every week.  You put out fresh mulch in the landscaping once a year.  You run your sprinklers when we don't have steady rainfall.  Is this the extent of your home maintenance schedule? 

    Someone who has become a good friend to me in the past ten years is the local plumber.  Believe it or not, he is the one contractor who gets called out to homes more than any other, in the course of my home sale transactions.  But, it isn't usually for plumbing issues.  That surprised me.  The most common reason we call out a plumber for repairs during the course of a real estate transaction, in my experience, has been to do routine maintenance to gas fixtures in the home that have never been serviced.

    My plumber friend suggested a regular maintenance schedule for gas fixtures as not only a routine service, like you would do on your HVAC (heating and air conditioning), but also as a safety feature.  Leaky gas fixtures in a home are a hazard.

    I was a little skeptical, at first, that a plumber would recommend a routine maintenance schedule.  But, then time proved him right on home sale after home sale.  His service call fee is $85.00/hour.  And, he only suggested a visit every 3-5 years.  In one visit, he was able to check all of the following fixtures in a home in one and a half hours:

    The gas cooktop, gas starter/gas log fireplace, gas water heater, and the exterior gas bib to the barbecue grill.  That isn't all.  In the same appointment, he checked all the toilets, showers, baths, sinks, and exterior water spigots. 

    I've seen repair bills on home sales come in between $0 - $thousands.  Most of the time, repairs are on items that have been ignored by the seller since the day they took ownership of the house.  Not every problem in a home is going to be visible to the seller.  But, I have found that in many of these home sales, it would have been a lot less expensive for the seller if they had put all of their major home systems on their routine maintenance schedule.

    Have a blessed day!


    Ronda Allen - Realtor

    Certified Purchasing Manager - C.P.M.

    Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource - SFR

    Texas Affordable Housing Specialist - TAHS

    CEO of comingsoonhomes.com since 2005

    Activerain.com #1 Realtor in Prosper, TX, #15 in Collin County, Top 130 in Texas! (10/2010)

    RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs #1 Office for RE/MAX in the North Texas region 2009 and 1st half 2010!

    Follow us on twitter:  www.twitter.com/comingsoonhomes and http://www.twitter.com/prospertxhomes

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