Homeownership: What Papers Do I Keep and What Do I throw Away?


If you recently purchased your first home, are considering selling your home or are just sorting your files, you need to consider which documents to throw away and which to keep.  When looking at the files for your home, here are some handy tips:

  1. LOAN DOCUMENTS, DEEDS and FINAL SETTLEMENT STATEMENTS Always keep any final loan documents, deeds or final settlement statements from the title company.  We used such documents dating back decades to reinstate my husband’s VA eligibility when we assumed a VA loan several years ago.  We recently needed the final closing statement to prove the ownership of our present house to use the lifetime warranty to get parts for our Genie garage door opener that quit after many years.
  2. APPRAISALS and BUILDER’S PLANS Retain any former appraisals or builder’s plans because these will verify the correct size of your home. Often the size of the home according to the taxing authorities is not right.  When you try to sell your home, and the buyer’s appraisal gives a size that is different than the square footage you used to market your home, you might delay your sale and need to adjust your sales price.  The floor plan and the actual builder’s plan can be used to market your home and are helpful for the new buyer.
  3. HOA DOCUMENTS When you list your home for sale, you will need a copy of the contact information for the HOA and the ability to get the covenants for the subdivision. Your title company will need to know the costs involved in the sale and transfer of your property in an HOA.  Access to the HOA rules will be helpful, too.  This information might be on a website or in the documentation you received when you purchased your home.  The rules may be especially important, for example, if the new buyer wants to store a boat or trailer, park a work truck with signage or build a workshop.  Because HOA rules and fees can change, you may want to throw away old information when it is replaced with updated information.  The HOA information needs to include how the new owners can enjoy the community amenities and should address such issues as how they receive a community pool key after closing.
  4. UTILITY BILLS Utility bills are very important to new buyers. Century 21 Alliance Properties will ask you for the annual average cost for your gas, electricity and water.  I always believe this information should include how many people live in the home.  Contact information for the necessary utilities is very helpful.
  5. OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS Documentation about other service providers could help the new buyers, too. Who provides your cable service and your internet?  Do you have a company monitoring your security system?  If you are satisfied with these services, please provide the information, and the new buyers can choose these if they wish.  I do not recommend transferring contracts between sellers and buyers because of my past experience with financial confusion and bad results when a seller tried to transfer her contract.  Expired and out of date contracts for these services can be discarded.
  6. RECEIPTS and WARRANTIES Keep a special file with information about all of the small, extra features of your home, such as your smart home system, your water filter, or your recently replaced garbage disposal. If these are new items that might impress a potential buyer, you might want to leave this documentation in a neat file on the counter for the buyers to see when they visit your home and allow them to be part of your marketing.  You might even like to make a list of what was recently added to your home.  After the sale of your home, you should pass along this file so that the new buyer can have it to buy replacement parts or maintain these items.  Keep receipts for repairs on appliances, warranties, and information booklets.  The new buyer will be grateful.  Don’t forget to update this file as the years go by and toss out information about whatever is replaced or discarded.
  7. SELLER’S DISCLOSURE Our standard Seller’s Disclosure asks when your roof was last replaced, so when you list your home be sure you can locate receipts for all roof repairs and replacements. Keep warranties and all documentation.  The condition of your roof is a major concern when you sell your home.  Have a file for your homeowner’s insurance handy because you will most likely be calling your insurance agent if a home inspector has serious questions about the condition of your roof.
  8. SWIMMING POOLS Swimming pools deserve their own file which should include receipts such as those for the original installation, repairs, maintenance and chemicals.  The new owners might appreciate information about maintaining the pool and where to buy pool chemicals.  Maybe you have a pool care company you can recommend.  I have had sellers graciously give “pool lessons” to new owners who will be enjoying their first pool.
  9. FLOORING Flooring is not just carpet any more. Again a folder with information about the proper care and replacement of a floor will be very helpful.  New buyers appreciate the extra tiles, planks or carpet pieces in case repair is necessary to a small area of the flooring.
  10. FIREPLACES Fireplaces need cleaning and care if they are used for more than just decoration. Keep the manuals and receipts for fireplace maintenance.
  11. FOUNDATION REPAIR Has your home had foundation repairs?  Potential buyers will need to know the extent of these repairs, such as whether you dug in French drains. Our best foundation repair companies have a lifetime warranty on their repair work, but you will need to refer to the original repair documentation to make a claim.  The repair companies often require the new owners to submit an application and pay a transfer fee to get the warranty.  The warranty is often for the area where the previous work was done and isn’t for the entire house.  Also keep all reports from structural engineers where you can easily find them to pass these along to a potential new owner.
  12. WOOD DESTROYING INSECTS The Seller’s Disclosure asks about any treatment for damage from wood destroying insects such as termites, carpenter ants or army ants. Be sure to keep any receipts for inspections, treatments or repairs related to these insects.  Sellers must disclose damage going back as long as anyone had knowledge of the insects’ activity, which means retaining information that was given even by a previous owner.  Never throw away termite treatment information on property you currently own!
  13. MINERAL RIGHTS Maybe you live in an area where you own your subsurface rights, in other words, your mineral rights. If you are receiving payments from an oil and gas company, or a request to purchase or lease these mineral rights, you may wish to retain these rights.  Have an orderly file with your lease available for reference.  If you received requests in the past to purchase or lease your mineral rights, you probably have your mineral rights, but in many of the newer subdivisions, the developers or previous owners have these rights.
  14. BUILDING PERMITS If you do extensive remodeling or repairs, you may need building permits from your city for the work. If you have any questions about what needs a building permit, check with your local city office about the rules and regulations.  Professional plumbers and electricians will get the necessary permits for work they do, and you will want to keep any paper work they give to you.  Changing a floor plan, removing a load-bearing wall or adding a deck are other modifications that should have permits and an inspections.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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September 2016

September sales in Saginaw represented the end of the frantic summer selling season.  Forty two homes sold in Saginaw in the month of September.  These homes had contracts written as early as August or possibly July.  Only 14 homes were on the market for two weeks or more.  Most homes sold in less than two weeks with contract sales prices that were 99.67% of the list price.  The sold prices for Saginaw homes was between $121,250 and $347,036.

Sales included new construction and older homes.  Three newly built homes sold in Creekwood and two new homes sold in Saginaw Springs.  These were the homes with prices over $300,000.  Nine homes were built before 1990 which included three from Saginaw North and five from Rancho North.  These w homes sold for less than $150,000.  Highland Station also had brisk sales activity with five sales that ranged from $154,000 to $179,000.

The middle of October finds us with a more typical, more relaxed fall real estate market with fewer multiple offers and less buyers actively trying to outbid each other on homes than we had last spring and summer. Now buyers can take the time to carefully consider a home purchase, but they should not wait too long.  At least a family can carefully discuss a home’s benefits before jumping into a contract.  If you are considering buying a Saginaw area home, please call me. I have several excellent lenders who can help you prequalify for a mortgage.  I can also set you up a personalized online search for homes that meet your special criteria.  When you find a home you like, you can contact me immediately, and we will make plans to preview the home just as soon as possible, often that day.  Because you are seeing new listings just as soon as they come on the market, you will not miss out on homes that sell very quickly.  Please call me, text me or send me an e-mail, and I will begin your home search.

If you have been thinking about selling your home, please contact me to learn more about the local market and how I can serve you.  Now is still a good time to sell your home.  The local inventory of homes for sale is very low, and we have eager buyers.  By selling at this time of the year, you can take advantage of the price appreciation we saw throughout the spring and summer of this year when multiple offers were causing prices to go higher and higher. By selling now your home’s appraisal will be higher because the comparable sales for your area will include all of the high prices from the amazing spring and summer market.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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August 2016

The August home sales in Saginaw were astounding.  A total of 52 homes sold, and twenty five of these houses sold in less than two weeks.  The least expensive home sold for $80,000 and the most expensive  house sold for $359,280.  The least expensive home is located in Rancho North and was built in 1962.  It has three bedrooms, a converted garage and one and a half bathrooms.  The most expensive home is a new home in Creekwood with five bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and a two car garage.  It is 3325 square feet.  The average sales price for a Saginaw home sold in August was $189,916.

The average Saginaw seller received 99.28% of the list price as the final sales price.  This percentage is deceiving because of the various segments of the market.  Here is the breakdown of the market by three price points:  Eight houses sold for less than $150,000.  The average year built was 1976.  These houses were on the market for an average of 24 days and sold for 93.95% of list price.  These homes are often less popular because they need more repairs and updates than newer homes.  The second category of homes were those priced from $150,000 to $220,000.  The average year built was 2001.  These sold for an average of 101.03% of list price, which indicates owners often received multiple offers.  The average time on the market was only twelve days.  Houses above $220,000 represent the most expensive homes.  The average home was built in 2011 and had 2544 square feet.  These sold in 110 days for 98.85% of list price.

August sales represented contract that were often executed as early as June because new lending rules require a 45 day closing for many loans.  These August sales included new homes for families who wished to be settled before the start of the new school year.  Now agents are preparing for fall sales which are a little different.  Adult family members and those with new employment in our area will continue to be looking for homes as they move from other places.  Now their goal could be to settle in before the holidays or before bad weather comes to other parts of the country.  No one wants to load a moving van in a Kansas blizzard!  We also still have buyers who were not able to purchase a home because they were not fast enough to be first in the craziness that was our spring market.  They are still looking for homes, and the comparable sales will probably justify a higher price for your home than you might have received last spring.  This could be a great time to sell your home!  Please call me, e-mail me or text me to learn more about what is happening in Saginaw real estate and how I can help you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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June 2014

June’s home sales in Saginaw kept rolling along at a frantic pace with 46 homes sold through MLS.  The average price of a Saginaw home was $190,163 and the median price was $178,750.  The prices ranged from $69,900 for a three bedroom, one bathroom home built in 1953 up to new construction in Creekwood that sold for $311,044, $324,900, and $342,040.  Newly constructed homes also sold in Saginaw Springs and Willow Vista Estates, but these houses sold for about $250,000 each.

The average time on the market for all homes was 35 days.  Very few homes were for sale for a month although some of the older homes built before 1985 sold in approximately 30 days.  Expensive homes truly upset the average with one newly constructed home selling in 132 days, another in 261 day and one after 107 days.  Thirty three homes sold in ten days or less.  These quick sales mean less stress for the sellers when they must only keep their homes show-ready for only a very few days before the house has a contract and distress for the buyers as they try to make offers and decisions so quickly.

The average percentage of the list price to the final sales price of homes sold in June shows how much the market was truly a sellers’ market.  The average home sold for 99.63 % of list price.  The highest percentage was 105.92% of list price, which was a final price of about $10,000 above the list price.  The greatest percentage price reduction was 90.35% of list price. Only sixteen of the 46 home sales were for prices less than the listing price.  Houses listed for more than $250,000 had the most price reductions.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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May 2016

Just when we thought the Saginaw market was hot, it got even hotter!  In May thirty-six houses sold in Saginaw including six newly constructed homes in Creekwood, Saginaw Springs and Willow Vista.  The new homes ranged in price from $238,131 to $386,853.

Let’s look at averages for May Saginaw sales omitting new construction.  The average home was built in 1999 with the oldest home being constructed in 1972.  The newest was built in 2010.

The average size of a home sold was 2033 square feet.  Only three houses with less than 1600 square feet sold.  This is significant because we have many buyers looking for their first home or wanting to downsize. If a small home is what they desire, we have few for sale.

The list price of the average house was $175,955, but the sold price was $176,562, which means that the average home sold for 100.46% of list price.  Bidding wars and offers above list price drove these prices up.  Twenty-one of the thirty homes sold at list price or above. Three homes sold for less than $140,000, and six sold for more than $200,000.

The time on the market average was only 10 days.  Twenty three of the thirty homes sold in less than one week.  Five homes had swimming pools, and these homes all sold in less than one week.  Many homes go under contract so quickly because buyers’ agents and house hunters know they will miss out if they do not write an offer immediately when they see a home they like.

If you would like more information or my assistance in buying or selling in this market, please call me, text me or e-mail me.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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April 2016

Thirty-three homes sold in April in Saginaw. These sales continued the trend of a hot seller’s market for preowned, more affordable homes and the steady sales of larger, more expensive new construction.  The least expensive homes both sold for $125,000.  One was in Parkwest and the other in Saginaw North.  Both houses were about 1400 square feet. The most expensive homes were two that sold for $360,000.  These were new construction in Creekwood with 3302 square feet and 3286 square feet.

The average size of a home that sold in April was 2095 square feet, but 17 homes were less than 2000 square feet. Only three houses were more than 3000 square feet, the two most expensive homes in Creekwood and a large home in Highland Station home built in 2001 with 3655 square feet that sold for $219,000.

With the sales prices ranging from $125,000 to $360,000, the April average price for a home that sold in Saginaw was $191,260.  The median price was $172,000.  The average home sold for 99.57% of the list price.  Thirteen of the homes sold for more than list price and seven for full price.  Buyers can’t find any bargains here!

Including the new construction, the average home was on the market for forty days.  Leaving out the new construction brought the average time on the market down to twenty days, and thirteen homes sold in less than two weeks.  Even these numbers are deceiving because they represent the extra time that agents allowed for buyers to bring their highest and best offers after receiving multiple offers on a home right after it came on the market.  Because of the pressure to make quick buying decisions in this frantic market, more buyers are changing their minds about purchasing a home during the option period, and these houses come back on the market, adding to the average days on the market when they are finally go under contract with another buyer.  In the past when more homes were available for sale, buyers thought longer before making the initial offers, and less homes came back on the market because buyers decided the home just wasn’t quite right for them.  Because buyers frequently change their minds, writing a back-up contract can be a smart strategy in this market.

If you would like more detailed information about marketing your home or the local market, please contact me.  To serve buyers I can set up an instant search for homes meeting your special criteria.  I can help you be the first to see and make an offer on homes in our area.  With my expert knowledge of our neighborhoods and community, I can help you make wise choices.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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March 2016

The March 2016 sales for Saginaw followed the trend of the last few months with a low inventory of houses for sale in the lower price ranges.  Only ten houses sold for less than $150,000, and twelve sold for between $150,000 and $200,000.  Eight houses sold for more than $200,000 with the highest priced home selling for $332,871.  This home was new construction in the Creekwood subdivision.  The average sold price for a home was $176,675, and the average year built was 1997.

Three types of homes sold in Saginaw last month.  First were the rare investor homes with structural problems.  These do not qualify for FHA, VA or even some conventional financing.  Cash buyers can find bargains for less than $100,000 if they can do repairs such as foundation work.  These homes are sometimes foreclosures, but individuals who are unable to make the repairs also sell distressed properties.  The second group of homes were the preowned homes.  Twenty-two of these homes sold with an average sold price of $161, 568.  The final sold price was 99.24% of the list price, and the average days on the market was 21 although the median days on the market was only 6 days.  Twelve houses sold in less than one week.  New construction is the third type of home in Saginaw.  Five newly built homes sold with prices ranging from $250,000 to $332,871.

This frantic market is good for sellers but a challenge for buyers.  If you wish to purchase an existing home in Saginaw, and you are not already working with another real estate agent, contact me and I will set you up a personal, online search that will send you information about listings as they come on the market.  These updates are sent to potential buyers within minutes of when they hit the market.  If you contact me immediately, I will set up a showing for you as soon as possible, often within the day.  When sellers are receiving as many as ten offers on one property after the first day on the market, you need an aggressive buyer’s agent who can serve you promptly.  Do you need a mortgage lender?  I can provide you with several lenders who give excellent service with competitive rates.  Please contact me if I can help you in any way.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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February 2016

The Saginaw Residential Real Estate Market
Remains a Wonderful Seller’s Market

A total of twenty- six houses sold through multiple listing in February 2016 in Saginaw.  One foreclosure sold in Highland Station which was an online auction sale.  That property was on the market for 144 days.  Another foreclosure sold in Rancho North.  McBee, who sells new construction, sold one house in Willow Vista.  Two homes sold in North Fork Estates where homes are on acre lots.  These residences sold for $225,000 and $290,000.  Even calculating these outlaying sales into the average, the average sold price of a Saginaw home was $166,000. The average time on the market was 21 days and the average seller received 99.88% of the list price.

When we eliminate foreclosures, new construction and homes with acreage, only twenty homes sold in Saginaw in February.  Of these twenty only one sold for more than $200,000, a home with a pool in Willow Creek Estates.  The least expensive home sold for $130,000.  The average price of these twenty homes that sold by individuals in Saginaw last month was $159,195.  The average list price was an incredible $158,985.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The average house sold for 100.25% of the list price! The average home was on the market 15 days, but eight of the homes were on the market less than a week.  Often the extra days on the market are because the buyers are in a multiple offer situation, and the seller has asked for the highest and best offer. The seller will give time for more offers to come in and for buyers to talk to their lenders and partners about higher offers.  These frequent multiple offers make this a great sellers’ market!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Tax exemption

If you purchased your current home in 2015 and reside at that address, now is the time to file for your homestead exemption.  If you have received “official looking” notifications in the mail wanting you to pay for this service, you can throw these away.  Filing for your homestead exemption is completely FREE with your tax assessor’s office.  You can easily get all of the information by searching the Tarrant Appraisal District website online.  Please call me if I can help you in anyway.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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January 2016

In January Saginaw Homes Sell at List Price or More

The most surprising news from last month’s Saginaw home sales was the fact that the average sales price was 100.39% of the list price. Twenty- three houses sold in Saginaw in January for an average price of $162,502.  Eleven of these sold above the list price, and five sold for the list price.  Let’s look at what these numbers mean.  For many of the homes, the higher price is actually the list price with extra money rolled in for closing costs for the buyer.  Only a few months ago a full price offer with a request for the seller to pay some closing costs could buy most homes but not in our current market. Two homes actually sold for prices significantly above the list price without the seller paying closing costs.  Both were large two story houses with downstairs master bedrooms in the 76131 ZIP  code area.  Both had large lots, and one had an inground swimming pool and sold for $207,000.

Are you wondering which homes didn’t sell for full price?  A vacant former rental property that sold immediately went for a discount.  Possibly the investor wanted a quick sale.  Another home with bright colored walls didn’t close on time, and the price reflected the market at the time of the signed contract last fall.  Houses with all of the bedrooms upstairs sold at a slight discount.

The five homes that sold for more than $200,000 were interesting.  The home in North Fork Estates, the house in Creekwood and the two story in Heather Ridge all sold at a discount. The house with the pool in Highland Station brought the seller and extra $2000 over list price, and the new Antares home in Saginaw Springs sold for the list price of $224,848.

The average days on the market was 34, but this number is very deceiving.  The new Antares home took 197 days to sell, and eight houses sold in less than a week. Now attractive, less expensive homes will get showings and offers immediately although several days may pass before all of the documents are signed to have an executed contract.  When the listing agent receives multiple offers, the seller may ask for a “highest and best offer” and give everyone a couple of days to check with lenders before the final execution of the best offer.  These multiple offer situations are very common in our current market.  I received six offers on my recent listing in Parkwest.  This negotiation time adds to the days on the market.

The statistics for last month’s Saginaw sales were very unique in another special way.  No houses sold in the $166,000 to $204,000 price range, and the average year built was 1997.  Many Saginaw subdivisions didn’t report a single sale.  I think these numbers reflect the fact that many Saginaw residents are not moving, and these price ranges are close to the cost of new construction.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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The lease scam is with us again!  Be careful of rentals advertised on Craigslist!  Criminals will search the internet for homes that appear to be vacant and then advertise them for lease, usually at enticingly low rents.  The scam artists pose as the owner or as a legitimate leasing agent.  The imposter wants you to meet them at the property or send money for the rent and a deposit.  The mailing address they give you is often out of the country so that they avoid US mail fraud charges. The criminals take your money and disappear. The house they use for their crime might actually be for sale, and not for lease at all.  This scam was especially common during the Recession when so many foreclosures sat vacant for many months.

If you are interested in a lease property, rent through a Realtor or know the person who is leasing the property to you.  If you lease directly from the owner, you can ask the landlord for identification and check the ownership of the property in the tax records.  Contact me if I can help you check the status of a property in MLS.  If you think you have uncovered a criminal scam, please contact the authorities.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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December 2015

Only twenty- five homes sold in Saginaw in December 2015.  Fewer sales were the result of lack of inventory for homes less than $200,000, new lending rules that delayed closings and normal seasonal adjustments.  At this time only fourteen homes are for sale in Saginaw for less than $200,000.

Of the twenty- five houses sold last month, six sold for less than $100,000, and five of these sold for cash.  These homes were opportunities for fixing up and reselling, renting or acquiring a home to enjoy, but houses in this price range in our market require repairs and work.  My listing in Saginaw North sold for $89,000 cash and needed foundation work, a new air conditioner and new landscaping, which is a typical scenario in our Saginaw market.

Low inventories continued to plague our market in December in the moderate price ranges.  Only eight houses sold for between $110,000 and $180,000 in the 76179 zip code.  These houses usually sold for list price.  The lowest relationship between sales price to list price was a discount of 2.47 %.  In other words, the buyer paid 97.53% of list price.  Even that transaction was not what it appeared.  The low appraisal reduced the sales price from the original list price to allow the new buyer to obtain a loan.  The average time on the market was 16 days, and the longest market time was only 46 days.

The 76131 zip code had nine sales with a price range from $140,000 to $225,000.  The average sales price was 100% of list price with the largest discount between list price and sales price being 6%.  This buyer paid 94% of the list price.  The average time on the market was 26 days, and longest time was 75 days.  The homes sold in 76131 include more big two story homes than those sold in 76179.  These generally take longer to sell than the one stories.

As Saginaw has grown, the traffic on Main Street Saginaw and Blue Mound Road has increased greatly.  The trains that come through our town also increase travel time from one side of the city to the other.  The result is buyers moving to our area who request a home in 76179, the western part of Saginaw, or 76131, the eastern part, depending upon where they plan to travel each day.

As of January 8, 2016, thirty-four homes were for sale in Saginaw for more than $200,000.  Many of these are new construction in the Creekwood, Dominion, Willow Vista or Saginaw Springs subdivisions.  The most expensive home was on Mangrove Trail in Creekwood with a list price of $396,829.

The new year is beginning with low inventories for existing homes and great opportunities for sellers.  Low appraisals are keeping the prices from accelerating too fast, but homes are selling quickly for very good prices.  If you wish to relocate, plan to put your home on the market at least two months before your move.  If your buyer must be approved for a loan, the loan process will take an average of 45 days to close under the new government regulations.  If you would like to know about what is happening in our real estate market right now, please call me, text me, or send me an e-mail.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Preparing to Sell Your Saginaw or Fort Worth Home in the Spring? Get Ready Now!

Begin Early!

By locating your important documents, beginning organizing, starting your repairs, and making preliminary plans, you can save yourself significant stress and make your home sale next year easier, faster and more profitable.  When you are ready to put your home on the market, your time will be filled with those last minute details that make your home look its best and help you get your highest price.  Looking for a new home consumes time and energy.  Once your current home is under contract, you will often have a list of repairs that need attention: therefore, why not get started early?

Start Your Move in Your Filing Cabinet!

Pull out the files for your home, including the closing documents from your home purchase.  Find your survey. Unless you refinanced your house or moved your fence, your survey is probably with your closing documents from your original purchase.


If you can provide an acceptable, existing survey to the title company when your home sells, a new survey may not be necessary, which could save you about $400, the charge for a new survey.  Other important documents in your file cabinet include your original loan documents or proof that you paid off your loan.  The title company will request probated wills, heirship affidavits, and divorce decrees as they pertain to the property.

Receipts, warranties and documentation of repairs and modifications are important.  These will give information about transferrable warranties, such as for a new roof or for foundation repair.  Did you do any home construction that required a building permit?  Put the permit with your important papers.  The booklets that come with your appliances will be helpful to the new owners, especially for information about operation and replacement parts.  Don’t forget to have recent utility bills handy because future buyers often ask about the cost of gas, electricity and water.

Selling Your Home is Only Half of the Move!

Our Fort Worth area housing market has been very good for sellers during the last few months.  If you listed your home, you could feel confident that your home would sell, which means a potential seller needs a plan of action for moving.  Are you planning to buy another home?  Are you purchasing locally?  Your seller’s agent can set up your free, online search for homes in the multiple listing service that might suit your needs and meet your criteria.  If you use your selling agent as your buyer’s agent, she can help you coordinate your sale, purchase and move smoothly by knowing how both transactions fit together.  While you are at the very beginning of your home search, you might enjoy driving by the home listings your agent sends you.  These drive-by viewings will give you a feeling for neighborhoods and be helpful later when you become more focused and serious in your search.  Ask your agent to help you find new construction that is just right for you if you would like a brand new home.

This is also the time to meet with your CPA, financial planner and mortgage officer as you make plans to pay for your new home.  If you do not have a favorite mortgage officer, ask your real estate agent.  Most agents have a list of mortgage officers who have given other buyers great service, and we agents also know which lenders have special programs that might help you.

Maybe you wish to move into an apartment or other rental property.  Begin researching the prices, availability and desirability of different units or houses.  I have met with potential sellers who decided against selling their homes after learning current apartment rents.  If you don’t have a home immediately ready for you right after the sale of your home, you will need to make temporary living arrangements, such as leasing back your current home or living with friends or relatives.

Repair, Sort, Discard and Clean!

Making repairs months in advance will save you the stress of having to do the work under pressure after the problem shows up on an inspection report or after it scares away buyers.


Some of our beautiful winter days are perfect for trimming trees or bushes, cleaning or repairing gutters, or fixing wood trim.


Why not look for potential problems as you put up or take down Christmas decorations?  Many Texas winter days are great for cleaning and organizing the garage or storage building.  Painting exterior trim is often very beneficial in making your home look its best.  Check the ideal outside temperature for exterior paint before starting to paint.  A day that is great for repairing gutters might be too cold for painting outside.  Even a cold, dreary day is a great time to visit the paint department and make plans for spring painting.


Inside your home you can be decluttering, repairing and cleaning.  If you put away decorative items as you take out your Christmas decorations, think about whether to bring those things back out after Christmas.  Why not pack them for moving?  Your home looks more spacious with fewer decorations.  Look at your closets.  Will your possessions attack potential buyers if they look inside?

Christmas can be a great time for house repairs.  As family and friends come to visit, you will be reminded of the leaky faucets and toilets that don’t quit running.  I’ll never forget the Christmas my son came to visit and fixed the drywall hole in the kitchen where his father stepped through the ceiling. My son made the repair at the same time that I whipped up the mashed potatoes for our Christmas dinner.  As I cleaned up the kitchen, I couldn’t distinguish the potatoes from the spackle from the ceiling, but I was delighted to have the hole in the ceiling fixed!

Cleanliness is so important when trying to sell.  Obviously, it’s much too soon to do the cleaning that makes the bathroom and kitchen fixtures shine, but it’s not too soon to wash the curtains.


Take a look at the baseboards.  If they can’t be scrubbed, consider painting them.  Take a look at your ceiling fans and light fixtures.  When was the last time they were cleaned?  Even though they will probably need to be cleaned again, why not make a first pass at them now?


Buyers seem to always check out the oven.  After you are finished with the holiday baking, cleaning the oven would be a worthwhile project.  For many of our sellers, doing the deep cleaning necessary to make a home really ready to go on the market and receive the highest and best price is a real challenge as they juggle life’s many demands.

Now is a good time to make plans to hire a professional cleaner.  Often the best ones are those who work for your friends and family and come with high recommendations.

I hope these suggestions have given you ideas that will make selling your home easier, quicker and more profitable in the spring.  Please contact me to discuss how I can serve you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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November 2015

Saginaw, Texas, Residential Sales for November 2015

The Saginaw home market slowed down with only 20 houses sold in November.  Compare this number to 41 Saginaw sales in August and 29 in October.  This decrease in sales is a normal seasonal adjustment.

The average November sold price for a Saginaw home increased to $189,099 because fewer inexpensive homes were available. The average price for October had been only $149,531. In November only one home sold for less than $110,000, a sale in Parkwest for $102,709.  All other sales were above $140,000.  Builders sold three new houses.  All of these sold for above $200,000, including one for $274,931.  A total of six houses sold for more than $200,000.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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October 2015

October Sales Begin to Show a Shift in the Market

After months of expensive, quick home sales, the market began to shift.  Let’s compare October sales to August sales for Saginaw.  In August 41 homes sold, but in October only 29 homes closed.  The average price in October was $149,531 compared the $155,000 in August.  The average days on the market increased from 26 days in August to 36 days in October.  Sellers received an average of 96.98% of their list price instead of the amazing 98.22% paid in August.  Only two newly constructed homes sold in October with prices of $268,000 and $250,000.  These were the most expensive sales in Saginaw.

A surprising shift for the market was the availability of older, smaller, less expensive homes.  Five homes were sold in Rancho North in October.  Eight of the homes that sold were built before 1980, and the average year built was 1990.  Five houses sold for less than $100,000, and ten of the 29 sold for less than $130,000.  These sales are good news for first time home buyers who have been anxiously waiting for homes like these to come on the market.

Possible explanations for the greater availability of less expensive homes include the readiness of sellers of “move-up” homes to accept contingent sales, the general price increase of all homes in our area and the time of the year.  As the year progresses toward winter, and the real estate market generally slows, sellers have become more accepting of sales that were contingent upon the buyer’s sale of his existing home.  Yesterday I helped clients buy their new home with such a contingency.  We looked for homes for four years and made many offers.  None of the sellers wanted to bother with a “kick-out” contract.  When I finally found a seller who would accept our contingency, I was able to sell their desirable, small home very quickly, and the whole transaction fit together smoothly for everyone.

The frantic sales of the spring and summer have increased the values of most homes in our area.  With the greater equity sellers are able to buy larger houses, move to other parts of the country or make lots of life style choices that weren’t available to them when home prices were less.

What do these current market changes mean for buyers and sellers?  If you are a buyer, you will pay more for a home than you would have a year ago, but new listings are coming on the market every day.  By searching for a home now instead of last spring, you will not be competing with as many buyers, and the sellers might be more willing to negotiate with you.  You also might find just the home of your dreams with fewer buyers in the market.

Sellers can expect homes to stay on the market longer, and multiple offers are less frequent.  Sellers can take solace in the fact that their homes will be appraised according to the amazing sales prices of this spring and summer.  Here in Fort Worth our market is never dead, but it slows down when folks start Christmas shopping.  These beautiful fall days are a perfect time to go look at houses!

– Kathleen Wheeler –


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September 2015

September Saginaw Home Sales

In previous months I gave a summary for all of Saginaw’s sales and combined all of the sales together.  For September I am analyzing the sales by subdivision to give a different perspective on what is happening in our neighborhoods.  Here are the neighborhoods as they ranked by number of homes sold, the average price, average size and the average time on the market.

HEATHER RIDGE: 8 sales; $154,250; 2117 square feet; 19 days (76131)

HIGHLAND STATION: 5 sales; $158,700; 1989 square feet; 25 days (76131)

PARKWEST: 4 sales; $146,950; 1701 square feet; 21 days (76179)

WILLOW CREEK: 4 sales; $184,625; 2010 square feet; 11 days (76179)

CREEKWOOD: 3 sales; $320,052; 3097 square feet; 2 days (76131) – 2 new homes

COURTS OF WILLOW CREEK:  3 sales; $228,167; 2629 square feet; 51 days (76131)

RANCHO NORTH:  3 sales; $129,667; 1919 square feet; 25 days (76179)

SPRING CREEK: 2 sales; $149,500; 1640 square feet; 13 days (76131)

SAGINAW NORTH: 2 sales; $131,750; 1869 square feet; 37 days (76179)

SAGINAW SPRINGS: 2 sales; $257,000; 2656 square feet; 70 days (76179)

WHISPERWOOD: 2 sales; $172,000; 2186 square feet; 54 days (76179)

WILLOWSTONE: 1 sale; $145,000; 1558 square feet; 8 days (76179)

WILLOW VISTA: 1 sale; $249,000, 2106 square feet; 104 days (76179)

COMMONS: 1 sale; $165,000, 1744 square feet; 134 days (76179)

DOMINION: 1 sale; $175,000, 2085 square feet; 0 days (76179)

Prices have steadily gone up since the beginning of this year, and these sales by subdivision reflect these increases.  Most of the numbers follow the trends for our community since spring, but please note that the prices in Creekwood, Saginaw Springs and Willow Vista are the cost of new construction.  Only one home in those three neighborhoods was previously owned.  Rancho North and Saginaw North are the oldest neighborhoods with sales in September.  The houses sold in those subdivisions were exceptionally large for their neighborhoods, and some had garage conversions and room additions.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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August 2015

The August residential home sales for Saginaw looked very similar to the sales in July.  The busy summer market recorded 41 sales with an average sales price of $155, 226.  The average time on the market was 26 days, and the average home sold for 98.22% of the list price.

The price range of the sold properties is always interesting.  The least expensive home sold was a HUD foreclosure in Rancho North listed for $75,000 that sold for $79,000. Foreclosures often sell for more than the list price in this market. The most expensive home sold in August was on Chestnut Lane in the Commons.  It sold for more than the two newly constructed homes in Saginaw Springs, but the new homes were considerably smaller.  Nothing sold for more than $234,000.  Currently thirteen Saginaw homes are actively for sale for more than this price.  The most active price ranges were between $120,000 and $130,000 and $130,000 and $140,000.  Seven houses sold in each of those price ranges.

The subdivisions with the most activity were in the 76131 zip code.  Five houses sold in Heather Ridge and five in Highland Station.  In the 76179 zip code the older neighborhoods had good sales; three houses sold in Rancho North and three in Saginaw North.  Willowstone Estates was active with four sales, and the Parks had three sales. Some investors sold properties to take advantage of the prices that have been going up all year and to cash in on their appreciation.  These sellers did especially well if they purchased homes as foreclosures or short sales during the recession or many years ago.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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July 2015

Thirty nine houses sold in Saginaw in July.  The prices did not change much from the previous months with an average sales price of $159,992.  The highest priced home was a newly constructed Highland Home in Creekwood that sold for $318.990.  The lowest priced home was the foreclosure in Rancho North that sold for $93,000.  This was the only foreclosure sold in July, and only one other newly built home was sold, a Cheldan home in the Dominion selling for $206,399.

The most noteworthy statistics for July sales were the number of days on the market.  The average days on the market was only 25 days.  Even this average was deceptive because the few homes that lingered on the market a long time, such as the new home in Creekwood that was on the market for 319 days.  Twenty one of the thirty nine houses sold in less than a week, and twenty three houses sold in less than two weeks.  These fast sales were convenient for sellers, but they put pressure on buyers to make quick decisions and forced buyers to view homes immediately as they came on the market for fear of missing out if they were unable to see a new listing the day it hit the multiple listing service.

In this frantic market sellers were usually able to get very close to their list price for their homes.  The average home sold for 99.52% of list price, and twenty two homes sold for 100% or more.  The transactions with prices exceeding the list prices usually were sales with some seller paid closing costs rolled into the price or the result of a multiple offer scenario.

Many of the transactions discussed in this blog are based on contracts signed in June. As the market moves forward toward fall, the usual trend is toward slower sales and a less robust real estate market, but the lack of availability of homes at moderate prices in Saginaw could keep many sellers happy for now.  Buyers will need to scramble to purchase homes immediately as they come on the market if they desire homes in the lower price ranges. On August 5, 2015, only ten homes were for sale in Saginaw for less than $150,000.  Only thirty two homes were listed for less than $200,000, but sixteen houses were listed from $200,000 to $300,000.  Three homes are even listed at over $300,000.

– Kathleen Wheeler

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June 2015

Sellers jumped on board, and buyers saw more homes come on the market, which allowed for the amazing forty home sales in Saginaw in June.

Thirteen homes sold in less than two weeks.  With more homes available to buyers, about a third of the houses sold within two weeks.  In May half sold within 14 days.  I expect the days on the market to increase with the summer temperatures and the number of homes continuing to come on the market.  The average days on the market was 50 days for homes owned by individuals.  My sales included the home at 312 Willowstone which sold in 39 days and 656 Fossil Wood that was under contract in four days.

The average home sold for 98.21% of list price as compared to 99.08% in May.  Although the difference is not great, the change represents more competition in the market.

The sales prices for homes in Saginaw ranged from $112,900 for a home in Rancho North to $365,000 for a new home in Creekwood.  Only eight houses sold for less than $140,000.  The average price for a home sold by an individual (not new construction) was $158,500 and the highest price was $210,000.  When new construction was added to the average, the average sold price jumped to $179,526.  Sold new construction included four Highland Homes and one Plantation home in Creekwood and one Lillian home in Saginaw Springs.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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May 2015

By May the Saginaw housing market had picked up speed and thirty two houses sold. More than half of the homes sold in less than two weeks.  The average home sold for 99.08% of list price.

Saginaw home prices ranged from $90,000 for a home in Saginaw North to $368,697 for new construction in Creekwood.  The average sold price for a Saginaw home was $182,590, but that included the five new homes in Creekwood which sold for more than $300,000.  The average sold price for a home was $153,735 when new construction was omitted.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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April 2015

April Sales

Twenty seven homes sold in Saginaw in April.  April sales continued the general trend of March with the average home sales price of $139, 245 for homes other than new construction.  The largest number of homes sold for $151,000 to $160,000 in both months.  Of the existing homes nothing sold for more than $180,000, and the average days on the market was 64 days. Only four homes sold in less than a week, and three were for sale for more than 100 days.

The most interesting statistic about the April sales was the relationship between the list prices and the sales prices for homes other than new construction.  The average home sold for 101.07 % of the list price.  Only four homes sold for less than list price.  Gone are the days when the average home sold for 95% of list price in this market!  Twelve of the twenty five sellers paid closing costs for the buyers which ranged from $1000 to $5500.  The average seller paid $2020.  Some sellers received more than full list price, especially when they received multiple offers for their homes.

Four foreclosures sold in April.  The HUD foreclosure on Parkhill Avenue sold for $8700 over the HUD list price, the one on Sawyer Drive for $1000 over the asking price, and the house on Ruidoso Drive for $3100 more than the list price. The foreclosure on Commonwealth Drive that sold for $171,436  instead of the list price of $183,400 was the only Saginaw house with a significant discount for the buyer.

Two newly constructed homes in Creekwood sold in April.  One was a Highland Home and the other a Plantation Home.  One sold for $322,019 and the other for $324,383.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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March 2015

The Saginaw sales for March can easily be understood by looking at the graphs below:

March Sales Chart

March Sales DOM

Here are the Saginaw subdivisions represented in each price range:

  • $90,000-$100,000  Saginaw North, Rancho North
  • $101,000-$110,000  Rancho North
  • $111,000-$120,000  Saginaw North
  • $121,000-$130,000  Parkwest, Whisperwood, Willowstone
  • $131,000-$140,000  Rancho North, Willowstone, Highland Station
  • $141,000-$150,000  Highland Station, Spring Creek, Whisperwood
  • $151,000-$160,000  Rancho North, Spring Creek, Parkwest, Heather Ridge
  • $161,000-$170,000  Heather Ridge, Willow Vista
  • $171,000-$180,000
  • $181,000-$190,000  Saginaw Springs
  • $191,000-$200,000  Dominion

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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February 2015

The February Saginaw sales reflected the continued low inventory of homes for less than $200,000. Buyers who want to find a home in this market need to work very closely with their buyers’ agent and get immediate updates on any new listings so that they don’t miss out on homes when they first come on the market. Really desirable homes often get offers within the first day or two. The days on the market may look like more in our MLS, but the days on the market (shown as DOM for agents) reflects the total time for all of the papers to go back and forth between the agents before a contract is actually executed.  The average days on the market was 53 days, but please note that four of the 21 homes sold were on the market for more than four months.

The price ranges for it for the houses that sold in Saginaw last month amazed me. Only two houses sold for less than $100,000.  Three houses were in the range from $100,000 to $120,000.  Five homes sold for $120,000 to $150,000, five for $150,000 to $200,000, and another five for $200,000 to $250,000. One house even sold for $337,000!

Let’s look at the sales data in more detail. Three sales were in Saginaw North; the most expensive home in that subdivision sold for $110,000.  Highland Station had four home sales and a top price of $155,000.  The Courts of Willow Creek had three sales with the most expensive home selling for $200,000.  The Courts of Willow Creek is highly desirable neighborhood where residents seldom move; therefore, three sales in one month there was highly unusual. Creekwood had four sales including the most expensive sale, which was new construction.  Another newly constructed home sold in Saginaw Springs for a total of two sales that were new construction.

Several of the recent home sales represented leased properties that were now worth selling since prices have gone up.  Perhaps you owned a home in our area and have been leasing the property as you waited for the prices to increase before you sold.  Maybe you are dreaming of moving to another part of the country, purchasing a larger home or making a life-style change. Please contact me and let me send you a free current market analysis . All I need is EZ Price in the subject line and your property address.  If you send me a text, I will need your e-mail address.  I’ll send you an e-mail with all the information to give you the latest information about the value of your home.  I look forward to serving you!

-Kathleen Wheeler –


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