When It Comes To Mortgages, It’s Not Just Low Rates

Adapted from Zillow

When shopping for a mortgage, the first thing you’ll probably do is compare mortgage rates. Of course, lower rates can save you a significant amount of money over the life of the loan.  But you need to consider the following factors, in addition to low rates:


what-are-discount-pointsIn order to reduce the loan’s interest rate, borrowers may pay “discount points”. It may make sense to buy points if you’re planning to stay in that home and not refinance for a long period of time. Discuss this with your lender.  We recommend Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.  Don has the financial knowledge you need, and he and his team offer superior customer service.  He will help you make the right decision regarding discount points.


feesDo you want to pay no fees and minimize your upfront expenses in exchange for a higher APR? Typical fees charged by lenders could include an origination fee, appraisal fee, credit report fee, tax-related service fee, underwriting fee, FHA upfront premiums, etc. Again, Don Kelly will review the ramifications of fees vs no fees and advise you according to your financial situation.


The team members of the BKG have worked with Don Kelly for years, and he’s recognized by his clients as responsive, knowledgeable, and helpful with excellent follow-through. Give Don a call at 817.247.4790, email don.kelley@sbcglobal.net, or visit his website http://donkelly.com  to discuss your mortgage needs.
Affiliated Bank w Don Kelly Info
new bk




Make Your Open House Dazzle Prospective Buyers!

Adapted from article authored by Celeste Perron, REALTOR.com

Your house is on the market and you want to hold an Open House. How do you make your home stand heads and shoulders above the competition?

You don’t have to hire a professional home stager to get the look buyers love. We asked agents and home staging experts for their secret staging tips. Here are nine little moves that have a great impact for minimal effort or money.

  1.  Strip the windows

“Light and bright is what sells,” says Randy Wine, a real estate agent in Rutherford, NJ. So pack away your curtains. “They might be beautiful, but they’ll darken and date the room. You can leave the sheers, but take down the drapes.”

Make sure your windows are sparkling clean; they let in more light and clean windows signal to potential buyers that you are meticulous about your home.

2.  White-out the bathroom

Just as hotels use white items to reinforce the idea that they’re clean, white in the bathroom makes things look fresh and new.

Stock up on new white towels and add a white shower curtain, white soap dish, and new white bathmat.

3.  Update kitchen fixtures

You don’t need to replace the countertops or even paint to give your kitchen an update. The solution is simpler and cheaper: Replace an old and dated light fixture with a modern one—it will do a lot to update the look of your kitchen.

If your drawer pulls and cabinet knobs look tacky, swap them out for the style and finish that’s complimentary to your cabinets and countertops.

     4.  Flip every switch

Lighting up the house by turning on every lamp will make prospective buyers confident that you have nothing to hide. Place floor lamps in dark corners or position a high-intensity floor lamp directed at the ceiling.  Bright rooms, whether from lighting fixtures or windows that let in lots of natural light help a home sell.

     5.  Use art work or mirrors as wall décor

Ditch most of your family photos and swap those personal pieces for beautiful art work or mirrors. Mirrors have the advantage of maximizing light to make rooms look bigger and brighter.  Family photos and mementos are distracting to potential buyers.

  6.  Roll up rugs

Hardwood floors are a major selling point for most buyers, and a rug that’s even slightly stained or tattered is a turn-off. Don’t hide wood floors, unless they’re a mess or your rugs are classic and pristine. Always remove area rugs from your kitchen, because the room will feel cleaner and more spacious without them.

   7.  Swap out lampshades

To make a room look more light, clean, and modern, replace any old lampshades for new white shades, which are inexpensive and readily available everywhere.

     8.  Set the table

Elaborate table settings can have an overly staged look, but if your dining room table has seen better days or the room could use some livening up, set the table with simple modern place settings. Go for modern white plates, sleek stainless-steel cutlery, and stemless wine glasses atop neutral-hued place mats or a tablecloth. If the room could use a touch of color, add vibrant napkins.

    9.  Add a metallic accent

Making a room look more luxurious and contemporary is as easy as adding a metallic accessory or two—like a silver leather throw pillow, a bronze side table or garden stool, or a copper tray.

“Metallics add visual appeal, but they’re less controversial than color,” says Wine. “They’re like glamorous neutrals.”

The Brandee Kelley Group team members consult with our sellers to offer tips and advice on showcasing their homes.  Call us today at 817.635.1141 and we’ll be happy to evaluate your home and provide an accurate market value if you’re thinking of selling.

brandee logo collagle

The 3 Most Important Decorating Elements

Courtesy of Maggie Winterfeldt, PopSugar

Home interior designers can do wonders to a space no matter how tight the budget or small the square footage.

And almost all designers agree on these decorating rules: Focus on 3 key elements when decorating to create a stunning home.

It turns out that you don’t need a lot of stuff to make your space feel finished if you consider these 3 things — texture, color, and scale. By following the rules, you can create a space that’s attractive, comfortable and stand-out gorgeous!

Texture: The More the Merrier

texture-more-merrierAdd texture with area rugs, drapery, vintage pieces, or natural fibers in upholstery pieces.  This living room has an abundance of texture!


Color: Layer Three

layer-3Layer color in your space to add depth, even if it’s neutral (especially if it’s neutral!). Choose 3 colors–a light color, a dark color, and something in between — and scatter them throughout your room.  The room in the photo is a perfect example of neutral colors, layered perfectly.


Scale: Go Big, or Go Home

go-big-or-stay-homeDon’t overwhelm a smaller space by crowding a lot of small furniture and accessories into the room. This just emphasizes the small size.  Instead, incorporate large pieces—large art pieces, leaning floor mirrors, big area rugs and larger scaled furniture, to emphasize space in the room.

The above photos feature larger furniture and accessories placed in relatively small rooms.  Decorated in completely different styles, you can see the cohesive effect of layering 3 colors, as well as the use of larger furniture pieces.

If you’re worried about decorating a small space, paying attention to these 3 tips will usually make a room feel larger and give it that “pulled together” decorator look.

The Brandee Kelley Groups loves to bring you decorating ideas, as well as various tips and advice from experts on all things HOME!  If you enjoy this information, we hope you’ll “Follow” our Blog!

brandee logo collagle




Jumbo Loans – The Inside Scoop

 Adapted from Realtor.com

According to the trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance, 20.3% of all mortgages originated during the 1st quarter of 2016 were jumbo loans.

Only a small percentage of jumbo loans are sold to investors. Because these loans are held in a lender’s portfolio and aren’t subject to the guidelines of investors purchasing them—as opposed to conforming loans, which must comply with hard-and-fast parameters established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—terms and underwriting standards vary widely.

“Borrowers may find more flexibility with lenders that keep mortgages on their own books,” says David Reiss, a Brooklyn Law School professor who specializes in real estate. “These lenders can usually take a more individualized approach to underwriting than a lender that sells its mortgages.”

Unlike most conforming loans, jumbo-loan applications aren’t processed by an automated underwriting system. They are instead processed individually by a real person, which allows the lender to make exceptions on occasion while still complying with fair lending standards.

It is usually a benefit to a borrower to deal with a bank where you already have a relationship—or to which you would consider moving your business. How much value you present to the lending institution will dictate how much leverage you have as a borrower.

Possible concessions include an interest-rate discount or a reduction in closing costs or escrows. Borrowers shouldn’t expect much on the interest rate because lenders still need to make a return on their investment, and interest rates are already low.

Here are a few things to consider when negotiating a jumbo loan:

  • Prepare before applying. Jumbo lenders are focusing on borrowers with good credit and resources. Before applying, borrowers should clean up their credit report and keep debt in check. Lenders look at total debt-to-income ratio and overall credit to determine how strong a buyer is; the stronger the buyer, the more the negotiating power he has.
  • Create a relationship. If you’re a substantial borrower with a substantial relationship with a bank, the guidelines might get a bit more flexible.
  • Don’t hesitate to negotiate. Negotiation for better terms can save you thousands over the life of the loan.eios;a
    For expert advice about jumbo loans, feel free to contact Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.  Don is the Brandee Kelley Group’s preferred lender, and once you meet Don, you’ll know why!  He is committed to delivering top-notch service to his clients.

    brandee logo collagle

Can You Trust Online Price Estimates for Your Home?

what's your home worthHave you ever entered your address into a website that claims it will tell you how much your home is worth right now? And have you ever been shocked at the number it calculates? As it turns out, many of those websites cannot and do not have access to important information about your property and instead use generalized and inaccurate data. In fact, these popular websites explain the limitations of their data in their disclaimers.

Always remember, a Texas REALTOR® is your best source for providing you with an accurate and current market analysis on your property.

team market analysisIf you’re curious about the value of your home in today’s market, give us a call. We know the market and we’ll provide you with an accurate and thorough market analysis for your home.

eios;aAnd……… for expert mortgage consultation, contact our preferred lender, Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.

Adapted from Texas Association of Realtors®

Brandee & KW Logo 2

Concerned with Home Security? Check Out These Tips

Flowers-Landscaping Tips
Deadbolt locks and alarm systems help protect you against burglary, but the following tips on outdoor security measures you can take that will add an extra layer of safety to your home and family:

  1.  Use natural plant as deterrents. Burglars don’t want to walk thru thorny shrubs and flowers to get to your windows, so plant them around your foundation.thorny rose_Fotor

2.  Prune vegetation regularly. Overgrown hedges provide hiding spots where thieves can lurk.

3.  Trim the trees. Leave sufficient distance between tree branches and the roof or second-story windows to limit intruder access.branches collage

4.  Leave a clear line of sight to windows or doors. Blocking these views leaves your home more vulnerable to break-ins.

5.  Install additional lighting. Illuminate your yard and house to eliminate potential hiding spots. You might consider adding motion-activated lighting to help ward off possible intruders.lighting

6.  Put gravel beneath ground-floor windows. Burglars rely on silence; stepping on gravel can create noise and intruders don’t want to get caught.gravel flower beds_Fotor

7.  Protect the back door with good quality locks and lighting. Many thieves try this less obvious point of entry first.

8.  Replace solid privacy fences. Solid fencing helps intruders go undetected. Partial privacy fencing is a more secure option.

9.  Lock all gates. Keep front and back gates locked at all times. Collage_Fotor

10. While not related to landscaping tips, cultivate a good relationship with neighbors who you can rely on to keep an eye out for any problems if you’re going to be out of town. Make certain they have a phone number where they can reach you in case of an emergency. And don’t forget to return the favor!

While pleasing to look at, landscaping can make a difference in your safety. Consider whether your current setup promotes security or makes your home appealing to thieves. Use these landscaping security tips to help prevent your home from becoming the target of a burglary.

Provided courtesy of the Brandee Kelley Group, Keller Williams Realty | 817.635.1141

Features That Home Buyers Identify as Must-Haves in Their Dream Homes

10 Things American Dream Homes Have In Common
Courtesy of David Tsay, Elle Décor
Adapted from article authored by Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson

According to the Property Brothers (Jonathan and Drew), the following features are must-haves for home buyers. And no, granite countertops aren’t on the list!

1. Open Living Plan with Clear Sight Lines

gallery-1459969230-open-living-space-copyright-c-2016-by-sb-publications-llc-interior-photography-copyright-c-2016-by-david-tsay-1According to the Property Brothers (Jonathan and Drew), compartmentalization is a thing of the past. “Ninety-nine percent of homeowners want open-concept living,” they say. “This is better for families keeping an eye on their kids, better when entertaining and even better for making rooms feel bigger.”

2.  Ample Kitchen Counter Space

counter spaceYou can never have enough counter space in a kitchen. Whether it’s a breakfast bar for serving food or additional prep space for cooking, ample kitchen counters add huge value.

3. Separate Pantry

pantryA pantry is a kitchen must-have. Not only does it help you display all your foods without having to open multiple cabinets, but it’s also an efficient use of space.

4. Kitchen Island

kitchen islandA kitchen island is a functional component of your kitchen, as well as a focal point. An island gives you more cabinets (on both sides), breakfast bar seating and additional counter space. Not to mention it also offers the opportunity to showcase kitchen design like two-tone cabinets.

5. Mega Storage Everywhere

mega storageFamilies have a LOT of stuff so you can never have enough storage. Think: organization systems in your closets, storage racks in the garage and even built-ins above and below your wall-mounted TV. Find creative ways to add storage without cramping your space.

6. Master Suite with Master Bath and Walk-In Closets

master suite w bath and walk in closetsOur busy, often hectic, lives makes a serene and relaxing master suite a necessity. A spa-like bathroom with double sinks and spacious walk-in closet(s) is music to most of our ears.

7. Deck or Patio for Outdoor Entertaining

deck or patioA cost-effective way to add square footage to your home without doing an addition is by adding a deck or patio. Extend your indoor living outside. Many new brands of outdoor furniture and decor are so comfortable and stylish you would swear it was meant for indoor use.

8. Energy Efficient Fixtures and Appliances

energy efficient appiances“We all love saving a little money, and it’s even better when it’s helping the planet,” Jonathan and Drew say. Energy-efficient fixtures and appliances are definitely a way to save a little on monthly expenses, and a bonus is that conservative use helps the planet. We live in a technology age and energy-saving solutions for a home are more important to homeowners than ever before.

9. Two-Car (Minimum) Garage

inimum 2 car garageA garage is not just for your car these days. Having the space to fit a car plus a bonus room is always a huge feature for buyers. Utilizing the extra square footage as a workshop, game room or even storage can add great value.

10. Low-Maintenance Landscaping

low maint landscapingMost of us work long, hard days and the last thing we want to do on the weekend is yard maintenance. Make use of artificial grass, as well as minimal shedding trees and shrubs, to minimize your yard labor and maximize your time to relax.

If your current home is lacking these important features, perhaps it’s time to let us help you find a new home.  We’re pros at helping our buyers find the perfect home with all the features important to them, in the area in which they wish to live, and at a price they can afford.  Call us at 817.635.1141 to discuss your housing needs.

Brandee & KW Logo 2