Buying a Home Can Be Stressful – Let Me Help!


There are many things that can cause you stress when buying a home in today’s market. Some examples are saving enough money for the down payment, worrying about rising interest rates, concern about paying too much, anxious that the Sellers have the leverage….

A recent study by indicated that 72% of prospective buyers deal with this stress. Do you know what the top reasons are? This was what respondents said:

1. Losing Earnest Money Deposit
2. Becoming “House Poor”
3. “Bidding Wars”

The third one on that list is particularly applicable to our DFW market – recently, with the high home prices and low inventory, there has been a major increase in competition in our area. Not only are bidding wars a concern but the fast-pace of the market also causes many buyers to make quick decisions and that can lead to second-guessing…another stress.

How can you as a Buyer be ready to tackle these challenges?

Answer: You must choose a real estate agent who is professional, trustworthy and knows how to help you navigate this crazy market – like me! While I recognize the serious nature of real estate, I also maintain that it can be fun. 🙂 My goal is to listen, be responsive, and be an advocate for you so that the home buying (or selling) experience is a positive one that will allow me to become your realtor for life. If you are looking for a diligent, educated, organized, and dedicated real estate professional, then I am The One for you!

Just let me know if you have any questions regarding the real estate market or your home in general.

-Heather Kinder Sims
(Article taken from the desk of Mary Frances Burleson, President & CEO of Ebby Halliday Companies)

Marketing a Home Today – It’s All About the HOMEwork

Simply placing a ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard and posting the listing on MLS no longer gets buyers to the door.  A good realtor today must do their other HOMEwork – diverse platforms such as social media, real estate blogs, YouTube and Broker web sites must be used to pique buyer interest.  Here are a few action plans that you should check to make sure that the realtor you choose uses to attract buyers:

Online presence – The number one strategy for selling fast is good internet presence. People who keep their homes a “secret” hurt their chances of getting the highest price. You want to be EVERYWHERE online.  Focus on the home’s “online debut” – research shows that a property has only about nine seconds to get a buyer’s attention, so you have to make it count. I encourage my sellers to go online and check out how their house looks, and how it stacks up against the competition.

Quality photos – Smartphone photos no longer make the cut.  Your agent should be using professional photographers to shoot pictures of homes for sale. The photos should tell a story about the house…essentially, they’re your first “showing”.  It’s also really important to prepare the home in advance to ensure compelling photography, which is why I use a professional stager for all my listings along with professional photography.

Virtual Tours – Give potential buyers a high-resolution, interactive tour through the home. It helps people who are looking for a specific plan or special features.

YouTube – Videos can really tell the home’s story.  The key is to have well-produced video with good sound and crisp, clear visuals.  The key in my opinion is to keep the video short and to not give too much of the house away – you still want to encourage buyers to actually come view the home.  It’s also important to give some extra details and not just recite that the home has three bedrooms and a fabulous dining room.

If you are thinking about selling your home, I have the perfect strategy and tools to be successful in today’s market – professional staging, photography, and video are cornerstones of the way I do my HOMEwork. This year alone I have already completed over 25 Real Estate transactions, and I’m proud and humbled to say that D Magazine just voted me as a “Best Real Estate Agent and Top Producer in 2017” for Dallas!  Please visit all my social media sites to learn more about me…or give me a call today!

Ebby Website




Wanna Sell a House? Follow These Rules!

If you’re trying to sell your home, you’ve probably scrutinized it, staged it, and scrubbed it down as if the folks from Architectural Digest were stopping by for a cover shoot. OK, so it’s in immaculate shape — but your home isn’t the only thing under scrutiny here. You are, too. That’s right: No matter how nice your home is, your behavior can also affect how buyers feel about making an offer.

Below are seven etiquette rules sellers should follow to show their home — and themselves — in the best possible light.

Leave — Sure, you’re dying to know if prospective buyers will love what you’ve done with the kitchen, but Realtors agree sellers should not be there lurking in the shadows during an open house or showing.

Take your pets with you — You may think your dog is the cutest ever, but not everyone is bound to share that opinion. In addition to having allergies, some home shoppers may not be in the market for a run-in with an animal they don’t know.

Move your car — Make it easy for visitors to park and view your home. No one likes parking issues. Having them is a sure way to get a viewing off to a bad start.

Offer some refreshments — House hunters can get parched and hungry. You can help. Putting out a few small bottled waters in a bowl of ice is always appreciated, along with some light, easy grab-and-go refreshments such as mints or cookies.

Be patient waiting for feedback — Of course, you’re dying to know what buyers thought of your home, but that information may not flow back to you instantaneously. It’s reasonable to ask for feedback from your Realtor after the showing, but understand it may take a day or two for the buyer’s agent to respond.

Don’t be greedy — Who doesn’t want top dollar for their home? But an unwillingness to negotiate can kill a possible deal and keep your home on the market long after you were hoping to be unpacking at your new place.

Listen to the professionals — If your Realtor has some suggestions for improvements that may help sell your home faster, take them to heart but don’t take them personally. Keep emotions out and listen to what a licensed, trained, professional – like ME! – has to say about your house.

If you are interested in hearing more about selling your home, contact me for information. I’m always ready to send you a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis that gives you an idea of how much you can sell your home for. Looking forward to hearing from you!

-Heather Kinder Sims

Selling? How to Make Your House Look Great in Photos!

A house hunter’s first view of your property is often online, and if the photos accompanying your home’s listing don’t impress, you may not get a second chance to entice that potential buyer — meaning your real estate photos are valuable assets when it comes to selling your home. The following tips can help your home put its best foot forward on picture day.

Check out potential agents’ listings. Before diving into photo-day planning, choose a good realtor who knows how to market your property through high-quality photos! It’s so important to be sure your real estate agent is prepared to deliver quality listing photos, so before choosing your realtor, study each candidates’ listings to get a feel for the quality of the photography. Here are a few questions you may want to ask about how the agents you’re considering handle photos:

* Do you use a professional photographer?  THE ANSWER NEEDS TO BE YES!
* If you take the photos yourself, what equipment do you use — professional camera and tripod or a cellphone? THE ANSWER NEEDS TO BE THAT THEY NEVER TAKE THEIR OWN PHOTOS, unless they are also a professional photographer, of course!
* How much time is typically allotted for the photo shoot?
* What can I do to make my home look its best in photos?


My Listing at 4302 Running Brook in Rowlett – Professional Photography Helps Make This Living Space Look Fabulous.

Clean the windows and open the shades. Ample light can go a long way toward making your home shine in photos, so get those windows sparkling clean, and open the shades and curtains wide.


My Listing at 2707 Foxcreek in Richardson – Windows Sparkle & Views Are Amazing.

Perk up houseplants. Fresh green plants add a feeling of life and vibrancy to interior photos…ailing plants, not so much. Trim away dead leaves with a pair of sharp scissors. Dust large-leaved plants with a soft cloth. And this needs to be minimal – you don’t want a jungle of plants, but just a few strategically placed is ideal!


What a lovely room at the 2707 Foxcreek Listing in Richardson.

Remove counter clutter. Gleaming, clutter-free counters will make your kitchen look more spacious. Put away everything, then clean counters well. It’s fine to leave out one or two small appliances, such as the toaster and coffee maker, but stash anything extra, as well as small appliances (especially the ones that have seen better days!).


Spacious and meticulous kitchen at the 2707 Foxcreek Drive listing in Richardson.

Polish wood floors and shine appliances. Wood floors can be a major selling point, so be sure they look their best in photos by treating them to a thorough cleaning…dirt and dust show up so easily on wood floors, especially dark ones. The same goes for those stainless-steel appliances — using a product designed for stainless-steel, buff the surface until it gleams.


Brand new floors at the 6005 Mark Lane listing in Rowlett!

Hide toiletries and freshen bathrooms. Aside from a fresh bar of soap at the sink, the bathroom should be completely free of toiletries — too many products crowding the sink and shower suggest that there’s not enough storage space. Pull open the shower curtain, clean the mirror, put the toilet seats down (this is a huge pet peeve of mine!) and turn on the lights. Remove old towels and put out fresh, fluffy white towels if you have them. If not, just leave the towel racks bare.


The bathroom in my 4302 Running Brook listing.

Neatly tuck in bedcovers. Photographs seem to pick up every little imperfection, so spend an extra few minutes straightening up the beds on picture day. Fluff the pillows, pull the bedcovers taut, and clear away clutter and personal items from bedside tables.


My 4302 Running Brook listing in Rowlett. Aren’t the built-ins great?

Do a photo-ready walk-through. The aim on photo day should be to make your house look as spacious, clean and inviting as possible — so it’s in your interest to declutter as much as possible. Here are some under-the-radar items you may want to stash before the photographer arrives:

* Shoes in the entryway, but also anywhere and everywhere!
* Piles of mail and paperwork
* Remote controls
* Magazines
* Kids’ toys that can’t be put neatly away
* Pet food bowls, beds and litter boxes (temporarily move these to an area that won’t be photographed)
* Fridge clutter (magnets, photos, cards)


My 2707 Foxcreek Listing in Richardson. What a peaceful space.

Switch on all lights & turn off ceiling fans. Unless your home is flooded with natural light or you know that your real estate photographer will be using portable studio lighting, the general rule is to turn on all lights, including lamps. Be sure they all have bulbs!  Also, turn off the ceiling fans – if they’re on, the blades will blur in photos and it’s not a good look. 🙂


My 4302 Running Brook listing in Rowlett. Gorgeous study!

Highlight special features. Have a lovely working gas fireplace or an outdoor fire pit? Make sure it’s lit on photo day. Likewise, if you have a hot tub or a pool in the backyard, make sure it’s uncovered and clean for the photos.


My 2707 Foxcreek Listing. Amazing backyard!

Focus on the first impression. This isn’t the time to worry about major landscape changes or reviving a dead lawn. Instead, focus on the quick fixes that will make a positive impression in a head-on photo of your home. Deadhead flowers, rake leaves, clear away porch and driveway clutter, and set out a few pots of blooming flowers. You may also want to leave your own car parked in front of the house until the photographer is ready to shoot the street view — otherwise you could wind up with your neighbor’s SUV blocking the shot!

Last but not least, check that all outside areas are neat and tidy, with outdoor furniture in place, tools put away and garbage cans tucked out of sight.

I always enjoy articles written by Houzz magazine. The tips are great in this one – not only for the photographer but for me as I am preparing for showings. The Real Estate business is hard work, lots behind the scenes, but what a fun business! If you are interested in seeing all the listings I have available, you can click HERE or don’t hesitate to give me a call at 214-549-7978.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Heather Kinder Sims

4 Tips for Effectively Making an Offer

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional info for you to think about:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

You’ve heard this from me before – this ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process!

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You’ll also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs or updates that may need to be made to the house (ex: new flooring, updated master bath).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.”

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.7-month supply; this is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you let me know so I can get it written up and presented asap, so we have the best chance at getting you that home!

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Talk with me about ways we can make your offer stand out in this competitive market! Of course, offer price is paramount, but there are many other parts of an offer that might make a difference to a seller and might cause your offer to be chosen above any others. Once you want to make an offer, I’ll call the listing agent and ask point-blank if there’s anything that the sellers need or want that we could provide…that kind of conversation that might provide some “inside information” can make a huge difference!

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

I am there every step of the way to provide you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

My advice with these counterpoints, is simple – don’t sweat the small stuff. If the counter points are reasonable and aren’t deal-breakers, agree to them and get that house under contract asap!  At any point up until all point of an offer are agreed to, and that offer becomes an “executed” contract, another buyer can come in, make an offer, and get that house under contract.  So, be prepared to make quick decisions on counterpoints, and get that home!

Bottom Line

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Let me be that expert to help you out. Call or text me at 214-549-7978 and let’s do some HAPPY HOUSE HUNTING together!

Calculator for Buyers: Purchase Now or Save More?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “time is money,” right? Well, in the home buying process right now, this couldn’t be more accurate, but in this case, time may cost you money. While nearly 40 percent of aspiring homeowners believe they need to put down 20 percent on a home purchase, the truth is the average down payment was just 11 percent in 2016, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  I found a really helpful tool for buyers the other day that I wanted to share with you…it can help people understand the strength of their current financial profile when it comes to buying a home. It’s a mortgage calculator, which are common all over the internet, but this one is different – mortgage industry blog MGIC Connects has created a Buy Now vs. Wait calculator that can show potential buyers whether they’re better off waiting and continuing to save for a bigger down payment or buying now with less money upfront. Alldid you know- you do is put in your info, and the calculator factors in information such as the current rent you’re paying, amount of your monthly savings, and creditworthiness. You can also submit other information such as desired home price, current amount of savings for a down payment, and an estimated interest rate. MGIC Connects offers the following example of how its calculator works:

A consumer has saved $10,000 of the $40,000 needed for a 20 percent down payment. She can add about $6,000 a year in savings to that. She wants to purchase a $200,000 home. The calculator allows her to see the cost of the home purchase if she did a 3 percent or 5 percent down payment. The calculator also shows that if homes prices appreciate, say, at 3 percent annually, the amount she’d need for a 20 percent down payment would be $48,552, and she would need more than 6 years of savings before she could buy.

During that time, she will have paid more than $80,000 in rent, while her home equity position would be more than $72,000 had she bought six years ago. None of this is meant to encourage prospective borrowers to buy a home before they are ready. It is in everyone’s best interest for borrowers to succeed, so borrowers need to be comfortable not only with the mortgage payment but also the other responsibilities that come with homeownership.

I tell my buyers when we first meet – knowledge is power when you’re looking to buy a home. Do your research, don’t ever hesitate to ask questions – of me or of the lender or of the title company – we’re all a team that needs to work together to make our buyer clients feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the home buying process. A calculator like this one that will show you the potential costs of waiting to buy a home versus buying a home now with a lower down payment could be a great first step in building your knowledge base to buy that home!  Questions? Give me a call, shoot me a text or email…I’m ready, willing, and able to help!

Source: “Waiting to Save for a 20% Down Payment Can Cost Homebuyers Money,” MGIC Connects (April 5, 2017)

Thinking of Selling? Do It Today!

That headline might be a little aggressive. However, as the data on the 2017 housing market begins to roll in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME!

January and February numbers numbers were, in one word, sensational. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, said:  “Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home. Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate…”

And CNBC says consumer confidence in the economy is fueling the market:  “U.S. home resales surged to a 10-year high in January 2017 as buyers shrugged off higher prices and mortgage rates, a sign of growing confidence in the economy.”  The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a four-month supply of inventory nationally. This represents a decrease in supply of 7.1% from the same time last year.

This inventory supply is even lower in the Dallas area because of our economic and job growth sectors…so many people are wanting to move into this area and there are just not enough home options for them. What does this mean? Well, one of my listings this month didn’t just have “multiple offers” – it had 20!  This is what we’re seeing for well-priced home listings in the Dallas area, at least those in the $300,000 and less categories.

Bottom Line

With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home for years to come. Let’s get together and discuss the inventory levels in your neighborhood to determine your next steps!

Wants and Needs: A Checklist for Buying a New House

Most people don’t buy a new home on a whim. Fiverr_Wants_v_Needs_Graphic (2)Chances are you’ve been dreaming about your new house for months or even years. After hours of browsing beautiful homes on, Houzz, Pinterest, etc. or viewing a few open houses, you can now picture your perfect house down to the smallest detail whether that house is a sprawling ranch on a nice-sized piece of land or a high-rise condo smack in the middle of downtown.

That’s great!  It’s good to know what you want, but it’s even more important to know what you need.

Determine What Is Make or Break

The first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know what kind of budget you’re working with. You don’t want to fall in love with the ‘perfect’ house only for it to be way outside of what you can afford.

Now take that mental image of your perfect house and start to break it down. What is a non-negotiable about it? Think about needs in terms of absolute. It needs to have a roof, walls, a kitchen, a bathroom. What does else this house need to be functional for you?

Does it need to be a short commute from work? Does it need four bedrooms? Does it need to be wheelchair accessible?

Pay attention to when you use the phrase “would be nice.” “It would be nice to have a large backyard,” or, “A two-car garage would be nice.” This is a telling sign that these features should be put on the ‘want’ list.

Sitting down with a realtor (like me!) can make this process easier. They should know how much your ‘want’ features can add to the price of a house so you can know what you might be able to realistically find within your budget.

Prioritizing wants: does it add value?

In real estate terms, these are features that most people consider useful, safe, or convenient. This could include granite counter tops, hardwood floors, a beautiful view, a good school district, energy-efficient windows, land, or nice landscaping. These are features that will add value for future homebuyers.

Deciding whether a ‘want’ is a value-added item can help determine which wants to prioritize. Maybe you would love a reading nook and granite countertops. While not everyone will value a spot specifically made for reading, most homebuyers will value gorgeous countertops. Sliding granite countertops to the top of the wants list can help ensure that in the future when you go to sell, your house will sell quickly.

Use a Checklist

Wrap your mind around your non-negotiables by writing it down and get your realtor on the same page as you. This is where a checklist can come in handy.

If you’re ready to starting figuring out what you new home needs, you can save my free Must-Haves versus Maybe-Wants included below!

And if you’re ready to make list like this, you’re ready to contact a realtor…I’m hoping that’s me. Let me buy you some coffee and let’s talk about the wants and needs you have for your next home!

2017 - Buyer Wants & Needs


If This Isn’t Enough to Get You Thinking of Selling, You Might Be Crazy

Crazy might be a strong word, but it fits in this case, because if you’ve been on the fence about selling your home, it doesn’t get much better than this. Two key factors in home selling – PRICE and TIME – are perfectly january2017-051aligned right now to make it a GREAT time to sell.

As for price, he market in the Dallas area has been strong and remains strong going into 2017. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reinforces that now is a great time to make a move AND make a mint off your home sale with this new stat…homeowners who sold in 2016 saw an average home price gain since purchase of $38,206 – or a 21 percent, on average.  That’s up from an average 13 percent gain in 2015, and it is the highest increase since 2007. WOW!

Another factor in considering selling is TIME.  The NAR recently revealed the months in which most people listed their homes for sale in 2016. Here is a graphic showing the results:

Thinking of Selling? Why Now is the Time | MyKCM

The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,820,000.That number spiked to 2,140,000 by May!

What does this mean to you? With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition for a buyer.

Has your home value increased that much and is now the time to sell?  You won’t know until you meet with a professional realtor (i.e., ME).  Call me, text me, email me, send a carrier pigeon to me with a note (I’ll give you my address), just get in touch if you’re curious about the value of your house and what kind of timing is best. I’m happy to help answer these and any other market, timing, etc. questions for you!

Find An Agent Who Puts YOU First

When it comes to buying a home, whether you’re a rookie homebuyer or have gone through the process many times, having a local real estate expert who can guide you EVERY STEP of the way through the buying process AND puts your wants and needs FIRST should be your goal.  What does that look like?  One great fictional example of an agent who would always be in your corner and looking out for your best interests is one of the main characters on ABC’s Modern Family, Phil Dunphy.  For those who aren’t familiar, the character Phil is a Realtor with a huge heart who always strives to do his best for his clients.  In one recent episode, Phil even shared the oath that he created and holds himself accountable to:

“On my honor, I promise to aid in man’s quest for shelter, to recognize I’m not just in the business of houses — I’m in the business of dreams in the shape of houses. To disclose all illegal additions, shoddy construction, murders, and ghosts. And to put my clients’ needs before my own.”

Of course, this “mission statement” is a bit silly (what do you expect from Modern Family, right?) and was definitely written with humor in4f9a988f88c67d4bad24fcfcde97ab22 mind, but the themes of helping someone achieve the American Dream and putting a client’s needs above your own are not to be taken lightly. If a Realtor seems to be putting things like the commission they may earn, the opinion they may have about the house or neighborhood, the number of homes you’ve viewed first, before your wants and needs as a buyer, that’s a concern you should bring to their attention right away!

Bottom Line

When you make the decision to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, make sure you look for an agent who exemplifies these values and will help you through every step of the process.  Someone who is working with you to find you a home or to sell your house should be primarily concerned with what’s best for you, not for themselves. What does that look like in the real world?  Well, if you’re in the Dallas area, give me a call and let me show you!


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