May 13, 2019

A Guide to Hosting Your Ultimate Summer Soirée

By Jennifer Wilhelm, Event Coordinator Summer is just around the corner, and that means fun, sun and get-togethers with friends. Now is the perfect time to start planning your ultimate summer soirée, and we have a foolproof guide to ensure your event is an unforgettable success that your friends will rave about well into the […]

May 7, 2019

Which Computer Is Safer From Cybercrime: Mac or PC?

Which computer is safer from cybercrime: Mac or PC? The answer may surprise you. Remember the commercials with the young savvy man (Mac) vs the older stuffy man (PC)? These ads went a long way towards changing the perception of Apple as a cutting-edge, hip and cool technology company. As cool as Macs have become, […]

April 18, 2019

How Tax Reforms Affect the Housing Market

By: Mark Sprague, State Director of Information Capital The last time the U.S. underwent major tax reform was in 1986, and unintended consequences caused the 1987 “Texas Depression.” Two of the biggest Texas banks closed their doors, the Savings and Loan industry crashed, Texas real estate plummeted to 10 cents on the dollar, and the […]

April 1, 2019

Spring Cleaning! Safeguarding Your Email

Mary was a hard-working broker at a medium-sized office, she answered her agents’ emails and provided all the tools of the trade. She wanted every agent in her brokerage to succeed and like all brokers, Mary charged her agents an office fee to cover their costs. In April, the start of the busy season, Mary […]

March 13, 2019

How to Protect Yourself Against a Ransomware Attack

Dan, a Realtor®, was sitting down to his computer for a day at the office. He had two transactions in the works and needed to check on the lender’s progress for one of his buyers. When he logged onto his computer, he was shocked to see a pop-up box flashed on the screen with the […]

February 13, 2019

Love? Not Actually… Steps to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime

Welcome to the first article in a series from Independence Title on how to keep yourself, your devices, and your transactions safe from cybercrime. Check out the bottom of the article for more info on this series and how you can get involved. Can the most expensive date of your life lead to cybercrime? Jean […]

November 14, 2018

It’s the End of the (Paper) World As We Know It…and We Feel Fine!

As paper disappears more and more from our daily lives, the real estate industry sometimes seems like one of the last vestiges of ink-and-paper transactions. These days you can buy a car, enroll in college, start a new job, file your taxes, sign up for home and car insurance, and send money anywhere in the […]

October 30, 2018

“If Only I Had Known …”

This is the refrain repeated by so many home buyers who lost or almost lost their savings from a wire fraud attempt during the process of buying a home: “If only I had known.” Those of us in the real estate industry are very aware of the potential risks of wiring money in an age […]

October 23, 2018

The Sky Is Not Falling. Mark Sprague’s Texas Market Update

The unemployment rate has hit a new low — 3.7 percent — that was last seen in December of 1969. Of course, things were a little different in the late 1960s. Back then you could support a family on one income and still own a house and a car. These days? Not so much.  In […]

September 13, 2018

Is the Texas Market Still Booming? Mark Sprague’s Texas Market Update

The Texas metros housing markets have certainly been booming over the last several years.  But as I’ve said before, the concern is when is the slowdown?  Is it imminent, in a couple of years, when? Home sales across the U.S. have seen a slight drop for the fourth straight month in July of this year. This is […]

July 10, 2018

The Billion-Dollar Industry Threatening Real Estate Transactions – How to Protect Yourself

by Cassandra Majors Pop Quiz: What industry grew by almost a billion dollars from 2016 to 2017? Hints: You wouldn’t want to invest in it, there are no publicly traded companies participating in it, but it’s still one of the fasting growing industries in the world. Give up? The answer may surprise you: it’s wire […]

June 18, 2018

Lumber Prices are Rising! Mark Sprague’s Texas Market Update

By Mark Sprague, Independence Title State Director of Information Capital The House / Apartment You Look at Today Will Be Gone Tomorrow! And it will certainly be more expensive. Not only is there not enough resale inventory, rates are increasing and the cost of building is up dramatically. Lumber prices have risen by roughly 22% […]

April 2, 2018

Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Now a City of Austin Requirement

By Cassandra Majors After I smoked my last cigarette five years ago, I quickly mutated into a twitchy, manic, raging lunatic for the next two weeks. I came up with 100 creative ways to murder most of the people who crossed my path during that time, mostly for minor infractions like taking too long at […]

February 15, 2018

Does Your Social Media Need A TREC Check Up?

Is it us or do the TREC requirements for posting the IABS and Consumer Protection Notice on social media seem a little confusing?  “So what exactly DOES TREC want from me?  Am I compliant?”  These are questions we are asked often. We all know TREC is asking that the Information About Brokerage Service and Consumer […]

January 16, 2018

The MUD Mystery

There’s one sentence in one section of the contract that always ruffles everyone’s feathers whenever we teach our class Navigating the 1-to-4 Family Contract. The last sentence of section 6 E(3) Statutory Tax District states that the seller must deliver the buyer a statutory tax district notice, i.e. a MUD or WCID notice.  This is […]

January 4, 2018

It’s a Weird, Weird World of Real Estate Out There

Texas real estate can be pretty weird. In the rest of the country, for example, the idea of paying a seller a small fee in exchange for giving the potential buyers a window of time in which they can just change their fickle minds and walk away scot-free (the “option period”) sounds insane. Personally, I […]

November 8, 2017

You’re Killing Me, Sales!

By Cassandra Majors Whether or not you were the right age to see the cult classic coming-of-age movie The Sandlot, you’ve probably had this iconic line thrown at you whenever an 80s or 90s kid is annoyed with you: “You’re killing me, Smalls!” The most important plot-driver in the film is a lack of baseballs. […]

September 20, 2017

Mommy, Where Do Buyers Come From?

By Cassandra Majors, Independence Title Well, honey, you see…when two people love each other very, very much, sometimes the Home-Buying Stork brings them their very own bundle of joy…along with a huge chunk out of their savings, a Russian novel’s worth of legal disclosures, and 30 years of debt. But how does the stork find […]

January 4, 2017

Closing Costs….Who’s Responsible?

Every agent knows the excitement of clients purchasing a new home or clients finally selling their house. Then your clients ask you “What am I responsible for paying for at my closing?”  It can be difficult to explain everything that goes into closing costs so we created a new marketing piece called “Closing Costs…Who’s Responsible?” […]

May 16, 2016

Beware! Wire Fraud is at an All Time High.

You’ve done it!  You took a Buyer from shopping for a house, to a contract on a house, to the closing table and you couldn’t be more ecstatic for them.  Then… in total shock you find out your Buyers have wired thousands of dollars to a thief!  You discover the “I could never be a victim to wire fraud, it’d never happen to me” […]