Homes & Land For Sale in East Texas Jacque Johnston

HOME PRICED RIGHT = SOLD 0 Comments Posted

Some homeowners believe it’s ok to overprice their home hoping that someone will bring an "offer" that they can "negotiate" with a Buyer. If your price is perceived to be too high by the initial prospective buyers in your price range, it's likely your home will become a stale listing. Then you will find yourself relying on a few new prospects trickling into the market. Buyers today are educated! They will know how long your home has been on the market.  This knowledge may turn off buyers who might start wondering if something is wrong with your home or if you are just unrealistic.  If your home is on the market and is not being shown (or your feedback from prospects it is overpriced) don't hesitate to adjust your price quickly. 

The best pricing strategy as a Seller is to consult a REALTOR to do a comparative market analysis to help you determine the right list price. REALTORS seek out the best comparable homes with similar floor plans, square footage, age and amenities that sold in the last few months.  A REALTOR can also advise you on best ways to stage Crunching the numbers is always the better route to an accurate home price. A HOME PRICED RIGHT = SOLD!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, January 19, 2017  1:48:03 PM
So You've Decide To Sell...Now What 0 Comments Posted

So you've decided to sell your house... now what?

1. DeClutter - This is a good first step to selling and preparing to move. Get rid of stuff, organize and clean out closets, pantry and other spaces potential buyers are looking. 

2. Fresh Paint - Check your walls, do they need a fresh coat of paint. Paint is relatively inexpensive and will help your house show at it's best.

3. Clean - Clean, clean and clean. Carpets, floors, shelving, drawers, bathrooms, showers etc.

4. Kitchen - Clear your counter tops, leaving just a few items out. Find places for small appliances to store while your house is on the market. Kitchens sell homes! Make it shine!

5. Stage - As you are decluttering, cleaning and preparing to sell ask your REALTOR for some staging advice. To make rooms appear larger, remove some of the furniture. Make sure each room has a purpose. In other words, if you use your dining room as a kids play room, put the kids toys away. Move a table and chairs into this room to make it a dining room.

6. Curb Appeal - Remember the exterior and front of your home is the first impressions a prospective will have. Make it a good impression! Keep your lawn mowed, add mulch to flower beds, weed, clean gutters, power wash house, sidewalk, driveway, paint front door if needed, put out a "Welcome" sign with some flower pots by front door.

7. Repairs - Go ahead and fix that leaky faucet, toilet that runs, service HVAC etc. Be ready for the inspection report.

8. Baskets - Purchase some cheap baskets from Wal-mart or Dollar Store. Be prepared for a spur of the moment showing. When REALTOR calls you can run through the house, pick up clutter, toss into the basket and shove in the car. After showinRg you can bring it all back in quick and easy.

9. Pets - Pets are our babies. If you have inside animals, please lock them up or take them with you when your house is being shown. If you have an inside cat, keep the litter box cleaned out everyday. Clean the carpets thoroughly and wash dog beds frequently.

9.  REALTOR - Check your online listing and pictures. This is how the public shops prior to viewing. Signs are still important. Neighbors help sell your home. They will tell friends and family when they see a sign go up. Not to mention prospective buyers that just happen to be in the area.

10. Competition - Has your REALTOR shown you the listings you are competing with? Have you toured these homes? Take the time to make sure your home outshines the competition!

These all sound like simple tasks that Sellers should take the time to do, however our lives are busy. Your REALTOR is there to help you. Make sure she gives you honest opinion and advice regarding the above mentioned items.



View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, May 26, 2016  3:16:34 PM
Lake Palestine Information 0 Comments Posted

Here is a quick link to the Lake Palestine Visitors Guide! Enjoy!


View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, May 19, 2016  2:38:04 PM
SELLERS - Pricing your home 0 Comments Posted

How should you price your home?  A true pricing guide is to have your REALTOR pull sold comparables in your area to help set your list price. Your REALTOR should be able to give you a good price range where the sales price will come in. (Remember appraisers use the same sold comparables we use).

Be realistic, if you over price your home, the listing will most likely sit on the market and not sell. Statistics show that homes priced correctly when they first hit the market will sell closer to asking price than homes that start too high and have to be adjusted downward.

When pricing your home competively, make sure you look at the homes listed in the price range. You want your home to be "best" in the price range to get the most activity and the quickest sale!




View Comments | Add Comment Friday, May 6, 2016  1:43:53 PM
Is your home ready for the For Sale sign? 0 Comments Posted

You've decided to sell your house, but what will make it show ready? What will buyers notice? Here are some tips to make it ready for that sign and first showing!

1.  Pressure wash the exterior of your home, driveway, sidewalk, patios, decks and fences if necessary.

2. Clean out your gutters! Replace any dented or broken gutters & downspouts.

3. Clean up the yard! Mow, edge, weed, trim bushes, add mulch and some annuals for color.

4. Freshen up your front entry! Does the door need to be painted? Or possibly just scrubbed down?

5. Replace outdated porch light fixtures with more up to date ones- remember to replace burnt out bulbs.

6.  Replace (or paint) your house numbers! You want buyers to see the address!

7.  Add a new WELCOME mat at the front door. Place an inviting plant, flower pots or wreath by the entry.

8. Declutter & Depersonalize -  Buyers can't always see past your stuff. Rent a storage building and box up your things. 

9.  Organize your closets!!! Buyers will look in the closets and pantry!

10.  Make all obvious repairs such as dripping faucets.

11. Remove and rearrange furniture to make rooms appear larger and roomy.

12.  Clean, Clean, Clean (Kitchen, Bathrooms, Floors, Baseboards, Mirrors, Windows, Light Fixtures, Blinds)

13. Wash & freshen up bedding. Buy some throw pillows for the beds.

14. Neutralize the air with a neutralizing air spray. A candle or scentsy are good additions to have on when home is being shown.

These are just a few ideas to help you get your home ready. I am always available for my sellers to give them ideas to help their home show at its best!




View Comments | Add Comment Monday, April 4, 2016  4:50:59 PM

Spring is almost here and you have decided to put your house on the market.....or maybe it already listed and on the market and it's time to prepare for spring showings. Time to make it shine with perfection.

1. Let there be light.  Time to clean your windows and blinds. Here is an idea: Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to eight parts water, plus a drop or two of liquid dishwashing liquid, for a green window cleaner. Spray on and wipe with newspaper to avoid streaks. (Washing on a cloudy day also reduces streaking.)
Showing tip: Remove heavy drapes with lighter shears or blinds during the  warmer months to give a room a brighter, lighter feel for prospective buyers.

2. What's that smell?  Smells can turn off a buyer very quickly. Here are some things to check to make sure there are no offensive odors to turn away any prospective buyer: Take your garbage out regularly. Wash the inside of the can with warm soapy water and possibly vinegar to rid of any smells that may have stuck to the can. Run some lemon, orange or grapefruit rinds through your garbage disposal to freshen up the sink.  Check the drip tray underneath your refrigerator, wash out any standing water from defrosting. Clean out your refrigerator! Wash the inside of the fridge with a baking soda and water solution, leave a box of baking soda in the fridge. Boil lemon juice in your microwave and add it to your dishwasher to eliminate bad smells. You can also pour this down your drains throughout the house. Wash all your bedding in your home. Vacuum the mattresses. Vacuum all your furninure. Animal odors are also a problem. Keep pet bedding washed and litter boxes cleaned regularly. Cleaning carpets, vacuuming regularly and keeping your home clean will make your home inviting.
Showing tip: There are several types of house warmers you can purchase. Choose a light homey smell. Remember smell is a first impression to a prospective buyer!

3. HVAC. Replace your filters frequently. Clean the return air vent as well as all other vents. Improve energy efficiency by vacuuming grates, coils, and condensers in your furnace and a/c.                                                                                                                          Showing tip: This is a good time to have your HVAC checked out by a licensed technician to make sure every thing is in order.

4. Wash the walls. Grease, smoke, and dust can adhere to walls and make even the best decorating look dingy. Wash walls using a general-purpose cleaner with hot water. Start at the top of the wall to avoid drips and in a corner so that you wash one wall at a time. Rinse the mop head frequently in clean water. And don’t press too hard because flat latex paint won’t absorb too much water.
Showing tip: Resist the temptation to spot-clean walls since it will make the rest of the wall look dingy. *This may be the time to repaint a room a neutral color if it is dingy or wall color is not appealing to prospective buyers.

5. Declutter: Go through each room and look for things you can live without. Box up and store items you want to keep, sell items you don't want at a garage sale or donate to a charity.                                                                                                                                               Showing tip: This is a good time to stage your home. Remove personal items and pictures. Remove bulky furniture to make each room appear spacious. You want prospective buyers to imagine themselves in your home, not distracted by your pictures, furniture and personal belongings.

6. Outside: Trim bushes and trees, weed flower beds & add mulch if necessary. Mow lawn, edge around driveway and sidewalks. Reseed grass areas if needed, pick up dead branches and debris in yard left from the winter. Repair any rotten wood on the house, touch up paint, wash mold or mildew from siding. Check your garage doors to ensure they are in working order.                                                                     Showing tip: This is a good time to plant some spring flowers for color while sprucing up your curb appeal.

If you are unable to do some of these things yourself, it may be to your advantage to hire professionals. You want your home to be the best showplace to be competitive in your price range!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, March 10, 2016  12:38:03 PM
Are you ready to buy a house? 0 Comments Posted

So you've been online dreaming of buying a new home. It may be your first home, you may want a bigger home or it may be time to downsize... No matter what there are many things to consider when it comes to to taking that step.

First of all... are you pre-qualified for a loan? In other words, have you talked to a mortgage lender to find out up front on your ideal price range. (If you don't know a lender, contact your REALTOR for lender referals). Your lender will help you determine your maximum loan amount and if there are any credit issues you should address or correct before buying.  Upon pre-qualifying your lender will issue you a letter to present to your REALTOR and to a seller upon making an offer.

Now you need to think about the down payment...Depending on the type of loan you qualify for will depend on the amount of money you will need for your down payment. There are some loans that are 0% down, which requires specific qualifications. FHA loans require as little as 3.5% down as well as some conventional loans that require up to 20% down.  Shop around, ask questions, ask your REALTOR if they can refer lenders to help you through this process. 

Taxes and insurance will usually be escrowed and made a part of your payment. Make sure your lender calculates this on top of the principle and interest payment they quote you. You don't want any "surprises" later on when you find out the payment is $400 more a month than anticipated due to taxes and insurance.

Lastly, Closing Costs.... No matter what home you buy, there will be closing costs. These can include: lender fees, title insurance premiums, escrow fees, attorney fees, document preparation fees, recording fees, appraisal fees, survey fees, inspection fees, etc. These are normally fees that are to be paid upfront at closing, however sometimes you can roll some of the fees into your mortgage.

As you can see, there are many things to think about before shopping for a home. Getting through the first phase of the lending process can be confusing however, once you get through this phase, it's time to shop for a home!  Now you are ready!




View Comments | Add Comment Friday, March 4, 2016  7:18:00 PM
Buying a house? Try to leave your emotions at home! 0 Comments Posted

When buying a new home, whether it's your first or not, it is an exciting time in your life. When touring potential homes, try to set your emotions aside. This is easier said than done as you may fall in love with the perfect 3/2 cottage with a fenced yard in the perfect location. View this purchase as an investment in your future. Below are 2 key areas to look at before making an offer.

1.  ROOF - A new roof can be costly. Look for signs of water leaks in the ceiling.

2. FOUNDATION - Cracked foundations can be a huge issue and very expensive to rectify.

Upon executing a contract you should always have a professional inspection done during your option period of the contract. The inspector can point out any major issues with the house as well as minor things may need to be addressed. Any major issues such as roof, foundation, plumbing etc may need to be look at further by a professional contractor. Upon further inspection and a report, you should have the knowledge and information to make an educated decision to move forward, renegotiate your offer or if necessary terminate the contract. The option period is also a time to get bids on repairs if you choose to move forward! Your REALTOR can be of great service to you during this time.

Buying a new home can be so much fun but leaving your emotions at home can help you make better decisions when purchasing your dream home!




View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, February 23, 2016  3:39:50 PM
Sellers - Less Is More! 0 Comments Posted

1. Less is more when it comes to decorating your home. Keep it simple accentuating your home's best features to create an inviting setting for prospective buyer's.

2. Declutter! Clean out and organize closets, pantry and other storage areas. By organizing and sorting your possessions, you're ensuring that your home will appeal to buyers. Prospective buyers are looking at storage and closet space! Clutter is a distraction and turnoff to many buyers.

3. Depersonalize! Remove family photos and other personal items. Why? You want to help potential buyer better envision themselves and their belongings in the house.

4. Clean! Keep your home clean and tidy always! This takes great effort! Buyers definitely want to see the home at their convenience so as Sellers you need to be prepared.

4. Warm up the walls! A fresh coat of paint will always help freshen up your home. You may need to tone down some of your own personal style and creativity. In other words, not all buyers can see beyond bright colored walls. Warm neutral colors can help buyers visualize themselves in the house better.

5. Make it cozy and inviting!  Use throw pillow to accent sofas, chairs and bedding. Display plush towels in the bathrooms. Burn scented candles or a scented simmer pot. Accentuate features such as a fireplace.

6. Curb appeal! To get potential buyers inside your home, the outside must be welcoming as well. Keep the grass mowed, shrubs trimmed, weeds pulled and leaves raked. Overall, you want them to come inside!

For more tips on selling your home feel free to contact me!


View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, October 22, 2015  11:40:07 AM
What's the difference between an Appraisal, Inspection and Survey? 0 Comments Posted

APPRAISAL:  An appraisal is a valuation of the property determined by a licensed Appraiser. He/she will visit and inspect the property, take pictures, and render an estimate of value as of a specific date comparing to other like sold properties in the area as state in the appraisal report. A buyer's lender normally requires an appraisal to verify that the loan secured by the property has a value of a specific amount (in most cases the sales price).

INSPECTION:  Buyers are encouraged to have the property they want to buy inspected by a licensed inspector of their choice. Inspections should be completed during the option period. Buyers are encouraged to meet the inspectors at the property, ask questions, go over the report and any concerns the inspector may have at that time. 

SURVEY:  A survey identifies the location of boundaries, improvements (such as a house, shop or barn), fence lines, driveways, enncroachments, easements and other items on property. Most lenders will require a survey of the property.  


View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, August 25, 2015  7:58:36 PM
Home Buyers - First Time Or Not! 0 Comments Posted

Are you a first-time homebuyer excited to purchase your first home? Are you wanting to upsize or downsize and it's been years since your purchased your current home?  Below are some steps to follow to help you prepare and determine whether you're ready to move forward!

1. Getting started: Meet with a reputable REALTOR that will work with you and guide you through the process.  When buying a home – you’re not just purchasing a house, your are making an investment in your future. Many questions will arise that your REALTOR can answer and help you with.  He/She can also help you find a reputable lender to get you pre-qualified as well as help you through your loan process.

2. Pre-Qualify: Meet with a mortgage broker to find out how much you can afford to pay for a home. It's important to know how much you can afford as well as how much you are willing to spend. In other words, you may qualify for a $2,000/month payment but you may only want to pay $1,200.00/month. This step will help you determine the purchase price of the home & price range you will be searching in. This step helps you to avoid disappointment by looking at homes that are not in your price range. Sellers are much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-qualified when making an offer. Your Mortgage Broker will provide you with a Pre-Qualification letter which you should provide to your REALTOR. When making an offer, the listing agent may ask for a copy of the letter to show the sellers that you are a serious buyer for their property.

3. Wants vs Needs List:  Make a list of your wants in your home, the wishes & things you would like to have (fireplace, granite, wood flooring, covered patio, swimming pool, etc) but that are not absolutely necessary. Then make a needs list. This should include items you must have (number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, garage, school district etc). Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for. Communicate your wants vs needs to your REALTOR to help you find the home that will be the best investment for your family.

4. Getting Started:  Now the search is on. You will want to search the MLS, internet & newspaper ads for homes that fit your price range, your needs as well as some of your wants. You will want to stay on reputable websites such as your REALTOR's website, their office website or Communicate with your REALTOR the homes your are interested in that you would like to view. Your REALTOR will also be searching the MLS diligently to find one that suits your needs! When you begin your search, try to remove your emotions of purchasing a home and think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don’t make a quick decision you may later regret.

4. Making an offer:  You have found a house and now you are ready to make an offer. Remember that a few dollars you spend now may save you a big headache later. Keep in mind you will want to include 1) an inspection & mortgage contingency in your written offer, 2) have the property inspected by a professional inspector, 3) have a professional come out to check any concerns that may have arisen during the inspection while you are still in your option period (such as electrical, roof, structural, plumbing etc), 4) ask to do a final walk-through  your new home to be within 24 hours of closing. This is the time you can confirm repairs that may have been required were completed as well as make sure no changes have been made to the home that were not agreed upon (such as removal of blinds, ceiling fans, shrubs etc).

This may all seem rather overwhelming to a new home buyer as well as any home buyer. As a professional REALTOR, I highly recommend you have represention to help you through the process. Feel free to call me directly or email me to get you started in the process of purchasing your new home! 

ASK for my FREE GUIDE FOR HOUSE HUNTERS & PREPARING TO BUY booklet!  I will gladly mail you one or you may stop by my office to pick one up!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 30, 2015  12:49:14 PM
What is Title Insurance? 0 Comments Posted

The question comes up frequently "What is Title Insurance?"

To try to explain as simple as possible, title insurance is available to protect owners and lenders from loss that may result in any possible defects in the title to real estate. Title policies and regulations are complicated. For more information go to the websites for the Texas Land Title Association ( and/or Texas Department of Insurance (

As a Realtor, I recommend all buyers obtain an Owner's Title Policy. The important thing to remember is that you only pay once, then the coverage continues in effect for so long as you have an interest in covered property. If you should die, the coverage automatically continues for the benefit of your heirs. Generally, the person selling the property is responsible for paying for the Owner’s Policy.  Determining who pays for the Owner’s Policy can be negotiated, however, and may be partially paid for by the person buying the house.  The premium amount for the Owner's Title Policy is determined by the sale price of the home. This insurance provides you with protection against specific title risks.  Some of these risks include:

  • Clerical Mistakes
  • Defective Acknowledgement on Documents
  • Delinquent Taxes
  • Forgery
  • Fraud
  • Illegal Trusts
  • Lost Wills
  • Mistakes in Legal Description
  • Platting Discrepancies
  • Undisclosed Heirs

If a lender is involved, the lender will require a Mortgage Policy of Title Insurance is issued to the lender.  The purpose of this insurance is to validate the lien that the lender has on the property. .The lender's policy covers only the amount of its loan, which is usually not the the same amount as the Owner's Title Policy. The person borrowing money in order to pay for the home is responsible for paying for the Mortgage Policy.  The premium for the Mortgage Policy is determined by the amount of the loan. 

Before a policy is issued, a careful search of public records associated with real estate is performed by an abstractor.  In order to complete its research accurately, title companies must utilize their abstract plant.  The abstractor researches all recorded instruments that may effect the property such as death, deeds, divorces, mortgages and other liens.  After this information is thoroughly examined, the title company will issue a Title Insurance Commitment upon the decision they are able to issue a title insurance policy. The title insurance policies will be issued upon closing and funding of the property.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 9, 2015  1:18:49 PM