The Mark Cabal Team
(682) 233-0324


Apple or Oranges?

With all of the volatility in the stock market and uncertainty about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), some are concerned we may be headed for another housing crash like the one we experienced from 2006-2008. The feeling is understandable. Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at the real estate consulting firm Meyers Research, addressed this point in a recent interview:

“With people having PTSD from the last time, they’re still afraid of buying at the wrong time.”

There are many reasons, however, indicating this real estate market is nothing like 2008. Here are five visuals to show the dramatic differences.

1. Mortgage standards are nothing like they were back then.

During the housing bubble, it was difficult NOT to get a mortgage. Today, it is tough to qualify. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association releases a Mortgage Credit Availability Index which is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.” The higher the index, the easier it is to get a mortgage. As shown below, during the housing bubble, the index skyrocketed. Currently, the index shows how getting a mortgage...

Back to School We Go!

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What a day! Back to school AND a solar eclipse?! I think that's a good sign for all of our brilliant young minds - a sign from the stars that this school year, 2018-2019, will be the best by far!

We're here to make it better. Are you looking to downsize now that your high school seniors are off to college? What are you going to do with all that extra space upstairs? Or, is your family growing and you need another room or 2? We would love to help you find what you are looking for, so please don't hesitate to call us anytime! We have an abundance of resources for you!

Talk to you soon!


6 ways to screen your landlord

6 Ways to Screen Your Landlord

It’s standard practice for landlords to screen potential tenants. References, work history, banking information,
and even your Social Security number are fair game. But what about your landlord’s references? 
How concerned should you be about trusting someone you hardly know with your private information?

4 Ways To Recover From a Broken Budget

You’ve made your budget. Then, you forgot Christmas was coming and you want to buy gifts. Your A/C or heating bill went through the roof this month. The once-a-year bill arrives for the home owner’s association dues. You went out after work to grab a diet coke with some friends, and it turned into dinner, three glasses of wine, and an Uber ride home.

Budget busters – we’ve all had them. The best-laid plans can often get derailed for all kinds of reasons. Here are the best ways to fix your budget if you’ve gotten off track.

1. Take a deep breath

First is to recognize there is no perfect budget. That’s not an excuse for constant overspending though. The variable expenses in life – groceries, gas, utilities – mean you will always be a little over or a little under (preferably a little under) every month.

For example, you budgeted $500 for groceries and spent $493. Or you budgeted $200 for gas but gas prices went up, and you had to make an extra 2-hour drive somewhere, so it cost you $210 instead.

In other words – you’re human.


Not perfect.

Welcome to the club.

Action item: Recognize where you are over/under for a month and adjust next month’s budget as necessary. It can also be helpful to build in some fluff to those budget categories where you might expect some overspending. If you end up with extra at the end of the month – hooray!

2. Forgetting to budget for things

"I forgot to budget this year for the annual membership fee my new gym. It was $49 and not in the new 2017 budget." – Scott

See – eleven years of doing a budget and this stuff still happens.


Looking for an apartment? Here's where to start:


Getting started on finding a new place to live doesn’t have to be scary or a chore. With a bit of organization and pre-planning, your apartment search can go smoothly and result in a fabulous new place to live. Here are some tips to get you going in the right direction.

Determine the kind of apartment that will meet your needs.

It’s hard to start apartment hunting if you don’t know what you’re looking for. One bedroom? Two? A community pool? A separate office? How much do you want to spend?

Before you start your search, you need to know what you want in an apartment in order to weed out places that aren’t going to fit. Answer these basic questions before you kick off your search:

  • How much can you afford?
  • How much do you want to spend?
  • What area of town do you want to live?
  • How many rooms do you want?
  • What kinds of amenities do you want? Do you want access to a gym? A pool?
  • Do you prefer a gated community?
  • What features do you want inside the apartment? For example, a washer and dryer or dishwasher?

Once you have a basic outline of what your minimum requirements are, you can then start considering optional luxuries — more expensive kitchen appliances, a covered parking space, included utilities, etc.

Set some dates

The amount of time you allow for finding your apartment will depend on how quickly you have to move or how much time you can devote to an apartment search. If you are under no time pressure, allow yourself one to two months to find an apartment. Mark your calendar with your intended move date and move backwards, making sure to...

Small home, big views! See inside this stunning tiny home

It may be tiny, but the new 160-square-foot home feels much bigger thanks to its long panoramic windows that draw the outdoors in.

Steve Niedorf / Courtesy of Escape Vista

This gorgeous new design from tiny home builder Escape Homes starts at $40,000 and includes all the small living features one needs such as kitchen amenities, a bathroom with full shower, and of course a comfy place to rest your head. And with the ability to gaze outside from almost every inch of the place, it’s just begging to be parked at a scenic spot. Vacation in the mountains, anyone?

Steve Niedorf / Courtesy of Escape Vista

The living space is small but efficient. There’s a double-sized daybed (queen-bed optional), extensive storage and LED lighting.


All gave some...

...some gave all

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From all of us here at The Mark Cabal Team, we thank you.


8 Tips For Doing Stunning Urban Landscape Photography

As a photographer, when you hear the word landscape your mind will most likely conjure up images of lush valleys, looming mountains, and majestic, sweeping vistas. With good reason, as the natural world can be a place of staggering beauty. But done well, a different type of landscape photography, the urban landscape, can produce shots that are equally as compelling as anything Mother Nature can throw your way.

The energy of a major city lends images a vitality that can’t be found anywhere else. There’s so much movement and life in the urban environment, and the best city shots capture that buzzing vibrancy.

Urban landscape 02

Shooting urban landscapes also has plenty of practical advantages too. Every type of photography is all about the light, and that is one thing cities never run out of. You can shoot in the artificial glow of the metropolis long after you’d have been forced to pack up your kit and make your way home from a day in the countryside.

Couple that with the fact that, for the most part, cities are a lot more accessible for the majority of us, and shooting urban landscapes is the ideal activity for photographers during those long winter months.

So here are our top 8 tips for getting the most out of your time pounding the sidewalks.

#1. Research

You wouldn’t embark on a traditional landscape photography outing by jumping in the car, heading for the hills and hoping for the best. Likewise, the success of an urban landscape shoot depends largely on how well you plan.

Your home town

Even if you’re off to capture the town or city you grew up in, putting...

8 Times Benches Proved They're the Most Versatile Piece of Furniture

So much hidden potential!

File cabinets aren't cute — it's a simple truth. Which is why we'd swap ours out for a white bench with a pretty floral cushion on top (like this one!) any day. Just add file folders to keep your most valuable papers out of sight.
Get the tutorial at Better When Built »


DIY Canvas Magazine Hanger

DIY Magazine hanger

When I’m looking for inspiration I often head over to Pinterest or Instagram to keep up to date with current trends or look for ideas I can use within my own work. But more and more often these days I’m finding it’s advantageous to step away from the Internet and look for new ideas in more traditional ways. When I’m away from the computer screen I can have some of my best ideas and I particularly love flicking through old magazines for designs and techniques I can modernize and personalize to create something that feels fresh.

DIY Magazine hanger

While it’s great to have magazines on hand, storing them can become overwhelming. One way to overcome the clutter is to use them as decoration. This DIY magazine hanger has the added visual element of showing flashes of color on each side of the covers. I think this makes the magazines much more appealing to read and attractive to display. And it’s also a really easy DIY that you can customize to hold as many magazines as you like. -Fran

DIY Magazine hanger-1


  • Canvas (or thick cotton) fabric
  • Wooden dowel
  • Rope
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Clay base plates (...

21 Things You Must Do When Visiting Miami

Give us all the palm trees

Two key elements of any bonkers vacation: a culture-rich city and a beach. Miami, at your service. As the infamous Art Basel rages on this weekend, we took some time to round up the essential things you should do in the sexiest city in America--any time of year.


1. Rent a convertible and cruise up and down Ocean Drive as much as possible.

2. Swing by La Sandwicherie, also in South Beach, for the greatest French sammies outside…well, France.

3. Rent a lounge chair on Miami Beach and people-watch to your heart’s content.

4. Get a cold-pressed juice at The Standard and hipster-watch to your heart’s content.

5. Feel virtuous and then reward yourself with the greatest coffee of your life--a Cuban colada.


6. Work off the espresso buzz by gallery hopping in Wynwood, the city’s renowned arts district.

7. Go one step further and take a tandem-bike tour around the neighborhood. Because what better way to see street art and graffiti by some of the world's most prominent...

Mobile Mechanic in DFW

Hello all! Meaghan here! I have an awesome friend who has started his own mechanic business - on the go! If you break down for any reason or have any kind of issues with your vehicle, give Steve a call and he will come to you! He also has a Mother's Day promotion going on right now!

Go find him on Facebook (I have included a link below), like his page and help support a local, self-owned businessman who just so happens to be one of my very good friends!

Renegade Mobile Mechanic

Mother's Day Promotion:

As Mother's Day is around the corner I will be doing a special. 
For every repair or maintenance done:

-If you are a mother, I will inspect your car for any other repairs/maintenance that may need attention or showing signs of problems that may occur in the near future for free.

-If you are not a mother, I will do whats listed above for your mother's vehicle for free as well.

This includes:
Brakes, tires, suspension, fluid levels, leaks, battery, and check for any...

Bohemian Dome in the Desert


Geodesic domes had their heyday a few decades ago, but the style and quirky details of this dome in Joshua Tree brings the design back to today. Owned by Kathrin and Bryan Smirke, the Dome in the Desert has recently been featured in several magazines and books including “The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes” by Justina Blakeney.


The couple found the (small, not tiny) house by placing an ad on Craigslist. The owner of the dome contacted them and they snatched it up before it went on the market. Kathrin and Bryan removed the popcorn ceiling, knocked down some walls, (see the before photos) and plastered the walls in bright white. They needed to replace the roof, so they decided to add in the five skylights for additional light.


Chip + Joanna Create a Stylish Home on a Tight Budget

"Skinnylap" makes a guest appearance as Chip and Joanna help a couple returning to Waco, Texas create a stylish home on a tight budget.


Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Waco expatriates Will and Laura Phipps have been away for six years, but now they’re making their way back to their Central Texas roots and looking to find a home to raise their two young daughters. Their wish list? A house in an established neighborhood with lots of mature trees, four bedrooms, a large kitchen and an open living space that’s well-suited for entertaining. The catch? Their initial budget is tight, even by Waco standards, presenting Chip and Joanna with some strategic challenges.


How to Prioritize Your Apartment Hunting Wish List

How to Prioritize Your Apartment Hunting Wish List

Imagine your perfect apartment. Mine has a big kitchen with plenty of storage, an extra room for crafting and working, central air conditioning, on-site laundry and a closet big enough for all of my clothes. As you can see, my wish list is long. To get everything I want in the city where I live, I’ll have to shell out way more money than I can afford.

Every renter goes through this debacle of looking at their income and their apartment hunting wish list and realizing there’s a gap. The unfortunate reality is that we can’t have it all (sigh). But prioritizing the things you want in an ideal apartment will help you sign a lease as a satisfied renter.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you prioritize what you really need out of your next place:

What Can’t You Live Without?

Your top priorities for apartment hunting should be features you can’t live or rent without. These are the parameters you include in your search. For many, a certain price tag is No. 1. If your ...

Home in Kew by Canny Architecture

Situated in Kew, Melbourne, Australia, this spacious renovation and extension was
recently completed by 
Canny Architecture.

Description by Canny Architecture...

New Homeowner’s Renovation Project Was Put On Hold. The Reason?


Former Owners Had Booby-Trapped The Home.

When showing or viewing homes, concerns over unforeseen pitfalls always seem to linger in the back of your mind. On that rare occasion, however, you run across something you could’ve never dreamed of… like finding out the home is rigged to explode.

That’s exactly what Denver resident, Matt Feeney, encountered. He was remodeling an old home that was originally owned by Denver, Colorado’s most famous crime family. He discovered that crime families like to have getaway plans. Even if it means bringing down the house while they make their escape. How did they do it?

Have a look at the video below for the full story.


<Lighter Side Staff>



From all of us here at The Mark Cabal Team, Happy Opening Day!

Image result for rangers opening day 2017



Seven Restaurants with Retractable Roofs

While the weather is good, restaurants with distinctive retractable roofs offer a
dynamic dining experience

With two Michelin stars to its name, Lasserre, in Paris’s 8th arrondissement, serves contemporary French cuisine in a classic space with a frescoed ceiling that slides open to reveal the sky. A popular destination since René Lasserre opened the restaurant in 1942, it continues to attract A-listers. Chef Christophe Moret creates classics (cold lobster bisque) as well as original plates (langoustines in a ginger-and-lime stock).

Photo courtesy of Lasserre

With two Michelin stars to its name, Lasserre, in Paris’s 8th arrondissement, serves contemporary French
cuisine in a classic space with a frescoed ceiling that slides open to reveal the sky. A popular destination
since René Lasserre opened the restaurant in 1942, it continues...