The Mark Cabal Team
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Arlington TX Real Estate Blog

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.


5 Ways to Make Bank When Selling an Investment Property

You’re looking at your investment property and reflecting on the work put into it. Hopefully, the property has made you money, made tenants happy, and given you tax breaks. But now you’re ready to make an even bigger profit by selling the property. Everyone knows that home appreciation is one of the biggest gains that comes with real estate investing. Just make sure you’re gaining as much as possible.

Before listing your property, think carefully about why you want to sell and if your reasons are valid (smart).

Reasons You Should Sell Your Investment Property

1. You’re Not Making Money

If you’re not even breaking even on an investment property, that’s a reason to sell. Making money is the number one objective in real estate. Maybe your investment property was making money initially, but due to various reasons, it’s generating negative cash-flow. This can be from vacancies, damages, or costs have gone up too much like insurance or taxes. On the other hand, an investor could be making money but is anticipating some major repairs.

So definitely sell if you’re experiencing this, right? Well, understand the market conditions really well. You might be able to make more money by holding on to the property for a bit longer. Check out appreciation, rental rates, and future development plans. If these are going to increase soon, hold on to...

ReFi Shy? How to Determine If Now Is the Time to Refinance

It appears the bargain basement mortgage rates that have been part of the economy since the Great Recession may slowly be slipping away. And as rates tick higher, many homeowners are beginning to wonder if the moment has passed to refinance. If you've been keeping a close eye on interest rates, but still aren't sure if refinancing your home is worth it, here are some important questions to ask that just may help you decide. (See also: How to Refinance Your Mortgage)

Do You Have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

As interest creeps higher, strategic homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages are seeing a chance to lock in lower rates now. Many buyers who jumped in the market quickly during the housing boom did so with the help of adjustable rate mortgages. Now that those rates are set to adjust upward, homeowners are refinancing and moving to fixed-rate 15-year or 30-year loans. According a recent refinance report by Freddie Mac(PDF), it's estimated that refis will account for 75% of single-family home loan originations in 2013 and about 50% in 2014.

Most homeowners typically choose to refinance either to reduce their mortgage payment or shorten the life of their loan. If you're strapped for cash, refinancing into a 30-year fixed-rate loan could help, but you may actually end up paying more in the long run because you're extending the term of your loan (and thereby, extending the interest period).

Could You Lock in a Lower Fixed Rate?

Many homeowners who've...

How long does the home buying process take?

The Search

A common point of confusion for people when they are purchasing a home is how long the home buying process will actually take. Some folks think that it all comes together immediately, while others assume that it will take months before they move into their dream home. The truth is that there are a couple of different components which can either expedite the process or prolong it. Here is a quick look at a few of the stages of the homebuying process, and different factors that affect the length of the experience.

Couple peering into window of empty house

First and foremost, when you begin to look for a home, you should be prepared to allot however much time you will need to find the house of your dreams. The amount of time it takes to find your chosen home can vary for many reasons, first and foremost being that your market and the time of the year you are shopping will dictate the housing inventory. If the inventory is low, it may take you a little more time to find the house that’s just right. Finding a house with any unique features that you want may also take you a little while longer. (For example, a pool or wine cellar.) Your motivation and personal timeline will also impact how quickly the shopping process can take. On average, though, I would say buyers in my market are actively looking for a home for about 30-60 days before ratifying a contract.

Contract To Close...

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 ...

Switch Up Dinnertime With This Spicy Mixed Cold Noodles Dish

You may not know it yet, but this noodle dish

will become your favorite summer dish.

In the summer, everyone wants to eat something cold and refreshing. If that’s what you’re
looking for, you’ve come to the right place. This spicy noodle delicacy is one of the most
famous summer dishes in South Korea, and it’s not surprising why.

It is definitely one of my family’s favorites and it will soon be yours, too. You will find this dish
not only refreshing and spicy, but also light and healthy, because of the higher protein content
in the buckwheat noodles. Another great thing about this recipe is that it is vegan-ized and
great for anyone with food allergies to dairy, fish, and nuts. Furthermore, this recipe is so simple
and easy. It’s perfect for the quick lunch or dinner. There’s no excuse for you to not make it.

#SpoonTip: This dish is not for those who can’t handle spicy foods.

Spicy Mixed Cold Noodles (Bibim-naengmyun)

  • Prep Time:5 minutes
  • Cook Time:10-15 minutes
  • Total Time:20 minutes
  • Servings:3-5


  • 8-10 oz Soba or Naengmyun buckwheat noodles
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoon red chili paste (gochujang)
  • ...

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>


Refinancing? Use this document checklist.

If anything about refinancing your mortgage might be described as "fun," it would have to be
locking in your new lower interest rate. But once that's done, you'll have to deal with the decidedly
not-fun part of gathering all the documentation you'll need to support your refinance loan application.

To get started and stay organized, it's helpful to have a checklist of which documents you'll need.
While each loan officer or mortgage broker might have their own specific checklist, here's a look at generally what you can expect:

  • Photo ID: Typically a driver's license or passport, this document is used to confirm your name, identity and home address.
  • Paystubs: Typically, you'll need to produce your paystubs from at least the last 30 days. If you don't have your paystubs, ask your employer's payroll or personnel department to give you these documents which must show your name, the name of your employer and your total year-to-date earnings, according to Joe Metzler, mortgage specialist at Mortgages Unlimited in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Asset statements: Gather monthly or quarterly statements from your various asset accounts from the last two to three months. Asset accounts include checking, savings, investment and retirement plan funds.

If you don't have your statements handy, you can print them from most financial institutions' websites, Metzler explains. Each statement must include your name, the name of your financial institution and the beginning and ending account balances. A print out of your current transactions "usually does not work" for loan application purposes, Metzler warns. Rather, a true statement is required....

Spaghetti Pot Pies

Spaghetti Pot Pies with Spinach, Ricotta & Optional Ground Beef

Have you ever had a spaghetti pie? You know, spaghetti noodles are mixed with eggs and cheese and pressed into a pie plate to act as the “crust,” then filled with sauce and cheese? It’s terrific comfort food. The spaghetti packs together to create the perfect texture, and gets kind of crispy around on the edges. And then it’s baked with sauce and cheeses. Yum.

I have a go-to spaghetti pie recipe that I’ll undoubtedly share here someday, but I decided to turn the idea upside down – literally – and share this one first: Spaghetti Pot Pies.

Yep. Spaghetti pot pie. Inside you’ll find Italian tomato sauce and spoonfuls of delicious, melty ricotta, mozzarella and spinach, set off with little grate of nutmeg. The sauce and the spinach-ricotta mixture are then topped with a slice of provolone cheese, which not only gives the pot pie a nice smoky note, it also helps when you compact the spaghetti “crust”.

Let’s talk about the spaghetti crust. You simply mix the pasta with a couple of eggs and grated Parmesan, then top each pot pie with a big spoonful of noodles. Then you press it down, creating something akin to the “crust” you get with traditional spaghetti pies. Except on top.

I add Parmesan panko breadcrumbs to the top to add to the crust effect. Or maybe that was just an excuse to add Parmesan breadcrumbs … I love them so....


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

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