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Vickie Harvey - Courtesy photo

Karina Ramírez: Company dresses up homes on the market

Vickie Harvey has spent the last five months helping homeowners sell their homes.

Harvey uses home staging to best prepare and showcase properties so they’ll sell on the market.

The process of home staging involves decluttering, updating, repairing and rearranging rooms — depersonalizing homes as much as possible, Harvey said.

“Depersonalizing a home takes out the inhibitions for the buyer,” she said. “It can be anything from changing an outdated bedspread, removing a pile of clutter on a desk, anything that can throw someone off.”

After spending 15 years with the Denton Affordable Housing Corp., helping people by getting their first home and working on renovations and other duties, Harvey decided to launch her own business, Home Staging Services of North Texas.

She’s a member of the of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, an organization founded in 1999 that helps educate real estate agents, sellers and stagers about the art and business of home staging, according to its website.

According to a 2012 Real Estate Staging Association study, homes that were not staged spent more time on the market, about 166 days. After staging, the houses were sold in an average of 32 days. Homes that are staged prior to listing spent about an average of 26 days on the market, the association reported.

Harvey said she provides assessments and provides suggestions on what is needed for the houses to sell.

“Some houses are not bad — they just need a few tips — and some are extreme, where they have messes everywhere,” she said.

Harvey, a Denton resident, earned her interior design degree at the University of North Texas in 1984.

For more information, call 940-206-6421 or visit

Midtown, an apartment complex at Carroll Boulevard and Eagle Drive, was sold earlier this month to Shore to Shore Properties of Sausalito, Calif.

The complex, built in 2012, consists of 120 units and 432 beds, located near the University of North Texas.

Chris Epp, Chris Bancroft and Meredith Wolff and broker Bart Wickard with Apartment Realty Advisors, an investment advisory firm in Atlanta, represented the seller.

Also included in the transaction was Midtown in Arlington, a 66-unit, 218-bed property.

The Midtown properties were sold by Hammond Jones Real Estate Development Group, an Austin-based private development company, according to a news statement.

Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

The holding company for Independent Bank, Independent Bank Group Inc., will acquire Collin Bank in Plano, according to an announcement made July 19.

Independent Bank Group Chairman and CEO David R. Brooks said in a news statement that a component of the company’s growth strategy includes acquisitions within existing markets.

This is the first acquisition by the group, which is valued at $29.1 million, and it was announced following its initial public offering.

Collin Bank has just one location, at 2701 Dallas Parkway.

Independent Bank has 30 offices in 26 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, including a location in Denton at Unicorn Lake, 3101 Wind River Lane.

For more information, visit

Phil Landers and Ryan Kientzler, owners of Paul Davis Emergency Services of Denton, have opened a new franchise office at 730 Frenchtown Road in Argyle.

Paul Davis Emergency Services offers water-damage cleanup and structural drying, fire and smoke damage cleanup, mold removal and other services.

Landers joins Paul Davis with more than 35 years of experience in commercial and residential construction management and construction sales throughout the state. Kientzler has more than 15 years of experience in residential new home construction in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and was most recently a member of the Paul Davis team in Tulsa, Okla., according to a news statement.

For service areas and more information, visit

John M. Ruiz, a psychology professor at the University of North Texas, is looking for Latino residents of Denton County to participate in a study examining how stress influences heart disease.

The North Texas Heart Study is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, which conducts research on behalf of the the National Institutes of Health, Ruiz said in an e-mail.

Participants will be compensated during the first year of the study. In order to participate, they must satisfy certain criteria.

For details, visit

More than two-thirds of small-business owners support increasing the federal minimum wage, up from $7.25 an hour, and adjusting it yearly to reflect the cost of living, according to a poll released by the Small Business Majority, a national nonpartisan organization.

In the survey, 67 percent of respondents said they would want to raise the minimum wage, while 36 percent of the respondents disagreed.

The Internet survey of 500 small-business owners nationwide was conducted March 4-10 by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a research firm. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.4 percent.

The last time the federal minimum wage was increased was in 2009, from $6.55, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

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Coming up

Former Dallas Cowboy Daryl Johnston, co-owner of the Smiling Moose in Denton, will stop by the restaurant Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. for a meet-and-greet.

The 18th location of Smiling Moose opened in Denton, next to Verus Real Estate at Hickory Street and Carroll Boulevard.

For more information, visit

Estate planning lawyer Leigh Hilton will host a seminar titled “Will Your Successor Trustees Know What to Do When You Are Gone?” at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 6 at El Guapo’s, 419 W. Elm St.

Some topics the seminar will cover include how to resolve disputes, how to determine the value of assets and what to expect from the Internal Revenue Service.

To make reservations, call 940-387-8800 or e-mail

The Arts, Antiques & Autos Extravaganza will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 14 on Denton’s downtown Square.

The event features a classic, custom and hot rod car and motorcycle show, as well as arts and crafts booths, antique and collectibles appraisals at $5 per item, music and more.

For more information, visit

KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878 and via Twitter at @KarinaFRamirez.