5 Ways to Lower Your Air Conditioning & Energy Bills



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According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioning accounts for about six percent of all the electricity manufactured in the U.S. and costs American homeowners a collective $29 billion a year. On an individual level, running your central air conditioning can cost an average of $3.84 a day, which is more than $115 a month. With energy costs rising, it makes sense to take steps to make sure your A/C unit is operating at maximum efficiency. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of extra money to keep your air conditioner humming along. In addition to getting a regular A/C tune-up, you can install a smart thermostat and take steps to keep the inside of your home from warming up too much during the hottest part of the day. With a little extra diligence, you can keep your energy costs low without sacrificing comfort. Here are five ways to ensure your A/C unit is running as efficiently as possible. 

1. TURN YOUR THERMOSTAT UP

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Perhaps the easiest and cheapest thing you can do to maximize the efficiency of your air conditioner is to simply turn your thermostat up. If you can be comfortable at a higher temperature, you won’t have to spend as much money to cool your home. Even the best A/C units can’t make up for the monetary gain that simply turning up your thermostat can bring. 

If you haven’t already, you should consider updating to a digital or smart thermostat. A digital thermostat can be programmed so that you only run your central air when you’re at home and active. That way, you don’t waste money cooling your home while you aren’t there. 

A smart thermostat allows you to control the temperature of your home remotely, so you can adjust your thermostat if you’re going to be returning home, for example. Some of today’s smart thermostats will even monitor your family’s activity, learn your patterns and program themselves accordingly. 

2. MAINTAIN YOUR A/C PROPERLY

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Regular A/C maintenance is one of the best things you can do to improve your HVAC efficiency and prevent breakdowns. A yearly HVAC tune-up can keep your system functioning properly and identify issues before they arise so you can avoid unexpected HVAC failures. While you can perform some maintenance tasks, such as changing your HVAC filter on your own, other tasks, such as inspecting and cleaning your home A/C compressor, should be left to the professionals.  

Schedule yearly A/C maintenance early in the spring so you can be ready for hot weather and avoid the rush of last-minute calls from procrastinators or those with HVAC breakdowns. Ensure your maintenance technician knows how to maintain your particular A/C unit and cleans the indoor drain line while working on your unit. American Home Shield members receive access to discounted A/C system tune-ups or one free tune-up annually with a ShieldPlatinum home service plan.  

3. CLOSE YOUR CURTAINS 

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Natural light is wonderful, but the rays of sunlight streaming through your windows can raise the interior temperature of your home and force your A/C unit to work harder. You can ease the burden on your unit and lower your cooling costs simply by closing your curtains and blinds, at least during the hottest part of the day. 

Not an option? This might take a few years to make a difference, but you could install a few shrubs and trees to naturally shade your home. Or you could install low-emissivity (or Low-E) windows. These windows have a reflective coating that keeps heat out while letting light in. Whatever type of windows you have, make sure the seals are tight and re-caulk if necessary to keep cool air from escaping (or your money could be going out the window!) 

4. INSULATE YOUR DUCTWORK 

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If your HVAC’s ductwork runs through a non-air-conditioned space, then all that freshly cooled air could be warming up on its way to your vents. Insulate your ductwork to keep the cool air your HVAC produces cooler as it travels through your home’s ventilation system. 

Got leaky ductwork? Seal up leaks with a UL 181-rated duct-sealing tape. You may also want to have your ductwork inspected during your next HVAC maintenance visit.

5. USE APPLIANCES WISELY 

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Some appliances, like your oven and clothes dryer, can heat up the inside of your house and increase your cooling costs. To minimize the impact of heat-generating appliances on your energy bills, avoid using your oven or clothes dryer during the hottest part of the day. For maximum energy efficiency, use them at night when it will be easiest for your unit to keep your home cool. 

While you’re at it, make sure you don’t have any lamps or other heat-generating appliances near your thermostat. Lamps and appliances that warm up the air around your thermostat can throw off its measurement of indoor air temperatures, making your A/C unit work harder because it thinks the inside of your home is warmer than it actually is. 

Keeping your A/C unit in good working order can maximize its efficiency and keep your energy costs down, so you can focus on staying cool all season long. 

Get more HVAC and air conditioner tips and advice from the experts: 

>  All You Need to Know About HVAC Replacement Costs  

What’s the Difference Between Air Conditioning Insurance vs. A/C Home Warranty Coverage  

What You Need to Know About Recharging Your Home’s A/C Unit  

How Long do HVAC Systems Last?  

Signs It’s Time to Get a New Air Conditioner  

Tips for Buying a New A/C Unit  

HVAC Red Flags to Look Out For  

HVAC Maintenance 101: Changing Your Filter   

Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner  

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

Dave Perry-Miller Celebrates Rookies of the Year 2022


In 2021, you got it done. In 2022, we drink to you!

Maybe they’re new to the business, but these Rookies finished their first year like longtime pros. We had so much fun celebrating their successes with a special luncheon at Haywire. 

Keep up the great work in Year 2, everyone! 

Check out our Rookies of the Year Luncheon 2022 video below.  

For more photos from the Rookies of the Year Luncheon 2022, click here.

To learn more about the Ebby Halliday Companies, please visit ebbyhallidaycompanies.com/joinus.

6 Tips to Overcome Low Inventory


Today, the greatest challenge faced by homebuyers is low inventory. In this highly-competitive market, it’s important to work with an agent who has an in-depth understanding of how to navigate the situation. Here are six tips to help you achieve your goals, even when facing low inventory.

Get Pre-Approved

In any housing market, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is always the first step in the home-buying process. When searching for a home, buyers and their agents need to know exactly how much they can offer. And in a market defined by low inventory and multiple offers, sellers may not seriously consider offers without a lender letter. While waiting to get approved, you may be passed over in favor of potential buyers who submit proof of funds and mortgage approval letters with their offer.

Be Patient and Prioritize

Due to increased demand and low inventory, it may take longer to find the right home for you. Patience, prioritization and compromise are key. You may not find the perfect home, but if you know what’s most important to you and what’s just a bonus, you’ll be able to find a home that meets most of your search criteria.

Ask About Off-Market and Coming Soon Listings

A savvy real estate agent who’s well-versed in the local market can get you access to off-market or “pocket” listings that are only marketed by word-of-mouth. Your agent will also be aware of any coming soon listings to help you get ahead of the competition.

Be Prepared for a Bidding War

A bidding war is all too common in a market with low inventory. If this happens, it’s important to know your limit beforehand and take the time to consider what the home is worth to you versus its current market value. 

Make Your Best Offer

Gone are the days of back-and-forth negotiating. If you love a home, be ready to put forth your best offer. Keep in mind, when sellers receive multiple offers, it’s not always the highest one that’s the most appealing. There are other ways to set your offer apart such as making a cash offer, waiving contingencies, or offering a seller leaseback. Discuss with your agent the terms that give you the strongest advantage.

Find an Agent You Can Trust

Above all, find an agent you can trust! Buying and selling a home is exciting, but it can be nerve-wracking, too. The process can be complicated and the stakes are high. At Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, our agents are experienced, knowledgeable professionals who will always put your best interests first and provide you with the most current market research and strategic advice as you make one of life’s biggest financial decisions. They are engaged every day in the buying and selling of real estate. 

Allow Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate to guide you through the process of successfully buying or selling your home. For more information, visit daveperrymiller.com today!

Inventory Breakdown by County

All Counties: -9%

Bosque County: +22%

Collin County: -19%

Cooke County: -23%

Dallas County: -27%

Delta County: +35%

Denton County: -9%

Ellis County: +9%

Erath County: +6%

Fannin County: +37%

Grayson County: -6%

Henderson County: +4%

Hill County: -15%

Hood County: -6%

Hopkins County: -8%

Hunt County: +13%

Johnson County: +8%

Kaufman County: +9%

Lamar County: +18%

Montague County: +59%

Navarro County: +15%

Palo Pinto County: -13%

Parker County: -14%

Rains County: +63%

Rockwall County: +15%

Smith County: -35%

Somervell County: +23%

Tarrant County: -13%

Van Zandt County: +10%

Wise County: +12%

Source: NTREIS MLS, 1/1/21-5/1/21 vs. 1/1/22 vs. 5/1/22

Backyard Tips: Yearly Planting Calendar


Want a beautiful garden that stays healthy and looks great all year? Use this calendar to know what to plant and when.

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BACKYARD TIPS: YEARLY PLANTING CALENDAR

Spring has only just begun, but it’s never too early to garden. If you live in a warm region, you can garden all year round, but even if you live in a cold, northerly climate, you can get a jumpstart on a lush, healthy garden by planning now. Read on for tips to create the garden of your dreams.

FIND YOUR HARDINESS ZONES AND FROST DATES

Wondering how you can tell when to plant flowers, veggies, fruits, and herbs outdoors? Use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find out which plants are most likely to do well in your local climate. As you can see from the map, the warmer the region, the higher the zone number. Hardiness zones are based on the average minimum temperatures in that region. 

Frost dates, or the most likely dates of the first and last frosts of the winter season, are based on hardiness zones. In zones 5a and 5b, for example, the last frost usually happens in the first two weeks of April, while the first frost will most likely occur in the last two weeks of October. You should start planting your garden after the last frost and expect the season to end with the first frost.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLANTS

You can use hardiness zones to choose plants that will thrive in your climate. If you live in a zone with minimum temperatures below freezing, choose frost-hardy perennials that will survive cold winter temperatures to come back strong in the spring. If you live in a tropical or subtropical region, you should still pay attention to the plant’s hardiness rating. Some plants thrive in a warm climate, but others require periods of cold weather to thrive, and some seeds, like lavender, germinate best if exposed to cold.

CALCULATE PLANTING DATES

Calculate your planting dates based on when you hope to put seeds, seedlings, and young plants in the soil. Some vegetables, herbs, and flowers do best when started indoors, and you’ll need to do this about six weeks before your outdoor planting date. 

For many vegetables, flowers, and herbs, you can schedule your planting dates so they’re after the last frost, but keep in mind that different kinds of plants will need different outdoor planting dates, and build out your planting calendar accordingly. For example, peas, carrots, and some lettuces like colder weather and will need to be planted outdoors early in the season, perhaps even before the last frost. Because cool-weather vegetables and greens tend to mature relatively quickly, you may be able to get a bumper crop by sowing them anew in the late summer. 

Other plants, like corn, tomatoes, and cantaloupe like warm weather and should be planted a few weeks after the last frost when the soil has warmed up. Decide what you’re going to plant this spring well in advance and check seed packets, plant labels, or the internet to determine the best time of year to plant each specific variety. Weather isn’t the only consideration — some vegetables, like pumpkins, take a long time to grow, so you should make sure that you plant them while there are still plenty of days left in the planting season for them to mature. 

If you live in a zone with minimum temperatures above freezing, you can enjoy two growing seasons. Plant vegetables and herbs in the spring for a summer crop and again in the fall for a winter crop. Choose tropical flowers, shrubs, and trees for landscaping.

START SEEDS INDOORS

Many vegetables, flowers, and fruits can be sown directly into the ground from seed, but others will do best if started indoors and transplanted outside. Start seeds for tomatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, lettuce, watermelon, swiss chard, and pumpkins indoors six to eight weeks before your planned outdoor planting date. Some plants, especially peppers and tomatoes, are difficult to grow from seed, so you may want to buy seedlings instead. Check seed packets to determine which seeds can be sown directly into the soil and which should be started indoors.

If you want to grow a productive garden this year, you need to develop a planting calendar based on your region’s climate and the plants you hope to cultivate. Do your research to determine which vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers you want to grow in your garden this year. Don’t procrastinate, because before you know it, it’ll be time to start planting.

Spring Cleaning? Here are the Best Closet Organization Systems


We all know what it’s like to be afraid to open our closets for fear of everything falling out. Closets can be one of the hardest parts of a home to keep organized and looking good. Check out the best closet organizers and see which one will work best for your home. 

Closets provide most of the storage space in the modern home, whether it’s for clothes, shoes, and accessories in the bedroom or food and spices in the pantry. A well-organized closet looks good and can save you valuable time. Sometimes we just need a little help to get the closet of our dreams—and keep it that way. 

But what is the best wardrobe closet organizer for your organizing style and household? Closet organizers vary widely in cost, size, and materials, so it really just depends on your budget and preference. Here we’ll cover some of the best closet organization systems for bedroom closets, along with general closet organization ideas. Let’s get organized! 

BEST BUDGET CLOSET ORGANIZER SYSTEMS 

When it comes to simple, affordable closet organization systems, you can’t go wrong with ClosetMaid. ClosetMaid has been making closet systems since 1965. Their systems work great, whether you’re looking for a walk-in closet organizer, a closet organizer with drawers, or something simpler like small closet organizer accessories. The best thing about ClosetMaid storage solutions is that their systems can be modified, expanded, or reconfigured as your needs change.   

The adjustable ClosetMaid 16” Organizer and Drawer Kit, made of laminated wood, is a sturdy storage solution that includes three shelves and support kits, two drawers, and three clothes rods. The ClosetMaid Fixed Mount Closet Organizer, made of vinyl-coated steel, offers less flexibility in terms of modification but is more affordable and comes with a shoe rack. These types of racks are great for organizing shoes in a closet. If you’re sharing a closet or are simply a shoe lover, you could also consider purchasing a few more standalone shoe racks to make sure every pair has its place. 

Rubbermaid also makes affordable closet organizers, and they’re available from popular retailers like Walmart and Amazon. With a range of options, quick installation, and easy reconfiguration, Rubbermaid closet systems will give you the space you need in your bedroom, pantry, laundry room, or other storage areas. 

BEST CUSTOM CLOSET ORGANIZATION SYSTEMS 

As with most things, you can spend as much on a closet organization system as you want—the options are almost endless. Custom closet systems are an excellent option for an oddly shaped or corner closet as well as small closets. 

If you’re looking for a system that’s perfectly tailored to your needs and constructed out of the highest-quality materials, a custom closet organizer from a manufacturer like Closet Factory might be for you. Closet Factory designs custom systems for reach-in and walk-in closets, and each custom closet begins with a complimentary design consultation. Other great custom closet system designers include California Closets, which designs high-end custom closets, and Easy Closet, which will give you a free closet design consultation over the phone. These companies also create storage systems for pantries, home libraries, laundry rooms, and garages. Get more garage storage ideas here

BEST CLOSET SYSTEM FOR KIDS 

Small closet organizers make sense for smaller clothes, right? But how do you organize a small closet? The Little Seeds Grow with Me Closet System, available at Wayfair, Target, and Amazon, is perfect for kids because it can be adjusted to meet their changing needs as they grow and get more involved in their fashion choices. The Grow with Me Closet System features a shoe rack, three shelves, four cubbies, one drawer, and adjustable garment rods for all your kid’s wardrobe storage needs. Rods are placed at child-friendly heights, so your kids can stay in control of what they wear. 

BEST MODULAR CLOSET SYSTEM 

Modular Closets offers mix-and-match systems that maximize flexibility without the high price tag of fully customized closet options. Use their online tool to get a free closet design based on your closet measurements, or shop their pre-configured options. 

BEST SYSTEMS FOR WALK-IN CLOSETS  

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Walk-in closets are amazing, but they’re not so great if they’re not well-organized. To organize a walk-in closet, it helps to have zones: one or two areas for hanging clothes, drawers for folded clothes, shelves for baskets with small items like scarves or hats, and a shoe rack. If you have a small walk-in closet, there are small closet tips on how to make the most of your space. Here are a few walk-in closet organizers that can help: 

  • The Container Store’s Elfa Décor 10’ His & Hers Closet Wall is one of the best closet organizers for people sharing closet space. This system doesn’t come cheap, but it really has it all: multiple shelves, two drawer systems, four areas for hanging clothes, a shoe rack, and a gliding tie and belt rack. 
  • The Rebrilliant Queenborough 72” Closet System is 72 inches wide and combines adjustable shelves and garment rods into a walk-in closet organization system that will give you a sturdy place to store your whole wardrobe.  
  • Looking for something a bit more affordable? Rebrilliant also offers a free-standing closet organizer starter kit, available on Wayfair, with seven shelves and one garment rod. This organizer is made out of bamboo and can create a lovely focal point for your closet. 

Closet organizer systems can help you turn the chaos of your closet into a neat, orderly space where your clothes, shoes, and accessories are easy to find. You have plenty of other things to worry about; you don’t need to be digging around in your closet, searching for your favorite belt or that one pair of shoes that matches your outfit. Eliminate clutter and hectic, stress-filled mornings with a well-organized closet and spend your energy on more important things like cooking a new recipe, entertaining friends, or just plain relaxing. 

Start on your journey to decluttering the rest of your home by checking out more decor ideas as well as home office organization and garage organization solutions. While you’re at it, be sure to look into an American Home Shield® home warranty to keep your home appliances and systems protected from the unexpected.

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

Low Inventory Continues as the Spring Market Begins


Spring Market 2022 is shaping up to be even more competitive than 2021. But don’t be intimidated into inaction. Getting what you need and want is still possible with the right mindset… and, more importantly, the right agent!

Now more than ever, a knowledgeable, tenacious representative by your side makes all the difference, especially with such limited inventory. Going in with a plan is critical. And our experienced agents can help you come up with one that’s right for your situation and increases your likelihood of coming out on top as a seller financially, and as a buyer in a multi-offer situation.

If a no-obligation consultation sounds good right about now, we’d love to provide one for you along with a free valuation of your home. Together, we can beat the odds!

Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate is a member of the Ebby Halliday Companies – the leading real estate company in Texas. If you’re thinking of listing, we’re here to provide an instant valuation of your home and help you prepare. Visit DavePerryMiller.com and connect with one of our experienced agents today!

Inventory Breakdown by County

All Counties: -17%

Bosque County: +2.1%

Collin County: -27%

Cooke County: -22.4%

Dallas County: -34%

Delta County: +11.8%

Denton County: -30%

Ellis County: +10.7%

Erath County: +9.1%

Fannin County: +29.3%

Grayson County: -22%

Henderson County: -5.1%

Hill County: +4.7%

Hood County: -1.9%

Hopkins County: +8.2%

Hunt County: +9.6%

Johnson County: -7.8%

Kaufman County: -13.6%

Lamar County: +15.5%

Montague County: +36.5%

Navarro County: -1.6%

Palo Pinto County: -15.8%

Parker County: -8%

Rains County: +23.5%

Rockwall County: -17%

Smith County: +-26.0%

Somervell County: +4.3%

Tarrant County: -22%

Van Zandt County: +10.1%

Wise County: -10.1%

Source: NTREIS MLS, 1/1/21-2/25/21 vs. 1/1/22 vs. 2/25/22

Ebby Halliday Companies Introduce EHC Design Studio


The Ebby Halliday Companies, long an innovator in the adoption of forward-thinking technology, recently rolled out its latest company-wide technology tool, EHC Design Studio.

“EHC Design Studio is an online design and publishing tool that enables all of our agents to edit, customize and publish digital, print and social media graphics easily and within minutes,” says Travis Mathews, Vice President of Operations for the Ebby Halliday Companies, which includes real estate brands Ebby Halliday Realtors, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate and Williams Trew, as well as in-house mortgage, insurance and title brands.

“EHC Design Studio was built with our core technology mission in mind – simple and easy to use,” adds Mathews. “Just as we did last year with EHC Mobile Apps, EHC Email Marketing and ART – short for Agent Resources and Technology – the rollout of EHC Design Studio is being carefully managed and supported.”

Ebby Halliday Companies agents are now able to easily edit text and photos in sophisticated marketing templates in a matter of minutes. They may choose from hundreds of Ebby Halliday Realtors, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate and Williams Trew-branded templates. In addition to the ability to quickly edit and customize marketing collateral, EHC Design Studio provides agents with the ability to seamlessly import MLS property data into their designs, professionally print and distribute materials and utilize the EHC Design Studio mobile app for on-the-go design capabilities.

“To be clear, our incredible team of designers are still here to support all of our agents, but with EHC Design Studio our agents have instant access to a library of content that represents the most commonly requested items from our design team,” says Steve Smith, Vice President of Marketing for the Ebby Halliday Companies. “Our brands are a competitive advantage and with EHC Design Studio our agents stand apart from the crowd with hundreds of sophisticated template designs, including social media posts, Facebook banners, LinkedIn content, Instagram Stories, postcards, brochures, flyers, booklets, door hangers and much, much more.”

As part of the rollout of the new EHC Design Studio, Ebby Halliday Companies agents and staff are benefitting from multiple training opportunities. “I am very excited to get this extraordinary new tool into our agents’ hands,” says Mathews. “It is a fantastic addition to the toolkit that differentiates the Ebby Halliday Companies and another reason why EHC is the place to grow a residential real estate career.”

Throughout 2022, the Ebby Halliday Companies are celebrating 77 years of serving clients’ residential real estate needs. It all began in 1945, when one bold woman parlayed her wisdom, generosity, business acumen and endurance into what is today one of America’s most admired real estate services companies. The legacy of Ebby Halliday is now amplified by the company’s affiliation with HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and the country’s No. 1 residential real estate company. To learn more, visit daveperrymiller.com.

Inventory Is Low. The Time Is Now!


There’s no shortage of homes to buy – just sellers to sell.

It’s not a big secret in a market like ours. It has been and will continue to be a challenge heading into Spring.

Mortgage rates are largely forecast to continue to rise over the coming months and serious house hunters are paying close attention. After all, every rate increase could have an impact on affordability, and over time, that will put the brakes on buyer demand. But in the short term, projected rate increases may motivate home buyers and make for an extremely competitive Spring market.

So if you’re thinking of listing your home, don’t wait too long. As others prepare to list and inventory begins to increase, the intense multiple offers will start to ease and home prices will continue to rise – but at a slower pace.

The bottom line: the sooner you list, the less competition you will have.

Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate is a member of the Ebby Halliday Companies – the leading real estate company in Texas. If you’re thinking of listing, we’re here to provide an instant valuation of your home and help you prepare. Visit DavePerryMiller.com and connect with one of our experienced agents today!

Inventory Breakdown by County

All Counties: -22.2%

Bosque County: -6.6%

Collin County: -34%

Cooke County: -18.7%

Dallas County: -41.1%

Delta County: -4.3%

Denton County: -36.1%

Ellis County: +13.9%

Erath County: -4.6%

Fannin County: +25.4%

Grayson County: -22.3%

Henderson County: 0%

Hill County: +1.3%

Hood County: -13.2%

Hopkins County: -11.3%

Hunt County: +10%

Johnson County: -14.6%

Kaufman County: -7.9%

Lamar County: +4.1%

Montague County: +27.3%

Navarro County: -9.7%

Palo Pinto County: -16.5%

Parker County: -9.2%

Rains County: +56.7%

Rockwall County: -19.4%

Smith County: -25.8%

Somervell County: +16.9%

Tarrant County: -23.2%

Van Zandt County: -10.8%

Wise County: -40%

Source: NTREIS MLS, January 12, 2022 vs. January 12, 2021.

Chris Kelly, Leslie Rouda Smith Named to 2022 Swanepoel Power 200 List


Chris Kelly, president & CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies, and Leslie Rouda Smith, 2022 NAR president and Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate broker associate, were named among “The Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate” on the just-released Swanepoel Power 200. The prestigious Swanepoel lists are widely considered the most comprehensive compilation of influential CEOs, thought leaders and senior executives in the residential real estate brokerage business. 

“It’s my honor to be named to the Swanepoel Power 200,“ Kelly says. “But I want to give credit where credit is due: Our people are what make the Ebby Halliday Companies special. It’s my honor to work alongside an immensely talented team of professionals who are passionate about serving our clients, our communities and our industry. The opportunity to help lead this iconic company to its next level of growth and performance is both humbling and exciting.”

The Swanepoel rankings are based on such criteria as personal influence, industry tenure, the office held, the decision-making power of said office, the financial resources of the company or organization, the company or organization’s significance and contribution to the industry, the company’s geographic reach, and the executive’s activities, growth, and potential.

Congratulations to Chris and Leslie on another honor very well deserved!

To see the full Swanepoel Power 200 list, click here.