Let’s Talk DFW Real Estate!

Move from renter to homeowner.

The time is here and you want to buy a home. There are so many people who are excited from moving from renter to homeowner throughout every year. However, with the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex growing each and everyday, how do you decide on where to live?

For some people, the close proximity to work is important. For others, the close proximity to things outside of work is more important. I’ve actually had clients that had to live near Target. As a Target fanatic myself, I couldn’t blame them. After searching any and everywhere, they gave up the dream to buy a home near a Target. However, guess what? We found them a home in their price range ACROSS from a Target. LOOK AT GOD!

Now let’s talk a little more in depth on where to go. Many times we love where we rent or we hate it. Do you know the cost of homes where you live? Here is the chance to see where you can buy. One rule of thumb I tend to tell people is that you can either afford 2 times your monthly salary or four times your monthly salary. Why so? Well, when you purchase a home, a lender qualifies you based on your debt to income ratio.

Debt to Income Ratio

debt-to-income, or DTI, ratio is derived by dividing your monthlydebt payments by your monthly gross income. The ratio is expressed as a percentage, and lenders use it to determine how well you manage monthly debts — and if you can afford to repay a loan.

Here’s a simple two-step formula for calculating your DTI ratio.

  1. Add up all of your monthly debts. These payments may include:
    • Monthly mortgage or rent payment
    • Minimum credit card payments
    • Auto, student or personal loan payments
    • Monthly alimony or child support payments
    • Any other debt payments that show on your credit report
  2. Divide the sum of your monthly debts by your monthly gross income (your take-home pay before taxes and other monthly deductions).
  3. Convert the figure into a percentage and that is your DTI ratio.

Keep in mind that other monthly bills and financial obligations — utilities, groceries, insurance premiums, healthcare expenses, daycare, etc. — are not part of this calculation. Your lender isn’t going to factor these budget items into their decision on how much money to lend you. Keep in mind that just because you qualify for a $300,000 mortgage, that doesn’t mean you can actually afford the monthly payment that comes with it when considering your entire budget. – Excerpted from Bankrate.com

Your debt to income ratio (DTI) will determine which loan program makes sense for you as well. If you have a higher DTI, you may work best with a FHA loan as they have higher DTI qualifications up to 56.9%. If you are at 50% or below, you may qualify to do a conventional loan. If your DTI, exceeds any of these numbers, you may be asked to pay off some things to get where you need to be to get qualified.

Mortgages are NOT like rental qualifications. Rental qualifications are based on your monthly gross income being 3 times the monthly rent. A mortgage lender looks at ALL of your debt reported on your credit report. Let’s use an example for DTI qualifications.

EXAMPLE:

Gross Income – $48,000 salary = $4000 per month

Debt: Car Note – $350; Student Loans – $200, Credit Card 1 – $55; Credit Card 2 – $75; Personal Loan – $100. These are all based on monhtly payments NOT the overall payment. The total debt in this situation is $780/month. Now let’s say that the mortgage payment on said home would be $1800. That would bring your total monthly debt up to $2580. Would the lender qualify you for that home? Well, let’s see. Divide $2580/4000. That equals 65% of debt to income. Now, the lender may not qualify you for a home that would cost $1800/month. However, you may can get qualified for a home that cost $1450/month. Want to spend a little more? Your next option would be to eliminate some of the debt. In this example, to get the home that cost $1800, you’d need to eliminate $350 of debt. Where would that be from?

I tell clients that the way they could afford more house would be to either eliminate some debt, increase income, put down more money on the home, or all of the above.

Cost of Homes in DFW

As you can see, the average price of homes in DFW have increased 2.9% from May 2018 to May 2019 to $330,766. This isn’t to say that all homes in DFW are $330,766 but on average the home sales are.

How do you find which areas fit more of your budget? Consider the average sales prices of area. Let’s break it down within counties.

Some of the top places that my clients are moving to are the following: Aubrey, Forney/Heartland, Celina, and McKinney. Check out the prices of those areas below:

Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market

The month’s of inventory determine whether we are in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. If there is 6 months of more of inventory, we are in a buyer’s market. That means there is a home out there for at least two buyers. Homes aren’t scarce and the options are there. If we have less than 6 months of inventory, we are in a seller’s market. That means inventory is tight and you are more than likely to see multiple offers.

If we go back and compare those cities that we just looked at (Aubrey, Celina, McKinney, and Forney), you will see what type of market these areas are in. Each city will have different stats which is why it is best to get very specific on 3-4 areas.

If we look at DFW as a whole, you will see that the overall metroplex is still in a seller’s market with 3.4 months of inventory which is up 17.2% from May 2018.

This is just the basics of a buyer’s consultation with New Avenue Realty Group. We help clients get from curiosity to possibility. Let’s get you into your new avenue in the metroplex. Book an appointment with me at atfowlerrealtor.appointy.com.

Renting Vs Owning, What Is Better For You?

Do you choose to rent or own?

When asked anything in real estate, I always like to give a list of pros and cons. As a Realtor, my job is to help you find the home that best fits what your needs are in the basis of the financial means that you have. We analyze those things based on a one-on-one conversation that we have from the consultation.

In a real estate market where home prices are rising, many have begun to reexamine the idea of buying a home, choosing instead, to rent for a while. But often, there is a dilemma: should you keep paying rent, knowing that rent is rising too, or should you lock in your housing cost and buy a home?

Let’s look at both scenarios and analyze the pros and cons of each:

Renting

With the housing market crash in 2008, many homeowners lost their homes and became renters. According to Iproperty Management, “the number of households renting their home … rose from 31.2% of households in 2006 to 36.6% in 2016”.

Some choose to rent because it is more convenient for their lifestyle. Those whose job requires frequent moves need the flexibility that a 6-12 month lease agreement gives them so they can move to their next assignment!

Many renters believe that renting is cheaper because they do not have to pay for maintenance and repairs. (Not true! Landlords work those expenses into your rent and other fees). Another reason many rent is that they feel like they cannot afford the down payment and closing costs required to buy a house, due to their inability to save much after paying their monthly expenses.

That can be true! Nearly 1 in 4 renters spend at least half their household income on rent. In 2017 the “severely” burdened renters’ rate was 24.7% with 24.9% reporting they were “moderately” burdened.

¬Renting or Owning, What Is Better for You? | Keeping Current Matters

Renting also brings some financial disadvantages. Homeowners can take advantage of tax deductions that let them claim their property taxes and mortgage interest. Additionally, there is a big risk that your rent will go up every time you renew your lease, as we know the median asking rent has been increased steadily since 1988!

One of the major challenges with renting is that you don’t have a space to call your own. When you rent, you are paying your landlord’s mortgage, and therefore they are the beneficiaries of the equity gained from paying that mortgage.

Now let’s explore the other side: Homeownership

In the past, we have mentioned the many financial and non-financial benefits of becoming a homeowner. So, let’s just focus on the one big difference between renting and owning, the ability to lock in your housing cost!

Assuming you will have a fixed-rate mortgage, your costs are predictable! You will know exactly what your mortgage payment will be for the next 15-30 years. The homeownership rate in 2018 was 64.4%, and has been on the rise. Those households locked in their housing cost rather than wait for their landlord to raise their rent again!

What are the disadvantages of owning a home? Well, it is a long-term financial commitment! It is not easy to pack quickly and move. You will need time and good planning to do it in a short amount of time.

You need to save your money! Getting a mortgage requires a down paymentclosing costs, and moving expenses. Again, that will require some savings and planning!

Unless you have a homeowner’s association (HOA) (and you pay an HOA fee) or a home warranty, you will be responsible for maintenance and taking care of the home. This may range anywhere from regular landscaping to major repairs.

Bottom Line

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons. What is better for you depends on your situation! If you are interested in becoming a homeowner and want to discuss the pros and cons, contact me at 972-813-9788 or atfowler@NewAvenueRealty.com so that I can help you review your current situation!

7 Easy Ways to Increase Your Curb Appeal

If you’re preparing to sell your home, curb appeal should be a priority. When someone is walking by or coming to your open house, the outside of your home is the first thing they will see. If there is no curb appeal, potential buyers may never even set foot in your home. Instead of ignoring your home’s outdoor appearance, consider making some budget-friendly changes that can add appeal to your home without breaking the bank. 

1. Landscape Your Walkway

Create a smooth transition from the street to your front door. A clear path will allow a potential buyer’s eye to look straight to your home, rather than stopping to concentrate on unkept landscaping. Clean your walkway and create groupings of mid-size shrubby and florals close to the road and by your front door.

2. Hang a Wreath

Adding a wreath to your front door is a simple way to make your home look more welcoming. Consider a DIY wreath that is easy to create and cost-friendly.

3. Treat Your Lawn Better

Consistent upkeep is the best way to save money when it comes to your front lawn. You should apply a weed-and-feed treatment to your lawn as often as needed to supply the necessary nutrients while also killing off any weeds. Be sure to provide proper maintenance to your lawn mower and keep your mower blade sharp.

4. Add Porch Appeal

If you have a front porch, add an affordable outdoor furniture set. This can create an inviting space that will make potential buyers want to try it out!

5. Consider Color Accents

If your door or shutters need a fresh paint job, consider finding an accent color that will help your house pop. It doesn’t have to be extreme, just enough to catch the eye of a potential buyer. Be sure to test your paint color alongside your siding or brick before fully committing.

6. Restore Your Driveway

Your driveway can be a major eyesore if it isn’t taken care of. Fill any holes or cracks in your asphalt and apply a fresh sealer. A driveway that looks new is sure to help your curb appeal.

7. Power Wash Your Home

Sometimes, all your home needs is a good cleaning. If you don’t own power washer, rent one from your local home improvement store and take a weekend to power wash your entire exterior. Even if your home is relatively new, a deep cleaning can make it look like a new build. 

Protesting Your DFW Property Tax Assessment!

2019 Property Tax Assessments Are Out in the DFW Metroplex

Each year, respective counties send out new tax bills for the year to be paid by December. In Texas, one of the biggest expenses for homeowners are property taxes. We don’t have state income taxes therefore most local entities such as the county, school districts, county hospitals, cities, and sometimes county community colleges are paid through the property taxes.

The 2019 property tax assessments from various counties in the metroplex have been mailed out and guess what? Your property taxes have increased. What most people are seeing are a significant increase in their home value assessment (the property tax assessment value is getting really close to market values which we will talk more about later) by their counties. You have until May 15th to protest your assessment online or in person.


Did you know fewer than 20% of homeowners appeal their property taxes? This means they may pay more than their fair share. The best thing to do is to protest them. Why? You have a chance of lowering the amount you pay in property taxes by simply saying that this is too much. Let’s make a change in 2019 until the state government decides how they want to handle the property tax reform, shall we?

Here are tips to protesting your property tax assessment:

Make sure you have filed your homestead exemption.

You have until April 30th to file your homestead exemption on your personal property.

You have until April 30th to file your homestead exemption with your county to save money on property taxes. You only have to do this once but if you failed to do it the January – April AFTER you purchased your home, this is your chance to do it. A homestead exemption helps you save money on your property taxes. It also prevents your tax value from increasing more than 10% per year.

Check for mistake’s on the county’s description on your home.

Does the county have your 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, formal dining home at 1805 square foot as 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms at 1925 square feet? It happens all the time and no one corrects it. A lot of county information is incorrect but we let it ride as gospel. Check your county’s website to make sure the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and lot size are accurate in their assessment.

Gather Your Comps

It is important to keep up with the values of homes in your neighborhood. Most time people don’t realize what other homes are selling for. To gather more accurate comps, connect with a local REALTOR to see what homes have sold for within the last 3 months or 90 days in your neighborhood.

You can enter your address below to determine what your home is worth.

Highlight Flaws in Your Home

Check high and low for the flaws.

We all love our homes and it is the best thing since slice bread. However, this is the time to really compare your home and get very judgmental about it. If you notice most of the homes that have sold nearby all have hardwood or some wood-like material, while you have carpet everywhere, take pictures of it. If you know your home is in need of a new roof or has foundation issues, take pictures and/or provide the quotes of those repairs that are needed.

Consider the negative influences near your nearby such as backing up to a busy street, water tower behind the home, or being on the main road to the neighborhood. Those are items that an appraiser would dock off your home’s market value when it is time for you to sell, use it to your benefit for your property taxes. P.S. I am not saying to trash your home or that you won’t ever be able to sell your home, this is to save money on your property taxes. I sold a home in Fort Worth last year and my clients ended up getting the property for less because the appraiser thought it was in a less desirable location than other homes comparable to it. It’s a gorgeous home and my clients love it. However, they got a win to buy it at a lesser price.

New Construction Woes

In most cases for newly built homes, there is a tricky line for homeowners. The previous year, your home was assessed based on land value. Now, it is based on the value of the home with a home on it. Check the price of the home that they county says your home is. Is it higher than what you paid for the home? Is it higher than what new homeowners can build the same exact home for? If your answer is yes to either one, that’s your protest. Texas is a non-disclosure state. In order to win the battle on the first one, you may have to show what you paid for your new home. The other option is to stop by the builder’s office (if they are still in the neighborhood) or pull it offline and see what your home is being sold for at base price. Is it lower than the county’s assessment? If so, your argument here is that your home has been lived in. No one is going to purchase your home for higher than what they can build their home for. Then take pictures of the things that you got standard (if you built) with the builder and haven’t updated.

Check Local Real Estate Trends

In addition to talking to your REALTOR for comps, ask them to pull the real estate trends. Homes have the potential to increase in value or appreciate. However, a property can decrease in value or depreciate. Is the price of homes sales decreasing in your zip code? A decrease in value can be caused in excess supply, lack of demand, deflation or other reasons that take away the property value. Home values fluctuate so don’t get nervous. It is just something for you to know and use in your protest. Homes appreciate normally 2-4% a year. Find out what is happening in your local area. It can be completely different from Aubrey to Crowley.

It can be that your area isn’t appreciating as much as the county THINKS it is appreciating.

Things to Remember

The county’s assessor’s don’t see the inside of your home. They can only see the outside of it. This is the time to show and prove what your home looks like. Use the knowledge that you have from the tips above to help lower your tax assessment value which in return lowers your property taxes. After you have your evidence, schedule an appointment with the county to present your case OR present the information online. It is important to protest annually to minimize your property taxes.

If you need any assistance in gathering information to present your case, contact me at via email at atfowler@newavenuerealty.com.

Life at Sandbrock Ranch

As a country girl from North Louisiana, I love being in areas that remind me of home…..for now anyways. However, Aubrey, gives me North Louisiana vibes. You have nature at its best. Quiet scenery with city amenities nearby. I call it the best of both worlds.

So when I discover a community that gives that vibe, I have to explore it. If you didn’t know, Aubrey is horse capital. It is still fairly rural but growing quickly. However, you’ll see that new communities are still harvesting what Aubrey is known for. The area will grow to be another suburban town but very well keep its horse capital, rural flair (at least I hope it does).

The developers at Sandbrock Ranch are keeping that mission alive. In this community, the neighborhood will certainly have its ranch moments. In fact, the neighborhood has it’s own cows considered to be “milk cows” that are stripped white in the middle and black on the rest of its body. Horses roam within the neighborhood too.

There are fences up to protect the animals but it brings such joy to my country heart. The winning piece of the community, The Carriage House. Sandbrock Ranch is a development created by the owners of Highland Homes. This piece of land is actually family land that they’ve decided to develop on. The family is still keeping pretty much a part of the land, ranch-style with a suburban twist. 😂

I know it seems funny but truly this is a one of a kind neighborhood that is amazing. I did a tour with the Lifestyle Directors and here is what you can expect “Living at Sandbrock Ranch.”

Welcome to Sandbrock Ranch.

This place is open for residents 7 days a week from 7am-10pm.

Kitchen area of the Carriage House.

Fire pit available 24/7.

Two lakes that connect to each other called Sadie and Gurthie!

Neighborhood Fitness center available from 4am-11pm.

Pocket park playground for the kids.

There are still even more things to come to this amenity center such as the rec space (sports fields), event amphitheater, and more. The neighborhood will also have a future Denton ISD elementary school in the community.

If this is a community you can see yourself living in, find your next home at move-updallas.com. Homes in the community start in the mid-200s. Builders in the neighborhood are David Weekley Homes, Highland Homes, and Perry Homes. Highland Homes has three products in the community (45 foot lot homes, 50 foot lot homes, and 60 foot lot homes).

Let New Avenue Realty Group help you find your home in Sandbrock Ranch. Connect with us through via phone or email at 972-813-9788 or atfowler@newavenuerealty.com.  We can start with your own private tour with a New Home Specialist concierge service with New Avenue Realty.

Complete the form below to start your visit with us.

How to Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You!

There has been a lot written about the benefits of homeownership. One benefit that continues to rise to the top is the added wealth homeowners gain simply by paying their mortgage while their home increases in value over time.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently broke down the equity gained from price appreciation and principal payments in their Economists Outlook Blog. Homeowners who purchased their homes five years ago have already gained almost $80,000 in equity over that time with 80% of the gains coming from price appreciation.

For a homeowner who purchased their home 30 years ago, they have gained nearly $250,000 in equity with 70% coming from price increases. The full results can be seen in the chart below.

How to Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You | Keeping Current Matters

According to the Home Price Expectation Survey, a family who purchased a median priced home this January can expect to gain more than $42,000 over the next five years simply from price appreciation alone.

Bottom Line

Your home is one of the only investments you can live inside as you pay it off over time. If you are ready to use your housing costs to build wealth, contact New Avenue Realty Group to determine how to make your dream a reality.

📞 972.813.9788

📧 atfowler@newavenuerealty.com

📆 atfowlerrealtor.appointy.com

Do 46 Millenials Know They Are Mortgage Ready?

Many have written about the millennial generation and whether or not they, as a whole, believe in homeownership as part of attaining the American Dream.

Millennials have taken longer to obtain traditional milestones than the generations before them, such as getting married, having kids, and buying a home. However, that does not mean that they do not still aspire to achieve those things.

History shows that people tend to buy their first home around age 30. Nearly 5 million millennials will turn 30 in the next two years. This will continue to fuel demand for housing.

This is also one of the many reasons why the millennial homeownership rate has continued to grow over the past few years. 48.4% of Americans between the ages of 30-34 now own a home.

There are over 46 million millennials (33% of the generation) who are considered “Mortgage Ready”, meaning they meet the qualifications to be approved for a mortgage today!

  • a FICO Score ≥ 620
  • a Back-End Debt to Income Ratio ≤ 25%
  • no Foreclosures or Bankruptcies in the last 7 years
  • no severe delinquencies in 1 year

Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource, commented on the findings of the report,

“We now know there are millions of buyers with the income & credit necessary to qualify to buy a home. The biggest question is:

Do they know it? …Unfortunately, many renters don’t investigate homeownership simply because they don’t believe it’s an option.”

The good news is that more and more millennials are realizing that they can afford a home now. Even so, more can be done to increase awareness of low down payment programs to attract even more of this generation.

New data from realtor.com shows that in December, millennials accounted for 42% of all new home loans originated in the month. This is more than any other generation.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many millennials who may be “Mortgage Ready” but are unsure what your next steps should be, contact New Avenue Realty. We can help guide you on your path to homeownership.

📧 info@newavenuerealty.com

📞 972-813-9788

📆 atfowlerrealtor.appointy.com

Refresh Your Space for Spring!

When the seasons change or I’m feening for a new change in my home, I’m always looking for new pieces for my home. Today, I took my talents to Target. I love shopping with Target on Sundays because the new Cartwheel deals hit on that day. What is even special is that Target has spring deals online that can save me up to 40% on select deals.

Check out some of my new Target finds:

Target’s Project 62 has teamed up with Leanne Ford to bring new lighting for a limited time.

Target’s Project 62 has teamed up with Leanne Ford to bring new lighting for a limited time.

Pillows are my favorite way to update my space.

Plus, if you shop online, you can save up to 25% on home items + an extra 15% on rugs and lighting with code March. Valid 3/3-3/9. Click the link below to shop Target. Remember, orders $35+ have free shipping too.

SHOP TARGET WITH DREA

Disclaimer: The links contain affiliate links and will result in a commission for purchases.

As 380 Grows, Welcome Cinemark!

If you haven’t drove until the Dallas North Tollway ends going north, you may be missing out on one of the fastest growing areas of the metroplex. It’s been one year and four months since I’ve become a resident of the area. The change in that time space has been crazy. Now, we have our very own movie theater opening next Thursday (March 7th).

The theater, which is a new concept by the company called Cut! by Cinemark will be a dine-in theater with full kitchen and bar.
The new features will include:

10 screens;

Seat-side dining with call button service;

Full dining menu;

Craft cocktails from a full-service bar;

Outside patio with a fire pit and games;

Vintage-themed game room;

Banquet room for corporate events or parties up to 50 people;

A Cinemark XD, featuring the largest screen in the theatre and custom surround sound;

Cinemark’s Luxury Loungers—all-reserved electric-powered, plush, oversize recliners with cup holders and footrests in each general admission auditoriums.

So what movie are you anticipating to watch at CUT?

4 Proven Ways to Build Wealth in Real Estate

Recently, David Greene, co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast and a nationally renowned author and speaker, wrote an article in Forbes explaining how investing in real estate could help build wealth. Many of the points he made also apply to a family owning their own home. Here are a few:

1. Appreciation

“The rising of home prices over time, is how the majority of wealth is built in real estate. This is the ‘home run’ you hear of when people make a large windfall of money. While prices fluctuate, over the long run real estate values have always gone up, always, and there is no reason to think that is going to change.

One thing to consider when it comes to real estate appreciation affecting your ROI is the fact that appreciation combined with leverage offers huge returns. If you buy a property for $200,000 and it appreciates to $220,000, your property had made you a 10% return. However, you likely didn’t pay cash for the property and instead used the bank’s money. If you consider that you may have put 10% down ($20,000), you actually have doubled your investment, a 100% return.”

2. Leverage

“By nature, real estate is one of the easiest assets to leverage I have ever come across—maybe the easiest. Not only is it easy to leverage the financing of it, but the terms are incredible compared to any other kind of loan. Interest rates are currently below 5%, down payments can be 20% or less, and loans are routinely amortized over 30-year periods.”

3. Paying Off the Debt

“One of the best parts of investing in real estate is the fact that … you’re slowly paying down your loan balance with each payment to the bank… After enough time passes, a good chunk of every payment comes off the loan balance, and wealth is created.”

4. Forced Equity

“Forced equity is a term used to refer to the wealth that is created when an investor does work to a property to make it worth more…

Example of this would be adding a third or fourth bedroom to a property with only two, adding a second bathroom to a property with only one, or adding more square footage to a property with less than the surrounding houses.”

Though Green was talking about investors, the same could be said about a family upgrading their own home.

Bottom Line

Green put it best by saying:

There are many ways to build wealth in America, but real estate might be the safest, steadiest and simplest way to do so.”

Source: Keeping Current Matters