2019 Goal: Buy a House.

As we kick off the new year, many families have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully: interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here's What to Watch | Keeping Current Matters

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000).

Inventory

A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 81 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last six months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, since June, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here's What to Watch | Keeping Current Matters

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the new year. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, make sure that you get connected with an agent who can help you navigate the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory. Every market is different. If you’re in Dallas-Fort Worth, we can connect at 972-813-9788 or atfowler@newavenuerealty.com.

Source: Keeping Current Matters

How to Simply Increase Your Family’s Wealth by Paying for Housing!

Everyone should realize that unless you are living somewhere rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. Buying your own home provides you with a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to use your monthly housing costs to increase your family’s wealth.

Every month that you pay your mortgage, you are paying off a portion of the debt that you took on to purchase your home. Therefore, you own a little bit more of your home every month in the form of home equity. As your home’s value increases you also gain home equity.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists and asks them to project how residential home prices will appreciate over the next five years for their Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES).

The latest data from their Q4 2018 Surveyrevealed that home prices are expected to round out the year 5.8% higher than they were in January. For the next 5 years, home values will appreciate by an average of nearly 3% a year.

This is still great news for homeowners!

For example, let’s assume a young couple purchases and closes on a $250,000 home in January. Simply through their home appreciating in value, those homeowners can build their home equity by nearly $40,000 over the next five years.

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing | Keeping Current Matters

Let’s look at the potential equity gained over the same period of time at some higher price points:

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing | Keeping Current Matters

In many cases, home equity is a large portion of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

If your plan for 2019 includes entering the housing market to purchase a home, whether it’s your first or your fifth,chat with me to help you understand where prices are headed in DFW.

📞 972-813-9788

📧 atfowler@newavenuerealty.com

📆 atfowlerrealtor.appointy.com

Blog Post: Keeping Current Matters

Winter versus Spring Listings…should you wait?

Many sellers believe that spring is the best time to place their homes on the market because buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year, but what they don’t realize is that if every homeowner believes the same thing, then that is when they will have the most competition!

The #1 Reason to List Your Home in the Winter Months is Less Competition!

Housing supply traditionally shrinks at this time of year, so the choices buyers have will be limited. The chart below was created using the months’ supply of listings from the National Association of Realtors.

The #1 Reason to Not Wait Until Spring to Sell Your House | Keeping Current MattersThe #1 Reason to Not Wait Until Spring to Sell Your House | Keeping Current Matters

As you can see, the ‘sweet spot’ to list your home for the most exposure naturally occurs in the late fall and winter months (November – February).

Temperatures aren’t the only thing that heats up in the spring – so do listings!

The #1 Reason to Not Wait Until Spring to Sell Your House | Keeping Current Matters

In 2017, listings increased by nearly half a million houses from December to June. Don’t wait for these listings to come to market before you decide to list your house.

Added Bonus: Only Serious Buyers Are Out in the Winter

At this time of year, only those purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. You and your family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere ‘lookers.’ The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.

Bottom Line

If you have been debating whether or not to sell your home and are curious about market conditions in your area, talk with a local real estate professional who can help you decide the best time to list your house for sale.

Down Payment Great? Are You Prepared for Closing Costs?

Buyers: Don’t Be Surprised by Closing Costs!
How Much Are Those Costs? 

Often I hear all the talk about down payment cost but rarely do new buyers understand that there are more costs to buying a home than your down payment money. Closing costs are the most forgetful thing or rather unknown unless you are outside of the real estate business. 

Many homebuyers think that saving for their down payment is enough to buy the house of their dreams, but what about the closing costs that are required to obtain a mortgage?

By law, a homebuyer will receive a loan estimate from their lender 3 days after submitting their loan application and they should receive a closing disclosure 3 days before the scheduled closing on their home. The closing disclosure includes final details about the loan and the closing costs.

But what are closing costs anyway?

According to Trulia:

Closing costs are lender and third-party fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction, and they can be financed as part of the deal or be paid upfront. They range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price of a home. (For those who buy a $150,000 home, for example, that would amount to between $3,000 and $7,500 in closing fees.)”

Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. As mentioned before,

Closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of your purchase price.

Trulia continues to give great advice, saying that:

“…understanding and educating yourself about these costs before settlement day arrives might help you avoid any headaches at the end of the deal.”

Bottom Line

Schedule a buyer consultation with me determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

Source: Keeping Current Matters

Black Friday: Target Style

Find the Target deals here for the Holiday 2018 Season
Just bought the new home and looking to score some amazing deals? Well my absolutely favorite store is prepping you up for Black Friday. Hang that new flat screen tv in the media room, set up Alexa in living room, and add some style to the bedrooms and bathrooms. Target is your one-stop shop which is why I consider myself a Target addict! I can spend hours in Target. It instantly brightens my mood whenever I walk through the door. 

Explore the new Black Friday ad from Target before next week! 

Here are my tips for shopping at Target:

- Get a Target Red Card
This card can be linked to your debit card or you can use the credit card feature for this. I prefer the debit. I save 5% everytime I use it. In Texas, that is basically you paying less on the sales tax around 3.25%. #WINNING

- Scan your Target app
Whenever I am in Target, I make sure to scan the items I purchase to see if it is on Cartwheel or any additional coupons can be applied. That is even more savings. I've saved over $500 dollars using Cartwheel. 

Misinformed About Owning versus Renting? Is it Truly More Affordable to Rent?

Recently, multiple headlines have been written asserting that homeownership is less affordable today than at any other time in the last decade. Though the headlines are accurate, they lack context and lead too many Americans to believe that they can’t partake in a major part of the American Dream – owning a home.

In 2008, the housing market crashed and home values fell by as much as 60% in certain markets. This was the major trigger to the Great Recession we experienced from 2008 to 2010. To come back from that recession, mortgage interest rates were pushed down to levels that were never seen before.

For the last ten years, you could purchase a home at a dramatically discounted price and attain a mortgage at a historically low mortgage rate.

Affordability skyrocketed.

Now that home values have returned to where they should be, and mortgage rates are beginning to increase, it is less affordable to own a home than it was over the last ten years.

However, what is not being reported is that it is MORE AFFORDABLE to own a home today than at any other time since 1985 (when data was first collected on this point).

If you take out the years after the crash, affordability today is greater than it has been at almost any time in American history.

This has not been adequately reported which has led to many Americans believing that they cannot currently afford a home.

As an example, the latest edition of Freddie Mac’s Research: Profile of Today’s Renter reveals that 75% of renters now believe it is more affordable to rent than to own their own homes. This percentage is the highest ever recorded. The challenge is that this belief is incorrect. Study after study has proven that in today’s market, it is less expensive to own a home than it is to rent a home in the United States.

Thankfully, some are starting to see this situation and accurately report on it. The National Association of Realtors, in their 2019 Housing Forecast, mentions this concern:

“While the U.S. is experiencing historically normal levels of affordability, potential buyers may be staying out of the market because of perceived problems with affordability.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who would like to own their own homes, talk to me at 972-813-9788 or atfowler@newavenuerealty.com to find out if homeownership is affordable for you right now.

5 Tips for Building Your Next Home

The lack of existing inventory for sale has forced many homebuyers to begin looking at new construction. When you buy a newly constructed home instead of an existing home, there are many extra steps that must take place.

To ensure a hassle-free process, here are 5 tips to keep in mind if you are considering new construction:

1. Hire an Inspector

Despite the fact that builders must comply with town and city regulations, a home inspector will have your best interests in mind! When buying new construction, you will have between 1-3 inspections, depending on your preference (the foundation inspection, the pre-drywall inspection, and a final inspection).

These inspections are important because the inspector will often notice something that the builder missed. If possible, attend the inspection so that you can ask questions about your new home and make sure the builder fixes any problems found by the inspector.

2. Maintain good communication with your builder

Starting with the pre-construction meeting (where you will go over all the details of your home with your project manager), establish a line of communication. For example, will the builder email you every Friday with progress updates? If you are an out-of-state buyer, will you receive weekly pictures of the progress via email? Can you call the builder and if so, how often? How often can you visit the site?

3. Look for builder’s incentives

The good thing about buying a new home is that you can add the countertop you need, the mudroom you want, or an extra porch off the back of your home! However, there is always a price for such additions, and they add up quickly!

Some builders offer incentives that can help reduce the amount you spend on your home. Do your homework and see what sort of incentives the builders in your area are offering.

4. Schedule extra time into the process

There are many things that can impact the progress on your home. One of these things is the weather, especially if you are building in the fall and winter. Rain can delay the pouring of a foundation as well as other necessary steps at the beginning of construction, while snow can freeze pipes and slow your timeline.

Most builders already have a one-to-two-week buffer added into their timelines, but if you are also in the process of selling your current home, you must keep that in mind! Nobody wants to be between homes for a couple of weeks.

5. Visit the site often

As we mentioned earlier, be sure to schedule time with your project manager at least once a week to see the progress on your home. It’s easy for someone who is not there all the time to notice little details that the builder may have forgotten or overlooked. Additionally, don’t forget to take pictures! You might need them later to see exactly where that pipe is or where those electrical connections are once they’re covered up with drywall!

Bottom Line

Watching your home come to life is a wonderful experience that can sometimes come with hassles. To avoid some of these headaches, keep these tips in mind!

If you are ready to put your current home up for sale and find out what new construction is available in your area, call me at 972-813-9788 or atfowler@newavenuerealty.com and the search for your new one.

I DID A THING: CREDIT & ME

Purchase a copy: store.bookbaby.com/book/credit-and-me

For years, I had been helping my friends work on their credit and feeding them into being more financially responsible. 

So one day during a conversation, one of my friends suggested I put all my experiences in a book to help others. I side-eyed her because that is what I do when people suggest things that I would never think to do. However that evening, I thought long and hard about it. I would share my journey with my homeownership counseling clients to help them understand. We would talk about how they learned about money and so on. 

I wrote this book in 2016 and 2017. I finally released it in 2018. Here’s your chance to learn more about credit with my stories from my college mistakes. 

 
Purchase Here: store.bookbaby.com/book/credit-and-me

Year One: The Realtor BOUGHT A House

It’s October 30, 2018. That means that I’ve officially been a homeowner for a year.

What have I learned since moving in? Here are the things:

The one thing that took some getting adjusting to was the extra bills. In an apartment, I was used to water/sewer/trash being included in the rent. My first water/sewer/trash bill had me like 😶. I went through the breakdown and realized that the sewer amount was the highest cost. I called my mom and asked what makes a sewer bill high? How can I eliminate or lower that? Well, I can’t but I can do my best to conserve my water usage. So yes, if you visit me, please keep your shower usage to 10 minutes or less (that part is really for my mom who likes long shower however I have NEVER been able to run water like that at her house. I still can’t at 30.)

I knew I wasn’t purchasing a lawn mower nor did I want to relive my childhood of cutting grass. I hired services for that. That’s an extra cost.

My HOA assessment always seem to fall in a forgetful quarter. 😂 It comes every quarter but somehow I forget. All the other bills I was used to.

The one thing that has happened in a year was just how much my neighborhood has changed or my whole area for that fact. Last year, there was no house to the left of me.

Today, there is a 2 story home beside me. There is another one in front and one currently being built directly in front of me too. The wooded area behind me? Well it is still there but by next year, there will be houses behind me. I wanted a country feel for at least 2-3 years. Unfortunately, the growth of the area says differently. I’m happy about that. We have a Fuzzy’s Taco nearby so I’m content.

As a homeowner, I wanted to quickly finish out my home and have people visit. The one thing I learned was that your home is a work in progress. I still don’t think I’ve sat down and truly felt like “wow, I did this.” Not yet. I’m too busy at the moment. I will during this year’s holidays. I just knew when I moved in, I’d change so many things. However, after purchasing the fridge, new bed for the master bedroom, loveseat for the living room, I knew I didnt need to rush to complete my journey. I had that conversation with potential a first time homebuyer about pacing yourself for the adjustment. She quickly told me that she’d just finance everything.

As much as that can be possible, you want to take your time before doing that. Homeownership is a major focus and anything can happen. That’s one extra debt you don’t want to focus on when a repair is needed.

I quickly learned that my dreams outweighed my budget for my home. After one year, I still have builder grade items in my home (hello light fixtures I want gone…I digress.) With my style for my home, I realize I am not in a rush to find anything. I actually found light fixtures that I want but they don’t ship to the states. 🤦🏾‍♀️

I spend some Saturday mornings at Home Depot to learn new things to do around my house. Although, I can easily hire someone to do things, I’d rather find out how to do it and save the labor cost. I’ve learned how to install a toilet, install a backsplash, lay floors, and more. I’m my own handy woman. It’s actually quite therapeutic for myself.

Remember when I said my dreams outweighed my budget, let’s talk about my master closet. So in my home, I have 2 walk-in closets in my master suite. I badly wanted to have the bigger one designed. The first quote was $5000 for one section of the closet. I quickly went to Target and bought cube storage for $600 and arranged my closet. I’ll most likely get them professionally done within the next year but for the time being I needed something to get my life together.

I still love my backyard. It is my peaceful place. I haven’t designed it yet because it costs $17,000 for my dream design and I’m trying to figure out how to have cheaper dreams.

However, Ace and I have been absolutely loving our home and still creating it to be what we would love. Yes, Ace is my dog.

The space is perfect for me and perfect for a resale in the next 4 years. I plan to stay a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 10 years. Cheers to Year One!