How Long Does it Take to Save A Down Payment?

How Long Does It Take To Save A Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

In a recent study conducted by, researchers determined that nationwide it would take “nearly eight years” for a first-time buyer to save enough for a down payment on their dream home.

Depending on where you live, median rents, incomes and home prices all vary. By determining the percentage a renter spends on housing in each state and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, they were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save.

According to the study, residents in South Dakota are able to save for a down payment the quickest in just under 3.5 years. Below is a map created using the data for each state:

Years Needed to Save 10% Down | Keeping Current Matters

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of the Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae 3% down programs? Suddenly saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in under two years in many states as shown in the map below.

Years Needed to Save 3% Down | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you have just started to save for a down payment, or have been for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Let’s get you matched with one of my preferred mortgage professionals who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

Best Places to See Holiday Lights (Christmas) – Dallas/Fort Worth

holiday season


Sing along with me, “The most wonderful time of the year is here.” This time of the year brings so many warm and cozy feelings to everyone. The best way to get into the holiday spirit is to go venture out to see holiday lights. I’ve taken the time to get you going in different directions to view lights around the metroplex.

Deerfield Plano 

Deerfield Plano

This neighborhood in Plano does not disappoint when it comes to spreading the holiday cheer in the city of Plano. From the Deerfield HOA website:

Deerfield is located in Northwest Plano between Preston Rd. and Coit Rd. Enter from Legacy on Colonnade or Archgate, noting one-way and restricted-turn signs along Old Pond Dr. and Hallmark Dr.

The light show can be seen between the hours of 7pm-11pm during the entire month of December.

RED and BLUE routes on the map below are suggested main thoroughfares; be sure to visit side streets and cul-de-sacs along these routes! Use Quincy Ln. or Legacy Dr. to connect both routes.
If you decide to walk the neighborhood, then please park North of the Clubhouse on a less busy street. Here’s a map of the route: Deerfield Holiday Route Map

Christmas Capital of Texas – Grapevine

Grapevine has deemed itself the Christmas Capital of Texas and rightfully so with the ICE and Lone Star Christmas event at the Gaylord Texan and Snowland at the Great Wolf Lodge. Don’t forget to venture out to Downtown Grapevine to shop and view the light tour downtown. Head to Grapevine on Thursday, December 3rd to enjoy the parade of lights with your family.

Virtutrivan Park – Addison


Vitruvian Park transforms into a MAGICAL HOLIDAY WONDERLAND during Vitruvian Lights; Friday, November 27, 2015 – Friday, January 1, 2016.

On December 5th, the festivities continue at 6:00pm with a LIVE Concert, Gourmet Food Trucks, Delicious Desserts, Beer/Wine, FREE Photos with Santa and the Holiday Snowman, an Elf Balloon Artist, Holiday Shopping Village and Metrocrest Services Toy & Food Drive.

Prairie Lights – Grand Prairie

Christmas in the Square – Frisco

Christmas in the Branch – Farmers Branch 


Hilton Anatole – Dallas

2015-12-02 19.53.24

Venture off to the North Pole and take the kids to have Breakfast with Santa. There is no place magical than this one during the holiday season as there is a treat for all at the Anatole.

Six Flags Over Texas – Arlington

The park transforms into winter wonderland in Arlington. The whole family will be able to enjoy the millions of lights, rides, Santa, and more.

West 7th Starlight Symphony – Fort Worth


Join West 7TH & Pinnacle Bank as we light our streets with Holiday Joy! View a five-minute music and light spectacular held on the hour, 6-10pm.

Texas Motor Speedway “Gift of Lights”


The “Gift of Lights” is a two-mile drive through the speedway that features over 200 lighted displays with more than two million LED lights. Once again, this holiday festival is brought to Dallas/Fort Worth by Christmas by Zenith, the premier provider of holiday displays. The “Gift of Lights” will be open Thanksgiving Day from 6-10 p.m. CT and the display will be open during that timeframe seven days a week through Dec. 31.

Now I wish you and yours a happy holiday season and take the time to enjoy the holiday lights around the metroplex.

P.S. Know of any that I should add to the list? Email me at to have your favorite place added to the list. 



I Want to Buy A Home…What Do I Do?

I want to buy a home…what do I need to do? I get this question often. Most buyers are browsing online and see the ohhs and ahhs of home but don’t take the time to find out what is needed to purchase the shiny home until today. I am going to layout what you need to do to purchase a home.

Signing document for new home.

  1. 1. Look at Your Finances
  2. Do you know where you are financially? Of course, you may be able to afford the rent but affording a mortgage is a different ball game. It is more of a holistic view of your finances. Check your finances beforehand: Have at least 2-3 months of a mortgage payment in savings in addition to any down payment and/or closing costs in the bank, check your credit report (, and pay down any debt. If you need any credit tips, check out my blog post about Rebuilding Credit.

2. Get Pre-Approved

I say this often…..very often….

Looking at properties online is great. It is a start but until you take the initiative the see what you can afford you are still dreaming about purchasing a home without putting any action to it. This is the time to put action to it. Now if you aren’t qualified that doesn’t mean you cannot purchase a home. You just cannot do it at this moment. That is the reason why you need to start early on getting your foot into movement. This is the starting point. Most agents will not take you out to view homes without one. It is important to know how much of a home you can afford BEFORE house shopping.

3. Determine Your 5 Must Haves

This step is important. Once you know the five must haves in your home, you easily find the home that meets those qualities. It helps eliminate those that won’t hold your interest.

4. Location

The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is HUGE. Narrow your areas down to a select vicinity. As you are browsing online, check and see how much homes costs in that area. If it is slim to none in your price range, that means that area would not suffice. Check areas outside of it. Example: If you are pre-approved for $200K and want to live in Frisco, you should probably look outside of the area to McKinney, Little Elm, The Colony, and Plano.

5. Start Shopping

Meet with a Realtor and discuss your 5 must-haves, budget, and location. These steps will help speed up the process of homebuying and take the stress of it away. Homebuying should be fun but as a buyer you must do the homework initially to make it less of a stress.

I Want A Home…..Maybe a Townhome?

Could you first home be a townhome? Most people want the 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, and 2 car garage home with a spacious backyard. highlighted this boom in the housing market for townhomes by stating the following: ““Despite the drop in market share during the Great Recession, the share for townhouse construction is expected to increase in coming years – with occasional ups and downs,” according to NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog.”

townhomes even suggested the long-run prospects for townhouse construction are positive given large numbers of homebuyers looking for medium density residential neighborhoods. In the Denton County area that I work in, townhomes are becoming a big movement. Townhomes are being designed like the normal single-family structure and you definitely wouldn’t know it was a townhome in the inside. I had the pleasure of showing Beauty Vlogger Missy Lynn a few townhomes in Lewisville at The Manors at Vista Ridge. Check out the video below and see what it means to have a townhome as your first home.



Let’s Move to Denton County!

One of most fastest growing areas in the metroplex are right in Denton County. People are constantly migrating across the United States. Texas is holding its own as more people are heading to Texas counties. Of course we know that Dallas is listed as the number 2 metropolitan areas with the HOTTEST real estate markets. Two of the top counties that are in the “The Top 10 Counties Where People Are Moving” by Governing Magazine are right here in the Dallas area. Collin and Denton counties are ranked number 6 and 7 respectively.

Have you ever considered living in Denton County? It’s the ninth-most populous county in Texas with Denton being the county seat. Denton County is the located in the northern part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. It is approximately 25 miles from Dallas and 35 miles south of the Texas and Oklahoma border.

Denton County

As the metroplex continues to grow, most of the growth has been happening right in Denton County. The following cities are major components of the Denton County growth: Little Elm, Aubrey, Lewisville, The Colony, and Denton. Let’s delve more into Denton County cities to find your new avenue, shall we?


For me the part of Aubrey that I know well is the part that sits on Highway 380. That’s what I thought until I made the journey to the Tulip Farm in Pilot Point that Aubrey was way more than Highway 380. Aubrey’s city limits expands further north near Krugerville part of Denton County. Aubrey is the city in the Denton County that is growing based on master-planned development by major developers in the metroplex.

Find Your New Avenue in Aubrey



This city is placed into two counties. The Denton County side of Carrollton is situated along the Sam Rayburn Tollway (121 Toll). North Carrollton is what I like to call it and houses schools in the Lewisville ISD.

Find Your New Avenue in Carrollton


One of the “Lake Cities” that stands north of Lake Lewisville. It is between Lewisville and Denton and the schools are home to Lake Dallas ISD.

Find Your New Avenue in Corinth

Cross Roads

Yes there is a town in Denton County called Cross Roads and it is between Denton and Little Elm on Highway 380.

Find Your New Avenue in Cross Roads


The northernmost town of the metroplex is Denton. Denton can be considered so many things. When I first moved to Texas, Denton was what I knew outside of Dallas. That’s because my prime reason for moving to Texas was to attend graduate school at the University of North Texas. Denton is definitely “one of a kind.” I can barely describe it. I will say this if you ever find yourself in this town, check out my alma mater at one of its home games and cheer the Mean Green on. FYI – Denton is home to two universities but it is not all about the college life here. You can definitely raise your family in this town. This is being said by a woman who grew up in a college town.

Find Your New Avenue in Denton

Flower Mound

Flower Mound is bordered by Lewisville to the east and Highland Village to its north. It has a great proximity to the DFW Airport and even views to Lake Grapevine. The schools in the community are a part of Lewisville ISD.

Find Your New Avenue in Flower Mound


Frisco along with Prosper has only some of its city limits in Denton County. West Frisco is mainly in Denton County. Frisco is the “King of the Metroplex Growth”. It will be home to new Dallas Cowboys practice facility and retail development which is slated for a 2016 opening.

Find Your New Avenue in Frisco

Highland Village

This small town borders the south far western side of Lake Lewisville as well as Flower Mound and Lewisville as its southern neighbors. The schools in this town are a part of Lewisville ISD as well.

Find Your New Avenue in Highland Village

Lake Dallas

One of the “Lake Cities” that stands north of Lake Lewisville. It is between Lewisville and Denton and the schools are home to Lake Dallas ISD.

Find Your New Avenue in Lake Dallas


Lewisville is the second most populous cities in the county. It always great access to different cities in the metroplex as major highways connect through the city. This town is approximately 20 minutes from the city of Dallas and is in the southern part of the county.

Find Your New Avenue in Lewisville

Little Elm

The 2000 census listed that this city had 3,646. Today this city has seen its population grow to over 32,000 people in 15 years. Here in Little Elm schools are divided into Frisco and Little Elm ISDs. Little Elm (as of today) is still considered rural so you will be able to use a USDA loan (rural home loan with 0% down).

Find Your New Avenue in Little Elm

Oak Point

I know what you are thinking. Andrea, did you just create a new city. I did not. Oak Point is a small town that is to the northwest side of Little Elm. Expect more people to call this place home as the Wildridge community starts to unfold soon.

Find Your New Avenue in Oak Point

Providence Village

What started as a master-planned community is now a newly created town in Denton County. Most of the homes in the community are apart of Providence Village and Aubrey.

Find Your New Avenue in Providence Village


Just like Frisco, there is only a part of Prosper that resides in Denton County and it can be found alongside Highway 380.

Find Your New Avenue in Prosper

What’s one special thing about living in Denton County? Being able to enjoy a Texas summer alongside Lake Lewisville. The small towns that I mentioned border the lake and within minutes your family can be lakeside enjoying the view. Find more homes in Denton County at


*CROWNED* – Kimberly Allen

Good News! Another homeowner has been crowned in Royse City and her name is Kimberly Allen. Last year, I helped Kimberly’s daughter and son-in-law purchase their first home in Royse City. This year in 2015 I was able to do the same for Kimberly as she purchased her first home in Royse City as well. Congratulations Kimberly!

Congratulations to Kimberly Allen!
Congratulations to Kimberly Allen!

Home Equity: You May Have More Than You Think

Home Equity: You May Have More Than You Think | Keeping Current Matters

DFW homeowners may have more equity than they think. CoreLogic recently released their 2015 2nd Quarter Equity Report which revealed that 759,000 properties had regained equity in the last quarter. That means that 91% of allmortgaged properties (approximately 45.9 million) are now in a positive equity position. Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, reported:

“For much of the country, the negative equity epidemic is lifting. The biggest reason for this improvement has been the relentless rise in home prices over the past three years which reflects increasing money flows into housing and a lack of housing stock in many markets.”

Obviously, this is great news for the financial situation of many homeowners.

But, do they realize their equity position has changed?

A recent study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are unaware that their equity position has changed…in some cases dramatically. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, only 9% of homes are in that position.

The study also revealed that, though 69% of homes had “significant equity” (greater than 20%), only 37% of Americans realize it.

Significant Equity | Keeping Current Matters

This means that 32% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

Every homeowner should be aware of the true equity in their house and also realize the opportunities that go along with it. If you are unsure of the savings you currently have built up in your home, contact New Avenue Realty (972.813.9788)  to help ascertain that number. You may be surprised.

Is It Time to Downsize?

Is it Time to Downsize your Home? | Keeping Current Matters

Is now the time to downsize? That may be a question you and your spouse have pondered. Are the kids gone off to college? Have the kids moved away and started their own family? Does the second floor of the home barely have any foot traffic? Then the answer may be, yes.

A recent study by Edelman Berland revealed that of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future 33% plan to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why that would make sense to many Americans.

In a recent blog post, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, discussed the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process. also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profit from the sale of their current home and splitting it to put down payments on a smaller home in their current location and a vacation/retirement home where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values. This makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A recent study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actually, 69% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build a life you have always dreamt about.

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, contact Andrea T. Fowler of New Avenue Realty (972.813.9788) who can help guide you through the process.


What Do You Really Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

What Do You Really Need to Qualify for a Mortgage? | Keeping Current Matters

A recent survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is actually necessary to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The study pointed out two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 36% think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Here are the results from a Digital Risk survey done on Millennials:

Millennials Down Payments | Keeping Current Matters

2. FICO Scores

The Ipsos survey also reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

Here are the numbers from a recent Ellie Mae report:

FICO Score Of Approved Loans | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective purchaser who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to buy but not sure if you are also ‘able’, schedule to meet with me so that you understand your true options.


64.2% of Millennials Put Down Less than 20%

64.2% of Millennials Put Down Less than 20% | Keeping Current Matters

Digital Risk recently polled Millennials about the housing market. Among their findings was the fact that nearly two-thirds of the generation who have recently purchased a home, have done so with less than 20% down; with 36% putting down less than 5%!

Here is a graph detailing the results:

Millennial Down Payments | Keeping Current Matters

This means that more and more American’s between the ages of 18 and 34 stopped paying their landlord’s mortgage and started building their own family’s wealth.

Millennials aren’t the only ones taking advantage of lower down payments.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that if the down payment required to purchase a home went from 20% to 5%, a renter’s Willingness To Pay (WTP) increased by 40%.

Willingness To Pay | Keeping Current Matters

The problem is that thirty-six percent of Americans still think a 20% down payment isalways required when buying a home. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters now realizing that the home of your dreams is obtainable, contact me via phone or email at 972.813.9788 or to guide you through the Dallas real estate market.