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!

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

In today’s real estate market, with low inventory dominating the conversation in many areas of the country, it can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared.

In a recent realtor.com article entitled, “How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind,” the author highlights some steps that first-time homebuyers can take to help carry their excitement of buying a home throughout the whole process.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search

One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.

This step will also help you narrow your search based on your budget and won’t leave you disappointed if the home you tour, and love, ends up being outside your budget!

2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like and then qualify them as ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This will help keep you focused on what’s most important.

3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood You Want to Live In

Every neighborhood has its own charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, the article suggests test-driving the area. Make sure that the area meets your needs for “amenities, commute, school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit.”

4. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to It

Evaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home that would best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code, doesn’t mean that you need to tour every listing in that zip code.

An example from the article says, “if you have several younger kids and don’t want your bedroom on a different level, steer clear of Cape Cod–style homes, which typically feature two or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main.”

5. Document Your Home Visits

Once you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together. The article suggests keeping your camera handy and documenting what you love and don’t love about each property you visit. They even go as far as to suggest snapping a photo of the ‘for sale’ sign on the way into the property to help keep the listings divided in your photo gallery.

Making notes on the listing sheet as you tour the property will also help you remember what the photos mean, or what you were feeling while touring the home.

Bottom Line

In a high-paced, competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home. Take advantage of my buyer brunch this Saturday. You can register here: buyerbrunch.eventbrite.com.

Source: Keeping Current Matters

The Crown is Yours.

Real estate is a complex nature. WHO you work with really does matter. New Avenue Realty has worked with hundreds of homeowners (future and current) to buy or sell real estate in North Texas with over $15 million sold. The proof is in the numbers. Your experience will be royal.

Want to BUY or SELL a home? Chat with us at 972-813-9788 or atfowler@newavenuerealty.com.

New Home Sales on the Rise!

According to the latest New Residential Sales Report from the Census Bureau, new construction sales in August were up 3.5% from July and 12.7% from last year! This marks the second consecutive month with double-digit year-over-year growth (12.8% in July).

The report also showed that builders have ramped up construction with an increase in new construction starts and completions. The summer months are often a busy time for builders as they capitalize on the warmer weather to be able to finish projects.

Below is a table showing the change in starts, completions, and sales from last August.

New Home Sales Up 12.7% From Last Year | Keeping Current Matters

Other notable news from the report is that the percentage of new construction sales in the $200-$299k range has continued to break away from the $300-$399k range.

This shows that builders are starting to build lower-priced homes that will help alleviate some of the inventory challenges in the starter and trade-up home categories. The chart below shows the full breakdown.

New Home Sales Up 12.7% From Last Year | Keeping Current Matters

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

If you are thinking of buying or selling in today’s market, you no doubt have heard that there is a shortage of existing homes for sale which has been driving home prices up across the country. The additional new construction coming to the market could help alleviate this shortage, but we are still not back up to pre-crisis levels.

3 Ways to Prepare for Homeownership While Renting

You may not be ready to buy your first home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare now. Here are three actions you can do while renting that will put you in a better position when you’re ready to buy.

Take a homeowner’s budget for a test drive. While you can’t predict all homeownership costs to the last penny, you can come up with a rough estimate of how owning a home will affect your budget. A REALTOR® can help you figure out how much you can afford, the potential mortgage payment you’d make, your local property taxes, and repair costs you might want to consider as a homeowner.

Check your credit report. Before you apply for a loan, request a free credit report to find out what a lender would see. If your report has errors, you can correct them before they affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan. And you might be able to take steps to improve your credit before purchasing a property. Your REALTOR® may be able to help you find resources to repair your credit.

Create a realistic wish list. There’s probably not a home that will offer every single amenity you desire, but you should have a general idea of what you’re looking for. So while a home with fewer than two bathrooms may be non-negotiable, perhaps you’d see the potential in one with a smaller kitchen or a not-so-appealing exterior paint job.

It’s never too early to talk to a REALTOR® when you know you’re going to buy a home. A REALTOR® can answer your questions about the homebuying process and help you avoid surprises along the way.

Article: Texas Association of Realtors