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!

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.