I BOUGHT A HOUSE! What I Learned? – The Financials

I’ve been a REALTOR® for 4 years and have been trying to purchase my own home in just about that same amount of time.

2012 – 2013

Here’s the backstory. I graduated grad school in August 2012. I started working for a nonprofit in South Dallas in January 2013 where the premise of our business was revitalizing South Dallas and homeownership was one of those ways. There was no way I could talk about the values of homeownership without buying my own home. However, credit stood in my way. I knew I made mistakes from college that hunted me. The income and the debt weren’t syncing to make it right. Until one day, I decided I wanted a house. Working at the nonprofit, I knew what credit score I needed to have. I believe when I started on my credit, my score was at 585. I needed a minimum of 620 to get a down payment assistance program and go from there. I managed my money, I saved, and I would scroll online. Looking for a home was the easy part. It wasn’t until I found a home around the corner from my then apartment that was perfect. It had a pink and green room and a doggy door. It was perfect for me, so I thought? I called the Realtor to show it to me. It was a foreclosure listed at $120K. I had already did a cost analysis being a Housing Counselor so I knew how much I could possibly afford.

When I walked into this house, the ceiling was caved in. You could see mold and so much more. There was mildew around the doggy door and I wanted to run. RUN THE HELL OUT and kill the dream. LOL

I immediately went back to the drawing board. The fixer upper home was NOT in my budget. It sounds nice on paper but what people fail to realize is the cost of fixer upper. If you can barely afford the downpayment like I was at that moment, a fixer upper may not be for you. Cosmetic updates and fixer upper are two different things.

I had gotten my real estate license in between that time and decided this was the chance for me to be able to really scour through the market. I connected with a few lenders and found one I liked to work my own house deal. She qualified me for $120K which was right on the money for the foreclosure home that I saw. However, at that time, I had started doing deals in real estate and was ready to leave my full time job. I told the lender that and she was like yeah to get a home being self-employed, you’ll need 2 years of tax returns. What? That meant I would have to wait 2 years before coming back to get qualified. Well, 2016 it would be.

FAST FORWARD TO 2016!

I’m ready to get a mortgage. I’ve made decent money in real estate so I should be good. Well, I went with a different lender that I worked with. He approved me but at this time $140K. You know why? As a self-employed person, we pay A LOT in taxes. I saw the first estimate and was like no thank you. Therefore my income was lower than I originally told the lender (self-employed people are qualified based on the income they report to the IRS) and the average of 24 months only qualified for $140K. I knew where I wanted to live and $140K wasn’t even buying a door to the house. I spread out my options within Denton County between Little Elm, Aubrey, Cross Roads, Oak Point, The Colony, Carrollton, and Lewisville. I knew for sure I loved the 380 area however homes were around $180-200K. I halted the process then and said I would try again in 2017. I knew my taxes for 2015 and 2016 combined would have more income than my taxes for 2014 and 2015 were.

2017

By tax time, I knew I had to make my numbers stand out to buy my house. In simplest terms, I knew I couldn’t write off everything. I had to strategically plan it out and know what the estimated taxes would look like. Thank GOD for a past client would recommended their CPA. I saved so much in taxes and still claimed the income that I needed. It was at that moment, I was able to purchase a home up to $246K. Originally, my budget was set at $180K. I set myself up on a search on the MLS for homes under $200K in my desired areas. I noticed that the homes that were under $200K were getting slim. I had to act fast and knew I wasn’t getting under $200K in my desired area.

This was it. I was finally going to do it. I scoured through the area that I wanted to buy in after narrowing it down to 3 communities. I LOVED new construction and thought it would be the best way to save more money to purchase, give me a great timeframe, and sign one more 6 month lease to end apartment living forever.

*Check out the next blog/vlog as I walk you through my home buying process.*

Feeling inspired to begin your home buying process? Visit newavenuerealty.com.

Hello 2018!!!

I’m late but HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! It’s been hard getting things back into full gear mode for the new year. I’ve basically focused on finishing clients out who I feel should have closed in 2017 but that is neither here nor there.

It’s crazy that I have two separate clients who have had the same delays with their homes being built. I am not sure why but that has been the case.

2017 taught me a lot to give to new clients for 2018 and beyond. As much as real estate becomes second nature to me, it’s new to others. I realize my role as a Realtor is still to educate and do it more often that not. Markets in the United States are vastly different even in the same state. It helps to teach others how DFW market is going and how it works for them.

I had someone ask if the market was dried up. Well inventory has always been low for the past few years and the lower your pre-approval the less chance you have about finding your home. Does it mean it isn’t out there? No, but where you look should change. The style of home could be it. Stay open and on course. Do note what is cosmetic CAN BE CHANGED.

Winding Down 2017

With only 4 days left in 2017, I decided to take today to recap on what’s happened in 2017 and what to look forward to in 2018. 

This year I did a lot more new construction than I thought I would. A good 90% of my sales stemmed from clients building their homes including myself. I ended the year helping 20 families purchase homes with a sales volume of $4.55 million. When I say when 2017 started, I was like it may be time to put this Master’s degree in use. Lol

In all honesty, I had deals under contract but in real estate, you cannot count your coins before you get them because anything can happen. That sales volume of 2017 should be much higher but unfortunately deal break or get delayed as I saw 2 get delayed and 2 fall through. 

This year taught me a lot about myself and my business. For me personally, it taught me to never depend on people to be able to do what you really want to do. You need to provide the needs for yourself and not have it solely depend on others. In my business, I learned that it is going to take a whole lot for you to break that ceiling you’ve been in because now you have something to work towards. 

I had a discussion with a friend I’ve known since 2012. She’s always said how she’s so proud of me. She met me during the grad school struggle years and the last year of it at that. I had no direction and no clue on where I was going. I was throwing things at the wall and hoped they stuck. I told her that I am just a risk taker. I don’t claim to have it all together but after 4 years I can say I’m getting the hang of this real estate career. 
For 2018, I want to step outside of real estate a little and do some new projects. Most are real estate related but there will be some that I think take a me out my comfort zone. I’ll share in more detail in 2018. Did I mention 2018 is the year of 30 for me? I’m so freaking excited to turn 30. I probably have like 30 things I want to do this year from personal to business life. One new nugget in business is being selected to be on the 2018 Agent Leadership Council for my office. That’s technically like the Board of Directors of Agents at my office of over 600 agents. The selection is there for top agents. Little ole Me? I remember a few months ago I told my Team Leader that if anything requiring a leadership position became available to NOT forget about me. However, when I said this I wasn’t thinking the ALC. This just takes me a step further and reminds me to say to people, ask for what you want. You have not because you ask not. Just did that yesterday when I negotiated my new loveseat. 

Thanks to all friends, family, colleagues, clients, and all for making 2017 one to be proud of. I promise I held in tears yesterday at my last closing. I had a discussion with a friend I’ve known since 2012. She’s always said how she’s so proud of me. She met me during the grad school struggle years and the last year of it at that. I had no direction and no clue on where I was going. I was throwing things at the wall and hoped they stuck. I told her that I am just a risk taker. I don’t claim to have it all together but after 4 years I can say I’m getting the hang of this real estate career.

YCondo Living in Carrollton

My newest listing is one I absolutely adore. When clients ask whether they should buy a condo, townhome, or single family home, my answer is simple. I say your lifestyle will determine which route is best for you. If you enjoy apartment living and don’t want to mow a yard or take care of a foundation, then condo or a townhome is perfect! When I say perfect, this one is it! 

I literally get into kicks and giggles over this one. Although it is a small 2 bedroom condo, it gives so many possibilities. You can’t even get a 2BR apartment at the price you can own this at. 

Check out the video below: 

P.S. I know the furniture is amazing but unfortunately the seller loves it just as much too. 

View more photos and schedule to view the home at bit.ly/1609Marsh

NOW OPEN: Legacy Hall in Plano

Yesterday was the grand opening for this long awaited cafeteria hall projectory in Plano. As if Legacy West wasn’t already amazing, it opened up a food galore called Legacy Hall. It features just about all you can think of when it comes to food. No longer will you and your friends bicker about what to eat anymore. Everyone can find something they enjoy ans meet back at the table to enjoy each other’s company.

I took a brief tour today since I was nearby checking out the Villas at Legacy West by Britton Homes. All I can say is the brunch lines will be LONG on the weekends. I fell in love with this place as soon as I entered it. However I hate crowds and know the weekend will be the time I would not want to be near. 😂

It has great seating with eclectic decor around. Take a view with my photos. You can learn more about the restaurants located inside the food hall here: Legacy Hall Restaurants. How are you living in your neighborhood?

To List or Not List During the Holidays

 

Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

  1. Relocation buyers are out there. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their employees in their new positions as soon as possible.
  2. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
  3. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
  4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
  5. There is less competition for you as a seller right now. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:

7 Reasons to List Your Home This Holiday Season | Keeping Current Matters

  1. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop when the holidays come. Buyers who were unable to find their dream home during the busy spring and summer months are still searching!
  2. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge reaching new heights in 2018, which will lessen the demand for your house.

Bottom Line

Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense.

Focusing on the Future

We are less than 2 months away from 2018 and it’s been on my mind since August. I’ve been taking time to create what my life looks like for the upcoming year. I’m very understanding that life doesn’t always work the way we want it but I’ve gotten pretty intentional on what I want and different avenues to achieve it. 

As I hear up to 2018, I’ve been Thinking what can I do now, as in today, to make 2018 great. I don’t want to plan 2018 with ifs but actually what do I do today to guarantee this for 2018. 
My questions for others is to think what is there for you to do today to make tomorrow better. I’ll admit I get caught up in my head so often and sometimes I don’t live in the moment. I am still working on it but my essence is always what’s my next move. Do you wait for 2018 to plan the life you want to live or do you plan it in advance? 

What does 2018 look like for Andrea? 

The year of 2018 includes investment avenues in real estate with one investment property, a bridge/mentoring real estate component (been working on these for about a 1.5 years), an ebook geared to millenials about credit and making it work for you, and more. For me, my dreams are only limited by me. Do they scare me? HELL EFFING YES…but when they scare me, I know I am doing something right. 

Still Have a Starter Home? You Can Move-Up Now.

 

I will have to admit that I don’t like calling homes a starter home because what is the first home for most is the second home or third home for others. However, if you or your family have outgrown the home you currently reside in, this is the perfect time to move-up. Why so? Well entry-level or starter homes are still flying off the shelf in DFW. Homes that can sell under $250,000 are high in competition. The homes in the $300,000s and up are taking their time to sell and prices are being slashed left and right. The time to move-up is happening now.

Tell me more Drea. 

Well, you can sell your home at top dollar and use the proceeds from the sale to move-up putting 10-20% down on that home. Interest rates are still incredibly low and your payments will still be in range of affordability. There’s an affordable payment and more home for you or your family.

If that condo is getting too small and you want a house, this is a good time to move up to a house. If the house is 1500-1600 square feet and you now need about 2500-3000 square foot, look into selling and moving up to your next home.

If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! Data from Trulia’s Market Mismatch Study which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.

The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer which can eventually lead to a price change.

Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.

The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

In a Washington Post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

“Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. They’ll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want.”

Bottom Line

The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs and you are looking to step into a luxury home, now’s the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.

Sutton Fields in the Celina 380 Corridor

The 380 corridor development in North Texas has seen consistent growth over the years and it doesn’t look to be slowing down. If you still think 380 is strictly farmland, you need to drive back down the highway that stretches as far east of Texas to Greenville and hits the deep west of Texas near Lubbock. However the twenty mile concoction that consist of North Texas is growing tremendously.

As the 380 corridor development of North Texas expands, it brings the light of small towns that will become thriving areas. One city in particular near the corridor is the current small town of Celina, TX. As of today, the population of Celina is standing at 12,000 people (based on 2016 population).  Celina’s economic development manager, Corbett Howard, is a former mayor of the town who envisioned Celina to be next boomtown city of DFW. The building projections of homes has it becoming the fastest growing city in the metroplex. The city is bound to become the largest city in Collin County due to its vast amount  of land that has yet to be developed.

 

One development in particular is the Sutton Fields community which is a mile from the 380 corridor settled in with Prosper ISD school district. The developer Centurion American describes the community as the following:

Perfectly situated in Celina, the quaint city known for its small town charm and community pride, Sutton Fields will be the home of 240 homesites featuring beautiful floorplans and options to truly make your home yours. Personalize your home to fit your family’s needs and live your dreams affordably just minutes from Highways 75 and 380. With quick access to all that Dallas and Fort Worth has to offer, this idyllic community offers limitless opportunities to explore the outdoors. Whether it’s in the community amenity center, on the bike trails, or at Lake Ray Roberts and Lake Lewisville, there is plenty offered in and nearby the newest multi-family development. Children will attend some of the most top-rated schools North Texas has to offer in the Prosper Independent School District and future homeowners will love experiencing life in a small city with big dreams in Sutton Fields!

Photo from Sutton Fields Facebook Page
Photo from Sutton Fields Facebook Page

One of the attractions that has my eyes buzzing is the community garden right in the community. As a country girl, I realized that I am in love with communities that give you the small town charm and love of nature that I grew with but still within minutes of “city life”.  Below Centurion American gives particular amenities in the community:

  • Beautifully-Designed Planned Amenity Center
  • Open Green Space
  • Multiple Ponds
  • Pocket Farming and Farmers’ Markets
  • Community Gardens
  • Community Events
  • Protected Bee Hive Community

The development has started and currently the streets are in. There will be eight builders in the community which include First Texas Homes, Lennar Homes, Beazer Homes, M/I Homes, Sandlin Homes, Oakdale Homes, Megatel Homes, and DR Horton. Sales will start soon as the builders gather to start building their model homes. Prices are ranging from the mid 200s to high $600s. This community will have something for everyone. Looking to view more floorplans for Sutton Fields? Visit move-updallas.com and search Sutton Fields (Celina).

Want to know more about this community, contact New Avenue Realty at 972-813-9788 or info@newavenuerealty.com.

 

Is Now the Time for Millenials in the DFW real estate market?

As a fellow millenial here, it has taken time to get others in my age range excited about homeownership. We know it should or could be stuff that we can do yet we feel so bottled down with debt that it isn’t looked at as an option. I am here to break it to you. We can, YES WE CAN, become homeowners. If you can pay rent, you can purchase a home.  We can have the granite countertops, hardwood floors (that’s truly laminate in your apartment…trust me), plush carpet, white cabinets, and Joanna’s shiplap in our home. We tend to think that student loans stop us from purchasing a home OR that credit cards prevent us too. If you have decent credit, say a 620 or higher, you have options in these streets. Conventional loan programs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has loosening guidelines to help those with student loans become homeowners.

As the Queen of Resources, I’m here to tell you that there are ways to get into a home and the market is becoming more friendly to first time buyers especially those who have felt like the market didn’t favor them.

For the past two years, it seems as if the prices have doubled making homeownership out of reach. I am here to let you know today that the stars are starting to align. Buyers now have options in today’s market. This is finally your chance to get into the market and get the home you love.

Builders are starting to take notice too as they have since left the starter home phase and went straight to move-up homes which start in the mid-300s. They are now creating divisions within their brand that caters to millenials and first time homebuyers. You will see brand new homes now starting in the high 100s or low $200s.

 

WHAT CAN I AFFORD BASED ON MY RENT?

The next thing that has most people my age on the fence of homeownership is should they rent or buy? How does that payment change from my rental payment? Let’s look at it like this:

Rent: 2 Bedrooom, 2 Bathroom = $1500/month

Home Purchase: 3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom = $192,307 ~ $1500 mortgage payment

That’s an extra bedroom, more space in the home, as well as a backyard for the price of your rent.

Winn Ridge currently has floorplans with the price of the home at $194,000. With home prices, every $1000 is only $5-7. That means that a home at $194K is approximately $1510. This calculation is based on putting the minimum down on a home (3-5% of sales price). For $1600/month for a mortgage payment, we can estimate a home at $205,000.

THAT’S GREAT AND ALL BUT WHO HAS DOWN PAYMENT MONEY?

I tell my clients that if down payment is their struggle then we can find them money for their home.  HELLO!!!! Queen of Resources here and where there is a will there is most definitely a way. Plus, I have 9 Ways to Fund a Down Payment laid out for you already. There are lenders who have 1% down programs on a conventional loan. There are USDA programs which is 100% financing meaning NO down payments. Disclaimer: USDA loans can only be used to purchase a home in a rural area. However, the pace of growth in DFW opens a LOT of cities/towns for USDA. Ever heard of Little Elm or Prosper? Did you serve our country? Thank you for your service and here’s the BEST loan product out there for doing so called the VA Loan. The VA loan is similar to USDA which is 100% financing = $0 down payment.

Buyers with particular professions can also qualify for loan programs by lenders that may waive lender fees or give them down payment assistance funds to get them in the home. Basically, if you want a home and are willing and able to get one, the SUPPLY is available. The time is NOW.