Buying this Spring? Be Prepared for Bidding Wars

Traditionally, spring is the busiest season for real estate. Buyers come out in force and homeowners list their houses for sale hoping to capitalize on buyer activity. This year will be no different!

Buyers have already been out in force looking for their dream homes and more are on their way, but the challenge is that the inventory of homes for sale has not kept up with demand, which has lead to A LOT of competition for the homes that are available.

A recent Bloomberg article touched on the current market conditions:

“It’s the 2017 U.S. spring home-selling season, and listings are scarcer than they’ve ever been. Bidding wars common in perennially hot markets like the San Francisco Bay area, Denver and Boston are now also prevalent in the once slow-and-steady heartland, sending prices higher and sparking desperation among buyers across the country.”

Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic went on to explain why buyers are flocking to the market in big numbers:

“In today’s market, many buyers think the trough in [interest] rates is over. If you don’t get in now, it’s just going to be worse later. Rates will be higher, prices will be higher, and maybe inventory selection will be lower.”

In Dallas, homes are staying on the market for almost 16 days with the homes selling at 98.4% of the listing price.  Homes under $200,000 sell in 6 days and sell for 100% of list price in North Texas.

Bottom Line

In today’s competitive atmosphere, you need a professional on your side who knows your exact market conditions and can help you take the steps you need to be able to secure your new home! Schedule a buyer’s consultation with New Avenue Realty at atfowlerrealtor.appointy.com.

One More Time…You DO NOT Need 20% Down!

One More Time You Don't Need 20% Down | 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 and the number has increased through the first quarter of the year as shown by the graph below:
Percent of Low Down Payments | Keeping Current Matters

2. FICO Scores

The 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:
Average FICO Scores | 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’, sit down with someone who can help you understand your true options.

Buy vs Rent: What Really Creates Family Wealth?

Buy vs Rent: What Really Creates Family Wealth? | Keeping Current Matters
There has been recent press regarding whether or not it makes better financial sense to rent rather than buy in today’s housing market. As an example, the recently released June Summary of the BH&J Buy vs. Rent Index reported:
“…as of the end of the first quarter of 2015, the housing market in the U.S. and all cities in the index are trending either closer to renting being the superior option or strictly favoring renting over purchasing a home.”
The summary goes on to explain that:
“The index conducts a “horse race” comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home andreinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.”(emphasis added)
Though the math may be correct, we are not as sure of the conclusion. Even if you check the methodology offered by the BH&J report itself, you will find that they realize:
“…any extra savings from renting might be spent on non-wealth enhancing goods resulting in any benefits from renting versus owning disappearing in a cloud of consumption spending rather than savings.”

The Concept of ‘Forced Savings’ and Wealth Accumulation

Many believe the wealth accumulation of homeowners is tied into the concept of “forced savings”. The New York Times late last year published an editorial entitled,Homeownership and Wealth Creation, which discussed this conceptThe article explained:
“Homeownership requires potential buyers to save for a down payment, and forces them to continue to save by paying down a portion of the mortgage principal each month.”
“Even in instances where renters have excess cash, saving a substantial amount is difficult without a near-term goal, like a down payment. It is also difficult to systematically invest each month in stocks, bonds or other assets without being compelled to do so.”
Many of the points that were made in the article are on track with the research done by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which agrees that “forced savings” is a major advantage of homeownership. In a paper, The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America, they concluded:
“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

The Truth is in the Historical Data

Edwards Deming once said: “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”
Let’s look at the data on this subject. The Federal Reserve has conducted a study titled:Survey of Consumer Finances. The study found that the average net worth of a homeowner ($194,500) is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($5,400).

Bottom Line

The New York Times editorial articulated it best:
“Homeownership long has been central to Americans’ ability to amass wealth; even with the substantial decline in wealth after the housing bust, the net worth of homeowners over time has significantly outpaced that of renters, who tend as a group to accumulate little if any wealth…As a means to building wealth, there is no practical substitute for homeownership.”
If you are a renter who is considering making a purchase, sit with a local real estate professional who can explain the benefits of signing a contract to purchase over renewing your lease!

Guess Where Residential Rents are Heading?

Guess Where Residential Rents are Heading? | Keeping Current Matters
Each month, many people are faced with the decision of renewing their rental lease for another year or purchasing their first home. One of the questions that must be answered before they make a decision is – “Where are rents headed?”
The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article on this issue. Their conclusion:
“Apartment rental increases slowed in the first quarter from a year earlier, but the move is more likely a temporary blip than the beginning of a long-term respite for renters.”
The article goes on to quote Ryan Severino, a senior economist at Reis:
“I wish I had a better story to tell renters these days, but I think they’re in for some rent increases for the foreseeable future.”
Probably the most interesting part of the article came in the Comment Section where a proud landlord proclaimed:
“As a landlord I can tell you I don’t pay property tax. I don’t pay for repairs. The tenant pays. I get my money off the top.”
Here is a chart showing rent increases over the last 25+ years:
Median Asking Rent Since 1988 | Keeping Current Matters

You Want to Raise My Rent How Much?

You Want to Raise My Rent How Much? | Keeping Current Matters
We recently reported that investment purchases in 2014 fell 7.4% for the year, that combined with a diminished supply of distressed inventory allowing for big profits, has real estate investors looking for a new way to make more money in 2015.
So if they don’t have new properties to buy… how would they make more money? Easy… they are going to raise your rent!
A recent article from Bloomberg Business gave insight into exactly what the CEO’s of major investment firms are thinking.
“We are focusing aggressively on rent bumps,” American Residential Properties CEO Stephen Schmitz said during a panel discussion. “There’s a supply imbalance in some markets. The same thing that keeps occupancy high also drives rents.”

How Much Are They Going To Raise Your Rent?

Rental rates are predicted to increase 4% on renewals and as much as 5.7% for new tenants.
Haendel St. Juste, a Morgan Stanley analyst put it this way:
“The focus is now on optimizing revenue, compared to getting heads in beds,”

So What Can You Do?

If you are one of the millions of renters out there dreading the day that you have to renew your lease, or planning to move into a new rental property, now may be the time to sit with a real estate professional and evaluate your ability to lock in your housing cost, by buying now.

Rents at an All-Time High in North Texas?

If you have lived in an apartment in the Dallas/Fort Worth region, you know that paying for a peace of security and safety does not come cheap no matter where in the metroplex you decide to live. Last year, 2014, rents reached an all time high in North Texas. According to Jenny Doren and Sandra Baker of WFAA and the Star- Telegram:

“Rents rose 4.9 percent in 2014 and now the average monthly rent for an apartment in Dallas-Fort Worth is $919, said MPF Research in Dallas.

“Annual increases above 4 percent are rare in this market,” said Greg Willett, an MPF Research vice president. “Because we’re such a construction hot spot, the flow of new product moving through initial lease-up normally holds rent growth below the national norm.”

Locally, however, renters were leasing up units almost as fast as they came on the market, Willett said. Renters leased 15,226 units during 2014, when 15,575 units were completed, making North Texas the strongest market nationwide.”

 
I always advise those who are paying more than $1,000 in rent to consider purchasing their own home. The benefits in purchasing outweighs the benefits of owning. There are no apartment rules to follow, no additional fees, and no paper thin walls to hear your neighbors conversation.

I would to talk to you if you are considering purchasing a home in 2015. Let’s get you on a Royal Plan today to see where your new avenue awaits you at. Contact me via phone or email at 972.813.9788 or atfowler@NewAvenueRealty.com.

Find your new avenue here: New Avenue Realty

Doren, Jenny, and Sandra Baker. “N. Texas Apartment Rents Reach an All-time High in 2014.” WFAA. N.p., 6 Jan. 2015. Web. 26 Jan. 2015.

Thank You — New Avenue Realty Home Owners of 2014

Can you believe that 2014 is 2 weeks from being over? Seriously this year has come and gone. We are on the brink of 2015 and New Avenue Realty has some AMAZING plans for 2015 I promise you do not want to miss out. 

Before the year ends, I would like to give a major thank you to my clients of 2014. These were first time buyers and sellers who were ready for home ownership. I am so thankful that they chose me to represent them as they purchase and sold their homes. 

(Left to Right)
A. The McIvers – Purchased their first home as newlyweds in March 2014 in Hickory Creek, TX
B. The Jusino’s – Purchased their first home as newlyweds in April 2014 in Lancaster, TX
I would recommend the agent since she has guided us to our future home and stayed on top of it even though we didn’t win the initial offer. She has also answered a bunch of my questions since we are first time home buyers. We recommend her to guide you to your future home!” – Clint Jusino

C. The Ramirez’s – Purchased their first home as newlyweds in May 2014 in Cedar Hill, TX
Andrea helped us find our first home on a very tight schedule. Andrea is knowledgeable and is very organized. Andrea also responds to her customers very quickly and always takes care of outstanding items. Andrea had answers and solutions for us very quickly. She is extremely helpful. Thank you, Andrea!” – Gonzalo Ramirez

D. The Jacksons – Purchased their first home in May 2014 in Royse City, TX
“Andrea is compassionate about what she does. We purchased our first home through a lender that many did not know about. Andrea educated herself and followed up throughout the entire process. She works diligently to ensure your needs as a client are met! Definitely chose Andrea to assist you if you are looking for a home!” – Tiffany Jackson

E. Brittnee Jenkins – Relocated to Fort Worth after graduate school and purchased in August 2014 in Fort Worth

F. SouthFair Community Development Corporation – Community Housing Development Organization in South Dallas that builds and sells homes to low and moderate income individuals and families. 
Sold 3 Homes with SouthFair CDC in July, October, and December 2014 – Dallas
During the course of working with my clients, I built relationships. To me that is the most important thing that a Realtor can do. I enjoyed every aspect of working with them and helping to ease the process of homeownership. My favorite part of the process with my buyers is watching their eyes light up when they have found the one. I make it every effort to make sure that they get “the one”. My favorite part of the process with my sellers is knowing that someone has consider their home as “the one”. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in my career. This is by far one of the best ways to make a difference. I get the experience to see families grow and new journeys being taken in the world of home ownership. 
In the end, thanks for working with me! I have enjoyed you this year. I leave all my viewers with this one question:
Who will be a New Avenue Realty Home Owner or Seller in 2015? 





For more information about buying or selling a home in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, contact me at 972.813.9788 or atfowler@NewAvenueRealty.com. 

Before I end this post, I have to acknowledge my renters of 2014 as well. Hope to build our relationship to the journey of home ownership in 2015. 

Janet Munoz – Dallas
Candice Young & Cornelius Hayes – Fort Worth
Alexis Woodley – Grand Prairie, TX
Brittany Dixson – Fort Worth
Michelle & Josh Penix – Fate, TX

New Avenue Realty’s Refer A Friend Rewards

Refer A Friend

Starting January 1st, I will be starting my refer a friend rewards program. For each referral sent, you will be entered in a drawing to win a prize each month for referrals. Your referral must schedule a buyer or seller appointment in order for you to be entered into the contest. The more times you refer a friend, the more times you are entered for the monthly and grand prize drawing. You can start today here: New Avenue Refer A Friend Program

The Grand Prize will be 2 tickets to a Dallas Mavericks basketball game in December 2015. So who will be our first winner of the “Refer A Friend” Rewards?

For more information about the rewards program, contact me at 972.813.9788 or email me.




P.S. Friends don’t let friends search on Zillow or Trulia when there is a North Texas Realtor ready and willing to work so that they get the best real estate deal. 

Millenials Set to Take Over Real Estate in 2015?







Just a few months ago, I wrote a blog post titled “Millenials and Real Estate” It is being predicted that millenials will be one of the biggest first time home buyers in 2015. According to Realtor.com, the best purchase markets for millenials are the following: 

The best purchase markets for aspiring Millennial homebuyers are (listed alphabetically):
  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Minneapolis
  • New Orleans
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Salt Lake City
  • Seattle
Dallas Skyline at Dusk – Pixabay

Yes I made the Dallas one a little larger on purpose. Dallas has been one of the major metropolitian cities with growth. The opportunities in the area are like no other. Of course you know that Dallas is named one of the best cities to shop and eat. So I may be bias on this one but seriously, there is a new place to eat and shop EVERYWHERE. Imagine all of these places being within 5 – 10 minutes of where you purchase your home! I am a millenial myself and when searching for a place to stay, I always look for access to highways and the local amenities. Shopping (whether retail or groceries) is always a local amenity that I need nearby. It doesn’t hurt if there are other amenities such as an emergency care center, great schools,  local hospital, and restaurants too. 

I am a development nerd and realize that once new economic development opportunities come to a city, that city will be booming soon. That’s the place to be for resale. Has anyone looked into living in The Colony? Not only is 2015 the season of millenials and home ownership but Vocativ just listed six cities in the region as the best cities for people under 35. Check other articles from Realtor.com about millenials. Maybe 2015 is the year to think about giving up the rent payment and look at a mortgage payment. Could millenials take over 2015 in home purchases? 








10 Step Guide to Buying Your Home

If you follow my social media pages (Facebook & Twitter), then you may have seen me tweet about the ten steps to buying your home from Realtor.com. Below you can find each step that you will need when purchasing your first home.

You can bookmark this page and research each step as you make your transition through the housing process.

Step 1: Are You Ready to Buy a Home
It is best to do a mental and financial check to make sure that you are indeed truly ready to be a homeowner.

Step 2: Hire A Realtor
It is always best to hire someone who has your best interest put forth. A buyer’s agent will help you through the process. When I work with buyers, I make sure they understand how the process works, deliver them all options, and make them extra confident about purchasing their first home. You should always have someone to represent you in the home buying process even if you decide to build your home.

Step 3: Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval
Before any Realtor takes you to view homes, they will want to know that you are pre-approved. Without having a pre-approval you are basically dreaming on a wish. It is best to know what you can afford based on your finances. I would suggest you go a step forward and see how much you can afford based on your net income.

Ex: Gross Monthly Income – $3000
      Net Income (Take Home Pay) – $2,550
     
      Gross Annual Income – $36,000
      Net Annual Income – $30,600
      Home Price You Should Buy – $92,000

The lender will only take in account to the debt being reported on your credit report. If it isn’t reported on your credit report (electricity, cell phone, gas, car maintenance and insurance, etc), then it won’t be calculated in what your monthly bills. Take that into play when purchasing your home. A rule of thumb is that your mortgage shouldn’t be more than 30% of your income. Based on this scenario, that range would be between $765- $900.

Step 4: Look at Homes
Now that the financial piece has been squared away, you are ready to search for homes that meet your price range.

Step 5: Choose Your Home
Base your home search on 3-5 things that you must have. Please take into consideration that if you are looking for an open concept, that can easily be adjusted if the wall can be knocked out. Don’t let small cosmetic things like ugly carpet, wallpaper, or paint colors stop you from purchasing a home. Cosmetic things can be changed in as little time as a weekend and sweat equity.

Step 6: Make An Offer
This is why you hired a Realtor. Your Realtor will help you determine the price to set your offer at and what conditions to ask for.

Step 7: Stay Mortgage Approved
Once you have decided on your home to buy and your offer has been accepted, it is time to do due diligence. Just because you have a pre-approval, DOES NOT mean you have been approved on a home loan. The pre-approval is just to say that a lender has checked your information and you can purchase a home in the select price range. In order to stay mortgage approved, you have to keep your debt to income ratio in the same position as you did when getting pre-approved. During this time of the process, don’t go buy a new car, new appliances, new furniture, or default on a credit card (yes this list can go on because this has happened before). Wait to buy these items when you have signed the closing documents and have the keys to the home in your hand.

Step 8: Protect Yourself…Get Insurance
Just as you need car insurance as a requirement to own and operate a car, you will need homeowner’s insurance to own your home too. This is no getting out of this one. I would suggest you start with your insurance carrier that you have car insurance with or even renter’s insurance. Some insurance companies offer discounts when you setup a bundle with them. (TIP: If you are apart of any organizations, see if your insurance company offers discounts with them. I was able to use my sorority to get a discount with my insurance company).

Step 9: You’ve Made It to Closing Day
You have finally made it to the closing day. You have exhausted yourself to find the perfect home and now it is almost time to achieve that reality.

Step 10: I’m A Homeowner
You are officially a part of the homeowner club. You have to make sure that you maintain your home. If you see a neighbor whose yard is decreasing your home value, be neighborly and charge a fee to keep it cut for them. See I’ve helped you create a small hustle in the neighborhood. You can also volunteer to do it as well.

These ten steps will help you prepare for purchasing your first home. If you or someone you know is ready to get the train rolling on purchasing your home, contact me today.