It’s a few weeks before closing, I’ve worked out situations with my lender on what I need to do and find out NOT one but TWO of my deals are falling through. In real estate, every deal doesn’t go through. Those aren’t the things I share publicly because that isn’t sexy. How many Realtors out there are really talking about those things? One of the two was deal set to close FOUR days before my home. That WAS my downpayment. I couldn’t sleep at all after finding out. I really was about to watch something I dreamed of walk away so easily. However, when you really work your business, you are never without business. I had another deal come through and close a few weeks prior that secured the extra funds I needed to pay off my car. We even worked everything out to where I brought in $1300 at closing.
I swear every call I received from the lender, my heart would drop. I’m like I have no more money to give without completing falling out of my living comfort zone.
What I learned from the whole process is
1. Never depend on others to do what you REALLY want to do. I know deals may fall through however that one deal set me back because I was dependent on it for my home. Had I not had my house tied to it, I would have been okay.
2. Be resourceful. Just because you have one way or doing things doesn’t make it the only or best way. I was able to use a mortgage credit certificate (which helps me qualify for a tax credit for the life I own the home) to help offset my debt to income ratio. This helped me not really break the bank after paying the car off.
3. Always have MORE money. Down payment assistance route was never my option because I knew the cost of that would have me way out of my comfort zone. I settled for a slightly higher rate than I felt I should have gotten because of the money I wanted to bring to closing. I still feel like my rate should be lower and somewhere between now and April, I hope that can happen.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I tossed and turned every night until I signed the papers. I never got to really enjoy my home when I moved in because I suddenly had to move as my lease ended the day after closing. In my mind, I had to grind for the first mortgage payment. It’s like bills are due and there is no time to slack off. This made me not really sit back and enjoy my hard work. I overworked myself for 2017 because I had grand goals. The first and most important one has been accomplished.
The ball is now rolling and it’s official, I’m buying a house. Although I was quite excited, deep down I felt like something was going to happen during this time. I kept wondering why the other lender kept saying I wouldn’t qualify but my new one was like Yes! Would I get so far in my process and it not come true? Honestly, it was these thoughts that stopped me from publicly discussing building a home.
So here we are. It’s May 2017 and I’m starting. It’s getting real. I’m nervous and excited at the same time.
I went away for the Fourth of July weekend at Essence and came back to this.
It was at this moment who I was emotionally invested. I needed to do whatever it took to keep the no and nay says away. It’s July 2017 and my home is slated to be completed in 2 months. I started to pay off EVERYTHING. When I say EVERYTHING, I did everything. That tax bill that I should have paid off in 2016 was finally paid off. Those credit cards were finally paid off. I did whatever the lender saw fit. However, there was a hold up. The lender I was using had internal issues that affected me. I get a call from a random person saying he’s know my loan officer. I am NOT receptive to it. I’ve been working with this particular lender for the company and I like him. He had a Realtor Day at his lake house and I really enjoyed him. Your personal finance is heavily on display when buying a home so it is important to work with someone you can trust. I trusted this guy not the new guy calling. I let that be known and it was told to me that my regular guy would finish up my loan process. Well, two weeks later, they LOCKED him out of the file.
As a Realtor, I understood the internal issues but as the now consumer, I was hot. The communication now lagged because my second lender guy was ON IT. I had questions and he had answers. This mess from the inside meant a delay on getting an answer. I was in debate with should I pay my car off. Can I do this instead? Can we use this program to help offset my DTI (Debt to income ratio because that was really my main issue anyway. It wasn’t my debt more so the income I claimed. I wanted to pay lower taxes so the income that I actually made was lower)? I remember distinctly waiting a week and a half for my question to be answered when I responded 5 minutes later to an original email. It was at that moment that I said GOODBYE.
I didn’t want to be involved in the tussle anymore and communication is MAJOR for me. Buying a home or better yet financing a home is stressful enough. I didn’t need the extra stress. I went back to my sales rep and said okay, who is next on the list. I told her I’d try one of the preferred lenders again and if it didn’t work, I’d go with one of my own lenders and just pay $20K extra because I’d lose my incentives for working with an outside lender.
She recommends Mortgage Financial Services and Jim Ward. I thoroughly explained to Jim what was happening, what I needed, and to guarantee he could get me to the closing table. If he couldn’t do it, just let me know ahead of time. He mentioned he could but I would have to pay off my car. I was trying to avoid that. I was like Jim, “I don’t owe like $2000 on the car. I owe almost $8000 and now we are interfering with the money I have saved for my downpayment. After counting my resources, I knew I had a closing right before the scheduled date to close on my home. In some way, this could work out OR it could end really bad. Just my luck, it got bad before it got good.
I’ve extended this to four parts. I couldn’t add so much for part 3. Thanks for reading and stay tune for the final part next week*
Are you ready to buy a home and considering going in the route of new builds? It may seem like an easy enough process, where you get to call the shots of how you want your dream home to be, but there is a lot of risk when it comes to new construction if you are going in blindly. It’s unfortunately not as trouble free as we’d like to hope, if you don’t have the right representative by your side to help with the things that need to be looked out for from a professional’s eye. Below, we’ll dive into the many reasons you need a professional buyer’s agent representing you in the sale. They are, after all, on your side. And it’s their role to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of by the builders and their representatives in the transaction. 1. HIRING THE RIGHT BUILDER
The most important part of finding an agent is having a professional’s perspective to finding a builder with a great reputation. You get to benefit from your agent’s network of vendors, lenders, and home builders. They have the industry expertise to connect you with a builder that matches your needs, and more than likely, have already had experience with the builder with a past client. Or, if they haven’t worked with a builder you want to use directly, they can gather person-to-person recommendations from other agents to know the expected experience with said builder. They will help you find one, that not only delivers exactly what their clients want, but in a timely fashion.
2. THE RIGHT LOT IN THE RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD
The lot you choose to go with in a new build can either be a positive to your new home, or detrimental. In the excitement of the process, we tend to overlook important features of a property. It’s important to have a professional to ensure you make a purchase that will best serve you. They’ll be able to find a neighborhood that best fits your lifestyle and a lot that has a location that works for you. Whether you’re single with pets, or a family with children, the lot location can really make a huge impact. Especially when it comes time to selling it in the future. These are important things your agent will be able to help walk you through, so your decisions work in your favor in the long term, as well as now.
3. UPGRADES AND PLAN MODIFICATIONS
Not only will your agent be able to ensure you get the upgrades and modifications that will best suit your lifestyle, but will also help you make decisions that will increase the value of your home in the long term. They are working for your best interest long term, and with an agent’s guidance, you can be sure to make changes that end up benefiting you.
4. HANDLING CONTRACTS AND PAPERWORK
Your agent will handle the contract and all of the paperwork, and they will be sure to review it to ensure that it is in your best interest. They will be able to help you break down the best loan types, purchasing processes, and steps to take that benefit YOU, not the builder. They are, after all, working for you. They’ll make sure there are no overlooked terms in a builder’s contract that could end up hurting you after you move in. Or even during the building process. You want to make sure you have a professional who is experienced with the paperwork and contracts and knows how to make revisions that work in a way that make you happy.
It is imperative in the purchasing process to have an agent that is able to represent you and negotiate for you. The building process is so much more than having the builder put in your favorite counters and floors. They will be able to get you a price that actually benefits you – not the builder. They will be able to run a comparative market analysis to ensure you are paying a fair price for the property. You don’t want to end up overpaying for the home – it could put you in a tough spot when it comes time to sell. They’ll also be able to negotiate terms around building time frame, closings costs, and so many other aspects of a contract that you may otherwise overlook.
6. BUILDER’S AGENT REPRESENTS THEM, NOT YOU
It may seem easy just to pop into an office of a new build, or a builder’s office, and use the onsite agent. But keep in mind that this agent works FOR the builder, NOT for you. So they will be working to make sure the builder gets the best deal at the end of the day. By having a buyer’s agent of your own, you can ensure there is a professional on your side that can walk you through the process and avoid being taken advantage of during the transaction. They will also have a better handle on things when you hit bumps along the way. If you end up working with a builder who isn’t holding their end of the deal, they will have the power to make connections that ensure the builder holds their end of the contract terms.
During my work hours, I would browse online to search for communities. I had settled to 3 and went to look at their products. I finally had settled on the community I wanted but needed to see the floorplan because I had questions about the closet. I need it to be spacious enough that made it easy for two to share for resale purposes.
One morning I went to visit the builder’s sister community 10 minutes away from where I wanted to build. I get to mingling with the sales rep. I let her know that I am actually searching for myself and what I was looking for. I narrowed it down to space as a key factor for me. Space for storage is huge for me. She looks at me and says, “We can go look at that plan but I think I have one you’ll love.” In my mind, I’m just like that isn’t what I came here for. However, I’m a Realtor and I should check out the floorplan for other clients. What I love about HistoryMaker Homes is the amount of space you get for your money. Their tagline is “More Space. Less Money.”
This is the home we toured. I was like okay. When we walked in, I was in love. It was EVERYTHING I somehow all of sudden wanted.
It had space for days and the kitchen was a great size for just me. It was what I imagined my very first house to be.
I went back to this house for the next 3 weeks showing anyone who wanted to venture with me.
I finally went one Sunday with my friend Lauren and she’s a sensible friend. She was like you just have to pull the plug. I was like I don’t know. Andrea, she said, you like this house. You’ve been out here 3 times this week you might as well buy the house. Conversation with my mom helped the situation. She said to me, Andrea, no one is ever ready. We weren’t “ready” to buy this house but we had help from my dad and another family friend. I’m sending you $1000 and you add the other and go build your house.
That was all the confirmation I needed. I went out the next day with my checkbook in tow.
I was building my house.
The day I went there with Lauren one of the preferred lenders was at the model home. He said I shouldn’t worry about student loans as I could possibly go conventional and be okay. I was nervous about the calculation of student loans and the taxes I’d owe from 2016 tax year. I showed him my profit and loss statement along with 2015 tax return. I asked how much income did I need to show to realistically buy the house. My CPA and I worked together to be reasonable on the tax amount owed and for qualification purposes as well.
When you are self-employed, your income for home purchases are based on a 2 year average on the adjusted gross income. That means you can’t write everything off as you normally would. You have to show some income.
I was approved for a home loan or so I thought. A few days later I get an email to start the design process of my home. I’m excited, nervous, and more. I setup the appointment for a Monday but go by on that Saturday to browse the design room on what they had to offer. By that Monday, I pretty much decided what I wanted my house to look like.
By this time I had already chosen my lot. I decided to go with a premium lot which backed up to this high end community that would continue towards my neighborhood in a few years. Once I saw how the homes lined up, I was sold.
Hey, those homes in that neighborhood were already in the high $300s on the other side of the highway. There isn’t any telling what they would be in the next few years which would be valuable for my home.
After the first design room, I was excited but nervous to tell a soul. The only people who knew were a few close friends of mine and my parents.
The second showroom appointment was supposed to be literally a week later to finalize my designs. However, I couldn’t schedule the appointment until my lender sent an approval. I call to see when he was and his answer: My dear, you aren’t going to qualify. I’m sorry.
If you know me, no is NEVER the final answer. Background: The income that I felt comfortable with paying taxes on averaged with 2015 tax income made my debt to ratio high. I assured him a 1000 times that I’d pay whatever I needed to to make the situation work. I honestly don’t think he believed me but he said we can do it.
For 2 more weeks, he still never sent the approval. We discussed this more than once. Every time we would talk he would say, you’re good to go. I’ll send it over to the design team. I would be ready for the second showroom appointment and they’d say, “Andrea, we can’t schedule the second appointment without the pre-approval from the lender.” Back to conversation #50 with lender one. I would say, I thought you said I was good. Why hasn’t the pre-approval been sent? (This is when I learned being the REALTOR on your own deal is hard…who is there to help diffuse the issue when you stress out?) He even told me to go back and edit the taxes and just bite the bullet to pay $25,000 worth of taxes. That would make my debt to ratio lower. Umm, come again? Let’s just say that was our last conversation.
I went back to my sales rep and said who’s the next lender on your list because this one isn’t working. I had too many incentives tied to the home. Initially I wanted to use one of my preferred lenders but the incentives to build and close were far too great to let it go. I went to lender number 2. He was quick and had me approved after our conversation. Final design room was appointed and my reality was becoming real.
However, the first lender’s words echoed in the back of my mind each time I went to visit my house. My mentality has always been to prove people wrong and damn it, I was going to prove that first lender wrong.
I went in thinking I was going to do white or gray cabinets. I saw these smoke cabinets and knew I needed them in my home.
It was all starting to be too good to be true…in this case, it was. Lender number 2 had inside issues that affected me. *deep sighs*
Stay tuned for Part 3. To catch up, read Part one of I BOUGHT A HOUSE.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
Pocket Farming and Farmers’ Markets
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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.