I BOUGHT A HOUSE: The Early Stages

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.”

Spec home that sealed the deal

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.

Kitchen…Cabinets…Counter Space…WHAT!!!! I knew I wouldn’t choose those cabinets at all.

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.

Cabinet and floor selections
Where all the creativity went…Maybe a little.
Debated back and forth with myself on 30″ inch cabinets or 36″ inch cabinets in the master. Went with the latter.
It’s starting to coordinate
Brick and stone options

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.

Preview of what my backyard could look like

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.

Future location of my house
First choice of front door
Kitchen faucet
Master tub sample
Separate shower
Sink choice in all bathrooms
Style of second bathroom with tile on the wall
Stain selection for front door

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.

Final front door selection.

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.

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

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. 

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.

 

Looking for Your Dream Home? Know What You Need vs What You Want

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

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?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must-Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • ‘Should-Haves’ – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • ‘Absolute-Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.

How Your Home’s Value Grows Your Family’s Wealth


Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.64% per year on average and to grow by 18.4% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

How Your Home’s Value Grows Your Family’s Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 5.0% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $12,500 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $49,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!


Attention Millenial Homeowners: Have You Thought About Selling? 



Contrary to what many believe, Millennials are not the ‘renter’ generation. Millennials purchased a larger percentage (34%) of homes in the U.S. than any other age group in 2017 and the most recent Census Bureau report shows that the homeownership rate among Millennials is finally on the rise. Despite what anyone says, millenials are buying homes as 85% of my clientele arw millenials. 

Many Millennials took advantage of post housing crash prices and the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit and jumped into homeownership in 2010. If you are one of these buyers, now may be the time to sell for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. Equity Build-Up

Home prices have been on the rise since the beginning of 2012 and your house may have appreciated by more than you think. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their Q2 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report revealed that:

“…homeowners who sold in the second quarter realized an average price gain of $51,000 since purchase — the highest average price gain for home sellers since Q2 2007, when it was $57,000.

The average home seller price gain of $51,000 in Q2 2017 represented an average return of 26 percent on the previous purchase price of the home, the highest average home seller return since Q3 2007, when it was 27 percent.”

2. Projected Home Price Increases

If you just got married or just found out you are about to become a parent, you may have plans to move up a bigger home or perhaps move to a different area. Waiting to buy a more expensive home in this market probably doesn’t make sense. The experts contacted for the Home Price Expectation Survey are projecting home prices to increase by nearly 5% over the next year. Yes, your house’s price will increase but not as much as a home currently valued higher than yours.

3. Projected Interest Rate Increases

The Mortgage Bankers’ AssociationFreddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors are each projecting mortgage rates to increase over the next year.

Higher PRICES + Higher INTEREST RATES = LARGER MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

Bottom Line

If you are lucky enough to be one of those Millennials who purchased a house in 2010 (or even later), now might be the perfect time to move up to the home of your dreams.